Shropshire Star

Valerien Ismael: What went wrong at West Brom and how is he remembered?

Valerien Ismael's time at West Brom was short, not overly sharp and to be honest not very memorable.

Valerien Ismael

A man bought in following a £2m compensation pay out to Barnsley was supposed to be an innovator who was taking Albion back to the top flight.

But less than eight months later, chairs were being ripped out by fans as they watched their side slump to a 2-0 defeat at Millwall and two days later, Ismael was out of a job.

Following a short spell in Turkey, Big Val is back in management, back in the Championship and is set to do battle with his former employers tomorrow as Albion head to Watford.

We're two years on now from the Val era at The Hawthorns. When he was dismissed Albion were fifth in the table, and since that time, they have failed to climb above that position. So, what went so wrong and how is he remembered?

The honeymoon period

When Ismael was handed the job for some it was a left field appointment - but when Albion were top and unbeaten in their first ten games, those comments went away.

Ismael's style was direct but it was working and when you're winning no one cares about the football.

Albion were scoring goals too - 20 in the first ten outings and fans were dreaming of a top flight return as they topped the table.

Even at that point, some were critical of the style but it was gathering results and you could not argue with that.

The goals dried up

When the goals dried up, so too did the points and so too did the enthusiasm for Val Ball.

This high pressing, high energy, direct style of play seemed to disappear and Albion meandered through games.

Those who had stood out in the early part of the season all of a sudden went missing, and you struggled to see where they were going to make something.