OUR Seagulls’ season had finished so we were able to sit back and watch the play-offs for clubs that couldn’t get automatic promotion (unlike us) and watch the climax of the Premiership. All this is relevant of course. Who could we be playing on August 6th?
West Ham is a definite possible and, following the dramatic final weekend of the Premiership, we now know Birmingham and Blackpool are too
We will be seeing our southern rivals Portsmouth, Southampton and Crystal Palace. Also in our division will be Leeds, Millwall, Leicester, Hull, Middlesbrough, Ipswich, Watford, Coventry, Derby and Charlton. Trips to look forward to there, and seeing them at our new AMEX stadium.
Speaking of which, the fantastic new home of our Seagulls is coming along nicely, thank you. It is looking fabulous. The grass is green and the seats are blue – except for several magnificent white seagulls soaring across the stands. CEO Martin Perry says he preferred these white images rather than lettering. They certainly look impressive!
I was WRONG to talk about a full Amex for the prestigious friendly against Tottenham Hotspurs on Saturday 30th July. Perry tells me it is the SECOND ramp-up event (the first being the Sussex Senior Cup Final on the 16th) for the new stadium and the crowd is limited to 17,000. The tickets for the Spurs game should sell very quickly.
You might think manager Poyet would be relaxing now. I’m afraid not as he now has a central defender on his summer shopping list. Adam El-Abd was on crutches and Tommy Elphick picked up a nasty ankle injury.
That leaves captain Gordon Greer and young Lewis Dunk only so Gus will be looking for cover. Actually I think he will be looking for midfielders and strikers too, wanting to strengthen the whole squad for the higher division.
One player on the wish list is Kazenga LuaLua. He went back to Newcastle after breaking a leg with Brighton. I think we all hope he can be coaxed back south if not figuring in the Premiership club’s plans.
What we do have is an abundance of rumours. Inigo Calderon might be tempted away to Southampton – or not! Michael Owen was seen at The Grand Hotel with Poyet and Tony Bloom – or not? Unfortunately true was about Glenn Murray. Going to rivals Palace is rubbing salt in the wound.
But Poyet wasted no time in signing striker Will Hoskins from Bristol Rovers. The 25-year-old scored 20 goals for relegated Rovers and has the qualities that Poyet wants. His search goes on for another two strikers.
The Seagulls kick off their pre-season campaign against Burgess Hill on Sunday 10th July followed by games with Horsham and Whitehawk before a week’s training in the Algarve.
Gus has said he thinks the move to the Amex can help the side: “Moving into the new stadium with Championship football at the same time is perfection. It’s going to change history... the stadium is unique and magnificent.
“It’s going to be one of the best in the division and our players will be inspired by it.”
He had a hand in making the pitch as big as possible: “If you are a team that needs to keep the ball, to use the ball in the right way, then you need the biggest one. I’m pleased I could make a decision about that.”
Brighton fans know for sure that Gus will be sending out his side to play the beautiful game his way.