Sunderland v West Bromwich Albion: Steve Clarke takes to management like a fish to water
So it was with a slightly heavy heart that he decided to answer a call from West Bromwich Albion as he prepared for another day of trying to catch trout. He has no regrets now. Clarke takes West Brom to Sunderland on Saturday where victory would lift them into third place with their best start since 1953. As managers drop like dominoes in the Premier League, Clarke’s story is one of the most heartening of the season. It began in the most unlikely of locations. “Each year the four of us go to Rutland Water and have a little competition,” recalled Clarke at the Hawthorns this week. “It’s been going on now for about 10 years and fly-fishing for trout is how I relax. “We fish for three of the four days and Dan [Ashworth, Albion’s sporting and technical director] wanted to do a follow-up interview. I said I was on holiday and he said: ‘It’s OK I’ll come and meet you.’ There is always one day when we take a break so we met for a few hours and had a good conversation and yes, that probably was the one that got me the job. I’ve had to be very patient.” After 15 years as a No 2, starting under Ruud Gullit at Newcastle in 1998 and going on to assist the likes of Jose Mourinho, Sir Bobby Robson and Kenny Dalglish, Clarke is relishing finally getting the chance to lead a team himself.
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