Brighton & Hove Albion Profile

Short Name Brighton
Major Honours FA Charity Shield (1)
Year Founded 1901

Brighton & Hove Albion have bounced around the divisions throughout their 120-year history, while they have only tasted silverware once, back in 1910.

Brighton & Hove Albion are a Premier League soccer club based in the city of Brighton & Hove on the south coast of England.

Brighton are nicknamed the "Seagulls" and play their home matches at Falmer Stadium, which for sponsorship reasons is known as the American Express Community Stadium, or colloquially, the Amex Stadium.

They were promoted to the Premier League in 2017 and have been a presence in the top flight ever since, although they are frequently in battles to avoid relegation.

Brighton & Hove Albion's early history

Brighton & Hove Albion were founded in 1901 and were admitted to the newly formed Football League Third Division in 1920, having previously been members of the Southern League.

The Seagulls, while still in the Southern League, won the FA Charity Shield in 1910. At the time, it was contested between the winners of the Southern League and the winners of the Football League. They beat Aston Villa to lift the trophy, which would later go on to be known as the Community Shield.

To date, this remains the only silverware that Brighton & Hove Albion have won at a national level.

Brighton & Hove Albion played in Division Three South from 1921 until the 1957/58 season, when they won the league and gained promotion to the Second Division. After relegations in 1963 and 1964, they slid down to the Fourth Division, but bounced back up to the third tier after two seasons. They got promoted to the Second Division again in 1972, but were relegated the season after.

Brighton & Hove Albion under Mike Bamber

Brighton taking on Manchester United in the FA Cup final, May 1983

Mike Bamber became the chairman of Brighton & Hove Albion in October 1972 and would remain in charge for 11 years.

In 1973, following his departure from Derby County, legendary manager Brian Clough was roped in to manage the team. Bamber's legacy was cemented by luring the iconic Clough to the coastal club.

Clough brought his trusted assistant Peter Taylor, scouts and backroom staff with him to Brighton. However, they were now in Division Three and Clough had a monumental task on his hands.

Shortly after his appointment, Brighton were beaten 4-0 by non-league side Walton & Hersham in an FA Cup replay. On December 1, 1973, Brighton were beaten 8-2 at home by Bristol Rovers. They finished the league season in 19th place, with Clough winning only 12 of his 32 games in charge.

In July 1974, he left the Seagulls in order to become the manager of Leeds United following the departure of Don Revie. Taylor stayed on, eventually joining Clough at Nottingham Forest in July 1976.

It was under Taylor's successor, Alan Mullery, that Brighton truly repaid Bamber's investment as they were promoted to the Second Division in 1977 and then the First Division as Second Division runners-up in 1979.

In 1983, however, Brighton were relegated back to the second tier as they finished rock bottom of the First Division. By then, Mullery was in charge of rivals Crystal Palace.

Despite their relegation, Brighton made the FA Cup final for the first and only time in their history. Gary Bailey's heroics in goal for Manchester United forced a 2-2 draw and a replay, which the Red Devils went on to win 4-0. In that first game, Gordon Smith's last-minute shot was saved by Bailey after BBC commentator Peter Jones had uttered the now infamous phrase "...and Smith must score".

Brighton & Hove Albion in the modern era

Brighton & Hove Albion team photo, July 1999

Brighton were relegated to Division Three in 1987, but bounced straight back the following season. They looked set to begin the Premier League era as a second tier club, but in 1992, Brighton were shockingly relegated to the third tier - the newly named Division Two.

In 1996, Brighton were relegated to the fourth tier - Division Three - and their financial position was looking perilous. The club had to sell off their Goldstone Ground the following year in order to pay off some of their debts, despite supporter protests.

Brighton were almost relegated from the Football League altogether in 1996/97, at one point being 13 points adrift at the bottom of the table. However, by the final game of the season, they had moved off the bottom and faced the team directly below them, Hereford United.

Brighton had to avoid defeat to survive, but things didn't start well as they conceded through a Kerry Mayo own goal. However, a late strike from Robbie Reinelt clinched a draw, seeing Brighton retain their league status and Hereford relegated on goals scored.

Lifelong Seagulls fan Dick Knight's purchase of the club effectively saved it and Brighton began to rebuild, although they had no permanent home, first playing at Gillingham's Priestfield stadium for two seasons before spending 11 years at the Withdean Stadium, a converted athletics track owned by the local council.

Despite this, in 2000/01, they were crowned Division Three champions while their rise up the ranks continued as the Seagulls won the Division Two title in 2001/02.

In May 2009, Knight was replaced by Tony Bloom as chairman and the latter secured £93million of funding for the new Falmer Stadium along with a 75% shareholding of the club.

There was a decade of mixed on-field fortunes as Brighton bounced around the second and third tiers but they consolidated with a six-year spell in the Championship (the second tier) after securing promotion from League One in 2011.

Brighton stage remarkable second-half comeback to defeat 10-man Manchester City

Brighton's first game of the 2011/12 season was also the first game at their new Falmer Stadium. It was against Doncaster Rovers, the same opposition who had played the final game at Goldstone Stadium in 1997. Brighton won 2-1.

Brighton had mixed fortunes in the Championship, making the play-offs in 2012/13 and 2013/14 before finishing in 20th place the season after. On the final day of the 2015/16 season, Brighton travelled to Middlesbrough needing to win to secure an automatic promotion place.

However, a 1-1 draw saw Boro finish second and Brighton third, with the south coast club subsequently being knocked out of the play-offs by Sheffield Wednesday. This was their third play-off defeat in four seasons.

Brighton put things right during the next campaign, with a 2-1 home win over Wigan Athletic on April 17, 2017, ensuring that the Seagulls finally booked their Premier League spot. They had been dominant throughout, beginning the season with an 18-match unbeaten run.

"It had something to do with how the season ended last season, but I think it was more the fact that the players enjoyed being up that end of the table, competing, getting into the play-offs," said manager at the time, Chris Hughton, to BBC Radio 5 Live after getting promotion.

Premier League era

Hughton guided Brighton to a 15th-placed finish in their first season in the Premier League, but lost his job after narrowly avoiding relegation the following season.

Graham Potter appointed as their new manager in May 2019 and continued to build on Hughton's work.

In Potter's first season, Brighton picked up 41 points and scored 39 goals, both Premier League records for them, and again finished 15th. In his second season, Brighton again picked up 41 points, but finished one place lower. They scored 40 goals, conceded 46, had a goal difference of -6 and kept 12 clean sheets - all Premier League records for the club.

Brighton achieved their highest Premier League finish in the 2021/22 season, closing out the season in ninth after a 3-1 win over West Ham on the final day of the campaign. They finished a point off Leicester City in eighth.

Brighton & Hove Albion's fanbase

Brighton fans celebrating their teams promotion to the Premier League, April 29, 2017

Brighton have a strong local fanbase, but have also gained some degree of international attention. An example was the signing of Percy Tau in 2018, which led to South Africans flooding Brighton's social media channels with messages of support. However, Tau has not established himself as a regular player in the team.

Their stadium has a capacity of 31,800.

Brighton & Hove Albion's rivals

Brighton do not really have local rivals, as the other South Coast teams - Southampton and Portsmouth - are over 60 miles away.

Brighton are known for their unusual rivalry with Crystal Palace, which persists even though the clubs are separated by some geographical distance. The two clubs are connected by the A23, which is why it's sometimes referred to as the A23 Derby.

Alan Mullery managed both clubs, playing a major role in igniting the rivalry between the clubs, although he remains more popular at Brighton than Palace today.

Brighton & Hove Albion's finances

Professional poker player and sports bettor Tony Bloom is chairman of Brighton, with the club having come a long way since the financial troubles of decades past. Bloom has been a long-time fan of the club.

In 2020/21 Brighton posted a turnover of £151.6m, up 13.4% from £132.9m in 2019/20 - and reduced it losses to £53.4m from £67.2m.

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