Brighton appoint Hurzeler as head coach

15 Jun 2024
Fabian Hurzeler

31-year-old joins from St Pauli on three-year deal as youngest head coach in Premier League history

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Brighton & Hove Albion have announced the appointment of 31-year-old Fabian Hurzeler as their new head coach.

Hurzeler, who guided St Pauli last season back to the top flight of the Bundesliga for the first time since 2010/11, takes over from Roberto De Zerbi, who left Brighton at the end of the 2023/24 season. The German has signed a contract through to June 2027. 

“From the start of the process to appoint our new head coach, Fabian was always a standout candidate and one who had caught our attention with his exceptional work at St Pauli over the past 18 months," Brighton chairman Tony Bloom told the club's official website.

“He has a style of play that aligns with how we want a Brighton & Hove Albion team to play, and I’m confident it is one our supporters will appreciate and enjoy."

Hurzeler said he was "thrilled" to join Brighton having met Bloom, chief executive Paul Barber and technical director David Weir.

“After speaking to Tony, Paul and David, it was clear that they are highly ambitious," he said. "The club has a unique history and bold vision for the future, so I am truly excited to be part of the project.

“The club has made incredible progress over the last few seasons and the aim is to continue building on that success.

“I am relishing the opportunity to coach in the Premier League, and I can’t wait to meet the players, staff and, of course, the fans.”

Premier League's youngest-ever

Appointed by Brighton at the age of 31 years and 110 days, Hurzeler is set to break a record as the youngest head coach to take charge of a Premier League match, at 31 years and 180 days, when the 2024/25 season starts on 17 August. 

The current record is held by Chris Coleman, who was appointed as permanent manager of Fulham at the age of 32 years and 313 days. He then took charge of his first match in that role at 33 years and 67 days in August 2003.

Hurzeler, who will also be the first Premier League head coach born after the competition started in August 1992, will also be younger than several of his players at Brighton, including 38-year-old James Milner.

Brighton players older than Hurzeler
Player Age
James Milner 38
Jason Steele 33
Danny Welbeck 33
Pascal Gross 32
Lewis Dunk 32
Joel Veltman 32
Who is Fabian Hurzeler?

Hurzeler was born in Houston, USA, on 26 February 1993 when Brighton were ninth in the fourth tier of the English football pyramid. While his father was Swiss, his mother was German, and Hurzeler's family returned to his mother's homeland when he was two.

An aspiring young defensive midfielder, Hurzeler was in Bayern Munich’s reserve team before he moved into coaching at the age of 23, starting off as a player-manager at FC Pipinsried.

In 2020, Hurzeler was named as assistant coach at St Pauli and two years later, he replaced Timo Schultz to become the second-youngest ever head coach in German football's second tier. 

Hurzeler won his first 10 league matches in charge, steering St Pauli away from the threat of relegation to a fifth-placed finish in 2022/23.

St Pauli were unbeaten in their opening 20 Bundesliga 2 matches last season, setting the foundation for the club’s promotion back to the top flight as champions after a 13-year absence.

During his time at St Pauli, Hurzeler lost only eight of 55 matches and favoured a 3-4-3 formation.

Season dates

Hurzeler will find out his opening Premier League match when the 2024/25 fixtures are released at 09:00 BST on Tuesday 18 June. The season will start on 17 August.

Before then, Brighton travel to Japan as part of their pre-season preparations, with Hurzeler’s first match due to be against Kashima Antlers in Tokyo on 24 July.

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