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Wednesday, 1 May, 2002, 06:32 GMT 07:32 UK
Baggies chief quits over rift
Baggies boss Gary Megson
Megson has four years left on his West Brom contract
West Brom chairman Paul Thompson has conceded defeat in his power struggle with manager Gary Megson and will quit The Hawthorns.

Thompson, who has been in the post 28 months, has announced he will quit as soon as a successor can be found after weeks of bickering and backbiting.

And he blamed constant sniping by Megson for undermining him and the board.

Thompson also criticised the lack of a decent scouting system - which the manager controls - for his decision to leave.

"When I became chairman, I said I would only stay in the job while I believed we could keep making progress," said Thompson.


The scouting system was Gary's dad and a couple of his mates
West Brom chairman Paul Thompson

"There are two key issues to which no-one can find a solution at the present time and, in the absence of a solution, I cannot take the club any further.

"These two issues will cause damage to the club and will hold the club back.

"It is obvious from Gary Megson's comments in the press and from comments he has made to me personally that he wishes to see me step down as chairman and he has now got his wish.

""I think it is pretty clear that Gary would like me out of the job of chairman and there has been a whispering campaign going on for quite a long time."

In an open letter to fans, Thompson outlined the two issues which have caused him to depart.

Integrated approach

"Public comments which Gary makes repeatedly result in almost constant public criticism of the chairman and the board, which is totally unjustified," he said.

"It is never acceptable for a manager to publicly criticise a chairman or the directors any more than it is acceptable for a chairman to publicly criticise a manager.

"We all have a hard enough job to do without public criticism being inflicted by our senior colleagues.

"I have also clearly stated that West Bromwich Albion's scouting system isn't good enough.

"Gary has stated that the scouting system was his dad and a couple of Gary's mates and the lack of a proper scouting system has held the club back for years."

Thompson criticised Megson's plans to control the scouting system, which involve telling the board which players to buy.

West Brom celebrate winning promotion
West Brom claimed an automatic promotion spot

And he added that a more integrated approach involving the chairman, chief executive, manager, assistant manager and chief scout was needed.

"Gary does not want such meetings to take place and will not allow the five of us to sit down in the same room to discuss players," he said.

"I hope that the next chairman will be able to rectify this situation.

"It will be very difficult to survive long-term in the Premier League over the next few years in any event, but our chances of surviving long-term without an integrated scouting system are extremely slim."

Thompson's announcement came at the end of a day of turmoil which began with Megson apparently walking out of a board meeting.

It was reported that the Baggies boss was seen driving away from The Hawthorns just 15 minutes after going into talks with directors.

Megson has yet to comment on Thompson's departure.

Despite steering West Brom into the Premiership this season, Megson has been portrayed as unhappy with his situation at the club.

However, last week Megson moved quickly to deny reports that he was ready to quit the club after he ended their 16-year absence from the top flight.

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West Brom chairman Paul Thompson
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