Scott Mccarthy on Brighton: It could be the best yet or it could all go a bit Frank De Boer...who knows?

Graham Potter (getty)
Graham Potter (getty)

As Manchester City held the Premier League trophy aloft and Brighton fans filtered out of the Amex for the final time in the 2018-19 season, there was one overriding emotion - relief that it was all over.

There’s no way of sugar coating it - the second half of the campaign had been a chore to endure.

Just two Premier League wins since the turn of the year, Amex defeats to Burnley, Southampton and Cardiff, a heaviest home loss for 46 years against Bournemouth and a club-record 14 hours without a goal.

It felt like the club should have been paying us to turn up and sit through it, not the other way around.

Tony Bloom wasn’t impressed either and so Chris Hughton paid for that form with his job. To the outside world, sacking a great man who’d taken us from 21st in the Championship to the Premier League and an FA Cup semi final looked like a ruthless and insane decision.

To those of us who’d witnessed the previous five months, it was one that sadly had to be taken. With Hughton in charge and a repeat of our 2019 performances, Brighton would have bottom place in the Premier League sewn up.

Nobody can know how replacing Hughton with Graham Potter is going to work out. In fact, we probably won’t be able to tell until at least Christmas, when the new man has had time to impart his very different ideas on the squad.

One thing that Potter’s appointment has done though is bring back the excitement. Even a month or so ago, an episode of Celebrity 5 Go Barging with Barry from EastEnders and John Prescott held more appeal than watching the Albion.

Not anymore. Come Friday night, Seagulls fans all over Sussex will be like the proverbial kids on Christmas Eve ahead of the following day’s season opener at Watford.

Under Hughton, things had become more predictable than a Katie Price engagement. The team picked itself, the tactics were always the same and if you travelled to an away game, you went knowing that there was every chance you wouldn’t see a shot on goal.

With Potter, nobody knows what is going to happen. Will he play 4-2-3-1 at Vicarage Road or 3-4-3? Who will be in the starting line up? Where do new boys Leandro Trossard, Adam Webster and Neal Maupay - the three most expensive players in Albion history and all signed this summer - fit in?

It’s that unpredictability that has got people excited. Not to mention the prospect of going to Watford and possibly seeing Ben Foster having to make a save, unlike last year when he was so underemployed that he could have diverted his attention into successfully inventing a flying car over the course of the 90 minutes.

That unpredictability stretches into the season as a whole. Who knows how Potter’s methods will work in the Premier League?

Brighton could have a managerial maverick on their hands who can lead them into the top 10 with brash, attacking football.

Young players like Aaron Connolly and Steve Alzate might break into the first team and expensive purchases like Jurgen Locadia and Alireza Jahanbakhsh might finally start to deliver on their eye-watering fees. That would be light years away from the sorry end to the Hughton era.

Or it could all go Frank De Boer at Crystal Palace, which was probably the last time a Premier League club attempted such a drastic overhaul in approach and style over the course of a single summer.

If that happens, we’ll be longing for those days of snatching a 1-0 win at home to Huddersfield Town and Bloom will be scraping enough egg off his face to make omelettes for the entire population of London. Not to mention all the glee that pundits and other fans will get at Brighton getting their comeuppance for sacking the nicest man in football.

Whatever happens, it isn’t going to be dull. Strap yourselves in, we’re in for quite a ride. Watching the Albion is exciting again