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Brighton and Hove Albion

It's easy to see why Albion chairman Bloom is so smitten with Graham Potter – Scott McCarthy

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If there was a version of Tinder for football chairman seeking a new manager, then Tony Bloom would have been swiping right as soon as he came across Graham Potter.

Potter’s profile would read something like: Young and upcoming manager, delivered success on a moderate budget, develops and gives opportunities to young players, turns around the careers of other players who aren’t making the most of their talents, favours bold tactics and attacking football. It isn’t hard to see why Bloom would be smitten.

Already, you can see areas there that mark him out as being a world away from Chris Hughton. The first is attacking football. Brighton under Hughton would go away to any other club in the Premier League and try and bore their way to a draw. Sometimes they’d even try and do it at the Amex, often with disastrous consequences. We’re looking at you Southampton, Bournemouth and Cardiff home games.

SEE ALSO ‘The bitterness of Swansea fans makes me excited!’ Brighton fans react to Graham Potter named new manager | Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club: live updates on Chris Hughton’s replacement | New Brighton & Hove Albion boss Graham Potter ready for Premier League challenge | Bloom praises former Brighton boss Hughton after appointment of ‘outstanding candidate’ Potter | Graham Potter reveals summer transfer plans | Potter wants to continue club’s ‘wonderful journey’ | Graham Potter brings the right credentials for success – Ian Hine
Potter on the other hand sends his teams out to win. How else could the manager of Ostersunds – a club the size of Morecambe who were playing in the Swedish equivalent of League Two when he arrived in Scandanavia – come away with Europa League victories from giants like Galatasary, PAOK, Hertha Berlin and Arsenal? Brighton as a Premier League club have never won away at one of the big six; Potter’s done it with a Swedish side whose combined value was the same as some Ikea flatpack furniture and two portions of meatballs.

In four-and-a-half years at the Albion, Hughton gave first team league debuts to a grand total of two academy products. James Tilley was introduced for the final few minutes of a dead rubber away at Middlesbrough on the final day of the 2014-15 season and Rob Hunt was forced on thanks to an injury to Bruno away at Burton Albion two seasons later.

According to the Premier League 2 table, Brighton have the third best development squad in the entire country. It’s better than Chelsea, Manchester United, Manchester City and Tottenham. We’ve also got the PL2 Player of the Season in our ranks in Aaron Connolly. Bloom has built a state-of-the-art training ground and sunk over £10m into the acquisition of young players.

Yet Hughton trusted the academy for a grand total of 18 minutes of league playing time. In contrast, Potter has turned four Swansea academy products into full Wales internationals this season. Daniel James has scored five goals and registered 15 assists to capture the attentions of Manchester United and Oliver McBunnie has scored 22 times since his promotion from the Swans development squad.

Clearly, the Albion must have some talent in their own ranks. We’ve heard the names of Connolly and Viktor Gyokeres but never seen them in the Premier League. Potter won’t be afraid to trust those sort of players and coax the potential out of them in a way that Hughton wouldn’t.

It’s a similar story when it comes to players not making the most of their potential. Potter’s Ostersunds squad featured a number of players who hadn’t previously made the most of their abilities until he got his hands on them. Curtis Edwards had fallen from Middlesbrough to Northern League football before being revitalised by Potter. It was a similar story for former York City player Jamie Hopcutt before he moved to Sweden.

Aside from the second half of the season collapse, Brighton’s 2018-19 season has been defined by big money players underperforming. We’re looking at you Alireza Jahanbakhsh and Jurgen Locadia. Florin Andone hasn’t exactly been great either. What Bloom has found in Potter is a man with a proven record of extracting the best out of failing players, and there were a lot of those in the Albion squad last year.

It all sounds rather promising doesn’t it? At least on paper anyway. What Potter will need more than anything else is time to stamp his own mark and ideas on a squad who haven’t lived up to their talents for six months. And time is the one commodity that most Premier League managers don’t have.

Bloom isn’t most owners though. He will appreciate the size of the task facing Potter and give him the backing and time he needs to make a difference. The big question is will supporters? Brighton fans have become somewhat inpatient over recent years, not helped by having an entire generation of supporters who have known only success since they began supporting the club.

It doesn’t take much for fans to turn. A run of defeats, Dale Stephens passing to Maty Ryan to build from the back as Potter will want, Yves Bissouma or whoever next season’s golden child is not starting and people might want Potter out before he’s even started.

Which will be a shame as Potter ticks so many boxes. Bloom’s got the man he wanted. Is he the right one? We’ll know more at Christmas. Let’s hope it’s a match.

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Brighton and Hove Albion pencil in behind-closed-doors friendly with Portsmouth

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Pompey have pencilled in a behind-closed-doors friendly with Brighton.

The Blues are awaiting confirmation to meet the Premier League club at their Lancing-based training ground on Tuesday, July 23.

If approved, it will be staged in the early afternoon – with a Pompey XI booked in to face Aldershot that evening (7.30pm).

A similar arrangement was organised last summer, with the match finishing 1-1, Brett Pitman netting for the visitors.

On that occasion, the meeting involved three 25-minute periods, rather than the conventional 90-minute game.

SEE ALSO How Brighton COULD line-up in the Premier League this season – if these transfer rumours are true | Brighton transfer round-up: Leandro Trossard update; Shane Duffy reveals Lewis Dunk hope
It is understood the same format could be employed for July’s encounter.

That arrangement allowed both sides to extensively rotate their line-up, with Pompey utilising 20 of the 22-man squad named for the fixture.

Later that day, the Blues travelled to the Rocks, where a Pompey XI triumphed 5-1 against Robbie Blake’s side.

Adam May registered a hat-trick, while Dan Smith and Leon Maloney also etched their names on the Nyewood Lane scoresheet.

Luke McGee, Christian Burgess, Matt Casey and May featured in both matches held that day, while Gareth Evans appeared solely at Bognor.

The Blues have so far unveiled a 2019 summer schedule consisting of seven matches, with public entry allowed.

Included within that are Pompey XI fixtures at non-league trio the Rocks (July 16), Aldershot (July 23) and Woking (July 30).

They will also travel to Irish side UCD (July 10), the Hawks (July 13), Stevenage (July 20) and Crawley (July 27).

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Brighton & Hove Albion announce pre-season fixtures

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Brighton and Hove Albion have confirmed three opponents for their pre-season calendar, with two other friendlies confirmed as arranged but without opponents at the moment.

On July 7th, new Brighton boss Graham Potter and his team will fly out to Austria for their training camp and will prepare to play an opponent who has yet to be confirmed as part of their tour. The game will take place on July 13th and will be Graham Potter’s first game in charge of his new side.

Potter will then manage the Seagulls in England for the first time when his side face neighbours Crawley Town at the People’s Pension Stadium on July 19th, with the game kicking off at 7:45pm.

Just one day later on Saturday 20th, Brighton will travel to Aldershot Town’s stadium, the EEB Stadium, to face recently relegated Fulham in a game which kicks off at 3pm.

After a week, Potter and his side will be back in action as they travel up to Birmingham to face Sky Bet Championship side Birmingham City at St Andrew’s St Trillion Trophy Stadium, again kicking off at 3pm.

Finally, the 2019/20 preparations will end at the Amex on Friday August 2nd, although the opponent is yet to be confirmed. However, the club have revealed that the opponent is ‘likely to be foreign’.

Premier League fixtures are announced on Thursday June 13th at 9am and the season will kick off on the weekend of August 10th.

Confirmed pre-season fixtures so far:

Saturday July 13th: Opponent TBC – Destination TBC. (Kick off TBC)

Friday July 19th: Crawley Town vs Brighton & Hove Albion @ People’s Pension Stadium. (Kick off 7:45pm)

Saturday July 20th: Fulham vs Brighton & Hove Albion @ EEB Stadium. (Kick off 3pm)

Saturday July 27th: Birmingham City vs Brighton & Hove Albion @ St Andrew’s Trillion Trophy Stadium. (Kick off 3pm)

Friday August 2nd: Opponent TBC @ Amex. (Kick off TBC)

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Brighton and Hove Albion

Graham Potter may have to break a few eggs, but he will already have a recipe for Albion success – Johnny Cantor

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You know what, I love an omelette. A bit like Gavin and Stacey. Doesn’t matter what’s in it. Just plain will do.

Mushrooms, peppers or perhaps ham and cheese if I’m feeling naughty.

However, there is one key thing you do need to make one. Yes to make an omelette you need to break a few eggs.

Having taken over the reins at the Amex new Head Coach, Graham Potter will inevitably have to break things up a bit to pull it all together again.

Many will have sympathised with former Seagulls boss Chris Hughton when the news of his sacking came through. It was swift. It was brutal. However, it has happened.

Now the club are moving on. The debate over why, when and how the change was made will no doubt continue but the big question remains whether the new man at the helm can impose a more fluent style of play and still deliver results that will keep them in the Premier League.

SEE ALSO The 7 new rule changes coming to the Premier League next season | Graham Potter’s in-tray: The 9 issues new Brighton boss MUST tackle in first week | Ian Hart: The potential transfer triangle involving Lewis Dunk, Portsmouth’s Matt Clarke and Leicester City’s Harry Maguire following Graham Potter’s Brighton arrival | Appointment of Graham Potter a big chance for Brighton and Hove Albion academy prospects
Some will make the point that the 44-year-old has no top-flight experience but as Deputy Chairman Paul Barber defended the appointment this week on BBC Sussex, neither did Arsene Wenger.

The squad will no doubt need refreshing and we already have wind of various targets as the summer transfer window begins.

It is inevitable that some players may leave as well but Potter’s holistic approach may also provide a new lease of life for various members of the squad.

I think it may prove more difficult in the Premier League but Potter appears to have all the attributes to get the best out of everyone. If not they may just have to move on, or be moved on.

There is undoubtedly a huge amount of talent at the club and despite the third smallest wage bill they have survived for two seasons when many doubted they would. Potter’s initial job will be to assess and analyse his armoury.

He will develop a plan to create the best possible group from the individuals available. It will take everyone to buy into it but he has shown in his previous roles that he can bring most together, if he is given time. And that is the most precious of gifts, time.

Chairman Tony Bloom admitted on Monday you don’t always have time on your side but hopes this appointment will work out for the long-term. I certainly do as well.

I am sure everyone will initially get behind him but I hope he gets the backing required to change things.

The recruitment has to be right and as the former Swansea boss has brought his full team with him including his trusted recruitment assistant he can only be judged on what, and who, he delivers.

Dan Ashworth clearly had an important role to play in bringing in a young, progressive candidate. He too will want this to work as the results will reflect on him either way. It is an exciting new era at the club and the next six months will be very interesting.

Not only will all the supporters be focussed on what happens but the national media and the boardrooms of other clubs will be watching to see how it develops. BBC Sussex will of course be there every step of the way. Some may say it was a brutal sacking but it is certainly a brave appointment and for that the club should be applauded.

It’s not one of the usual names but Bloom has never done that. Chris Hughton was not, and is not, one of those either. He was brought in to do a certain job, provide stability and realise the dream, and he did it with determination and class. I wish him well. I also wish Graham Potter well as he embarks on his next challenge. His first task may well be to reach for the mixing bowl to break a few eggs but I am sure he already has a recipe for success in his mind and may yet serve up a treat.

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