Michael Appleton reportedly refuses West Brom reunion

The saga around the West Brom job has rumbled on for a while now, but it seems today any notion Michael might be leaving Sincil Bank has been dispelled.

According to Sky Sports Reporter Rob Dorsett, Michael has told West Brom he doesn’t want the Head Coach job there, as he’s committed to City. “Understand Michael Appleton has told #wba he doesn’t want the Head Coach job at the Hawthorns,” he tweeted. “Wants to see the project through at #Lincoln.”

Initially, Michael looked a good fit for the West Brom job and in several conversations with people around the club, I’ve got the feeling it is one role that some believed could tempt him. After all, he played for West Brom, has been caretaker manager there and earned his coaching reputation with them. They are a good fit, in terms of a team and a manager, but maybe not so much when you consider the instability there.

Firstly, the saga has been farcical since Big Sam left, with the owner seemingly ruling out approaching in work managers, not wanting to pay a fee, but also struggling to identify a free agent too. When they did go for David Wagner, he made alternative plans at short notice, leaving them high and dry. I had forgotten they were still looking, to be honest, especially as their chairman wouldn’t pay compensation, which Michael would almost certainly command.

Credit Graham Burrell

If the latest report is to be believed, it seems Michael is definitely going nowhere, which I felt comfortable with since last week. Has there been contact? The club said not last week, but who knows, Whether there has or has not, Michael wants to finish the project here and you know what that means: Championship football.

This might be non-news to some, others it might give a bit of peace of mind. It’s exactly the sort of tweet I needed to see on my lunch break today, because it feels like a trend-bucker. I’ve no issue with Danny and Nicky Cowley, as you all know, but they did say plenty about staying, plenty about the project and then chose to move. They had reasons and I refuse to devalue their achievements here by questioning the reasons they left, but it did give fans a certain distrust of managers and what they say. Whether the report from Rob Dorsett is correct, whether there was contact or not, I suppose it doesn’t matter. the situation will be seen as it is presented in the media: Michael Appleton had a chance to step up to a club that seemed a perfect fit and he chose to remain here and finish his project. That’s the reported story, that’s how fans will see it and it’s great for us.

It is a sensible decision in my eyes. Michael had a tough start to his managerial career, choices he made weren’t quite right (by his own admission) and circumstances made jobs challenging too. Blackburn and Blackpool were both basketcase clubs at the time, and Portsmouth were beset by financial problems, never giving our talented boss a chance to just manage a team. He did well at Oxford and got good experience at Leicester City, but with four jobs behind him already, one false move could be fatal. Look at Paul Hurst – climbed steadily with Grimsby and Shrewsbury, made one bad choice in Ipswich Town and is now having to climb back up. Danny and Nicky had ‘credit’ so to speak, so their choice in Huddersfield might not have worked out, but they still pulled League One clubs in as free agents.

Had credit in the bank after Huddersfield – Courtesy of Graham Burrell

If Michael moved to a club in turmoil, which to a degree West Brom are, would he be afforded the same grace, or would he become a Paul Hurst figure, forever linked with the likes of Grimsby, Scunthorpe and Mansfield Town? If he takes Lincoln City into the Championship, it is a bold stride away from the early record upon which many of our fans judged him when he arrived, and an extra cushion should his inevitable step upwards not work out. Michael comes across as a sensible and pragmatic man, he will know what is best for his career and maybe his early false start in management is actually the best thing that could have happened to him, and us, in terms of how he views key decisions now.

There are ten days until fixtures come out, surely some big news to drop between now and then as well (no, Nick Oxberry, I don’t know anything you don’t…..) and plenty to be optimistic about, especially with today’s reports. Up the Imps and long live the King of Sincil Bank, Michael Appleton.