20 Years Ago, 90 League Positions Separated Newcastle and Brighton

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Hereford vs Brighton 1997 – Credit: http://www.wearebrighton.com

20 years ago, Brighton were languishing in the depths of the fourth tier of English Football. A famous match against Hereford United and subsequent equaliser from Robbie Reinelt ensured Brighton and Hove Albion’s safety. Meanwhile at the opposite end of the footballing pyramid, a Newcastle side led by Kevin Keegan, were gunning for the First Division title. They were pushed aside, 7 points behind a famous Manchester United side. 20 years ago, 90 league positions separated Brighton and Newcastle. Now it is just one.

It is amazing how much times have changed in 20 years. A club of Newcastle’s size shouldn’t be anywhere near the Championship. Brighton, who have spent a measly 4 years of their 116 year history in the top flight deserve this chance.

What do Brighton need to get promoted today?

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If Brighton beat Wigan today, Huddersfield have to find victory against Derby. Brighton can also draw but that would require Huddersfield to lose to Derby. A draw would leave Hughton’s side on 90 points with a +36 goal difference. If Huddersfield lose, the maximum they can acquire is 89 points with +5 goal difference.

The magic number for Brighton is 93 points (4 more points) which is a win and a draw. That will guarantee promotion to the Premier League even if Huddersfield were to win their last five games (leaving them on 92 points).

After that, it is between Brighton and Newcastle to battle it out for the title. However, both sets of supporters will find relief in having guaranteed promotion sealed first.

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It is surreal that 20 years of fighting, to save the club from relegation to the fifth tier of English football, to fight for planning permission for the AMEX, to comeback from back-to-back play off disappointments year after year, it has all boiled down to this day. This is the best time to be a Brighton fan. Let’s enjoy it.

Article by George Carden
Contact:
georgecarden99@gmail.com
Twitter: @George_Carden

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The Day After: A Brighton Fan’s Thoughts on the Game


Football can be cruel. In the space of minutes, a result can be turned on its head and throw fans through every emotion thinkable. Fulham were on the receiving end of that when Brighton punished them with two goals in three minutes back in early January. That would be the unfortunate fate of Brighton last night. Goals from Mohamed Diame and Ayoze Perez in the space of eight minutes snatched 3 points and 1st place from Hughton’s clutches.

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Image sourced from: irishmirror.ie

Thoughts on the game…

Brighton started off the stronger of the two sides. Bruno was denied by Kyle Darlow after the keeper parried his powerful volley. Baldock also came very close after a clever free kick routine which saw him clear on goal. However, once again Darlow made the vital stop. The Magpies keeper made a few more decent saves against Knockaert and Murray

A scramble in the box granted Brighton a seemingly fortuitous penalty. Both Murray and Clark were pulling each others shirts. It was the first of many odd decisions by referee,  Bobby Madley. Murray stepped up and converted the penalty.

Both teams had very good chances to score. Gouffran should have capitalised from Stockdale’s mistake. Brighton were unlucky to have a header cleared off the line. On another day the score could of been much higher for both teams.


Player Ratings

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Image sourced from: dailymail.co.uk (Getty Images)

 

It was a very mixed game for Brighton. The Seagulls created many great chances in the first 30 minutes. However, it was Newcastle who controlled the rest of the match in search of an equaliser.

David Stockdale – 6 – The keeper made some important saves which undeniably kept Brighton in the match. However, he almost gifted Gouffran a goal with a careless pass. Stockdale also should of done better with his punch for the first goal. It left him out of position for Diame’s fortuitous deflection.

Bruno – 5 – Unlucky not to score from his powerful volley. He was caught out of position and needed to win the header from Ritchie’s cross field ball to prevent the second goal.

Dunk – 7 – Another solid performance. Didn’t do much wrong and unlucky to see his header cleared off the line.

Duffy – 7 – Continuing to impress and wins virtually every header. A brilliant addition alongside Dunk. However shouldn’t have lost Perez in the box for Newcastle’s second goal

Tomori – 5Struggled on the left side because he is naturally right footed. Played well enough and made a few decent tackles.

Knockaert – 6 – We saw occasional glimpses of his quality. However, Newcastle did well in man marking and making sure he had limited space.

Sidwell – 8 – Another solid performance. He made some crucial tackles. Sidwell alongside Stephens is looking like a great partnership.

Stephens – 6 – Average game for his standard. He did his job but also misplaced too many passes on the night.

Murphy – 7 – One of the better performers in the team. His direct running threatened Newcastle in the first half. He went missing in the second half.

Baldock – 6 – Provided energy and pace upfront as he always does. He was unlucky not to score in first half.

Murray – 5 – Yes he scored a penalty. However, misplaced far too many passes and was isolated in the second half. Not his best game in a Brighton shirt.


Man of the Match:

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Image sourced from: dailymail.co.uk

Steve Sidwell. He was been rock solid in recent games. Provided some crucial tackles and link up play. He didn’t put a foot wrong in my opinion.



Remaining Games

We have played the best team in the Championship and were unlucky to lose. We lost to a team that is worth over £70,000,000 who also have a Champions League winning manager at their helm. We only have one top six side to play (Leeds). The rest of our games are very ‘winnable’ against mid-table sides. Villa might be a struggle on the last day of the season, but hopefully we will be promoted already by then.

We need Newcastle to do us a favour and beat Huddersfield and Reading in their two fixtures. If they do and we can get past Forest and Rotherham then we could be 12 points clear of third.

We have +30 goal difference and are 6 points clear of third. We are in a very strong position and promotion is in our hands. Lets just hope the players can hold their nerve.


Verdict

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Image sourced from: Getty Images

Both teams were below par however it was still an end-to-end entertaining game. The scoreline should have been much higher! Bobby Madley didn’t help the flow of the game by blowing the whistle every time players made contact. I thought we sat on our laurels too early and payed the price by sitting too deep and as a result gave Ritchie and Shelvey space to run at our defence and spray passes around the pitch. We were too sloppy with our passing which cost us when we were chasing a goal at the end. Hughton normally makes wise substitutions, however, taking Baldock off when it was 1-1 invited pressure and allowed the Magpies defence to play it out from the back. Kayal was also ineffective when he came on the pitch.

However, the chances we created would have probably been enough against a lower-placed side. It wasn’t our worse performance but a combination of misfortune and lack of concentration cost us. If we play like we did last night against Nottingham Forest, we are very likely to come away with three points.

Ideally, both Newcastle and Brighton will finish in the top two. Both teams have been superior than the rest of the Championship clubs over the course of the season and it would be the fairest outcome!

I believe Newcastle will win the league. Last night’s result will probably be the difference. However, winning the league is not the priority. Securing second and avoiding play offs is.

Top two is the priority and we are still in a great position to finish there.

Article by George Carden

Match Preview Special – Everything you need to know about #NUFC ahead of kick off. #BHAFC

 

 

Brighton and Hove Albion make the 600 mile round trip to Newcastle in what looks to be an early promotion clash. Newcastle were strongly tipped to bounce back from relegation and win the league this season. Things didn’t start well for Rafa Benitez in the Championship. The Magpies suffered two consecutive losses, the Tyneside team are finding their feet however, winning their last two league games. Here is everything you need to know about Newcastle ahead of their clash with Brighton.


The Manager

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Rafa Benitez. Not a name you would expect to see in England’s second division. The former Liverpool, Napoli, Chelsea and Real Madrid man was appointed by Mike Ashley to save Newcastle from relegation in the 2015/16 season. Benitez was almost successful and perhaps if he was appointed earlier in the season, Newcastle would likely still be playing Premier League football.


The transfers:

IN: Dwight Gayle, Matt Richie, Grant Hanley, Matz Sels,  Kieran Clark, DeAndre Yedlin, Mohamed Diame, Isaac Hayden and Jesus Gamez.

Total: approx. £45 million

OUT: Georginio Wijnaldum, Andros Townsend, Daryl Janmaat, Remy Cabella, Papiss Cisse, Fabricio Coloccini and Steven Taylor.

Total: approx. £56 million


Last time out:

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Brighton beat the Magpies 1-0 and 2-0 (2012 and 2013) in the English FA Cup. Are Brighton still Newcastle’s bogey team?


Players to look out for:

Newcastle United:

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Matt Richie. The former Bournemouth man joined Newcastle for an astronomical 12 million pound fee. He caused havoc out wide when Bournemouth were in the Championship and is a player to be very wary of.

Ayoze Perez. The Spanish U21 international attracted the attention of Real Madrid and Barcelona, instead, he opted for playing time over salary by choosing Newcastle in 2014. Perez scored 6 goals last season. Could Newcastle’s relegation be the perfect opportunity for him to take the bull by the horns and bring Newcastle back to the Premier League?

Jonjo Shelvey. Arguably Newcastle’s best player, Jonjo Shelvey isn’t a player you would expect to be in the Championship. His passing range and vision can cut any team open.


Fact of the day:

Newcastle last beat Brighton on March 29th 1990 (26 years ago). Since then, they have lost four games and drawn two against the Seagulls.


We are looking forward to…

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Seeing the positive reception (most likely) for Chris Hughton by Newcastle fans. Hughton took Newcastle up with 102 points in 2009/10 and even guided them to a mid-table finish in the Premier League. That wasn’t enough for unpopular owner, Mike Ashley, who decided he deserved the sack. Clueless!


Verdict:

Generally, Hughton prefers to play it safe in bigger matches. I wouldn’t be suprised to see a 4-5-1 formation employed to try and control the game. Newcastle are missing out strikers Dwight Gayle and Alexander Mitrovic who would have made the occasion noticeably tougher for Brighton. That being said, I can see a draw being the most likely outcome. Both teams won’t want to give the game away in the early stages which means it could be a dull affair… lets hope not!

Prediction: 2-2

NUFC: Lascelles, Ritchie

BHAFC: Knockaert, Murray

Article by @George_Carden