TOUGH CALL AHEAD FOR THIS ‘FAMILY’
SUCCESS can be bittersweet. Glenn Murray and Steve Sidwell have been key figures in Brighton’s promotion but now they, and manager Chris Hughton, face a decision. Sidwell is 34 and in 18 months at Stoke City started five Premier League games before moving to Brighton (initially on loan) early last year. Prior to that he played a full season as Fulham were relegated. Murray will be 34 in September. Before being loaned to Brighton this season, he scored three goals in 19 Premier League matches (six starts) for Bournemouth. Prior to that, there were eight goals in 35 top-flight games (14 starts) for Crystal Palace. Both are very good Championship players, but the Premier League now appears a step too far. Do they settle for being, at best, an impact sub – or seek playing time elsewhere? Neither will be short of offers. Does Hughton keep them for their experience – and both are good characters – or free up the budget and squad places for younger players? There is clearly great camaraderie at the Amex, but football can be a harsh game. As the glow of promotion wears off, hard choices have to be made.
FATHER FIGURES: Steve Sidwell shoots and, inset, Glenn Murray scores from the spot