Date: 16th June 2017 at 8:34pm
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On Friday, Brighton chief executive Paul Barber gave his reaction to drawing Manchester City at home on the opening day of the Premier League campaign this year.

Following Wednesday’s draw, Brighton will open our debut Premier League season at the Amex Stadium with Pep Guardiola’s side our first visitors.

Speaking to the Official Site to give his thoughts on welcoming one of the big boys on day one, Barber explained.

‘We`re absolutely delighted, to not only have a home game for our first Premier League fixture, but to also play one of the world`s top sides. We`re looking forward to welcoming Manchester City and all that they come with. 20 years ago we were a kick or two from going out of the Football League, and here we are, two decades later, opening up our Premier League account against Manchester City – which is just wonderful.’

Speaking to the press at the Amex, in the Heineken Lounge at a specially arranged breakfast where Albion supporters were given envelopes containing the fixture schedule, Barber went on to say.

‘Yesterday morning was the reality of reaching the Premier League for many of our staff and fans because the excitement at the stadium when Manchester City was announced as our opening fixture, was fantastic. We got sent the fixtures at 7.30am, so we had an hour and a half to digest them before they were officially made public and the fans heard the news – and it was a really incredible 90 minutes.’

Barber went on to say.

‘You look down the fixtures list, look for those groups of games and think ‘that`s going to be difficult’, but then the closer you look you quickly come to the conclusion that it`s all going to be difficult! In their own way, each fixture has its own significant challenges, not least because even the so-called smaller clubs are looking at us as a smaller club and thinking ‘that`s our opportunity’. But it`s such a great feeling for so many people, not just across the football club, but across the whole city. We`re really looking forward to being part of the Premier League.’

Seeing the fixture in print, it also left Barber under no impressions about how difficult it will be to consolidate our position in the top flight this year.

‘There are some very tough games. To end the season, there`s an away fixture against our friends up the M23 – Crystal Palace – and then Tottenham at home, a tough trip to Burnley, and then Manchester United and Liverpool to follow that. We`ve also got so many southern fixtures for a change – Watford, Bournemouth, Southampton, West Ham, Palace, Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham – compared to what we`ve become used to in the Championship. But there are no easy games in the Premier League. It`s a well-used cliche but the reality is that we`re now playing in the best league in the world against some of the best teams and players in the world.’

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