Brighton are preparing for WSL life without Hope Powell

At least that’s what one supporter thought after the manager resigned on Monday.

Just call Chelsea and offer them big bucks for Emma Hayes and her coaching and recruiting team.

It was believed to be a tongue-in-cheek tweet following Graham Potter’s return to the Amex on Saturday.

Although the Twitter account is private, it was a smart, amusing line that deserves to be shared given what has been happening in men’s football.

In reality, it is arguably even more difficult for Albion to compete with the super powers in women’s football than it is in men’s football.

The gap to the top three – or now four – feels bigger. Hammers are more common.

Albion got off to a bad start with four WSL losses in five games and a goal difference of 2-19.

It must be emphasized that three of these setbacks were directed against the elite.

But the 8-0 loss to Tottenham, a side they have previously shared some very close competitions with, came as a massive shock.

They also went to championship team Birmingham in the Conti Cup.

Albion lost too many good players over the summer and look where the really valuable assets ended up.

One went to Manchester United (after rejecting Chelsea), one to Liverpool and one to Tottenham.

Admittedly, Liverpool and Tottenham are by no means huge WSL powers.

But they clearly ARE very big, famous clubs.

At Albion, the roster is now smaller than before.

It feels weaker, although those who came in still have time to prove otherwise.

Ahead of the season, there was talk of Albion changing their style and playing more football.

That has been the problem at times in recent years.

They were a solid team but lacked flair and purpose.

Some of the football they’ve played lately, even when they lost, has actually been good for the eyes.

Even in the 7-0 win against Tottenham, there was movement in the second half that started with the ball going back to goalkeeper Megan Walsh, then went the length of the field with one and two passes and ended with a shot.

But they were awfully easy to score against.

Similarly, in the previous game against Manchester United, Albion had their attacking moments but lost 4-0.

Given how Powell has used hard-earned experience and plenty of organization and pragmatism to establish Albion in the top flight, it’s tempting to compare her tenure to that of Chris Hughton at the men’s.

One difference with Hughton has been their willingness to use young players and Katie Robinson has been noticeable in attack lately.

That form was rewarded yesterday with a first call-up to the Lions’ squad alongside Maya Le Tissier, a player Powell developed so much ahead of her summer move to Manchester United and who publicly thanked the ex-Albion boss this week .

Maisie Symonds is very good on the ball in midfield and appears to be on the way back from illness.

Like the men, the women of Albion must be smart, do things a little differently.

They have a fantastic infrastructure and Powell has helped give them a strong platform as a team and as a club.

Michelle Walder, Chief Executive Officer of Albion Women’s and Girls’ Football Club said: “Hope’s contribution to the development of women’s and girls’ football at our club and to women’s football in this country cannot be underestimated.

“Hope established Brighton and Hove Albion in the Women’s Super League, oversaw the opening of a new state-of-the-art training facility for women’s and girls’ teams at our club and is undoubtedly inspiring more generations of young girls to play football. We wish her all the best for the future.”

Powell, who is knowledgeable and thorough about football and the issues it involves, would let you know if she thought you had asked her a bad question.

But if the question was good – or even just okay – you would get a very good answer.

Albion needs a very good successor now.

This could well be the women’s Hughton to Potter moment.

They probably need a few signings too.

But Powell’s departure marks a major event in the history of Albion’s women. Brighton are preparing for WSL life without Hope Powell

Fry Electronics Team

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