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Issue 5 March 2017


THE EDITOR

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he Albion have made me cry on four occasions. At the age of nine, I was sent to bed in tears during half-time of the FA Cup final replay in 1983. We were 3-0 down and to this day, I’ve never seen the second half. As if the sight of the horrendous Chewits wrapper kit before the 1991 play-off final at Wembley wasn’t bad enough, catching a glimpse of Dean Wilkins blubbing like a baby as he slunk around on his lap of honour after losing to Notts County was too much for a 17-year-old me to take. The next time our club squeezed a tear from my eye was during a midweek fixture at Gillingham, our temporary home for two years. I’d gone for a brief constitutional and as the pitch came in to view as I returned to my seat, Rod Thomas flung himself acrobatically across goal to make an amazing finger-tip save to deny Plymouth their fourth (I think). Rod Thomas was our right winger. We were losing, homeless (with no return in sight), bottom of the lowest division, it was cold and raining, and we

were utterly abysmal. I sat on the terrace and wept. The last time was as the two-minute Last Post enveloped the Goldstone Ground before the final match with Doncaster Rovers. It was like a funeral. A cherished place I’d watched my heroes as a boy, a passed down allegiance from my grandad, dad and uncle. Where I’d celebrated alongside friends, and then fought with strangers as we tried to save our dying club. I cried for the friend I was potentially losing. With no home and the possibility of going out of the league at Hereford the following weekend.

P3: Editorial P4/5: Nick Szczepanik P6/7: Albion Roar P9: Hiney Art P10-15: AITC P17: Paul McCarthy P19: Cain Suleyman P20/21: Brett Mendoza P22/23: Goldstone Ghosts P24/25: Mike Ward P26/27: Steve Brewer P29: We Are Brighton P30/31: Sandra Murphy P32: Leon Cox P34/35: Brighton But Only at Home’s Classic Away Days P38/39: Cult heroes # 4: Paul Brooker P40: NSC P42/43: Claire Byrd P44/45: Simon Levenson P46/47: Nic Outterside P48: Anthony James P50/51: Joe McBride’s match reports P54/55: Royal Blood P56/57: Goldstone Wrap P58/59: Ian Hine P60: Nic Outterside

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Look at us now. It is truly breath-taking how far we’ve come. But, never, ever, ever forget the struggle, the sacrifices, the tears and the sheer bloody -minded devotion many showed so we could, at some point, have our day in the sun.

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It’s why we’re here – it’s why the Albion is so special. UTA. Dan Tester

The Albion Mag is owned and produced by FFP, 6 Marlborough Place, Brighton BN1 1UB All content enquiries, please email: info@thealbionmag.com

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Editor - Dan Tester: editor@thealbionmag.com Designer - John Shannon: johnnyshannon.co.uk Cover - Ben Thatcher

Printed by L & S Printing, Worthing: ls-printing.com

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Parachuting in with no guarantees

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o football writer that I know went into our noble profession because they enjoy reading balance sheets. The attraction is watching games, talking to players and managers and then doing a bit of creative writing. Well, not too creative unless you’re one of the sad hacks whose job it is to make up transfer rumours. David Stockdale to Chelsea? Really? As the great Simon Barnes once said, we are best advised to save the fiction for our expenses claims. But these days it’s very difficult to separate football from finance, whether it’s transfer fees, wages, the amount one wealthy American pays another to buy a club, or exactly how much money your club’s owner possesses – and why he won’t stump up for a new striker. Not that the numbers you see quoted are likely to be accurate. If you’re writing about, say American football, you can find out exactly how much the New England

Patriots pay each of their players, even broken down into basic salary and bonuses. But any figure you see for a Premier League player is mostly guesswork. And, don’t get me started on those Rich Lists, which are largely put together by interns and students on work experience. Interested to see what a Sunday broadsheet estimated Tony Bloom’s fortune to be a few years ago, I turned to their list of football club owners only to read that Bill Archer was still chairman. Ironically, one of the few times you can get an exact handle on football club finances is when things go badly wrong. As Portsmouth went through one of their series of financial crises in around 2010, the Official Receiver published the club’s accounts in full, revealing among other things the staggering fact that Israel defender Tal Ben Haim was receiving a seven-figure sum in image rights. And this was a player who was barely a household name in his own household.

In fairness, Portsmouth’s off-field woes were far more entertaining than anything happening on the Fratton Park pitch. But in general the feeling among football writers is that sports finance columns, like articles about Fifa and Uefa politics, are the parts of the sports pages that nobody can be bothered to plough through but which win awards – probably because it’s easier to reward them than read them. So I surprised myself a few months ago when some football writers were asked on Twitter what single change they would make to improve the game. Suggestions included a cap on ticket prices, a moratorium on manager sackings during the season, and access to instant replays for match officials. All very worthy, but I felt that none of them would have had as much benefit as abolishing parachute payments. These iniquitous consolation prizes to failed Premier League clubs, conceived to help relegated teams bounce

Nick Szczepanik is a football and NFL writer whose byline has appeared in every national daily paper (yes, even that one) but mostly in The Times and The Independent. An Albion fan since the 1960s, his ambition is to report on the club in Europe.

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instantly back into the old boys’ club, guarantee that the Championship can never be a level playing field for clubs like the Albion. They encourage desperate owners to roll the dice on expensive mercenaries, often from abroad, at the expense of developing their own local talent, theoretically secure in the knowledge that their wages can be funded even if the worst happens – not just relegation, but being unable to find some other mug punter to take the player off their hands. They discourage financial prudence and good housekeeping. Since the Albion were promoted from League One in 2011, they have had far less money to spend than Burnley, Hull, Norwich, QPR and West Ham, who all used their extra funding to help them return immediately to the top level, even though Norwich and QPR slipped straight back again after one season. Of course, some clubs have failed so badly in the Premier League that not even the golden trampoline of the parachute payments could save them – Blackpool, Bolton, Wolves and Wigan kept dropping, to the amusement of fans of clubs not in receipt of their diamond-encrusted wooden spoons. There should, therefore, be extra satisfaction in seeing clubs without parachute payments going up, but

somehow there’s often an evil twist. Cardiff were promoted after many years of frustration but at the price of a change of kit to red and even then they lasted only a single season. Bournemouth shattered the Financial Fair Play rules thanks to their Russian owner, Maxim Demin, and Middlesbrough, of course, brought their own referee to a certain game last season. We might be looking at Southampton and their youth policy, or Crystal Palace and their incontinent coach driver as the best recent examples of teams going up without an extra cash boost. Of course, we were told that we had missed our best chance last season and that the massive financial powerhouses of Aston Villa

and Newcastle would steamroller this division. Thankfully, it hasn’t worked out quite like that so far. Obviously the Albion have been bankrolled by Tony Bloom and many of us will see promotion, whenever we achieve it, as a chance for him to recoup some of his vast outlay on staff and infrastructure, should he wish to do that. Actually I suspect that, like most fans, he will be much more interested in the team’s results than the balance sheet. And then, even if the worst happens and we go straight back down, we’ll get parachute payments. At which point, please ignore all of the above. @NickSzczepanik

Nick has a book out, Pulp Football. Football is about goals, great players and glory. But it’s also about own goals, goats and the game gone wrong. The book looks at the comedy rather than the beauty of the world’s favourite sport.

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THE START OF SOMETHING BIG Join Ady and Al on the Albion Roar, a Brighton & Hove Albion fans’ independent radio show, on Radio Reverb 97.2FM every Saturday from 12-1pm. You can listen in on FM, via www.radioreverb.com, and on DAB. Alternatively, catch the podcast at www.albionroar.co.uk.

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ewind to when you were 15. It’s a bigger rewind for some more than others, and some may not want to go there. Put it this way, my wedge haircut from 1984 will never see the light of day. I’m certain no photographs exist. At least I hope not. In December 1996, a 15-yearold Plymouth Argyle fan Richard Vaughan was in his bedroom peering through his curtains onto the internet. He’d plugged in his 28.8k modem, thereby rendering his mum and dad’s guest house in Devon uncontactable by phone. Richard logged on to the Internet Seagulls – the forerunner to North Stand Chat – to see if there was any further information about what was happening at Brighton & Hove Albion. He wasn’t a fan of the Albion, just simply outraged at how the club was being run. The behaviour of the board – chairman Bill Archer, chief executive David Bellotti and director Greg Stanley especially – as history recalls, was getting more farcical by the day. The club was in free fall, and the board didn’t care.

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Richard decided to offload his frustration on to the Internet Seagulls website: “I see the scum FA have now taken 2 points who do they think they are they wouldn’t do this to Man United. It makes me sick what is happening to your club and it’s an insult to your fans. I’m a Plymouth fan and I think that one week when we’re away I’m going to come up and support your protest. I think it would be a

Chrismas, Liz Costa, Paul Samrah, Tim Carder and others, February 8th 1997 would go down as a Red Letter Day in the Albion’s history (see The Albion Mag – issue 4). Twenty years after writing that simple – yet astonishingly effective – post, Richard and his father Roger came to visit the Amex for the first time. He’d been invited on to Albion Roar about four

This, as we all know, was the catalyst for what became ‘Fans United’, a movement where fans of one club support fans of other clubs in times of crisis. good idea if LOADS of fans from different clubs turned up at Brighton (with their shirts on) and joined in it would show that we’re all behind you 100 per cent.” This, as we all know, was the catalyst for what became ‘Fans United’, a movement where fans of one club support fans of other clubs in times of crisis. With the hard work of many people, including Warren

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years previously. Every now and then, we would pester them to travel to Sussex from their home just outside Exeter. Each time it was ‘soon’, ‘yeah, will do, but can’t at the moment…’ etc. So, when he got hold of us in late December to say they’d like to come to the Burton game on February 11th (the closest game to the 20th anniversary of Fans United), he also asked about


coming on to the show, and about match tickets. Naturally, we were delighted to welcome him on. We contacted the club to see if they could oblige him tickets. Typically of the club, they looked after Richard and Roger ‘like royalty’.

pitchside before the game. “I didn’t know what kind of state I’d be in if they interviewed me at half-time…” was his main concern.

After recording the show on the Friday, we took the Vaughans (Roger was sporting a ‘Fans United’ badge) for some beers. The hospitality continued on Saturday as the club fed them in HB’s restaurant, and gave them a couple of tickets in 1901. Richard was interviewed

After a fine 4-1 win, and a summoning from Tony Bloom to meet them, many people lined up in Dick’s Bar to shake Richard’s hand to thank him for his part in saving the Albion. Pints flowed and merriment was had – helped by England scoring a last-minute try to beat Wales in the Six Nations rugby.

Richard is still every bit as passionate about the plight of smaller clubs, the ones much of the media and football authorities have taken to ignoring for the sake of glory and riches at the top of the game. None of that fire has gone, though the passage of time – and fatherhood – has taken their collective toll on active participation. He is also extremely humble, though exceptionally proud to have played his part in the resurrection of Brighton & Hove Albion. In turn, he also had a brilliant time, and will be making a return to the Amex sometime soon.

You can hear Richard’s take on Fans United and the thinking behind the post he wrote, on The Albion Roar’s ‘Recent Shows’ page: www.albionroar.co.uk/recent-shows.php

It’s the Vaughans’ desire to have both Brighton and his beloved Plymouth Argyle promoted this season. While both clubs are making their fans sweat, it’s something that’s very achievable. And for the sake of a football love-in, I don’t suppose too many will mind that sentiment. In both cases, it’s about time. TAM. Alan Wares @albionroar

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Hiney Art In May 2004, Albion beat Bristol City in the Second Division Play-Off Final at the Millennium Stadium to win a place in the second tier (First Division). TAM contributor Ian Hine was on holiday in Majorca at the time and posted a picture of himself celebrating the win in a bar on North Stand Chat. An artistic movement was born as creative whizzes began to super-impose the programme aficionado’s head on to just about anything...

Can you do better? Send us your Hiney Art to: info@thealbionmag.com

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WE’VE GOT AN ENGLAND INTERNATIONAL!

Powerchair player called up to World Cup squad The captain of Brighton & Hove Albion’s Powerchair team has been called-up to the England squad for the 2017 World Cup. Matt Francis has been a regular at the national team’s training camps after impressing the selectors with a series of eye-catching displays for Brighton & Hove Albion Powerchair FC (BHAPFC). The Albion team, which is run by AITC, play in the Muscular Dystrophy UK Premiership and are currently second in the country’s top division. Earlier this season they also made their debut in European competition, coming sixth in the Champions Cup tournament, where they were the only team to beat eventual winners and current French champions Auch. Now Francis, who is studying

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law at the University of Sussex, is on track to make his England debut at the World Cup, which takes place in Kissimmee, Florida in July.

this amazing opportunity. They have challenged me to reach my full potential and inspired me to work hard for what I want to achieve.

Taking to the pitch against the likes of Canada, Uruguay, Denmark, Argentina and Japan will mark a remarkable rise to the top of the game for the 19-year-old, who only started playing the sport as recently as 2009.

“Football hasn’t just given me direction and many friends, it has taught me that life is limitless and you can do anything you put your mind to.”

Speaking shortly after he was confirmed as being part of the World Cup squad, he said: “Everyone who plays football when they are young wants to play for their country so I am incredibly proud. I cannot wait to make my England debut and to do so at a World Cup will be amazing. Without the tremendous support from both my team-mates and coaches at BHAPFC I would not have

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Steward Teeder, who coaches BHAPFC, was adamant that Francis was fully-deserving of his place on the plane to America. He said: “Matt has worked incredibly hard to get to into the England squad and everyone at Albion in the Community is very proud of him. “Not only is Matt a fantastic player but he is also a brilliant captain and team-mate and a superb example of what can be achieved with the right combination of talent and dedication.”

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ALBION IN THE COMMUNITY

Albion first-team coach visits school to discuss resilience with pupils Albion first-team coach Paul Nevin visited Patcham High School in Brighton to talk to students about his career in football.

spent time as a social worker before embarking on his successful coaching career. He also took part in a Q & A session and talked to pupils

Our new link with Patcham is an incredibly exciting and innovative extension of the work we do in many schools throughout Sussex

Nevin joined the Seagulls in June last year having previously worked for Fulham, New Zealand Knights FC, Aspire Academy in Qatar and Norwich City. He visited the school to help launch a new partnership with AITC. The link sees a full-time member of staff from Albion in the Community based at the school in an effort to help pupils improve their grit and resilience. During the visit Nevin spoke to pupils about his background in the game, including how injury forced him to quit football at the age of 24 and how he

hugely-inspirational and it was great to hear him talk about the importance of grit and resilience. It was fantastic for the students to have the opportunity to meet such a positive role model. We are extremely excited about our partnership with AITC and it was superb to have been visited by Brighton & Hove Albion’s first-team coach.”

about how attributes used in sport can be transferred from During the visit AITC the pitch to the classroom. presented the school with a signed Brighton & Following his visit, Nevin Hove Albion shirt and the explained he was only too pleased to help out. He said: charity’s schools manager Paul Williams added: “Our “It was a fantastic day new link with Patcham is meeting the students. an incredibly exciting and There were some very good innovative extension of the questions asked about how work we do in many schools the club works behind the throughout Sussex. scenes but also some well thought-out questions about “To have Paul visit the how to be successful and school to help cement that what it will take for the partnership was great and it students to reach their goals.” was obvious how much the The school’s headteacher, John McKee, was equally pleased with how the visit had gone. He said: “Paul is

disability@albioninthecommunity.org.uk

pupils enjoyed hearing about his experience within the game and what it takes to be successful in any walk of life.”

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ALBION IN THE COMMUNITY

Study and learn with AITC Teenagers are being given the opportunity to play competitive football or futsal for AITC while studying towards a BTEC qualification. Albion in the Community is recruiting for its September 2017 intake and wants to hear from any 16-18-year-olds interested in signing-up to one of its two full-time courses. The charity has places available on both the Level 2 Diploma in Sport, which is equivalent to four GCSEs; and the Level 3 Extended Diploma in Sport, which is equivalent to three A Levels. Scholars who have previously studied with AITC have gone on to secure places at university, both in the UK and America,

while others have played futsal for England or secured football trials at professional clubs. As well as studying towards these sporting qualifications, scholars will also represent AITC in either an 11-a-side squad or a futsal team – competing weekly against similar schemes from Premier League and Football League clubs. Lessons take place at the American Express Community Stadium while Albion legends Guy Butters and Danny Cullip are among the coaches that deliver the practical sessions.

In fact, as well as leading training sessions both former Seagulls stars act as mentors to the scholars and also take the teams on matchdays. Anyone interested in studying with AITC should attend a trial and there are a number of dates coming up at either the Falmer Sports Centre at the University of Brighton or the American Express Elite Football Performance Centre in Lancing. For more information, or to book a place on one of the trial dates, email the address below with the heading: BTEC trials.

info@albioninthecommunity.org.uk

New players need for Falmer football session AITC is looking to recruit new players for one of the regular football sessions it runs for people with a disability. Albion in the Community runs 30 regular sessions across Sussex – including a fortnightly one at the University of Brighton’s Falmer Sports Centre, which is next door to the Seagulls’ American Express Community Stadium. The Saturday morning session is open to junior players and adults and is one of AITC’s pan-disability clubs, meaning anyone with a disability can attend. The charity also runs a number of disability-specific clubs and more than 150 people throughout the county regularly attend AITC’s sessions.

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However, the charity is looking for more players to join the Brighton group, which is split into two sections: junior players between 10am and 11am; and adult players between 11.30am and 1pm. The sessions are for players of any ability – including beginners – but there is also the opportunity for participants to take part in competitive games as part of one of AITC’s many teams that compete in the Sussex Disability Football League. First and foremost, though, the Saturday Brighton session is focused on having fun and learning new skills in a safe and structured environment. All of AITC’s coaches are FA-qualified and experienced

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in delivering disability football. Phil Broom, AITC’s disability clubs development officer, said he hoped as many people as possible would get involved. He said: “Our sessions are open to anyone who has a disability, regardless of whether they have played football before. They include fun and inclusive training drills and matches and it would be great to welcome some new players along to our next session.” For more information, email the address below. The next session takes place on Saturday 11th February AITC also holds similar sessions in Eastbourne, Horsham, Burgess hill and Worthing. TAM.

disability@albioninthecommunity.org.uk


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Paul McCarthy Paul Jason McCarthy was born on August 4th 1971 in Cork, Republic of Ireland. The centre back played nearly 200 times for the Albion between 1989 and 1996 and stood out as a classy operator at a time when off-the-pitch turbulence often gained more column inches than the performances on it. Wycombe Wanderers paid £100,000 for the defender in 1996 and he was still playing, aged 41, for Ebbsfleet United. A regular in the East Stand at Falmer, Paul passed away suddenly on February 19th, aged just 45. He was a very popular player, on and off the pitch, and will be sorely missed by his friends, family and many former team-mates. Rest in peace, Paul, we’ll never forget you. TAM.

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We all remember our first Albion game A special moment in our lives – and there’s nothing that can replicate that feeling. As I mentioned in TAM4, my first match was a 1-0 defeat to a nine-man Walsall on September 20th, 2008 at Withdean Stadium. We played dreadfully but it didn’t put me off. The sense of being part of a large community stuck in my head and is a big part of the reason I still go to the games religiously. I still have a vivid memory of the game, partly because I was stuck behind a chap with a massive hat and couldn’t see the middle third of the pitch. This basically described my whole first season at Withdean. Every game I’d cross my fingers that he wouldn’t turn up, or that he didn’t wear that stupid straw hat. I wasn’t lucky enough to experience the Goldstone as its demise took place a year before I was born. I only have stories from older supporters to paint a picture of the historical old ground.

box to stand on by his grandfather. He started supporting the Albion in 1978. As an excitable 11-year-old, he’d rush to the ground at 1:30pm with his two-foot high box to claim first dibs beside a crush barrier he’d cling on to when celebrating a goal. Waiting in the stands that early allowed a rare moment of peace, the calm before the storm if you like. The crackle of the floodlights turning on was quickly met with burning smells from the very same source. This was a familiar sensation at the exact same time of every game he attended. Before long, the odour was masked by the stench of cigarette smoke as fans prepared for their 90-minute Albion rollercoaster ride.

beloved old ground they’d called home for so many years – the toughest of break-ups for a lot of diehards. Then came the ecstasy as Stuart Storer fired home to appropriately end this chapter in Albion’s history. As the club gradually started to rebuild, season by season we edged closer to a new home. This began in 2008 when the Albion finally got planning permission to build the Amex after a decade-plus struggle. A struggle that began just a couple of years before I was born. TAM.

The final Albion game at the Goldstone Ground provided the full range of emotions. Fans would spend the final 90 minutes of their Brightonsupporting lives at the

I interviewed a friend who remembers being given a

Cain Suleyman, 18, is a student at the BRIT School, London, studying Musical Theatre and Photography

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BUMPING INTO AN OLD FRIEND

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ot long after booking a holiday to Salzburg with my girlfriend and a host of other friends, I realised that Oscar Garcia was manager of Red Bull Salzburg FC. I loved him while he was at Brighton, so I decided to get in touch on the off chance he would like to meet up. Sadly he was in Dubai as it was the winter break in the Austrian Bundesliga. To my surprise, on the Friday we flew out, he got in touch again, saying they were playing a friendly against Rosenborg (of Norway) on Sunday and invited us to come along to watch. After a ridiculous journey across town, which saw 16 of us going, get split up and end up in three different locations to watch the same game, I finally arrived at the right place, with the match 32 minutes in. Only eight of us made it – an utter shambles – but it’s a funny tale to tell now! To cut a long story short, Oscar said the game was at Leifering. Some of us turned up at the plush Leifering (Salzburg’s) training ground. Some found themselves at the main stadium, when in fact the match was at the Red Bull Leifering Academy (where Salzburg’s academy teams play). At half time Garcia walked across the pitch from the dugout to the changing rooms – we shouted his name. He waved and shouted back; “I’ll see you after the game.”

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There were about 400 fans watching what was essentially a pre-season friendly in a picturesque setting at the foot of the snow-covered Alps. Our Albion colours and English speaking began to attract attention from the locals, who were bemused by our attendance at the game. We explained we’d come to see Oscar. They thought we were mad. The second half was entertaining enough. A proper Garcia team; comfortable on the ball, and knocking it around the back. They had a striker who looked brilliant, but when it came to finishing was as hopeless as me, missing numerous sitters. He did eventually score the first, in a 2-0 win. The final whistle went, and Oscar kept to his word. He came over to find us in the stand to say hola. After a couple of minutes of introductions, we got talking

He talked very fondly of his time at the Albion and living in Brighton, but also said he was enjoying life in Austria, although it was very cold and there was a lack of sangria. The best moment under Oscar’s guidance was without doubt Ulloa’s winner at Forest. We got reminiscing about that game and how happy it made us all, especially the absolute scenes in the stand when it went in. He agreed it was his best moment, but also said better was yet to come this season! Oscar was sad to leave, but said he had no option. It seemed he had a difference of opinions with the transfer policies. He insisted he had players lined up to sign from

The final whistle went, and Oscar kept to his word. He came over to find us in the stand to say hola. about football. The first thing he said to us was; “This has got to be our year lads, surely?” What stuck out with this is that he still referred to Brighton as if he was part of it, saying ‘ours’, not ‘yours’ or ‘theirs’, but ‘ours’. He believes we’re good enough to go up, although admitted it was hard to see us play with limited coverage of the Championship in Austria.

Spain, but was told he could not sign any of them. They all involved transfer fees. He was only allowed to sign loan players, which looking back matches up with the signings we made, and ones Sami was allowed to sign when he joined.

around Keith Andrews and Jake Forster-Caskey, was nothing short of a miracle. I wonder how well he would have done if he’d had the financial backing and post-David Burke transfer policy. He may well have been up there challenging for the title too? He couldn’t fathom why we went to see him, but was very grateful. He said we should be cheering on Brighton, as the epic 3-3 draw away at Brentford was about to kick off. He came across as a very charming and humble man, and looked in great health, especially after his scare a year or so ago. Sadly, he couldn’t make our invite for beers in town later that evening, but he did recommend some great places to go. I, for one, will always hold him in high regard, and as I said to him in person will also be thankful for that day at Forest on the final day of the season! TAM. Brett Mendoza

@BrettMendoza

He was proud of his achievements with us and said we held a special place in his heart. His daughter still sings that song! For me, what he achieved with a midfield based

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Goldstone Ghosts As bulldozers close in upon our old, beloved home and those who stand to profit rub their hands. so we gather here together in sad, angry disbelief and for one last time our voices fill the stands. This is no happy parting, but a battle-scarred farewell though victory hopes are mingled with the tears. And I, like you, will stand here as the final whistle blows with memories which echo down the years… The Chelsea fans threw pennies. Old ones. Sharpened. I was eight, A target in the South Stand with my dad. And he got rather battered as he held me close and tight and confirmed my view that Chelsea fans were mad! And there, on those old wooden seats, I learned to love the game. The sights and sounds exploded in my head. My dad was proud to have a son with football in his blood – but two short years later, he was dead. Eleven. I went on my own. (My friends liked chess and stuff.) ‘Now don’t go in the North Stand!’ said my mum. But soon I did. Kit Napier’s corner curled into the net. Oh god. The Bournemouth Boot Boys! Better run… Then Villa in the big crunch game. A thirty thousand crowd. Bald Lochhead scored, but we still won the day. Then up, and straight back down again. Brian Powney, brave and squat. T. Rex, DMs and scarf on wrist, OK? And then the world was wonderful. Punk rock and Peter Ward! And sidekick ‘Spider’ Mellor, tall and lean. The legendary Walsall game. Promotion. Riding high. Southampton-Spurs: that stitch-up was obscene. The final glorious victory. Division One at last! Arsenal, first game, midst fevered expectation. Those Highbury gods tore us to shreds; we learned the lesson well. Steve Foster was our soul and inspiration! Man City came, and Gerry Ryan waltzed through them to score And mighty Man United bit the dust. Notts Forest, and that Williams screamer nearly broke the net. The Norwich quarter-final: win or bust!

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And after Wembley, Liverpool were toppled one last time. The final curtain on those happy days. And then the years of gradual, inexorable decline – sadly for some, the parting of the ways. But we stayed true, as glory days turned into donkeys’ years. Young, Trusson, Tiltman, Farrington. Ee-aw! A Wilkins free-kick nearly brought us hope. ‘Twas not to be. The rot was deep and spreading to the core. We found our voice and Lloyd was gone. Hooray! But worse to come. Though just how awful we were yet to know. Dissent turned to rebellion and then to open war as on the terrace weeds began to grow. The Goldstone sold behind our backs! Enraged, we rose as one against a stony northern businessman. We drew a line, and said: ENOUGH! And as the nation watched the final battle for our club began. We fought him to a standstill. Fans United. All for one. A nation’s colours joined: a glorious sight. And, finally, the stubborn, stony Archer moved his ground and made way for our own collective Knight. The battle’s only just begun, but we have won the war. Our club, though torn asunder, will survive. And I salute each one of you who stood up and said NO! And fought to keep the Albion alive. And one day, when our new home’s built, and we are storming back A bunch of happy fans without a care We’ll look back on our darkest hour and raise our glasses high and say with satisfaction: we were there. But first we have to face today. The hardest day of all. Don’t worry if you can’t hold back the tears! We must look to the future, in dignity and peace as well as mourn our home of ninety years. For me the Goldstone has an extra special memory of the football soulmate I so briefly had. He christened me John Charles and taught me to love the game. This one’s for Bill. A poet. And my dad. Attila the Stockbroker

@atilatstokbroka facebook.com/attilathestockbroker

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The 1901 Club: it’s not them, it’s me… Who says there’s no passion in the 1901 Club? You want passion? I’ll give you passion. Passion by the blinking bucketload. You should have heard me a few months back, for example, when they took away our free half-time coffee. Took it away, this lovely freshly brewed stuff, and replaced it with the option to hand over two pounds bloody twenty pence for a cardboard cup of, can you believe this, Kenco Instant. Seriously. Had a right go at them, I did, cheeky buggers. If I want undrinkable instant, I told them, I’ll go to Whitehawk. See, there you have it. Cast-iron proof that the 1901 Club, of which I’ve been a member since day one, has thoroughly altered my perspective as a fan.

related reasons. My seat was at the end of the North Stand nearest the luxury Portakabin dressing rooms, just three rows back, so I always felt in the thick of the action, sort of. Better still, I could yell encouragement at specific individuals as they filed off the field, happy in the knowledge they’d actually hear me. “Well played, Tommy!” I once cried at Tommy Elphick after a rather fine performance – and, guess what, he looked

(I’m not THAT fickle) but at a certain official who shall remain nameless – which is odd, as his name was Andy D’Urso – after a particularly frustrating defeat, equally thrilled to know that this insult, though in this case disappointingly unacknowledged, would haunt the silly man for, ooh, several seconds. But the thing is, I can’t do any of that now. I can’t shout

“But the thing is, I can’t do any of that now. I can’t shout encouragement at individual players, I can’t hurl abuse at the clown of a referee as he’s leaving the pitch”

Just not in a good way. Honestly, I never used to be this bad, I really didn’t, getting embarrassingly het-up about utter nonsense. When I lost my rag at Withdean it would be for important, football-

straight over and nodded in appreciation. Yes, at me. Tommy Elphick nodded at ME. “You worthless piece of filth,” I also once yelled (slightly odd choice of words, that, on reflection…), not at Tommy

encouragement at individual players, I can’t hurl abuse at the clown of a referee as he’s leaving the pitch, and – most frustrating – I can’t give 90 minutes of richly deserved grief to the nitwit slaphead linesman. Well, all right I

Mike Ward Mike Ward is TV Critic of the Daily Star and TV Editor of the Daily Express Saturday magazine. Hear him on talkRADIO breakfast with Paul Ross, read him at www.mikeward.tv and download his podcast, Learnt Loved Loathed, from iTunes. His ancient Albion diary Gullhanger, about the title-winning 2001/02 season at Withdean, costs next to nothing these days on Amazon.

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could, but what would be the point, perched where I am, up in the middle tier of the West Stand, way out of their hearing range? So, instead, all that pent-up rage gets unleashed in other directions. Don’t get me started, for example, on the 1901 Club dress code. Devised, I assume, in 1901. A few weeks ago I witnessed them pulling aside the smartest, most dapper old gent you could hope to meet, because he’d dared to turn up in a polo neck. I kid you not. In their defence, they did at least spare him the taser. But, come on Mike, I hear you cry. There’s a simple solution to all this. If you don’t like the 1901 Club, just leave. Pack it in. Flog your membership to someone who’s fine with the cacky coffee and the silly dress code and the proliferation of

estate agents – and come sit with the normal people instead. Regain your sense of perspective. Get back in touch with what matters. Rediscover your mojo, or whatever the expression is. And I’ll tell you what, it’s tempting. Except there’s a problem. Because, for all my moaning, there are aspects of the 1901 Club I’d be reluctant to sacrifice, the most important being our brilliant pair of seats. That view, let me tell you, is pretty much as good as it gets. Not only that, but the tiers of seating in our section seem to be at a steeper angle than elsewhere in the ground, which means the people in front, drifting back late to their seats (they do that quite a lot in hospitality), aren’t quite such a pain in the backside. Also, I get a free programme, which is nice. Plus free parking at the uni – where,

after each match, as we’re queuing for the exit and playing that game where we try to guess what the car park stewards are actually for, we can listen to Johnny C and Warren Eh? on BBC Sussex, fielding all those tweets, texts and calls from the same six people who loyally tweet, text and call every week. So, OK, I guess things aren’t so bad. The 1901 Club isn’t perfect, but ultimately it gives me a brilliant view and a parking space. And, all it’s really cost me is a crazy load of money and the tiniest bit of my soul. Oh, and as we leave at the end of the match, we get to walk straight past the referee’s assessor. I’d probably miss that most of all. TAM. Mike Ward

@MikeWardOnTV

@TheAlbionMag

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A view from the Toon T

his column comes to you from ‘behind enemy lines’ so to speak – no, not our usual enemies from south London, but rather our main rivals for the Championship title in the shape of Newcastle United. My partner lives in this part of the world, so I am taking advantage of one of my visits here to gauge the feelings of some of the locals about the season so far and their expectations for both themselves and the Albion between now and May. To that end, we met up with a few of his friends of a United persuasion in the local pub and it’s the results of that conversation I want to present to you here – a slight departure from the usual style of this column, but hopefully something of interest in the current climate.

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The first thing to say is that none of the Magpies in question really had anything bad to say about the Albion – at most, there was a slight surprise we have stuck so close to them to date (as I write this, we are one point behind them with both teams having played 31 games), but there was really no evidence of the arrogance demonstrated by a Newcastle-themed blog at the start of the season which apologised to the rest of the Championship for how much better they were than the rest of us, claiming winning the title was no more than a formality. In particular, there was nothing but praise for Chris Hughton, who is still a well-respected figure in this part of the world and the recipient of a lot of sympathy over the manner of his departure from St

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James’ Park back in 2010. One of them even went so far as to say, in all seriousness, that in our current situation and given their respective levels of experience in the Championship, he would rather have Chris Hughton in charge than Rafa Benitez – high praise indeed, but I can understand his point and certainly wasn’t about to disagree with him! From a playing perspective, all of the Toon fans said they’d love to have Anthony Knockaert in their team, as I’m sure would most fans in the Championship, but luckily for us Knocky seems very firmly settled on the south coast, and long may he remain. There was also high praise for Lewis Dunk, but none of them said they would be willing to swap their ex-Palace striker for ours, given the opportunity.


The mention of Palace brought us nicely to the other thing our clubs have in common this season – while we fight to get into the Premier League, our respective rivals are battling to avoid leaving it. That being the case, would we rather said rivals stay up if we get there, or would we prefer to be above them for a while? The Toon fans were unanimous in wanting Sunderland to stay up (although none of them thought it likely), a view I share as I expect to be living up here by the start of next season and would appreciate another conveniently close away game. As for our rivals, both sides of the debate concluded they are doomed, and this Albion fan at least hopes they are – beating them is one thing, but it’d be nice to be literally out of their league in the positive sense for a while. Of course, no conversation involving Newcastle United is

going to go on for too long without moving to the subject of their controversial owner, Mike Ashley. It would be fair to say none of those I spoke to had any real love for him or for his style of ownership and, while they were at least appreciative of his investment in the likes of Jonjo Shelvey and Dwight Gayle, the recent disagreement between Ashley and Rafa Benitez over the club’s transfer policy only served to highlight that, for a lot of United fans, he simply does more harm than good. By comparison, although none of the Newcastle fans knew the name of our chairman (given his penchant for staying out of the spotlight, I doubt he’d be too bothered by that!), they pointed to his investment in the Amex and the training ground as evidence of us ‘doing things the right way’. Again, no disagreement from me.

(Top images: Chronicle Live)

“From a playing perspective, all of the Toon fans said they’d love to have Anthony Knockaert in their team, as I’m sure would most fans in the Championship”

In closing, I’ll just leave you with the words of one of the Magpies: “Whether it’s this year or not, Brighton will be up there soon enough – and I reckon they’ll stay there too.” NB: There was a pub quiz going on amongst all this, and my partner and I beat the Newcastle fans by one point at the end of it. I think we’d all settle for the same at the end of the season TAM. Steve Brewer

@SteveJB84

@TheAlbionMagUTA

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Love has rarely been in the air

S

aint Valentine was, according to legend, a Roman priest who married young couples against the express wishes of Emperor Claudius II and, as a result, was beheaded on February 14th. Well, if he thought he’d had a bad Valentine’s Day then he should try being a Brighton & Hove Albion fan.

Our record on February 14th is nearly as atrocious as paying £25 for a bunch of roses that on any other day of the year cost a tenner. We’ve put together our top three Valentine’s Day Brighton performances – and it is enough to make an overpriced-set-meal-fortwo-in-a-restaurant-full-of30-other-couples-whodon’t-really-want-to-be look more appealing than cheering on the stripes.

lane road all the way into Norwich. That meant a nice four-hour drive through rush hour to get to Carrow Road, only for Darren Huckerby to utterly destroy an Albion defence that looked destined for League One. And, to top off a spectacularly terrible evening, we ended up being banned by the BBC Southern Counties Radio fans phone-in for suggesting – not-toosubtlety – that Mark McGhee should be sacked.

So next time you decide to sack off your partner in favour of the Albion on Valentine’s Day, just remember this little lot…

2009 – ALBION 0-2 CARLISLE UNITED

2006 – NORWICH CITY 3-0 ALBION Who doesn’t want to spend a Tuesday night, on Valentine’s Day, in Norwich? Us actually. Due to the fact that once you cross the border into Norfolk you are actually transported back to the 1400s, it’s a single

The last league game of the Micky Adams Mark II reign of terror. A 2-0 Withdean defeat to Carlisle United made it six losses in the previous seven home games in front of a crowd of 5,529. Former Albion loanee Joe Anyinsah and Richard Keogh scored twice in the space of four first-half minutes as we

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Joe Anyinsah

(Image: Zimbio)

(Image: BBC)

Mark McGhee celebrates the play-off triumph in 2004

looked utterly doomed with League Two beckoning. God bless Russell Slade. 1998 – ALBION 0-0 DONCASTER ROVERS Fans United Day 2 – billed as ‘The Heart of Football’ – took place at Priestfield between two sides who must comfortably be the worst to ever compete in the Football League. We were both miles adrift of everyone else in the fourth tier in the days when, thankfully, only one club dropped into the Conference. A 0-0 draw was always on the cards with Michael MahoneyJohnson leading the Brighton line but this was Sunday League level standards of bad. And, that probably does a disservice to the dedicated stalwarts who run out at Waterhall each weekend. TAM. Scott McCarthy – WeAreBrighton.com

@wearebrighton

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Bonding with my boy

I

remember going to a school parents evening a number of years ago. My son, now 16, was around eight years old at the time. His teacher was full of praise for his hard work but wasn’t happy with his handwriting which was scruffy and ill formed. My son, impeccably well raised, politely said he would try harder but his body language told a different story. It said “You just don’t get it do you. I don’t need to concern myself with handwriting because in the future everything we do will be on screen. You are a dinosaur.” And at the tender of age of eight, he was right!

Born in the year 2000, his generation is completely digital. But I was born in the 1960s. Yes, I can use my iPhone and have occasionally been known to tweet but I’m not a digital native. So, how do you connect with kids who simply see you as a dinosaur? For me and my boys, football has been a god send. I wasn’t always a fan. As the mother of two boys, I came to love football initially from the cold, wet, windy sidelines of Sunday morning footie. The banter among the parents, the passion from the coaches – giving up their time just for the love of the game – and the pleasure it gave our small boys when

they won. Plus, learning that hard life lesson – sometimes you lose and you have to be able to pick yourself up and go back again next week. But, small boys turn into teens and suddenly it’s no longer appropriate to be watching their lives from the sidelines. And, whilst it’s not true that teens can only grunt, they are highly selective with speaking. It’s got to be in their interests – literally – if you’re going to get anywhere near real communication with proper words, and even sentences. I briefly considered becoming an Xbox addicted FIFA 17 expert but decided that even with my unconditional maternal love that was just one step too far. Then my older teen went off to university and the family dynamic changed completely. The older teen is a chatterer and provided a conduit for communication in the house. The younger teen is much quieter: screen obsessed may be a bad tempered description I’ve proffered on occasion to be countered – again often with ill humour – with the view that “I’m just a normal teenager”. But, there was still one thing we still talked about endlessly – football. Curled up on the sofa watching MOTD on a

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Saturday night, the occasional trip to the Amex when we could get tickets, endless YouTube videos of fantastic finishes, midfield magic, dire defending and, of course, funny fan interviews. And with just two of us in the house, I now only needed two season tickets, all of a sudden this looked much more affordable. So in August 2016 we became

the proud owners of two seats in the East Stand. What a great investment it’s been. There’s just so much to talk about. Firstly there’s the pre-match speculation about line-up and form – this usually starts three or four days in advance – then there’s careful research of the opposition via one of the many football apps. OneFootball is our current favourite. Of course, we have to check out North Stand Chat and the official BHAFC twitter feeds just in case we’re missing out on any news. And trust me, Google

“I came to love football initially from the cold, wet, windy sidelines of Sunday morning footie. The banter among the parents, the passion from the coaches – giving up their time just for the love of the game” can find you any bit of history you want about Albion legends, current and existing. Oh, I’m sorry, do I sound a bit like a screen obsessed teen?

Then there’s the journey to and from the wonderful Amex. We usually go by train. Us and a few hundred of our closest friends. Because for a few hours, pre, during and post-match that’s what it feels like. We talk to complete strangers, we – occasionally – sing with them too. And for my son, there’s endless hours of post-match hilarity as he

recalls my efforts to sound less like an opera singer and more like a football fan. Shortly before Christmas, I was away for a week for work and had to miss a home game. So I suggested to the teen that he go to the match with one of his mates. His response completely astounded me: “I’m not sure I want to go without you. It wouldn’t be the same without you there.” I don’t think he could have paid me a greater compliment. And from my social media obsessed son, I’ve learned loads that I’m now using every day in my work as a small business advisor. Feels like we’re all winners. Let’s hope it’s the same for our wonderful team this season. Up the Albion! TAM. Sandra Murphy

@BizDocSxCoast

Sandra Murphy Sandra loves living in Brighton where she works as a Business Doctor. This is her first year as an Albion season ticket holder and she’s optimistic that the success she brings to local businesses, helping them to grow and thrive, will be replicated on the pitch!

@TheAlbionMag

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The post final-whistle pitch invasion was inevitable and after a while I too ambled down in a daze from the centre of the North Stand to the once-hallowed turf. What I (naively) wasn’t anticipating was the fervour of fellow fans in pulling the place to bits. Rationally, I knew it didn’t matter – the entire place was going to be bulldozed in a matter of months anyway – but emotionally, to me it felt disrespectful somehow.

Some of you reading this may have your bit of the Goldstone at home, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. I only have my memories. Now, I’m just grateful the grief I, and many other Albion fans, experienced on that day – with plans loosely in place

When I see the spine-tingling pre-match video montage at the Amex now I can enjoy that moment wholeheartedly safe in the knowledge that ultimately it provided – along with a lot of patience and hard work from everyone associated with the

Although, naturally, we went bonkers on the North terrace when Storer’s side-foot volley went in, the overwhelming sensation was not pure elation.

Dick Knight at the last Goldstone game

It seemed like an insult, a discourtesy to the old ground. As dilapidated and ramshackle as she had become in those last few years it was still a place I was very attached to and had spent the previous 13 years (half of my lifetime at that point) in worship.

but no certainty of there being a future for Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club – was eventually replaced by the happiness provided by the unbelievable set-up and opportunity we have now.

I freely admit this is pure sentimentality; assigning emotional value to inanimate objects. Which was also exactly what the souvenir

Although, naturally, we went bonkers on the North terrace when Storer’s side-foot volley went in, the overwhelming sensation was not pure

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elation. We were all far too keenly aware that it might only offer a stay of execution.

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Chairman Tony Bloom

(Image: 4.bp.blogspot.com)

We knew then, as we know now, that the 1-0 win represented the first and only truly essential three points in the history of the club.

hunters were doing in their own way – of course.

(Image: arkwrightsociety.co.uk)

F

or far too long, my abiding memory of the final Goldstone matchday was the melancholy sound of the place being torn apart.

(Image: NSC)

A fading memory…

club – a platform upon which Dick Knight, and then Tony Bloom, could assure us not only an existence, but a thriving one. The eerie echo of wooden West Stand seats being cracked and splintered by trainered feet on that overcast afternoon has finally faded.TAM Leon Cox @ratsoalbion

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BRIGHTON BUT ONLY AT HOME’S Classic Away Days No.4 Leeds

An unforgettable away ga me AH, LEEDS.

E

very season they come to the Amex (inevitably in the evening), and every season they find a new way to lose. Our record up there’s not bad either, which bodes well for our forthcoming big match at Elland Road (though I realise I’m currently jinxing this). We even managed to win up there under Sami, ridiculous orange third kit and all. But, there is only one trip to Elland Road that will stick in my mind for ever, and not for the right reasons. It’s April 14th 1989, a Friday night. I’ve finished my shift at the local Co-op and got my dinner from the excellent – but long gone – Korkers Burgers in Boundary Road. As soon as I finish it my friend Pete arrives to crash on my sofa. We need to be up early

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in the morning to catch the Costa Express to Leeds. There was no all-ticket, all seaters in those days so I needed to balance my very limited budget between the need for cigarettes, food and getting in to the ground. At Birmingham we saw coachloads of Norwich and Everton fans on the way to their FA Cup semi-final and, just outside Sheffield, Forest and Liverpool fans heading to theirs. The cup was still a big deal back then. Then, just outside Leeds, we’re overtaken by one of their coaches. Us young ‘uns give them the finger. One of their number makes a throat slitting gesture in return. The game starts unremarkably. I guess there must be about 150 of us up there. No, that’s not a typo, and I haven’t missed out a ‘0’. In those

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days you got to know people quickly if you went away because the same small band would turn up at every northern grief hole. But just a few minutes in and there’s an announcement. The Liverpool/Forest game at Hillsborough has been stopped due to ‘a large pitch invasion’. The Leeds lot in the next stand cheer. OK, so they didn’t say ‘a huge crush and many dead’, but still. Pete and I look at each other bewilderedly. What IS going on with football? By half time it’s clear something dreadful has happened. Our game becomes irrelevant. I can’t even remember the score now, and I’m not about to look it up. By the time we get back on the coach the full horror of what happened is with us all. The South Yorkshire Police, according


(image: wwwmelaman2.com)

(image: www.seagulls.co.uk)

Kevin Bremner scores against Leeds at the Goldstone

to testimony at the finallygranted inquest, are busy getting their story straight.

catch my breath on the penalty spot. My mate who’d scaled the fence was fine.

nights, no matter what the necessary transport arrangements might be.

The journey home takes place in silence. I didn’t say a word, and I can’t remember anyone else doing so. Inevitably, we see coaches of fans near Sheffield again. If we’re silent and respectful then they look ashen, shocked and beaten. That’s where I was when Hillsborough happened.

Yet nearly 30 years on that era still casts a spell over us. Safe standing is only now being considered in England – and that despite our own chairman taking up a front row position on Brentford’s terrace just the other week – and you may not consume alcohol within sight of the pitch.

There’s no doubt that some of this is a good thing, that I can take my own son in safety, that I do not worry about a repeat of that awful coach journey home. Yet I yearn for us to be treated like adults again, as Germany does its football fans. When you think about how long it took to get that inquest, and why, you’ll realise how far away we still are from being Borussia Dortmund.

“But just a few minutes in and there’s an announcement. The Liverpool/Forest game at Hillsborough has been stopped due to ‘a large pitch invasion’. It could have been any one of us. That was what we all knew deep down. A season ago I’d nearly been crushed trying to get on to the pitch at the end of the home game against Bristol Rovers in which we won promotion. I was lifted through PC Beard’s unguarded gate and had to

Thatcher dreamed of all seater stadiums filled with home fans only, all bearing tickets and memberships. Now we have much of that while Sky are making inroads in to the need for away fans by scheduling games on Monday and Thursday

brightononlyathome.wordpress.com/

So, Leeds away is coming up. I know Sky will have messed up some travel arrangements. But, however febrile the atmosphere, whatever the score, I trust the journey home will be better than that one in 1989, and that this fact will continue to put whatever happens in this crazy season in to perspective. TAM. Jason Thackeray

@TheAlbionMagUTA

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Y

ou may or not be surprised to hear this, but Paul Brooker was my favourite player of the Withdean years. He wasn’t a big-name star like Bobby Zamora, he didn’t have the steely determination of Richard Carpenter or Charlie Oatway, he wasn’t a natural leader like Danny Cullip, he most certainly didn’t have the work rate of Gary Hart and he didn’t have the capability to consistently deliver like Paul Watson. So what made him so special?

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Cult # heroes Paul Brooker

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Well, at the time our success was built on a goal scorer in Zamora and a team of hard-working grafters. Paul Brooker was different. He was a bit lazy, he was lightweight, he was inconsistent and was pretty ill-equipped to face thuggish Division Three defenders and boggy surfaces. But, all that detracts from someone who was a pretty effective winger and a real game changer on his day. Brooker rose through the ranks at Fulham where he made his debut in 1995. He was a highly rated youngster and was soon grabbing attention for his brilliant dribbling skills. He managed over 50 games for he Cottagers, scoring four times. Unfortunately for Brooker, as Mohammed Al-Fayed’s millions started to pour into the club, he began to find chances limited and was forced to look elsewhere. After


(All images: Paul Hazlewood - BHAFC)

a loan spell at Stevenage, he joined the Albion (managed by his former Fulham boss Micky Adams) – initially on loan – in 2000. It wasn’t long before Brooker won my affection. He had great hair/sideburns, he could do stuff like vaguely pass in the direction of a team-mate (something that was still a novelty to Brighton fans at that point) and boy, could he dribble. But, I was a pretty lonely supporter of his in those early days. These were pre-Poyet days where skilful players were looked upon with extreme suspicion and graft and determination were valued above all else (excluding the impossibility of disliking Bobby Zamora, of course). Brooker was forever being heckled for ‘not getting stuck in’ and ‘not tracking back’ – both of which were fair criticisms but I don’t remember Charlie Oatway receiving similar levels of criticism for his inability to dribble past four players before curling one into the top corner. Something Brooker was perfectly capable of. It took him a while to really stake his claim to a regular place in the side. It’s fair to say that he was an instant target for lower league defenders who would often bully him out of games leaving him to drift in and out with a fairly uninterested and slightly confused look on his face. Another downfall was his inability to play on the poor

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Cult # heroes

playing surfaces often found in the lower leagues. The muddy pitches of the winter months meant that he’d struggle to properly deploy his solo runs rendering him Bas Savage pretty much useless for a large bulk of mid-season. Both Adams and his successor Peter Taylor (himself a gifted winger) regularly preferred the hard-working wing duo of Gary Hart and Nathan Jones. Neither of whom were as talented as Brooker but both offered more consistency and a stronger work ethic. However, a broken leg to Hart which seriously affected his pace and Jones’ inability to step up to Division One level gave Brooker his real chance at cementing his place. The pitches were better in that division and defenders were slightly less physical – which played into his hands beautifully. Brooker had his best campaign in an Albion shirt that year and adapted to life in a higher division better than most. He was Brighton’s second top scorer that season and was the squad’s main creative outlet. He even recovered from a red card in that 5-0 loss – probably proof

that he was best staying clear of ‘getting stuck in’.

After an impressive season for the Albion, Brooker left to join Leicester City who had just been promoted to the Premier League where he once again hooked up with Micky Adams. Of the great Albion team that rose from Division Three to Division One in straight seasons, it was only Brooker and Zamora who made it to the Premier League. Brooker managed just a handful of substitute appearances for the Foxes and joined Reading later that season. He was at the Royals for just a year before joining Brentford where he stayed for two seasons. He retired from professional football in 2007, aged just 31. His career will almost certainly be seen as a bit of a wasted opportunity and that he failed to live up to the immense potential he showed early on. Fans of most of the clubs he played for (especially at Fulham and Brighton) will have fond memories of some great goals and immense solo runs. TAM. Tom Stewart

@OfficialTStew

@TheAlbionMag

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Crippling guilt We recently passed the 20th anniversary of Fans United Day at the dear old Goldstone, with many reflecting on just how far the Albion has come in the subsequent two decades.

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he anniversary also enabled one NSCer, TwoChoicesTom, to finally ‘fess up about his own involvement in that memorable day… “I was 11 years old at Fans United. But even at that age, I knew perfectly well what was going on. I knew that some old, greedy men were trying to take my football club away from my Dad and me just so they could get richer. My best friend Gareth and I wanted to make a difference. To do something. Anything. So, when Fans United was announced we decided the absolute best thing to do would be to don our Real Madrid shirts (which we’d acquired the previous summer whilst on holiday in Majorca) and make a BANNER. What greater difference could we make than to declare that the biggest club in the world wanted Archer out? It didn’t matter that we weren’t

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Now, I’ve had to live with this for 20 years. As I got older, I questioned just why the hell neither of our dads (standing just behind us) thought this might be a bad idea. But, I think they were just so happy to let us feel like we were doing something to help, they went with it. All a bit of harmless fun, eh? It wouldn’t hurt anyone.

ACTUALLY from Madrid. I’m sure they’d say they’d want Archer out anyway right? Right?!? This would be brilliant. And brilliant it was. The North Stand applauded us. We felt like kings. Owing to the fact I’m a bit brown and Gareth had awful hair, people genuinely thought we were Spanish. We could have got away with it if it weren’t for photographic evidence and an eager journalist. “Wheeeere arre yooou frroooom?” he asked us outside the ground just after the match, “POWTSLAAYD!” we replied, with the naivety of youth. I don’t think he asked us anything else.

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Except as it turns out it did hurt someone – the Hartlepool defence. Craig Maskell specifically cited the Real Madrid banner as INSPIRING him towards his hat-trick that day. So, now you know: I am a fraud. But, I can proudly say that despite the 20 years’ worth of cringing every time I hear the words ‘Fans United’ I can hold my head up high and say I did my bit for Brighton in our time of need… or something like that anyway.” @twochoicesband

www.northstandchat.com


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It’s only a game – right?

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ut ask my kids what’s most likely to make me cry and I’m sure they’ll say ‘football’.

Sometimes, like our first home game at the Amex, the emotion and immense pride in the occasion are just too much. Other times, like watching us play against Middlesbrough on the beamback last season, the sense of injustice and disappointment bring tears of frustration. At Fulham, I think my eyes filled up thanks to the pure excitement of the second half after a less than inspiring first 45 minutes. I shed a few tears at the Reading game too. Admittedly a small gesture from the club had warmed my heart but I was so genuinely taken aback by our performance that my eyes welled up again. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not an overly tearful person – but there’s something about the emotion of football, or more particularly, my affinity with Brighton & Hove Albion, that just gets to me.

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If spirits were soaring high like a seagull after the Reading game they had well and truly crash-landed after the last ten minutes against Newcastle United. A long, sullen shuffle for a train home, not helped by a four-year-old desperate for the loo 20 minutes into the queue, did nothing to lift the mood and when we finally squeezed into a carriage we were sandwiched in close to a table full of exhilarated Newcastle fans. To be fair, I understood their

and end-all everyone’s making it out to be. I mean, maybe it’s better to just keep playing and winning games, rather than going up and struggling to get anywhere and possibly just going back down after a season.” I thought of my little plastic tub of Goldstone turf that I struggled to nurture, before it sadly withered and died. I thought of my beloved club almost going the same way. I remembered miserable journeys to Gillingham that

“ For all the years of hardship we are now teetering on the brink of something greater than any of us dared hope for during the darkest days in our club’s history” elation and they were a good deal better behaved than some of the Reading fans we had encountered in similar circumstances a few days earlier. But, I found myself biting my lip at a Brighton fan holding court with them. “Do you know what?” he said, “I’m really not sure promotion is the be-all

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made a late train home from Falmer with three young kids seem a walk in the park, and I thought of the other side of the rollercoaster when I finally took my seat at the stadium we had fought so long and hard for. I thought of all of the tears over the years – tears of joy,


happiness, pride, fear, dejection, frustration – and I wanted to shake him. Of course, there’s the financial injection promotion will bring – but it’s more, so much more than that, for most fans. For all the years of hardship we are now teetering on the brink of something greater than any of us dared hope for during the darkest days in our club’s history. After years when ‘nearly’ hasn’t quite been good enough we are now in a position of ‘really, nearly’ and as gutted as the last ten minutes of that Newcastle game had left me we’d just lost a game after a fluke equaliser saw us crumble to a team that cost something around the £63million mark. I fought the words rising in my throat as the Newcastle fans looked to one another not sure how to respond. “Who you got Saturday, mate?” was the most polite response they could offer. “Oo. Ummm. Not sure. Can’t remember. Hang on…” I thought I’d lost the battle with my inner voice when I

(Image: Queue)

Someone else who doesn’t know what they’re talking about.

clearly heard the word ‘idiot’. Then I looked at one of the small children curled up on my knee, just one eye open after a long day. “It’s Forest. Nottingham Forest away”, he said boldly, followed by: “and you clearly don’t know what you’re talking about”, a little more quietly.

Wise words from a sevenyear-old, but it’s just a game – right? No, for some of us it’s more a way of life and, for us, that be-all and end-all promotion is still there for the taking. TAM. Claire Byrd

@clairebyrdcoms

Claire was a was a journalist at The Argus throughout the 1990s and wrote a football column, alongside her main role in news. She was part of the team who helped expose the sale of the Goldstone and subsequently led the paper’s support of the Bring Home the Albion campaign. She later married campaign co-founder Adrian Newnham. They introduced their first child to home games at just seven-weeksold and all three of their children are season ticket holders.

Joe McBride’s match reports HUDDERSFIELD 3-1 ALBION Terriers overpower the Albion An impressive Huddersfield side brushed aside their visitor’s uncharacteristically sloppy defence during the first half. Smith opened the scoring early but Albion levelled as Tomer Hemed tapped into an empty net

02/02/17

after rounding the goalkeeper. Wells then found the top corner and Kachunga headed in on the stroke of half time. Dunk was dismissed after receiving a second yellow card while Stockdale did well to keep a second-half clean sheet.

@TheAlbionMag

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(Image: dumirocks.files.wordpress.com)

PROMOTION FROM A DISTANCE T hanks to social media and the internet Albion fans all over the world can access news as quickly as supporters living in Sussex. It hasn’t always been that way.

The Albion were showing no signs of the glory days to come when I flew out to live in Cape Town in February 1975. In fact, the previous day a 2-2 draw at Colchester United had moved us to the dizzy heights of 18th in what was then Division Three.

(Image:thegoldstonewrap.com)

I soon discovered following the Albion results was relatively easy on a Saturday, but almost impossible in midweek. I had yet to discover the BBC World Service but the Cape Argus classified had all the English football results and was available outside all good bars in the city at

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Left to right; Peter Taylor, Mike Bamber, Brian Clough

around 10.30 pm on a Saturday. The lack of league tables in any of the South African newspapers meant a lot of mental calculations were necessary. But, while I was fairly certain the Albion had survived relegation in Peter Taylor’s first full season in charge, it wasn’t until a letter arrived from home with

team failing to win any of their last four games I knew we were destined for another season in Division Three. Another Aerogram (Google, it kids) from home in July 1976 advised me that Peter Taylor had re-joined Brian Clough at Nottingham Forest and that Alan Mullery had been appointed as the new Albion manager.

“With mobile phones only used by crew of the Starship Enterprise in those days there was no communication that I was to be the designated driver” the end-of-season Evening Argus match reports that I was completely convinced. Of course, I followed the 1975/76 season with much interest, but again a lack of league table in the local press made it difficult to follow the club’s progress fully. The occasional Aerograms from home helped, but with the

Hope was apparently high amongst fans after the near miss of the previous season so I phoned the club – through a dodgy phone box in the hotel where I worked – to ask for a printed fixture list but was told they couldn’t send one unless I wrote to them enclosing a stamped addressed envelope. Despite my protestations that


us. dorffh e:hein (Imag mler.dk) sa motiv

was to be the designated driver or I might have actually tried to get more than a couple hours’ sleep on the way. Instead, as I put my suitcase in the boot, my dad just calmly handed me the car keys saying, “If you think I’m driving to Wrexham you’re ******* joking.” Somehow I got us to north Wales by three o’clock, and watched the 0-0 draw with our fellow promotion contenders which kept us top of the league.

putting a South African stamp on an envelope posted in Britain would be pointless, the lady on the end of the phone refused to send one. More than her job was worth, I believe. One eventually arrived from home and on checking I realised my record of results had missed seven goals for, and two against. It took much study and an expensive phone call (£3.50 for three minutes which had to be booked in advance) to discover the York City result. How did I miss that? As the good results continued I decided to book flights home for a holiday and arranged with my dad that he would meet me at Heathrow early on the Saturday of the game at Wrexham. With mobile phones only used by crew of the Starship Enterprise in those days there was no communication that I

And so to the midweek fixture with Sheffield Wednesday, where an Albion victory would give us promotion if results went our way. It didn’t start well with the visitors taking a first-minute lead which they held until the second half when Peter Ward atoned for an earlier penalty miss to level the scores. By then Rotherham United, whose game had kicked off 30 minutes earlier than the match

at the Goldstone, had been beaten by relegated Reading. I can’t remember when news of their defeat filtered through to the crowd but the result had presumably been passed to bench and players. With 20 minutes left, Brian Horton kept his nerve from the penalty spot, and with Steve Piper scoring the third, the Albion were back in the second division. Had I not made the journey home I guess I would have had to wait 24 hours to discover news of our promotion! Forty years on would I come back for the finale given that these days I could watch the game live in the comfort of a far flung bar? Of course I would. There is no substitute for being there. Having seen every promotion since 1965, I want to be there the day we eventually make it to the Premier League. This season? Let’s hope so. TAM. Simon Levenson

@Kampervan

Simon Levenson @kampervan Simon used to work for BBC Sussex as a producer on home matchdays and previously presented the non-League round-up on Saturday evenings. He has been following the Albion since watching his first game in 1962 and rates winning promotion to the old First Division at Newcastle United as his favourite Albion moment. And Hereford, the most stressful. When he’s not following football, Simon writes for Brighton’s satirical Treason Show.

@TheAlbionMagUTA

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I love the FA Cup. I always have and I always will. Since writing my first article for TAM, Albion have exited the world’s oldest cup competition with something of a whimper, away at National League leaders Lincoln City – albeit with a hint of bad luck.

My granddad introduced me to the game and he played for many years for various teams in East Sussex. But, he waited until his later years to tell me he once had a trial at Palace! He was a real traditionalist and loved the FA Cup. We used to spend each cup weekend watching as many games as we could. Unfortunately, it now appears to be the norm to send out your fringe players in the competition. I understand a manager’s dilemma in these situations, and it’s sensible to rotate where you can, but changing the majority of your starting XI for one game rarely brings success. In today’s game, I don’t think a manager of any club will get the balance right. If you play your strongest line-up and pick up some injuries, you’ll get chastised for not resting players. If you play a vastly weakened side, you’ll get chastised for not caring about the cup! Moving back to Albion, it was great to see Chris Hughton visibly disappointed once our

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points. Firstly: Richie Towell. I’m glad he didn’t go out on loan because if injuries continue to threaten our promotion push the former Dundalk man’s ability to step into the team and make a difference could be key. Although it was a debut to forget, Fikayo Tomori had a game of two halves. He was competent, confident and strong in the first forty-five minutes. We won’t mention the second period… Essentially, you need to find the right balance of rotation and winning mentality to ensure you can stay competitive in both League and cup competitions. Some of us love the FA Cup. Some of us think it needs an overhaul. Some of us just don’t care about it at all. Any of those views are fine. It’s what makes you a football fan. It’s what makes us Albion fans. This Albion fan, however, would love to see us at Wembley one day. Anthony James

@AJ_BHAFC

(image: The Sun Ireland)

Half way home

The cup exit was met with joy from the majority of the club’s fanbase on social media, with the same trend Richie Towell appearing from fans of both Newcastle and Leeds United. Promotion is FA Cup exit was confirmed. top of the agenda. So it should This may sound odd but I be. But, when you’re knocking believe he wanted to see us on the Premier League’s door, progress rather than just shouldn’t you be able to wondering if our ‘fringe eleven’ compete competently on all would get the job done. fronts? I think so. There were a couple of good


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BRENTFORD 3-3 ALBION ALBION 4-1 BURTON ALBION 1-1 IPSWICH BARNSLEY 0-2 ALBION ALBION 3-0 READING

Joe McBride’s match reports BRENTFORD 3-3 ALBION: 05/02/17

ALBION 1-1 IPSWICH: 14/02/17

Extraordinary game at Griffin Park

Brighton rue missed opportunities

Hemed equalised in the 7th minute of injury time to earn a precious point at Brentford. The hosts were two goals ahead within 22 minutes. Sub Solly March scored a stunner with 15 minutes remaining and Shane Duffy equalised immediately with just 12 left. Kerschbaumer scored late into injury time only for Hemed to head in with the last touch of the game.

A wasteful Albion failed to beat an inconsistent Ipswich side. Chambers opened the scoring for the visitors, beating David Stockdale to a free kick to head in on nine minutes. Brighton equalised on the half hour mark as Hemed converted from the spot. Both sides hit the woodwork after the break but the Albion were not clinical in front of goal – with only four of their 17 efforts on target.

ALBION 4-1 BURTON: 11/02/17

Brewers brushed aside Tomer Hemed scored his fourth goal in three games as Albion got back to winning ways. The Israeli scored early on, and Brighton found themselves three goals ahead after the break as Sam Baldock netted two minutes into the second half. Hemed registered his second from the spot. An outclassed Burton side pulled one back through Kightly’s free kick but Glenn Murray restored the three-goal lead late on.

BARNSLEY 0-2 ALBION: 18/02/17

Baldock brace sees off the Tykes A composed Brighton side earned a vital win at Oakwell as Baldock and Stockdale shone. Albion’s keeper made two excellent saves in the first half and two borderline penalty appeals from Barnsley

were turned down as the sides went into the break goalless. Brighton capitalised on a dominant start to the second period as Baldock scored a fantastic volley before slotting home shortly after following great work from Knockaert. Stockdale helped keep the score at 2-0. ALBION 3-0 READING: 25/02/17

Royals outclassed at the Amex An early Sam Baldock curler hit the post. The in-form striker then opened the scoring, superbly bringing down a Bruno long ball before volleying home – a fine goal. After the break, Stephens slipped in a brilliant ball to release Murphy, who chipped in for Albion’s second. Anthony Knockaert rounded off a fine performance by adding a third ten minutes from time.

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Royal Blood are a big noise…

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he two Sussex lads – who grew up in Worthing and Rustington – met when they were teenagers and, for a while, were in a band called Flavour Country before for the bright lights of Brighton beckoned. The sound of Mike Kerr (vocals and bass) and Ben

Thatcher (drums) takes elements of modern blues rock, garage rock and psychedelic rock to make a sound much ‘bigger’ than just a pair of musicians would suggest. Their debut, eponymous, album Royal Blood went to No. 1 in the UK, reaching 17 in the US chart. Critically acclaimed, it was also nominated for the 2014 Mercury Prize and also hit the top ten in Switzerland, Australia and New Zealand.

(Image: Red Bull Studios)

Ben took time out from his busy schedule at the studio to have a quick chat with us about his love of the Albion.

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“I’m back in Brighton for a bit and wouldn’t have missed the 4-1 win over Burton for anything!” said the 29-year-old, who celebrated his birthday the day before our conversation. “I think my first ever game – although my memory is a bit hazy – is us playing Swindon Town at the Goldstone Ground when I was six in about 1994.”


“To be honest, I was a bit of a Manchester United fan when I was that age!” recalls Ben. At this point I considered walking out of the interview but he’d made an effort to talk to us and I didn’t want to be rude. “Obviously, the trip up to Old Trafford was a bit of an ordeal so my dad started taking me to the Goldstone Ground, which I absolutely loved.” Ben soon redeemed himself by admitting he no longer looks out for the Reds’ results, and also revealed his bandmate has no interest whatsoever in football. “He hasn’t got a clue! Being an Albion fan has certainly had an impact on my career, especially with the banter from Palace fans! It’s a lot of fun and never crosses the line. “We played the Reading festival last year and there were Albion banners in the crowd. It’s great and I run in to the throng to shake their hands and grab them [the banners]. I’ve stage-dived loads of times!”

and work it out ourselves. Experiment on how to sound big, and how to vary it.” Ben is good friends with the Arctic Monkeys, who are huge Sheffield Wednesday fans. “They are on the same label as us. Our manager is an Ipswich Town fan, which is even better!” What’s your favourite Albion memory and what are your thoughts on this season? “So far, it has to be the first game at the Amex. To see us get where we are, from where we’ve been, was a very proud moment. We’re playing really

well this season, after a bit of a dip, and we have a fantastic squad. I get to the Amex as often as possible and came back for a midweek game from recording in Brussels recently. “Other than promotion my dream would be for me and Mike to perform on the pitch at the stadium. “If we went up to the Premier League I think it’s safe to say it would be the most amazing moment in the club’s history, but I don’t want to jinx it!” And so say all of us! TAM. Dan Tester

@TheAlbionMagUTA

Joe McBride’s match reports ALBION 1-2 NEWCASTLE

What are your musical influences?

Magpies fight back late on

“It’s hard to pinpoint them really but Queens of the Age and Dave Grohl have certainly made an impression on us both. Having just two members in a band presents a challenge for us to sound as loud as we do. Instead of potentially bringing new bandmates in, we try

Newcastle left it late to beat Albion in this top-of-the-table Championship clash. Brighton started the game in the ascendency, after Glenn Murray scored an early penalty. However, after a very nervy 70-minute

28/02/17

period, Newcastle scored one of the flukiest goals in history as three separate deflections took the ball over Stockdale. With only two minutes remaining, Atsu found space in behind and squared it to sub Ayose Perez, who tapped in from six yards to take the three points back to Tyneside.

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Brighton & Hove Albion 1969/70 Back row: Brian Powney. Goalkeeper. 24. Made 21 League appearances during a season where he faced strong competition from veteran Geoff Sidebottom.

Norman Gall. Defender.

26. Scored a rare goal in a 2-1 defeat at Torquay in March, his last for Brighton. Having missed many of the opening months, Norman became a fixture at the back by the end of the season.

Willie Bell. Defender.

31. Given the job of co-ordinating the defence, Willie enjoyed a fine season, his only one with Brighton. He was poached by Birmingham, along with his manager Freddie Goodwin, in May.

John Napier. Defender.

22. Hard-working Northern Ireland international who missed just three matches in the campaign.

Alan Gilliver. Forward.

24. Tall striker who arrived as a replacement for Charlie Livesey and hit 16 goals, including Albion’s first against Wolves in the League Cup and then a double against Enfield in the FA Cup.

Dave Turner. Midfielder.

25. Dave enjoyed a purple patch, hitting five goals in seven matches from midFebruary, including a double at the Hawthorns against Walsall, when the Fellows Park pitch was declared unfit.

Howard Wilkinson. Winger.

25. The outside-right made just 12 League appearances for the Albion. In his book Managing to Succeed in 1992, he wrote how he was ‘gaining no sense of fulfilment from being a Third Division footballer with Brighton’.

Geoff Sidebottom

Goalkeeper.

32. Geoff was a master at closing down angles, making it difficult for opponents to score. He was stretchered off in the first FA Cup game with Walsall in January after diving at the feet of an onrushing forward.

Front row: Stewart Henderson. Defender. 22. Small, classy right-back who missed just one match and was voted by supporters as the club’s Player of the Season.

Bobby Smith. Midfielder.

25. After being ever-present up to the start of November, Bobby played occasional games thereafter and never established himself as a key player in Goodwin’s side.

Other players who made appearances for the Albion in 1969/70 were Alan Duffy, Mike Everitt, Terry Stanley, Brian Tawse, John Templeman and Barrie Wright. Ages correct on 1st August 1969.

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Dave Armstrong. Winger.

26. Slim left-footed attacker who made only 15 League appearances, including just one game after November. Released at the end of the campaign.

Nobby Lawton. Midfielder.

29. Retained as team skipper by Goodwin in a new system of ‘three captains’, working closely with Dawson and Bell as leaders in their respective areas of the pitch.

Alex Dawson. Forward.

29. This burly centre forward bagged four goals in a 6-0 win over Gibraltar in pre-season but became something of a marked man in Division Three, scoring just nine goals.

Kit Napier. Forward.

25. Kit drove home from 20 yards to seal a shock 2-0 victory over Birmingham in the League Cup. His ten goals in Division Three included one directly from a corner against Bury in December in a 2-0 win.

Eddie Spearritt.

Utility player.

22. Showed his versatility, playing as a winger, midfielder and then, in the first FA Cup clash with Walsall, as an emergency goalkeeper. Gave Brighton a 2-1 lead against Wolves in an epic League Cup tie in September. @GoldstoneRapper


thegoldstonewrap.com

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BLUE IS THE (FAVOURITE) COLOUR

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he football programme: essential matchday reading, or pointless extravagance? For me, it’s clearly the former, although I am obviously biased, as a fully paid-up anorak-wearer. One thing is for sure; love them or loathe them, the programme has been an essential part of matchdays since the birth of the game. Albion are no exception, with a programme in some shape or form being issued since the days of Brighton United in the late 19th century. In those days, it was a simple match card, a far cry from the ultra-professional, 84-page monster magazines we see today. The programme provides a unique snapshot of life at the club. Over the years, the content has evolved in our ever-changing world, now dominated by accessibility to news via that wonderful invention, the internet. Fans have always been nosey, eager for a glimpse into the (supposedly) glamourous lives of our heroes in stripes. In days gone by, you could bump into players in the pub, or even as

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they emerged from a session in the ‘Zotofoam Baths’ at The King Alfred. This is an actual thing by the way. Zotofoam baths were all the rage in the early 1950s, advertising weight loss of ‘One to three pounds in under an hour’!! The popular magazines of the 1950s and 1960s, such as Charles Buchan’s Football Monthly, Goal!, and later Shoot! were always keen to tell us what Bobby Charlton or George Best had for breakfast. Come to think of it, details of breakfast in the Best household was probably not suitable for publication! Albion were keen to get in on the act and to coincide with an expansion of pages in the programme, 1975/76 saw the first in a series of ‘Today’s Personality’ articles, in which the players were asked a number of searching questions, such as their favourite colour, most difficult opponent, likes, dislikes and many more dazzling insights. The first of these put Neil Martin on the spot. He had signed that summer from Nottingham Forest, and went on to score nine goals in 18

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appearances for Albion. He used a ‘safety-first’ approach to his answers, with standard responses of ‘Pele’ (favourite player), ‘blue’ (favourite colour) and ‘steak’ as his preferred food. One little hint of rebellion came when he was asked about his miscellaneous dislikes. ‘Losing’ was his (predictable) answer, but he also disliked ‘bad mannered children’. I would hope that his own children (Stewart, Craig, Neil and Yvonne) heeded the warning! This innovative feature petered out later that season, the club deciding that a more worthy personality for each game was the match referee. An interesting approach, as some pretty dodgy photos were included! The club experimented with various formats in the next few years, before returning to the classic Q&A style in 1981/82. By this time, we were in the First Division and in the national spotlight, so the players’ answers were eagerly anticipated each week. First under the microscope was Tony Grealish, who was


another adopting a safetyfirst approach. When asked about his favourite food, his answer was ‘anything’. His ideal relaxation, ‘sleeping’ and biggest disappointment; ‘not being rich’. Not exactly a deep-dive into the depths of his life! Steve Foster wasn’t much better, although he did try and inject a bit of humour, giving his biggest disappointment as ‘opening bills’. Gary Williams carried on this theme, giving (The Argus journalist) John Vinicombe as his answer to ‘biggest disappointment’. Ouch! Gary was then asked whether he had any other interesting facts. He answered ‘yes’. Tremendous, thanks very much. As the season wore on, we get the impression that the players were getting together to discuss their answers. Gordon Smith lists his hobbies as ‘too personal

to mention’, his childhood hero as team-mate ‘Don Shanks’ and biggest disappointment, ‘playing cards with Fozzie for money’. Jimmy Case had no need to resort to humour. His footballing CV provided enough highlights without needing to dig deep for witty responses. When your most memorable game is a European Cup final, who really cares what your favourite food might be (it’s Chinese by the way). Perhaps the best answer that season came from Don Shanks. Most footballers of the time, when asked for their favourite food, gave the stock answer of ‘steak’. No less than 12 of the Albion players questioned gave that as their answer. Mr Shanks, however, listed ‘lobster thermidor’ as his favourite food. A welcome oasis of culture in an otherwise

wholly predictable list of responses? Maybe, but it may have had something to do with the fact that Don’s girlfriend at the time was Mary Stavin, a model and former Miss World. Her choice of restaurant was clearly a little more exotic! Finally from that season, and still on the subject of food, honourable mentions must go to Mickey Thomas and Jimmy Melia, who listed as their favourite dish, cornflakes and liver respectively. The ‘player profile’ feature has continued in various forms, to this day. It is somewhat comforting that Shane Duffy, surrounded by nutritionists, dieticians and fitness coaches, answers our favourite question with ‘steak and chips’. Another reason to love the man! TAM. Ian Hine

@Hiney2708

Ian Hine Ian Hine is a self-confessed Albion anorak now living in Southampton. His first game was in August 1968 and he’s been collecting programmes ever since. In a moment of madness eight years ago, he thought it would be a good idea to digitise his whole collection. He’s still scanning!

www.seagullsprogrammes.co.uk

@TheAlbionMag

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