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BLOOM: YEARS OF HARD WORK PAID OFF

12 August 2017

Brighton & Hove Albion chairman Tony Bloom is looking forward to seeing years of hard work come to fruition when the club welcomes Manchester City to the American Express Community Stadium this evening.

The Albion chairman says the club couldn't wish for a better re-introduction to life in the top flight and is ready for the challenges that lie ahead.

Speaking at a press conference this week, he said, “I feel great – it's superb for everyone connected with the club that here we are, five days away from the start of our first-ever game in the Premier League with a full house, great atmosphere and we're playing the favourites to win the title.

“But for all Manchester City's spending power, they can only put 11 of their players on the pitch at a time! Our players will take confidence from our last pre-season friendly against a top, top club in Europe – I was talking to my fellow directors and we think they Atletico de Madrid was probably the best team we've ever played in our history.

“It was a brilliant workout for us and now we can't wait for the tasks ahead in the Premier League.”

Bloom cast his mind back just before his tenure as Albion chairman began, and reiterated just how far the club has come in such a short space of time.

“If you look back eight years, a few months before I actually took over as chairman, we were near the bottom of League One and there was a point, just before Easter, when we were six or seven points off safety, and we got lucky with an away game at Bristol Rovers.

“We were down to our bare bones, with a lot of players out, and the game got postponed because of bad weather. We would have struggled that night, but we went back towards the end of the season, won the game, and it was a big deal just to stay in League One. To get promoted two years later, ready for our first season at the Amex, was a great result.

“In terms of vision, the dream when we built the stadium and this facility as a training ground was to be in the Premier League – and I wouldn't have gone ahead with either project if I didn't think it was a distinct possibility.”

The Albion owner says there are few similarities between now and the club’s only previous promotion to the top flight in 1979, other than the underdog tag which Chris Hughton’s side will have going into this season.

“A lot of people below the age of 25-30 would never have seen Brighton in that light [as a top division club].

“We were in the top division for four seasons between 1979 and 1983 and were punching above our weight because we had never been there before.

“We did well for the three seasons, survived there and then there was the FA Cup Final as well. Apart from that there was a play-off final against Notts County in 1991, but it was all downhill until the late nineties.

“We have been climbing up ever since we got back to Withdean. It is a very different club from where we were in the late seventies.”


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