Tuesday 26 March 2013

The Promised Land?

Gus Poyet, praying for promotion with Brighton or pastures new?
The Albion rumour mill swung into overdrive last week with news that Gus Poyet had apparently been given permission to speak to Reading about their vacant managerial position. Twitter and other social media networks were awash with gossip that Gus was on the verge of leaving promotion chasing Brighton to join the relegation threatened Premiership outfit.  Both clubs remained tight lipped but there seemed very little doubt that Reading had made an approach to Poyet who could potentially have been the second Albion manager to leave and go to Reading following Steve Coppell’s departure in 2003.

It seemed that Poyet may well have been interested enough to see what was on offer at Reading and rumour has it that his advisors were at an advanced stage in negotiating a possible move. After giving his position further consideration however, the Brighton manager then decided, for the time being at least, his immediate future lies with the Seagulls rather than the Royals. Brighton fans breathed a huge sigh of relief and Reading moved quickly to appoint former Saints manager Nigel Adkins on Tuesday.

It is inevitable that Gus will eventually leave Albion at some point but a move to Reading now would have been at best a sideways move. However, he must have been tempted by the potential £30 million umbrella payment that Reading would benefit from should they, as seems likely, get relegated from the Premiership. That financial windfall could allow any potential new manager to build a team and buy their way back to the Premiership with a huge transfer kitty that very few Championship clubs could match.

The most worrying thing about all of this speculation for Albion fans was the timing. At the business end of the season with a play off place beckoning and with the final crucial seven games approaching is not a good time for any football club to be changing its manager. The prospect of Poyet leaving before he had achieved his goal of promotion to the Premiership with Brighton may well have been a factor in him deciding to stay. The other major concern fans had was if Poyet did leave would he then come back in the close season in an attempt to sign several out of contract key Albion players. All rather alarming to fans and unsettling for players, especially the Spanish contingent. 

Why would Gus want to leave? Albion is a club going places in a fantastic stadium with a new training facility coming on stream next summer. He has fans who adore his style of football as well as players who want to play for him, a board who support him and an English chairman who won’t sack him if he has a bad run of results. Sadly, it could all be down to money. Gus is ambitious and wants a playing budget that will enable him and the club to gain the success they desire. The Holy Grail of the Premiership seems to be the Promised Land but it can break and bury a club as much as it can lead to riches, fans of League One Portsmouth FC will tell you that. 

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