Most people were bemused when West Bromwich Albion chose to sack manager Steve Clarke last December, and even more so when former Real Betis boss Pepe Mel was announced as his replacement. The Spaniard lasted just six months before he left The Hawthorns, but that only led to another strange decision.
The Baggies chose to appoint Everton youth team coach Alan Irvine as their new manager, five years after they failed in a bid to lure him from Preston North End. The Scot was sacked by the Lilywhites just months later, and after a failed spell with Sheffield Wednesday, he ended up returning to former club Everton.
After picking up just two points from the first four games of the season, Irvine came under early pressure from sections of the West Brom faithful, but has turned in around in recent weeks with wins over Tottenham and Burnley before narrowly losing out to Liverpool at Anfield in their last game.
When the Baggies initially wanted Irvine, it was to be as the replacement for Tony Mowbray, who had left the club for Celtic that summer. Now, Mowbray is out of work after leaving Middlesbrough last season, and says he thinks Irvine will succeed with Albion during an interview with the Birmingham Mail.
"I know Alan, he is a very, very good man and an honest and hard-working coach," said Mowbray. "I am delighted he has got this opportunity now because I know he has had discussions with Albion in the past.
"He has got good footballers and a good structure at the club and it won't be through a lack of work ethic or knowledge if Albion do not achieve their aims. I wish him well and I also wish the chairman well because of his visionary way of doing things. He must look at his club now and see it as no longer a yo-yo club between the Premier League and the Championship. That's a big achievement," he added.