Given the mumblings of discontent that could be heard around the Amex and in the aftermath of Saturday’s 1-1 home draw with Leicester City, the release of the 2018 Global Sports Salaries Survey couldn’t have come at a better time for Chris Hughton and the Albion.
The report puts into perspective what a good job the Brighton manager is currently doing and should hopefully reign in some of the expectations of Seagulls supporters who seem to think our current 12th place isn’t good enough or that we should be challenging for a European tour.
Based on the average wage of the Brighton squad, we should be expecting to finish two places above the relegation zone this season in 16th spot. The average annual take home of an Albion player is £1,695,040 with only four clubs paying less to their squads than that – Newcastle United, Burnley, Huddersfield and Cardiff City.
Even newly promoted Wolverhampton Wanderers and Fulham fork out more on wages than Brighton do. Our friends up the road pay Christian Benteke and the rest of their groovy gang an average of £2,757,000 per year, around one and a half times as much as Glenn Murray and company get.
Manchester United players sit at the top of the tree with an annual take home of £6,534,654, over three times as much as their Brighton counterparts. And yet we’ve still beaten them twice in the space of four months despite the fact that they earn over three times more. Everybody remember to sympathise with Jose Mourinho next time he says he hasn’t got enough quality in his squad because having paid out that sort of cash, he doesn’t have anyone to blame but himself.
Back to Saturday, when we were all very disappointed to draw with Leicester. That’s a Leicester side by the way who are the tenth best paid team in the top flight on £2,710,710, earning nearly a million pounds more than the side they faced across a wet and windy Amex.
The fact we led 1-0 and the Foxes spent the majority of the game playing with ten men was the main reason that most fans voiced their frustrations afterwards, and Hughton and the players aren’t above criticism. While we did retreat to man the trenches somewhat and Murray playing on through the pain barrier looked a decision borne out of being afraid to make a change, saying that the Albion blew it rather takes away from the fact that Leicester are quite good.
For as much as we sat back, it was the Foxes who forced us back and earned a draw. A team paying that much more money than Brighton are should have the quality to do that and they did. Sometimes, you need to recognise that the opposition are just better than you.
It seems like we’ve had one season in the top flight, survived with what is normally the bare minimum amount of 40 points and now some fans expect us to have a right to beat a side who was crowned champions as recently as two-and-a-half years ago.
You don’t go from making your first scrambled eggs on toast straight to replacing Gordon Ramsay on Kitchen Nightmares. It takes time to become established, learning the trade and gradually improving each year. That is what Brighton are going through – a slow transformation in which we gradually become more and more ingrained in the Premier League until we can expect to turn up and beat teams like Leicester.
The Global Sports Salaries Survey tells you that. As the fifth-worst paid team in the division, we’ve still got a long way to go. Just remember that when you’re demanding Hughton’s head or claiming we should be finishing in the top ten next time.
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