After a fairly unsuccessful spell under Sami Hyypia, Brighton brought in Chris Hughton to stop the club from sinking down into League One. Now the former Norwich boss can concentrate on recruitment and helping a team with Premier League aspirations reach the promised land.
Last Season: Championship (20th)
Manager: Chris Hughton
GKs: Niki Maenpaa, David Stockdale, Casper Ankergren, Christian Walton
DFs: Bruno, Gordon Greer, Lewis Dunk, Gaetan Bong, Inigo Calderon, Adam Chicksen, Liam Rosenior
MFs: Dale Stephens, Andrew Crofts, Jake Forster-Caskey, Danny Holla, Rohan Ince, Kazenga LuaLua, Solomon March, Beram Kayal
FWs: Adrian Colunga, Sam Baldock, Tomer Hemed, Chris O’Grady
In: Tomer Hemed (Almeria), Liam Rosenior (Hull City), Joe Ward (Chelmsford City), Daniel Akindayini (Tottenham Hotspur), Gaetan Bong (Wigan Athletic), Niki Maenpaa (VVV-Venlo)
Out: Shamir Fenelon (Crawley Town), Paddy McCourt (Luton Town), Daniel Pappoe (Released)
First Six: Nottingham Forest (H), Fulham (A), Huddersfield Town (A), Blackburn Rovers (H), Ipswich Town (A), Hull City (H)
Likely Lineup: (4-3-3) Stockdale – Bruno, Rosenior, Greer, Bong – Stephens, Croft, Forster-Caskey – Hemed, Baldock, LuaLua
A word from…Guy Butters
On the tough side of the football league No one wants to get relegated; it does take you a little while to get over it. It can have an effect on your contract, in my experience if you get relegated you take a knock on wages but it can affect your personal life as well.
People have got mortgages to pay for, you get moaned about at home from the missus occasionally! But, if you get promoted you usually get a pay rise and it’s all good so you’ve got to take the rough with the smooth and get on with it.
But the relegations I’ve had, it does take two or three weeks to get over, you’re kicking yourself, trying to work out what went wrong and wondering if you could have done something different personally. Once you get over that initial phase you have to get back into the swing of things and get fit for pre-season. That’s when your characters, your experienced players come into play and give everyone a lift.
On becoming a Premier League side All the facilities there are top notch, the training ground is immaculate, it’s unfortunate in a way for them that they had success quite early on, it brought on expectation and fans look every year and think ‘we can be in the play-offs’. But football doesn’t work like that, I think maybe we punched above our weight a little bit in the first few seasons at the new stadium and there’s been a bit of a calming down period since then.
There’s a gradual build in place now with FFP and last year didn’t quite go as planned, I think the chairman has realised you now you can’t just throw money around, we’ve got a good training ground and looking towards bringing players through the academy. But if we can get that mix then I think we’ll be alright as a football club. Others have chucked money around and learned the hard way, doing damage to themselves in the long run so I think the chairman is doing the right thing now.
On the new boss I think he’s been a breath of fresh air, things were a little bit stale under the last manager and results weren’t going so well. He’s brought one or two new faces in, in between jobs they go out and watch games and see players so I think he’ll have in mind the kind of players he wants coming through.
As a young player at Spurs coming through with him was fantastic, he talked to me a lot and helped me through my early games and gave me a lot of guidance, so I’m sure he’s doing that with the players now.
On new players coming in It’s a difficult one because you’ve got a lot of players out there without clubs, teams like Brighton will be sniffing around but there’s a lot of them with Premier League interest so it’s a long game. Some won’t get those moves and will panic and then clubs in the Championship can pounce in and make some good signings.
I’m sure the club has players out there that they’ve got their eye on and I’m sure there will be two or three more signings to come. Hopefully it can happen soon so the players can gel before the season starts. I’m looking forward to the season starting and seeing what the club can do.
On his role at the club Half the week it involves doing things for the charity side of the club and the other half I scout for the football club, go to games home and abroad and recommend players to the club. I do a lounge hosting on a match day so I’m always looking forward to the home games and I get to watch and follow the team closely still.
Hopefully from the scouting side of things I can recommend one or two that have slipped through their databases and help the team move forward this season.
The Offside Rule Podcast Prediction: With a good manager at some good new recruits, Brighton should be well clear of relegation this season. With a top quality stadium, Brighton can start looking towards the Premier League rather than down at League One.
Key Player: Lewis Dunk – 23-years-old, a goalscoring centre-back who has made himself a key part of Brighton’s team. He’s only going to get better this season.
One to Watch: Jake Forster-Caskey – Whilst hardly an unknown, Forster-Caskey was part of the U21 squad that went to the Czech Republic in June and the 21-year-old can only go from strength to strength this coming campaign.