Andrew Crofts: First Team Coach at Brighton & Hove Albion FC
Andrew Crofts is the self-confessed ”football geek” who is now living the dream in the English Premiership as Brighton and Hove Albion’s First Team Coach under new Italian boss Roberto de Zerbi.
Tonight (October 17th 2022) the 38-year-old former Wales international midfielder and Football Careers client will be in the dugout alongside the ex-Sassuolo supremo as de Zerbi seeks his first win in charge of the Seagulls at home to struggling Nottingham Forest.
Graham Potter’s departure to Chelsea left a void at Brighton that has been filled with the imaginative appointment of de Zerbi who led unfashionable Sassuolo to two eighth-placed finishes on the spin in Serie A and earned many plaudits for their playing style.
Ahead of the new coach’s arrival Andrew had been interim head coach of the club but was denied the chance to take charge of the clash with Bournemouth after the death of HRH Queen Elizabeth sent the United Kingdom into a period of mourning. Crofts is now settling into his new role alongside de Zerbi, who guided Shakhtar Donetsk to league glory in Ukraine before the Russian invasion forced him out of that job, and he revealed:
”I am a football geek. I look at lots of different teams and players and as soon as I heard Roberto was coming in, I looked at what he’d done and it’s ‘wow’. He has got so much respect from different managers and players so for him to be able to bring that to Brighton is exciting for everyone involved.”
Crofts is a Football Careers alumni whose CV is worth studying to examine a fascinating playing and coaching journey. He began his career at Gillingham where he became a midfield mainstay before two stints at Brighton and others impressing at the likes of Norwich as he racked up 494 pro games.
The Grandparent Rule opened the doorway to international football for Andrew and he strode through it to earn 29 caps for Wales and further build on his bank of knowledge.
After hanging up his boots at National League side Yeovil Town coaching was always the likeliest avenue for a man who lives and breathes the game. He returned to former club Brighton as Under-23s Head Coach and became a trusted lieutenant of Potter in one of the shrewdest and most forward-thinking regimes in England’s top flight.
Now he stands alongside de Zerbi and they will be desperate for a win against Forest after a dramatic 3-3 draw at Liverpool in the new coaching team’s first game was followed by losses to Tottenham and Brentford.
Brighton owner Tony Bloom has no doubts about the impact Andrew can have in his new role for the club who still lie seventh in the Premiership. Bloom stressed:
“Andrews Crofts is a really important member of this club. He did a really good job while we were finding a new head coach. That continuity is really important and Crofty has been part of the club for many years and knows it inside out. He will be a very important conduit for Roberto.”