ALAN Irvine has revealed one of the biggest influences on his coaching career was none other than former Albion boss and revered coach Don Howe – as he laid out his immediate plans after taking over the reins.
The Scot was yesterday officially unveiled to the media as the Baggies’ new head coach and is relishing the opportunity he has been handed.
And while talking about how his relationship with Albion Techical Director Terry Burton will work the name of Howe, who managed the club between 1971 and 1975, came up.
“Terry has got a fantastic reputation in the game,” said Irvine.
“I haven’t had a lot of contact with Terry over the years but when I have he’s always been someone who has come across as having a great knowledge of the game.
“He is highly-respected as a coach himself and I’m really looking forward to working with him and picking his brains.
“The two of us often talk about Don Howe.
“Terry worked closely with Don and Don was a huge influence on my career as a coach in the early days.
“I think I stalked him for years by going all over the country to watch him working.
“I’ll be really interested to get an even greater insight into him when speaking to Terry.”
He added: “This is a fantastic opportunity.
“I’ve had a fantastic job at Everton; I get unbelievably well looked after there.
“They have been so supportive to me and it was probably a job I could have had for many more years.
“But I’ve missed the excitement of a Saturday and the thrill of being involved at first-team level.
“And I couldn’t even think about turning down this opportunity.
“My only message to the fans is: keep supporting us - give us a chance.
“I know I’m under pressure and only results on the pitch will do.
“I also know the Albion fans are incredibly passionate, but I’m incredibly passionate too so hopefully together we can have success.”
Irvine has already identified the areas of the team he is keen to strengthen, with Albion's interest in signing Joleon Lescott already confirmed.
The Baggies chief said: “There aren’t many full-backs at the club, there is a shortage of wide players, we only have three senior centre-backs and we don’t have a lot of out-and-out strikers.
“So there are areas we’ve got to address purely in terms of numbers – but clearly there has got to be quality in terms of the additions.”
The 55-year-old also offered an insight into how he likes to manage players as he looks forward to the start of pre-season training on July 7.
“I am from Glasgow and I’m a bad tempered Scotsman when I want to be,” he admitted.
“But I was given some great advice when I started coaching: Kenny Dalglish said ‘if you spend you’re whole time shouting at people they stop listening’.
"I’ve worked for managers and coaches who do that and it’s true - but it doesn’t mean you have to be soft.”