Southampton - Season 2010/11 Rivals - Brighton
Last season they started slowly and saw the arrival of Gus Poyet as a replacement for deposed Russell Slade.
Slade was sacked on November 1st with Poyet taking over officially on November 10th. Sadly Poyet's first game in charge was at St Mary's and Brighton ran out 3-1 winners.
The Club gradually climbed up the league and were confirmed as safe on April 24th when they had a dramatic last minute win over Bristol Rovers.
So after suffering from the new manager's first game syndrome we go to Brighton on the run-in and draw. Many believe we were lucky to get a point that day and I go along with that view.
So what do we expect to see this season from the club that started in 1901 and played at the Goldstone ground from 1902.
The club that came close to oblivion itself after the ground was sold and they ended up playing at Gillingham's Priestfield Stadium for two years. They returned to Brighton in 1999, renting the Withdean.
The club that in 2004 had £9.5 million debt to worry about. The debt caused partly by the Public enquiry into their application for a new ground, rent paid on the Withdean Stadium and the fees paid to use Gillingham's stadium. That allied to the smallness of the Withdean meant a shortfall on income.
£7m of this debt was paid by the board of directors with the remainder paid by the operation of the club and the 'Alive and Kicking' fund.
They had a fundraising hit record 'Tom Hark(We Want Falmer). There was also nude Xmas cards featuring the players made in their bid to help raise funds.
Soon they will be leaving the Withdean and moving to their new ground. The building of the 22,500 seater Falmer Stadium is expected to be completed in time for the 2011/12 season.
Even after planning permission had been granted there was an appeal caused by the wording of John Prescott's decision to allow the ground. This appeal cost more money and delayed the building by a year.
So how will they fare this season? With Poyet they seem to have a manager that is helping Brighton to move forward. I know that they would love to be able to celebrate the move next year to Falmer with a promotion.
Can they achieve it this season? I am not sure that they will be strong enough to compete over a full season. They have retained Calderon and added to their playing strength, but I have a feeling that this season will be as tough as last season was.
I can not see them turning us over as they did last season at St Mary's. Yes I expect them to perform better than last season but no I do not yet see them as a real threat.
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