Brighton fans were top of the table and on top of the world after a 2-0 win over Leeds saw them overtake Newcastle United.
The presence and form of the Magpies has maybe done Chris Hughton and the south coast team a massive favour, letting them go about their business relatively unnoticed.
A win for Newcastle against Birmingham would see them top again by a point – but even if that happens you doubt it will make little difference to the confidence of those Brighton fans.
Chris Hughton has overseen a team with the fewest defeats (two) and the lowest number of goal conceded (11) and they are now eight points clear of third placed Reading.
After the heartache of missing out on goal difference last season, interesting to hear what the Brighton fans have to say about the promotion race this season, along with comparisons to the last campaign.
Brighton fans comments taken from their top North Stand Chat forum:
‘After last season’s crushing disappointment I didn’t expect we would be in this position especially considering the squads and money available to the relegated Prem teams.
There have been many times … far too many times, where being a BHA supporter was inextricably linked with heartache and disappointment but these are heady days and it would be good to remember and appreciate how far we have come.
Quality Team/squad .. Quality infrastructure … Quality Stadium …Quality owner … Quality support .. Premier League ready,,*tick* … fingers crossed.’
‘Quality manager and coaching team too.’
‘Everybody is sh*t scared of us and dig in and defend against us even when they are at home. That’s borne out by how few we concede even away from home.’
‘Last season we matched Burnley & Boro for goals scored, but conceded more. This season we’re scoring goals, but now have the meanest defence in the leagues. 13 clean sheets and counting.’
‘I think another factor is that the league is a lot more even this year – there are a whole load of decent teams who will take points off each other (apart from the top 7 there’s also Derby, Fulham and Villa).
I don’t think there will be three teams who get circa 90 points this season.’
42 Brighton (Played 20) +19
40 Newcastle (19) +21
34 Reading (19) +1
32 Leeds (20) +1
31 Birmingham (19) +2
31 Sheff Wed (19) +1
30 Norwich (19) +4
Last year, for comparison:
42 Brighton (Played 20) +11
40 Middlesbrough (20) +17
38 Hull (20) +16
38 Derby (20) +15
35 Burnley (20) +7
31 Ipswich (20) +2
30 Cardiff (20) +4
* Bigger cushion to 3rd than last season
* Burnley who were 5th, were actually seven points behind us, similar to Reading now. But I don’t think Reading are half as good as Burnley were last season, so don’t see them overhauling us.
* We were just about to enter a catastrophic injury period, and an 8 game losing run. I don’t see that happening this time.
* Our goal difference this time round is worth half a point rather than minus half a point.
Obviously we could lose it from here, but surely we’re not going to miss out AGAIN are we?’
‘We seem to be getting the rub of the green as well this season, goalkeepers making mistakes instead of playing blinders, not hitting the woodwork every match….. just seems the small things are going our way a bit more. Last season our luck stank.’
‘People underestimate the importance of luck.’
‘Friday night. One week left before I finish for Christmas. A cheeky pint in the village pub with my children when I got in from work (they had lemonade). A hearty log fire roaring away and the Christmas tree lights haven’t fused yet.’
‘The standard of the league this year is lower as well, Brighton and Newcastle are miles ahead of everyone else who keep dropping points.
Derby and Villa should be doing better but the poor start of the season means they won’t threaten.’
‘Stronger team, better squad, more experienced, more expectant crowd, less injuries and teams 3-6 in table at present don’t look good enough to catch us.
Any slip up though and we could face Villa, Norwich and Derby in the play offs.’
‘The only teams behind us and Newcastle that we need to worry about are Fulham, Derby and Villa.
Don’t think we have to worry about Reading, they had a good run of fixtures winning 4/5 in a row so I think their position is a bit false.
Wednesday and Birmingham are teams who can beat anyone but can just as easily lose to anyone too.’
‘Leeds last night was similar to the Huddersfield game in that the visitors arrived with a growing hype surrounding them and when we got a closer look it was obvious that we’re better. And it may not have been pretty but we beat them.’