31 October 2014

NIGHTMARE AT FALMER

This headline could be pretty much be following any match played at our swanky home ground this season. Don’t worry, it’s not - it's much worse than that. After reading Carter’s hilarious Halloween Albion XI of November 2010 we posted yesterday, what better time to do an updated version? Be warned, it lacks the witticism of Carter and some puns are spookily bad. But it is up to date...

So we start with two relics - or stalwarts - from November 2010. In goal we have Casper (the friendly ghost) Ankergren, smoking Marlborough Lights. In fact, seeing as he is a friendly ghost and this is Halloween, a time for fear, he is more of a scary proposition should he fall asleep with a fag in his mouth - that’s how fires start. At right back is Iñigo Cauldron. The King of the Basque country is routinely known to boil an eye of newt with a toe of frog, a scale of dragon and a tooth of wolf for dinner. Kazombie LuaLua isn’t convinced by his vice captain’s dinner choices - he opts for Nando’s - and, as a result, is on the bench.

At right back, Boo-no Saltor, who will demonstrate his deadly touch and fearless shooting. He is the one player who certainly gets the heart racing, and not always in a good way. The centre backs include captain Gordon Fear, who certainly put his surname into Robert Lewandowski when playing for Scotland against Poland the other week. The other centre back is Lewis Dunk - either on the basis that everyone dunks their heads for apple bobbing this time of year or for his brief association with the voyeurism trial (in which several Albion players put the fear into that poor woman).

Moving into midfield now and Rohan Wince will start as the holding player, the new Liam Throatcutt if you like. After Rohan smashed in that screamer at Swindon earlier this season, Wes ‘Anderson’ Foderingham winces at the thought. Jake Forster-Casket sits in the middle of midfield. In his spare time he hangs out with Ian Hart, gaining tips on the best ways to make wooden coffins. As we have started to run out of strikers for this exercise (or do I mean the season?), alongside Foster-Casket, is Danny Horror, the Dutchman who recently signed from ADO Den Haag. Did you know that ADO stands for the All Death Occult?

What kind of blog post would this be without mentioning Phantom McCourt? This ghostlike figure seemingly only appears for the last ten minutes of matches and floats around like a majestic ballerina who’s been given permission to play football. If only he would float around for 90 minutes rather than when the game is already lost. McCourt can play right wing for this Halloween match. On the left, we’d have to play Kemy Disgusting, which is either his Halloween name or what all Albionites should refer to him for the disgusting amount of wages he’s blagged for his 13 games a season.

It’s certainly scary with Chris Ooooo’Grady leading the front line. But, surely the whole point of this team would be to scare the opposition, not the home fans. He may never get a goal, but he is sure to find a ghoul this Halloween.

Oh no, I’ve just realised that, like Sami Hyypiä, I’ve forgotten about Nzuzi Tombstone. Stick him on the bench.

And, of course, they would be presided over by interim manager Nathan Moans, who has the job after Sami’s head went on the block and he got hanged out to dry. On the bench we could have David Stockdowl, Adam Chicken and Sam Bulldog. Oh hang on, this is the Albion animal XI now. That reminds me, I once did a gardening XI simply because of Perry Digweed - where on earth was Gary Gardner then?

30 October 2014

HALLOWEEN NOSTALGIA FROM HAPPIER TIMES

The November 2010 issue of TSLR (034) was rather jolly - Albion were remarkably eight points clear at the top of Division 3 and the fanzine was shifting a few copies. Ever present contributor, Carter penned a column which he sent to us for that issue four years ago now. In this exclusive rib-tickling extract from that issue, Carter came up with his Albion themed Albion XI. Sit back, relax and enjoy this hilarious bit of nostalgia from happier times. Happy Halloween kids.

A recent sales meeting revealed to me that TSLR is thriving at the moment; well, I say 'sales meeting, but it was more a case of a certain co-editor bellowing 'we've almost run out' across London Road as I queued for the bus after the Yeovil game
 
But it's not merely rising attendances and scintillating form that are feeding interest in this fanzine. I firmly believe it's the ever-increasing quality of writing, up-to-the minute reporting and gripping genre-defining exposés...and here's my Halloween themed Albion XI:
 
Ironically, as I embark on this piece of belated spooky nonsense, there is nothing at all horrific about the Albion's form at the moment. In fact, with no gay puns intended, the team are seemingly putting the willies up all challengers lately. But are they as frightening as this following bunch of Withdean occult heroes?

An easy choice between the sticks is Casper Ankergren. Albion's number 16, is named after a cartoon ghost. Too busy being a decent 'keeper means Casper has no time to cut eye-holes in duvet covers and attend fancy dress parties, thus keeping plenty of clean sheets.
 
Casper is protected by a back three, starting with Joel Lynch, an 18th century hangman, who's apparition is sometimes seen in Nottingham Forest. Keith Mc'Fear'son is also included just for pun reasons. These two are joined by Colin Hawkins - for four minutes at least - who could be included or a number of reasons. His name being an anagram of 'Ha! I skin clown' , which is reminiscent of a circus based serial killer, will do for now.
 
The flesh-eating duo of 'Helliott' Bennett and Charlie Oatway start in midfield. Whilst Charlie is busy biting the ears of Chesterfield players, Bennett prefers to attack the opposition down the right flank. Steve Melton makes the team owing to featuring in the Wizard of Oz; as the Witch of the West is heard to say after Dorothy throws water at her: 'I'm Melton!...Melton!'. I heard an old chap in the North Stand recently comment that he had left his trannie at home. As such, I'll have Darren 'Tim' Currie vamping up the midfield dressed as Frank-N-Furter. Anything I can do to help.

Of course, Currie is currently at the hotbed of paranormal activity, Dagenham, alongside Bas Savage, the first in a horrific forward line. Savage could describe the level of gore and violence in one of my favourite horror films, Saw. In celebration of this, I've also given the nod up-front to Nicky Forster To Retrieve A Key Out Of Her Unconscious Room Mate's Stomach Before The Timer On The Bear Trap Clamped on Her Head Runs Out. This creepy, and altogether tenuously linked, team is completed by ex-loan signing Daniel Webb, merely for the spider connotation. Although it is rather chilling that Webb is one of what can only be a small list of those to have played for the Albion and played in the Champions League - he appeared in a qualifying round match for Maltese side, Marsaxlokk - this sounds like a testicular related complaint rather than a football club. Rather appropriately, considering the whole spider bit, Webb is now plying his footballing trade in Bath.
 
Okay, none of this is very scary or relevant, but maybe the pre-match performance by Gully's Ghouls will be better? Anyway, I've got to go as I'm alone babysitting and the phone is ringing.

Don't have Dick Knight-mares.

28 October 2014

HE WORE AN ORANGE JACKET

I have a terrible confession to make.

I love the new third kit. The orange one. The one that looks like a hideous highlighter pen, yet is somehow brighter. The one that makes the green and black highlighter pen kit from yesterseason pretty dull on reflection. The one that costs a whopping £45, which means buying all three shirts this season would cost £135. The shirt that I should hate. One that is probably manufactured by poverty-stricken Indonesian children who should be at school (Nike’s PR team, of course, these days claim this is not the case). The shirt that makes you look like a steward. The one that is a third kit we don't need That orange one.

I know I shouldn’t but the more I saw of people wearing it on Saturday the more excited I became. I want one and I will buy one once I have saved up my pennies. I know the arguments against (I have just listed them) and yet I still love it. Is it the identification of football orange and the Dutch, Total Football and Rinus Michels? Is it because the football on the pitch isn’t quite so bright at the moment? Is it so I won’t get lost in amongst the crowds this winter? Is it because it’s Halloween this week and I want to look like a pumpkin? Or is it quite simply that I’m colour blind?
I genuinely don’t know why I love it so. This orange Nike identikit that you can purchase for just £19 online without the Albion and American Express logo stuck on. I will buy one and hang my head in shame for looking like a wannabe steward. To be honest, I like it like I like Rick Astley - I know I really shouldn’t. But, honestly, I’m going to buy one. And I’m never going to give it up.

20 October 2014

KEMY AND THE CHARITY SHOP

After last week’s miserable blog about how all Albionite writers have lost their humour, a funny little short story arrived in our post-box. It came in the old fashioned way, courtesy of a letter that must have giggled its way through the postal service to TSLR Towers. If it had been on a postcard, the postman would have stolen it. The humour is still there, it looks like we just have to ask for it…

Maureen had worked in the Worthing Scope charity shop since 1975. Of course, in 1975 it wasn’t known as Scope. She had begun working for the Worthing, Littlehampton and District Society which was affiliated to the national body. Many changes had happened to her, the charity and the shop down the years but she was always happy working for something she truly believed in. Maureen would always arrive to the shop on Chapel Road early to prepare for the day ahead and today was no different.

It was a spring Thursday in June, and Maureen was excited. That morning she was expecting a celebrity at the shop. And celebrities didn’t come to Worthing’s Chapel Road every day. A professional footballer had run into trouble with the law for repeated driving offences and was due at Scope to carry out some community service. At Maureen’s shop! She didn’t exactly like footballers - they were prima donnas, earning too much money and treating the law with contempt. But Maureen was prepared to give this one a chance. And she was a little bit excited.

A larger man than expected walked through the door, sporting an unshaven chin, and dressed in a leather jacket. “I’m here for my community service punishment”, he told Maureen. “You don’t look slim enough to be a footballer”, said the shop assistant, “are you really Kemy Agustien?” “Yes, I’m Kemy,” said Kemy, “I’m here for my shift. And I am a footballer!”

Maureen ushered the big man into the back room. Kemy’s first job was to sort through the bin bags left on the doorstep overnight. By lunchtime he’d sorted through them all as Maureen and her assistant, Susan, did little but chat at the front counter. As a prize for his good work, in the afternoon he would be allowed behind the counter. Maureen distributed cucumber sandwiches and cups of tea for lunch. Kemy was surprised at how he was actually enjoying himself. He had spent about as many hours in the shop as he had played for Albion now.

Maureen was pleased with the time and effort Kemy had put into her shop, though she still doubted whether he was an actual footballer. Maybe the community service team had meant to tell her they were sending someone who sold pies at the football rather than an actual footballer. Though he was dressed expensively enough to be a footballer, she thought. Maureen had been particularly pleased with the way Kemy had conducted himself in the afternoon. They had never sold so many Ruth Rendell Mysteries. And it was all because the strapping Kemy had convinced a gaggle of old ladies that they should buy them.

But all good things come to an end, and at 5pm Maureen reluctantly shut the shop. “Thanks for all your hard work today, Kemy. Seeing as you’re banned from driving, can I call you a taxi?”

“No it’s alright, Maureen. I’ve got my BMW X6 parked in Union Place.”

17 October 2014

MONEY, MONEY, MONEY

The BBC has done a rather good job the last couple of years of telling us football supporters how badly we’re being ripped off. They're latest iteration basically tells us what we already know, that the cost of football increases ever more, despite the continued stagnation in most people's wages. Yet the latest set of figures has thrown up some interesting observations specifically about the Albion, and the costliness of going to Falmer. In this article, the BBC sport team tell us the ten things they have learnt from the exercise. In this TSLR article, we look at the five things we have.

Our cheapest season ticket is the third most expensive in the league

This is all about context. I’ve always thought that £465 to watch all 23 Albion home games (about £20.22 per match) is pretty cheap. But in the context of other Division 2 teams, it certainly now looks pricey. To think, only Norwich (£499.50) and Bournemouth (£480) are more expensive to go to. It is quite odd we’re so expensive compared to these two - Bournemouth are obviously hampered by a small ground (capacity of 12,000 apparently - a rather convenient round number, don’t you think?) and Norwich have recently been paying top flight prices (and top flight wages).

The BBC handily tell us: “The cheapest season ticket at Brighton and Hove Albion is 36% more than the average comparable cost for the Championship of £343.” So where would you pay just £343? Slap bang in the middle is Brentford (£343) though don’t expect this to be the case at their new ground. It could stay that cheap I suppose, as they need to compete with seemingly hundreds of other London clubs. Both Fulham and Charlton season tickets are significantly less. Personally, as a resident of London, and if football clubs could be chosen by cost alone, Charlton looks cracking value. Their season tickets - the cheapest in the second tier - are just £150. And they don’t think much of P****e.

Talking of the Selhurst scummers, yes they’re home ground is a health and safety nightmarish mess - and their cheapest match tickets are a whopping £30 - but they’re cheapest season ticket is just £420. Half of top flight clubs have cheaper tickets than Albion: Everton (£444); Swansea (£429); Sunderland (£400); Leicester (£365); West Bromwich Albion (£349); Stoke (£344); Aston Villa (£335); Burnley (£329) and Manchester City (£299) all join P****e as cheaper than Albion. The head honchos at Falmer can hide behind the usual arguments - these are clubs in less affluent areas (all of them) or these are clubs with huge grounds they can’t fill (Villa, Manchester City). The former argument works better with me, play-offs aside, it’s not like we’ve ever filled Falmer.

We are the most expensive in the league for ‘cheapest day out’

This isn’t the fault of Brighton being an expensive place to visit, this is all to do with Falmer being an expensive place to visit. The BBC states that for a ‘day out’ they have added together the price of a match-day ticket, pie, cup of tea and a programme. Albion are the most expensive for this of all 24 tier two sides, at £34.70. Sheffield Wednesday is the cheapest - basically half that, costing just £17.80. Factor in the fact that really a day out also includes plenty of Harveys and possibly a second pie offering from Piglet’s, then you are looking at nearer £50. Luckily we’ve got that season ticket to bring the match-day ticket price down by £4.78 a match. That’s at least another Harveys for the Saturday afternoon stomach collection.

Tea costs a hideous amount wherever you are

At Falmer you pay £2.10 for a cup of tea apparently. I’d never know because the only interaction I have with tea drinkers is the sneer I give them as they hold up the beer queue at half time (dedicated hot drink lanes please). The cheapest cup of tea in the league is at Brentford and that costs £1.50 FFSMurray. The rising price of tea has infuriated me outside of football in recent times - I paid an outrageous £1.20 for a hangover chasing caffeine boost this very morning. There should be some sort of law - I mean, it’s a tea bag, hot water and long life milk, how much can it be? At Southampton (the most expensive in the country) a tea costs £2.50. Four clubs in Division 4 share the distinction of having the cheapest tea in the league - Newport County, Portsmouth, Accrington Stanley and Stevenage charge £1. Or the price of a fanzine.

The cost of the Albion shirt is £2.21 more than the average cost of £42.79 in the Championship

Does £2.21 really matter? Probably not. Would £2.21 get you another pie? Or a Harveys? No, it’d get you a cup of tea. And 11 pence change!

Piglet’s Pantry pies are the most expensive in the division

And worth every penny.

The most worrying thing about this compilation of data from the BBC is that the clubs who aren’t charging the most get a jolly easy way of seeing what they can get away with. It’s almost free market research for them, and they’re all making enough money to carry that out for themselves. It’s hard to properly draw conclusions though as the BBC’s figures come from different parts of the country with different micro-economies and different circumstances. Yes, the Albion is more expensive than London clubs in our league, but Fulham, Charlton and Brentford have never been particularly popular clubs. Yes, we’re more expensive than some northern clubs in the top flight, but they don’t necessarily have a swanky new stadium or supporters who can afford any more. The real analysis is the value for money chart the BBC hasn’t compiled. It reads like this, if we’re winning, we’ll pay whatever they want!

14 October 2014

WHERE HAS ALL THE HUMOUR GONE?

When we were writing blogs regularly, I couldn’t help but wonder whether we were adding to a saturated market. There were hilarious Albion blogs everywhere - you know, the ones that provided an alternative viewpoint to the usual crap served up by the official website. Or channelled through a local newspaper so worried about losing access to the club that their stories appear like club press releases. We have taken a back seat from providing this amusing commentary after six years or so (we thought that Colin Hawkins jokes could offer you no more amusement) but recently we’re finding it hard to find anything remotely funny (or even different) being written about the club at all. Well, that is without it being hidden by six pages of irrelevant material on a North Stand Chat thread about extremism in schools.

Outside of the Argus and the club website, there are plenty of blogs simply regurgitating match reports. So many I’m not even going to regurgitate them here. More often than ever when I flick across to Newsnow’s Albion page, it is stuffed with several versions of the same story (and I’m not having a go at Newsnow - they list us, FFSMurray). In fact, they’re not even stories anymore, they’re club press releases. Rarely rewritten. Simply copied and pasted onto a different website. For a different set of advertisers who nobody notices. Newsnow over the past two days has published 18 Albion stories. Eight of them are club statements on the official website and a further six are from the Argus. I know, it’s an international break but where are the funny stories about Casper Ankergren smoking or Leo Ulloa snogging some girl down West Street who isn’t his wife? There used to at least be a few of those...

We Are Brighton have either got as bored of blogging as we seemingly have, or have been subject to a hostile takeover by the club website. Their latest post is a copy and paste job from the official website about Tottenham tickets going on sale. Their previous post a match preview for the ‘upcoming’ Charlton match. Their hilarious posts of last season - like comparing Kemy’s driving points total with the number earned by P****e seem a distant memory.

Then there’s The Goldstone Wrap - the light-hearted look at some of the preposterous Albion media coverage of yesteryear. On 25 June 2014, a post - It's a Wrap - suggested that we would be shown no more delightful examples of how the Albion has been portrayed in the media down the years. Luckily, the man behind the blog hasn’t quite fulfilled that promise and has treated us to four posts since. But they’re now few and far between.

Now I’m less critical of these two as they always featured in TSLR. Not Worth That has developed a wonderful blog, it’s more amusing than the traditional media and can often be confused with proper journalism. Whilst it moved beyond simply taking the mickey out of the club it was valuable to have a source of information outside of the club, or the club’s trance. But since the summer Not Worth That has seemingly gone underground.

At The End of the Day Des was another of our early recruits and, to be fair, was always a bit slack on updating the blog. However the last thing published coincided with the last ever hard copy version of the fanzine, back in April. Even Jem Stone’s Buzzfeed lists have dried up. I'll even take a Mendoze Sky Sports column right now. Where have all the funny Albion fans gone? The ones replaced by a miserable, ageing subsection of Albionites we used to store amongst the weeds of the East Terrace.

Perhaps this is why we started a fanzine in the first place. Anyway, apologies for the rant, I’ve just realised that writing about nobody writing funny stuff about the Albion isn’t at all funny. I’m off to find something humouress to write about. Maybe Colin Hawkins can help.

18 September 2014

LOSING PRETTY?‏


As we left Griffin Park’s many pubs on Saturday, Albionites were bemoaning our haphazard approach to the game. I was smiling after a defeat for the first time in as long as I can remember. Yes, we maybe should have sacrificed our ridiculously attacking full backs (especially at 1-0 down) but, overall, we were a joy to watch. I’ve heard of winning ugly, but losing pretty? It works for me, if not all Albion fans.

‘Winning ugly’ is a term we’ve heard countless times over the years. It was best performed by us in that magical March under Gus when all our tippy-tappy excellence was reduced to long-ball 1-0 wins at the likes of Dagenham and Redbridge and Yeovil. I think we managed seven 1-0 wins that month. We won ugly and we won the league.

Brentford was possibly the first time in my Albion supporting history that I actually felt inspired in defeat. Technically, if skill level per player is what you’re after, we’ve genuinely never had it so good. Of course, at some point this season, our lovely passing, genuinely gorgeous skill and outlandish attacking effort will need to turn into points. I know that. But, at this end of the season, in a Championship that threatens to be just as mediocre as it has been the last few seasons, I’m more than happy with our start to the season.

Did anybody seriously think we’d blag it into the play-offs after our start last season? On paper, Oscar Garcia’s debut performances were better (points wise at least) than Sami’s this term, though the core of Gus’ ceiling squad was still together. The scale of changes at the club the summer just gone should not be underestimated. However there are enough signs already to start thinking we could be entering a great new era.

Griffin Park showed us a formation I don’t think I’ve come across before, certainly at Albion. In defence and attack we sort of played two centre-backs, two full-backs as wingers, three central midfielders and three up front. It was almost a 2-5-3 if you like, a sort of progressive (or possibly regressive, depending on your opinion) return to the WM formation of yesteryear. It mainly didn’t work because we didn’t take the lead and yet there we were, with five clear cut chances before Brentford began to come close. That’s more chances than we managed in more than two consecutive games last season.

Of course the inspiration I emerged with from Griffin Park was tempered slightly by our loss at Ipswich in midweek. But again, we had the chances first and simply failed to convert them. What we could really do with is an £8m striker - now where do you find one of those? The amount of chances we are creating is incredible, more than most games in any of our recent Division 2 seasons. Just think of the joy Mr Ulloa would be having. It does means that pressure is mounting on one of his replacements to become that 12-goal a season (!) striker we’re missing so much. Give them time, they’ll get there.

That’s the thing with football - you need personnel to match at the right time for really special things to happen. How many 1-0 wins would Bobby Z have managed without Paul Watson and a solid backline?

The Sami Hyypiä WM formation needs work, especially defensively. The full backs cum wingers were pushed so far forward on Saturday that any pacey Brentford attack left paceless Gordon Greer / Lewis Dunk / Aaron Hughes terrifyingly exposed (and it was genuinely terrifying, being that close to the action from the away terrace). But it can work. It just needs two very disciplined holding midfielders to sit deep and allow our full backs forward. That is progressive attacking play, whether you like it or not - it confuses opposition players (and ours still, at the moment!) and stretches the game as much as possible.

Having such width then offers players like Kazenga LuaLua the opportunity to exploit space - arguably one of his two attributes (shooting hard being the other). So it was frustrating for everyone to see our somersaulting extraordinaire yet again ploughing an unwinnable task through the middle of the field.

Time will fix this. Players, universally stunted by small brains, will adapt to this way of playing. It requires new thinking from them - they need reassurance that they can play in a formation other than 4-4-2 or 4-5-1. This should come, especially if we start taking those chances to offer confidence that we can win this way. We, as fans, must give it a chance too. Why? I don’t see any other great plans on the horizon. Do we really want another summer without a manager? And wholesale playing staff changes No, I thought not. We must change our thinking, and smash through that ceiling.

We still have some way to go to be the club we all now somehow aspire to be. But after wholesale changes to the playing and coaching staff for the second summer running, we must be ahead of where most thought we would be. Keep the faith kids, this could easily be as exciting an era as any. Up the Albion.

For all you Albion merchandising needs, check out the TSLR ONLINE SHOP. Put in an order and we might even send it to you within a month. Our stock regularly runs out, sorry.

8 June 2014

HYYPIA: THE GERMAN VIEW

Albion fan and Bundesliga expert Jonathan Harding gives us an introduction to Sami Hyypia.

Back in 2009 when I was left sickened after Francis Laurent had just scored an injury-time winner for Southend at the Withdean, I never would have imagined what lay ahead for Brighton. From the Amex to Poyet and consecutive play-off semi-finals, I was left marvelling at where and how the club had progressed.

Now that the bitter taste surrounding Gus’ departure has all but been digested and Garcia’s interlude has come to an end, the attention turns to the new man entrusted with balancing our footballing hopes. Sami Hyypiä is a big name, but he arrives just as unproven as many of his predecessors.

Rudi Völler, Leverkusen’s sporting director, supported Hyypiä at the beginning of April 2014, saying the club didn’t feel the partnership was over because Sami was a fighter. Five days and a disastrous defeat to relegation-battlers Hamburg later, the Finn was out in the cold.

Völler was certainly right when he said that Hyypiä was still learning at the management level, and taking Leverkusen as your first job is topped only by David Moyes taking over at Manchester United in terms of being thrown in at the deep end.

Perhaps Brighton can be encouraged how quickly Hyypiä learned to swim though. In his first seven games in charge, Leverkusen won six, scoring 17 in the process. The club finished 2013 in second and hot on the heels of Bayern Munich. Yet amidst the rays of success, there were clouds of concern looming. A sloppy finish to the first half of the season was one thing, but the embarrassing performance against a far from formidable Manchester United side was a quiet reminder of Hyypiä’s limits.

From mid February until Hyypiä’s dismissal at the beginning of April, Leverkusen only picked up five league points from a possible 27. Three consecutive defeats to Schalke, Wolfsburg and Mainz (sides all aspiring for a European spot) damaged Leverkusen’s confidence and Hyypiä couldn’t haul them out of it.

“It’s clear that as a manager, he’s only had to enjoy the sunnier side of management so far. He’s never had to deal with a crisis, and that’s why he’s lacking a bit of experience in the current situation,” said Völler five days before sacking the Finn. While Völler’s words were true at the time, their validity has since expired. Hyypiä arrives at Brighton having experienced the pressure and expectation that comes with bad form.

While the former Liverpool defender does arrive with some pedigree, he’s still a fresh face in the managerial world and he must grow up fast if he is to make his time a success.

Too often during the Bundesliga season just finished, he seemingly failed or lacked the ability to motivate his side at pivotal moments. Hyypiä’s kind nature makes him appear more of a friend than a manager, something that may have hindered him. His tactical knowledge is growing, although he has a conservative tendency, and his naivety was surprising for a man of his footballing experience. His decision to rest his favoured front four in a league game against newly promoted Eintracht Braunschweig cost him three points, while vocalising his desire for clarification about his position to the press seemed youthfully unwise.

Hyypiä arrives at Brighton as a big name, but do not mistake Hyypiä the formidable central defender for Hyypiä the manager. One was a natural leader, the other is learning how to be one.


After one Latin-American cabaret and a Spanish affair, Brighton are in need of someone calmer and with less of an ego. Hyypiä certainly fits that bill perfectly, but it will be intriguing to see whether he can develop more than his tactical notebook at the club. If he does, the Seagulls could well fly higher than ever before.

Follow Jonathan at @JonBloggs66