Former Republic of Ireland player and assistant manager Chris Hughton has been sacked as manager of Brighton and Hove Albion.
Having taken over the club when they were hovering above the Championship relegation zone back in December 2014, Hughton guided the club to safety in the Championship at the end of that (2014-’15) season.
He swiftly transformed the club into promotion contenders, finishing third in his first full season before losing out in the play-offs, and then winning automatic promotion a year later.
After finishing 15th in their first season in the Premier League, Brighton survived again this year, but the Brighton board have decided that does not mean Hughton is worthy of keeping his job. Considering the huge success Hughton brought to the club, for him to suffer the indignity of being sacked (rather than at the very least leaving by mutual agreement), seems harsh to this writer.
There’s no doubt that Brighton’s form had dipped drastically since January this year. The club were sitting comfortably in mid-table in January and have since gone on a run of no wins in 10 games in all competitions. That combined with a total of 11 points from The Seagull’s last 18 Premier League games of the 2018-’19 season, meant that coming into mid-April, the club’s fears of relegation from the Premier League were real – even if safety was secured (in the end finishing two points and one place above relegation) before the final game of the season (a disappointing 1-4 defeat at the hands of champions Manchester City).
There have been claims that Hughton doesn’t focus enough on the attacking aspects of the game, and certainly there are times when the team’s football could be more pleasing on the eye. However, they’re a club who have to cut their cloth to measure. Considering the club’s resources, going out and playing free-flowing, attacking football every week, would see the club picked off by the majority of Premier League clubs.
Assistant manager Paul Trollope and first-team coach Paul Nevin have also departed the Amex Stadium this morning.
Chris won’t be short of suitors now. Tottenham could do a lot worse than taking him back to the club in some capacity (especially considering his history with the club), but Chris will want to be a number one and he obviously won’t get the manager’s job at Spurs. The most likely scenario for Chris Hughton now is that he’ll start the 2019-’20 season without a club but will take over a Championship club in the winter (when another manager gets sacked). I don’t doubt that if/when that happens that Chris will guide his new employers to success.