After a tough season filled with a plentiful of emotions; good and bad, it’s time to review the season and find out who will be here next season, and who won’t be.
(1) – Niki Maenpaa; (3 Apps, 1 Clean Sheet) [Albion Rating; N/A]
Never going to do much when he first arrived other than be a back-up to first choice keeper David Stockdale, but had been given cup duties like most 2nd choice keeper have in the past. Has done enough to secure himself another season with the Albion.
(2) – Bruno; (48 Apps, 1 Goal) [Albion Rating; 8]
Wonderful season for the veteran Spanish fullback, which included being captain for most of the 2nd half of the season. Hardly put a foot wrong all season and was rightly rewarded with a new deal, and is one of a few names floating about to become the next Albion captain.
(3) – Gordon Greer; (23 Apps, 0 Goals) [Albion Rating; 6]
Was played out of the team during the 2nd half of the season, due to the good form and partnership of Lewis Dunk and Connor Goldson, which hindered his chances of earning himself a new contract. In the games he did play, he showed leadership and determination, but it’s quite clear to see that age has caught up with him. Great servant to the club and will be missed.
(4) – Uwe Hunemeier; (15 Apps, 0 Goals) [Albion Rating; 6]
First season in England was marred with injury, with him not playing at all in the 2nd half of the season. Prior to his injury in December, he and Dunk has struck up a good partnership, and we’re setting the benchmark for a solid promotion run. With the rise of Goldson, he may find it hard to reclaim his place.
(5) – Lewis Dunk; (41 Apps, 4 Goals) [Albion Rating; 8]
Some will say it should be higher, whilst other lower, but it’s a fair reflection on his good season. While he has been one of the best centre-backs in the league, we cannot forget that he has been the face of a few problems along the way; 2 red cards this season just to mention an example. However, it’s all part of the learning curve of a young player, and a good manager like Chris Hughton will make sure it doesn’t happen again next season.
(6) – Dale Stephens; (45 Apps, 7 Goals) [Albion Rating; 8]
One half of the midfield partnership which was much talked about by managers and pundits alike. After a first full season with only 16 appearances, he quickly was a favourite with Hughton upon his arrival, and struck up a formidable partnership with Beram Kayal after a lengthy injury layoff. He has been one of the key players this season, and it’s crucial that he stays if Brighton want to go for promotion again, and not settle for the play-offs.
(7) – Beram Kayal; (45 Apps, 2 Goals) [Albion Rating; 9]
Brighton player of the season, and well deserved too. Missed 3 games all season, and they were all games that Brighton didn’t win, which shows how important he is to the team. He was the heart of the midfield, and was at the centre of a majority of the attacks. He is also one of the names put forward to take over the captaincy from Greer, and according to some reports is in pole position to land it.
(8) – Andrew Crofts; (18 Apps, 0 Goals) [Albion Rating; 5]
A season which he struggled to make an impact on, even when on loan. Was never going to force his way into the Seagulls midfield with Stephens and Kayal playing well, and when given a small chance to prove he could be relied upon, he never really grasped it, which was a reason why Steve Sidwell was brought in January. Ultimately, it all added up to him not being rewarded with a new contract, and shall be playing his football elsewhere.
(9) – Sam Baldock; (33 Apps, 4 Goals) [Albion Rating; 7]
This was a hard one, because while Baldock has been brilliant in some games this season, he has struggled to make a meaningful impact in others. He is deemed to be another Craig Mackail-Smith; someone who will constantly run until he’s on zero, and will chip in with a few goals. While he may have got only 4 goals this season, he has provided some assists to top scorer Tomer Hemed, and have struck up a good partnership. However, if Brighton are serious about going for promotion, then this is an area to be looked at, because a starting forward who has 4 goals to his name in a season is quite woeful, especially when another striker who has been injured for most of the season, and has been on the bench regularly, has nearly double the amount of goals in 7 games fewer.
(10) – Tomer Hemed; (48 Apps, 17 Goals) [Albion Rating; 9]
Fantastic first season for the Israeli; settled in well and was rewarded with 17 goals, including a first club hat-trick. Formed a good partnership with Baldock, and made the most of his running ability to get into good areas, and will hopefully be looking to hit 20 goals for Brighton, for the first time since Glenn Murray back in 2010/11, next season.
(11) – Chris O’Grady; (5 Apps, 0 Goals) [Albion Rating; N/A]
O’Grady fell out of favour with Hughton when he first arrived in December 2014, and it was quickly apparent, that he would not be part of Hughton’s plans. After a few substitute appearances during August, he was sent to Nott’m Forest for the season, where he has struggled to find game time and form. Will be one of a few players heading for the door during the next window.
(12) – Gaetan Bong; (19 Apps, 0 Goals)
Before his injury in November, he was widely regarded as Brighton’s player of the season alongside Kayal, and it was easy to see why. He formed a good partnership early on with Kazenga LuaLua, and then Jamie Murphy before his knee injury halted his good season. He never really recovered when he did return back in April, and by that time, he had lost his place to Liam Rosenior.
(13) – David Stockdale; (48 Apps, 17 Clean Sheets) [Albion Rating; 9]
How much did Brighton rely upon him this season, a little too much if you ask me, but maybe he was making up for a poor first season. He had a game defining moment in every game that I can re-call, and never really looked out of depth, unlike last season. He has developed his leadership skills, and will surely be a name in the hat when coming to pick out a new captain, just needs to work on commanding his area a little better.
(14) – Inigo Calderon; (20 Apps, 0 Goals) [Albion Rating; 6]
Words cannot describe how I felt when Brighton announced that he was leaving, gut-retching and shock were ones that come to mind, but it was inevitable. Most of his appearances were from the subs bench, and with Bruno being offered a new contract, he was sure to be on the chopping board. He will be missed, not just for the goal he scored with his face, but for all the work done outside football within the community; a Albion legend.
(15) – Jamie Murphy; (38 Apps, 6 Goals) [Albion Rating; 8]
Started off 2nd in-line behind LuaLua, but got his chance, and took it well. Unfortunate to be given his first ever red card back in September, but his performances were nothing short of fantastic, and was rewarded with a first Scotland call up late in the season. Has a fight on his hands to fend of Jiri Skalak, but if he continues to perform like much of this season, I’m sure Hughton will have a selection headache every game.
(16) – Casper Ankergren; (0 Apps, 0 Clean Sheets) [Albion Rating; N/A]
Most were surprised that he had been offered a new contract, considering he wasn’t in the first team squad nor the development squad for pretty much all of the season, but they have given him a chance to fight for the back-up goalkeeper position next season.
(17) – Connor Goldson; (26 Apps, 2 Goals) [Albion Rating; 8]
Came out of nowhere, and basically trusted into action in late December when Hunemeier went off injured against Middlesbrough; but by god has he taken this chance with both hands. Quite possibly the player of the season for the 2nd half of it, with consistently good performances and maturity, which is quite shocking considering he is only 23. Might be a bit out of his depth, but don’t be shocked if the captaincy was given to the young centre back, considering he has taken the reigns a couple of times at Shrewsbury.
(18) – Jake Forster-Caskey; (3 Apps, 1 Goal) [Albion Rating; N/A]
Not much can be said on a player who rarely featured in the matchday 18, let alone the starting XI. Has been given some stick by a section of Brighton fans, but managers Karl Robinson and Gareth Southgate see something in him which, clearly the fans can’t, otherwise they wouldn’t be picking for their squad. Who knows, maybe Hughton does have plans for him, and the loan was just his way of getting game time, but I can almost guarantee that if Brighton let him go, they will retreat it, just like the did with Tommy Elphick and Steve Cook.
(19) – Elvis Manu; (9 Apps, 0 Goals) [Albion Rating; N/A]
Never settled in England, not here or at Huddersfield when on loan. Thought he may have been the signing we were looking for, when he was bough in August, but has been one of the biggest flops of the last 15 years. Already has 1 foot out the door, with a move home to Holland on the cards.
(20) – Solly March; (17 Apps, 3 Goals) [Albion Rating; 7]
One of the most exciting young players before he got injured at Derby in December. Performances were extremely consistent, and it was a pleasure to watch him tear down left-backs at will. Obviously it was a huge blow when he was ruled out for the rest of the season with a knee injury, but I’m sure he will be back to his best once he returns next month for pre-season.
(21) – James Wilson; (27 Apps, 5 Goals) [Albion Rating; 6]
Has scored some important goals; his solo effort against Charlton and his winning goal against Huddersfield come to mind, but hasn’t shown his full potential which I know a lot of people reckon he can reach. Personally, he looks as if he is suffering from some sorts of sickness which he picked up around Christmas, he was sluggish and slow at Brentford, threw up orange sick against Wolves, and has seemed to be always in 1st gear since. I maybe wrong, but if true it maybe a reason why he hasn’t always been a consistent performer. However, I would welcome him back next season given the chance.
(22) – Danny Holla; (4 Apps, 0 Goals) [Albion Rating; N/A]
Mediocre appearances in the cups, with a sub appearance in the league against Preston. Has fallen well down the pecking order since the arrival of Hughton, and like Manu he is almost out of the door, with a return to Holland most likely. Not bad under Sami Hyypia’s, but hasn’t quite done enough under Hughton to warrant him in his plans.
(23) – Liam Rosenior; (35 Apps, 0 Goals) [Albion Rating; 8]
Signing of the season perhaps? One of the most consists performers in whatever position he was playing in, be it right midfield, right back or left back. Never looked out-of-place, what with all that Premier League experience, and has good leadership skills which could see him be a contender for the captaincy next season.
(24) – Rohan Ince; (16 Apps, 0 Goals) [Albion Rating; 4]
Been one of the stand-out performers pre-Hughton era, but has never fully lived up to it under the Irishman. Predominantly used as a substitute, and rarely got into the matchday XI for a majority of the season. Sent out on loan to Fulham in January, and more of the same story. Almost certain to see his future away from Brighton.
(25) – Bobby Zamora; (26 Apps, 7 Goals) [Albion Rating; 7]
He may have been only a 1 season wonder this time around, but he never failed to get us out of our seats, starting with his opening goal away at Leeds, before netting at home to Bristol City 3 days later. Season interrupted by injury, during the back-end of the season, when Brighton needed him the most. Not given a new contract, and has hinted at retirement after his latest injury. Another Albion legend.
(26) – Glen Rea; (2 Apps, 0 Goals) [Albion Rating; N/A]
Played twice during August in the Capital One Cup, and was sent out on loan to Southend prior to the window closing. Regarded as a future Irish captain, his Brighton future is in limbo, with him wanting game time but Albion reluctant to give it to him, especially when chasing the Premier League. Activated a 1 year deal earlier this month, and is set to be loaned back out, or even sold with a number of potential buyers lining up for him. If Brighton were to sell him, it would be a costly error in my opinion, especially with the records of letting central defenders leave early ( i.e Tommy Elphick, Steve Cook).
(27) – Anthony Knockaert; (21 Apps, 5 Goals) [Albion Rating; 8]
Lit up the Championship, let alone the team when he arrived back in January. His dribbling ability, athleticism and agility is something to behold, and made defenders quake in their boots. His dead ball abilities are as good as I have seen, and I’m sure he will bring the fire once again in the new season, that is if Brighton manage to keep him.
(28) – Adam Chicksen; (1 App, 0 Goals) [Albion Rating; N/A]
Already released by the Albion, Adam’s only appearance this season was as a 94th minute sub, back in December at home to Charlton. Things have never really got going for him here, with him never really given a chance to prove that he was the answer to Brighton’s left-back crisis. From what I have seen, a promotion-chasing League One team wouldn’t surprise me if they came in for him.
(29) – Richie Towell; (2 Apps, 0 Goals) [Albion Rating; N/A]
Bought in January to add some spice to midfield, but never really got a chance with Stephens and Kayal performing so well, and then with the addition of Steve Sidwell, he fell further down the pecking order. likely to see more of him next season, and am looking forward to it, if his performance against Sheffield Wednesday in the 1st leg is anything to go by.
(30) – Kazenga LuaLua; (22 Apps, 4 Goals) [Albion Rating; 6]
Started the season like a thunderbolt, single-handily winning the first 2 games, while setting up the winning goal in the 3rd, scoring the winner against Blackburn, and scoring away at Ipswich, setting him up for Player of the Month for August. After his injury in September, it all fell down hill for him. Once he had returned, it was hard for him to get into the team, and when he did he couldn’t perform as well as he had prior to the injury; he was a hazard rather than a help at times. Great servant to the club with over 140 appearances, but unfortunately, he is one of the players which seems to be on the chopping block.
(31) – Christian Walton; (0 Apps, 0 Clean Sheets) [Albion Rating; N/A]
No appearances this season for the young keeper, but is set for big things this upcoming season, with more that 7 clubs expressing interest in taking him on loan. Defiantly one for the future.
(36) – Steve Sidwell; (18 Apps, 1 Goal) [Albion Rating; 7]
May not of had the best of returns early on, but gradually got better as he settled back in. scored the important winning goal against Forest, and has had some good stand-out performances, namely against Birmingham in April. Has recently agreed to re-join Brighton on a 1 year deal, and will hopefully use his Premier League experience to guide them into the big time.
(38) – Jiri Skalak; (14 Apps, 2 Goals) [Albion Rating; 7]
Not much was known on the January deadline day signing, but like Sidwell, he struggled to settle in quickly, but when he finally did, boy were we treated to a dazzling display. like Knockaert, his dead ball abilities are out of this world, and while he isn’t blessed with bags of pace, he makes up for it with skill and technique, which we saw a lot of, especially his goal against QPR. Plenty more to see from him.
Liam Ridgwell; (6 Apps, 0 Goals) [Albion Rating; 6]
Emergency transfer deal while Brighton had the left-back crisis, and while he didn’t do much, he did enough to get Brighton back on the winning trail after their post-Christmas slump.
Rajiv van La Parra; (6 Apps, 2 Goals) [Albion Rating; 6]
Two very well-taken goals, both of which help secure points. Some were calling for him to make the switch from Wolves to Brighton in January, but he decided to go to Huddersfield, while Brighton pursued Knockaert.