The start of the 2023/2024 season will mark Brighton and Hove Albion’s seventh consecutive season in the Premier League. The odds of the Seagulls lasting as long as they have in England’s top flight would have been high following their promotion to the Premier League during the 2016/2017 season. Tellingly, the chances of a newly promoted team being immediately relegated are over 42% yet Brighton are now a mainstay in the world’s most competitive football league.
Brighton avoid being a cautionary tale
It takes a Herculean effort to become part of the Premier League’s furniture and you only need to consider the recent plight of Leeds United to understand that relegation is always lurking, irrespective of how much money a club uses to ward it off. Unsurprisingly, the reality is that there are grave consequences attached to being relegated. In Leeds’ case, instead of playing in the world’s most-watched domestic tournament, the Whites will start the new 2023/2024 campaign in the second tier with a return to the Premier League looking increasingly uncertain at outright promotion Championship betting odds of 2/1.
Rather, the latest online football betting odds for promotion make Leicester at 11/10 and Southampton at 9/5 the favourites. The wider point is that it is a long road back after relegation – something that Brighton knew all too well when they went up in 2017
Upon promotion to the Premier League, Brighton’s owner Tony Bloom knew that the hard work had just begun; staying in the league by any means possible was the next goal. Admittedly, there was a close shave with relegation in 2019 when the club ended the season in 17th place. Overall, however, the truth is that far from a desperate fight for survival every season, Brighton have been steadily improving year on year.
Remarkably, the club’s sixth-place finish last campaign means that the Seagulls will compete in Europe for the first time in their history this season.
— Brighton & Hove Albion (@OfficialBHAFC) May 24, 2023
So, how has this club which has spent most of its history drifting around the English Football League, managed to become one of the most efficiently run outfits in Europe?
There are very few circumstances that would cause panic in the Brighton boardroom as this is a club that prepares for every eventuality. To their credit, Brighton understand their place in the Premier League and openly acknowledge that players and staff will come and go; there is little they can do to fend off the vultures that inevitably circle the Seagulls’ most talented personnel. While some might call it unambitious, the truth is that it is an approach that means Brighton are never blindsided.
Take the extraordinary saga that went on last season when Chelsea poached Brighton’s manager Graham Potter as well as one of their best players, Marc Cucurella. Without missing a beat, Brighton quickly appointed Roberto De Zerbi as their new manager and then replaced Cucurella with Villareal left-back Pervis Estupinan. At the end of the season, Brighton finished 18 points above Chelsea and showed no signs of having been affected by the most influential figures at the club departing.
🚨🚨 BREAKING: Graham Potter has been sacked by Chelsea.
“Chelsea would like to thank Graham for all his efforts and contribution and wish him well for the future”, club statement announces. pic.twitter.com/NNZpuXTkzp
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) April 2, 2023
Being prepared also means that Brighton are ready to play hardball. Yes, they freely admit that their world-beating scouting system will eventually draw the attention of bigger clubs who want to sign the diamonds they have uncovered but when that day comes, Brighton always stand firm on player evaluations. When Cucurella’s move to Chelsea became official, Brighton had pocketed £62 million.
By contrast, during the summer transfer window leading up to Leeds’ relegation, the Whites accepted just £42 million for Kalvin Phillips who had just been voted England’s Player of the Year. Chelsea are now looking to offload Cucurella while Phillips has just won the treble with Manchester City. It is no coincidence that Brighton leave the negotiating table always having won – it’s what they do best and what sets them apart from every other club in Europe.
Making waves on the Channel
Many might have predicted that Brighton would barely keep their heads above water in the Premier League but the club on the English Channel continues to make waves as the model of excellence that the rest of England and the continent gaze enviously at.