In the UK, Brighton & Hove Albion F.C. are commonly referred to simply as Brighton, so I’ll follow the same practice here.
A Little Bit of History…
Having dropped out of the top tier of English football in 1983, it was a long road back for this South Coast club. They finally made it to the Premier League for the first time in 2017, and life in the top division for Brighton has been relatively comfortable, but the threat of relegation has never been too far away. Fans are always looking nervously over their shoulder. Four years in the Premier League, four finishes in the bottom half of the table; 15th, 17th, 15th and 16th place. And while they’ve always managed to stay one step ahead of the drop, how long can a club keep dodging bullets?
Of course, many Brighton fans will say that they’re just happy to be in the Premier League, with all the riches it brings. Others, however, feel it’s now time for the club to push a little harder and aim a little higher. Treading water is fine for a short time, but surely the time comes to start moving. It can be difficult for smaller clubs to climb the league table and challenge for top 10 finishes, but it has been done before. You often get the feeling that just surviving in the Premier League, by any means possible, is the number one priority at Brighton.
The Season Ahead…
Graham Potter (below) was a journeyman footballer who stepped into management with Swedish club Östersund and performed miracles. After a brief stop at Swansea City, he was appointed as manager of Brighton in 2019. He’s put together a decent squad of players, and they’re a difficult team to beat. They only conceded 46 goals last season, the joint second lowest in the bottom half of the table.
The big issue at Brighton is scoring goals. Last season’s top scorer was French striker Neal Maupay (below) with just eight goals. The team also play out a lot of drawn games; 14 last season, the highest in the league, including four nil-nil matches at home. Brighton need more in front of goal. Much more.
It’s been a little quiet during the summer transfer season at Brighton, with more players leaving than arriving. Jose Izquierdo has been released, while Davy Propper has joined PSV, Bernardo has joined RB Salzburg, Mat Ryan, the highly popular first team goalkeeper, has left for Real Sociedad and Ben White, sold to Arsenal for $69 million. In terms of bringing players in, Brighton have signed midfielder Enock Mwepu from RB Salzburg and goalkeeper Kjell Scherpen from Ajax.
Rumours also persist are that the club will make a $27 million bid for Odsonne Edouard from Celtic, but nothing has been confirmed.
Location Brighton & Hove, East Sussex
Stadium American Express Community Stadium (31,800 capacity)
20/21 Final League Position 16th
Opening Game of 21/22 Season away at Burnley
21/22 Predicted Final League Position 18th (relegated)
This season will be one too many in the Premier League for Brighton & Hove Albion, as clubs around them continue to make progress, and newly promoted, ambitious teams arrive on the scene. They’ve managed to evade relegation back to the EFL Championship before, but not this time.