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Soccer-Spaniard Mel parts company with West Brom

Reuters

* Mel leaves after four months in job

* West Brom announce move after finishing fourth-last (Adds details, quotes)

LONDON, May 12 (Reuters) - English Premier League strugglers West Bromwich Albion brought a swift end to their Spanish experiment on Monday, parting company with manager Pepe Mel four months after he took over.

The former Real Betis supremo took over in January following the sacking of Steve Clarke but Albion only just managed to avoid relegation, finishing fourth from bottom, after Mel collected three wins, six draws and eight defeats in 17 league games.

"We would like to thank Pepe for his efforts over the past four months in helping to keep the club in the Premier League and wish him well for the future," sporting and technical director Richard Garlick said in a statement on Monday.

"Pepe and the club set out with the best intentions of making the appointment work. However, having reflected on events on and off the field during talks today it became apparent it was in the best interests of both parties for there to be an amicable parting.

"We are grateful for the manner in which the existing coaching staff and players have rallied behind Pepe to get the club over the line in what has proved an extremely competitive division."

The balding Mel, who writes mystery novels in his spare time, arrived at The Hawthorns with 14 years of coaching experience in Spanish football.

He led Betis into this season's Europa League but was sacked in December with the club bottom of La Liga.

Mel had taken charge at Betis in 2010 and helped them win promotion back to the top flight in his first season.

He has also had stints at Tenerife, Getafe and Rayo Vallecano and bade a tearful farewell at a news conference after Betis announced his exit.

West Brom said Mel's assistant David Gomez had also left the club but added that deputy Keith Downing and goalkeeping coach Dean Kiely would be staying at The Hawthorns.

"Although we have managed to achieve a fifth successive season of Premier League football it has been a very disappointing campaign and lessons have been learned," said Garlick.

"The search for a new head coach has now begun. We aim to find the most suitable candidate who, with the support of the structure we have had in place for six years and are presently strengthening, will enable the club to be more competitive next season."

Mel, who had an 18-month contract with West Brom, bowed out with a 2-1 home defeat in the season finale against Stoke City on Sunday. (Writing by Tony Jimenez; editing by Mitch Phillips)

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