Brighton are preparing for the 2022/23 Premier League season

In 2013, when Paul Barber showed Oscar Garcia, his coaching staff and some members of the local media a construction site in Lancing, he occasionally threw three words into the conversation.

Those three words (or maybe there should be a hyphen somewhere) were: Premier League ready.

He said it a few times as we walked through what would become Albion’s state-of-the-art training complex only a few months later, wearing hard hats and high-vis jackets.

Albion did well in the championship.

A little up and down, but they ended up crawling into the playoffs.

However, the elite seemed a little far off and I know how phrases like “Premier League ready” can be interpreted and thrown back by fans, be they Albion or rivals.

Also remember that at this point we were only a few months away from playoff trauma.

So, just before the next day’s paper went to press, I called Barber and asked him if he was really happy to be quoted on this Premier League ready stuff. Was he sure?

Of course he was. That was the point.

Albion’s CEO is a competent and experienced communicator.

He doesn’t say anything to the media or fans by accident.

And the thinking was reasonable.

You can’t dictate what’s going to happen on the pitch, especially in the league.

But you can also be off the field ready for what’s to come.

When Barber and Tony Bloom discussed their top ten aspirations for the club three years ago, such a double check was not necessary.

Also, earlier in the day we were informed of what Bloom would say at the fan forum that evening.

We were advised he would reveal the top ten ambitions just to make sure we didn’t miss them.

Ambition has sometimes been misunderstood. Even thrown back in faces.

But top ten means being in the top half consistently.

With a tenth place the goal is not fulfilled. Or even ninth.

where we are now A good season is not enough for these ambitions.

Slipping below tenth place this season wouldn’t be a failure either.

As long as it’s not too far down of course.

The top ten target leaves room for a respectable and competitive 12th or 11th place, for example.

This is the strongest competition in domestic football.

English football is generally oversubscribed.

They have “Big Six” who all believe they belong in the top 4.

There are clubs outside of these six that will target Europe.

There are about 15 clubs that think they should be in the top ten.

There are probably up to 20 clubs outside of the prem that think they should be there.

There are a lot of fan bases, a lot of them up north, who think they should be where Albion is now.

That they are bigger clubs than Brighton and that the Premier League would be enriched by their presence.

And then there’s a National League full of EFL clubs.

So it’s tough. You need to set both long-term and short-term goals.

You have to keep pedaling hard.

Of course, the top ten mission was revealed two days before Graham Potter officiated his first Premier League game against the Seagulls.

We’ve come a long way since then. The first Potter season was a transitional period.

So was his second as we saw more of Potter’s own players and his style of play.

Only in season 3 did I really feel like Potter’s team was going crazy all the time.

And even then, it wasn’t always a bed of roses. Six losses in a row, a miserable home record and too many gaps in the Amex underlined that.

But when it was good, it was the best we’ve ever seen. Both in terms of results and football.

And it’s been good quite often in the last few weeks.

Still, Albion still has room for improvement in terms of performance and consistency.

It was interesting to hear the odd player say they could have done better as a team last season.

Nobody looked so disappointed after last day’s win against West Ham.

But you can see why, on reflection, they came to that conclusion.

So many players missed more games than they wanted.

Key figures like Adam Webster, Danny Welbeck up to Christmas, Enock Mwepu, even Lewis Dunk, the late Yves Bissouma.

Moises Caicedo was only here half a season and only played about a fifth of a season.

Bissouma’s likely exit looks like it could be covered.

Marc Cucurella would leave a big, unexpected hole to fill.

There is scope to find a regular goalscorer, although various players are showing an increased ability to contribute to that result.

What cannot be controlled is how other teams look.

Of those who ended up under Albion last season, Newcastle appear to be the biggest threat in 38 games.

Remember there was a 45 minute gap between ninth and 13th place at the end of last season.

Three goals against the Hammers meant Albion was on the right end.

They’ll be somewhere around this area again, one might guess at this early stage.

But nothing is never guaranteed. The key is to be ready – one way or the other.

You will be. Brighton are preparing for the 2022/23 Premier League season

Fry Electronics Team

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