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Brighton & Hove Albion FC

Brighton & Hove Albion is an English professional football club based in the seaside city of Brighton & Hove in East Sussex.

The club currently features in the Premier League, the highest level of league football in England. It also played in the top-flight from the mid 1970s to the early 80’s and participated in a FA Cup final.

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Identity

The colours of Brighton & Hove Albion are blue and white. The team usually dons blue and white striped jerseys with blue shorts. The crest features a flying seagull; hence the club is nicknamed the Seagulls although it is also referred to as Albion or more commonly as Brighton.

Since its inception, Brighton used the Goldstone Ground in Hove as its home-stadium for 95 years. The club played at Priestfield Stadium in Gillingham for a couple of years and in 1997 moved to what is now known as the Amex Stadium in Falmer, Brighton with a seating capacity of 31,800.

Crystal Palace is the biggest rival for Brighton & Hove Albion even though the two clubs are situated 40 miles apart. The hostility stems from their time in the lower divisions in the 1970’s. Southampton and Portsmouth are the other two big clubs from the south coast of England but there is no established rivalry as such.

History

Brighton & Hove Albion was founded in 1901 and became part of the Southern League. Its only major honour arrived during this period when it won the FA Charity Shield in 1910, when it was contested between the winners of the Southern League and Football League. In 1920, it was elected into the new Third Division of the Football League.

The Early Decades

Brighton remained in the 3rd tier of English football for the next 35 years. In 1958/59, it won the Third Division title to secure its first promotion to the 2nd tier. It stayed in the Second Division for a few years until it was relegated after finishing at the bottom of the table at the end of 1961/62.

The Seagulls then suffered successive relegation after finishing in 22nd spot of the Third Division in 1962/63. The club started life in the 4th tier for the first time in 1963/64 and spent the next couple of years in the division. It managed to secure promotion by taking the Fourth Division title in 1963/64.

Albion returned to the Third Division in 1965/66 and after languishing in the bottom-half for the first couple of years, gradually climbed up the table by the end of 1960’s. In 1971/72, the club was eventually to earn its promotion by finishing as runners-up to Aston Villa in the Third Division.

An Up & Down Period

Having returned to the Second Division after a decade, Brighton was immediately sent back down to the 3rd tier after ending at the foot of the table in 22nd position. After dodging further relegation in the next couple of years, the Seagulls managed to gain promotion by finishing as runners-up of the Third Division in 1976/77.

Upon its return to the 2nd tier in 1977/78, Brighton narrowly missed out on successive promotions after finishing in 4th spot behind Tottenham Hotspur on goal-difference. In 1978/79, it earned promotion to the top-flight for the first time by finishing as runners-up of the Second Division, losing the title by a single point to Crystal Palace.

Brighton began its maiden campaign in the First Division in 1980/81 and finished the season in 16th position. It was relegated back to the 2nd tier after finishing the 1982/83 campaign in 22nd place. Yet the club had managed to reach the FA Cup final which it lost to Manchester United 4-2 in a replay.

The Seagulls remained in the mid-table of the Second Division for the next few years until it was relegated further to the 3rd tier after ending at the base of the table in 22nd position at the end of 1986/87. But it was able to get an immediate promotion back up after taking the runners-up spot of Third Division in 1987/88.

For the next few seasons, Brighton occupied a mid-table berth in the Second Division. It ended the 1990/91 campaign in 6th spot to earn a spot in the playoffs but was unable to earn a promotion. In the following 1991/92 season, it was relegated to the 3rd tier once more after finishing in 23rd position.

Brighton spent the following 4 years in Football League Division Two before suffering relegation at the conclusion of the 1995/96 season. The club then barely managed to avoid dropping into non-League football after finishing 2nd from bottom for successive campaigns in 1996/97 and 1997/98.

The Contemporary Period

Over the next couple of years, Brighton was able to make rapid progress on the field and clinched the Division Three title in 2000/01 to move up to the 3rd tier of the English league. It then picked up the Division Two title as well at the end of 2001/02, thereby earning consecutive promotions to the 2nd tier.

Resurgence

However, its tenure in Division One lasted only a year as it was relegated back to the 3rd tier after finishing in 23rd place. Yet the Seagulls jumped back up instantly after taking 4th spot of the Division Two table in 2003/04 before securing promotion by winning the subsequent playoffs.

For 2004/05, Brighton returned to the 2nd tier in the newly renamed Football League Championship and barely managed to avoid relegation after finishing just 1 point above the drop-zone. But in 2005/06, it ended at the foot of the league-table and was relegated back to the 3rd tier.

Brighton started in League One for the 2006/07 season and hovered aimlessly around the mid-table until the end of the decade. In 2010/11, the Seagulls caused a big surprise by picking up the division title under manager Gus Poyet to secure its promotion back to the 2nd tier.

After finishing comfortably in the mid-table on its return to the Championship, Brighton went on to take 4th spot in 2012/13 but was knocked out at the semi-final stage of the promotion play-offs. Poyet made some offensive remarks at the end of the game and was removed from his duties and replaced by Óscar Garcia.

The Seagulls reached the playoffs once again in 2013/14 after snatching 6th position in the Championship on the last day of the season. But, the club failed to earn promotion after being knocked out in the semifinals by Derby County resulting in Garcia tendering his resignation from the post.

For 2014/15, Sami Hyppiä was appointed as the new manager but his tenure lasted just 4 months. Chris Houghton came in as the replacement with the club ending down in 20th spot. But in 2015/16, the club jumped back up and narrowly missed a direct promotion after finishing in 3rd position before bowing out in the semi-final of the playoffs yet again.

The Premier League Journey

Brighton began the 2016/17 Championship season with an 18-game unbeaten-run which moved it to the top of the league-table. It managed to hold onto a top-2 spot for the rest of the campaign and ensured a direct promotion to the top-flight. At the end of the season, it lost the title by 1 point to Newcastle United.

The club prepared for its Premier League foray by breaking the club transfer-record on multiple occasions to bolster the squad for the upcoming 2017/18 season. It enjoyed a relatively steady debut campaign including notable wins over Arsenal and Manchester United that allowed it to finish 7 points above the drop-zone in 15th spot.

In 2018/19, Brighton continued its steady form but a run of 3 wins from its last 18 fixtures eventually led the club to end just a couple points above the bottom-3 in 16th position. It had also reached the semi-final of the FA Cup, going down 0-1 to eventual champions Manchester City.

Before the start of the 2019/20 campaign, Chris Houghton was dismissed with Graham Potter taking over as the manager initially on a 4-year contract. Despite implementing a change in the style of play, Brighton did not make much progress in the standings and ended the season in 15th place.

Brighton dropped down to 16th position at the end of 2020/21 although, in fairness, it remained a long way away from any relegation threat. The Seagulls were able to break into the top-half after finishing the recent 2021/22 premier league campaign in 9th position, thereby delivering its best performance in the English top-flight.

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