West Bromwich Albion have appointed former Real Betis manager Pepe Mel as head coach on an eighteen month rolling contract at the Hawthorns.
The 50 year old Spanish manager has been chosen as the long term successor to Steve Clarke.
Mel lead Real Betis to their highest ever La Liga finish last season, as he guided the Andalucian side to an impressive seventh position, as Betis qualified for the Europa League.
Mel, who like Clarke, over achieved with his side last season, was unable to replicate last season’s fortunes, and was sacked from his job in October, after a heavy 4-0 defeat in the derby fixture against Seville sealed his fait, as Betis languished at the bottom of La Liga.
Clarke was sacked by the Baggies in December following a defeat against Cardiff City, and Albion took their time in finding his successor.
The sporting and technical director Richard Garlick said on the club’s official website:
“I’m delighted to welcome Pepe to the club.
“His appointment concludes an extensive recruitment process during which we have cast the net far and wide to identify the most suitable candidate to take the club forward.
“Pepe was a strong contender from the outset due to his impressive achievements and has emerged as our No1 candidate.
“He is a forward thinking coach whose teams are renowned for playing an attractive and positive style of football.”
Garlick added: “The board is extremely grateful to Keith, the coaching staff and players for their efforts over the past month, which has yielded six points from four unbeaten league games.
“Keith will have an important role to play in supporting Pepe as he coaches in England for the first time.”
Albion are currently in 14th position in the Premier League, just four points outside the bottom three.
Mel has met his players, and will take charge of the Baggies in their Premier League fixture away at Southampton.
By Ben Reardon