Brighton and Hove Albion may not seem like a club with an illustrious past, the truth is that it isn’t, but its future is far from grim.
Back in 1997, the south coast club found itself on the edge of the abyss, with no home ground after the sale of the Goldstone ground to property developers and a fight to stay in the football league. The club would find a saviour in lifelong fan Dick Knight and his consortium of investors, he would lead the club back to the city of its name, albeit at a glorified running track at the Withdean.
The one thing the club needed was a backer that cared deeply for the club, someone who would move the club forward to compete at a higher level than it’s traditional League One status. Tony Bloom, a property tycoon from the local area and another lifelong fan of the club, would take over as chairman in 2011 having already financed a large proportion of the club’s new Premier League level stadium, the American Express Community Stadium.
In his time in charge, Bloom has made sure the club would be in a sustainable financial position but his ultimate aim was to be the proud owner of a Premier League football club. It took several attempts at promotion, with varying levels of success, but the club would finally succeed in 2017, finishing second in the Championship to secure the clubs first adventure into English footballs top tier.
The club, whilst in the Championship, would also open a new elite training facility, with only Manchester City’s training ground eclipsing it. This was something not widely seen in the Championship, the general pattern was to spend heavily in the playing staff and worry about the infrastructure after promotion had been secured, e.g. Bournemouth, Blackpool and other clubs in a similar position to Brighton.
The Women’s game is something that many clubs in the Men’s game have overlooked, with even Manchester United refusing to even have a team. Brighton have refused to ignore that facet of the club, with the Chief Executive Paul Barber saying that the Men’s and Women’s teams are valued the same at the club, with the proof being obvious for all to see, with the club committing to becoming a Women’s Premier League team in the foreseeable future.
Ultimately, the club has taken a more delicate and considered approach to development, with the playing staff not overlooked (the club is in the top five net spenders in the Premier League this season) but a more general approach of developing all the elements of the club. Unlike it’s past, Brighton’s future is one to pay close attention to.
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