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You may think that Jeremy Peace, club chairman, is still top dog at the Hawthorns. You may need to think again.
A former Valencia, Inter Milan and Liverpool football clubs employee called Dave McDonough has been busy at the Hawthorns. In April 2013 McDonough was brought in to the club by Jeremy Peace to introduce and develop more sophisticated statistical analysis, to ensure greater value from expenditure. The vision was to improve the quality of transfer business to maximise value from transfers and reduce costs. His current role is 'Director of Technical Performance and Scouting'.
Since his arrival, McDonough has created quite a stir in the club - playing a significant role in the departure of the former head coach and appointment of the current one (albeit after a cumbersome selection process) and emasculating the role and influence of Richard Garlick (the club's Sporting and Technical Director) to the point where Garlick is now largely irrelevant. The fact that Garlick is on the club's board makes this even more remarkable.
McDonough has also controlled and overseen the club's last two (weak) transfer window performances and is sweeping away key (football industry acclaimed) staff, systems and working practices that were designed and implemented by Dan Ashworth - universally seen as one of the most able and influential directors of football in the premier league before his departure to work for the English FA.
Spanish speaking McDonough also appears to be playing an ever increasing role of liaison on football matters with the club's current head coach, a development that has the potential to cause friction and bring into question the roles of professional football coaches at the club. McDonough has some coaching experience, maybe he fancies the head coach role?
It has now also emerged that McDonough's power, influence and approach is upsetting members of the club's playing squad, who regard it as intrusive.
In essence, McDonough has developed a power base that now sees him firmly entrenched in virtual control of the key relationship between the club's board and head coach. Accompanying this, years of ground breaking development work and systems previously pioneered at the club have seemingly been consigned to the recycle bin.
Why and how has McDonough achieved this? In facilitating McDonough's approach, Jeremy Peace is intentionally or unwittingly overseeing the destruction of years of progress at West Bromwich Albion (and arguably, risking his own reputation as a successful football club chairman - something that should matter to him).
McDonough is clearly an able operator. He may not have the title 'Club Chairman' on his office door, but - like a modern day Rasputin - he seems to enjoy a svengali like influence on Peace, who most people would have assumed was far too clever and strong minded to be driven in this way.
Will Peace see the light? Who knows? Is this happening for the good of West Bromwich Albion or for the good of Dave McDonough? These are important, unanswered questions that need resolving.
Over to you Chairman Peace.
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