So it didn’t happen in the end

Oscar Garcia has stepped down as Watford boss
Oscar Garcia has stepped down as Watford boss

The Albion were set to face two former managers in the space of five days.

So it didn’t happen in the end. The Albion were set to face two former managers in the space of five days. Russell Slade had to watch Cardiff City from the posh seats rather than the dug-out as he continues (as I write) as a ‘consultant’.

Meanwhile Oscar Garcia stepped down as Watford boss due to ill health.

On the face of it you couldn’t get more different characters. I will never forget Slade carried aloft on the Withdean pitch after survival on the final day of the season in 2009 and one fan grabbing his notorious peaked cap to reveal his gleaming crown.

He is often described by players who served under him as a great man manager.

He proved capable of getting the best out of individuals like Dean Cox who he described as his “little bundle of anger management”. He could be funny, but also slightly curt if required.

He appeared genuine but he never got the opportunity to prove himself with the Seagulls during his second two year contract. His 42% win ratio at Leyton Orient

was impressive and was unlucky not to lead the O’s to promotion.

As Cardiff City manager he has a chance to rid himself of the moniker of ‘good lower league boss’ but also risks reinforcing that tag if he fails in Wales.

I was never party to the changing room but Oscar Garcia appeared to have a completely different persona. Quiet, assured and somewhat distant, the Spaniard also made a huge contribution to the Seagulls.

Admittedly he did inherit a good foundation from Gus Poyet but still had to integrate the younger talent with established players to deliver them to the play-offs last


The squad’s shortcomings were evident against Derby and the nature of his departure from the club was a huge disappointment for the owner but he overachieved

somewhat with a 6th placed finish.

I think we will all have to start learning a few phrases in Finnish if Sami Hyypia manages to fulfil the ultimate ambition for the club and reach the Premier League. The

early table doesn’t look promising but performances have deserved more points in recent weeks.

Amiable and straightforward I’m sure he will also impose his own style and personality in time.

Traits from some of the former Albion bosses though could help him as he tries to lead the Seagulls to the promised land.