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West Brom sack chairman John Williams and chief executive Martin Goodman

By Matt Wilson | West Bromwich | West Bromwich Albion | Published: | Last Updated:

Chinese owner Guochuan Lai has stunned Albion's top brass by sacking chairman John Williams and chief executive Martin Goodman out of the blue.

John Wililams and Martin Goodman. (AMA)

Williams and Goodman have both been given sudden notice of the termination of their contracts and placed on gardening leave with immediate effect.

The double sacking, which came as a shock to both men, has plunged a club staring down the barrel of relegation after one win in 25 league matches into further crisis.

Former long-serving chief executive Mark Jenkins, who was replaced by Goodman at the start of 2017, is returning to the club as CEO and will run the Baggies until the end of the season.

A short statement released around midday today said: "These changes follow Albion's poor results this season which currently sees the club at the bottom of the Premier League."

WATCH: West Brom reporter Matt Wilson gives his verdict on the double sacking of John Williams and Martin Goodman

Lai made the decision partly because Williams and Goodman sacked Tony Pulis, who was seen as a safe pair of hands in China.

When Pulis was fired, Albion were hovering above the relegation zone, but they are now five points adrift at the bottom of the table.

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Despite that, head coach Alan Pardew, who has overseen that fall to the foot of league thanks to one win in 13 league matches, is understood to be safe from the axe.

He took the squad on a pre-planned trip to Barcelona today for some warm weather training.

Technical director Nick Hammond is also expected to keep his job, and there are no plans to unveil a new chairman until the summer.

Williams was installed in that role when Lai bought the club from Jeremy Peace in August 2016 for nearly £200m and Goodman followed a few months later when Jenkins left.

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Jenkins was CEO of the Baggies for 14 years, and 10 of those were spent in the Premier League.

He was seen, like Pulis, as a safe pair of hands in China, and Lai wanted him to stay, but Jenkins felt it was the right time to leave.

He now returns to run the club for the final three months of a campaign that has lurched from disaster to disaster so far.

"There is much to do but for now the focus must solely be on the remaining games of this season," he said, in a short statement yesterday.

The sackings were announced hours after Albion lost 3-0 to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, although it's understood they were not as a result of that defeat.

Lai, who remains committed to the club, made the decision because of Albion's position in the league.

He bought the club because it was smoothly run and well established in the top tier.

Eco-town developer Lai uses the Premier League brand to win lucrative contracts in China, and he has held Williams and Goodman accountable for taking the club to the brink of relegation and putting that in jeopardy.

Former Blackburn Rovers chief Williams lasted 18 months in his role, and former Stoke director Goodman was in place for just over a year.

Matt Wilson

By Matt Wilson
Football MMPJ - @mattwilson_star

Sports reporter at the Express & Star, who primarily covers West Bromwich Albion.

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