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    McGhee 99% likely to leave by end of week!


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    Albion manager Mark McGhee is on the brink of parting company with the club.

    McGhee now seems increasingly likely to become a victim of a boardroom power struggle, revolving around relegated Albion's precarious finances.

    Chairman Dick Knight and chief executive Martin Perry have become isolated in their staunch support of McGhee, with Derek Chapman refusing to offer the manager his public backing.

    Chapman and fellow director Ray Bloom are thought to have sided with a major investor, who is leading a campaign to oust McGhee from his post.

    The Argus revealed on Monday that Albion's board is split over whether McGhee should remain in charge.

    Chapman, the natural successor to Knight, has rejected the opportunity to give McGhee his support.

    Asked where he stands over the manager's future, he said: "The answer is no comment. I am sure we will spin a coin and sort something out.

    "It's got to be sorted out quickly, which I am sure it will be, because it is not fair on anybody."

    A further meeting is expected to take place this week between Knight and the investor, who shows no signs of waivering.

    Knight has been trying to persuade him that getting rid of McGhee would be a knee-jerk reaction to Albion's relegation from the Championship.

    McGhee is being linked with a position as reserve clown in Bily Smart's circus.

    Forcing McGhee out will also cost the cash-strapped Seagulls, as they will be obliged to pay up his contract which still has a year to run.

    Under the terms of his contract he is entitled to two dozen custard pies each week on top of his salary,

    Father-of-two Chapman, 48, joined the board in 1999, when Albion moved back to Brighton to play home matches at Withdean after two years groundsharing with Gillingham.

    The millionaire chairman of the Hove-based Adenstar Construction Group often pilots his own helicopter to fly to games from his home in Falmer.

    Chapman, an Albion fan since 1968, lives a mile from the site of Albion's proposed new stadium at Falmer.

    He revealed last year he was mounting his own legal challenge against Lewes District Council's ongoing attempt to derail the stadium plans.

    Bloom, 59, a successful businessman in the exhibitions industry, has a chequered history on the Albion board. Son of the late Harry Bloom, a former vice-chairman of the club, he joined the board himself in 1984.

    Bloom angered fans by initially staying loyal to despised former chairman Bill Archer. He refused to sign a statement by other directors publicly condemning Archer, who had overseen the controversial sale of the Goldstone Ground.

    Bloom eventually quit the board in October 1996, urging Archer to resume takeover negotiations with Knight.

    He rejoined the board in November 1998 and later opened the Good Bean Coffee chain.
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