One benefit of Brighton’s defeat up in Burnley, is that I don’t live there and was able to head back to Sussex with pride. Maybe not so much of the team after an average performance, but pride of where I live.
After huge amounts of possession and pressure on the Burnley goal it seemed only a matter of time before the Seagulls would take the lead. But it wasn’t to be, a Burnley counter attack saw former Swindon goal machine Charlie Austin with time and space to round the keeper before poking the ball into an empty net to give the Clarets the lead and eventually, the 3 points they didn’t really need. Safe in mid table, Burnley need nothing short of a miracle to sneak into the play-off spots.
Brighton played well, right up until when it really mattered. Once the team had worked their way into the final third, things simply fell apart. Evan former Spanish international and Valencia legend Vicente Rodriguez couldn’t find his magic touch to level the scores.
But it wasn’t the lack of chances Brighton took, or the fact that we came away with nothing after a 5 hour drive and having to endure the Easter traffic making it an 8 hour journey back down south. It was Gus Poyet’s actions that really frustrated me.
Don’t get me wrong, Gus Poyet has worked miracles at Brighton. When he took over in November 2009, we were regular relegation battlers at the foot of League 1. He steered the Seagulls to safety with plenty of games to spare. Then, in his first season in charge as a full time manager, he guided Brighton to the League 1 title with ease. After an average start to the 2010-2011 campaign, a late goal against Oldham in September sent the Seagulls top of the league, and that’s where they stayed. Highlights included a 4-0 thrashing of Charlton at The Valley and a hectic March schedule which saw 8 games played, and 8 games won, five of them 1-0 victories.
But his actions in the last five minutes against Burnley were nothing short of childish. For the second time this season, he walked out of the touchline in disgust at the officials, when his team really needed his guidance. When Brighton welcomed Burnleyto the AMEX back in December, you could understand why he walked out. Brighton were down to 9 men after 12 minutes and nothing seemed to go their way after a Craig Noone was tripped in the box and the referee waved away any penalty appeals.
Yet at Turf Moor, with 11 players on the pitch chasing a late equalizer, he stormed off, frustrated with the officials. But the referee wasn’t to blame, OK, a questionable flurry of yellow cards towards the end could have been avoided, but overall, he had a solid game. It was Poyet’s tactics that were t0 blame, not the officials. Great build up play ended in poor creativity in the final third and chances weren’t taken well enough.
In any game, to walk out when your side is close to snatching an equalizer, is unacceptable in my opinion. As the manager, you’re the leader of the squad. How would the players have felt to look over to the dugout and see their manager walking down the tunnel in frustration? I doubt they were aware he was walking out in protest to the officials so their first thoughts may have been “is he angry with us?”
The amount of times Brighton have grabbed all three points or snatched a draw in the last few minutes of a game has been a huge talking point. Doncaster, Nottingham Forest, Leeds, Bristol City, Peterborough, Leicester, Millwall and Cardiff have all either been level or ahead with at most 10 minutes remaining before Brighton snatched a late winner or equalizer.
So for Poyet to simply give up and walk out is out of order. It’s disrespectful to the players who were putting in the effort, Burnley FC for their hospitality, the officials for doing their job and most importantly, the fans who had made the long journey to Lancashire to support their team.
This isn’t the first outburst Poyet has made which has frustrated fans. He’s been fined from blaming officials before, although in some cases, he had every right to (Southampton away). He’s moaned about the clubs wage budgets, how much more money can chairman Tony Bloom pump into the club? We don’t want to end up like Portsmouth, Rangers or Port Vale. We’ve been though all that before and we most certainly do not want to go through it again thank you very much, you’ve been given a budget, now do your best with it and stop moaning like a child, this is serious business.
Poyet needs to learn when it is necessary to moan, and when he just needs to take things on the chin and deal with it, improve on it the next week and never give up. He is one of the best things to ever happen to Brighton and Hove Albion and without him, I wouldn’t be surprised if the club were still in League 1.