AS WE HEAR on almost a daily basis of top level football clubs facing sanctions for breaching Profit and Sustainability rules, we should be very proud of the prudent basis upon which Brighton and Hove Albion appears to be run, writes columnist Graham Bartlett.

The post-tax £122.8 million profit the Albion made in 2022-23 follows an impressive but more modest £24.1 million profit the previous year and, coupled with last season’s Premier League performance, shows clubs can perform both on and off the field. This huge figure tops the previous Premier League profit record by nearly £10 million. Of course, much of the revenue which led to this surplus was from player sales and the compensation Chelsea paid for their ill-fated grab of Graham Potter, but unlike many clubs, Brighton are renowned for almost mystical talent-spotting then buying cheap and selling high. Owner Tony Bloom is a professional gambler by background but his business acumen (and the huge amounts he ploughed into the club to build the American Express Stadium) show that the skills he developed around the card table should be the envy of any business school.

I had close contact with the club during my policing years and have seen how perilous their future was. So far as chief executives went though, all three I worked with (Martin Perry, Ken Brown and Paul Barber) were as committed to the club as its army of local people who make up the bulk of its staff are. However, Barber’s success and longevity, together with his synergy with owner and chairman Bloom, show him to have been an inspirational and the perfect appointment 12 years ago.

Supporters’ demands of week in, week out wins, whoever the opposition, is understandable especially when one considers how much financial and emotional investment each season ticket holder devotes to their team, but recent disaster stories from around the country remind us that there is more to a football club’s success than the point tally. Of course, that must be the end game but slow, steady and above all sustainable progress hold more value than the boom and bust approaches some clubs take.

On signing a new contract which will keep him at the club until 2030, Paul Barber has said that one of Bloom’s most endearing qualities is his ambition to go further. News of the British Airways partnership, possible extension of the Nike deal and talk of getting more out of the stadium on non-match days, extending merchandising and exploring further digital opportunities are evidence of leaders who are constantly stretching for the next level.

Occasionally, the club’s leadership come under fire for what some see as careless leaking of high-value assets such as MacAllister, Caicedo, Cucurella and of course Graham Potter. However, that is to be expected when a cash-rich club sees the talent a more modest club has nurtured. One of the most compelling parts of Paul Barber’s appearance on “The High Performance Podcast” last year was his innate ability to prepare for then move on from setbacks. He described the moment when Chelsea called to express their intention to approach Potter for their vacant manager’s position. While he and Bloom fought as much as they could, then negotiated the best possible compensation, they were realistic enough to know that with their success such approaches were inevitable so were already scouting potential replacements when the predictable happened. You don’t need me to remind you how that turned out and I’m sure they are doing the same now.

There is a lot other sectors and public services can take from Brighton and Hove Albion’s story. From near extinction to being a world-class-led club which retains its local roots and DNA is no accident of circumstance. Without even touching on Bloom’s huge investment (which he can now start to recoup), Barber highlight’s his boss’s “leadership and vision (which) provides genuine stability”, while Bloom lauds Barber in a similar vein: “Paul’s professionalism, drive and loyalty tied to his unquestionable ability means he is one of the most-respected senior executives in world football”.

I’ve no doubt they have their “frank discussions” and sometimes their opinions might differ but, from the outside, they are as one and their common values, shared ambition and exceptional business acumen have brought excellence on and off the field. They should be the envy of business leaders and politicians alike.

Former Brighton and Hove police chief Graham Bartlett’s Jo Howe crime novel series continues with City on Fire which was published last month