SO if you’re here for the first time, I had a long and emotional time at Wrexham, getting them from the Vanarama Conference to the Championship before getting the sack after one player turned the dressing room against me. A warning for you any time you think you’re untouchable.
It wasn’t long until York City (a step below in League 1) came knocking and, looking at their squad, if anything it was a step up in quality from Wrexham. Sure enough, we won the league in the first full season I was in charge. It was a fantastic moment, the first time one of my teams has been promoted as league champions in this career. Yannick Bolasie and Connor Ogilvie were top performers for the Minstermen.
I was enjoying my spell at York and didn’t want to leave unless I was pushed. However, the team was going through an inconsistent patch on the pitch, and I was feeling frustrated. We were on course to finish in a play-off spot in the Championship though.
At this moment, Brighton, a club I’ve always admired, offered me their hotseat. After taking a look at some of the quality they had (Thorgan Hazard et al) and the wages they were able to offer (Brighton were competing on another planet to York in that regard) I simply and quickly said ‘Yes’.
After almost instant success with Wrexham despite having no money, I thought taking Brighton – with much more money – to the top Championship, would be straightforward. That old chestnut of overconfidence that never ends well on FM.
I took over at Brighton towards the end of the 2021/22 season when they were struggling and we finished in a ‘respectable’ 16th with dreams of a much better year in 2022/23.
I’ve gone with the same tactic I became comfortable with at York.
It’s a 4-2-3-1 based on possession, pressing and tough tackling.
After 31 games in 22/23 we’re 14th. We draw far too many games and can’t seem to get a head of steam going.
One of my main struggles at Brighton is many of my players are under-performing and I get the feeling they just can’t be bothered. I need warriors, winners and team players but Hazard has been a big let down, Hector Bellerin is good going forward but can’t defend (a bit like Rafael da Silva) and Junior Stanislas is loved by the fans but he’s terrible. The list goes on.
I’m realising some of my players aren’t nearly as good as their attributes make them seem and I can’t wait to have a major clear-out at the end of the season.
One or two players have impressed though.
I’m determined to get Brighton in to the Premier League and do what I couldn’t with Wrexham or York, win the Premier League and Champions League, but there’s a long, steep road ahead.
I managed to shed some high-earners at the end of last season and a similar job is needed. I want to start a clean slate so I need to carefully consider who to sign which I haven’t always done in the past.
Posts from earlier in this career featuring Wrexham and York City: