Brighton & Hove Albion have adapted to life in the Championship remarkably well. Currently, the club lies third in the table, and fans are dreaming of Premier League football. Pundits will argue it's still very early in the season, but Brighton certainly have plenty going for them, which could push them into the Premier League in 12 months time.
Therefore, I have compiled a slideshow of 10 reasons that Brighton could well be in the Premier League next season.
Gus Poyet is one of the highest rated young managers in English football at the moment. He is well-known to English football fans for his spells with Tottenham and Chelsea as a player. Since calling time on his playing career, Poyet has learned his trade as an assistant manager at Swindon, Leeds and Tottenham.
Brighton is Poyet's first managerial gig and so far it has been hugely successful. If the club can hold on to this man then there may be no limit to what he can achieve. So far he has won a League One title and made a very bright start to life in the Championship.
You can tell a lot about a club by their stadium and facilities. Yes, there is no doubt that Brighton required a new stadium. However, the statue of it tells a lot, as the AMEX Stadium is a 22,500 all-seater capacity venue with easy expandability up to 30,000.
Those are the sort of facilities that belong in the Premier League. Some people may argue that if you're planning on building a new stadium you might as well build a sizeable one. However, take the example of Colchester United. When they built a new ground it came with just a 10,000 seat capacity. There is no point in building a 30,000 all-seater stadium if, realistically, it's never going be filled.
Brighton may have lost key players such as Glenn Murray and Elliott Bennett this summer. However, they have brought in more than adequate replacements in the shape of Will Buckley, Craig Mackail—Smith and former Spain international Vicente alongside other signings.
They have also added Newcastle player Kazenga LuaLua on loan. The signing of Craig Mackail-Smith is very interesting, because there were a lot of clubs interested and he moved away from a rival Championship side in Peterborough. A £2.5 million transfer fee is also a sign of ambition, since they only received about £1.5 million for Elliott Bennett.
Tony Bloom is essentially a Brighton & Hove Albion fan and, like all fans, he wants his club to be successful. Many clubs look to consolidate after winning promotion, but Bloom and Brighton were always looking to set the targets higher.
After winning promotion to the Championship, Bloom was already targeting a top six finish and ultimately promotion to the Premier League. It is this sort of passion, belief and ambition that often drives teams forward.
If Brighton did manage a double promotion then it wouldn't be a first, following the success of Norwich last season. There are certainly similarities between the two clubs, with good facilities, a hungry team, a talented young manager and ambitious board direction behind-the-scenes.
The current Brighton squad only includes one loan player. Although there is obviously exceptions to this rule, teams are seldom successful by over-relying on loans. It is therefore nice to see that Brighton have reinvested money in their team on contracted players rather than going down the loan route.
Behind every great football club is a great set of supporters. So far this season, the fans have been fully behind the team and this has really helped to spurn Brighton on. An average attendance of nearly 20,000 this season and 18,000 season-ticket holders, says a lot about the strength of the Brighton fans.
The Seagulls are also set to be followed in high numbers away from home this season.
Brighton showed a little bit too much respect to Liverpool in their cup meeting with them last night. But, in the second half, they gave it a good go and will feel unlucky to have not forced extra time. The bottom line is that it could have easily been a Premier League fixture and Brighton didn't look out of their depth.
Team spirit can get you a long way in football and no one can doubt that it played a big part in Norwich's and Blackpool's promotion to the Premier League. Despite the player exits it appears Brighton have plenty of it and, with new players and a new stadium, there is plenty of reasons to be positive. The performance of Brighton in the cup match against Liverpool and their early Championship form shows that there is plenty of spirit in this group of players.
Let's be honest, few people expected Blackpool to make it to the Premier League. But it happened and now other teams have hope. Ultimately, Brighton fans should be saying to themselves, why can't we get to the Premier league?