Last season was an unforgettable one for Brighton and Hove Albion.
The past years have been full of ups and downs for the Seagulls; from surviving administration, playing in a ground 74 miles away from the city, reaching an FA Cup final, rising up through the leagues and more recently suffering heartbreaking results in the play-offs.
But finally, this season, Brighton made it over the final hurdle and made it to the promised land, the Premier League. Yet, the Seagulls are one of the favourites to go straight back down to the Championship.
Here are 3 reasons why Brighton will survive this season.
Haven’t gone overboard in the transfer market
We’ve seen already this season many transfers in and out of the Premier League, but there hasn’t been much transfer activity at the AMEX compared to similar sides.
Brighton have signed four players so far; Pascal Groß, Matt Ryan, Markus Suttner and Josh Kerr, all together costing under £15 million. These players have been wisely bought by Chris Hughton, as they are strengthening areas that needed to be strengthened.
Compare Brighton’s transfer activity to Huddersfield, for example. Though we are still about a month away from the start of the Premier League season, the Terriers have signed ten players, 3 of which were bought for over £10 million.
We’ve seen over the years that clubs spending a lot on players in their first season in the Premier League can be a terrible thing. We’ve seen teams like Cardiff City, Derby County and Reading spend big in their first seasons and where are they now? Still in the Championship.
We’ve also seen examples of teams not spending a lot on players in their first season. Teams like Burnley, Stoke and Swansea all spent a little amount of money on new signings in their first seasons, and look how well they did.
Burnley had a fantastic season last season, while Stoke and Swansea have established themselves as well run and all round Premier League teams.
If Brighton look at the examples of the later clubs, and continue to not spend money here and there, it will be a boost to their survival chances.
Without a shadow of a doubt, Chris Hughton is one of the most underrated managers in the United Kingdom. The work he has done with numerous clubs has been remarkable.
Let’s take Brighton for example. When he took over, the Seagulls were in a relegation battle. Hughton took over from Sami Hyypia and Brighton eventually finished the season in 20th.
The following season, Hughton guided Brighton to a surprising 3rd place finish, two goals away from automatic promotion to the Premier League and suffered a defeat to Sheffield Wednesday in the play-offs.
It would have been easy for Brighton to be downhearted about the previous season, but Hughton rallied his troops and they finished the following season in second place, gaining automatic promotion.
We’ve also seen Hughton doing good work elsewhere. He took a depleted Newcastle team from Premier League laughing stocks to Championship winners in one season.
At Birmingham City, he led them through their first ever European campaign and at Norwich City, he saved them from relegation.
His experience of guiding clubs from the Championship to the Premier League and stabilising them is a massive boost to Brighton’s survival chances next season, and no doubt a challenge that Hughton will thrive on.
A supportive chairman
There are many bad and divisive owners in the Premier League; Mike Ashley, Ivan Gazidis, David Gold and David Sullivan to name just a few.
But we’re also seeing chairman and owners who are adored by the fans; Dean Hoyle, Roman Abramovich and Peter Coates, again to name a few. But I would argue that none a more loved than Brighton chairman Tony Bloom.
Bloom is a boyhood Albion fan. He took over as chairman in 2009 and has done so much for the Seagulls. Since his arrival, the Seagulls have moved into a new 30,000 all-seater stadium and he’s invested in new training facilities, which has been credited with many awards as being a Premier League standard training ground.
As a fan, all that Bloom wants is to see the club do well. He isn’t a trigger happy chairman who likes to fire managers left, right and centre. In his 8 years as chairman, he’s only had 4 managers; Gus Poyet, Oscar Garcia, Sami Hyypia and obviously Chris Hughton.
We’ve seen in the past, the relationship between the manager and the chairman is an important one, and with a manager like Chris Hughton and a chairman like Tony Bloom, it’s a winning combination, and one which could keep Brighton in the Premier League for many years to come.
Written by Sion Misra
Follow Sion on Twitter @sionmisra
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