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Ron Gourlay: All at West Brom are accountable for decisions

Chief executive Ron Gourlay confirmed there is ‘responsibility and accountability’ with Albion owner Guochuan Lai.

Ron Gourlay alongside Carlos Corberan
Ron Gourlay alongside Carlos Corberan

The club’s CEO was present and answered to the media for the first time in a number of months as new head coach Carlos Corberan was officially unveiled.

He spoke about the working relationship with Chinese majority shareholder Guochuan Lai, whom some fans have led protests against for reasons including a near-£5million loan he was revealed to have taken out against the club.

“I know my responsibility, but the responsibility isn’t just with me. It’s the club, it starts with the ownership – there is responsibility and accountability there,” said former Chelsea, Manchester United and Reading official Gourlay.

“I knew that when I did some advisory work with the club. For me personally, when I took over as CEO, that was the day I tried to move the club forward. It takes time. There are a lot of challenges in the club, and I made clear as I tidied these challenges up, I will make it public.”

He added: “I’ve been around. I know you have to set these things, I’m doing what’s right for the football club. I’ve said that from day one, I’ll continue to do what’s right. I don’t always agree with the owner, because otherwise what’s the point in me being here?

“I know the challenges with the owner. I’m at every game. I do understand the challenges of the club. I do believe that I am the right man to put this right. I’ll hopefully now have Carlos on board who can help me to do that.”

Gourlay said on the decision to appoint Corberan as a ninth manager or head coach in almost five years: “There was an input from all the technical board. I think we’ve spoken many times about the need to move away from this one-person decision making process. It seems to have been around the club for a period of time.

“The owner has the final sanction, but the technical board are very supportive of Carlos’ selection – he was the outstanding candidate. What was really pleasing about the process was that we discussed for nearly two weeks.

We’ve dealt with a lot of the challenges – the club has to be right for Carlos where he is in his career, and Carlos has to be right for the club. We took our time, and I know it’s frustrating, and some of the other candidates were there.

To me, I believe, we have the best person at the end of the process.”

Gourlay has been criticised for a lack of updates on Albion progress in recent months.

He responded: “I do apologise. It’s not been the intention of me because what I said to you guys when I first started was that I’m not one to hide away from the media. It’s not that, I need you guys for the communication which goes out to the fanbase.

“I understand that. It was not my intention. Maybe timing that wasn’t right, because I saw many of you guys at the training every Friday morning anyway. I’m certainly not hiding away, but I’m not ducking my responsibility.

“I understand the challenges of the club I know what’s ahead of me and I have the experience to take the club through that. I understand the frustration.”

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