Thu, Nov 11, 2004 - Page 19 News List

Robson hopes to revive West Bromwich

EUROPEAN FOOTBALL Bryan Robson left West Bromwich Albion in 1981, heading to the Red Devils. The former England captain signed a one-year contract with an option to renew

AP , WEST BROMWICH, ENGLANDAP, LONDONAP, HIGH WYCOMBE, LONDON, BLACKBURN, NEWCASTLE, ENGLAND

West Bromwich Albion's new manager Bryan Robson is introduced at a press conference at The Hawthorns in West Bromwich, England on Tuesday. West Bromwich Albion named former player as its new manager, two weeks after dismissing Gary Megson. Robson was a player for West Bromwich Albion 23 years ago.

PHOTO: AP

Bryan Robson is returning to West Bromwich Albion after a 23-year absence.

Robson left West Brom in 1981 as one of England's top players to join Manchester United. His departure from the Baggies marked the beginning of a long decline at the club.

His return as manager is supposed to reverse the slide.

"I had a great eight years here and have a lot of happy memories," Robson said Tuesday after being named to replace Gary Megson, who was fired two weeks ago.

"I think it's a great challenge for me. I'd like to achieve the success I had as a player here."

The former England captain signed a 12-month contract with an option to renew. His assistant will be former Middlesbrough and Sheffield Wednesday defender Nigel Pearson, who left his post as England Under-20 coach.

Megson was fired on Oct. 26 after announcing that he wouldn't stay at the Hawthorns after his contract ends in June. Megson had been in charge of the side for 4 1/2 years and twice guided the club to promotion to the Premier League.

Robson joined West Brom as an apprentice in 1974 and made his league debut at York in April 1975. He scored 46 goals in 249 games for Albion before joining Manchester United.

Robson departed West Brom shortly after manager Ron Atkinson had also left the club for Manchester United.

Demoted from the top flight of English soccer in 1986, West Brom returned to the top flight for the first time in 2002. But the Baggies lasted only one season. This season they're back again but only one point above the relegation zone in the Premier League.

Robson played 90 times for England, including at the 1982, 1986 and 1990 World Cups. He was captain in 65 games for England.

"Bryan was one of our all-time great players," West Brom chairman Jeremy Peace said. "We were impressed with his desire and motivation. He has a strong affinity with the club and our supporters.''

Peace described Robson as the club's "first and unanimous choice." However, former England coach Glenn Hoddle said he was approached by West Brom but said the job did not suit him.

In seven seasons as Middlesbrough's manager, Robson twice guided the side to promotion to the Premier League. His team also reached three cup finals -- losing all three. He left 'Boro in June 2001 after the club finished 14th.

West Brom's next match is at home to Middlesbrough on Sunday.

Robson was lined up to coach the Nigerian national team a year ago, but the deal fell through when officials failed to meet his salary demands. Weeks later, he was named manager at Bradford, but failed in his attempt to save the club from relegation from the old first division.

Asked if he had something to prove, Robson replied: "No, I don't think so. I think my record stands up."

"If I can achieve at this football club what I achieved a Middlesbrough then I'll be quite delighted as a manager."

"I must admit I was disappointed over the last two years not to be offered a job like this."

Italian 17-year-old Arturo Lupoli scored two goals on Tuesday to lead a youth-oriented Arsenal to a 3-1 victory over full-strength Everton, putting the Gunners in the fifth round of the English League Cup.

Arsenal's young side gave the Gunners only their second victory in the last seven games. The Gunners dropped out of first place in the Premier League over the weekend, ceding the No. 1 spot to Chelsea.

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