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'Unacceptable': West Brom CEO Ron Gourlay addresses supporters on dismal season and 'summer of change'

West Brom chief executive Ron Gourlay has admitted the club's performance this season has been unacceptable - and they will need to be shrewd in the transfer market to make sure it does not happen again.

Ron Gourlay addresses the Albion Assembly at The Hawthorns in February (Photo by Adam Fradgley/West Bromwich Albion FC via Getty Images).
Ron Gourlay addresses the Albion Assembly at The Hawthorns in February (Photo by Adam Fradgley/West Bromwich Albion FC via Getty Images).

The Baggies are currently 10th going into the final game of the campaign - well below where the club expected to be at the start of the season.

Gourlay, who took over as CEO back in February and appointed Steve Bruce as the club's new manager, has released a statement to supporters addressing the season of failure, the first team squad and potential changes, and the club's summer plans.

In the statement, the former Chelses and Reading CEO has admitted the club has fallen short and that he understands the frustration of fans.

He also added that they will work hard to move players on - however, it will take more than one transfer window to change everything.

Gourlay, who also said he will not spend more than the club can afford this summer, stated: "This season has been unacceptable, and we must now ensure we are better prepared for the challenge of the Sky Bet Championship when the new campaign gets underway at the end of July.

“Our results, performances and league position have all fallen short of what is expected of this football club, and I am now committed to a summer of change as we build for the future. I understand the frustrations of our supporters and I will do all in my power to help build a team they can be proud of next season.

“We must recruit players who are proud to play for this great football club, who are hungry to achieve success here, and who have the character and ability to drive us forward. Likewise, we will need to move on players who do not meet those criteria. While we will do all we can to move things forward this summer, we must be realistic enough to accept it may take more than one transfer window to complete this process.

“It will not be easy to implement these changes and we will need to be shrewd in the transfer market. While the club remains financially sound, we continue to pay high wages and significant amortised fees for previous transfers, which inevitably restricts what we can commit to transfers this summer. With that in mind, I simply will not spend more than we can afford.

“A review of previous transfer windows shows us that this club has spent poorly in recent years. It has overpaid for players who have not improved the performance of the team. It is honest, if not glamourous, to say we must now cut our cloth accordingly, seeking out better value in the market than we have in the past. Large amounts of money, while helpful, are not the only recipe to success in this league, which is evidenced by the performance of clubs who have spent significantly less on transfers and wages than we have, while achieving better results."

Gourlay has come in for criticism from sections of Albion fans for appointing Bruce - with the club having gone from play off contenders to mid table in the second half of the season.

However, he has insisted Bruce is the right man for the club and the pair have been working hard to address changes in the first team squad.

Finishing off his statement, Gourlay also stated that the club does not take fan loyalty for granted, insisting he remains determined to bring a vibrant atmosphere back to The Hawthorns.

He added: "In Steve Bruce we have a manager who has a proven track record of success in the circumstances I have outlined above, taking Birmingham and Hull to promotions and Aston Villa to a play-off final with limited resources. Steve and I are in strong agreement on the changes we must make to the first-team squad for us to be successful. We continue to work tirelessly alongside the club’s football board to ensure we are ready to act when the window opens.

“We have a big summer ahead and we are already taking the appropriate forward steps. We remain committed and confident we can achieve success.

“We do not take the loyalty of our fans for granted and we thank them for their patience during what has been a disappointing season. Upon my appointment I said I would measure my own success here by returning The Hawthorns to the vibrant atmosphere for which it is famous, and I remain determined to achieve that goal.”

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