Kieran Maguire: West Brom chief forced to 'go along with Guochuan Lai's myths'
Ron Gourlay had to operate as West Brom CEO with his ‘hands tied’ due to the poor ownership of Guochuan Lai.
That is the view of finance expert Kieran Maguire, who spoke exclusively to Football Insider about Gourlay’s decision to step down from his role with the Baggies.
West Brom confirmed on 31 May that Gourlay was departing The Hawthorns after spending 16 months on the club’s board.
Gourlay was appointed CEO in February 2022 having previously worked similar positions at Reading and Chelsea.
The Baggies achieved a ninth-placed finish in the Championship in 2022/23 after a disappointing start to the campaign, and fans of the Midlands club continue to protest the ownership of Guochuan Lai.
Lai has missed a number of deadlines to repay loans owed to the club, sparking reaction from West Brom supporter group Action for Albion.
Maguire sympathised with Gourlay for having to act as a ‘voice piece’ for Lai during his time at the club.
“Ron Gourlay was effectively having to operate with two hands tied behind his back in terms of his role as West Brom CEO,” Maguire told Football Insider’s Sean Fisher.
“He did attempt to have some form of communication with elements of the West Brom fanbase who are concerned about the club’s future.
“But ultimately he had to be the voice piece of Guochuan Lai and the misrepresentation of the loan repayments at the club.
“I suspect that Gourlay became frustrated having to go along with the myths put forward by Lai and therefore he’ll walk away sad but probably relieved that his stress levels will significantly drop.“