Brighton & Hove Albion sacked manager Chris Hughton on Monday 13th May despite surviving the Premier League relegation battle. The Seagulls finished in seventeenth place on 36 points just two points ahead of Cardiff in eighteenth place, which relegated back down to the Championship.
The club were in the middle of the table during the Christmas period but have suffered a dismal run since the turn of the year, which has seen them survive relegation by the skin of their teeth.
AFP reported that chairperson Tony Bloom said it was a “difficult decision.” "Undoubtedly, this has been one of the most difficult decisions I have had to make as chairman of Brighton & Hove Albion, but ultimately one I have made due to how we struggled in the second half of the season," said Bloom in a club statement. "Our run of three wins from 23 Premier League matches put our status at significant 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."
Hughton joined Brighton while they were still in the championship in December 2014. He helped the club get promoted to the Premier League in 2017 and has kept it in England’s top flight for two successive seasons. He became the first black manager to win the Premier League manager of the month award in February 2018.
Many see the decision as harsh, considering the job that the 60-year-old has done during his time at the club. But Bloom acknowledged the successes that Hughton has had. “Chris has done an excellent job over the past four-and-a-half years," said Bloom, according to AFP.
"First stabilising our club, reaching the play-offs in his first full season, securing our first-ever promotion to the Premier League, and retaining our status in two successive seasons.
“Chris will always be very fondly remembered by Albion staff and fans as one of our club's finest and most-respected managers."
Troy Townsend, an anti-discrimination campaigner who works with Kick It Out, an organisation designed to tackle racism in football, severely criticised the decision to sack Hughton, according to the Telegraph.
"People took my words out of context when Darren Moore was sacked. What people don't understand is the real difficulties for black managers getting through the bottle neck at the top of football. We are talking about measly numbers."
"To do this less than 24 hours after the last game is just staggering," Townsend said. "If a player had left at this stage, walked out on the club, people would be in uproar. It's so shabby. What are the expectations of Brighton? Surely it is to stay in the league. You are fourth from bottom and you have got to an FA Cup semi-final. I don't get it.”