‘We are Brighton and we have got an identity. We play one way – it does not matter where, or who against. The players who play for the first team, and the reserves play the way I want the team to play. If we can build from it, it will be amazing.’
The words of Gus Poyet speak volumes for the footballing philosophy of a man who manages as he played during a distinguished career with Chelsea and Spurs.
On Saturday afternoon, Brighton blew away Charlton’s unbeaten home record with a comprehensive 4-0 victory. Goals from Inigo Calderon, Glenn Murray, Kazenga Lua Lua and Matt Sparrow extended Albion’s lead at the top of League One to three points.
It has been an amazing turnaround of fortunes at Brighton & Hove Albion. Twelve months prior to Saturday’s four-goal triumph at The Valley, the Seagulls slumped to a humiliating 2-1 defeat at Tranmere Rovers.
The club is now unrecognisable. There is real a buzz amongst Albion fans this season. At home, for the first time in years we are close to selling out every week, and our recent good form has increased the media coverage of the club.
We have got to where we are by playing Gus Poyet’s passing style of football, but we are by no means the finished article. It is inevitable that mistakes are going to be made, as for the vast majority of the squad; it is an entirely new concept and style to what they are used to.
However, the progress that has been made under the Uruguayan, both in terms of results and entertainment have far exceeded expectations in such a short period of time.
Between Poyet and chairman Tony Bloom we have a very bright future ahead of us. But, most importantly the two have given the supporters hope.
For the first time in over a decade, fans can be optimistic about the medium and long-term security of the football club. Ever since July 1995, when The Argus revealed that directors Bill Archer and Greg Stanley had agreed a deal to sell the Goldstone Ground, the club’s very existence has been under threat.
Under the guidance of Micky Adams and Mark McGhee the club enjoyed success, which alleviated the doom and gloom surrounding the club. However, supporters knew that given the stadium and financial restraints, any steps forward promotion-wise would be almost impossible to maintain.
This season, I believe Poyet will lead us to promotion. The only aspect still lacking for a title charge is a 20-goal-a-season striker. However, in the last few days Poyet has stated he would ‘love to’ complete a loan deal for the Northern Ireland international, David Healy.
If or when Gus does leave, (although I believe it will have to take a job in the ilk of Liverpool or a fellow Premier League club to tempt him), the foundations he has already put in place, augur very well for the years ahead.
Even if we do not achieve promotion, I sincerely hope Poyet stays for as long as we can keep him. It is a pleasure to have him in charge of our club and I have not felt so optimistic about the Albion's future for a very long time.
Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.