Brighton are the perfect second team for a football fan who supports someone sh*t
Liverpool and Man Utd can bore off; Brighton and Hove Albion are *actually* the perfect second team for a fan to support…
As a supporter of a Championship club, you might expect allegiances for an FA Cup quarter-final clash between Brighton and Grimsby to fall on the side of the underdog. But Brighton are the perfect second team. And yes, it’s okay to have a second team if your first is a bit sh*t.
The Seagulls’ rise to the Premier League was enough of a feel-good story in itself, but they have not settled for bottom-half mediocrity. Instead, they have continued to go from strength to strength, with the help of a business model that should be an example for all other clubs outside of the traditional Big Six.
As a lover of the underdog, you cannot help but admire Brighton and everything they stand for. They have mastered the art of identifying promising talents, utilising them to play lovely football, and selling them for a sizable profit.
Brighton have earned a lot of money by selling Ben White, Marc Cucurella, Yves Bissouma and Leandro Trossard. This is while Moises Caicedo, Alexis Mac Allister and Kaoru Mitoma are all £50m-plus assets currently on their books.
Their rivals must be watching on wondering how on earth Brighton keep finding these players. Their success rate with signings is on a whole other scale compared to everyone else in their position.
While Graham Potter was in charge, Brighton were often the easiest Premier League team on the eye, with their Achilles heel being their lack of end product in attacking areas.
As a supporter of Rotherham United, a team that often spurned chances in trying to establish themselves in the Championship instead of being relegated at the first time of asking, it was endearing watching Brighton go through similar struggles in the league above.
While it is fair to say that the style of football adopted by Brighton and Rotherham tends to differ quite a bit, a feeling of familiarity came from watching Potter’s side drop points in a division that punishes clubs lacking in goals.
Potter’s Brighton did frustrate onlookers and their own supporters at times, but the job he did at the Amex Stadium was still remarkable and it was only a matter of time before he was plucked away.
Brighton’s work in the transfer market has been mightily impressive, but their decision on Potter’s replacement has perhaps been even more eye-catching.
De Zerbi is a manager who has often earned praise from his colleagues – with Pep Guardiola one of his biggest admirers – and it has become clear in recent months that the 43-year-old is tailor-made for Brighton.
When a club lose a long-term manager like Brighton did with Potter, the dream is that the next boss is able to build on the strong foundations set up by his predecessor.
This is often a pipedream, as there almost always tends to at least be a slight decline during the transitional phase. Yet Brighton’s philosophy has enabled De Zerbi to slot in seamlessly and ensure that a top-six finish this season is more than a realistic objective.
Given the financial might of the teams around them, this would be a stunning achievement and I really hope they can pull it off.
The Seagulls are becoming increasingly clinical in attacking areas, with Mitoma, Mac Allister, Solly March and Pascal Gross all being regular scorers this season.
A criticism of Brighton has often been that they have lacked a clinical striker, but with 18-year-old Evan Ferguson, they appear to finally have one of them as well. It’s like sorcery.
The teenager has been one of the Premier League’s breakout stars this term. With seven goals and four assists already to his name in just 20 outings, it is going to be thrilling to watch him develop in the coming years.
Brighton are by no means the biggest club in the Premier League and they never will be. But they are a team full of likeable players and an equally likeable manager who is perfectly equipped to coach their captivating style of football.
I mean, Brighton is just a lovely place to be as well. The whole package makes it difficult not to love them as the second team you adore from afar.
There has often been a stigma around supporting more than one team. In some ways, this is justified. You can’t be walking around wearing a Liverpool shirt one day and a Manchester United one the next.
Also, unless it is down to family affiliation, you do come across as a bit of a kn*b if you are someone who chooses to go down the glory supporter route to have Liverpool or Man Utd – England’s two most-backed clubs – as your second team.
Admittedly, I am not fully in the clear. As a kid, I did have a weird fascination with Chelsea during the Didier Drogba, Frank Lampard and John Terry days (don’t judge me, we’ve all made mistakes). I have since grown past that phase, thankfully.
If you’re like me and support your local team, especially with mine being a club often battling around the lower divisions, I reckon you are well within your rights to also hang your hat on a Premier League club to broaden your horizons.
The same can be said for supporters of a Premier League team who pick out someone sh*t (let’s say, Doncaster Rovers for no reason in particular) as your second team.
For me, it is Brighton. While I would take immense satisfaction in *hopefully* seeing Rotherham stay in the Championship this season, I’ll also have a smile on my face if the Seagulls round off a sensational campaign by earning a place in Europe and maybe even going all the way in the FA Cup.