The 30 best Brighton and Hove Albion players of the decade - The top 10
This week at The Brighton and Hove Independent we count down the top 30 Brighton and Hove Albion footballers of the last decade.
As we approach 2020, Albion football writer Ian Hine and head of sport Derren Howard sifted through a list of players who made – and continue to make – a significant impact for the Seagulls.
It caused much debate but the final 30 was eventually agreed upon. Below we reveal the final 10 players, along with our ultimate Brighton and Hove Albion player of the decade.
Take a look below to see if your stand-out player of the last 10 years is included.
* Appearances and goal numbers relate to the period August 2010 – May 2019.
10 Gordon Greer: 2010-2016 - 233 appearances, 5 goals
Mr. Dependable at the heart of defence for much of the decade. Was serving a 2-match ban when he joined, after being sent off for previous club Swindon Town in the play-off semi-final. Made his Albion debut in August 2010 against Rochdale, and was sent off again! Despite this, was made club captain and his leadership was a big part in Albion’s success in 2010/11. As we moved up to The Championship, he played alongside a number of defensive partners. Fond of the raking long ball out of defence.
9 David Stockdale: 2014-2017 - 139 appearances, 0 goals
Signed from Fulham although spent the last period of his time on loan at Hull City, who he helped to promotion to the Premier League. His first season for Albion, under Sami Hyypiä then Chris Hughton saw some struggles, but towards the end of the season, began to show some form, including saving a penalty against Birmingham City. In the latter part of 2015 was active in support of the victims of the Shoreham Air Crash, for which he received a PFA ‘Community Champion’ award. Kept 20 clean sheets in the 16/17 promotion season but tarnished his record with a soft goal conceded at Aston Villa, handing Newcastle United the title.
8 Maty Ryan: 2017-present - 80 appearances, 0 goals
Played every single minute of Albion’s first Premier League season, keeping 10 clean sheets, including against Manchester United, in the game that secured our Premier League status. Not the tallest but an outstanding shot-stopper. Saved a last-minute penalty at Stoke City to keep us in the game. Known for his affinity with the fans, fond of running 80 metres to join in goal celebrations. A very popular player
7 Shane Duffy: 2016-present - 109 appearances, 7 goals
Signed from Blackburn Rovers on the back of a game against Cardiff City when he scored 2 own goals and was sent off. No nonsense defender who has scored some crucial goals in his time at the club. Vital member of the team in the first season in the Premier League. Topped the Premier League lists for defensive blocks (59) and clearances (327) in 2017/18 and the following season was 3rd in blocks and 1st in clearances.
6 Dale Stephens: 2014-present - 188 appearances, 15 goals
A model of consistency in Albion’s midfield since signing in January 2014. Appearances were limited in 14/15 but the following season, Chris Hughton built the side round his midfield partnership with Beram Kayal. Played all but one game in 2015/16 but was remembered for being sent off in the final league game at Middlesbrough, meaning he would miss the play-off semi-final. Another fine season in 16/17 and he has continued to shine in the Premier League. Often the target of fans’ criticism but an absolutely integral part of the team.
5 Anthony Knockaert: 2015-2019 - 139 appearances, 27 goals
Mercurial winger who signed in January 2016. Many felt if he had been at the club for the full season, we would have been promoted. Played a full role the following season, despite the death of his father in November 2016. When on song, he is almost unplayable, particularly in the Championship, but sometimes struggled to replicate that form in the Premier League. Scored twice in the 18/19 season, including an exquisite curler that won the game against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park. Left Albion in the summer of 2019 on a season-long loan to Fulham
4 Inigo Calderon: 2010-2016 - 212 appearances, 18 goals
After signing for Albion in January 2010, he almost left the club that summer, but stayed to become an influential member of Gus Poyet’s promotion team. Scored some memorable goals that season, including one against Dagenham & Redbridge in the game that secured our promotion. He moved from full-back into midfield but continued to play consistently. Scored a thunderbolt against Bristol City in the first campaign at The Amex. Incredibly popular with the fans, he returned to the club as a guest on the day we were promoted to the Premier League, receiving a rapturous welcome.
3 Bruno: 2012-2019 - 236 appearances, 6 goals
Signed at the start of the 2012/13 season and became model of consistency over the subsequent campaigns. At the age of 35, was ever-present in the league as Albion narrowly missed out on promotion. Only missed 4 games the following season as we reached the top-flight. Continued to confound the critics with 25 appearances in 2017/18, his calm defending going a long way to helping us survive. Very influential off the pitch and now has a role in Graham Potter’s coaching team.
2 Lewis Dunk: 2010-present - 269 appearances, 16 goals
An Albion player throughout the decade, despite a number of clubs attempting to prise him away. Played 31 times in 2011/12 before spending time out of the team the following two seasons. Cemented his place in 2014/15 and has been the fulcrum of the Albion team ever since. In 16/17, his partnership with Shane Duffy saw the team concede just 40 goals all season and he was named in the Championship team of the season. Has stepped up superbly to the challenges of the Premier League, playing every game. Took over the club captaincy at the start of 19/20 and also celebrated a call-up to the England squad, making his debut against USA in November 2018.
1 Glenn Murray: 2010/11 & 2015-present - 177 appearances, 74 goals
Murray is our No 1. Fired Albion to promotion not once, but twice in the decade. Scored 22 goals in 42 games in 2010/11 for Gus Poyet before being transferred to Crystal Palace, much to the bafflement of many fans. Subsequently moved to Bournemouth and Reading (on loan) before returning to Albion in the summer of 2016, initially on a season-long loan. Quickly re-established a rapport with the fans, some of whom still carried a grudge because of his move to Palace.
Carried on where he left off, netting 23 times in 45 games in 2016/17. Scored the opener against Wigan in the game that clinched promotion. Continued to be prolific in the Premier League, with 25 goals over the next two seasons. Now closing in on the Albion all-time goal-scoring record of Tommy Cook.
From 30 - 21
30 Andrea Orlandi: 2012-2014 - 56 appearances, 6 goals
Joined at the start of the 2012/13 season and played 35 times as Albion made the play-offs. Scored in the FA Cup win against Newcastle United. Found opportunities limited the following season and was released in June 2014
29 Andrew Crofts: 2012-2015 - 75 appearances, 6 goals
Made nearly 50 appearances in the two seasons after he re-joined. Was out of favour under Sami Hyypia but came back under Chris Hughton and played 17 times as Albion missed out in the play-offs. Now the U-23 Coach
28 Casper Ankergren: 2010-2017 - 68 appearances, 0 goals
Shared goalkeeping duties with Peter Brezovan in the first season at The Amex but was relegated to the bench in the following campaigns. Began to help develop the young goalkeepers at the club and now works with Ben Roberts as Goalkeeping Coach
27 Liam Rosenior: 2015-2018 - 51 appearances, 0 goals
Joined from Hull City in 2015 and although his appearances were limited, became increasingly influential as Albion came close and were then promoted. Made his well-publicised ‘chin-up’ gesture after the play-off defeat at Sheffield Wednesday in 2016
26 Steve Sidwell: 2015-2015 - 55 appearances, 2 goals
Re-joined Albion 13 years after a previous loan appearance. Like Rosenior, was influential in the ‘near-miss’ campaign in 2016. His two goals were memorable – an injury-time winner at Nottingham Forest in April 2016 and a 50-yard screamer at Bristol City the following season
25 David Lopez: 2012-2014 - 65 appearances, 12 goals
Signed from Athletic Bilbao where he had fallen down the pecking order under Marcelo Bielsa. Made some telling contributions in two consecutive play-off seasons. Scored a memorable free-kick against Crystal Palace in March 2013. ‘Spanish Dave’ became a real fans favourite
24. Elliott Bennett: 2010/11 and 2014/15 - 60 appearances, 17 goals
The majority of his goals came in the 10/11 promotion season and he was a key member of Gus Poyet’s side. His performances earned him a move to Premier League Norwich City. After a serious knee injury in August 2013 put him out for a year, he returned for a loan spell in 2014/15 to help in the battle against relegation
23 Craig Noone: 2010-2013 - 64 appearances, 4 goals
Tricky winger, popular with the fans. Scored twice in the run-in to the League One Championship and was a regular starter for Poyet in the first season at The Amex. Provided the through-pass for Will Buckley’s 97th minute winner against Doncaster Rovers in August 2011
22. Adam El-Abd: 2010-2014 - 111 appearances, 2 goals
No-nonsense defender who came through the ranks, having been born in Brighton and at the club since the age of ten. A key member of the League One Championship-winning side in 10/11 and continued his good form the following season. Made 300 appearances in all, his final game coming in January 2014 against Bristol City
21. Will Buckley: 2011-2015 - 109 appearances, 19 goals
Signed for a club-record £1 million in June 2011. Made his debut as a substitute in the first League game at The Amex. Scored the equaliser then the winner in the 97th minute. Struggled with injuries but scored some crucial goals, including a winner against Newcastle United in the FA Cup and another injury-time strike against Leicester City.
From 20 - 11
20 Kazenga LuaLua: 2010-2018 - 172 appearances, 22 goals
Despite being with Albion for much of the decade, never really cemented a regular place in the team. Somewhat injury-prone but when fit, capable of unlocking defences and delivering quality into the penalty area
19 Craig-Mackail-Smith: 2011-2015 - 122 appearances, 24 goals
Arrived in July 2011 with great fanfare after a prolific time at Peterborough United. Started well, but struggled after a goal drought towards the end of 2011. A bad Achilles injury put him out for over a year and on his return, continued to struggle for consistency. Worked incredibly hard
18 Davy Pröpper: 2017-present - 79 appearances, 2 goals
Signed from PSV Eindhoven in the summer of 2017, proved instrumental in Albion staying in the Premier League that season. Sent off towards the end of the season. Scored his only Albion goal against Leicester in February 2019. Dutch international.
17. Pascal Groß: 2017-present 73 appearances, 11 goals
Signed for a then-record fee of £3 million in May 2017. Scored Albion’s first goal in the Premier League against West Bromwich Albion in September 2017. Also scored the goal that secured Premier League status in May 2018 and was voted Player of the Season that campaign.
16 Tomer Hemed: 2015-2019 - 108 appearances, 33 goals
Signed in July 2015 and became an instant fan favourite with an injury-time winner from the penalty spot against Fulham that August. The goals dried up but later in the season, re-discovered his form to finish as top scorer in 15/16. Unable to nail down a consistent starting place in the promotion season but was on hand to score crucial goals.
15. Solly March: 2012-present - 167 appearances, 11 goals
Sussex-born, signed from Lewes in February 2012. Struggled to establish himself but played 23 times in the 2013/14 season under Oscar Garcia. Suffered a serious knee injury but returned in November 2016, to play a key role in Albion’s promotion to the Premier League. Adapted well to life in the top flight, and has become an important member of the squad.
14 Leonardo Ulloa: 2012-2014 & 2017/18 - 70 appearances, 28 goals
Made an instant impact on signing from Almeira, scoring on his debut in an FA Cup defeat to Arsenal at The Amex. Became the first player to score a hat-trick at The Amex in March 2013, against Huddersfield Town. A couple of weeks afterwards, scored twice against Crystal Palace in the 3-0 win. The following season, scored the goal, away at Nottingham Forest, that sent Albion into the play-offs.
13 Vicente Rodriguez: 2011-2013 - 32 appearances, 5 goals
Despite the low number of appearances, made an unforgettable impact. Incredibly talented but troubled with injury in his time at The Amex. Perhaps best remembered for a ‘goal’ he didn’t score. Against Derby County in March 2012, he gathered the ball on halfway, beat at least five players before unleashing a thunderbolt that crashed against the crossbar.
12 Liam Bridcutt: 2010-2014 - 151 appearances, 2 goals
A former Chelsea youth player, signed for Albion in August 2010. Was a key member of the side that gained promotion from League One in 2011. His first goal for Brighton came in stoppage time to earn a 4-3 win against Carlisle United in March 2011. Mr consistency in the first two seasons at The Amex, earning him back to back Player of the Year awards.
11 Ashley Barnes: 2010-2014 - 170 appearances, 53 goals
A real ‘marmite’ player, his hard-working, bustling style not to the liking of a number of fans. Proved to be the perfect partner to Glenn Murray in 2010/11 and he continued to score as we were promoted to The Championship. Finished the season as leading scorer. Sent off against Bolton Wanderers in March 2013 for attempting to trip the referee, which earned him a seven-match ban. Transferred to Burnley in January 2014, where he continues to shine.