Gus Poyet knew his time as Brighton boss was coming to an end, following a suspension by the club for inappropriate behavior. But what the former Uruguayan midfielder did not expect was to be sacked on live TV, which shamefully for Brighton was exactly what happened. In a mistimed move by the south of England club, a press release was issued on their official website that acted as the catalyst for what has become an embarrassing episode for all involved. The letter to the fans, announced the part of ways between Brighton and Poyet in so many terms, which came as a surprise to the manager who found out, not through his agent or by the club but through the BBC, where he was acting as an analyst for their Confederation’s Cup coverage.
The former Chelsea star, who had been in charge of Brighton for three years, helping them gain promotion from League One and then narrowly miss out on promotion to the Premiership before his sacking, looked bemused as he talked to BBC presenter Mark Chapman about Sunday night’s events. However the club was quick to come out on Monday defending its position, stating that Poyet did know and he had been informed before arriving at the Match of The Day studios. Brighton have offered Poyet the chance to appeal, which he is likely to do, even if it’s a lame gesture to ensure he gets a payout. Regardless of who is actually telling the truth, the situation is less than impressive from a club who has spent the last four years under Poyet begin exactly that. Under his reign, The Seagulls became a team not to mess with, first storming League One and then defying the odds to challenge for promotion in the Championship. Brighton players like Liam Bridcutt and Gordon Greer gained international caps, thanks mostly to Poyet and his approach to the game. He turned an average team into challengers and average players into internationals. But something happened following Brighton’s playoff defeat to Crystal Palace that neither the manager nor the club wish to discuss in detail. Poyet and his assistant Mauricio Taricco were suspended pending an investigation, which has now resulted in their dismissals.
As the story unravels, a third character appears in the shape of former Maccabi Tel Aviv boss, Oscar Garcia who is now favourite to take over, despite interest from others such as Sven Goran Eriksson and Steve McLaren. It would appear that Garcia has already agreed personal terms indicating that the deal has been done for some time or at least been in discussions. That hints that when Poyet was suspended, he knew or at least the club did that Poyet was no longer going to be in charge. Indeed Poyet’s refusal to attend a club disciplinary hearing last Monday also indicates that he felt it would be in vain to attend. Brighton will move ahead with their appointment, even if Poyet takes up the right to appeal as it will be more of a formality and a discussion about compensation rather than a revival for the fallen coach.
Poyet now faces a summer of uncertainty as he hunts for his next job which based on his abilities to turn Brighton from a League One almost ran to Championship contenders in less than five years, it shouldn’t be a long search. Indeed before Jose Mourinho decided he was ready to return to Stamford Bridge, Poyet was one of the names touted as a possible option. Whether he stood any chance is only known by Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich but given the positive start to his managerial career at Brighton, it’s not inconceivable. Poyet knows he must just bide his time, keep his grace and composure and the right opportunity will present itself again. Brighton will be hoping that Poyet doesn’t return to haunt them one day as the two head down different paths, both of which are very uncertain at this point.
To see Poyet’s reaction to sacking, click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zvb_V4G9Fr4