West Brom finally sacked Steve Bruce after last weekend’s stalemate with Luton Town left the Baggies in the Championship relegation zone but they could have avoided the former Newcastle United man altogether had they hired top choice Tony Mowbray.
Before the sacking of Valerien Ismael in February, the Baggies were heavily linked with Mowbray, who was impressing with Blackburn Rovers in the Championship at the time.
Rovers were challenging for promotion for much of last season until a poor run of form saw them drop out of the playoffs towards the end of the campaign, with Mowbray departing when his contract at Ewood Park expired in the summer.
He could have been available at a cut price for West Brom due to his contract situation and it was suggested that he was definitely on the Baggies’ shortlist, with journalist Dean Jones reporting that a move to the Hawthorns looked likely for Mowbray in an interview with GIVEMESPORT.
He said: “My verdict on this is that the club are now seeking alternatives and are looking into options of who they could get right now.
“Tony Mowbray, I know, would be their top choice. He’s somebody that they definitely have at the top of the list if they could have anyone.”
Mowbray is now impressing with Sunderland having returned to management at the Stadium of Light outfit following the switch that saw Alex Neil move to Stoke City.
The 58-year-old has well and truly steadied the ship, with the Black Cats winning two and drawing three of his opening seven games, which sees Sunderland sit comfortably in mid-table – an impressive feat considering they were only promoted last season and were rocked by the departure of Neil.
Mowbray has a huge amount of experience in the Championship and showed last season with Blackburn that he is still capable of delivering results, whereas Bruce looked to be well past it during his time at Newcastle, with their progression since his departure perhaps emphasising his limitations as a manager.
Mowbray’s points per game average in his previous spell at West Brom was 1.46, compared to Bruce’s 1.13, despite the former being in the Premier League for much of his time in charge, which again suggests that he would have been the better option.
Therefore, Lai got it badly wrong in appointing Bruce over Mowbray, and Baggies fans will be hoping that he does a better job when choosing the next manager to take over at the Hawthorns.