Brighton sacks Hughton
Brighton and Hove Albion have dispensed with the services of their manager, Chris Hughton, after the club ended the season in 17th place in the Premier League. After a good start to the campaign, the club ran out of steam in the second half, winning only three of its last 23 games and none of its final nine fixtures, though it avoided relegation with a game to spare.
Hughton took over as manager in December 2014 and guided the club to the Premier League for the first time in 2017. It was among the favourites for relegation with sports betting companies before the start of last season, but it exceeded expectations, finishing 15th, and has once again avoided relegation to the second tier. In explaining the sacking, owner Tony Bloom said that the poor run of form had put the club’s top-flight status at risk.
"It is with that in mind, and the performances during that period, that I now feel it's the right time for a change. Undoubtedly, this has been one of the most difficult decisions I have had to make as chairman of Brighton, but ultimately one I have made due to how we struggled in the second half of the season," he said.
Hughton, who was named Manager of the Month in the Premier League in March 2018, is the seventh manager in the Premier League to be sacked this season. It is the third time in his career that the former defender, who played at the international level for the Republic of Ireland, has been dismissed, having been sacked at Newcastle in 2010 and Norwich in 2014.
While many fans and football pundits will regard the sacking as harsh, the Brighton hierarchy feels that with the squad at his disposal, Hughton could have achieved more in the season just completed. Although safety was secured after Cardiff’s relegation was sealed on 4 May, the impression was of a team that had gone backwards after a bright start to its time in the Premier League last season. The club has also been reorganising behind the scenes. The Football Association’s technical director, Dan Ashworth, was brought into the club in February, and there have been significant changes to its recruitment policy and its academy.
Graham Potter, who is currently the manager of Swansea, is the favourite with sports betting companies to replace Hughton.
Words: Jonah Farrell