Ex-West Brom boss Steve Bruce makes bold claim regarding time in charge at The Hawthorns
West Brom sacked Steve Bruce with the Baggies languishing in the Championship relegation zone - but the former Manchester United defender believes he was 'close to something' at The Hawthorns.
The 62-year-old is keen on a return to management and after being linked with a move to Gillingham earlier this season - he has now thrown his hat into the ring for the vacant Republic of Ireland job.
Bruce, who was sacked by Albion in October last year after one win in 13 games has been reflecting on a number of issues from his time in charge at The Hawthorns.
The former Newcastle United manager took over from Valerian Ismael in February 2022 with the club fifth in the table.
But he never got going at the club and after a mid table finish in the 2021/22 season - he was axed last season with the club in the relegation zone.
Carlos Corberan turned around Albion's fortunes and they missed out on the play-offs on the final day - but Bruce believes he was 'close' to something after a run of eight draws in the first 12 games.
Speaking exclusively to Ladbrokes Fanzone, Bruce said: "I'm disappointed with the way West Brom finished with me. I'm disappointed because I thought we were close to something which could have looked a lot different to the final picture.
"After 12 games in that season, we'd drawn eight of our games. To be gone after 12 games, I just feel you always need a little bit more time, but unfortunately I knew when taking the job that I wasn't really going to get that time. I was taking over the job after Ismael, when the club sat in the top 10 in the table.
"I'm not surprised at where the club are today; I thought we brought in some very good players: Jed Wallace in particular, John Swift as well, and Brandon Thomas Asante up-front. Erik Pieters, too.
"I hope the club are sorting their financial problems out, because they really need to be addressed. I was just disappointed in how things ended there. We could've quite easily won four or five of those first 12 games, and it could have been a completely different story. But we didn't, we are where we are and that's football. It disappointed me but I understand it's the way it is, these days."
Bruce came into the job at Albion on the back of departing his boyhood club Newcastle United - having been on the end of a barrage of abuse from the St James' Park faithful.
The ex-defender kept the club in the Premier League during his time in charge and he believes the abuse he received at the club 'crossed the line'.
And he has admitted that taking the West Brom job may have come too soon after his exit from the North East club.
He added: "Mentally, off the back of the Newcastle exit, I probably should have done things a little bit differently. When the offer came in from West Brom, a really good club, it was hard to turn down.
"I always knew the club should have been performing much better, at that level, with the players it had. It just didn't work out. In hindsight, was it a bit too close after what had happened at Newcastle? Maybe.
"But in life, I don't look back. I don't regret anything, really. I'm pleased I had a bash at the job. The club was in a difficult place, financially, I just hope they can sort themselves out and the club doesn't find themselves heading in the same direction as so many other big clubs."