Albion knew David Stockdale was on his way when they presented their best offer – and were told it would not be accepted.

Paul Barber has given some insight into communication between the club and Stockdale’s agent Rob Segal which ensured the parting was a civilised one.

The Seagulls’ chief executive said he knew “for some weeks” that a parting of the ways was inevitable.

Stockdale has since joined Birmingham City on a three-year deal as a free agent.

That leaves the Seagulls looking to sign at least two senior goalkeepers with both Niki Maenpaa and Maty Ryan expected to put pen to paper.

Barber said he was pleased with the level of dialogue between the club and agent.

And he has highlighted the pro-active efforts Stockdale made to help try and comfort relatives of those who died in the Shoreham aircrash.

Barber said of Stockdale’s departure: “It was not a surprise in terms of not reaching an agreement with David. We have known for some weeks that was not going to happen.

“You get to a point where a contract is offered and, if it’s your best offer and it’s not accepted, the writing is on the wall.

“We have got a great relationship with David’s agent. I have known Rob for many years and we have a very open relationship.

“We can talk to each other and he can say, ‘If that’s your best offer, we are going to need to look elsewhere’. No problem, we understand that.

“The whole process was conducted without any acrimony, without any problems, without any issues. We all knew where we were at any particular time.”

The Argus:

David Stockdale was popular with employees at Albion

Stockdale’s choice of destination, as he became Harry Redknapp’s first signing for Birmingham, surprised many people.

Barber said: “Players’ choices of football clubs are very much personal decisions. I was in contact with David on Tuesday night and wished him all the best.

“I worked with Harry so I asked David to pass on my best wishes to him.

“David was fabulous for us over a long period and very popular, not just with the fans but also within the club.”

Stockdale’s efforts after the Shoreham disaster are well-documented.

But Barber highlighted how the keeper made the first move to see how he could help.

He said: “For me personally, during the Shoreham disaster, David was one of the first players to come and ask if he could help, if there was anything he could do, if he could visit the families.

“As soon as he knew Matt Grimstone was a goalkeeper, he felt an immediate connection.

“I will always admire David and Alan Mullery for stepping forward and visiting the families when it was a very tough time.

The Argus:

“I went and I found it probably the toughest experience of my life. I am 20 years older than David and I found it very difficult.

“For a young man to step up and do that, I will always admire him for that and respect him for that.”

Birmingham are not short of glovemen. Ex-Albion favourite Tomasz Kuszczak has just signed a new deal, as has Adam Legzdins, while Connal Trueman is highly rated in the under-23s.

Albion plan to have similar numbers in their goalkeeper department.

Ryan is away with his national team, which has not helped in finalising personal terms, but Maenpaa's agent has told sources in Holland his client will be back at the Amex.

Barber said: “With Niki, work is continuing. These processes are always interrupted by holidays and people having a bit of a break.

“In an ideal world you would have a very rapid decision-making process. But the ideal world doesn’t exist.

“It was great to get Steve Sidwell done but work is ongoing.

“We very much want Niki to stay at the club and we are looking forward to him being here next season.”

Did Maenpaa’s presence push Stockdale to his form of the past two seasons?

It is a popular theory which may well hold water.

What we do know is that Chris Hughton and chairman Tony Bloom both expressed their thanks to the big Yorkshireman as he left – and that does not always happen.

Barber said: “David will always be welcome here and always be part of this football club.

“He will always be part of the folklore that got promotion to the Premier League.

“We really hope he does well at Birmingham City. It is a very good football club.”