Steve Bruce has been appointed as West Brom's manager on an 18-month contract, 3½ months after leaving Newcastle and suggesting he would not return to the dugout.
Bruce takes over from Valérien Ismaël, who was sacked on Wednesday with West Brom fifth in the Championship. The 61-year-old has won promotion to the Premier League four times – twice each with Birmingham and Hull – and is targeting a repeat.
"It is a club I obviously know well from my time in the midlands and I am already relishing the challenge of taking it forward," the former Aston Villa and Birmingham manager said. "I did not envisage I would return to management this quickly, but once I got the phone call from Ron [Gourlay, the chief executive], I knew I could not resist the challenge of getting this club back to where they want to be. I am coming in with one aim and that is to get Albion to the Premier League."
Bruce's son Alex has been brought in as part of the backroom staff with Stephen Clemence and Steve Agnew. When Bruce left Newcastle after being a target for considerable abuse, he said: "I think this might be my last job. It's taken its toll on my whole family and I can't ignore that. They've been worried about me – especially my wife Jan."
West Brom have one win from their past eight games and Bruce's first match will be on Wednesday at Sheffield United, one of his former clubs. Among the squad is Andy Carroll, with whom Bruce worked at Newcastle.
Gourlay said: “Steve is a highly-respected and experienced manager who has an impressive record of earning promotion to the Premier League. His excellent man-management skills, tactical nous and ability to hit the ground running were among the many reasons we decided he was the man to take us forward.
“Promotion remains our objective for this season, and we are confident that with Steve leading the club we have given ourselves every chance of achieving that goal.”