It’s been eight years since West Bromwich Albion had their last season in the EFL – a successful promotion campaign to the top flight – they now face the task of re-adjusting to the trials of the Sky Bet Championship.
This is not something the club is alien to, as the first decade of this millennium saw the Baggies jump between the top two tiers via three relegations and four promotions.
Darren Moore was appointed manager at the Hawthorns in May, following a spell as caretaker that galvanised the broken Baggies side to an unbeaten April after Alan Pardew’s sacking earlier in the month.
Pardew was relieved of duty with the club 10 points from safety with six matches remaining, and Moore almost managed to haul his side back into contention, causing hopeful Albion fans to start dreaming of arguably the most miraculous escape in football history.
Despite finishing in the drop-zone, the 44-year-old still had a positive impact at the helm; his short stint included wins against Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur, earning himself a Premier League Manager of the Month award and a job for this coming season.
Moore, a former defender, retired from his playing career in 2012 after two years at Burton Albion, having starred for the Baggies between 2001 and 2006.
The Baggies legend helped the club to two promotions from the Championship during his spell at the Hawthorns, and he’ll be hoping to repeat these successes from the dugout this time around.
Following relegation, a number of players have left the midlands outfit, but plenty remain in their bid for an immediate return to the top flight. Last season’s joint top scorers Jay Rodriguez and Solomon Rondon remain at the club, as well as Ahmed Hegazi, who impressed for Egypt at the World Cup in Russia.
The safe hands of Sam Johnstone have been brought in — he joins the club from Manchester United and starred for Aston Villa on loan last season, helping them to a Play-Off Final spot.
Kyle Bartley, Jonathan Bond, and Harvey Barnes have also signed for the Albion, with the latter on loan from Leicester City, as Moore looks to add proven EFL talent to his ranks.
Legends suggest that the origins of the club began in 1878, where a group of young workers from the George Salter Springs Factory walked to a neighbouring town to buy a football and test themselves against local sides.
In the following eight years, the West Bromwich Strollers as they were fittingly named, became West Bromwich Albion and the first Midlands team to reach an FA Cup Final, losing to Blackburn Rovers.
Since then, the Baggies have reached nine FA Cup Finals, winning on five occasions. They also lifted the EFL Cup in 1966 and made two final appearances in the following four seasons. West Bromwich Albion were one of the inaugural members of the Football League in 1888.
Since winning against Stoke City in their first EFL fixture, a fixture that will be replayed in the Championship this season, West Brom have gone on to be crowned Divison One and Championship winners.
Their last top-of-the-table finish came in the 2007/08 Championship season, with their last promotion coming in 2010, thanks to a second-place finish.
West Bromwich Albion
Nicknames: The Baggies
Ground: The Hawthorns
Shirt colour: White with navy blue stripes
Last season: 20th – Premier League