Chris Hughton’s demise at Brighton probably surprised nobody. Certainly not myself.
Captain Negative does his stuff in the only way he can. Park that proverbial bus, aim for a 0-0 and a 1-0 is a bonus. If you’re lucky. No freedom for his players to express themselves and no creativity in his squad. Or at least none that is encouraged.
Ask Nathan Redmond, for instance.
Now, I had the privilege of meeting Hughton in (I believe) the Arras Club in North London – it could have been the Chanticleer – shortly after he retired at Spurs. A nicer, more decent and articulate man you will not come across – and I mean it. I think he was there with the old Spurs winger, Tony Galvin. I could be wrong.
But it got me thinking… “We are Premier League, said we are Premier League”. So who can we compete with – for sure?
It sounds like Brighton are first on the list. How old is Glenn Murray? Who’s the next manager? I like the look of Matt Ryan in goal but he’s going to be one busy dude next season.
We’ll outdo them.
Sheffield United and Villa (I’m really sticking my neck out there; it could yet be Leeds) I’m really not worried about. Premier League officials and VAR? Sorry Mr Grealish, you’re sussed through the middle. We don’t do it and nor should you.
Burnley? I admire Sean Dyche for the job he has done but can he sustain it? I have serious doubts and I’ve seen “passing” sides cut them apart. If we are not a passing side the Lord knows who is.
Southampton? Not a bad side at all but I reckon we could hold our own with them. Especially when Nathan Redmond has to change sides to get away from Max and then faces Jamal. Both can at least keep up with him for pace and does Nathan track back with diligence and enthusiasm? Oh no. Fast forward to Max and Jamal.
Then there’s the likes of Watford and the dreaded Palace (sorry, I despise Selhurst Park as a football venue). Yes, they’ll most likely try to kick us and rough as up but I’m not sure they’ll get away with it twice around – both home and away.
Then there is Bournemouth. I like Eddie Howe, I honestly do. But they are beatable as we have already discovered.
Wolves aren’t that dissimilar to us – I don’t expect to double them but there are points up for grabs in those fixtures.
And the West Hams. Evertons and Leicesters of the world are prone to the odd hiccup.
So that, by my primitive arithmetic, is eight sides we could finish above.
And that’s without a so-called top club falling apart – reference Man United this season.
Let’s all enjoy our summer break with no fear.