SEAGULL SUPPORT HAS TO REMAIN PATIENT
I’M convinced Brighton will stay in the Premier League next season. There are just two things I worry about.
One, that supporters have become used to winning games of football over the last two years.
Since the start of 201516, Chris Hughton’s first full season, the Seagulls have lost just 13 of their 90 Championship matches. That’s roughly one every six weeks.
They got 89 points last year. They’ve got 90-plus this time. They’ve grown accustomed to dominating, to being favourite, to getting their own way.
Now, they’re going to be underdogs every game and go through periods where they only pick up one point in a month.
It will be a shock to the system and I just hope they stay patient.
My other fear is recruitment. So far, it’s been brilliant under Chris. With the odd exception, like Elvis Manu or Jiri Skalak, everyone has hit the ground running.
That trend has to continue – and the current players have to be trusted. Bournemouth are a great example of a team who got the blend right.
I’m sure Brighton fans will look at certain players and say ‘Is he good enough?’. But who’d have thought Charlie Daniels would be a Premier League left-back when he was at Leyton Orient, that Steve Cook could perform at the highest level, or Harry Arter?
You’ve got to be careful not to write people off and I think that’s where Chris Hughton’s experience and knowledge of players is going to be vital.
For me, the team is broadly good. All they need is a bit of experience – someone like Jermain Defoe on a free or a young loanee like Chelsea’s Ruben LoftusCheek.
Bolster that with a player like Tom Cairney, assuming Fulham aren’t promoted, and I don’t think Brighton will be far off. Most critical of all is getting the right personalities and not blowing the wage structure.