Express & Star

Corb the builder... can he fix it at West Brom? Yes, he can!

Carlos Corberan is, in the words of one Spanish football expert, a ‘developer’.

est Bromwich Albion new manager Carlos Corberan at West Bromwich Albion Training Ground on October 26, 2022 in Walsall, England. (Photo by Adam Fradgley/West Bromwich Albion FC via Getty Images).

He builds, improves, creates. That is a significant in why chief executive Ron Gourlay decided he was the club’s ‘outstanding candidate’ and why, indeed, Guochuan Lai signed off the deal.

Albion wanted – and needed – a builder. An improver. Someone capable of lifting the club from its knees and re-establishing it, first of all among the second-tier big-hitters pushing for promotion. Beyond that, a rise back to the top flight is the aim. A huge, gargantuan task for a 39-year-old with one top job in England behind him, particularly when you factor in Albion’s off-field failings – but Corberan is an impressive young coach packed full of intensity, passion and belief.

He radiated those characteristics at his press unveiling on Thursday afternoon. Corberan begins his tenure with a home clash against Sheffield United. It will surely not prove smooth-sailing, there is simply too much to address.

But Corberan will build. He will lay what – in his beliefs – are the right foundations, weed out what is not working and hopefully Albion will have finally have discovered some much-needed stability following a ninth permanent head coach, or manager, in five years.

Respected Spanish broadcaster Guillem Balague has tracked Corberan’s career across a number of years and insists the ex-Huddersfield head coach will respect the stature of the club he has joined.

Balague told the Express & Star: “He is number one a club man who will never think he is bigger than the club, like some managers do.

“He believes in process, working, no empty promises. His analysis and eye is superb in terms of what’s missing and needed.

“Huddersfield were impressed with him, because he is a developer, that is his passion, to get something and make it better, either a unit or individual. That’s the manager he is.”

There is much to develop and improve at The Hawthorns, make no mistake about that. Corberan will have his eyes wide open to the scale of the task – but what was on display at the head coach’s unveiling was a fierce passion and steely determination to arrest a club’s decline.

One key component of Albion’s future under Corberan is the creation and completion of a new football board.

Gourlay confirmed talks have been ongoing between he and the new head coach as the club continues to address the lead football role on that board.

It was previously stated a head of football operations – the same position Corberan succeeded alongside at Huddersfield – would be targeted but the CEO said this week that the appointment remains a ‘moving piece’.

Gourlay added: “There were two things – the introduction of a non-exec director, unfortunately illness has slowed that down. That’s still the plan to bring that person in, because it was my hope that person would be in by now.

“The director of football, or technical director, this is a moving piece. I must clarify that I’m discussing with Carlos.

“Of course, there are different managers and different head coaches in different structures. We spent a fair bit of time talking about the current structure at the football club with the building of the technical board, that Carlos was comfortable with.

“At the end of the day, what I’ve also said to Carlos is that we need to sit down – he mentioned Tony Strudwick (director of medical) – there will be a new director of administration that will come into the club.

“We’ll constantly be reviewing that for what’s best for the club. There are so many roles out there, be it sporting director, technical director, director of football operations. Who do they report into? Where does the coach fit in, and the CEO?

“All of these things and different people have different opinions. The most important job is that of the head coach and I believe that we have got the best man for the job. Myself, the club, will be as supportive as possible to Carlos.

“We’ll look at whatever we need to look at to make sure that we get the club back on the rails again.

“I know it’s frustrating for anybody, for nobody more so than me.”