Brighton fansWith just two sleeps remaining until the 2013/14 Championship season kicks off, The Scratching Shed caught up with Scott from We Are Brighton for his thoughts ahead of the season opener.

Gus Poyet seemed to be doing a great job at Brighton, were you disappointed to see him replaced?

It was a case of job done last season. No matter what Gus said about the budget, a squad with the likes of Tomasz Kuszczak, Wayne Bridge, Will Buckley, David Lopez, Liam Bridcutt and Vicente should be challenging for the play-offs. Ultimately, his obsession with controlling possession and his failure to bring in a striker until January probably cost us a spot in the top two. There were so many games prior to Christmas that we dominated yet failed to win and coupled with the amount of goals we gave away at the death, that was the difference between fourth and second. A controversial view maybe, but an attack minded manager such as Oscar Garcia claims to be may stand a better chance at taking us to that next level.

A solid 2012-13 season for Brighton was tainted by the events at Crystal Palace, what are your thoughts on that?

Unfortunately, our highest finish for 30 years will forever be overshadowed by that game. Poyet got his tactics wrong on the day by being overly cautious in trademark style. We’d hammered Palace 3-0 at The Amex less than two months previously when blitzing them with pace down the flanks from Will Buckley and Kazenga LuaLua and really took the game to them. In the play-offs LuaLua hardly featured which was mystifying. And then of course, Gus threw his toys out the pram and practically held a gun to the chairman’s head demanding more money or he would leave. And backing a man who has made millions as a professional poker player into a corner isn’t the best move you can make, as our former manager found out.

Turning our attention towards 2013-14, what are your expectations for this season? Can Oscar Garcia improve on last season?

The league is going to be far stronger this season with the three teams coming down all likely to challenge unlike last year. Oscar didn’t start work until a week into pre-season so we are playing catch up really on rebuilding the squad. It’s weaker than last seasons version for me with no Wayne Bridge and no Vicente so with all those things coupled together, I think the best we can hope for is sneaking a play off place.

How’s the summer been at Brighton? Are there any signings you’re particularly excited about, or players you’re disappointed to have lost?

As I said, it’s been a slow summer given when Oscar came in. Vicente going was disappointing. On his day he was the best player in the division and could turn a game in an instant. He had his injury issues, but depending on if you believe what he told our local rag after his release, he was fit for the second half of last season yet Gus just chose not to play him. He went so far as to describe Poyet as the worst man he’d ever come across in football.

Getting Matt Upson in permanently was key – our already impressive defence tightened up significantly with his arrival and that was the catalyst to topping the form charts in the second half of the campaign.

Which players should Leeds United be most afraid of this Saturday?

Leonardo Ulloa scored that late winner at Elland Road last season and we’re expecting big things of him. He scored a goal every other game after arriving in January and if we’d had him from the start of the season when so many points were chucked away due to our failure to convert chances, who knows where we would be now.

Leeds United are widely regarded as one of the most hated clubs in English football, how do Brighton fans feel about us?

The older ones tend to hark on about the Dirty Leeds tag but to most Brighton fans you are just another club. A generation has grown up now seeing games with Leeds as the norm having faced you regularly across League One and the Championship for a decade. We always look forward to our trips to Elland Road though. Old fashioned ground, great atmosphere and we tend to do quite well – especially with last minute winners in the past two seasons. So I’ve probably jinxed it for a 5-0 hammering now. The less said about your stewards though the better…

Championship 2013/14. Who do you think will be promoted and who do you think will be relegated?

Wigan, Watford and Reading to go up with Doncaster, Yeovil and Blackburn going the other way.

Finally, what’s your prediction for Saturday?

1-1 – probably another late goal as there always seems to be!

  • markman

    Not sure how you can leave QPR out of a top 3 place.

    • TSS

      Can’t see any team running away with it, I think there’ll be a handful competing for the top spots so QPR are by no means certainties.

  • craig

    Im looking for us to finish in the Top 2 no pressure like lol. After Christmas Leeds undefeated Home and Away we are back. Come on,Mot

  • marchingontogether

    Never minded Brighton really. I remember going to a game in the champ in 05 or 06 when we drew 3-3 after going 2 down. Seeing an old Brighton fan in the car park who said it was the best he’d seen them play in years! How times have changed. Prediction: 2-1 Leeds. Murphy, Smith and Ulloa.