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Struggling Premier League team West Bromwich Albion fired manager Tony Pulis on Monday despite his reputation as a virtual guarantee against relegation. The move seemed inevitable after West Brom’s 4-0 loss at home to Chelsea on Saturday, which dropped the team to within a point and a place of the relegation zone. It left West Brom with just two wins in its last 21 league games stretching back to last season.
“We are in a results business,” West Brom chairman John Williams said, “and over the back end of last season and this season to date, ours have been very disappointing.”
Assistant coach Gary Megson will take temporary charge of the team, whose next match is against Tottenham on Saturday.
Pulis, who was in charge for nearly three years, has never been relegated in 25 years and more than 1,000 league games in football management.
Only 12 of 38 rounds have been played in the Premier League, so there was still plenty of time for Pulis to turn things around. Yet there was no sign of West Brom’s form improving and the club’s fans had lost patience with Pulis and his pragmatic style of football.
A disgruntled section of the support has called for his departure in recent games.
West Brom came under new ownership last year, with Chinese businessman Guochuan Lai becoming the majority shareholder. Lai was at the game against Chelsea.
The club from central England had a net spend of about 30 million pounds ($40 million) last summer and enriched the squad with some trumpeted arrivals like Poland midfielder Grzegorz Krychowiak from Paris Saint-Germain, left back Kieran Gibbs from Arsenal, and winger Oliver Burke from Leipzig.
Pulis had better players and a deeper squad at his disposal, but failed to get the most out of them. He clearly missed Darren Fletcher, the club captain who surprisingly left in the offseason to join Stoke. Dovetail that with continued criticism of his approach _ direct, risk-averse _ and it was no surprise there were calls for change.
West Brom has scored just nine goals in 12 games this season. Pulis is the fifth manager to lose his job in the Premier League this season.