Col­umns: Dunlavy

BRIGHTON NEED MA­JOR SURGERY

The Football League Paper - - FRONT PAGE - Chris Dunlavy

MAYBE it was his per­ma­nent sad clown ex­pres­sion. Maybe it was his pas­sion­less post-match in­ter­views. But I never got the im­pres­sion that Os­car Gar­cia was hav­ing a ball at Brighton.

Truth is, I think he al­ways knew it was one sea­son or bust. When Gar­cia took over from Gus Poyet last sum­mer, he in­her­ited a side that fin­ished fourth in the Cham­pi­onship. On paper, it needed only the tini­est tweak.

In re­al­ity, it was an age­ing side fast ap­proach­ing the end of the road. This sea­son, the back four had a com­bined age of 128. David Lopez is 31, An­drea Or­landi and Andrew Crofts both 29.Week to week, only QPR had a higher aver­age age than Brighton’s start­ing XI.

What’s more, with Craig Mack­ailSmith in­jured, Leo Ul­loa was the club’s only gen­uine cen­tre for­ward – a crazy sit­u­a­tion for a club with pro­mo­tion am­bi­tions.

This sum­mer, ma­jor surgery is needed. Had the Seag­ulls won pro­mo­tion, that wouldn’t have mat­tered. Cash would have flowed.

Now? You need only look at the play­ers Brighton have re­leased – Lopez, Or­landi, To­masz Kuszczak – to re­alise that the big earn­ers are be­ing shipped out.

This is a rebuild on a budget and, like Poyet be­fore him, it seems Gar­cia didn’t fancy a sum­mer of scrimp­ing.

Where does his res­ig­na­tion leave Brighton? They re­main a huge draw, with the kind of crowds that at­tract top class man­agers.

They won’t strug­gle on that front. They also have plenty of young talent, with Ro­han Ince the pick of a bright bunch.

But they will take time to ma­ture and, next sea­son at least, Brighton fans may have to set­tle for a place with the also-rans.

TALK­ING about

his work with Cris­tiano Ron­aldo the

in 2007, Rene how he had or­dered Meu­len­steen re­mem­bered

to stop show­boat­ing. bur­geon­ing su­per­star Van Nis­tel­rooy, it

was “With Shearer, of the net,’” he said. Lineker, Sol­sk­jaer, “With that goes in the back wanted to score ‘Give me the ball, cor­ner’. He al­ways Ron­aldo, it was‘ out of that. I told him

Look at me – top it doesn’t the per­fect goal. I

needed to get him mat­ter how the who ball goes in, just put QPR into

that it does.” the playby Char­lie Austin, It is an ethos en­cap­su­lated jab off the tips of

his studs. penalty and a scruffy do­ing off fi­nal with a clin­i­cal spend

89 min­utes Like all the best into the box and poach­ers, the no player is more

24-year-old can twice. Stick a ball noth­ing but still score

cer­tainly at this level. two likely to put it away, goals this sea­son

de­spite miss­ing Austin, who has a‘Rolls Royce’ by let

now scored 20 boss Harry Red­months through Come rain in­jury, was branded or shine, he’ll not

more like a Lan­drover. knapp. I’d say he’s

will cer­tainly hope you down. Red­knapp

card at Wem­b­ley? Will he be the trump so, but I’m afraid but they’d I can’t see it. played 62

semi-fi­nal op­po­nents Wi­gan were tough was

the last thing games and were dead on their

feet. Ex­tra-time they needed. – ev­ery­thing

QPR Derby are young, ex­pe­ri­ence means

quick and in­ci­sive haven’t been this mean year.The Hoops’

Their age­ing legs they stand a chance. Derby have a

bet­ter one.

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