Championship previews | Brighton and Hove Albion
Real Championship football fans give the Paddy Power Blog their honest previews for the new season. The good folk at We Are Brighton (@wearebrighton) give us their opinion on the man in charge and their own version of Swansea’s Michu.
State of play: Fourth place last season was about right for the squad we had – no matter what Gus Poyet may have tried to claim to the press on one of his monthly paddies about the lack of budget. Unfortunately, our highest finish in 30 years was overshadowed by losing to Palace in the play-offs and the fallout that came from that, ultimately costing Poyet his job. That’s left us playing catch up on the rest of the division in terms of preparation, signings and all the rest so we’ll have to do very well to match last season’s performance with what is currently a weaker squad.
How’s the gaffer? Nobody seems to know as we’ve not really heard a great deal from the Head Coach himself. Oscar Garcia coached in the Barcelona youth set up before winning the Israeli league title last year with Maccabi Tel Aviv.
Four wins out of four in pre-season so far playing the same style of football that Poyet got us mastering is promising though. And he’s promised an attacking style which should please a lot of fans who didn’t appreciate Gus’ desire to control games rather than outscore the opposition.
Lots of comments from Spain seem to suggest they think he’ll be a future Barca manager – which begs the question what is he doing at Brighton?! It could be quite an appointment.
Terrace hero: It has got to be Leonardo Ulloa. He arrived for £2m in January from Almeria and scored 10 goals in 18 games. Given the fact that, in the last minutes of games that we’d dominated but not killed off last season we threw away enough points to finish second, he could be massive for us if he continues that sort of form. Unheard of from Spain at a bargain price – the Championship’s Michu.
Big-time Charlie: Ryan Harley hasn’t enjoyed the best of times since arriving at The Amex. Scored a stunning free-kick on his debut, said he didn’t need to practice set pieces and then took the worst penalty in the history of mankind at Millwall to cost us two points. That was the beginning of the end really and the fact he hasn’t been given a squad number this season shows Oscar has got his card marked already. Worse thing was he is apparently on a big wage by our standards and cost £250,000 – and Poyet had the nerve to complain about budget when he wasted cash on a signing like that!
Worst away ground in the Championship and why? Yeovil is always fun getting off the train at a station in a different county to where the game is and trying to navigate there using a taxi service that hasn’t evolved since the middle ages.
But Huish Park remains one of the only grounds where I’ve seen a bat flapping around precariously close to supporters on an away terrace, so it has to go to the soulless bowl in the middle of an industrial state that is otherwise known as the Madjeski Stadium.
Which Championship side have the best away fans? Leeds always make a decent racket which is the least you’d expect from the Champions of Europe. Some of them could do with realising it is not the 1990s anymore though and they don’t have a divine right to a place in the Premier League, no matter how big a club they are.
Who is your dream Championship signing? Charlie Austin had an absolutely incredible scoring record against us last season so I’d happily take him just so it meant we don’t have to play him twice a season. Will Hughes from Derby is going a long way in the game and with his albino looks he’d blend in very nicely with our new yellow away kit.
What is your best terrace chant?
‘They scored none, we score three, who the f**k is Glenn Murray?’
Admittedly, it’s a bit more hollow now than it was after we’d just hammered Palace 3-0 considering they will be facing Manchester United and Arsenal this year while we look forward to Bournemouth and Yeovil.
- Can Brighton go one step further this year? They are 9/2 for promotion and all the latest odds can be found over here
- The next fan preview is right over this way