An Extremely Long Awaited Comeback
This season in the Premier League, Brighton & Hove supporters actually have another reason to be excited. After a long absence of over 34 years, the Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club has finally made it back to the top league of English football. Founded in 1901, Brighton & Hove FC started out playing in the Southern League, before finally registering their biggest peak between 1979 and 1983, playing in the old Division One and making it to the FA Cup Final in 1983, where they lost to Manchester United. More than three decades of mismanagement and financial issues have followed, bringing the club very close to liquidation.
It was only in 2002 when Brighton managed to return, making its way back to the second tier of English Football. 14 years later, after the season 2015-2016, and under a new and intriguing management, Brighton finally managed what almost no one else thought possible, managing an extremely tight promotion back in the Premier League. They started the season in an extremely solid manner, managing to remain unbeaten in an 18 match run.
Productive New Management
After an extremely low season in 2015 and with only 3 wins in 4 months, Brighton had entered the relegation zone once more, under Sami Hyppia’s management. He resigned short after, in December 2014, leaving behind a team obviously marked by the lack of leadership. Chris Hughton the took over and was appointed as the new manager of Brighton. While many fans and supporters, as well as football aficionados, were quite reluctant about him, Hughton started with a 2-0 win against Brentford, in the FA Cup.
Right from the start, Hughton’s taste for old-school classic football strategies was visible to anyone. While there were a lot of critics for his preferential 4-4- 2, Hutton maintained his position and strategy firm, leading the club with a harsh, yet decisive hand. The results followed in very close, and by the end of the Season, Brighton had finally reached the Premier League once more, making Hughton possibly one of the most underestimated Football Club Managers ever.
A Long Way to Go
Brighton’s supporters were extremely satisfied and proud; however, there are a lot of aspects that still need fixture and improvement in the team, not to mention the fact that surviving and maintaining a certain level in the Premier League, along to England’s top football teams, will not be an easy task at all.
It appears that so far, the process of recruiting new players in order to strengthen the team hasn’t been going that well, with very few important acquisitions. The team needs to be 100% prepared in order to be able to face its future opponents in the Premier League, and in this direction, Brighton needs at least 4 or 5 new players to secure essential positions on the field.
So far, the most important transfer has to be the extremely creative Pascal Gross, who made a clear name for himself last year in the German Bundesliga. This factor, along to the real team spirit consolidated by Chris Hughton since his appointing, might represent Brighton’s chance to maintain a strong level in the Premier League and possibly manage even better runs. Their fans are counting on this, and for the first time in almost a quarter decade, the team is in the position to deliver. Several major names in the Premier League make it seem an extremely difficult task to achieve, yet lately, other rather small and newly promoted clubs have managed surprising results against big names in the Premier League.
Teams such as Bournemouth, Watford or Burnley have proven that it is definitely possible for smaller newly promoted clubs to manage good performances in the Premier League. This is definitely Chris Hughton’s major goal this season, and, with his skilled tactics and the attitude of a fighter, Brighton has quite some chances to shine again and surprise her long time loyal fans.
by Alex Norwood