Former Portsmouth, Charlton, West Brom and Leeds winger lined up for top post at Premier League high-fliers

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Pompey fans might be forgiven for needing the help of Google to remember Jerome Thomas.

Three substitute appearances during the 2008-09 Premier League season hardly makes the former winger a candidate for Hall of Fame honours.

But while one of Harry Redknapp’s final Blues signings failed to make an impression at Fratton Park, the same cannot be said for his work in his current role.

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At present the now 40-year-old currently acts as head of academy recruitment at Watford. But moving forward, the former Pompey and West Brom midfielder looks set to move to Brighton, where he’ll be handed control of the Seagulls’ youth set-up.

According to The Athletic, Thomas will make the move at the end of this month, when he’ll take charge of one of the most successful and productive academy set-ups in British football.

Indeed, the high-flying Premier League outfit can currently call stars-in-the-making Evan Ferguson and Julio Enciso ones of their own, after they progressed to the Amex Stadium first team via the academy. Meanwhile, established first-teamers Lewis Dunk and Solly March also emerged through Brighton’s youth-team ranks.

Acting as their head of academy recruitment, it’s an important position and a move that’s so far removed from Thomas’ switch to Pompey in the summer of 2008.

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He arrived with little fanfare initially on loan from Charlton, before his move was made permanent six days later. Indeed, his signing underwhelmed the Fratton faithful who were hoping to see the Blues kick on from their FA Cup win and highest-ever Premier League finish from the season before.

Jerome Thomas made just three appearances for Pompey during the 2008-09 Premier League seasonJerome Thomas made just three appearances for Pompey during the 2008-09 Premier League season
Jerome Thomas made just three appearances for Pompey during the 2008-09 Premier League season

And that disappointment was confounded when Thomas manged just three substitute appearances – mostly because of injuries – before moving to West Brom the following summer on a free transfer.

The winger found himself more at home at the Hawthorns, though, helping them secure promotion back to the Premier League and making more than 100 appearances for the Baggies.

Following later spells at Leeds, Crystal Palace, Rotherham and Port Vale, the former Arsenal trainee was appointed Everton's academy area co-ordinator for London in 2021, having previously held a part-time scouting role at Chelsea.

He took up the role of head of academy recruitment at Watford in July 2022.