Steve Bruce has today been relieved of his duties as manager of West Bromwich Albion after just eight months in charge. The decision comes with West Brom having picked up just a solitary win against Hull City from their opening 13 matches this season.
The Baggies sit 22nd in the Championship, their lowest league position in more than 20 years.
West Brom drew 0-0 at home to Luton Town on Saturday in what proved to be Bruce’s final match as manager. The club have confirmed that backroom staff Steve Agnew, Stephen Clemence and Alex Bruce have also departed the Hawthorns. U21s coach Richard Beale will take the reins as interim manager, supported by James Morrison and Gary Walsh, with the search for a successor well underway.
“The process of recruiting a new manager is now under way and and an appointment will be confirmed in due course.”West Brom: BBC Sport
West Brom’s next fixture sees them travel to fifth place Reading on Saturday.
How Did Steve Bruce Fare at West Brom?
In short, not very well. You would have to say that this is a sacking that has been coming.
After joining the Baggies in February following the sacking of Valerien Ismael, he only managed to oversee 8 wins from the 32 games he took charge of.Embed from Getty Images
West Brom’s poor form under Bruce in this campaign is really more of the same from last season. It took the former Newcastle boss six games to register his first win, a 2-0 victory against Hull, but by that point hopes of promotion were already fading.
When Bruce joined the club West Brom sat in fifth place with hopes of going up automatically and needing to at least be in the playoffs come May. However, the Baggies ended up finishing 10th, eight points outside the playoff places.
There was optimism this summer as recruitment looked to have them well placed for a promotion charge. West Brom signed two of the Championship’s top performers in recent years in Jed Wallace and John Swift whilst also securing a sensational return for Turkish midfielder Okay Yokuslu. All three players signed on free transfers.Embed from Getty Images
Despite this, results just did not improve for Bruce and his side. Alongside the one win this season, West Brom have drawn eight and lost four.
Fans patience had worn thin and towards the end of the Luton game there were audible chants of ‘Bruce Out’ ringing round the Hawthorns.
Steve Bruce chose to remain defiant in the face of this criticism, but it seemed his days were numbered.
“It has been a difficult few weeks but I’ll never walk, that means quitting.”Steve Bruce: Sky Sports
Unfortunately for him, the Albion hierarchy felt it was time for a change in the dugout.
What Next for Steve Bruce and West Brom?
Where Steve Bruce chooses to go from here will be very interesting. It had looked like his managerial career would come to an end after he left Newcastle last October as his comments in the wake of his departure made it seem like he felt it was the right time to retire.
“We’ve got a good life so, yeah, this will probably be me done as a manger – until I get a phone call from a chairman somewhere asking if I can give them a hand, Never say never, I’ve learnt that.”Steve Bruce: The Telegraph
It was a bit of a shock when Bruce was back in management at the Hawthorns just four months after leaving Newcastle. Even more of a surprise when you consider those comments. Will this be the last we see of Steve Bruce on the touchline?
For West Brom the onus has to be on making a smart and decisive appointment that will help the club climb the Championship table and reignite a promotion push.
The likes of Chris Wilder, Sean Dyche and Scott Parker are amongst the frontrunners to be the club’s next manager. All have experience of winning promotion out the Championship and both Wilder and Dyche have kept teams in the Premier League.
Despite this, the early favourite is Roy Keane who has not managed a club since leaving Ipswich Town in 2011. He is however, an incredibly strong character and could be the man to arrest the Baggies poor form.Embed from Getty Images
Whoever West Brom choose to take the reins of the club, they must make sure it is the absolute right appointment to give them any hope of promotion this season.