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SMITH URGES ALBION TO PRODUCE ANOTHER CUP RUN

24 January 2018

The Argus
Gordon Smith celebrates after scoring in the 1983 FA Cup Final.

Former Brighton & Hove Albion striker Gordon Smith is hopeful that the club’s current crop of players can match the achievement of reaching an FA Cup Final, but go one better and also retain their position in England’s top flight.

Smith was part of Albion’s relegated team that reached the FA Cup Final in 1983, and the Scottish forward urged the Seagulls to go for glory in the famous cup competition - but also understands the importance of remaining in the Premier League.

He said, “I don’t understand why teams don’t think ‘we’re not going to challenge for the league, why don’t we try and win the cup?’.

“The cup is very important and I would love to see the club have another great run in the competition - it was a great start when they beat Crystal Palace.

“When we got to the FA Cup Final in 1983, we had hard games all the way through and that was a good thing - it made us raise our game.

“Although staying in the Premier League is very important, you’ve only got five games to play before getting to the final.

“They should take them seriously and try to be a cup final team, but also retain their status in the top division this time around.”

The Seagulls head to Middlesbrough in the Emirates FA Cup on Saturday afternoon, following last weekend’s 4-0 defeat to Chelsea, and Smith reflected on the gap in quality and finance between teams in the Premier League

“In our day, there was more of a challenge and most teams were able to put up a good game, but nowadays you’ve got some teams who are so big financially.

“When I was a player here, we felt we could challenge any team. You’ve got to take things out of their game that are going to cause you problems, and then hope they’re also not at their best.

“But it’s very hard to compete because of the players they have. You only have to look at Manchester United getting Alexis Sanchez from Arsenal and the type of money they can afford to pay him - it’s incredible.

“How do you compete with that? That’s the sad element of it. There’s a gulf that’s developed, even at the highest level.”

Smith also commented on Albion’s battle for survival in the Premier League this season, and believes teams have started to show just how important a small streak of positives results can be.

“The big problem we’ve got at the moment is that the teams that have changed their managers, those who were struggling, have suddenly had good runs of form.

“There’s nobody that’s really isolated down the bottom of the table. That makes it a bit tougher, because you perhaps look for maybe two clubs who are struggling badly.

“That would then mean that there’s only really one place in the relegation zone, but at the moment there’s more than that, because some of the teams in the bottom half are going on good runs.

“You’ve just got to put together a little run - when Brighton did that earlier on in the season, it’s amazing how far they jumped up the league table.

“There’s not a big gulf between most of the teams, it’s pretty tight outside the top six places.”


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