Clarke: West Brom can spoil Fergie's farewell party

The Baggies manager has challenged his players to end the season on a high by defeating the champions during the 71-year-old's last match in charge before retirement
Steve Clarke insists his West Brom players will be aiming to spoil Sir Alex Ferguson's celebrations in Sunday's final home match against Manchester United.

With little more than pride to play for, the spotlight will be on the retiring Scot as he takes charge of his last ever match in football after a glittering thirty-nine year managerial career.

But Clarke is adamant he intends to send his fans home happy by throwing a proverbial spanner into the 71-year-old's celebrations.

"I’m sure Sir Alex would be surprised if we were there just to celebrate his last game as a football manager," Clarke told reporters.

"We started the season on a high at home to Liverpool and we want to end it on a high at home to the champions."

Clarke also added his opposition manager would not have received as much time had he taken charge in today's game.

The Scot took four years to win a trophy after taking control of United in 1986 - but the club have reaped the benefits of remaining patient with him ever since.

"Would he get that amount of time now?" asked Clarke. "No. I don’t think so in this day and age. Just shows you - patience is a virtue.

"Football is about competition and maybe what sets Sir Alex apart a little bit is that he’s got tenacity and a will to win every week and he still has it at 71, which is fantastic."

Meanwhile, Clarke admits the second half of the campaign has been a "rude awakening" for him in his first season as a manager.

Having started the season in brilliant form, West Brom have won just one of their last eight, with Peter Odemwingie's dispute with the club often overshadowing matters on the pitch.

“In the first half of the season I thought it was the easiest job in the world. I couldn’t understand what all the fuss was about," Clarke added.

“In the second half of the season I had a rude awakening with different problems and different things to consider. I think next year I will be a better head coach."