Leon Wobschall – Football should not have heard last of Darren Moore after unfair sacking by West Bromwich Albion

IN OCTOBER 2009, Gareth Southgate, shortly after presiding over a relieving win for his Middlesbrough side against Derby County at the Riverside Stadium, went ‘upstairs’ for a chat with his chairman and boss Steve Gibson.

DUMPED: Former West Bromwich Albion manager Darren Moore. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA
DUMPED: Former West Bromwich Albion manager Darren Moore. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA

It was a conversation which he justifiably thought would be a congratulatory one after his side moved to within a point of top spot in the Championship.

In the event, it turned out to be his final discourse with Gibson as Boro manager. Southgate was famously sacked with his side being fourth in the table.

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Which brings us to Darren Moore, again shown the door for the hideous crime of being in charge of a team in fourth position in the second-tier standings last weekend.

Yet that is where the parallels between Southgate, now at the peak of his profession as England manager and Moore end.

Southgate’s axing had context. Whether people agreed with his ousting at the time or not - and many did not - no-one can deny that he had not been given time.

He had been in charge of Boro for three full seasons and was partway through a fourth. Gibson, a widely respected figure in the game, spoke about it being the ‘hardest decision I’ve ever had to make in football.’

It was an untimely blow for Southgate - and to many an undeserved one. But in time, he dusted himself down and went again, protected to some degree by the managerial wool on his back after coping with a tough baptism at Boro, who were cutting their cloth at Premier League level after spending big before he took over from Steve McClaren.

KICKED IN THE BACK: Former West Bromwich Albion manager, Darren Moore. Picture: Dave Howarth/PA

It may have ended bitterly for Southgate, but few could say that he was not given a grounding, aspects of which he has periodically drawn upon in England’s top job and referenced.

Negligibly, Moore - a similar figure of stature like Southgate and someone who commands wide respect in the game - was never given that chance to complete his managerial education.

This being a figure who pulled up West Brom by the bootstrings and gave them some pride back at the fag end of last season. Finding fight in a near-impossible situation. Winning at Old Trafford and St James’ Park and beating Spurs. Making a fanbase smile again.

After taking on a side who had lost nine matches on the spin, he picked 11 points from the next five games, more than his predecessors had managed in the previous 25.

And onto this season. West Brom have scored 68 goals in 36 matches - almost two goals per game.

They have also won eight of their last 10 games away from home and triumphed at Carrow Road, Bramall Lane and Villa Park. They hammered Leeds 4-1 in November.

Granted, Albion have current issues, particularly on home soil where they had not won in the league since Boxing Day.

But their wider form this season suggested that with a few tweaks here and there and a bit of a reboot, then the show could get back on the road.

It was the club’s senior players who surely needed to look themselves in the mirror, not Moore.

In the first choppy spell of his time in charge - something that every manager endures - the former Bradford City, Barnsley and Doncaster Rovers defender saw the rug unceremoniously pulled from under his feet.

Surely, he was entitled to think that the club’s hierarchy had the backbone to stick by him. It was the least that he deserved.

Sadly, he was booted in the back. Leading to the impression that ultimately those who gave him the job full-time did not have too much faith in him in the first place.

The sight of Moore returning to The Hawthorns one day in the future, clapping all four sides of the ground after collecting three points would be one that would resonate with many football supporters and not just among those who consider West Brom as their rivals.

Football should not have heard the last of Darren Moore.