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Rob Burnett: Chris Hughton must get Brighton flying again

07 Aug | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
Rob Burnett: Chris Hughton must get Brighton flying again

Off the pitch, Brighton are perfectly set up for the Premier League, now Hughton needs to deliver on it - starting against Nottingham Forest

Brighton and Hove Albion finished last season in 20th place in the Championship.

At one stage the Seagulls were even in danger of relegation back to League One.
 
It was a deeply disappointing campaign for a club that has got used to mixing it among the promotion hopefuls over the last few years.

9/1 – Brighton to be promoted to the Premier League
 
After they were relegated from the Championship in 2006, four anonymous seasons of mid-table, third-tier mediocrity followed.
 
But all that changed when professional gambler Tony Bloom took over the club.

The poker champion pumped in the cash to allow the club to finally build their long-awaited new stadium after years of hanging their collective hat at Gillingham’s Priestfield ground and the Withdean athletics stadium.
 
As a fine new home was being built, so too a team fit for its new surroundings was being constructed.

Promoted as League One champions in 2011, the Seagulls marched into the Championship, and into the Amex Stadium.
 
The momentum was with them and a 10th-place finish was followed up the season after by a run to fourth, and a place in the play-offs.
 
The heart-break of defeat by rivals Crystal Palace in the semi-finals was banished and the play-offs were reached again in 2014. Again, they were knocked out in the semis, this time by Derby County.

7/2 – Brighton to achieve a top-6 finish
 
And then came last season. Sami Hyypia came in as manager… and tanked. After a run of just one win in 18, he resigned with the club in the relegation zone.
 
Chris Hughton arrived and steadied the ship enough to avoid relegation, but the season as a whole was a setback for a club that has been on an upward curve ever since Bloom arrived.
 
So can Hughton, whose side get the new campaign under way at home to Nottingham Forest on Friday night, get the momentum back?
 
His first real manager’s job was with Newcastle – a club that was about as low on morale and momentum as it’s possible to be when he stepped up after their relegation to in 2009.
 
Promotion as champions followed, before he was rewarded for that and for a very solid start in the Premier League with the sack.
 
His move to bring Bobby Zamora back has divided fans, the Amex regulars split between the romantics who are thrilled to have the prodigal son home, and those who question the logic in signing a 34-year-old with 11 league goals in the last four seasons.
 
There is no doubt that in terms of infrastructure, Brighton are ready for the top flight: a shiny new stadium, plus a top training ground and academy.
 
Now they just need the team to match.

Over to you, Chris.

5/4 – Brighton to beat Nottingham Forest

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READ: Rob Burnett: Get ready for the Championship – the most exciting league in the world

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