Gary Megson: Players’ character key to an instant West Brom return

Legendary boss Gary Megson believes Albion will only secure an instant return to the Premier League if they have players with the right mindset.

Gary Megson (AMA)
Gary Megson (AMA)

And the 62-year-old says that means the club should sell anyone who doesn’t truly want to be there.

Megson transformed Albion as a club when he won promotion into the Premier League back in 2002.

And while they only stayed there for a year, he then got them back up at the first time of asking with the Baggies again achieving automatic promotion in 2004.

Albion are currently on the hunt for a new boss following Sam Allardyce’s decision to leave the club – with Chris Wilder still the odds-on favourite.

And Megson believes assessing the mindsets of the players he inherits will be the first job of the new head coach – with the club favourite adamant they will only win promotion again if everybody is pulling in the same direction.

“Promotion will come down to the character of the players,” Megson said.

“Any team that suffers a relegation has had a tough year. You are then looking to turn that around and be a side who are winning every week.

“And what you don’t want are players who think they are doing you and the club a favour by sticking around.

“If that’s the situation you’re in it’s going to be a struggle.

“If there are players who think they are too good for the Championship because they have had a season in the Premier League then move them on.

“You have to move them on because quality alone is not enough to get you out of the division.

“You have to have everyone working together. You have to have a team full of players fighting for one another and who are willing to battle. You can’t just rely on quality. It’s not enough.”

Despite winning promotion during the 2003/2004 season, Albion were famously beaten 4-1 on the opening day by a Paul Merson inspired Walsall.

And Megson says that result was a blessing in disguise – with the board then allowing him to make the changes to the squad he always felt were needed.

“As soon as we went down I wanted to make changes,” the former midfielder said. “I wanted players in the squad who saw West Brom as a fantastic club, players who saw joining the club as a huge opportunity.

“What I didn’t want was players thinking ‘we were in the Premier League and now we are not.’

“I wanted players who were desperate to be part of a promotion push.

“And when you have players like that it gives everyone a lift.

“I had seen it in my playing days at Norwich. We went down but we gave a lot of players new contracts.

“I could see what the club was trying to do, they felt those players were good enough to get us back up.

“But for me it was rewarding failure.

“I didn’t want to make the same mistake at West Brom. I knew we needed to make changes and it might be the same for the new manager when he comes in.”

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