So welcome Graham Potter, my 27th full time Albion manager, and hopefully the dawning of a new area.
The previous 26 departures have in the main been the obligatory sackings in fact, only Messrs Clough, both Peter Taylor’s , Alan Mullery - the first time - Brian Horton, Micky Adams - the first time - Steve Coppell and Oscar Garcia departed by their own fruition.
Sacking a manager is part and parcel of football, over the years some of the Albion related dismissals could have been handled better.
Was Chris Hughton treated fairly?
That’s really up for debate.
Tony Bloom and Paul Barber, like all of us, have their faults, but they are honourable men.
Unfortunately when doing sports related business at this level, there will always be leaks. I wrote in this column a few years ago, commenting that I’d had a text and social media was awash with the same ‘reported news’ that David Moyes was being sacked by Manchester United a full 24 hours before it actually happened.
The same can now be said for the Hughton scenario, although Tony Bloom has stated that he considered dismissing Hughton after the Cardiff game - but thought a change in the dugout at that time would all but have guaranteed relegation.
But at 2pm on the day of the Manchester City game, I was sat in the 1901 East Lounge and received a text from a mate who was sitting in a bar in Malaga who had been told the City game was Hughton’s last and Graham Potter would be the new Albion manager.
At the same time the online betting markets were quoting Potter as 9/1 ON to be the next Albion boss.
Mystic Miguel over in Spain?
No, unfortunately, whilst in the cold light of day the overwhelming majority of everyone connected realised a change was needed, even myself - a huge Hughton supporter - clearly someone who knew committed the cardinal sin of letting it slip.
Whilst I understand Chris was shocked and angry on the Monday morning when he was dismissed at the training ground, if I’d had the text how many others would have got one as well?
Frankly Hughton deserved better but as John Thaw famously said at the end of an episode of the Sweeney, “If you can’t take a joke you shouldn’t have joined.”
But what’s done is done, and the Potter era begins.
If what were told is true, attacking, exciting football is the on the agenda, clearly I’ve had the customary texts from friends who support other clubs saying, “it’s a huge gamble”, “he’s untried at this level”, etc etc.
I stated the Albion would stay up and they did, but I’m not that naive to acknowledge that to a degree after years of the dirty end of the stick, the Albion truly had the rub of the green this season - luck like that doesn’t normally happen in back to back seasons. But Potter has to hit the ground running, a busy summer looks nailed on.
And not from Miguel in Malaga, but I’ve had another text, what about this?
One of Potter’s first signings, Matt Clarke from Portsmouth, resulting in Lewis Dunk to Leicester City, replacing the departing Harry Maguire to Manchester City.
Stranger things have happened...
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