Premier League: West Brom appoint Pepe Mel as new boss on 18-month deal
West Brom have appointed a successor to Steve Clarke in the form of ex-Real Betis manager Pepe Mel.
Last Updated: 10/01/14 5:03pm
Mel moves to The Hawthorns as a permanent replacement for Steve Clarke, who was sacked last month.
His first game in charge will be against Everton - live on Sky Sports - a week on Monday but caretaker Keith Downing, who has taken charge for the last five games, will oversee this weekend's trip to Southampton.
Downing, along with goalkeeping coach Dean Kiely, will remain at the club to assist Mel but the 50-year-old Spaniard is expected to watch from the stands at St Mary's.
West Brom sporting and technical director Richard Garlick told Albion'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 number one candidate.
"He is a forward thinking coach whose teams are renowned for playing an attractive and positive style of football."
Mel, who takes over a club four points above the Premier League drop zone, led Real Betis to promotion in his first season and then guided the club to qualification for the Europa League last term with a seventh-placed finish in La Liga.
A tenure of just over three years came to an end in December after a run of poor results.
Mel was a promising striker during his playing days and came through the Real Madrid academy, before forging his career away from the club at Spanish sides including Real Betis, Getafe and Grenada.
He went straight into coaching after hanging up his boots, taking charge of CD Coslada, before moving on to Murcia and then replacing Valencia-bound Rafael Benitez' Tenerife manager in 2001.
His coaching CV also includes spells with Getafe, Rayo Vallecano and Alaves.
Sky Sports' Spanish football analyst Guillem Balague believes the Baggies have made a clever appointment.
"He's known for his offensive football," Balague told Sky Sports News.
"He hit the headlines when Real Betis played Barcelona in the Copa del Rey three years ago - they lost on aggregate but made life really difficult for Pep Guardiola's then side.
"They built from the back and they pressed high. It was a style that you thought wouldn't succeed in the second division of Spanish football but it did because in that same year, Betis were promoted.
"Not only has he impressed with the tactics and the style, he's done it with not much money.
"He can deal with budgets, he can play good football and his personality shines through. He's a guy we all like.
"Saving West Brom will be the main target but having given him a contract for a year-and-a-half, I doubt that will be the only target; it will be about creating a foundation to play good football.
"He's going to find himself in a new league, with a new challenge so it will take him a while to adapt but he's definitely got the style and the personality for it. It seems to me a clever appointment."