Albion bosses to be handed 'Freedom of the City'

Brighton and Hove Albion outside the Royal Pavilion (Photograph: www.snapitnow.co.uk)
Brighton and Hove Albion outside the Royal Pavilion (Photograph: www.snapitnow.co.uk)

Brighton and Hove Albion's manager and chairman are to be given special honours this week, after securing promotion to the Premier League.

Brighton and Hove City Council will meet on Thursday (May 18), to hand manager Chris Hughton and chairman Tony Bloom the Freedom of the City - a ceremonial honour which local authorities can bestow.

Tony Bloom at the Amex after Brighton and Hove Albion were promoted to the Premier League (Photograph: Steve Bailey)

Tony Bloom at the Amex after Brighton and Hove Albion were promoted to the Premier League (Photograph: Steve Bailey)

The honour is largely a symbolic gesture, but in medieval times the 'Freedom' would give the bearer special privileges, such as the right to vote or own property, or driving their sheep and cattle through the centre of the town.

The honour follows the promotion parade through the city on Sunday, which saw tens of thousands of fans cheer on the players as they processed from Madeira Drive to Hove Lawns on open-top buses.

At the meeting on Thursday afternoon, lead councillors are set to speak in support of the motion to award honorary Freedom of the City, before all councillors vote to officially confer the title.

Mr Hughton took over as Albion manager in the middle of the 2014/15 season, helping retain the club’s place in the Championship. Last year the Albion missed out on automatic promotion only by goal difference, finishing third. Hull won the ensuing play-offs for the third promotion spot. This year the team gained automatic promotion finishing just one point behind Newcastle, a team that came down from the Premier League last year.

Albion boss Chris Hughton. (Photograph:Phil Westlake/PW Sporting Photography)

Albion boss Chris Hughton. (Photograph:Phil Westlake/PW Sporting Photography)

Brightonian Mr Bloom became club chairman in 2009, succeeding Dick Knight. He has invested millions into the club, including its home the Amex Community Stadium and training ground in Lancing.

Brighton and Hove City Council said although its meetings are open to the public, it said space in the chamber is limited. It said there will be a few spaces available to the public on the day and these will be issued to the first people in the queue for the meeting.

The council encouraged residents to watch the ceremony on its webcast instead of attending the meeting at Hove Town Hall.