West Bromich Albion are riding high in the Premier League this season, and it is no doubt that one man is responsible for their remarkable early form. That man is manager Steve Clarke, who’s only previous taste of being in charge at a club, prior to this season, was one match as caretaker boss for Newcastle way back in 1999 – in which he lost 5-1 to Manchester United.
Although it has long been known that the Scot possessed exceptional coaching abilities, he had never given the opportunity to manage, always being a number two, including assistant roles at Newcastle, Chelsea, West Ham and most recently Liverpool.
Being in control of a team whom many would have thought be good enough for mid-table at best, the 49-year-old has really done an extraordinary job in guiding his side comfortably into the Champions League places – bringing out the best in a number of players.
Although still early days, it is clear from his instant successes in building a side who are not only solid at the back, but also play flowing attacking football, that he has the potential to be a top manager. With uncertainty surrounding a few clubs, here are three possible destinations for the former Chelsea full-back.
With Liverpool going through a relatively unsure stage at present, slowly adapting to the new methods of Brendan Rodgers, the Reds’ owners could well lose patience by the end of the season and opt for a bit more stability.
With Clarke leaving Anfield as assistant to Kenny Dalglish only in the summer, he will already know the ins and outs of the club, and could be regarded as a safe option if Rodgers were to not be given a fair chance.
A legend at Stamford Bridge – after making over 400 appearances as a player in the 80s and 90s, and being sidekick to Jose Mourinho in the the most successful period of the club’s history – he certainly wouldn’t be an unpopular choice for the fans. It is just whether Roman Abramovich wants someone more high-profile or not.
After the recent sacking of Roberto di Matteo, the Chelsea owner has appointed Rafa Benitez at the helm until the end of the season. Therefore, in the summer there may be an opening for the position and Clarke will be amongst the names mentioned. Pep Guardiola is currently favourite, but the Baggies manager would not pass up the offer if given the chance.
Spurs are another team struggling slightly this campaign, and after the unexpected sacking of Harry Redknapp at the end of last season, Andre Villas-Boas will surely be feeling very nervous about been given the axe if results don’t improve. Clarke’s style of play would also suit well at White Hart Lane.
Clarke would command respect and inspire determination to a side who don’t seem totally in control, and despite recording great results including an away victory to Man Utd, they have dropped needless points to lesser teams, and the fans are now seemingly beginning to get impatient with the Portuguese tactician.
Clarke seems a well-balanced person however, and will know that things can change very quickly in football, so he is probably just focusing on his current task at The Hawthorns, and trying his best to not let anything distract him in his quest to success.