Tony Bloom has just taken his biggest gamble as owner-chairman of Albion.

The man who made his millions through betting has gone for a high stakes punt by sacking Chris Hughton.

It is a calculated gamble. Bloom does not make decisions on a whim. He will have thought it through and he will have a succession plan.

The Argus: It still is a gamble, because Albion are now in the Premier League, and that makes the stakes so much bigger.

Get it right and they will establish themselves, with all the wealth that comes with it, playing a brand of football supporters enjoy.

Get it wrong and they could be back down in the Championship, trying to deal with the vast financial divide between the top two tiers of English football which has swallowed bigger clubs.

Hughton has done the job asked of him, and more, since he was appointed four-and-a-half years ago. He kept them up, took them up and has kept them up again, twice in the toughest league of all.

The bottom line is Bloom lost faith in his ability to get the best out of the players at his disposal.

Significantly, in retrospect, Hughton's name was not mentioned by Bloom once in his page-long reflections on the season in the programme for Sunday's closing fixture against champions Manchester City.

In this morning's club statement announcing Hughton's departure, Bloom referred to the "excellent job" he has done and described it as "one of the most difficult decisions" he's had to make as chairman.

The reason for it came next. "Our run of 3 wins from 23 Premier League matches put our status at significant risk," Bloom said. "It is with that in mind, and the performances during that period, that I now feel it's the right time for a change."

That is the crux of the matter. It is not just the results in the second half of the season that alarmed Bloom but also the performance levels. He reached the conclusion that Hughton was not getting enough out of the players.

The Argus: The timing feels brutally harsh, within hours rather than days of the last ball being kicked.

There is also logic to this from Bloom's perspective. He wants as long as possible for Hughton's successor to influence the summer transfer window.

He was looking ahead as well, as he always does, at what he regarded as the danger of keeping Hughton.

What if the downturn continued into the early part of next season? He would be left with a lame duck manager who he had invested in for another transfer window, at a time when it would be more difficult to replace him.

It sounds sensible but reservations remain at the haste in the context of Albion being a relatively low-spending, second-season Premier League club.

Hughton is part of but far from solely responsible for recruitment.

Did he not simply get the most out of a mediocre squad in which summer signings failed to make a difference.

With a safety-first policy because the strength was in defence and he lacked the equipment to be more expansive.

Or is there somebody else out there, a bright young coach like Graham Potter, who will move Albion on, bring more young players through and take them to the next level?

Backed by new technical director Dan Ashworth, who played no part in firing Hughton but will play a role in hiring his successor and which players are signed.

There is a strong case to be made that Hughton had earned the right to carry on, to be given a chance with an improved squad. We will never know now how that might have panned out.

Only time will tell if Bloom is right to have made the one decision he always makes alone, on the manager.

He has been right three times out of four, with Gus Poyet, Oscar Garcia and Hughton. Wrong once with Sami Hyypia.

He cannot afford to be wrong in the Premier League, there is too much at stake.

The idea is short-term pain for long-term gain. The risk is long-term pain.