Before his coaching career : Pepe MEL

José "Pepe" Mel Pérez is a Spanish retired footballer who played as a striker, and the current manager of West Bromwich Albion. Mel started his senior career at Real Madrid C – joining Real Madrid's youth system at the age of 11, in 1974, he never represented however the first team – playing alongside the likes of Emilio Butragueño and Míchel. In late 1987, after a very brief spell with CA Osasuna (he did not make his official debuts), he moved to Segunda División with CD Castellón, where he played two years, helping the Valencian Community side return to La Liga in his second season, after an absence of seven years. Mel enjoyed his best years at Real Betis, signing with the team in 1989 and helping the Andalusians promote in his debut campaign, whilst winning the Pichichi Trophy with 22 goals (one better than in the previous season, at Castellón). In the following year he played his first – and only – season in the top level, scoring 14 times but once again suffering immediate relegation. Mel played his remaining years in the third division, in his country but also in France, successively representing Granada CF (two years), Benidorm CF and Getafe CF, splitting his final season with Angers SCO and Écija Balompié and retiring at the age of 35, amassing Spanish second division totals of 195 games and 73 goals.

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