Can new manager Steve Bruce guide West Brom back to the Premier League?

Football manager Steve Bruce
Steve Bruce Credit: ITV PLC

By ITV News Central Production Journalist Arun Lal

Steve Bruce has been confirmed as the new manager for West Bromwich Albion, the club have announced.

The former Manchester United defender and captain is no stranger to the West Midlands. Having held the reins at Birmingham City and Aston Villa, he's set to take over as West Bromwich Albion's new manager.

The Baggies parted ways with former head coach Valerian Ismael yesterday following four defeats out of five.  

Bruce won three league titles with the red devils before moving to Birmingham City in 1996 after a signing by then manager Trevor Francis.

He went on to captain the side and made 72 appearances for the blues before moving to Sheffield United as player/manager.

But, three years later, Bruce found himself once again in the second city as the manager of Birmingham City.

Blues were sat mid-table before they embarked on a lengthy unbeaten-run which saw them gain promotion to the Premier League - beating Norwich City in a play-off penalty shoot-out - and ending their 16-year absence from England's top flight.

A few mid-table finishes, a relegation and another promotion later, Bruce moved on to become the manager of Wigan Athletic in 2007.

He managed to keep Wigan in the Premier League, and headed back to the North East as Sunderland's manager in 2009. He then took over as Hull City manager in 2012 and led them to promotion to the Premier League in his first season.

The 61-year-old became Aston Villa's manager in 2016, tasked with gaining promotion for the side from the Championship into the Premier League. He came close in the 2017/2018 season, but Villa missed out after a 1-0 loss to Fulham in a Play-off final at Wembley.

He left Villa in October 2018, just shy of two years at the club. 

Bruce later managed Sheffield Wednesday before making the move to his boyhood club, Newcastle United.

But his time in the North East wasn't the homecoming he might have expected, grappling with the strains of dealing with COVID and tension between fans and ownership. Following their takeover by the Public Investment Fund, Steve Bruce was relieved of his duties in November.

Fast forward three months later and now Steve Bruce is set to reignite his relationship with the region as he becomes the new manager of West Bromwich Albion.

The Baggies currently sit 6th in the Championship table, only 8 points off an automatic promotion spot. Both the board and fans will be hoping he can use his experience to guide West Brom back into the Premier League.

His first match in charge will be away at Sheffield United in six days time (9th Feb).