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Brighton sack Chris Hughton despite beating the drop in second Premier League season

The former Ireland defender kept Brighton up for two seasons having steered them to automatic promotion in 2016/17.

Chris Hughton watches on during Brighton's 4-1 defeat to Manchester City on the final day of the Premier League season.
Chris Hughton watches on during Brighton's 4-1 defeat to Manchester City on the final day of the Premier League season.
Image: Steven Paston

BRIGHTON AND HOVE Albion have sacked Chris Hughton after almost five seasons in charge at the Amex Stadium.

Former Republic of Ireland international Hughton steered Brighton into the Premier League in 2016/17 and the club has since remained in the top flight for two seasons, beating the drop by two points this term.

Hughton was contracted until June 2020 having signed a four-year deal in 2016. His assistant Paul Trollope and first-team coach Paul Nevin have also departed the south coast club.

“Chris has done an excellent job over the past four and a half years,” said Brighton chairman Tony Bloom.

“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.

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.

“Our run of 3 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.

“Chris will always be very fondly remembered by Albion staff and fans as one of our club’s finest and most-respected managers.

“I would like to wish Chris, Paul and Paul – who have all worked extremely hard throughout their time here – every success for the future, and thank them on behalf of everyone at the club.

“They will always be welcome at the Amex, and will be remembered here with great affection.”

Britain Soccer Premier League Pep Guardiola and Chris Hughton embrace ahead of their sides' final league fixture of the season. Source: Frank Augstein

Hughton took charge of Brighton on New Year’s Eve in 2014 having been let go by Norwich eight months prior when the Canaries were five points clear of the Premier League relegation zone.

In 2016/17, his Brighton outfit finished second behind another of his former clubs, Newcastle, in the Championship, earning automatic promotion to the Premier League.

During their first season in this iteration of England’s top flight, Brighton finished 15th on 40 points, seven clear of the drop. 2018 also saw Hughton become the first black manager to win Premier League Manager of the Month when he scooped the award in March of that year.

This past season they again beat the drop and while they reached an FA Cup semi-final, their results tailed off badly towards the end of the campaign. Brighton failed to win any of their last 11 games in all competitions.

Hughton’s final game in charge was a 4-1 home defeat to Manchester City, a result which saw Pep Guardiola’s men retain their Premier League title.

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