Brighton coach discusses Potter, Hughton and the club's recruitment last summer

Graham Potter. Picture by Getty Images
Graham Potter. Picture by Getty Images

Brighton & Hove Albion under-16 youth development coach Steve Sidwell spoke about new Seagulls boss Graham Potter, former manager Chris Hughton and the club's summer recruitment last year on TalkSPORT yesterday.

Sidwell played 68 times for Albion in two spells and also featured for Brentford, Reading, Chelsea, Aston Villa, Fulham and Stoke before retiring to take up an under-16 coaching role with the Seagulls in 2018.

Potter was appointed Albion's new manager two weeks ago, after Hughton was sacked following the conclusion of the 2018/19 season when Brighton finished 17th in the Premier League.

Speaking to TalkSPORT, Sidwell admitted he had already spoken to Brighton's new boss and said: "I've had a one-on-one.

"He's a very nice guy, has got his own philosophies and own ideas that he's going to try to stamp out and it's interesting times for Brighton.

"We spoke about his coaching path and the way he approaches his philosophy and he was up front and honest.

"He said he's here to do a job and has no doubt the pressure will be on him from the start. It could be six months, it could be eight months, it could be three or four years. It's that cut throat in this environment."

Sidwell admitted Hughton was shocked by his sacking which came just a day after Albion's season finished.

He said: "The season finished and first thing on the Monday morning the club parted company with the manager Chris Hughton and now Graham Potter has come in.

"By all accounts, I believe he (Hughton) was called in on the Monday morning and he was sacked then. I spoke to him on the Wednesday and he was in shock and said he didn't see it coming.

"His remit at the start of the season was to stay in the Premier League. There were a few bumps along the road which there was always going to be.

"The second season is always the hardest season and there were lots of things that equate to why and how the season went.

"You can look at the recruitment, some of the players that came in didn't perform to their ability. And I'm sure Chris made a few mistakes along the way that he'll look back at and change.

"Away from home we always had a cautious approach but at home we were much more of a front-foot team to get out the blocks.

"The away form started creeping in to the home form and nerves set in.

"They've obviously escaped and only because Cardiff were worse but the experience that group of players have gathered now from that season, they will see the signals and signs come much earlier (in future)."

He said: "The first season you're still flying from getting promoted from the Championship.

"At the beginning of the second season, the recruitment is so hard because you're still in that catchment of there's a possibility you could go down so you can't go out and spend ridiculous money and get players in on big wages.

"You've got to do stepping stones.

"Brighton still spent a lot of money and the players didn't really step up.

"They identified the foreign market they wanted to go into, which is always going to be a lottery or a gamble because some take to it much quicker than others.

"It might be a time process but in the Premier League you haven't got the time.

"It's all about progression. Brighton obviously felt the way they wanted to take the brand of the football club was easy on the eye and good attacking football so they chose a good, up-and-coming British manager.

"It's again what we want to see, as harsh as it is on Chris. I've got all the time in the world for him, he's one of the best managers I've worked under and I've worked under some great ones.

"But this is new beginnings now."

Sidwell had nothing but praise for Hughton after playing under him for two-and-a-half years and said: "He truly is the nicest guy in football.

"To be a manager you've got to be cut throat and I'm sure Chris has done it but in a nice way. That's the kind of guy he is.

"It's not nice to see anyone lose their job but I'm sure he won't be out of work for long. He'll get offers straight away.

"When I spoke to him he was looking to get away, get his head down and relax and then come back and get back into football."

Brighton signed eight first-team players last summer but several failed to hit the ground running and Sidwell felt that contributed to Albion's difficult season.

On a personal level, Sidwell is relishing the opportunity to work with a different manager as he continues to progress his coaching.

Asked if he is looking forward to learning from Potter, Sidwell said: "One million per cent. It's how football is evolving now that new managers come in and are up to date with everything, with any new one or two per cents they can get that will improve the squad.

"With Chris it was always an open door, we could go over from one pitch to the other to watch them train and I'm hoping it will be the same under the new manager to see how he works."


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