ALBION chairman Tony Bloom considered sacking Chris Hughton four weeks ago – when they lost to relegation rivals Cardiff.

He gave the manager a stay of execution because he feared a decision then might rebound and make matters worse.

The axe fell on Hughton yesterday, after Albion finished two points and a place above Cardiff to preserve their Premier League status.

Bloom contemplated a change on April 16 following the 2-0 home defeat by the Welshmen, The Argus can reveal.

That setback came three days after a 5-0 drubbing by Bournemouth at the Amex and stretched Albion’s form slump to five defeats without a goal in all competitions.

Bloom’s concerns mounted with the Cardiff performance and absence of a response to the biggest home defeat since losing 8-2 to Bristol Rovers under the late Brian Clough in 1973.

Bloom resisted because he did not think a change at that stage would make a substantial difference to the survival fight and could, in fact, have made matters worse.

Albion rallied under Hughton, earning a crucial 0-0 draw at Wolves, losing narrowly to a late goal at Tottenham and then drawing at home with Newcastle before victory for arch rivals Crystal Palace at Cardiff sealed safety.

Albion picked up their first away point in 12 attempts against the top six at Arsenal in what proved to be Hughton’s last away game in charge.

He had no inkling of Bloom’s decision in the immediate aftermath of his final match, Sunday’s 4-1 defeat at the Amex which clinched the title for Manchester City.