West Brom

West Brom

Championship

West Brom in ‘advanced negotiations’ with new man after Valerien Ismael axed

West Bromwich Albion manager Valerien Ismael during the Sky Bet Championship match at The Hawthorns

Valerien Ismael has left his role as West Brom head coach with former Newcastle boss Steve Bruce reportedly in the running to replace him.

The Frenchman’s position had been the subject of speculation after a run of just one win in seven games. The Baggies, who were relegated last season, remain fifth in the table. But they now trail leaders Fulham by 13 points, having played a game more.

Ismael had been in charge for just seven months, having been appointed as Sam Allardyce’s successor last summer.

A statement from the club read: “West Bromwich Albion Football Club can confirm Valerien Ismael has today left his position as head coach.

“Assistant head coach Adam Murray has also departed The Hawthorns.

“The club would like to place on record its thanks to Valerien and Adam for their efforts and wishes them well in the future.

“The process of recruiting a new head coach is now under way and an appointment will be announced in due course.”

And Albion are already working hard behind the scenes to replace him. Sky Sports report Bruce is in “advanced negotiations” with West Brom over the job.

Bruce was sacked by Newcastle in October 2021. It happened just 13 days after a Saudi-led consortium bought the club from Mike Ashley.

The 61-year-old has considerable experience in management, managing Aston Villa, Sheff Wednesday, Hull City and Sunderland among others.

Bruce though said the Magpies job may have been his last after enduring such a torrent of abuse while on Tyneside.

“I think this might be my last job,” he told The Telegraph. “It’s not just about me, it’s taken its toll on my whole family because they are all Geordies and I can’t ignore that.”

But Albion officials are working hard to try and convince Bruce to take over at The Hawthorns.


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Gourlay appointed CEO

Ismael’s departure coincided with the appointment of former Chelsea chief executive Ron Gourlay as the club’s new CEO.

 

The Scotsman, who has also held a senior role at Manchester United, joined the board as a consultant last year.

He succeeds Xu Ke and will take over the day-to-day running of the club. Controlling shareholder Guochuan Lai will replace Li Piyue as chairman.

Gourlay said: “I am proud and honoured to be named chief executive officer of this historic football club.

“I am aware of the issues we currently face, but I am not one to shy away from a challenge. And I am confident that by making both positive and necessary changes we will, in time, have the club back on track.”

Gourlay added that appointing a new head coach will be his “immediate priority”. And that “open dialogue with fans will play a key part in rebuilding trust”.