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OPINION: It's a ruthless business but Chris Hughton will be back

After we were introduced, Chris Hughton's daughter welcomed me, a stranger to her, into the mana...

OPINION: It's a ruthless busin...

OPINION: It's a ruthless business but Chris Hughton will be back

After we were introduced, Chris Hughton's daughter welcomed me, a stranger to her, into the manager's lounge at the Amex Stadium with a beaming smile and a hug.

It was a large, bright room full to brim with various members of the Hughton family, young and old, chatting, laughing and in celebratory mode after what has been a decent enough season for the Seagulls.

I walked into the room behind Brian Kerr who was hugged and kissed by nearly every person there - all enjoying a Sunday family get-together, like in any English or Irish home.

When Kerr was Republic of Ireland manager, he was assisted by Hughton who wasted no time in inviting his old friend over for a post-match drink after yesterday's clash with the champions Manchester City.

Hughton's brother Henry was there and he spoke fondly of his stint playing with the Ireland under-21s in the early 1980s, alongside the likes of Ronnie Whelan and Kevin Sheedy.

There was an excitement in his eyes as we spoke about his brother's old club Tottenham gearing up for a Champions League final and what another season in the Premier League might hold for his current club, Brighton.

What struck me though, was that the dignity, warmth and class that we associate with Hughton was evident all around the room.

Less than 24 hours later and the unmistakable warmth that flowed through that room was strangled by the cold, ruthless hand of Brighton's top brass who announced their decision to sack the manager after a spell of 4-and-a-half years in charge.

Was Chris Hughton's sacking harsh?

On the face of it, it would seem like a harsh call on the former Ireland international who took Brighton to their first FA Cup semi-final in 36 years while also keeping the south-coast club in the Premier League for a second successive season.

However these days, unless you win it, progress in the FA Cup doesn't hold much value and especially if that progress occurs in tandem with a bad run of results in English football's top flight.

They survived by the skin of their teeth on 36 points, just 2 points above third-from-bottom Cardiff City and coming off the back of a dreadful run of form in 2019 during which time the team's performances got worse.

Following their win against Bournemouth in the third round of the cup in early January, Brighton only managed to win 2 more league matches for the rest of the season while also losing 11 and drawing 4.

One of those wins was against the team anchored to the bottom of the table, Huddersfield.

The home defeats to Cardiff, Bournemouth (0-5) and Southampton, along with an away defeat to lowly Fulham would not have gone down well with the club's chairman Tony Bloom.

Bloom insisted after the news broke on Monday morning that it was "one of the most difficult decisions" he had to make as chairman of the club.

The outlay on transfers since the club won promotion from the Championship in 2017 broke the £100 million mark last summer and under Hughton the transfer fee record was broken five times.

The record signing of Iran international Alireza Jahanbakhsh for £17m mark took the tally to nine figures and he followed the likes of Jurgen Locadia (£14 million), Jose Izquierdo (£13.5 million), Yves Bissouma (£13 million +) and Davy Propper (£10 million).

Bloom may well have expected a bigger impact from players with price tags like that and he may want a better return on any possible future investment over the summer.

Brighton's league prize money for this season is £7.7 million while a club that breaks into the top ten will earn over £20 million.

Chris Hughton will be back

You would think that Hughton has done enough to earn a crack at another Premier League season but it would seem that the club is unwilling to risk another poor run of form.

That could possibly leading to a mid-season sacking and then a new boss arriving and attempting to manage a squad of players that he hasn't shaped himself.

Hughton, the Championship manager of the year in 2010 and 2016, has achieved great things since going into management.

The 60-year-old won promotion with Newcastle (as winners of the Championship) and Brighton while also keeping the latter in the Premier League for two seasons on the trot.

It won't be long before we see him in a dugout leading a team to victory again.

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