But the Dudley-born chief believes the appointment of Steve Bruce will lead to the Baggies clinching a play-off spot.
Allardyce walked away from The Hawthorns last year following the club’s relegation from the Premier League.
But he says he may have stayed on if the club had given him the green light to invest the £2million they spent on Ismael on players.
“It really surprised me – and I don’t want to criticise anyone in particular – that the club paid £2million in compensation for Barnsley’s manager,” said Allardyce speaking exclusively to Ladbrokes.
“There were a host of top managers out of work at the time queuing up for an opportunity like West Brom.
“It’s easy to say in hindsight because it hasn’t worked out for Valerien Ismael at the club, but I think that there are so many names that were better qualified to do the job.
“I had plenty of chats with the club about the financial situation, so to see them pay £2million for that manager really was bizarre.
“If they’d have said to me ‘we’ll give you £2million to spend on players’, it might have been an opportunity for me to stay.
“It wouldn’t have gone a long way in terms of bringing in players on fees, but that money would have gone a long way towards getting a couple of top, top players in on loan.
“That sort of budget should have been spent on players.
“There were so many good managers out there at the time capable of getting West Brom back to the Premier League, so, so many.
“They’re just waiting for the call, with no compensation fee attached at all.”
While Allardyce feels Albion didn’t get the right man in Ismael, he feels they have in Bruce.
And he has backed his friend to clinch a play-off spot despite the team being in a dreadful run of form that has seen them win just one of their last nine games.
“The positives now if you’re an Albion fan come from Steve Bruce,” Allardyce added.
“He’s been there, seen it, done it, knows what to do.
“And he’s done it with lesser clubs than West Brom, as well.
“He got Hull City up into the Premier League, he did it with Sunderland, Birmingham.
“He’s got the experience and the know-how to lift this team.
“At the very, very least, Steve will get you into the play-offs this season.
“Once he’s got his feet under the table, he will lift that team and get them into the play-offs.”