London - Tony Pulis has been appointed as the new head coach of West Bromwich
Albion on a two-and-a-half-year contract, the Premier League strugglers
announced on Thursday.
The 56-year-old former Stoke City and
Crystal Palace manager replaces Alan Irvine, who was sacked on Monday
after a run of seven defeats in nine matches that left the club just a
point above the relegation zone.
"I'm absolutely delighted to
accept the job and I do so with a simple but important message for the
Albion fans and everyone at the club," the Welshman said in a statement
on the club website.
"Every successful club is built on unity and
that is what I shall strive to help bring to Albion. We need everyone
together from top to bottom - the supporters, all the staff, the
players, everyone who has an interest in the club's welfare.
"With that, we can go forward together and hopefully take this club up the Premier League."
was named the Premier League's Manager of the Year for steering Palace
away from relegation last season, but he left the club on the eve of the
current campaign after falling out with chairman Steve Parish.
is due to watch West Brom's away game at West Ham United later on
Thursday from the stands, with assistant head coach Rob Kelly taking
charge of the first team.
His first game in charge will be Saturday's FA Cup third-round tie at home to fifth-tier Gateshead.
Brom reportedly held talks with Pulis and former Tottenham Hotspur
manager Tim Sherwood, but Pulis's record of having never been relegated
as a manager gave him the edge.
"We are delighted to secure a man of Tony's calibre and proven ability," West Brom technical director Terry Burton said.
made it clear that this position excited him and that he was eager to
get back into the business of winning Premier League points -- and there
are few who know how to do it better."
Irvine, 56, was the second
Premier League manager to be sacked this season following Neil
Warnock's dismissal by Palace last Saturday.
Pulis made his name during two spells at Stoke, guiding the club to promotion from the Championship in 2008.
turned Stoke into an established Premier League side with a reputation
for rugged, uncompromising football and guided them to five consecutive
top-14 finishes before stepping down in 2013.
Palace were six
points from safety at the foot of the table when he took over in
November 2013, but he engineered a vast improvement in their
performances that saw them finish the season in 11th place.
despite receiving many end-of-season plaudits, a disagreement with the
Palace hierarchy over the club's recruitment strategy saw him leave
Selhurst Park by "mutual consent" in August.