Des Lyttle: West Brom board face tough decision
Former Albion defender Des Lyttle ‘totally understands’ why fans are frustrated with Tony Pulis – but he’s backed the experienced head coach to turn results around.
The Wolverhampton-born full-back, who was signed by current assistant head coach Gary Megson in March 2000, doesn’t believe Pulis and Megson will change their tried and trusted methods.
Having been to The Hawthorns this season, Lyttle admits the football is not easy on the eye and even has second thoughts about watching the Baggies when they are on TV.
But he reckons Pulis is a safe pair of hands who will start picking up results soon – and says change is not always the best thing.
“It’s a difficult one,” Lyttle told the Express & Star. “You’ve got a manager that’s seen it, done it, and has got a style. It’s not pleasing on the eye but he gets the job done.
“Where do chairman and directors go from here? Do they spend the cash, change the philosophy to one which is easier on the eye but maybe take a chance of not being in the Premier League?
“West Brom are a stable Premier League side, comfortably finishing between 10th and 14th most years. They had a good season last year and never look in trouble.
“Supporters are not happy with style of play, they see others playing a decent way and think ‘why can Watford play so good when we are a similar size?’
“People are getting frustrated at the moment and I totally understand how the West Brom fans see it.
"I still watch a lot of football and always look out for Albion. I came to the Watford game with (former team-mate) Andy Johnson.
"But even when they’re on TV sometimes you think I might not watch it because of the style. You’re only watching it because of the opposition.”
Supporters have turned on Pulis after a ten-game winless streak has left the Baggies one point above the bottom three. One of the chief criticisms has been on the style, which is perceived to be too defensive.
Megson returned to the club in the summer to replace the head coach’s long-term assistant Dave Kemp after his retirement.
His four-year stint in the Hawthorns hot-seat is fondly remembered by Albion fans because he saved the team from relegation in Division One before guiding them to promotion to the Premier League.
However, Megson’s approach was also built on a strong defensive foundation and in the year Albion won promotion, the team kept a club-record 27 clean sheets and won 17 games 1-0.
“I played under Gary for three years, they won’t change what’s got them success,” said Lyttle, who is now director of football at Thomas Telford School in Shropshire.
“When it’s going well it’s ok, but they’re not picking up results at the moment. I don’t’ think Pulis will change things.
“I think he will start getting results, he knows how to do it, people and players have just got to patient. Sometimes changing the manager isn’t always the best thing.
“Look at Palace they came to get the continental manager and change the philosophy it didn’t work now they’re struggling.
“I think Albion will start winning. But if they don’t, it’s a tough one for the hierarchy.”