Sunday afternoon saw the final match of the Premier League season at the Amex Stadium, where the seagulls played the mighty Manchester City. The sky blues scored four masterful goals to grab the league title from the hands of Liverpool, following Brighton’s 1-0 lead in the first half. As a result of the huge win, the Falmer stadium played host to the league trophy which was presented to the defending champions in a cloud of fireworks and confetti. Full of excitement, the game saw a great end to a tough season for the seagulls and left the fans excited to see what changes are going to be made to prepare for next year in the top flight.
Sunday’s match also saw the last professional football match for Brighton’s beloved captain Bruno Saltor. As the Spaniard was called off the pitch to make way for a substitution 84 minutes in, the entire stadium stood and applauded in admiration for his amazing career. During a ‘lap of appreciation’ by the squad following the game, the boys all came out of the tunnel wearing ‘El’ Capitan’ t-shirts, which had the North Laine mural of the footballer on the front. As the crowds chanted ‘Bruno! Bruno!’, the 38-year-old spoke heartfeltly through the microphone and pronounced “Once a seagull, always a seagull.” It was a special goodbye for such an important player for the team.
After a very tense few games where Brighton & Hove Albion almost certainly faced imminent relegation, Chris Hughton and the team did just enough to keep themselves in the top flight. However, yesterday the club shockingly announced that they had sacked Hughton. This has left a lot of the fans conflicted about the decision and guessing who will be his successor. Hughton picked up a Brighton team that was in danger of relegation to League One in 2014 before he developed the team and saw them secure promotion to the Premier League in 2017. However, just three wins out of their last 23 isn’t good enough. Fans have questioned his credibility as Brighton manager for a while now, criticising his lack of attacking football. Now the club is on the hunt for a new manager that will hopefully leave the club higher up in the table at the end of next season.
Although the club faced some difficult times this campaign, there are plenty of moments to be proud of. We forget that the Sussex club beat Premier League giants Manchester United in August at the Amex, leaving rivals looking at the seagulls as serious competition. Brighton carried out the double both home and away during the M23 derby against Crystal Palace. The fierce rivals were left stumped when Brighton took 6 points from the London team this season. The team also made it to the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley, only to lose out to arguably the best team in the world. There was a lot of confidence to take from holding City to just 1-0. These were definite moments of brilliance in a notoriously difficult second season at the top.
Looking to the future, this transfer window is going to be very busy for Brighton & Hove Albion. In desperate need of some magic players next season, Mr Bloom is going to need to spend some money. The new manager definitely has a huge task ahead of him and Hughton’s shoes will be hard to fill. It is certainly exciting times ahead for BHAFC.
Image by: Alex Beldham
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