We knew it was coming, but when it did it still felt a little surreal.
Especially with a few extra hammer blows.
Graham Potter’s blue and white army is no more. At least not in Albion’s blue and white.
The head coach who took the club to their highest position is now in charge at Chelsea.
Just four days after riding the wave of a 5-2 win over Leicester City, Albion donned their training gear for photos and all seemed better than ever with the world.
A wave he created himself with the players he bought and the way he played them.
But one that came only after stormy times and winless runs we’ve all been through – some of them remotely due to lockdown and closed stadiums.
Potter deserves his chance at a Champions League club.
He could become the first England manager since former Albion man Howard Wilkinson to win the league title (although that won’t be the case this season).
His colleagues also deserve their chance.
That includes the two whose exit has rubbed a large dose of salt into the candid words of Albion fans Bruno and Ben Roberts.
The general expectation seemed to have been that these two would stay and hold the fort.
That Bruno might be in the dugout in Bournemouth tomorrow.
Well, Bruno is not a head coach and never intended to be.
He gets along well with Potter, is on the same wavelength when it comes to football, so the chance for him to test his acumen at Champions League level was great.
He was older than Potter at Albion – but as a player, not on the coaching staff.
But the fact that he’s seen as a true figure or symbol of Albion, the years he’s been trying to get out of the league made it really hard for many fans to accept that he went to Chelsea, and understandably so.
Roberts has also had special status at the club since his playing career, having helped Albion win a play-off final.
He is considered one of the best goalkeeping coaches in the country.
So again, he’s someone who deserves a big stage.
But also someone who is very difficult to lose.
The loss of so many good men will have hit Albion hard.
The quotes in the club’s official statement at 3.45pm yesterday were carefully worded.
But it wasn’t hard to say how “disappointing” it was to lose the entire coaching staff – at this point in the season. .
Disappointing, yes, you can put it that way.
Thoughts now turn to the future.
After Bournemouth (and it was unclear at press time if that game would go ahead) there is a three-week lull in the march for Albion to regroup, they say, at Anfield in October – presumably with a new boss and several new ones coach until then.
They’ve been through it all before, albeit on a much lower level.
Many fans will remember not one but two 1-0 wins chiseled out of trouble at Millwall after the managers were sacked.
Or an easy 4-4 FA Cup draw at Wycombe.
Or the 2-2 thriller at the Amex against Reading following the departure of Sami Hyypia.
Not many managers leave clubs at full speed.
No Albion boss has ever left the high that Potter created in the Amex.
We all undoubtedly thank him for that.
Albion has the people and structure in place behind the scenes to hire a new boss who will continue and perhaps build and improve upon the good work of Potter and company.
They also have the players – tightly knit as a unit and peppered with star quality.
But yesterday at 4pm the dark clouds over Falmer were both real and imaginary.
There’s no way around it.
https://www.theargus.co.uk/sport/21244207.brighton-can-recover-losing-graham-potter-chelsea/?ref=rss Brighton are recovering from Graham Potter’s defeat by Chelsea