Sami Hyypia admits the ambition of Brighton & Hove Albion persuaded him to accept their offer to succeed Oscar Garcia as manager.
The Seagulls were in the market for a new boss after Spaniard Garcia tendered his resignation, in the aftermath of their Championship playoff semi-final defeat to Derby County last month. Hyypia became a free agent in April, following a disappointing sequence of results at German side Bayer Leverkusen.
During his debut campaign in charge the 40-year-old helped the BayArena side to a third place finish in the Bundesliga, which saw them compete in the same group as Manchester United in the UEFA Champions League last term. Although they progressed to the knockout stages of the competition, they were outclassed by Paris St Germain who beat them 6-1 to reach the quarter-finals.
Hyypia built his reputation during a 10-year-stint in the heart of Liverpool’s back four, during which time he helped the Reds win the Champions League, a UEFA Cup, two FA Cups, and two League Cups. Since leaving England he had always had an ambition to return, and having met with Brighton over their vacancy, he believes the ambition of the East Sussex club gives him an idea opening.
“I am absolutely thrilled by this appointment; Brighton & Hove Albion are an ambitious club and I am very pleased to have been given this opportunity,” the former Finland international told the club’s website. “I’ve held extensive talks with the chairman Tony Bloom and chief executive Paul Barber. I have looked at the club from top to bottom and I am very impressed by what I’ve seen at all levels.
“I’ve seen the Amex Stadium and the club’s new training ground [in Lancing] and they are amongst the best I’ve seen anywhere in the world. I’ve also already met some of the key staff including Nathan Jones, the club’s head of football David Burke, and Dr Helge Riepenhoff, head of medical and sports science, and I am very much looking forward to working with all of them.”