Football: Brighton challenge taken on by Gritt

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The Independent Online
Steve Gritt said he was relishing the challenge of taking on the toughest job in football when he became the new manager of troubled Brighton and Hove Albion yesterday.

The Seagulls are 11 points adrift at the bottom of the Third Division - but that has not deterred Gritt. The former Charlton joint-manager said: "I wouldn't have taken the job on unless I was satisfied that the club has a future. In my talks I was given those assurances. I am ready for the challenge and cannot wait for my first game at home to Hull on Saturday."

Gritt's appointment came just hours after the Sussex club had confirmed that they will be appealing against the two-point penalty imposed by the Football Association on Monday for a pitch invasion by fans during a home game against Lincoln City in October. Brighton's chief executive, David Bellotti, insists that the peaceful protest by the fans was aimed at the directors. "We are appealing on the grounds that the players have been penalised," he said.

Bellotti also revealed that Gritt, Brighton's third manager in the last year, was selected as Jimmy Case's successor from 50 applicants. The 39- year-old, who has been searching for a manager's job since parting company with Charlton 18 months ago, admitted: "It has been said that the Brighton job is the worst in football, but I have taken it on because primarily I am a football person.

"I have been very keen to get back ever since I left Charlton. We have got 24 games to turn things round at Brighton and it is an achievable task. Success for me would be for us to finish 23rd in the league, and just make sure we get off the bottom place."

Gritt hopes to appoint an assistant this week, and has urged disgruntled supporters to back the club from now until the end of the season. He said: "My message to fans is for them to get behind the team. Together we can do it and once we've put together a few wins we will have the teams above us sweating." He also revealed that he has been promised some money for team strengthening.

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