Monday, 9 May 2011

Champions of Champions: Brighton's top five players

Finally, the season is over. Brighton are champions and I can happily start writing about their fortunes with risking jinxing them.

Football fans, as most of you will know, are a superstitious bunch. Be it wearing lucky boxer shorts, buying their programme from the same seller or muttering the same couple of lines before each set piece ("Hot dog, sausage roll, come on Brighton score a goal" as you ask,") the Withdean regular is as prone as any.

Many is the time I have tried to explain the Football Chaos Theory to baffled non supporters. When we lose and I have not been to the game, it is my fault. Why? Because had I gone the entire game would been different. I would have probably annoyed the people next to me, there would have been a chain reaction, people would have walked to the burger bar along a different route/shouted something different at a player/thrown a stray ball back slower or faster.

And if I am at a game we lose, I feel at fault for bothering to go.

True, in both scenarios the Football Chaos Theory could have resulted in a heavier defeat, or a defeat by the same score line. But it might NOT have.

For similarly ridiculous reasons I decided not to write about the Albion's fortunes this season. The odd bit about visiting teams was fair enough. Match stuff? A definite no go.

But now, with the trophy safely tucked away in Gustavo Poyet's kit bag, I can relax.

So, after a season of countless ups and only a few downs, which players have had more of an impact than others?

In reverse order:

5. Casper Ankergren.
The keeper did not start well - dropping a clanger late on against Rochdale when the fans were still worried about what lay ahead. True, he could have been luring the entire league into a false sense of security. More likely, he just isn't great catching it. In fact, a week later, the Albion faithful greeted a save away to Sheffield Wednesday with the chant: "Can you catch it every week?" Nevertheless, he has gone on to be an almost ever-present between the sticks - launching a wave of attacks with his short and accurate passing from the back.
And, perhaps more importantly, he did so while looking a lot like a factory worker from the 1950s. Especially when seen having a crafty fag after an away game.

4. Adam El Abd.
Strapping centre half who used to be considered something of an uncultured Jack of All Trades but has randomly transformed into a League One Marcel Desailly since the arrival of Poyet.
Was given the Player of the Year award after some superb performances, but fans were possibly swayed by the vastness of his improvement.

3. Liam Bridcutt.
Not here for the entire season but with a second half to the campaign as good as his, who cares?
Dispatched a couple of bonafide howitzers into the Withdean onion bags in the closing weeks, including the spanking volley which secured promotion.
A player who Poyet has built his own brand of Tippy Tappy round and boasts a superb awareness and space-finding talent which is as impressive going forward as it is breaking up the opponent's play.

2. Elliott Bennett.
A player has to do something very special to earn a terrace chant to the tune of Heartbeat but that is what this former World Cup (under 11) Player of the Tournament managed.
Credited with some 112 assists alongside a splattering of stunning strikes, Bennett's football has been as sexy as Nick Berry's strumpet co-star Tricia Penrose's behind-the-bar cleavage.
May well end up leaving the Seagulls for the Canaries this summer, but he certainly had us chirping throughout the season - and if he does go, it won't be on the cheap...

1. Glenn Murray.
Many moons ago someone on a Brighton website said Murray reminded him of a League One Berbatov. It was an idea I became obsessed with and began mentioning at every opportunity. Then, last season, when we played Aston Villa, Luke Nicoli (writing for the News of the World) used the phrase. Legend. I slept well that night.
Which is more than I will if Murray ups and leaves without signing a new contract - particular with Crystal Palace one of the rumoured possible destinations.
Murray possesses a swagger more befitting to his celebrity look-a-like and The Who legend Pete Townsend. He is, quite simply, as close to a rock star footballer we have.
His goals have lit up our season and his all round play has been on another level since Mr Poyet arrived. Almost as important defending in his own box as he is deadly in the opposition's, Murray is player the like of which has not been seen since the days of Robert Zamora.

1 comment:

  1. I agree Murray's a class act as a player, but I humbly direct you to my own blog for an alternative view of his departure and likely destination.