In a significant move, Brighton confirmed the appointment of Fabian Hurzeler as their new permanent manager following Roberto De Zerbi’s departure in May.

This appointment marks a historic moment as Hurzeler, who at 31, becomes the youngest manager in Premier League history. Thus, he surpasses Chris Coleman, who held the record since 2003 when he became Fulham’s manager at 32.

The Seagulls’ search for a new manager began in earnest after De Zerbi’s departure. The club explored several potential candidates, including former manager Graham Potter, Steve Cooper, and Malmo’s Henrik Rydstrom.

They also showed interest in Kieran McKenna, who ultimately decided to stay with Ipswich by signing a new contract. But after careful consideration, they opted for Hurzeler. The young boss has signed a three-year deal with the club, effective once his work permit is processed.

The American’s journey to becoming Brighton’s manager is both impressive and unconventional. Born in Texas, he started his career in the lower leagues of Germany. He played for Bayern Munich’s reserve team, Hoffenheim, and 1860 Munich. However, his playing career was cut short at the age of 23, prompting him to transition into coaching. Hurzeler then earned his UEFA Pro Licence at 30 and quickly made a name for himself.

In January 2022, the ex-midfielder took over as the youngest coach in St. Pauli’s history at the age of 29. During his tenure, he achieved remarkable success by securing promotion to the Bundesliga, ending the club’s 13-year absence from Germany’s top flight.

His accomplishments at St. Pauli and his coaching philosophy caught the attention of Brighton, especially after he visited the club last year to study his Italian predecessor’s methods.

Hurzeler was a fan favorite at St Pauli
Hurzeler was a fan favorite at St Pauli

Hurzeler was a fan favorite at St Pauli

What is Hurzeler’s vision for Brighton’s future?

Upon his appointment, Hurzeler expressed his excitement and commitment to Brighton’s future. “I am absolutely thrilled to be the new head coach of Brighton & Hove Albion”, he said. “After speaking to Tony [Bloom], Paul [Barber], and David [Weir], it was clear they are highly ambitious. Brighton has a unique history and a bold vision for the future, so I am truly excited to be part of the project.”

The 31-year-old is optimistic about building on the club’s recent progress. “The club has made incredible progress over the last few seasons, and the aim is to continue building on that success. I am relishing the opportunity to coach in the Premier League, and I can’t wait to meet the players, staff, and, of course, the fans,” he added.

How does Hurzeler plan to deal with players older than him?

At 31, Hurzeler faces the unique challenge of managing players who may be older or of similar age. However, he approaches this challenge with a collaborative mindset. In an interview with The Athletic, he has revealed how he plans to resolve the age disparity problem.

Thus, the coach has emphasized his intention to earn the players’ respect through his ideas and hard work rather than authority. “I’m young, and some players might be older than me, so I’m not going to be someone who yells at them and treats them like children. I am on their level, and I want to convince them with my ideas, with my hard work,” he stated.

Photo credit: IMAGO / Sven Simon IMAGO / Eibner