WEST Bromwich Albion’s fortunes since sacking Steve Clarke have nosedived just as dramatically as Kilmarnock’s have improved since the Scot was appointed.

Should Alan Pardew be handed his P45 in the coming days – and five straight defeats have left him in an extremely precarious position – the West Midlands club will be searching for their fifth manager in little over four years.

Such a turnover is nothing out of the ordinary in the Premier League where even winning the title is - as Claudio Ranieri being shown the door by Leicester City last year just nine months after steering them to the English title proved - no guarantee of job security.

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Yet, supporters and officials of The Hawthorns club must have wondered how they would have fared if they had kept faith with Clarke in the recent weeks and months as they have seen how spectacularly he has transformed the Rugby Park outfit.

The 1-1 draw with Hearts at Tynecastle on Tuesday evening was the sixth game in a row that Kilmarnock had gone undefeated in. They have lost just one of their last 14 competitive outings. That run has included home triumphs over both Celtic and Rangers.

Given that the Ayrshire club were in bottom spot in the Ladbrokes Premiership when he succeeded Lee McCulloch back in October, it has been a remarkable turnaround. But the former Newcastle United, West Ham, Chelsea and Liverpool assistant flourished in an almost identical manner after taking over at West Brom back in 2012.

His side opened their campaign in August with a 3-0 triumph over Liverpool at home and pretty much continued in that vein – upsetting seemingly insurmountable odds and overcoming far larger and much wealthier opponents – until May. Chelsea, Everton, Reading, Queens Park Rangers, Southampton, Norwich, Sunderland and Swansea were beaten at home, Liverpool, Sunderland, Wigan, Queens Park Rangers and Southampton were defeated away and points were also taken off Spurs, Aston Villa, Stoke City and Newcastle United.

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At the end of the 2012/13 campaign – which came to a close with the 5-5 draw with Manchester United that saw Sir Alex Ferguson bow out of management – they were sitting in eighth place in the Premier League table. It was their highest-ever position. The 49 points they amassed and 14 wins they recorded were both club records.

Tony Pulis, who spent nearly three years as West Brom manager, led his team to 10th place last year, just six months before he too was deemed surplus to requirements and replaced by Pardew.

However, there is a difference – Pulis’s team were defensive and difficult to beat while Clarke’s side played attractive and attacking football that was enjoyable for fans to watch.

Ally Robertson, the Scot who played over 500 games for West Brom in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s and is still a regular attender at the Hawthorns on match days, recalls the 2012/13 season with great fondness.

“Steve did a great job at the Albion,” he said. “He is still very highly regarded by the fans down here because of how well he did. Under him, the team played good football, but they were very disciplined. That was the good thing about them and the great thing about the manager. It is all very well have footballing ability, but you need to be disciplined as well.

“West Brom have never been a club that spends money. They will never spend the big money, the sort of sums that Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City. They are happy to live within their means. But I am a supporter and I am quite happy with that.

“So Steve didn’t have a lot of money to spend, but his team played ever so well considering. They played attacking football, but it was all processed properly. But everywhere he’s been he’s done that. He got us playing well in the Premier League which in itself is a great accomplishment.

“Tony Pulis came in there and had two seasons. The team was certainly well organised under him, but they didn’t play football. At least Steve Clarke’s team did that. They were well organised and entertained the fans.”

Chris Brunt, Graham Dorrans, Ben Foster, Shane Long, Romelu Lukaku, who was signed on a season-long loan from Chelsea, Gareth McAuley, James Morrison, Youssouf Mulumbu, who has been reunited with Clark at Kilmarnock, and Liam Ridgewell certainly all flourished under Clarke.

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Lukaku, the Belgian striker who netted 17 goals in 35 Premier League appearances, in particular. So much so, that the man who Manchester United signed from Everton for £75 million in the summer was keen to return.

“Steve got a lot of good players in and got the best out of the players that he already had at the club,” said Robertson. “What do fans want to see? Organised football or attacking football? In that season, Romelu Lukaku was absolutely brilliant. He wanted to stay, but the club couldn’t pay him the money that Everton could. If the club had paid him what they were looking for he might have stayed.”

West Brom failed, due in no small part to Lukaku moving and his replacement Nicolas Anelka being unable to settle and despite the arrival of Scott Sinclair on loan from Manchester City, to show the same consistency in the 2013/14 campaign. Despite beating Manchester United at Old Trafford and drawing with Arsenal at the Hawthorns and Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, he was put on gardening leave in December after a run of four defeats left his side languishing in 16th place.

But were the Baggies too hasty? They are in bottom spot in the Premier League table at the moment six points behind Stoke and seven adrift of Southampton, Crystal Palace and Swansea. There are 10 games remaining and 30 points up for grabs. Pardew, whose side take on Watford away this afternoon, could turn things around, keep them up and survive.

The success of Kilmarnock, who are in sixth place in the Premiership as well as the quarter-finals of the William Hill Scottish Cup, would suggest just that.