Tantalisingly close – Interview Thursday, 6th Apr 2017 22:37 by Clive Whittingham
Brighton fan Simon Tipple runs us through why his team have finally pushed into the automatic promotion picture as they edge ever closer to the Premier League.
Assess Brighton’s season for us – presumably very pleased? Why has it been that bit better this time?
ST: I think a good start was very important as you never really know how a side will react after coming so close in the previous year. I think we’ve just been a little bit better in all areas. Shane Duffy’s been an excellent signing and formed a great partnership with Lewis Dunk in defence. We’ve had a full season of Anthony Knockaert as he only joined us in January last time around and we’ve added Glenn Murray’s goals up front.
Do you think you’ll get over the line this time? Any potential problems?
ST: I think we’ve got what it takes to get over the line. Huddersfield are keeping us on our toes but as long as continue the form we’ve shown over the past year it’ll be hard for them to pass us.
That bothered about finishing above Newcastle or just focused on top two?
ST: Totally focused on the top two as just want to get over the line now. The title would be great but not thinking about that at the moment.
If you are promoted, how do you think the club will approach the Premier League? Spend big or ‘do a Burnley’?
ST: I don’t think we’ll be spending big, any investment would be sensible. Our chairman would probably like to see some return on his considerable investment too.
Who’s going to get your Player of the Year?
ST: Tough one as there are so many candidates. I suspect Knockaert will edge it but you could make a case for so many.
What needs doing to the team, if anything, to make it competitive in the top flight?
ST: Tough question. Friends of mine who have seen their side make the jump have told me how players they’d expect to do well have struggled and player who didn’t light up the Championship have shined. We may need a goalkeeper and a midfielder if Stockdale and Stephens don’t sign new deals. We’ll probably need a nippy striker too.
If you do blow it, what needs doing for next season to make sure it doesn’t happen again?
ST: Nothing kneejerk. We’re bound to lose some players if we don’t make it so the biggest thing would perhaps be ensuring their replacements hit the ground running.