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Brighton moving up towards a bright future

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Paul Fletcher | 00:54 UK time, Wednesday, 13 April 2011

At Withdean Stadium

As soon as the final whistle sounded confirming Brighton's promotion to the Championship, manager Gus Poyet made his way towards the sanctity of the dressing rooms with a speed that belied the calf injury he is apparently carrying.

Midfielder Liam Bridcutt was not so lucky and found himself engulfed in a pitch invasion. By the time he left the field, his top, boots, socks and shin pads had disappeared. They were not so much given away as taken, and the 21-year-old had the expression of a man who was relieved to still be wearing his shorts.

The stadium announcer at the Withdean Stadium had repeatedly asked fans to stay off the pitch but, such was the emotion generated during Brighton's thrilling 4-3 victory over Dagenham & Redbridge, his appeals were always likely to fall on deaf ears.

Many people felt that it would be a formality for the League One leaders to defeat the relegation-threatened Daggers on Tuesday evening and thus secure the victory needed to guarantee promotion, but to borrow Poyet's favourite word, it proved to be complicated.

Brighton players have plenty to celebrate at the moment. Photo: PA

His team conceded within 30 seconds and despite battling back to lead 2-1 at the break, Albion fell 3-2 behind as the Daggers came closing to ruining the promotion party.

In the end, a blistering strike from Bridcutt and a header from substitute Ashley Barnes clinched victory for Albion, while fireworks went off over the ground and the champagne started to flow within it.

And there is no doubt that Brighton deserve their promotion to the second tier of English football. They have been top of League One since the end of September and held off the challenge of numerous rivals who at one time or another threatened to topple Poyet's team.

Recent games have come thick and fast - and many of Albion's rivals have been in good form. Southampton and Milton Keynes Dons have won six of their last eight fixtures and Huddersfield five, but Brighton have enjoyed their best spell of form at the most crucial time.

Albion, who have not lost back-to-back league fixtures all season, have won 10 of their last 11 league games, with the other match in that sequence a 2-2 draw at in-form Rochdale. The Seagulls collected a maximum 24 points from their eight fixtures in March and since their 4-3 win over Carlisle on 5 March they have kept six clean sheets in nine games. It is now 11 home games since they last dropped a point at the Withdean Stadium, where they played under lights for the last time on Tuesday ahead of their move to a new stadium. No wonder Poyet was recently heard to suggest that for all its faults he will in many ways be sad to leave the rickety old athletics stadium.

"When you are in front of a race and you need to lead for so long it is complicated," said Poyet.

"But I am so proud of the squad. They knew that over the last month and a half they must make sure nobody could catch us. We did not play our best football at times but we have done it."

Recent away fixtures have included 1-0 wins at Yeovil, Brentford, Oldham and the Daggers, results that suggest Brighton can grind out results when necessary. But overall, Brighton have achieved promotion playing a brand of passing football that is comfortable on the eye and close to Poyet's belief in playing with an attractive and high-tempo style.

The Uruguayan has worked hard with his players on the training ground in the 18 months since he became manager, favouring short but intense training sessions, and the fruits of his labour are clear to see.

Brighton's players seem to have a good understanding of what is required of them at all times. They play with an intelligence that informs their decision making; when to run, when to pass, how to use the available space and pick out the spare man. When a team-mate is pulled out of position somebody fills in and Albion rarely lose their basic shape.

Taking Brighton up to the Championship is a personal triumph for the highly likeable Poyet, who is now celebrating his first promotion as either player or manager. He has never won a league title either but his team now has a 16-point lead and will be crowned champions if they win at Walsall on Saturday.

"There is no doubt that this is my proudest night," added Poyet as he left the Withdean pitch after completing a lap of honour.

"It is up there with the best times of my career. I believe in myself, I know what I want to do but I needed to prove it and what we have done is much bigger than people think."

Earlier in the season Albion drew at home with Bournemouth and some supporters were heard calling for a more direct style of play, but any doubts about Poyet's methods have long since faded. Indeed, Brighton supporters arguably have greater scope for optimism at the moment than any others in the Football League.

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Poyet signed a four-year deal at the club last summer and has often talked in terms of building a club, not just a first team. On Tuesday he suggested that some managers might stay at a club for one or two years before leaving if a better offer comes along, but he said that his dream would be to build a club over 10 years.

"I would like to do it like Sir Alex Ferguson or Arsene Wenger," added Poyet. "If we are improving and getting better, even if it is slowly, and if we are playing the way I want to, then I will be here for many, many years."

The Seagulls have been without a stadium of their own since they left the Goldstone Ground in 1997, enduring lengthy trips to Gillingham before adopting the Withdean in 1999, but next season their team will play at the superb new 22,500-capacity Amex Community Stadium at Falmer.

The stadium has been financed by interest-free loans from owner and life-long fan Tony Bloom, who became chairman in May 2009, in the process instantly putting the club on a sound financial footing.

"I call going up this season perfection because the new stadium is ready and it means we will be playing Championship football when it opens," said the Albion manager.

Poyet will now challenge his players to win the title and push towards what he calls "the beautiful 100 points" but beyond that it will be interesting to see whether they can emulate the likes of Norwich, who are pushing for a second straight promotion after winning League One last season.

The Canaries are managed by another determined young manager in Paul Lambert and are third in the Championship with five games of the normal season remaining. After winning the League One title by nine points last season, Lambert strengthened his squad in the summer, bringing in Andrew Crofts, Andrew Surman, David Fox, Elliott Ward, John Ruddy and Henri Lansbury, all of whom have had a big impact this season.
Poyet knows he has to strengthen and it would be a surprise if he did not bring half a dozen players to the club in the summer.

"If we can keep the momentum, there is a great option for the future," said the Albion boss. "I need to start looking at players and planning."

John Stephenson has arrived from Watford as head of football operations. He instigated a six-stage process to signing new players at the Hornets, bringing in the likes of Danny Graham, the Championship's current top scorer. Stephenson is working closely with Poyet to identify new players and the club are likely to strengthen in most areas as they prepare for a step up in class.

The ultimate ambition is for the club to return to the top flight of English football for the first time since 1983.

That might prove to be complicated, but after so many years of flux and uncertainty, there is no doubt that the good times are back in Brighton.

You can follow me throughout the season at twitter.com/Paul__Fletcher

 

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Congrats to Brighton, who clearly deserve to go up as champions and look well set on doing well in the Championship, if they can hold onto Poyet.

    After last nights result, it looks like Saints will put our fans through the usual torture, but hopefully we'll go up behind Brighton and maybe even Bournemouth can win the play offs and we can have 4 south coast teams in the Championship.

  • Comment number 2.

    Well done brighton. I remember some fans having good banter with me and my dad back at belle vue in '97, when both clubs were seemingly in the mire.

    New stadium looks unbelievable, will definitely be making the trip next season.

  • Comment number 3.

    I'm delighted for B&HA and Gus Poyet. From what I've seen, they have proved to be the best team in League One by a long margin.

    As a Donny Rovers fan I'd be thrilled if Rovers could be the first visiting team to the new Amex Stadium. We were the last at the Goldstone and to be first at the new would be perfect symmetry.

    Well done!

  • Comment number 4.

    Well done Brighton. Pleased for the fans who've had to endure a lot over the last few years. Also pleased for Gus Poyet - always comes across as one of the good guys and I hope they do well in the Championship next season.

  • Comment number 5.

    Congrats to Brighton, hopefully we will follow with Bournemouth in the Play Offs making 4 south coast teams in the Championship, Tasty!!

  • Comment number 6.

    Well done Brighton - would be excellent if they could get back to the top tier but with some massive clubs in the Championship next season it will be hard.

    Good wins for Rochdale & Bury last night as well

  • Comment number 7.

    Wow what a season. Brighton have won two thirds of their league games this season and will be worthy Champions. They have played some of the best football I've ever seen and won games when they haven't been playing particularly well. The 4-0 away victory over Charlton has to be the highlight of the season although the 4-3 home victories over Carlisle and Dagenham and Redbridge were also special.
    I definitely hope Doncaster Rovers are the first team to visit the Amex in a competitive fixture as the two clubs have had a special bond since the last game at the Goldstone in 1997.
    Exciting times to be a Brighton fan!

  • Comment number 8.

    Poyet is an excellent up and coming manager, hope he is true to his word and carries on doing the great job he is currently doing at Brighton. As mentioned by another blogger, 'he is one of the games good guys'!!!

  • Comment number 9.

    I have mixed feelings. Mostly I'm pleased, as I love Brighton (the place) and so have long held a soft spot for BHA. However, my blinkers slipped a bit when they Ground-shared with us at Priestfield, and from the attitude of the fans towards Gillingham, it was almost like we were responsible for the position they were in, rather than us offering them a temporary home to avoid expulsion. However, I guess, in that position everyone needs an outlet for frustration, and clearly we were an easy one. Water under the bridge, and I'm pleased for them, and for Poyet. They went up playing well, and I'm guessing Poyet will be granted his wish of being around for a few years yet. He was a great player, and he seems to be carrying on as a potentially good manager.

  • Comment number 10.

    I have been going since 1971 and this is the best football I've seen. Liam Bridcutt is League one player of the season and it is simply a joy to see our fullbacks overlapping. We were poor last night but you can probably chalk it up to nerves.

    I hope the rest of the footballing community will forgive the outpouring of joy but the thing is we have come a very long way to get here. We were one fluffed chance away from going out of business at Hereford 14 years ago.

    It was complicated - but we are on the up....

  • Comment number 11.

    Ecstatic for Brighton. Having grown up in the area I have seen far too much of the woes and trouble which have dogged the club for the past 10 years. To dominate a league to such an extent is fantastic.

    Hopefully the club can hang onto poyet and with the extra funds the new stadium will generate can invest in the squad and stay up. I know a lot of Brighton fans who will be delighted if the team stay up next season rather than worrying about back to back promotions!

  • Comment number 12.

    A superb achievement at Brighton & Hove Albion. As a devout Swindon Town man I observe their progress with a touch of envy. This Brighton team is led by our former captain in Greer and a former assistant manager in Poyet. If only we had half the number of points they currently have we'd be within touching distance of survival. Congratulations to worthy champions. PS: I hope they win the title at Walsall on Saturday!

  • Comment number 13.

    Now then,

    Thanks for you thoughts so far. I'm sensing some pretty happy Brighton fans but, more than that, plenty of goodwill towards them. Lets face it, who doesn't want an away trip to Brighton?

    I was told last night that Albion have pre-sold 14,000 season tickets already for their new ground. It will be interesting to see how many they draw every week at Falmer. They certainly have a large catchment area.

    I'm expecting quite a tasty battle for second place........

  • Comment number 14.

    congratulations to brighton for their promotion to the championship, they totally deserve it and i hope they get the 100 points. there was certainly a fair few teams you would of predicted to finish above the seagulls before a ball was kicked last august so to win the league would be a fantastic achievement.
    as a leicester fan i hope we get to play them before the end of september so i can have a nice weekend down there.

  • Comment number 15.

    Posters 2 and 3, most of us Albion fans think it would be only right that the first League game at the Amex is against Donny!!

    Apparently Tony Bloom has gone on the radio morning and already said he wants a top 6 finish in the Championship next season.

    Considering that we mostly thought he was joking when he said Automatic Promotion was the aim for this season, you have to think that the funds will most certainly be there in the summer for Gus. Good start would be Kaz Lua Lua on a permanent!!

    Title hopefully wrapped up at Walsall saturday, then guard of honour from the Saints on the 23rd...Have we kept up with you yet Nigel Adkins??

  • Comment number 16.

    Oh, also on the season tickets side, chief executive Martin Perry said that as of today 16,500 sold. Corporate areas all sold out, 2,000 season tickets still to go!

  • Comment number 17.

    Totally delighted for all at B&HA! Despite leaving Brighton at the young age of 3 I've always followed the seaguls with avid intrest and, on occasion, stomach churning despair.

    I had a feeling when GP signed on as manager that things would take a turn for the better but this season has amazed me (as has the whole football leauge season really). Hopefully this will be the start of something beautiful and, more importantly, long-term.

    I'm going to try not to get carried away though. It'll be a new leauge with new chalenges but the club and staff are in a great possition to meet them head on.

    For now, however, I'm going to enjoy this moment. :)

  • Comment number 18.

    Nights like last night induce nostalgia in the best of us and remind us what football really is all about! I started watching The Albion (and sorry you Baggies fans – there is only one!) when my family moved to Coldean in the sixties, getting the football buses to The Goldstone really was a voyage of discovery for a young lad like me in those days, Armed only with my home-knittted blue and white scarf (which got stretched by some over enthusiastic “mates” between the back seat hand rails on the way to the ground), I came to love the likes of Kit and John Napier, Charlie Livesey etc. Division 3 as was. Eventually the family moved to Hangleton so I could walk to the ground – luxury! And what a ground filled to capacity (c. 35,000) for cup games at home to Chelsea (I remember John Boyle getting sent off!) and fantastic evenings under flood lights – I remember a great night in The North Stand v. Wolves. By the time of the march on the old First Division, I had moved away but I managed to see The Albion at Maine Road and Old Trafford – great days – but missed out on victories at Anfield in the Cup. The days of Stevie Foster, Peter Ward and Gordon Smith Must Score were fantastic as The Jimmy Melia Slap Head Roadshow took on all-comers. Sadly I went to The FA Cup Final Replay and the moment was gone but confined to memories. I remember singing heartedly “We are Brighton Super Brighton from the south” as we weaved amongst the Mancs on the way out of Wembley and down the leagues. No-one associated with Brighton will ever forget Hereford and being that close to destruction and the goodwill from all clubs as we recovered our heritage in the face of the cruel face of commercialism that sold The Goldstone. Never went to Gillingham but our thanks do go to our landlords in those days as indeed they do to The Withdean. For those that have never been there, it’s fair to say it’s a ground that’s in a different league – I remember winning an egg and spoon race there as a child and it being Steve Ovett’s home for a long time in his run to greatness. Who will ever forget Bobby Zamora and his contribution, not to mention Mick Adams and now indeed Gus Poyet – what a man! Football is complicated, life is complicated but one would not be the same without it. On to The Amex and Falmer to a ground built on land occupied by one of my old schools, Westlain Grammar – ah memories and plenty more to come. Here’s to consolidation in The Championship

  • Comment number 19.

    Paul, we have actually sold in excess of 16'000 season tickets and the club fully expects us to sell out the couple of thousand that are left.

  • Comment number 20.

    Congratulations to Brighton and everyone involved with the club. They have been the best team by a mile this season, as proven by winning promotion with 5 matches to spare. Whereas the teams who are perhaps better on paper have suffered from inconsistency, they have been solid and never really had a blip throughout the entire season. Poyet has done a fantastic job and deserves all the credit in the world, but I will still not like him for the disrespectful and unprofessional behaviour he showed in Brightons defeat at Huddersfield this season.

  • Comment number 21.

    well done gus - kicked out from spurs following the debacle over juande ramos

  • Comment number 22.

    JuanIanofEnstone (post 18) - you talk about consolidation in the Championship - what about aiming a little higher? Two of the teams that went up from League One last season are challenging for a second successive promotion. Could Albion not do the same?

  • Comment number 23.

    Now wouldn't it be lovely if Southend finally get building their new stadium and then we move in on completion having been crowned champions. Somehow, this dream, I think, will never come to fruition!

  • Comment number 24.

    I'm all for setting our sights high but the recent history of The Premiership is littered with gallant failures. We have got a real chance to re-build this club and the steps we've taken can all be jeopardised by going too far too soon. If Gus does get us in to the Premiership with back-to-back promotions naturally we'd all be delighted but if he then gets poached by "a big club" (and evidently there are a lot of them about!!) the vision is then lost and the means of achieving the vision with it. We've been so close to "Bust", let's not go for "Boom" too soon. I'd settle for mid-table anonymity for a couple of years while we build for the future - players come, players go as indeed do managers - the supporters are there for life - this is a community club; let's continue to build it together and build the excitement and build on the excitement. We wouldn't want to become a flash in the pan, like so many before us!

  • Comment number 25.

    Huddersfield for 2nd and Rochdale for the play-offs

  • Comment number 26.

    An interesting side debate is who should be awarded the League One manager of the year award. Gus Poyet will probably pick up that gong and it would be difficult to argue given Brighton's position.

    However, if Daggers survive - and they were very good last night - then I think John Still would be a great shout. To give you an idea of his budget, I have heard that the reserve goalkeeper earns less than £200 per week.

    And with Rochdale pushing for a place in the top six then I think Keith Hill must be given a lot of credit.

  • Comment number 27.

    League 1 Manager of the year: Russell Slade if Orient make the play-offs. Easily one of the smallest squads/budgets in the league - not spent any money on players, instead doing some great business in loans and players from lower leagues. Excellent cup run knocking out Norwich and Swansea both away and drawing with Arsenal. Going nearly four months with only one defeat (against Brighton), and all the time playing attractive attacking football.

    As an Orient fan I'm obviously bias, but this season has been a revelation - In Slade we trust.

  • Comment number 28.

    I'm a norwich fan who lived in brighton and always keeps an eye on proceedings...we've done well this year because everything has fallen in to place under lambert, not to mention there is no Newcastle, West Brom etc. to contend with. You should do ok next year with all the excitement around the new stadium, but I'm not sure you'll be contending for playoffs or beyond...you have to be realistic with the guys who could come down, and there are some reasonably strong teams who will push again next year. Just being honest...it's a difficult task getting the right players in at this level (which you will need). We only have 3 regular starters from our title winning team last year (Hoolahan, Martin & Holt).

  • Comment number 29.

    27#
    and do you really trust Barry Hearn - he tried to sue West Ham and then mucked it up in the interview by saying he wanted Spurs to get the staduim - we all know he tried to sue the hammers to pay for this Las Vagas trip, 'nice chairman' - NOT

    But on another note, i live in Brighton and Have just purchased a season ticket for the Falmer stadium i honestly cannot wait!

  • Comment number 30.

    As a young palace fan i know all about our rivalry, but offer congrats on what you lot have achieved at the club. GP is a great manager and was suprised when he went there in the first place (thought there would be a few foreign clubs that would want him as manager) but he had done wonders at BHA.

    With us just above safety by a few wins and a big game this saturday, I think we'll stay up and im looking foward to playing you guys at your new stadium next season.

    Good luck

  • Comment number 31.

    Well done Segulls. You hage made me proud to be a Brightonia fan from a boy. I saw us get promoted back at the Millenium but this was a season of pure football. The proof that a good manager can build from very little cash. Looking forward to the new stadium and the Championship.

    See you withdean. Thanks for putting us up.

  • Comment number 32.

    From the original Albion to the southern lot, congratulations. Do you want to keep Chris Wood for another year? he's a cracking player but he's not quite ready for the Prem yet. Another season with you guys would do him wonders!!

  • Comment number 33.

    Congratulations to Brighton on their promotion.

    #4 You have to respect Poyet’s achievements this season but to say he is one of footballs good guys is being slightly generous,. Both with Leeds and Brighton, he has struck me as more than a little mean spirited, disrespectful and dismissive of his opponent’s endeavours.

  • Comment number 34.

    33, he's done a great job but is a horrible bloke. Constantly waving imaginary cards at the 4th official and attempting to influence the referee when they came to our place (where their style was more Wimbledon than Barca by the way). Then after the match his interview boardered on psychotic. Although he may not be one of footballs "good guys" as people might have you believe, that doesn't take away from the brilliant job he's doing at Brighton.

  • Comment number 35.

    What a season I can't remember a time when it has been betterto support the Mighty Brighton, been following sice 1978 and still can't believe I am not dreaming.
    a alo of the opinion that we could have a great season next year, but am fearful of going too far too soon. Top 10 finish next year ad ply offs /promotion the following year would be whatI would personally want and hopefully Gus Poye still at the helm. We will need about 6 players to strengthen but must ensuretht they are willing to fit in to thebrighton way. The Gus Bus is rolling in to the Championship and bringing with it some beautiful football.

  • Comment number 36.

    After the rollercoaster years from the loss of the Goldstone to the building of the new stadium at Falmer, I think most fans would be happy to have some stability and keep expectations rooted on the ground. Then, if it did happen, and we got the back to back promotion into the Prem, we would be even happier than we are at the moment.

    Being a more recent supporter, I was a late bloomer and my love for the game and the club only really started around the 2003/04 season, I can't wait to go to my first game next season, having gone in on sharing two season tickets with my Dad and a few mates.

    Good to hear Poyet wants to emulate Fergie and Arsene, just hope it comes true, and we find ourselves duking it out for the top silverware one day. Happy days are here :)

  • Comment number 37.

    Poyet was an incredibly good player and it seems a shame that we didn't see him arrive in England at an earlier age because had he played throught the Premier League era 1993-2002 we would have seen him through his peak years and he would be talked of in the same light as Cantona and Bergkamp. A great competitor and possibly the greatest header of a ball I have seen which is some accolade considering I am an Evertonian and have seen Gary Speed, Tim Cahill and Duncan Ferguson at my club in recent years.

    His qualities appear to be tanscending through his team. Tough, committed but played in the right spirit.

  • Comment number 38.

    In any other season it should be Poyet but it has to be Peter Reid. Any manager that works without pay for months, pays heating bills on behalf of his club, has all his best players sold from under him and then contributes his FA Cup medal to an auction with the proceeds going to his staff, deserves some kind of recognition.
    Really pleased for Brighton and especially pleased for the players he bought from Argyle!

  • Comment number 39.

    As a teenager in the 1950s I used to stand behind the north goal at the Goldstone Ground, with my friends from school who included Dick Knight now the Albion's Life President. In all the euphoria resulting from this tremendous season, we should not forget Dick's part in the resurrection of this great club.
    I had the pleasure of meeting Dick again, for the first time in 55 years, at Stadium MK when Brighton suffered their last defeat. How proud he must feel today and what a day it will be for us all but particularly for him when The Albion run out as a Championship team at the wonderful new stadium later this year.
    I will be thinking of some of the matches that I have enjoyed and suffered in the years since those days back in the old North Stand but most of all I will be thinking of Dick Knight and what he has done for the club that we old Hove and Brightonians love so much.

  • Comment number 40.

    Last night was an amazing culmination of a fifteen year roller coaster ride that has taken the Seagulls from the depths to the heights and back again! It is no surprise that they have ended up where they are now as the fighting spirit shown during this period of time has been quite staggering. No surprise either that so many season tickets have been sold already,and as far as the Seagulls are concerned, the sky's the limit! However there has always been a mutual respect for other clubs in difficulty and the support of fans from all over the country in Brghton's really dark times will never be forgotten. Let's hope the Dags can stay up after their brave performance last night!

  • Comment number 41.

    I'm doubly pleased here, for both GP and B&HA.
    Lovely to see how GP has put the Juande Ramos debacle at Spurs behind him and used his experience there and elsewhere to become a very good manager. And what a job he's done. When he joined B&HA last season they were struggling to avoid relegation and looked a fair bet for Div IV (yes, I'm from that generation :o)
    Now look at them! Should top 100pts and goals for the season and will be starting next season in Div II (oh, ok, in the Championship) in a brand new stadium.
    Like 18, I remember the Div III tussles with the likes of Aston Villa and Bournemouth, but was living abroad during the previous golden years, as the club made its mark in Div I and the cups. With the momentum they have now I can easily see them challenging for a PL spot next season and, while I understand the fears of some posters who want to see the club build more steadily for the long term - and qualification for the PL imposes its own realities on a club, if you want to stay up there - at the same time, if the current momentum is broken then there's a danger of settling into a gradual decline that soon leads back to relegation battles and Div III again. If one has to be in a relegation battle, isn't it better that it should be in the PL?
    Good luck B&HA and GP and I hope that your names will be successfully linked for many seasons to come!!!

  • Comment number 42.

    Well done Brighton, I am a Bristol Rovers fan but I have spent many years living or visiting Brighton. Am really pleased for the fans as they have had a tough time over the years what with the stadium debarcle.
    They have played some really good football and think they will do really well in the Championship next year. A extra thanks for beating Dag & Red as they are one of our closest rivals for relegation lets hope we survive come on the GAS!!!

  • Comment number 43.

    terrier1987cas (post 34) - the incident that followed the game at Huddersfield was regrettable in the extreme. I'm not sure that it makes Poyet a horrible bloke. Football is nothing if not a game of emotions and plenty of managers/players/fans have overheated at one time or another.

    It will be fascinating to see whether Town do it this season and join Brighton in the Championship. They are definitely ambitious clubs.

  • Comment number 44.

    JuanIanoEnstone - We beat Portsmouth and Watford on our impressive F.A. Cup run this year, and dominated both games, particularly the third round game against Pompey, in which we scored three times. Against the Hornets we had nearly 60% of the possession against a side who are still just about within touching distance of the play-offs in the Championship. Maybe we can do more than just survive next year ...?
    Also, although his departure lead to the signing of Poyet, Russell Slade's efforts in keeping the club in League 1 at the end of the 2008/09 season can't be forgotten by Albion fans, as surely Gus would not have taken the job had Brighton been in League 2 last season. It was a shame it didn't work out for Slade in the long-term, but he did also sign Bennett (now one of our very best players) and Crofts, our player of the season last term, who has since gone on to become a regular in a Norwich side who are currently a point outside the automatic promotion spots in the Championship, and the Wales team.

  • Comment number 45.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 46.

    Well done Seagulls. Being a Blackburn fan and living in the north i have no link to Brighton but they have almost been my second team this season. Playing great football and I have always liked Poyet, genius footballer and looks like he is going the same way as a manager...... I hope he stays and has a good crack at the championship rather than leaving to go to a bigger club.

  • Comment number 47.

    This season has had quite a surreal feeling about it. I keep expecting to wake up 'Dallas' style & find it's all been a dream!! Not only have we played some beautiful football and won in style, we've also ground out ugly results. I think the former got us promoted but the latter will have made us champions. I really do hope that Gus stays for years and grows into a legendary manager, and that this great club grows and goes all the way to the top. Gus seems genuine & why change? I can't help but think that Micky may have been better off staying with us first time & keeping the momentum going. Still, it all happens for a reason & if we weren't ready to stay in the Championship last time, perhaps we will be better prepared at Falmer with Gus and the new owners. Keep the team spirit, keep playing our way and with pride and most of all, keep the winning mentality!! The future's bright, the future's Blue & White!!!

  • Comment number 48.

    I have been watching the Albion since 1964 through the great times and the bad.
    If Gus is true to his word and stays for the long term then who knows where we will be in 5 years? Holding our own in the premier league? Now that's a dream to hold on to.
    At the start of the season I was optimistic of a play off place, the whole squad have excelled themselves. Champions, 100 points, best ever season at home? lets keep it going to the last match.
    A huge thank you to Dick Knight for saving this great club and setting us on our way.
    Thanks also to Russell Slade for the great job he did in his short time at the Albion ( I hope he gets Orient into the play offs).
    Thank you Nigel Adkins, make sure you have the guard of honour ready when we collect that trophy you reckoned was yours.
    And a mention to 3 clubs
    to meet Donny again but this time in the championship will be awesome after the dark days of the 90's.
    After the performances by the daggers against us, I hope you survive in league One.
    and finally good luck and best wishes to Plymouth, your time will come again, Keep the faith.
    In Gus we Trust..........

  • Comment number 49.

    Paul, I guess I'm one to hold grudges. They were top at the time (as they have been all season) and it was a decent match, but the way he behaved throughout was ridiuclous. It was a like a child not getting the present they wanted at Christmas and throwing the dummy out. They lost, they didn't really turn up, and he should have accepted defeat in a dignified manner, not resort to berating the 4th official and then give the post-match interview that he did.

    As for as us joining them in the Championship, I don't know. I can't see us getting 2nd even though we still have a decent shout at it, and then it's the playoffs. From what I've seen of the teams in there with us I'd fancy our chances, but despite our form (20 unbeaten) we really haven't been playing well since Christmas, and I have too many bad memories of the playoffs, so we'll have to take it as it comes!

  • Comment number 50.

    Great blog, Paul. But then I would say that, wouldn't I, being a long-suffering Seagulls fan.

    In May 1997, 14 years after reaching the FA Cup Final against Man Utd, we were minutes away from going out of the League, at Hereford. (Thank goodness that the criteria for separating teams level on points in those days was 'goals scored' not 'goal difference', otherwise, we would have been down!)

    Now, in 2011, 14 years after Hereford (and the terrible twosome of Bill Archer and David Bellotti), here we are, about to embark on a wonderful new era in our history.

    It just shows that life, even in football, goes in cycles - and this is our turn for a bit of glory now, and we're loving it, and determined to make the most of it!

  • Comment number 51.

    Congrats brighton, deserved it. Lets hope that Phil Brown can keep the mighty whites in the championship so we can play you next season.

  • Comment number 52.

    Had every respect for Brighton until I read Poyets comments after todays game. A bitter twisted nasty little man whose has taught his team all the usual South American tricks. Well done on winning the league and hope you win league 1 again the season after next.

 

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