According to the results of the Express & Star’s end of season survey, 61 per cent of fans expect the Baggies to be serious contenders to win promotion under Bruce next year.
Albion finished the 2021/22 campaign sitting 10th in the Championship – their lowest league finish for 20 years.
Nevertheless, optimism is high heading into the new season.
The close season has seen a reduction in the price of season tickets for fans aged 25 and under.
While Bruce has already landed two of his key transfer targets in John Swift and Jed Wallace.
And those factors have led to fans growing in confidence the club will compete for promotion next season.
Bruce still has some work to do, though, convincing all fans he is the man to take the club forward.
Asked ‘are you happy with Steve Bruce being manager’, 41 per cent said yes, 35 per cent said they are undecided while 24 per cent of those surveyed said no.
But while Albion fans appear hopeful about their chances next year, they expect to finish in the play-offs rather than in the top two.
When asked what we be an acceptable finish next season, 75 per cent of those polled said the top six.
Twenty per cent of respondents said only finishing in the top two would be acceptable for Albion next year.
When it comes to last season’s struggles, 49 per cent of people think the players have to shoulder the majority of the blame.
A total of 33 per cent blame the board and 15 per cent lay the majority of the problems at the door of former boss Valerien Ismael.
The overwhelming majority of supporters, though, agreed the Frenchman needed to be sacked – with 85 per cent saying Ismael’s dismissal was the correct call.
With Albion struggling on the pitch last season, it was slim pickings when it came to naming a player of the year.
In our survey, 43 per cent of people said Matt Clarke was best player throughout the 2021/22 campaign.
Taylor Gardner-Hickman came second with 27 per cent of the vote, with Karlan Grant third on 13 per cent.
The struggles of last season mean 51 per cent of fans believe Albion need to sign five or six new players this summer.
A total of 38 per cent of fans believe the Baggies need to make three or four additions.
Off the field, Albion have changed their pricing structure when it comes to season tickets for next year.
Supporters aged 17 to 19 can buy a season ticket for £99, while pricing for fans aged between 20 and 25 starts from £199.
Adult season tickets were frozen while the club also launched ‘Kids for a Quid’ season tickets for supporters aged 16 and under. And those initiatives have gone down well with supporters with 60 per cent saying they felt the new pricing structure offered value for money.
Traffic and congestion was another problem around The Hawthorns last season – with 54 per cent of fans saying they would use park and ride services if the club offered them on a match day.
A huge 90 per cent those polled said they are happy the club is reintroducing a fan zone for the 2022/23 campaign – with the Baggies having not had one for three seasons.
Meanwhile, 65 per cent of fans would like to see safe standing introduced at The Hawthorns.
Albion’s fans also strongly want owner Guochuan Lai to sell up and move on.
One one per cent of those surveyed said they like the businessman – with 77 per cent eager to see him go.