Hughton kept Brighton in the Premier League with two matches to spare, with the Seagulls finishing the campaign in 17th ahead of relegated Cardiff City, Fulham and Huddersfield Town.
But despite his four-and-a-half-year reign standing as the seventh-longest managerial spell across the Premier league and English Football League, Hughton has been immediately sacked following the conclusion of the 2018/19 season.
Hughton’s last game in charge of the club saw Brighton lose 4-1 to Manchester City, sparking title celebrations for the visiting side at the Amex Stadium, and the club chairman Tony Bloom issued a statement on Monday morning to confirm Hughton’s immediate departure.
“Chris has done an excellent job over the past four and a half years,” said 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.”
Hughton is joined in being dismissed by his assistant manager Paul Trollope and first-team coach Paul Nevin, with the club confirming that they are in the process of hiring a successor.
“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,” Bloom added.
“They will always be welcome at the Amex, and will be remembered here with great affection.”
Only Bournemouth’s Eddie Howe, Burnley’s Sean Dyche and Tottenham Hotspur’s Mauricio Pochettino have been with their Premier League clubs longer than Hughton, who leaves the south coast side after four years and 132 days.
The early bookmakers’ favourite to replace Hughton is current Swansea City boss Graham Potter, who steered the Welsh side to 10th place in the Championship this season despite having limited resources to work with since their relegation from the top flight. England Women manager Phil Neville is also being touted as a potential candidate, but the imminent Women’s World Cup is likely to scupper any move.
One possible outcome is for the new coaching set-up to feature recently retired defender Bruno, who enjoyed an emotional farewell on Sunday in what was the final game of a seven-year spell with Brighton.
Speaking after the match and a passionate tribute in which he was given a guard of honour, the Spaniard revealed that he is in talks with the club about a new position that would see him remain at the Amex, which is all the more eye-catching in light of Hughton’s dismissal.
"It was a perfect ending – I couldn’t have asked for anything else after 20 years as a professional,” Bruno said on the pitch after his final match. "I’m really thankful, I don’t know what to say.
"Being at Brighton changed my life. I’m really happy for this experience. This is my home right now. I love this club and I would like to stay with them. We are working on it."
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