May I Offer You Some Seagulls During These Trying Times?
This is the third informal installment of House Enterprise's coverage of the proposed European Super League, so before you read this, check out previous articles from AndrewTalksArse and Myself by following the hyperlinks provided.
Yesterday evening seemed to be a breaking point in the development of the proposed European Super League. After nearly three consecutive days of backlash from fans, analysts, and smaller clubs alike, it looks the ESL will crumble before it could ever get off the ground. All six English Clubs involved have pulled out of the league, and as the remaining founding members continue to discuss the league's future, I'm sure more will follow in departure.
While this is clearly a huge win for open and fair competition in European soccer, the actions of these mega-rich clubs has left a bad taste in the mouths of fans worldwide, with some even vowing to jump ship in favor of rooting for smaller, more grassroots teams. While I don't necessarily hope that any team loses fans, should anyone reading decide to become a free agent fan, I'd like to give a formal pitch in support of my favorite English Squad; Brighton and Hove Albion F.C, known by fans as the Seagulls.
Who are Brighton?
Founded in 1901, and my favorite club in Europe since 2014, Brighton and Hove Albion are a club with a young history in the Premier League, but a rich history in English Football as a whole. Playing in the coastal city of Brighton, the Seagulls haven't won a major trophy since the 1910 Community Shield, and spent most of the 20th century floating around tiers 2-4 of the English Football Pyramid.
Since the purchase of the Club by Tony Bloom in 2009, Brighton embarked on a steady climb from League One, the third division in England, all the way up to the Premier League, with plenty of ups and downs along the way. Brighton made the Championship playoffs three times in the 2010s, but were unable to advance past the semifinals in each attempt. After their first two unsuccessful playoff attempts, the Seagulls were nearly relegated in the 2014-15 season after an abysmal start that saw them win just 5 of their first 22 matches. Fortunately, Chris Hughton was appointed manager in December of 2014, and saved the Seagulls from relegation. Hughton would remain manager for Brighton for the next five years, helping lead Brighton to a second place finish in 2017 that would send them to the Premier League, their first time in the top flight since the mid-1980s.
Notable players during this decade that helped pave the way for Brighton's tenure in the top flight include Lewis Dunk, Bruno, Kazenga LuaLua, and Craig Mackail-Smith.
Where Brighton Sit Now
While Brighton has spent most of their time in the Prem fighting off relegation, a highlight of the last four years came when Brighton made it all the way to the FA Cup Semi-Final in 2019, losing to Man City 1-0. Despite being instrumental in Brighton's rise to the top flight, Chris Hughton was sacked in 2019 after the Seagulls finished 17th, and was replaced by former Swansea manager Graham Potter.
Under Potter, Brighton has employed an exciting brand of Football that is not only keeping the Seagulls alive in this current Premier League season, but also a system that can only bring this squad more success in the future. Potter's Seagulls run a very fluid offense led by French forward Neal Maupay. With eight goals so far this season for Brighton, Maupay is an elite finisher when given the tools to succeed. To ensure Maupay's success, Brighton has bolstered the young Frenchman with signings like Danny Welbeck, who can draw defenders on the wing and create opportunities for his teammates. Aside from these newcomers, players like defender and Brighton native Lewis Dunk have been with the club since the EFL Championship days, intertwining recent history with this new era in Seagulls football.
With six games left to play in the 2020-21 season, Brighton are just barely avoiding relegation, but have secured two key draws against Everton and Chelsea to keep themselves afloat. With wins against Tottenham and Liverpool earlier this season serving as high points for the team, and clubs like Sheffield United securing last place, it's going to come down to the wire to see if Brighton will stick around in the top flight for one more year.
While the future is unclear for Brighton and the rest of the Prem after the Super League debacle, I know that I'll be around to cheer on my Seagulls for a little while longer, and would love to see more join me.
When I'm not rooting for Brighton, I'm probably cheering on one of my favorite New York teams, as well as giving updates on my new podcast Basel Daily. Check out today's episode below, where I give my predictions for how the Giants will tackle the 2021 NFL Draft.