Brighton & Hove Albion have signed Northern Ireland midfielder Oliver Norwood from fellow Championship side Reading for an undisclosed fee. The former Manchester United trainee joins on a three-year deal at Brighton. The club faithful would have been distraught having failed in their bid to achieve an unlikely promotion after they finished 3rd in the Championship but lost in the play-offs to Sheffield Wednesday.
The club which was founded in 1901 has been through a massive number of ups and downs over the decades. In 1996, they almost suffered the ignominy of being relegated from the Football League just 14 years after coming close to winning the FA cup. However, a dramatic late goal from Robbie Reinelt saved Brighton the blushes as they secured a draw which in-turn relegated Hereford for the first time in their 25-year old history.
2000–01 was Brighton’s first successful season for 13 years. They were crowned champions of Division Three and promoted to Division Two, where they made an excellent start and looked good bets for a second successive promotion. Adams left in October 2001 to work as Dave Bassett’s assistant at Leicester, being replaced by former Leicester manager Peter Taylor. The transition proved to be a plus point for Brighton, who maintained their good form and ended the season as Division Two champions – winning a second successive promotion. Just five years after almost succumbing to the double threat of losing their Football League status and going out of business completely, Brighton were one division away from the Premier League.
And after having given a glimpse to the fans of what can be achieved, Brighton have landed a major signing in the form of former Manchester United trainee Oliver Norwood. The Northern Ireland midfielder comes on the back of a successful Euro where they made the Round of Sixteen. He was a regular feature for his side and performed admirably.
Manager Chris Hughton was effusive in his praise for the new signing and pointed to his roots as a major factor in the development of the player.
“He’s a box-to-box midfielder and an excellent passer of the ball”
“He has a good grounding, coming from Manchester United, and gives us extra options in midfield and adds further depth to our squad.”
The fact that Brighton have managed to sign the player, who was very recently being linked with Premier League clubs is by itself a commendable achievement by the Seagulls.
The 25-year old has good experience in the Championship having played over 180 matches for Huddersfield and Reading. The box-to-box midfielder is known for taking shots from distance and is also an established set-piece taker. He provides a good number of key passes every game and will control the tempo in the midfield. The Irish man does not shy away from his defensive duties and tracks back regularly putting in a commendable shift in the centre of the park.
Brighton have done well to land him and with a couple of canny acquisitions can hope of an encore this time around.