Football articles

Why Brighton fans can take heart from Swansea’s continued progression

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Thursday 4th July 2013

The loss of a well-loved manager is hard to take particularly when they have guided you in your most successful period for over 20 years. Brighton & Hove Albion fans must be feeling very aggrieved at the sacking of Gustavo Poyet who was, until late last month, the second longest serving boss in the Championship. Although there will undoubtedly be some that will be glad to see the back of him due to his rumoured unrest at their club.

The Uruguayan and his sides have received many plaudits throughout football for the results that have seen them go from League One relegation candidates to the brink of the Premiership in under four years. And for the style in which they did it.

In Oscar Garcia, Brighton have appointed a man with similar principles to Poyet in that he abides by an attacking style of football. And as Swansea City have shown over the years, getting someone in to continue the philosophies that have made a team successful is crucial. Even Manchester United applied this in their selection process by signing David Moyes. They could have chosen any number of title winning managers from around the world, but went with the then Everton man in order to carry on the aesthetics of Alex Ferguson.

He could tell that Moyes would be of the same ilk, travelling to matches up the motorway on a wet Tuesday night to find those all-important players for his squad, nurturing them, and realising how important it is for a manager to stamp their mark at a club if it is going to be stable in the long-term. This is opposed to throwing a load of money at someone to spend, see them leave a year, two or three later, then have to go through the whole thing again.

At Swansea, Roberto Martinez, Paulo Sousa, Brendan Rodgers and Michael Laudrup have been brought in one after the other to continue the style of play that their predecessor implemented, so the players do not have to drastically alter their game, which, if they did, could prove disastrous on match day. Fans must have been fearing the worst after those managers departed (they’re probably feeling that way now what with Laudrup and his chairman, Huw Jenkins, reportedly at loggerheads). But with DNA, history and birth certificates being virtually the only things separating those four coaches, the changes have been seamless.

All those men have reputations for attractive, free-flowing, tika-taka-like football. And so too has the Seagulls’ new coach, Garcia, who spent his playing career with Barcelona, Valencia and Espanyol among others before leading Maccabi Tel Aviv to the Israeli league title last season. Incidentally, Paulo Sousa is now in the, quite literal, hot seat at Tel Aviv.

Brighton improved season after season in Poyet’s time with the club and are on a road that draws parallels with Swansea’s rise to the Premiership. The Swans have stepped up a level in nearly every campaign since their dramatic last-day escape from relegation to non-league football back in 2003; coming 10th in the fourth tier in 2004; 3rd thus promotion in 2005; League One play-offs in 2006; spoiling the pattern by finishing 7th the next season (hence why I said they have stepped up a level in nearly every campaign since 2003); League One winners in 2008; 8th in the Championship in 2009; 7th in 2010; 3rd then promoted via the play-offs in 2011; 11th in the Premiership in 2012; then 9th with a League Cup win under their belts last season.

When Poyet joined the Seagulls in November 2009 they were one place above the drop zone level on points with Stockport County below them, but he led his team away from relegation eventually finishing 13th; they then won the League One title in 2011; came 10th in the Championship in 2012 then reached the play-offs in 2013. With each new like-for-like manager that Swansea have been guided under, from Martinez to Laudrup, they have progressed to a higher plain, and now Oscar Garcia has taken over from his footballing brother in Gus Poyet, there is no reason why Brighton cannot do the same.

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