Premier League Previews: Brighton & Hove Albion
What are you most excited about heading into the new season?
The promise of attacking football is what’s exciting most of us Albion fans. As much as we adored Chris Hughton, the second half of last season was turgid. And that’s being generous.
Graham Potter has arrived on the coast with a very different CV from many managers. He’s a bit of a maverick. His methods are unconventional and that suits the fabric of the club, and the city it represents.
I’m looking forward to seeing Trossard and Maupay up front, and hope Glenn Murray can inch towards the all-time club goalscoring record.
What worries you ahead of the new season?
I hope we don’t go on a bad run which results in Potter’s reactionary sacking. It’s an element of the game that turns my stomach at times. His methods are a bit out there so I’m fascinated by what he could achieve.
It’s a cliché, but he might require a smidgen longer than many bosses to bed in. This summer’s new signings need to perform drastically better than those from the corresponding period last year.
What have you made of your club’s transfer activity this summer?
Paying £20million – twice – for Championship players highlights just how utterly nuts the football landscape is. Trossard, a league-title-winning captain from Gent, has certainly looked the part in pre-season, and is another leader on the pitch. Something we’ve lacked.
Teenager Taylor Richards is an intriguing acquisition from Manchester City. The attacking midfielder shone in Premier League 2 in 2018/19, and is chomping at the bit for a shot at first-team action…
What unpopular opinion do you have about your team going into the season?
I’d like to see some of our talented youngsters given a chance this year. Apart from Solly March and Lewis Dunk, who made his debut at our former temporary athletics track home, we’ve not had a single academy graduate make an impact in the first team. Irish striker Aaron Connolly could shatter that stat in 2019/20.
Who would win if your squad had a WWE Royal Rumble style fight?
The Albion have had their fair share of big old units over the years. Guy Butters would have beaten – and eaten – all comers. In today’s hyper healthy football environment, players take their conditioning much more seriously than their predecessors.
My money would be on Shane Duffy though. He could headbutt himself out of any situation. As an outside bet, I’d bung a fiver on Maty Ryan. Our Aussie keeper looks tiny on the pitch but is deceptively large. He wouldn’t stand a chance against Butters, though.
Where do you think your team will realistically finish in the Premier League?
I’ve bet on Albion to win their respective division twice in my life – both times we finished 23rd out of 24 clubs. My blue-and-white tinted spectacles predict a forthcoming campaign of free-flowing football, an avalanche of intricate goals, envious glances from boardrooms across the nation, a spirited run to a cup final, and an outside possibility of Europa League qualification.
Or perhaps we may finish 15th.