Technical Director Luke Dowling has pointed the way forward from this week’s Play-Off disappointment with a vision of an exciting new era for Albion.
The Baggies have begun planning for a second assault at promotion back to the Premier League with the appointment of a new Head Coach top of the agenda for Dowling.
There was confirmation from Luke of a summer of change with long-serving James Morrison, Gareth Barry and Boaz Myhill not offered new contracts when the Club revealed its annual release and retained list today.
Dowling said Albion's new Head Coach would be given a “final say” on whether to review the trio’s departure when the Club had appointed their candidate.
He explained: “They’ve been great pros. They’re at an age and stage in their careers where we have to offer them contracts by the third Saturday in May, it’s the rules and regulations. We have to do that with any out-of-contract player.
“But the door won’t be completely shut to them because we’ll wait for me to have a conversation with the new Head Coach to see if he would like them to be part of his plans next season. If he does then negotiations will start if they haven’t signed for another club.”
Luke also paid tribute to midfielder Wes Hoolahan and defender Tyrone Mears who completed season-long contracts with Albion and have now been released.
He said: “On behalf of everyone at Albion I’d also like to thank Wes and Tyrone, who when they came in and played were great. They were great pros within the squad and really good people. They bought into what we wanted to do and, although they’ve only had one season with us, we also thank them.”
Captain Chris Brunt is contracted until the summer of 2020 while the Club have made a second and final offer to young midfielder Rekeem Harper, who is out of contract this summer.
“If we, as we are planning, go with a younger first-team squad next season, Chris is a figure all of them will appreciate being around for guidance on and off the pitch,” he said.
However, Luke believes the changes Albion are planning this summer for the 2019/20 campaign would see a new team with added energy, hunger and freshness emerge.
And he said the memorable atmosphere and intensity of support which drove Albion on in the second leg of their Play-Off semi-final against Aston Villa is an inspiration for the way forward.
“Walking away from the ground on Tuesday evening I thought from start to finish it was a night to be proud to work for West Bromwich Albion,” he said.
“It showed everyone, not only employees and supporters of our football club, but people who watched it on TV, what we’re about.
“It was a proud evening, in terms of what they players went through, and how they got through it. Obviously, we’ve been knocked out of the Play-Offs but it’s given us a sense of belief for the future that this is how we want nights to be at Albion. We understand every home game won’t be like that but we want to see that more often than not.
“I’ve only been here since September but I’m not sure it’s been the happiest of places over the past few seasons. But that’s something we need to change. It’s something we want to change.
“We will do our upmost behind the scenes to change that.
“We want to put 11 players out there with a Head Coach leading them that represent West Bromwich Albion Football Club. Everyone mucks in at Albion, from the top down, and that represents Albion. We want the Head Coach and players to represent that as well, and we want the fans to see that.
“The fans appreciated Tuesday, it probably reflected West Bromwich as an area, that we work hard for everything that we’ve got. That’s what we want to continue next season.”
Below is Albion’s full retained and released list for players aged 24 and under.
Players (24 and under)
Oliver Burke, Kyle Edwards, Nathan Ferguson, Sam Field, Jack Fitzwater, Kevin Healy, Jonathan Leko, Max Melbourne, Tom Solanke, Jamie Soule, Rayhaan Tulloch, Kane Wilson; Zak Delaney, Taylor Gardner-Hickman, Alex Gilbert, Josh Griffiths, Carrick Hill, Toby King, Morgan Rogers, Lewis Smith, Finley Thorndike, Jacob Wakeling, Remarl Williams, Harry Williams.
Dara O'Shea, Alex Palmer; Eoin Ashton, Stanley Asomugha, Zak Brown, Ted Cann, Tyrese Dyce, Pablo Martinez, Yusuff Ojebode, Tom Sharpe, Peter Taylor, Aksum White.
Offered new contract:
Rekeem Harper, Bradley House, Callum Morton; Finn Azaz, George Harmon; Jack Chambers, Nick Clayton-Phillips, Sam Wilding.
Alex Bradley, Kyle Howkins, Kyle Jameson, Ben Pierce.
Dan Meredith, Adam Przybek.
West Bromwich Albion would like to place on record its thanks to all players departing The Hawthorns and extend best wishes for their future careers.