On our way to the Premier League

On our way to the Premier League

After half a season of struggle under Sami Hyypia, Chris Hughton was appointed manager right at the end of 2014 and proceeded to stabilise the club.

In 2015/16, Hughton’s side challenged at the right end of the Championship table once more, establishing a club-record 22-match unbeaten run in the league in the process.

In a three-way battle with Burnley and Middlesbrough for the two automatic promotion places, Albion travelled to Middlesbrough on the last day of the season needing to win to go up, but could only draw. Perhaps drained by that effort, they then lost out to Sheffield Wednesday in the play-offs.

But, just like 1978/79, Hughton and his team renewed their efforts in the 2016/17 season and, in tandem with Newcastle United, dominated the Championship campaign. Promotion to the Premier League was sealed on Easter Monday, 17 April, amid scenes of unbridled joy from the supporters, the players, the directors and the staff. The average number of tickets sold per match was 27,995, an unprecedented figure.

Albion thus return to the top flight 34 years after they last played in it. Those three decades and more have seen the club plunge to unprecedented depths, but the determination of the club’s supporters – on the terraces, in the seats and in the boardroom – to see it survive and thrive has shone through.

There are very few, if any, clubs in England where the bond between the supporters and their club – forged in the most adverse of circumstances – is as strong as at Brighton & Hove Albion. This was shown when over 100,000 supporters flocked to Brighton seafront for the club's open-top bus parade on Sunday 14th May, which marked a final celebration of the club's promotion to the Premier League.

With a superb stadium (voted the best new stadium in the world in 2012), a world-class training facility, a multi-award-winning charitable arm (“Albion in the Community”), and exceptional club and team management, the future looks bright. No one knows what it will bring – but we know it won’t be for the want of trying.