By Tim Hodges
In the past 96 or so hours, Albion interim manager Nathan Jones has done little to harm his chances of becoming permanent manager.
Despite Albion’s lacklustre first half hour against Reading on Boxing Day, during which ex-Seagull and current Brighton resident Glenn Murray scored twice, the team appear revitalised under Jones.
Albion coming back from two down is a rare event these days. And a fairly comfortable away league win, like the one at Fulham last night, is almost unheard of.
So what of Jones’s chances?
The Welshman joined the Seagulls in July 2000 and quickly established himself as a marauding full back, delighting the Withdean crowd with his step-overs. These won national attention on Sky’s Soccer AM where he frequently appeared in their “showboat section”.
Jones left as a player at the end of the 2005 season. He joined Yeovil where he also became a coach, then joined Charlton in the same capacity.
However, in June 2013 Jones rejoined Albion as assistant manager under Oscar Garcia rekindling his association with a club and area he loved, too much of a temptation.
He continued in a similar role under the now departed Sami Hyypia.
Jones was appointed interim manager on Monday 22 December.
Tony Bloom now has a dilemma. Jones has notched up four points in his first two games and the impetus has hauled Albion out of the relegation zone.
If it ain’t broke, should you try to fix it?
If Bloom appoints a new man and things don’t immediately work out, the already frustrated fans will continue to question the running of the club.
However, Bloom will have to make a decision soon and probably before Albion’s FA Cup tie at Brentford this weekend.
Albion’s history of appointing from within is mixed.
Peter Talyor did ok taking over from Brian Clough in the 1970s and of course unearthed Peter Ward.
More recently Dean Wilkins was fairly successful after being promoted from youth team coach after Mark McGhee was sacked in 2006. Wilkins took the club to the cusp of the League 1 play-offs in 2008.
Less successful internal promotions include Jeff Wood who took a team he inherited from play-off candidates to the brink of League 2 relegation.
Dean White, Bob Booker and Martin Hinshelwood all failed to seize the initiative as caretaker boss.
However, one name still sticks out for Albion fans – the man who took on the job from chief scout in December 1982 after Mike Bailey was sacked.
Jimmy Melia led the Albion to their greatest day, the 1983 FA Cup Final, in the days when the match was the greatest sporting spectacle of the year, eclipsing even the Champions League Final.
Sadly for Melia, Albion were also relegated from the old Division 1, now the Premier League, at the same time.
And 33 years on the club are still trying to get back to those heights.
Nathan Jones knows the players. He knows their strengths, attributes and characters. He looks at home in the dugout in his sharp suit and club tie.
Tony Bloom must surely now give him serious consideration even if he just extends his interim tenure for a few games.
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