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23 May 2014

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Departing Player of the Season Matthew Upson says he is relishing another crack at the Premier League, after agreeing terms with Championship title winners Leicester City, but it is with a heavy heart that he is leaving Brighton & Hove Albion.

The former England international, who will join the Foxes on 1st July, confessed that the opportunity of returning to the top flight was something he couldn't turn down - but has thanked the club and Albion fans for a memorable 18 months.

He told, "I would have happily stayed at Brighton for longer but having played the majority of my career in the top flight, I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity test myself against the best in the country again.

"At my age I have to think about how many more chances I will get to play in the Premier League, but I never gave up. I am excited to join Leicester and am looking forward to the next chapter of my career.

"What I was really hoping for ever since I joined the Albion was to get to the Premier League with them but unfortunately we fell short on both occasions - but I will take a lot of positives with me from my time at Brighton and I want to thank the club for giving me a chance to play first-team football again last year.

"I hope that I haven’t made my last appearance at the Amex as I will be hoping to see Albion hit the Premier League soon. The club has world-class infrastructure with the stadium and the new training ground around the corner, and the players there are as hungry as anyone to take the club up.

"With a few additions to the squad and the right manager in place, then there is no reason next season cannot be the one and I will be keeping an eye on the results."
Upson went on to pay tribute to the Albion fans after the Seagulls faithful voted him the 2013/14 Player of the Season.

"The support is simply incredible down at Brighton. The Amex is always buzzing on a matchday and the away support is fantastic considering that almost every game is a long trip from the south coast, but the fans were always there, always supporting us and deserve to taste success.

"I will forever be grateful to them for their backing in the Player of the Season votes. I have never won anything like that and I was touched and humbled by their support. I want to thank them for not only the award but for the magnificent support they have given me and all the players."
Albion chairman Tony Bloom paid tribute to Upson, telling, "I would like to thank Matt for 18 months of excellent service and wish him well for the future. He has played brilliantly for Brighton & Hove Albion, and while we are sorry to see him leave - and wanted him to stay with us - his desire to play in the Premier League is understandable."

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