• Albion Manager Chris Hughton Vital to Teamís Success

    In the seminal football book Soccernomics, writers Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski made the argument that managers are interchangeable and their presence matters little in results. Football fans know that isnít exactly the case, at least for clubs that are not named Barcelona, Real Madrid, or Juventus.

    Brighton & Hove Albion have soared to the heights of the Premier League in large part to the work manager Chris Hughton has done. Brighton host Southampton on Saturday in what looks every bit a six-point Premier League match. Albion fans are gearing up for the big game and the Matchbook bonus gives them the chance to bet on the outcome of the fixture.

    Hughton, a former Republic of Ireland international, took over at Brighton in December 2014. It came on the back of semi-successful stints at Newcastle, Birmingham, and Norwich City. Hughton took over with the club in a perilous 21st place in the Championship, with fans nervously eyeing the trapdoor down to League One. Although the club moved up just one spot in the final table, Hughton had successfully staved off relegation - the first part of Hughton's job was done, laying the foundation for Brightonís success to come.

    Rise to the Premier League

    Brightonís rise to the Premier League coincided with Hughton finding his most successful stint as a football manager. Hughton led the Seagulls to a third-place Championship finish in his first full-season in charge.

    Although disappointment ensued in the playoffs, Brighton didnít experience a fall off the next term like so many teams do. They achieved automatic Premier League promotion in 2016-17 with a second-place finish.

    Now in their second season of Premier League football, Albion are hoping to finish above the relegation dotted line once again, enabling a third consecutive term of top-flight football. Seagulls fans know the team is not safe just yet. After Southampton, key home fixtures against Cardiff and Newcastle are on the horizon, and fans can visit BookiesFC.com and bet on the outcome of the Premier League relegation race before the end of the season.

    How long will Chris Hughton be at Brighton?

    Hughton signed a new Brighton contract in the spring of 2018. It ties him to the club until 2021. The managerís diligent approach has won him supporters all across the football world. That doesnít mean other teams are looking to poach him. Although Hughton has done great things at Brighton and turned them into a lower mid-table side over the last season-plus, he isnít the type of manager that ďbigĒ clubs gravitate to.

    But that is perfect for Brighton and its fans. According to the manager, he has had great support since day one, which has made his job far easier than it could have been. It isnít just moral support that Hughton has received, however. Since gaining promotion to the Premier League, Brighton owner Tony Bloom has backed the manager with transfer funds. It may not be the exorbitant amounts of cash that Manchester Cityís owner Sheikh Mansour hands out freely, but it is still significant sums.

    Hughton has signed the likes of goalkeeper Mathew Ryan, forward Jurgen Locadia, Florin Andone, Martin Montoya, and Alireza Jahanbakhsh. All have played important roles for the club at times and, in Ryanís case, it has led to other clubs showing interest. Hughton isnít just managing things well on the pitch, but he is doing fantastic work off it too/

    What does Brightonís future look like?

    Brighton have taken a very conservative approach to Premier League life. While some newly promoted sides spend cash wildly without a plan - we're looking at you Fulham - Albion have made Premier League survival their mission. If a third Premier League season is secured, Albion will have the opportunity to truly build on their first two top-flight seasons. Of course, safety will remain first and foremost.

    Hughton is the perfect manager to lead Brighton. With the club backing him and positive results coming on the pitch, we are in great hands. Brighton is a work in progress, and before long, they could be fighting for a European place alongside the leagueís top half.
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