BRIGHTON & Hove Albion have named former Finland international Sami Hyypia as their new first-team manager on a three-year contract.
Hyypia replaces Oscar Garcia, who left the club at the end of last season, and Albion’s new boss said: “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.
“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 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.
“The chairman is ambitious and for me that is absolutely key. I am now looking forward to the challenge ahead and our aim is to take the club forward to the next level.”
Albion chairman Tony Bloom added: “We are very excited to have appointed Sami as our new manager. He has already had a distinguished career in the game, having played and managed at the very top.
“As we have said previously we had a wealth of very high calibre applicants. Paul and I undertook an extensive and diligent evaluation of the contenders and Sami was the one who emerged as our number one choice.
“I would like to thank the fans for their patience during this time. I know the fans were keen to see a new manager in place quickly, but it was vital to take our time. I am extremely confident that Sami will be a big success at Brighton, and I am sure the fans will share our delight at his appointment.”
Hyypia will announce his coaching team - including Nathan Jones as his first-team coach - ahead of the new season. He added, “There is a good vibe at this club, and Tony and Paul have also told me about the club’s great fans. The support is quite incredible, and I cannot wait to lead Brighton next season.”
Hyypia played in Finland and Holland before joining Liverpool in 1999, gaining legendary status at Anfield as he helped the Reds win the FA Cup, League Cup, UEFA Cup and most notably the UEFA Champions League in 2005.
He ended his playing career in Germany with Bayer Leverkusen in 2011 having played more than 700 senior games, including more than 100 senior caps for Finland. He began coaching for the Bundesliga club and Finish national team, before taking over as head coach at Bayer Leverkusen in 2012.