By Tim Hodges
It is one of the hottest seats in football, and less than a year after Gus Poyet’s acrimonious departure, the post of Albion manager (or head coach) is once more vacant.
Oscar Garcia’s resignation was accepted by the Albion board early this evening.
So who is next up for this often thankless task?
Tim Sherwood, the current Tottenham boss, is the surprising early favourite with those bookies who can be bothered to chalk up the odds (namely Victor Chandler). Sherwood, a sitting duck (almost by his own admission) at Spurs, was apparently interviewed at the Amex last season at the same time as Garcia.
The added interest here would be Sherwood’s current number two, Albion Cup Final hero Chris Ramsey.
Malkey Mackay is linked with the other Albion to part with their manager today, West Brom, but he certainly has a track record of getting teams promoted from the Championship.
As does Chris Hughton, although his older brother might be less welcome at the Amex. (Henry played for Palace.)
Albion may yet raid Bournemouth successfully after missing out on Lewis Grabban, as Tony Bloom is sure to be an admirer of Eddie Howe, who steered the Cherries to their highest ever league placing this season.
Another Bournemouth link could be nearer to home. If QPR fail to progress in the play-offs, Harry Redknapp could be looking for one last challenge.
Harry was full of admiration for the Amex and the club at that opening game.
Gianfranco Zola would be a popular choice with Albion fans. Chelsea’s greatest ever player took Watford to the play-off final last season and on a limited budget. His friendship with Poyet might be a sticking point.
Martin O’Neill and Roberto Di Matteo are currently resting, and Neil Lennon has expressed his desire to manage in England.
There have to be some outsiders, and I expect Johnny Crumplin will apply again.
But Ryan Giggs has got a taste of management now – he and Paul Scholes would be an interesting choice.
Would Tony Bloom dare to blood a David Beckham or Thierry Henry into a management position? His gamble with Poyet paid off.
Slightly lower down the food chain Russell Slade has shown that he is not just relegation firefighter. That would be an ironic appointment.
Joe Cole could make an interesting player coach with a wiser head possibly like Brian Horton upstairs.
Maybe Micky Adams, or Mark McGhee’s dream will finally come true.
Let’s just hope that Albion make an appointment in the next few days or the retained list is going to get messy again.