Brighton chairman Tony Bloom hails Roberto De Zerbi and says next term can be better even if they lose key players
The estimated 30,000 thousand Brighton fans watching their side qualify for the Europa League are truly uncharted territory, but things can still improve.
That’s the view of Seagulls chairman Tony Bloom, who sees no reason why Roberto De Zerbi’s men can’t continue their heroics next season despite the looming threat of losing key players this summer.
Brighton secured European football for the first time in their 122-year history last weekend with their draw against Manchester City, who are chasing the treble, meaning they will play in the Europa League next season.
The south coast side, who were nothing special in Ligue 1 in 2010, have had an honorable rise and been a breath of fresh air this season in particular.
It’s the second team of all others with stars like Kaoru Mitoma, Julio Enciso and Evan Ferguson making waves in the top flight, and City boss Pep Guardiola surely ran out of superlatives to describe the stellar work what De Zerbi has done since taking over as manager after Graham Potter was poached by Chelsea.
Amid the celebrations at Amex Stadium where club classic Freed From Desire blared through the PA system, there may be an undercurrent of anxiety about what’s to come even before the 2023 season/ 24 does not begin with stars such as Alexis Mac Allister and Moises Caicedo strongly linked to the removals.
But Bloom isn’t panicking as he insists Brighton will compete next season and suggested even better memories could be made.
He told talkSPORT: “It’s been a great season. Roberto, the players and everyone involved have done absolutely superbly. We’re delighted to finish sixth in this season’s Europa League.
“Tonight we played the best team in the world and tied them. Maybe we were the best team for the 90 minutes, which is so great for me, the fans and for the whole city.”
On De Zerbi, Bloom said: “He’s doing things no other head coach has done. Long may this continue and we can’t wait to see him in the Premier League and Europa League next season.
Bloom added: “We will be able to compete at all levels next season, even if we lose some of our star players.
“It happens at almost every club, we don’t worry about those things and as long as we get the right price for our players they will go sometimes.
“It happens at all levels, we are not worried about it at all and we hope to come back stronger next season.”
And why would you doubt Bloom’s Brighton? Just look at their track record.
Over the summer, they lost standout left-back Marc Cucurella and brought in Pervis Estpuninan, who was a revelation for them… and the Fantasy Premier League managers.
They lost a manager in Potter and brought in De Zerbi who took them up a level and even Leandro Trossard’s disorderly departure in January didn’t lead to a downfall.
Everyone is trying to look over Bloom’s shoulder for ideas on how he and Brighton are doing things and by giving insight into the method behind success, Bloom makes it all very simple.
Bloom said: “A lot of it is about process and our staff. A lot of our staff have been there for a long time and when staff move we always want to have a plan to bring up our existing staff, sometimes hire new people and it’s all over the club.
“It’s step by step and year after year we’re looking to improve all the time.
“And then you can get to where we were 14 years ago, near the bottom of Ligue 1, where we are now.”