Brighton chief explains Chris Hughton dismissal
Brighton chief executive Paul Barber has said the club felt like it was no longer improving under former manager Chris Hughton.
The former Ireland defender spent four-and-a-half years with the Seagulls guiding them from Championship mediocrity to Premier League promotion and survival.
Hughton was sacked by Brighton earlier this month after narrowly avoiding relegation and he was subsequently replaced by Graham Potter with Barber telling TalkSport that the club want to move forward with a new voice.
“He’s a young English coach, he’s educated, he’s articulate, he’s humble, he’s got a great work ethic, he’s got a good group of people around him and we feel he’s very, very good choice for us to take our club to the next stage," Barber said of Potter.
“We want to improve year-on-year and we didn’t feel we improved last year or progressed in the way we hoped to. We simply want to move forward now with a difference voice.”
Barber added that Hughton is welcome back at the club and added that there will need to be a degree of patience with new manager Potter who joins from Swansea City.
“We understand Chris was hugely popular,” he continued, “not just here at this club but across football. That’s not going to change. He’ll always be welcome back here.
“Chris did a fabulous job for us. In four-and-a-half years he stabilised us in the Championship, got us to within a hair’s breadth of promotion in his first full season, and then promotion and two seasons in the Premier League.
“So we owe a lot to Chris and he’ll probably go down as one of Brighton’s greatest ever managers. He will always be remembered here with a huge amount of respect and fondness.
“We’re already missing Chris and the impact he had here, but we feel Graham is the man to take us forward.
“We’re not naïve enough to think any kind of change he might want to make is going to happen overnight, he needs time, we need to be patient and we’re aware of that.
“He’s got a combination of interesting experience and great football qualities, but also he’s the kind of person I think would fit with our club.
“Chris fit in very well because of his personality, his dignity and humility, and Graham is of the same ilk, but obviously different in other ways.
“We’re really looking forward to working with him. We think we’ve got a very fine young English coach, who is excited about moving to this level of football and testing his own methods and ideas.”