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Oscar Garcia: who exactly is Brighton’s new boss?

Posted on Monday, 1 July by

Oscar Garcia

Last Sunday, news broke of Gus Poyet being relieved of his managerial duties at Brighton & Hove Albion in rather controversial circumstances, with Poyet, live on TV at the time, claiming he knew nothing about his impending dismissal.

He was told by the BBC production team whilst he was live on air, working as a pundit for the coverage of his native Uruguay’s match in the Confederation’s Cup. But while this argument between club and former manager carries on, BHAFC have acted quickly to appoint Poyet’s successor and this dubious honour has fallen at the feet of the relatively unknown Spaniard, Oscar Garcia.

So, who is Oscar Garcia? And where has he come from? He first broke into the Barcelona B team in 1991 when he was only 18. He, along with his two brothers Roger and Genis, had been part of the world renowned Barcelona youth set up La Masia that has produced a whole host of famous names in the last 20 years, from the early superstars like Pep Guardiola and Carles Busquets, to more recent superstars like Cesc Fabregas, Xavi Hernandez, and of course Lionel Messi.

Oscar Garcia was a capable player and his main position was either as an attacking midfielder playing in the hole between the oppositions defence and midfield, or as the second striker, playing the role of the free playmaker who drops into space trying to create space and chances for teammates, whilst simultaneously still being able to create, and take, chances for himself.

He held a very respectable record of 51 goals in 146 appearances in Catalonia, averaging just over a goal every 3 games for Barcelona and their B team, although his goalscoring record really fell after he left the Spanish giants, when he only managed 13 goals in 123 appearances for his next club. There’s little doubt that time at La Masia and playing for Barcelona instilled a passion for attacking, possession based football in Oscar Garcia.

Oscar Garcia Barcelona

He also has plenty of experience with winning trophies, having amassed no fewer than 11 whilst playing for Barca including: 4 La Liga Titles, 2 Spanish cups and 2 Uefa Super Cups, and this winning mentality could prove invaluable in helping Albion to gain promotion to the Premier league next season.

What about Oscar Garcia’s coaching career so far? His first main coaching role was, rather fittingly, with Barcelona where he was a coach for Barca’s elite youth squad. He was there from 2010-12 and in that time, although it’s too early to tell, two good looking prospects have graduated to the Barcelona B team, and even more recently been involved in their first team: Marc Bartra and Martin Montoya, both 22.

After two seasons coaching the Barca youth team, Oscar Garcia got his first managerial post at the Israeli team Maccabi Tel-Aviv. Although this doesn’t sound like the most prestigious job in football, Garcia did a very good job and managed to lead them to the Israeli championship for the first time in 10 years. Garcia was brought in by the owner of Tel-Aviv, Mitchell Goldhar, to change the philosophy at the club to a more attractive type of football.

He hasn’t let fans down in a recent interview where he has confirmed his intent to bring his own footballing philosophy to the Amex: “My obsession is to attack, to attack the opposition, to keep the ball and to have the ball as many times as possible”. This ideology comes as no surprise once you find out who he is. His experience of winning trophies as both player and manager could be crucial for Brighton, also he has the potential to be able to add to Gus Poyet’s already attack minded system with the added benefit of his experience with Barcelona and being able to deliver Maccabi’s first national title in 10 years under extreme pressure.

So although you probably wouldn’t have heard of Oscar Garcia yourself, if you delve into his background you can see that he has a history of winning titles and looks like a promising young manager, considering he is still just 40. So even after the acrimonious departure of Poyet this could potentially be a really big step forward for Brighton & Hove Albion and their attempt to gain promotion to the Premier League.

Will Oscar Garcia be a success at Brighton?

This article was written as part of an all-day activity at Sussex Downs College, where students with the best articles were rewarded with the chance of being published on SQ Magazine.

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Rob Graham

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