ALBION chairman Tony Bloom says departed stalwart Adam El-Abd has earned his place in club folklore.
El-Abd has ended his 20-year association with the Seagulls by joining League One strugglers Bristol City on a deal until June 2017 for an undisclosed five-figure fee.
Bloom, paying tribute to the wholehearted centre-half, said: "Players of Adam's calibre in terms of loyalty to one club are a rare breed in the modern game. He has given us many years of service having come through the youth set up and has earned his place in our history books.
"He has risen with the club, helping us gain promotion to the Championship via the play-offs in 2004 and as champions in 2011, when he also won the player of the year award, and he has risen to many challenges under a number of different managers.
"I'm sad to see him leave, but he is the type of player who wants to be playing - particularly at this stage of his career. He lives for 90 minutes on the pitch and always gives 100% to the cause. I've no doubt he will prove a fine acquisition for Bristol City."
El-Abd, 29, joined Albion's centre of excellence in 1994 as a ten-year-old.
He made his debut in 2003 and his final appearance, the 300th of his League career for the club, as a late substitute in last Saturday's 1-0 win against Birmingham at The Amex.
El-Abd was disillusioned at losing his starting place to fit-again captain Gordon Greer after six successive starts during the Glaswegian's absence with a calf injury.Head coach Oscar Garcia said: "We wanted to keep Adam in the squad but we understand his position - at his age, he wants to play every game. He has been a great player for this club over many years and I would like to thank him for his hard work since I arrived."
Team-mate Inigo Calderon has branded losing El-Abd as a bad day for Albion.
The Sapnish defender tweeted: "Bad day for BHAFC, I'll miss him. easily 1 of the best I've ever met, all the best for him, because he deserves it, proud of know @aelabd6."