So, if we look at Hughton’s time at Brighton, the former Norwich manager was first appointed their manager in December of 2014, signing a three- and a half-year contract. In his first season in charge of Brighton, Hughton rescued Brighton them from the brink of relegation into League 1 having finished 20th, only two places above the relegated Millwall. The following season Hughton transformed the Seagulls and established them as one of the top teams in the Championship. Having only just missed out on automatic promotion they would come head to head with their bitter rivals, Crystal Palace, in the Championship play-offs. The Seagulls couldn’t do enough over the two legs and fell victims to the brilliance of Wilfred Zaha. Despite falling short that season, Hughton had revolutionized Brighton & Hove Albion football club transforming them into a well-organized team that could score all different types of goals. The former Republic of Ireland international would achieve the unthinkable the following season. Brighton finished 2nd in the Championship, just behind his former side Newcastle United. The Seagulls could now finally spread their wings in the top flight of English football. The first time in the club’s history. Hughton had brought a struggling Championship side destined for League 1 into a Premier League side. In terms of finances, this was incredibly helpful for the club as they had to pay for the build of their new stadium. No one expected Brighton to stay in the Premier League, let alone compete at any sort of level. However, the Seagulls finished 15th in their first season, securing another year in the top flight by beating Manchester United. Not too much of an accomplishment in today’s game. Brighton doesn’t have the luxury of being able to hand a club a blank cheque to sign a player that the likes of Manchester City do. Hughton has had to improvise and innovate his style of play due to the players at his disposal. Total football? Of course not, but effective? Absolutely. This season Brighton have been flirting with relegation throughout. Constantly having an on-going battle with Cardiff to see who would be the third and final team to face the drop. Alongside the battle with relegation, Brighton have also managed to achieve over the odds and reach the FA cup semi-final. A massive accomplishment for Hughton and his players, managing to work with a shoe string budget to only lose by a single goal to one of the best Premier League teams we’ve ever seen in Manchester City. Despite all this, Hughton still managed to get the chop. In five years, Hughton has taken Brighton from a struggling Championship side to the Premier League. It must be said that Brighton have only just escaped relegation two seasons in a row, however Hughton has built the foundations for the club to progress. Would Brighton have had the success or even be a Premier League club if he wasn’t there? Probably not.
Playing devil’s advocate, you could say Hughton has taken the club as far as he possibly can. There is no evidence to show that Hughton has been successful in the top flight of English football. These last couple of seasons, Hughton has consistently battled relegation. Sure, you could argue that he doesn’t have the resources of the top clubs like Manchester City and Liverpool, but neither did Leicester. Brighton have very talented players in the likes of Knockaert and March, and it’s the mangers responsibility to create a system that gets the most out of those players. Hughton has simply not done that these past couple of seasons. It appears Bloom will look to freshen things up at Brighton and bring a manager who has more success in the Premier League. Whether you agree or disagree with his decision, you must accept it. It will be ‘his’ money that he is investing into the club and he will want to ensure that next sum of money he puts into the club will help take Brighton to the next level.
The sacking of managers in football is common in today’s game that I’m never particular surprised when a manager is sacked. The only loyalty shown in football nowadays is from the fans. For all that Hughton has done for Brighton, they still decide to move on without him. I’m sure Bloom has the club’s best interest at heart, but in my opinion, I believe this decision may come back to haunt him. Hughton has transformed Brighton and I’m sure the fans will be forever grateful for what he has done for them. All I can be certain of is that Hughton won’t be short of offers from club’s and I hope he is able to be given the opportunity to come back and prove all those doubters wrong.
Image of Chris Hughton: James Boyes from UK [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)]