Former West Brom manager Darren Moore has insisted there were no racial connotations in Chris Hughton’s sacking as Brighton boss and his own departure from the Hawthorns.
Hughton was axed by Brighton on Monday, despite keeping the struggling club in the Premier League and taking the Seagulls to the FA Cup semi-finals.
The decision has been widely criticised and was particularly condemned by anti-discrimination campaigners.
Moore was a surprise casualty earlier this season when he was sacked with the Baggies still in contention for promotion. They have gone on to secure a play-off place, although lost the first leg of their semi-final against Aston Villa.
The 45-year-old was sad to see his friend leave the Amex Stadium after bringing the club so much success, but he has strongly denied the suggestion that either of the decisions from West Brom or Brighton had anything to do with the colour of his and Hughton’s skin.
In fact, Moore told talkSPORT he understood the football reasons for both decisions and personally thanked West Brom for giving the opportunity to coach their team.
Speaking to talkSPORT Jim White on Tuesday, the coach said: “If you’re looking at myself and Chris, we’re still the same people as when we were offered the jobs, still the same people who these clubs gave the opportunity to manage.
“People may allude towards that [the apparently racial undertones] and I can’t change the mind set of people, all I can do is just speak on behalf of myself and when I got the job I was the same person as I am now.
“It was based on footballing matters and we move forward.
“We were installed in the jobs in the first place and I’d like to think that we’ll get opportunity to carry on being managers elsewhere. We’re both young managers in the game with bright and fresh ideas. We want to bring that somewhere else and have the opportunity at another club to get back into the competitive game, the game we both love and serve so well.
“Listen, Brighton want to go in a different direction and good luck to them, but we can’t take away from the sterling work Chris had done for that football club.
“What a magnificent man, somebody I know personally, I really wish him well and hope he gets back into the game really quickly, because the game needs character like Chris.
“I’m happy with what was done at West Brom and wish them really, really well going forward. There’s no animosity here from me. It’s the end of the chapter there for me but the book is open to write a new chapter and hopefully I can take that somewhere else and I can carry on.
“I’m really pleased of what we achieved. I’m pleased to see where they are and the stability they have, and I played a role in that. I wish them really well.”
Troy Townsend of Kick It Out reacted to the news of Hughton’s sacking by saying efforts to improve black and ethnic minority representation in football management are ‘at worse than square one’.
He told to Daily Telegraph on Monday: “What people don’t understand are the real difficulties for black managers getting through the bottle neck at the top of football. We are talking about measly numbers.”
But Moore says there is ‘ample opportunity’ for BAME managers in the English game.
He added: “Is there opportunity? Absolutely, without a doubt.
“And I would echo that, not just to BAME coaches in the game but for British coaches. There is ample opportunity out there.
“It’s like when we were kids, we’ve all fallen off our bikes but what do you do, do you stay off it? No, you get back on and you learn to ride it better. You get back out there and you learn to do things better as a manager.
“My thing is, ‘come on, let’s continue!’
“I’m really looking forward to what’s ahead, it’s exciting times. We’ll see what the summer holds. Hopefully another door will open for myself and Chris, as with other up- and-coming British managers, to get back on the front line and get competing again.”