Originally known as Brighton United, the club today recognised as Brighton & Hove Albion was founded in 1901, representing the unified towns of Brighton and Hove on the south coast of England, The club’s third and current stadium The American Express Community Stadium - colloquially known as The Amex - first opened its doors in 2011, and has a modest capacity of 30,000.
Brighton most commonly go by the nickname “The Seagulls”. These birds can be seen in their droves along the beach and the pier on any given day, so the reason for this nickname isn’t so hard to work out. There is however a legend that the wider use of this nickname began after a chance meeting between Palace and Brighton fans in a pub before a derby fixture sometime in the mid 1970s. According to this folk tale, Palace fans were chanting “Eagles, eagles!” - the club’s established nickname - which spurred on the Brighton fans to respond with a chant of “Seagulls, seagulls!” What’s for sure is that the bird was later incorporated into the club’s official crest in 1977 where it still remains today.
Apart from a brief stay in Division One between 1979-1983, thanks to manager Alan Mullery leading them to their first promotion to the top flight, Brighton spent the entirety of the 20th century in the lower leagues. During this period, they mostly fought difficult relegation battles but for a 13th place finish in 1981-82, still their highest league finish to date.
Their lower league struggles came to an end in 2017 when they achieved automatic promotion by finishing 2nd in the championship under manager Chris Hughton, with the help of talismanic top scorer and club legend Glenn Murray.
Brighton’s greatest ever squad is almost certainly the one they have now, in their fourth full season in the Premier League. Manager Graham Potter has them playing fairly attractive football and while they will probably fight against relegation again, they are not in a terrible position and are able to call on their captain Lewis Dunk, experienced former internationals like Adam Lallana and Danny Welbeck, and some fantastic young prospects like Tariq Lamptey.
“The Seagulls” have a strange rivalry with Crystal Palace, known as the M23 Derby, named after the motorway which connects Sussex and South London. Due to the unconventionally long distance between the teams, this rivalry baffles English football fans. According to fans of both clubs, this tension didn’t exist between them prior to the 1970s. In 1976, young, hungry coaches Alan Mullery and Terry Venables were appointed managers of Brighton and Palace respectively, and distaste over a previous squabble they had had as players over a captaincy position at Tottenham Hotspur leaked over into animosity between the clubs in general.
Brighton today play an eye-catching brand of attacking football, while trying to be realistic about their expectations. They can be proud of consistently staying in the top flight during recent seasons, which is no mean feat. The pressure will be on them to do the same again this season.