Gus Poyet fell out with his employer in May. While he and his team wanted to keep the dispute private, the aftermath was always going to be messy, spectacular and public.
Poyet was fired from his job as manager of Brighton and Hove Albion on Sunday. He was informed of the decision by one of his colleagues — but unfortunately not one from his day job.
Poyet was working as a Confederations Cup analyst for the BBC when a station staff member printed something out and handed it to him. It was a Brighton statement which said he had been fired. The blow hit Poyet minutes before halftime, so cameras were rolling as he tried to process the news and keep his composure.
Brighton’s statement said it had already contacted Poyet, but the Uruguayan said that was not the case.
“I’m probably the first to be in this position,” Poyet said. “Everyone can make their own conclusions about the way I have been informed by you.
“I think the BBC got a great story forever really, because a manager getting the information that he’s been released from his employment during the time of a program is quite surprising.”
After the game, Poyet said that Brighton had finally contacted him (via email during the second half) and that he would appeal the club’s decision.
“I’ve been trying to establish what my rights are now,” he said. “From what I read from the statement, I am unemployed.
“My idea now is to appeal and get back to the job I’ve been doing.
“I can’t go into details of the future. It’s just a matter of being calm and make sure you make the right decision.”
Poyet was Brighton’s manager for three-and-a-half years. He took over in November 2009 and lead the club from the depths of League One (England’s third division) to the brink of the Premier League.
On May 13, the Seagulls fell to Crystal Palace in the semifinals of the Championship (second division) playoffs. That was when differences between Poyet and Brighton became irreconcilable. After the loss, Poyet told the media that he would consider his future, despite having three years left on his contract. The highly rated tactician was linked with Everton, Swansea City, West Ham, Reading and Fulham last season, and he had reportedly questioned Brighton’s ambition behind closed doors during the previous weeks.
To make matters worse, Brighton’s good name and the visitors’ dressing room at Amex Stadium were sullied before the Crystal Palace game. Someone accessed the visitors’ room and spread excrement around the toilets and floors. While Palace was understandably upset by this, Poyet was beyond furious. He sent an angry email to the club saying the culprit must be identified and fired.
Although Poyet was not thought to be involved with the dressing room horror, Brighton suspended him and two assistants the next day. They were told to stay away from club premises and were forbidden from talking to players, as the club conducted an internal investigation. The club did not say why it took such measures against Poyet.
Brighton summoned Poyet to a disciplinary hearing last week, but he did not show up on the originally scheduled date. His representatives said he did not have enough time to prepare a defense, so the hearing was moved to Thursday. Three days later, Brighton fired Poyet with impeccably spiteful timing.
Watch Poyet learn of and react to his firing in the video below.