West Brom FanZoner Craig Punfield bids a fond farewell to Pepe Mel and believes the departure of the Spaniard was the correct decision.
Football never ceases to amaze me. It's the only job in the world where you can do the job you are asked to do (keep West Brom in the Premier League) and still get sacked.
I have never watched on with such sympathy as a sacked Baggies boss packs their bags. But, for me, it was the right decision, as he should have never been given the job in the first place.
The Spaniard was hired with the hope of bringing high-pressing, possession football style of play to the Hawthorns. This was a wrong move by the board; did they not look at the squad at Mel's disposal before bringing him in? For too long now we have known that the current defence can't keep up with the pace of a Premier League attacker and it soon became clear early on in his tenure that he would not be able to play the way he wanted.
So we now revert to the old way that we have become accustomed to over the past couple of seasons, a deeper line, hitting the opposition on the counter. This is the Steve Clarke way, the Keith Downing and Dean Kiely way. From the moment that we regressed to our former selves, Pepe should have left the West Midlands there and then. There was no point in him being there. Never before have I seen a better example of a round hole, trying to fit a square peg. In this instance, an aged peg, fraying round the edges and in need of desperate maintenance.
Which brings me seamlessly on to my next point as for why Pepe should have never left Spain for Smethwick.
This summer will not only bring my yearly fear for how my fair toned skin will handle the frazzling sun, but also the largest turnover of players at West Brom that I can remember.
Can you honestly say you feel comfortable with Mel being able to handle the new acquisitions and command their respect? Because he certainly didn't have it from the current pool of players, and despite a lot of those leaving during close-season, there will still be a strong nucleus of senior players still at the club who couldn't even understand how their manager wanted them to play.
For me, he had to go. Having said that, I would not be surprised to see him come back to England in the future and enjoy a fruitful career here. The way he wants to play suits the English game, just look at the successes of Southampton and Everton this season.
Now our attentions must turn towards who comes in next, and that is a very concerning thought indeed.
For me, there is no one out there that would be an improvement from the Steve Clarke we saw in the final half of his West Brom career and the Mel that we saw throughout his whole stay.
Does Jeremy Peace gamble on a foreign import once more, or try to play it safe and get someone in with Premier League experience?
Time will tell, but for now, it's a regret filled goodbye to you, Pepe. You were the right man for the job, just at the wrong time.