IN a month where both young and old wish for various things to arrive on the moring of the 25th, I’m going to be a bit premature and hope that by the time Christmas comes, Brighton and Hove Albion FC will have parted company with their manager, Sami Hyypia.
Possibly the new man will be in post for Friday night’s visit of Millwall to the Amex or, at the very least, the hunt will be on for his successor while a caretaker boss is in situ. Unfortunately, there is no way of dressing it up, but in over 40 years of watching Brighton I honestly believe Sami Hyypia’s appointment has proved to be one of the worst managerial appointments at the Albion.
In his defence, you could argue that he was on a hiding to nothing from day one, and basically like numerous managers at various football clubs before him, very much in the wrong place at the wrong time.
And with the Albion clearly now being embroiled in a relegation dogfight, does this prove the current structure at the Albion is seriously flawed?
In addition to Hyypia, and almost certainly Nathan Jones, leaving the club, is the departure of head of recruitment David Burke really what supporters want?
The model, whereby Burke reportedly scouts and then recruits new players, rather than the time-honoured tradition of the manager doing it, is apparently a European concept.
I’m no xenophobe and I’m not totally dismissive of anything not from these shores, but is it something that will ultimately suceed at the Albion?
And with the apparent failure of the policy, is it far more worrying that, as a result, the Albion consistently appear to be dis-engaging with large sections of their fan base?
Like thousands of others, I’m passionate about the Albion. But while nothing stays the same forever, with the move to the Amex I get the feeling we’ve become customers instead of supporters. I know the corporate side of things is important in today’s game, but in football today, is there more stock taken in the respective sponsorship deals, rather than results on the pitch and the all-important connection with the core support?
Even with all the troubles at the Goldstone and later Withdean, I cannot remember a time where I’ve been aware of so many disaffected Albion fans.
It’s not rocket science or straight out of the Harvard business school – fans like attractive, attacking football, which in turn brings the winning of matches – and all with a charismatic, passionate manager leading the team.
Through apparently taking their eye off the ball, the Albion have lost their way, and possibly with the resulting relegation, a large part of the fan base.
Ever the optimist – you have to be at the Albion, it’s a pre-requisite – it’s not too late to turns things round. But for that to happen, some key people have to put their hands up and admit their mistakes, the first being rectified with the removal of Hyypia.
If not, relegation might not just be a concern, it will be a reality.