The story of Brighton and Hove Albion has been one of failure and near brushes with demise. In 1997, the club found itself rooted to the bottom of the Football League and facing life without their home ground after the sale of the Goldstone. Fast forward 19 years and they find themselves going the complete other direction via an 100 mile trip to home games at Gillingham and a glorified running track back in the city limits at the Withdean. They find themselves in second position, at the time of writing, and going into a crucial game against the current Championship leaders, Burnley, in some of the best form they have had during the 2015/2016 campaign.
The fortunes of the Seagulls are markedly different to that of last season under former Liverpool Center-Half Sami Hyypia, who failed to win a game for most of the first half of the campaign. The start of the season under former Newcastle and Norwich manager, Chris Hughton has placed Brighton within striking distance of a place in the Premier League. The run of 22 games unbeaten set down a marker that has also instilled confidence in some players who have been deemed ill-equipped to play in a promotion chasing team, such as Bruno at right back who has been one of the players of the season in many fans eyes or Bobby Zamora, who was deemed a novelty signing by many who had seen him struggle with injuries at Fulham and QPR, has contributed some crucial goals that have gained points for Brighton in difficult moments.
There are many who point to several reasons why Hughton’s men won’t be able to sustain a push towards the so-called promised land of the Premier League. One of the main reasons that people point to is the inexperience of many players in the Seagulls side in terms of promotion from the ever competitive Sky Bet Championship. This can be countered with the assertion that there are numerous players who have played at a higher level than Brighton are competing at, with Bruno and Beram Kayal both having played Champions League football at Valencia and Celtic respectively and somewhat recently.
Another reason used against the possibility of Brighton going to the next level is that they have not been winning games convincingly and that it would only take one or two players to falter for the charge to lose momentum, with many pointing to the loss at Play-Offs chasing Cardiff City, where they conceded four goals and looked very poor to many fans. This one result causes some fear among the Albion faithful who are used to seeing the side fighting for a play-off place and there is always the chance that injuries can take effect on the teams chances of success in this season. It has also been asserted by some that there is a strength in depth at the club that hasn’t been seen before Chris Hughton took charge with at least two players in every position capable of playing competently in the side.
In summary, the position Brighton find themselves in is one that has never been experienced before in the current era, with the current points total exceeding that of any manager whilst at the Amex Stadium. The term “It’s now or never” is used by many supporters of the club and as the season starts to reach the it’s end, it’s becoming more apparent that the oppurtunity of promotion is very real. That chance, however hangs in the balance if the Seagulls fall to a defeat at home to Burnley.
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