Seagulls Over Burwash Article – June 2024

End of Season Report, Excuses and Silver Linings 

Another football season over and a long hot summer of football-less weekends stretches for months ahead. What will we do? Where will we go? Well, it’s not that long actually. In fact, there is a mere nineteen days between the Championship Playoff Final and the start of the European Championship which kicks off with Scotland facing hosts Germany on 14th June. I think we can survive that……..

Compared to the 2022-2023 season, this season became a bit of an anti-climax for Brighton and Hove Albion. After qualifying for European competition for the first time in the history of the club, there was an expectation of even greater things to come. All started well and the Albion won five out of their first six Premier League matches, and I even have a screen-shot of Brighton at the top of the table. Despite an out-of-the-blue drubbing by Aston Villa, Brighton started the season playing attacking, dynamic football and all was going swimmingly. The team was settled and the dynamic two-pronged attack of Solly March on the right and Kaoru Mitoma on the left supplying the likes of Evan Ferguson, Danny Welbeck, Joao Pedro and Julio Enciso playing down the middle, caused problems for the best teams in the land. Then, on 21st October, towards the end of the match at Manchester City, Brighton’s Solly March fell awkwardly and damaged his knee. He needed two operations to repair meniscus cartilage damage and a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament and was ruled out for the rest of the season. From then on, there seemed to be an endless procession of first team players getting injured. Mitoma injured his ankle in December and missed seven games before a back injury ended his season in February. Other key players, such as Lamptey, Lallana, Milner, Enciso, Ferguson, Fati and Webster, to name but a few, have all missed significant chunks of the season. On many occasions, more than ten first team players were unavailable for selection. As a result, the team became disrupted and, particularly in attack, lacked the coherence of their early season form and results deteriorated. Despite the injuries, the Albion topped their group in the Europa League group stage and had some great results including beating Spurs 4-2 and those lovely boys from the other end of the M23, Crystal Palace, 4-1. However, there were too many draws against teams they could and should have beaten. As the games passed the season seemed to peter out, the opportunity for European qualification diminished and a mid-table finish was on the cards. What we would have achieved in the absence of these injuries, who knows, but I think that is a suitable excuse for not pipping Manchester City to the title! 

I would like to say that the season ended on a high with sound thrashings of Newcastle, Chelsea and Manchester United but, as I write this, those games haven’t been played (but I can always hope!). Despite the underwhelming second half of the season, all Brighton supporters will appreciate not only watching Premier League football but having a club to follow at all. Not too many years ago, the club was on the brink of extinction. The fact that the Albion fans are disappointed not to secure European football this season really does emphasise the fact that we and the football club have “come a long, long way together”.

There has been a silver lining to the injury problems the club experienced during the season in that a lot of young players from the development squad got opportunities to play in the first team that might, otherwise, not have come their way. A good example was Jack Hinshelwood, a versatile midfielder who filled in at right back and right midfield, as injuries ravaged the first choice starting line-up. He played exceptionally well and scored against Spurs and Palace. He may well have cemented his place in the team had he not also succumbed to a season-ending injury in the spring! Other young players such as defenders Odeluga Offiah and Valentin Barco and striker Mark O’Mahony stepped up from the junior sides and performed well. Such ‘in at the deep end’ experience can be hugely beneficial for young players as it not only boosts their own confidence but it demonstrates to the coaches that they are capable of playing at the highest level. That is, of course, unless they have a stinker, lose the game and their confidence and never play for the club again! Fortunately, that hasn’t happened to any of the current Albion youngsters and we can look forward to them donning the blue and white stripes again next season.

As mentioned above, the close season does not last long and we have the EURO 2024 to look forward to. Once again, the media has hyped up the chances of the current England squad by hailing it ‘the most talented ever’ and installing the Three Lions as favourites to win! All part of the usual build-up to a crushing penalty shootout defeat in knock-out rounds. Whilst the Euro 2024 squad have not been announced yet, it is likely that Brighton players will be representing a number of different countries. Albion captain, Lewis Dunk, should be in the England squad, but given Gareth Southgate’s love affair (metaphorically speaking of course) with slow and inconsistent Harry Maguire, he may yet miss out. Billy Gilmore will definitely play in the curtain raiser for Scotland against Germany, injuries permitting, while opposing him may be his Albion team mate, Pascal Gross. At the grand old age of 32, Gross has recently been called up for international duty for the first time. After missing all of last season with and anterior cruciate ligament injury, Jakub Moder is back to full fitness and may well feature for Poland having accumulated 21 caps since his debut in 2020. Finally, young goalkeeper, Bart Vertbruggen, will expect to be in the Dutch squad after making his debut in October last year. So, whilst we can expect the usual wailing and gnashing of teeth as England exit the competition in traumatic style, Brighton fans do have a few more irons in the fire and, hopefully, we can celebrate a Euro 2024 victory with one of our players, whether it be Dunky or not. After all, we won the World Cup in 2022 with Alexis McAllister, so why not?

The Seagulls Over Burwash AGM is to be held at The Bear Inn, Burwash on Monday 10th June. Here we will be discussing plans for coaches for the 2024-2025 season. We may have some spare coach season tickets available, so, if you would like to travel to the home games with us, please contact us on the details below. Our special guest for the AGM evening will be Albion Chief Executive and Deputy Chairman, Paul Barber, who will partake in a Q&A session with our members. These are always very interesting events that gives us an insight into the running of, what is widely regarded as, ‘the best run club in the country’. 

For further information on joining Seagulls Over Burwash and details of forthcoming events, meetings or coach travel, please visit our website at or email me at Alternatively, please feel free to contact our Chairman, Mr Teskey O’Neil, on 01435 884344 or

Simon Forster