Cast your minds back to 30 December 2010. An offcial club statement, carrying the weighty kudos of a Tony Bloom quote, announced the capture of respected Watford academy king-pin John Stephenson. At the time it was exciting news; another sign of the progressive recrutiment culture the club was developing and proof that Mr. Bloom had built Albion into an aspirational, attractive proposition for everybody in the football world, both on the pitch and off it.
He would be "focusing on the long-term success and development of the football side of the club" mused Tony, "another step forward as we strive to progress as a club" added Gus.
Great, we all thought, here's a guy with an excellent track record who'll kick off the proposed new academy. He'll utilise his network of scouts to brings us great new signings, he'll support Gus in the whole recruitment thing that's so important in modern football clubs. This isn't Dennis Wise at Newcastle we all enthused, this is the real deal.
Here's a little timeline of coaching hiring / firing / resigning since Poyet took over;
- 14 April 2010 - Club appoints Zigor Aranalde as Chief Scout.
- 30 December 2010 - Club announces that John Stephenson will join as Head of Football Operations.
- 21 June 2011 - Zigor Aranalde quits Albion - Chief Scout post remains empty
- 09 August 2011 - Club relieve Steve Brown and David Jupp of duties as senior Youth Team coaches as part of 'on-going restructuring of the youth development department'. Ken Brown signs off statement.
- 11 August 2011 - Seagulls.co.uk release short statement announcing the departure of John Stephenson
It's a little odd right? We can only speculate but what has had happened of such significance that 2 members of the coaching team and the Head of Football Operations lost their jobs, or left, within 72 hours? Who exactly is holding the reigns at the Albion when it comes to football administration at the moment; Poyet? The manager surely has enough to do looking after the first team. Ken Brown? While a big force at Falmer, his expertise are in running football clubs, not football teams. Bloom? Our astute leader has never let us down, so what did he see that led to such a high-profile breakdown between himself and one of his biggest signings; Stephenson?
The excuse of being 'unable to settle in the Brighton area' only gets tongues wagging more. Such a limp press statement from the club will probably be swept under the carpet however with the pravda-esque Argus firmly wrapped around the club's finger and our hands somewhat tied.
In the official statement released informing of Brown and Jupp's exit, the club enthused that 'The club is soon to submit plans for a new academy and is also working towards gaining level two academy status as part of the Premier League's new Football League Elite Player Performance Plan'.
Albion fans will keenly await confirmation of who'll be heading that up, then.
In brighter news, if the locals don't get him first, co-editor @swiftenburg will be selling TSLR031 at Fratton Park tomorrow. Yay!