Sam Allardyce verbally agrees to become West Brom boss

Slaven Bilic sacked on Wednesday after 1-1 draw at Manchester City on Tuesday; broad agreement on an 18-month-deal for Sam Allardyce, which includes a break clause if Albion are relegated; Allardyce confident he can keep West Brom in Premier League

Sam Allardyce has urged clubs to consider the long-term implications of Project Big Picture
Image: Sam Allardyce is set to replace Slaven Bilic at West Brom

Sam Allardyce has verbally agreed to become the next West Brom manager, Sky Sports News has been told, and his appointment is expected to be confirmed on Wednesday.

The final details of his contract are still being drawn up, but there is broad agreement on an 18-month-deal, which includes a break clause at the end of this season if Albion are relegated.

Allardyce sees the job as an ideal opportunity for him to return to football after more than two and a half years away, and is confident he can keep Albion in the Premier League.

preview image 2:59
FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Man City’s draw with West Brom in the Premier League.

The former England manager is currently still at his home in the North West, but he will need to undergo a coronavirus test before he can travel to the Midlands and enter West Brom's secure eco-bubble.

West Brom sacked Slaven Bilic on Wednesday less than 24 hours after the team secured a 1-1 draw at Manchester City.

"Albion would like to thank Slaven and his coaching staff for their efforts in achieving promotion last season and wishes them all well in the future," read a brief club statement.

West Brom head coach Slaven Bilic 3:38
Former West Brom striker Kevin Phillips believes the club's board 'didn't back' manager Bilic

Bilic leaves West Brom after less than two years in charge. He initially enjoyed success at The Hawthorns, guiding the club to promotion in his first season as head coach.

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However, the Baggies have struggled on their return to the top-flight, winning just once in the Premier League - against bottom club Sheffield United.

West Brom remain second bottom of the table, despite the draw against City, but are only two points behind 17th-place Burnley.

'Etihad irony - but Allardyce a big character'

Sky Sports News' Rob Dorsett:

The irony is that Slaven Bilic will probably feel very strongly that West Brom had their best performance and result of the season against Man City.

It will be sad news for a lot of West Brom fans. Bilic was a popular figure. He wore his heart on his sleeve and he will feel that he didn't get the resources in the summer transfer window to strengthen.

Slaven Bilic was frustrated that he couldn't get his top targets but West Brom's bosses thought they went above and beyond to support him in the market and gave him more money than they had originally planned. There was definitely a difference in opinion there.

But results speak for themselves - just one win this season, second-bottom of the Premier League. The bosses at West Brom clearly felt the only way for them to mount a realistic survival challenge was to change the manager.

How would the appointment of Allardyce go down with supporters? He's hugely experienced and has a brilliant record of keeping teams in the Premier League. It's that simple.

They may have some concerns about the style of play. Allardyce has never made any apologies for that - he focuses on winning football. But there are a lot of creative players in this side and one of the problems West Brom have had is not scoring enough goals. That's an issue that needs addressing.

The congested fixture list means it may not be easy to change the tactics too quickly but the team that went to the Etihad showed great strength of character and that will give the squad - and the new manager - an awful lot of confidence. Allardyce has been out of the game for a while but he's a big character and a hugely talented manager and he'll make West Brom much more difficult to beat.

I don't think Allardyce would take this job unless he believes he can keep West Brom in the Premier League. He sees himself as a Premier League manager. If he thought they were certain to drop into the Championship, I don't think he'd be interested. But he will want to know they have the resources in January.

'West Brom hierarchy didn't back Bilic in summer'

Sky Sports pundit and former West Brom striker Don Goodman:

West Brom boss Slaven Bilic 2:08
Former West Brom striker Don Goodman says the club’s decision to sack Bilic is ‘really harsh'

I don't think the West Brom hierarchy supported Slaven Bilic well enough in the summer.

I understand there are budgets but you look at the recruitment... Diangana, Pereira - players who were already at the club; Krovinovic back on loan.

Gallagher is a quality player but he was in the Championship last season. The striker's the biggest piece of the jigsaw but Karlan Grant's predominantly been in the Championship too. It's been a big ask for Bilic.

Analysis: Fractured relationship with board costs Bilic

Sky Sports' Gerard Brand:

For weeks he's been favourite for the first Premier League sacking of the season, but to go after a spirited draw at Man City has surprised many.

Nobody is denying West Brom are in a relegation fight and likely will be for the rest of the season. Their best performances have come against Chelsea, Tottenham Manchester United and Manchester City, but it's the results against teams around them that have ultimately cost Bilic.

Slaven Bilic 2:40
Secretary of the West Brom Supporters' Association Alan Cleverley believes the club were wrong to sack Bilic

The board will point to the defeats at Newcastle and Fulham, plus the capitulation against Crystal Palace, but a fractured relationship between the club's hierarchy and Bilic has also contributed.

Bilic's initial budget upon returning to the Premier League was around £25m - in the end their spending was registered at £42m with add-ons included - a figure Bilic clearly felt was paltry. Their team is badly lacking Premier League experience.

In October, Bilic hit out at the board for selling Ahmed Hegazi to Saudi side Al-Ittihad for £4m just 24 hours before their trip to Brighton, suggesting the club had broken promises over the defender. "I am really disappointed because we need players," he said at the time.

Tuesday's performance proved the players have not downed tools on Bilic, but if board and manager aren't working in tandem, little else matters.

The bounce effect?

Sky Sports' Adam Smith:

Between 1992/93 and last season, 19 out of 74 clubs have axed or lost their manager in the first season after promotion to the Premier League - typically during the frantic festive schedule or towards the business end.

But did those changes achieve the sought-after bounce effect? Well, only six of those 19 clubs stayed up come May. On average, there was a points-per-game boost of 0.18 after bringing in a new boss - but the swings are significant.

Crystal Palace's form soared after sacking Ian Holloway in October 2013, with the Eagles going on to stay up. But Cardiff suffered a notable dip after dismissing Malky Mackay in December the same year and were relegated.

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