If you were asked at the start of the season, who are the favourites for promotion from the Championship to the Premier League, not a lot of people would have said Brighton. They finished last season in 20th place, avoiding relegation to League 1 by six points. Although in their previous two seasons, they had finished in the play-off places before losing in the semi-finals to Crystal Palace and Derby County.
Brighton haven’t been in the top division of English football since the 1982/83 season. Since then, Brighton have struggled both on the pitch and off it. As the club struggled financially in the late 90s it affected fortunes on the pitch, as they narrowly avoided relegation from the football league in 1997 and ’98.
If they do achieve promotion to the Premier League by the end of this season, it will be another fairytale story in English football. From a club on the verge of relegation out of the Football League and quite possibly going out of business to a Premier League side in just under 20 years.
In that time, Brighton have enjoyed three promotions and suffered one relegation, moved to a new stadium, having previously played at Gillingham’s Priestfield Stadium and the Withdean Stadium (primarily an athletics arena) following the sale of the Goldstone Ground in the late 90s. They played their first game at the new stadium, currently known as the Falmer Stadium, at the start of 2011/12 season.
Brighton have made an unbeaten start to the Championship season, winning six and drawing three of their nine games. They currently sit on top of the table, one point ahead of promotion favourites Middlesbrough. They’re currently managed by Chris Hughton, who took charge of the club halfway through last season.
Taking over in December 2014, Hughton is a man with bags of experience in the game. He was first-team coach under numerous different managers at Tottenham from June 1993 to October 2007. In February 2008, he joined Newcastle as first-team coach, becoming caretaker manager on several occasions.
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