TSLR032 / September 2011 / £1
THE SEAGULL LOVE REVIEW
Inside this month; - Too Much Too Soon - The Stadium Tour - Community Spirit At The Amex - What is CMS’s Favourite Biscuit - Loads of Reviews and Previews - Other Stuff
EL PUÑAl TSLR A collection of badly edited Albion related-ish drivel that will roll up and fit in your back pocket.
EBAY GOLD You can find lots of fun things on twitter, like this piece of gold via the excellent @BaronOfSussex. Looking like it was lamenated in the old Goldstone Seagull Shop portakabin, this sticky pendent features twin post-play-off Albion heroes embarking on a season in whcih we got relegated from the old divsion 2. Nearing on priceless because of the famous matching shorts (1991 vintage is oh so rare) this sort of memorabilia will go for upwards of ÂŁ6 on eBay. TSLR
TSLR032 The Seagull Love Review is an independent Brighton and Hove Albion Magazine. Issue 32, September 2011. The views expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editors, or The Seagull Love Review. We do hate Palace though, officially.
EDITORS NOTES Wow, what a month. To recap ... New stadium, check; Winning the opening game with a 98th minute winner, check; Top of the Championship, check; Signing a world class - albeit crippled - midfielder with 30-something Spain caps, check. Actually, amongst all this very un-Albion like behaviour, we’ve all kept our feet on the ground, almost like a responsible Dad on the first day of a holiday. At what point, we wonder, are we allowed to let our hair down and just dance around our respective offices and houses singing lengthy and rousing renditions of “say we are top-the-league, say we are top-theleague”?
Thanks this issue to PB, BM, TS, AW, AC, RM, SW, JS, LE, NB, SK & TC Edited by SS and SS Artwork by SS, ML, SK & RK Printed by MCR Print of Hove www.mcrprint.co.uk TSLR is printed using eco-friendly paper and ink
After another set of Premiership class victories over the next few weeks we guess. Even as we write that we fear by the time the next fanzine comes out we’ll be midtable without a win in 5. Well, whatever. To term a classic football cliche, we’ll take each game as they come. Lastly, we’d like to sign off by saying well done to everybody involved in REMF.
The Seagull Love Review Apt 19 City Heights, MCR, M1 7AX email@example.com www.theseagulllovereview.com http://twitter.com/tslr Signed off 0801 14/09/2011
Up the Albion! S+S Co-Editors PS: Go Green for Plymouth Argyle, no excuses, Leeds at home, get all Pilgrim like for Fans Reunited! TSLR032
Your weekend footy fix starts here... For all your Albion news, opinion, interviews, malicious tittle-tattle and some downright fibbing, tune into
THE ALBION ROAR Every Saturday from 12pm til 1pm on Radio Reverb 97.2FM (if you’re in Brighton/Hove)
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Listen again at www.albionroar.co.uk or on iTunes The Albion Roar is a guaranteed Phil Collins-free zone AND we have far better studio guests than every other show. FACT.
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ebay gold what’s hot, what’s not news in briefs flairwatch reviews previews hobo living haywards heath ledger gulls eye toon amex tour peter grommits bright green gloves
meades ball midfield diamond the month in numbers This cost less than the booking fee for the hovian your Gillingham ticket .... LOL prog rocks carter
WHAT’S HOT WHAT’S NOT
This man just keeps going and going, 90 minutes at a time, there is no stopping him, he is relentless. It’s just unbelievable how he can keep that rate up for so long. Retweet after retweet after retweet after retweet!! Please RT @12CMS12 Injury Time
A last minute winner against Doncaster, a last minute penalty miss by Portsmouth. Injury time has been kinder to us than Arsene Wenger to small boys, I mean young footballing talent. Gus Poyet
You’ve got to be doing something good if you can make so many straight men question their own sexuality. Gustavo Augusto Poyet Domínguez is certainly doing that. Cardiff City
After 200 miles and a piss take £5 to get into Wales, Cardiff made the Brighton fans journey home a happy one, one which will live long in the memories of those who made it. A McDonalds, Pizza Hut, KFC, Burger King, All You Can Eat Chinese, Greggs, Carvery and Subway all outside the ground - Amazing scenes! Twitter War
There’s a war going on between The Albion Kit Men and Gullys Girls to see who can get the most Twitter followers. It has resulted in bribes from both sides of the battle. The Kit Men releasing exclusive photos of players shirts and League One Winners medals, and Gullys Girls filming themselves in the changing rooms and showers. Who will win the war? I’m not biased, but follow @GullysGirls to find out...
‘If you’re thinking ‘bout my baby it don’t matter if you’re blue or white’
Buckley’s 98th minute winner in the first ever league game at the AMEX, left grown men in tears, knowing that that moment will never ever be beaten in the rest of our life times. This now makes The AMEX completely useless, what’s the point in even turning up now? Injury Time
Penalty conceeded against Portsmouth. Penalty conceeded against Cardiff. Equaliser for Blackpool. Injury time has been as crueller to us than a looter with access to Dixons on Croydon High Street. International Break
After a sensational start to the season, we hit a two week break so England could be rubbish against Bulgaria. Not only did it mean there were no Albion matches to watch for 14 days, it also meant that we had to stare at the Championship table with Brighton TOP of it, making us believe we might actually go up to The Premier League. Transfer Window
What happened to the good old days when our season was on a knife edge after being turned down by Leon Constantine and Jabo Ibhere - Now we just get who we want. Even if he costs £3million, or it’s someone that has won 2 La Liga’s and turned down Real Madrid for £30million. The transfer window has lost its magic! Brighton Fans
There is nothing they won’t complain about. Too much seasoning on the pies. Ticket prices too high. Concourses too grey. Music too loud. Some have even been spotted complaining about the bald kids getting fast tracked to the front of the queues in Disney Land. TSLR032
Thanks to several of our wonderful followers on Twitter, we were pointed in the direction of a Glenn Mu**ay article about his injuries that appeared in the Daily Mail. Before anger surfaced to unmanageable levels, it quickly became apparent that it was an advertorial for the pain-killer Nuromol. Of course, what better way to fix a persistent groin injury that needs surgery than to take a high street pain killer with only 200mg of Ibuprofen and 500mg of Paracetemol? Where on earth is the codeine?
It seems as if a few 1901ers got a bit overexcited in the car park (you know, the one with the spaces promised to disabled fans yet not delivered) following the Sunderland match. They should take a deep breath, think how lucky they are that they got parking spaces in the first place, join the Ruffians for a drink in the North Stand Atrium Social Club and calm down. Imagine how angry they’d be if we were managed by Micky Adams II?
Calling all East Standers. We mentioned back in the summer that we will pay an as then unspecified amount to those that wear Colin Hawkins masks in front of the cameras for the Leeds game. Well, as the cameras are facing the East Stand and there’s the extra chance to do so for the Liverpool match - we’ll offer any successful candidates a two year subscription to this very fanzine. We know it’s not a cash prize but...
NEWS IN BRIEFS
It’s been a little odd getting used to Falmex but the North Stand Atrium Social Club is trying its level best to keep going long after each game. Why rush off to the queue for the train or Dick’s when you can stay inside the ground and get used to the fabulous new surroundings? Credit where it’s due - it has been excellent work by the club to ensure the bars stay open. If you would like to meet your favourite contributor, or introduce yourself as a contributor to the editing staff, then we’ve appropriated the space in front of the picture of the last goal by Stewart Weir (which you can buy a copy of by emailing us). For more Weir photographs, check out his blog (link on our website, www.theseagulllovereview.com) or turn to the middle pages for a taste of the Goldstone.
Harvey’s have sold a lot of beer, the pie company are opening a new factory in Lewes – this stadium is doing more for the East Sussex county town economy than the district council and Norman Baker ever have. Official figures have put the amount of pints sold at each Falmer game at around the 17k mark so well done to all of you thirsty souls for washing down some 10,000ppm (or 10,000 pies per match). Of those pints, 8,000 alone were Harvey’s. Remarkably, TSLRites only account for about 100ppm (or 100 pints per match). Looking at the 2011 Liberal Democrat conference fringe guide that takes place during September in Birmingham, we were staggered to find that David Bellotti has been awarded permission to host an event. The perennial TSLR032
bastard is chairing an early morning session on local authority roles in youth development. Anybody available on the morning of Monday 19 September is welcome to contact us through the usual channels for expenses: TSLR will fund a hotel, transport and a dozen eggs for anybody who wants to pelt him.
Our sources from Surrey Police have moved to assure us that all Palace fans travelling south will be forced to do so by coach so if you were looking for a dust up on the train (which we would obviously never approve of) then you’re out of luck. Be aware, they
may do a similar thing for the return match in January so make sure you ask you’re London mates for a bed to sleep in soon. The new half time draw thingy at Falmer seems pretty good but there was slight concern here at TSLR Towers that one of the instant win prizes is for one adult ticket to the Sealife Centre. At no point would we insinuate that single male Albion fans could use these tickets for anything untoward but, it seems a little odd to offer them a single adult ticket for what is primarily a child’s tourist attraction. Expect unwieldy football fans scaring your children any time soon. If you would like to be amused to the highest order, type in ‘we are Perth’ to Google and read on as Scottish St Johnstone Paint Trophy supporters rave about the scoring merits of Fran ‘The Horse’ Sandaza. TSLR was convinced that he would be put out to graze before his permanent visit to the glue factory following his Albion exit but the SPL has turned out to be a perfect replacement. The Perthsiders have agreed that the Horse’s performances have been so fruitful, he deserves a fully fledged written song in his honour. Seeing as Fran scored four goals in two games at his new club, there’s surely still only the one song for him: ‘He looks like a horse...’ Talking of Albion failures of yesteryear (well, we don’t seem to have any comedy players in the current squad), Colin Hawkins finally made his return from injury in the last month but his side, Dundalk, are slipping down the pecking order in the League of Ireland. The Hawk was on the floor with a head injury when they went down 2-1 to Shamrock on International weekend. We stumbled across some proper statistical pornography over the last month which told
us exactly where the Albion are riding in the all time Football League table. It puts as at a reasonable 44th - a figure well down on our current position but 16 places above Palace. And with 13 more Gus inspired wins, we’ll’ve clocked up 1,000 in the club’s history. So let us all enjoy it whilst it lasts. Even if it makes a fanzine harder to cobble together. One disappointing aspect of our rise to this level is the price of tickets. The Gillingham home League Cup tie aside, Portsmouth was £30 a ticket, Cardiff £27, Sunderland extortionate, Liverpool as bad, and Leicester £30. And we thought being a lowly club was hard work on the pay cheque. Don’t worry, if you want a taste of Division Four football then the Plymouth v Macclesfield match on Saturday 24th September is the perfect opportunity. This is, of course, the Fans Re-United Day when football fans from across the country are invited to wear their club’s colours and head to Home Park in the same way we did in February 1997 on the suggestion of a Plymouth fan. And we’ll be wearing green (and our Colin Hawkins masks) in front of the Sky cameras the night before to show our solidarity. Football united will never be defeated and we urge you to attend. Exiles amongst us will be well aware of the broadcasting excellence beaming from the wireless over the last few weeks. The wonderful Johnny Cantor has once again delved into his little black book to bring in Gary ‘Brighton have got to stop this pretty football’ Chivers and the eternally baffeling Warren ‘Casper Anchorman’ Aspinall for away game duties. Along with the wins etc. BBC Sussex Sport has been quite comedy treasure trove. To add to the caberet, JC has made it his personal mission to bring a little cosmoplitan flair to proceedings; so, it’s prouncounced Rer-man Vance-er-low and Bee-then-tay and don’t you forget! TSLR TSLR032
FLAIRWATCH Disciples, something huge has happened. Not only are Gus Poyet’s super GAYLACTICOS flairing the shit out of anything that moves (including a team that contained Asamoah Gyan) but we have pulled off the greatest signing that any flairniac could possibly hope for. So move over Federico Turienzo, there’s a new flair sheriff in town, and he goes by the name of El puñal de Benicalap. Yes, put your hands in the air- VICENTE is here! I was literally unable to contain my excitement during the epic 48-hour transfer saga, it was just so fantastically Hollywood- all it was lacking was a televised medical. We even managed to beat off competition from Sven’s flair army and offers from Russia and the middle east (which both contain flairniacs galore) Vicente has been one of my favourite players for a long time and I’m still struggling to comprehend how we ever pulled off his signing bearing in mind it wasn’t that long ago that we were getting excited about capturing Stuart Fleetwood and Jason Jarrett - our progression in the past couple of years has been incredible. Who cares if he’s injured for most of the time? If he’s fit for even 10 games then that’s 30 points in the bag. This is a player who was considered to be the best left winger IN THE WORLD at one point and was voted Spanish player of the year..........and he’s playing for us! TSLR032
Vicente is going to unleash chilli con CARNAGE all over this division- even more so than his new team mates are already doing. He is a flairniacs dream- stylish, elegant, devilishly handsome and above all else, he’s played in La Liga (aka the festival of flair). So as our new number 15 settles down with the rest of the INMINCIBLES, what else have we got to look forward to? Well Gordon Grrrrrrrrrrrr’s husky performances will soon surely attract the attention of the Scottish national team, so we could well soon see him lining up for the Tartan Army against the likes of Spain where I fully expect to completely OWN David Villa before forcing him to visit my new flair cathedral and bowing before me. Please Note- this was just a dream that I had. Also, everyone’s favourite assistant manager- Tanno, played against Sunderland, meaning that hopefully we’ll see plenty of his flowing locks in the blue and white this year accompanied by rash tackles, long sleeves and mega flair. Our next game, of course see’s Gus pit his wits against one of the flairest managers of all time- Sir Sven. I’m sure Gus has a lot to learn from the sexy swede and can’t wait to go mano-a-mano with him. Will we start seeing the likes of Darius Vassell grace the Falmer turf? We can only dream that after the signing of the dagger, we will start to see signings of this calibre in the future. Oh yeah, and we’re playing Palace soon, but I refuse to acknowledge their existence since they got rid of Gabor Kiraly. TSLR
REVIEWS DONCASTER (H) : There is a certain amount of pressure that comes with writing about the opening game of our new stadium. Mainly that the day was so long, and so full of alcohol, it’s hard to bring the match report in at fewer than 400 words. Most of the newly inflated Albion home support arrived in the summer sunshine well before noon. We were selling fanzines from about 11am, and selling a few more than normal it must be said.
The whole day was played out as in a bizarre dream like sequence of smiles and laughter, hugs and tears and pies and beers. Grown men looked misty eyed in awe of a new Mecca - a new place to call home. Their eyes asking, is it really ours? As for the match. Well, the build up was perfect - yes slightly manufactured - but you have to remember we have about 10,000 extra people to cater for now. Gary Hart made a mockery of himself by being the only on-pitch legend to turn up wearing attire only suitable for his own living room. And the pre match video has since been overdone. But that first day: it was magical. The game started brightly. We picked up where we left off (from Walsall last season rather than those awful post title performances) and everything was perfect for the start of Falmer. Donny, however, had other ideas and, ignoring the effort it took to arrange a season opener against them, they predictably scored through Billy Sharp and a goal of such obscene ugliness, it seemed to represent the dreadful 14 year challenge it had been to get to Falmer from the Goldstone. It made half time almost unbearable - that was until we found a person selling bottles of beer and another person selling pints of Harvey’s. This was Mecca alright. And suddenly, we began to seriously think that the score didn’t matter. But of course it did. It was a nightmare. Our dreamy day and turned sour.
The second half didn’t fill us with much more expectation and then you know the rest. Craig Noone had replaced Kaz LuaLua at the end of the break and made a big difference but it took until the 83rd for his wizardry to work in our favour. And even then, it was a hopeful free kick that fell to the glorious volleying foot of Will Buckley as he slammed it in at the near post in front of the North Stand. As it nestled in the net, the place - as expected erupted. And just when we thought we’d settle for a point and a pint at the back of the North Stand, Noone did one of those really special things he sometimes does. He was inside his own half on the left wing and, cutting in, stepped aside from two Donny players before releasing the ultimate ball forward with the outside of his foot. Unbelievably, the ball was perfect for the run of Buckley and the debutant had the chance to take all three points. He ran through on goal, opened up his body, and slotted home. Flag waving fantasticness followed. The perfect end to the perfect day. And that was just drinking beer in a home ground. POMPEY (A) : Away day number 1 of the 2011/2012 season and one I very nearly didn’t bother with, what with the lure of camping it up at Pride and the outrageously steep admission price of 30 pounds. The deciding factor was the fact that I had never before been to Fratton Park, and hopefully will never have to return. Albion lined up strongly with our lanky new hero Buckley starting a league game in the stripes for the first time. Unfortunately he was only on the pitch for 30 minutes as he picked up a LuaLua (hamstring inury), but was replaced by the dazzling boots of Noone. It was a fairly even game to begin with: Pompey’s allotment patch of a pitch was not conducive to the expansive play that Gus’ men have become used to at Falmex TSLR032
REVIEWS to. In keeping with the shabby surroundings Albion took the lead in scruffy circumstances – Noone left his man for dead and crossed for Barnes whose shot was parried onto the toe of Mackail-Smith and the ball trickled over the line, a (Scottish) international’s finish from the £2.5 million man.
scurried past us, we saw two Neanderthal locals threatening to lock horns when they didn’t believe each other that they had been sat in the home end, and there was a very enthusiastic rendition of “let’s go fucking mental” at the station with beer, food, and all sorts flying about in the makeshift moshpit.
As I said before this was my first visit to Fratton Park. I knew the ground was going to be somewhat ramshackle but I was still surprised to find toilets taken straight from Worthing’s Woodside Road. Call me spoilt but when I attempted to give my hands a quick rinse under the tap I was shocked to discover no H20 - £30 and they couldn’t even provide running water, tinpot. Albion found themselves under the cosh for large periods of the second half as many Pompey forwards, including 45 year old Nwankwo Kanu, found themselves in good positions but they couldn’t even get Casper to rest his fag for a moment. Portsmouth brought on a ginger haired bellend in the form of Dave Kitson and the ex-Reading forward should have been sent off four times within 5 minutes of his introduction: first he clattered Ankergren late, then made two separate assaults on Bridcutt, one of which earned him a booking, before ending his GBH cameo with a mid-air attack on Dunk. Not long after another frustrated bright haired prick Lawrence launched into a two footed lunge on Noone, a straight red card replaced with yellow by a weak referee.
CARDIFF (A) : Normally for long distance away days I write more about the journey and the various oddities that invariably ensue when a group of pissed up idiots meet in a far away town. However the result and performance in this match mean that the game itself must be the focus. So there will be little in the way of jokes and japes within this report I’m afraid.
Just when we had the three points were in the bag a free kick was inexplicably pawed away by Dunk to hand Pompey a penalty and a share of the points. Incredibly Lawrence decided to smash the ball against the post, the rebound was passed straight to the arms of Ankergren, and that was that! Never have I experienced an incident like that following the Albion and the celebrations continued long after the final whistle. We scoffed at a sign in the corner of the ground that read “Fortress Fratton” on the way out before making the entertaining trip back to the station. Thousands of Old Bill TSLR032
On first sight Cardiff’s new (ish) stadium looks nice enough if a little basic. The preponderance of plastic cladding on the outside does look a bit rubbish though, and will probably look even worse once it has weathered more. Inside though the stadium is nice enough, the concourses are very big and the views from the stands good, and the acoustics (for the Albion fans at least) are very good. Sadly it seems with the move to a new stadium Cardiff have lost lots of the atmosphere that made Ninian Park such an intimidating place to play. Although the loss of atmosphere has come with the bonus that the Cardiff fans are now far friendlier than they used to be. Gus chose what appeared to be a strange line up for this one; the midfield featured four central midfielders; Bridcutt, Dicker; Sparrow and Vincelot. I have to say I was concerned at the lack of width but by now I should know better than to question Gus’s tactics. We started brightly and with the four central players in place totally dominated possession for the opening 25 minutes. Ashley Barnes had a goal disallowed for offside in this period that was clearly onside, well I could see it clearly from 100 yards away and at the wrong angle any way, not sure what the linesman was up to. After this period of domination Cardiff came in to the game forcing a series of corners
AUG / SEPT and several shots from distance, this is where I felt the lack of a winger was costing us; we had no outlet when clearing from defence. Then again who needs an outlet when you can rely on the opposition to give away the ball in their own half, feeding one of your strikers? Barnes was gifted the ball 40 yards out advanced a few touches whilst I yelled at him to pass it, then smacked the ball in to the bottom corner form 30 yards or so. Cue pandemonium in the away end. For the remainder of the half we just kept the ball to the sound of ‘oles’. At half time I was still of the opinion that we needed to bring on a wide man, and was a little nervous that we would be seeing 45 minute version of the 10m minutes leading up to Barnes’ goal. By my reasoning Cardiff are a proper established Championship club, and we cannot expect to be going to places like this and taking three easy points. Once again I was wrong, we came out for the second half and played even better than the first. Cardiff could barely get the ball off of us as we ran rings round their midfield. MackailSmith hit the post during this period and a few other chances went begging. In the end it was a penalty that secured the win, the ball was played in to the channel for CMS to chase once again, the Palace reject Mark Hudson got there first but CMS harried him and won the ball and burst in to the box. Being a lumbering Palace oaf Hudson had no choice but to bring CMS down and Barnes coolly slotted away the penalty (two out of two penalties this season, stat fans). Then Gus made a couple of changes, the first Navarro for Sparrow was what you would expect, defensive midfielder on to tighten up and hold on to a two goal lead away from home. The second substitution displays why Gus is a genius, he bought on Hoskins for Vincelot, a striker for a midfielder, when two goals up. It meant if Cardiff wanted to get their full backs in to the attack they would be taking one hell of a risk. They did go forward, it was a risk, and Hoskins made them pay. His shot low in to
the corner was from the same spot that CMS had hit the post from earlier. Cardiff apparently got one back but I was not really paying attention by that point. This victory really changed the way I see this season going, if we can win in Cardiff we can win anywhere. Finally on the journey home I learned from David Pleat on 5Live that Brighton will never be an established Premiership club as we do not have enough chimney pots, so I implore all right minded Albion fans to stick some extra chimney pots on their roofs, and make our premiership dream reality. BLACKPOOL (H) : Well the history books will record this as Brighton 2-2 Blackpool but a more accurate summation would be Brighton 2-2 Kevin Phillips. For those foolish individuals amongst us who may have thought that Mr Phillips was too old or too slow to really still cut it at this level this was somewhat of an eye opener. Two clinical finishes including a cracking last minute volley turned this game around and caused the 1st dropped points of the campaign.
The Albion had started well and looked comfortable as they took a two goal lead courtesy of the amazingly industrious CMS and Barnes. I’m not sure if it was Blackpool’s triple substitution or the shock of a song emanating from the east stand but Phillips evaded his marker with ease to pull the fake Seasiders back into the game. A blatant push on Barnes in the area went unpunished as yet again the standard of refereeing seen so far at Falmer left a lot to be desired. The Albion were doggedly holding on whilst still looking dangerous on the counter attack but as the game entered the final stages Kevin Phillips again lost his man from a corner and volleyed home to the delight of the Blackpool fans behind the goal. We probably did just enough to scrape the win but our frailties in the last minutes of games was again in evidence and it was difficult to feel too hard done by with the draw.
REVIEWS Post game we retired to the north stand concourse in order to avoid train queues, quaff fine pints of Harvey’s and meet up with people seated in different parts of the ground. The opening up of the concourses to all is one of my favourite things about Falmer and was made even better by the sheer loveliness of the Blackpool fans we encountered who were particularly complimentary about both the stadium and atmosphere. It’s really rather refreshing to see opposition fans freely mingling with the home support at the end of the game over a beer although I foresee it being somewhat different when the scummers come to town. Several pints and increasingly drunken ramblings later and with a lucky escape for one TSLRite who was rather taken with a (it turns out far too) young Blackpool fan we made our exit and headed to the now queue free station and back into town. POSH (H) : This game was all a big love in for Craig Mackail-Smith, who ended up having his worst game in an Albion shirt so far. A friend and I swapped our North Stand seats with some mates in West Stand Upper for this game and wow, what a view, a totally different game from up there. We spent £1 million on one, chased another one all summer, only to find our best winger was already here – Craig Noone has been sensational and is quite rightly first choice at the moment. He had already skinned his man twice when the Posh goalkeeper foolishly kicked the ball straight to the scouser; he strolled forward before stroking it into the bottom corner for his first goal at Falmex. I liked it in WSU, but I couldn’t sit there all season, not least because with this goal we almost toppled down multiple rows onto Gus’ head! Peterborough looked good and made Casper work for his Marlboros as he was as busy in this game than the rest of the season put together.
Albion were still in the changing room as Posh kicked off, and they nearly equalised until Calde made it out in time to clear off the line. We were under a bit of pressure until a TSLR032
free kick was awarded our way a full 35 yards out. New boy Ryan Harley lined it up, we said “no way”, and he duly spanked it in the top corner – an audacious effort, which nearly led to further slinky impressions down the upper tier from yours truly. A great chance, yet again created by Noone, was sympathetically headed wide by CMS, and Posh really should have scored at least one but failed to find the net in a game for the first time this season. Everyone was happy with this win that sent us top of the table for two weeks thanks to the international break. In the North Stand concourse post match a private word between myself and a friend about looking for a ‘young Peterborough nymphette’ was incorrectly overheard by a male Posh fan - “did you say you were looking for a Peterborough fan?”; “Not exactly mate, but you’ll do!”. We actually ended up having a nice chat with him and his son however a short 40 something man with a speech impediment was not quite the ‘nymphette’ we were hoping for! BRISTOL CITY (A) : When the Albion got to the beginning of this season, some of us here at TSLR Towers felt that the summer hadn’t quite been long enough - what we would have done for just another couple of weeks. Fast forward a month - and a remarkably successful month at that - and we were ruing the International Break. Simply, we’re not used to having a break so that international players can play for their country. We arrived for the train at Paddington for our usual 10am foray along to Bristol and the excitement was palpable. One trip to Weatherspoons later and our inspiration had faded somewhat. We got a couple of taxis to Ashton Gate and joined the frivolities.
Now, the atmosphere in the away end was easily scuppered by a partisan home crowd who, loudly situated in the same terrace, banged a drum. That was enough to reduce the away following to merely a comparative murmour
AUG / SEP throughout. The game started poorly, and stayed that way for much of the 90 minutes. In fact, looking back to that dire opening half, I fail to remember a single chance. I’m sure we had a couple of half chances but any shots there were failed to remain in the first 17 rows of the home end behind the goal. By the time the half finished, we were all reasonably happy with the fact we weren’t winning - when we’d tried our passing game, we’d enjoyed flashes of brilliance. But no more than that. And we were safe knowing that the home side had failed to score at home all season up to this point plus we still had our 100 percent away record to protect. The second half started more brightly from an Albion perspective but, despite a couple of half chances, we still weren’t creating a lot. Now I’d had a few so can’t be sure whether LuaLua had entered the fray when Ryan Harley had a cracking shot from the edge of the area in front of our mass of unalloctatedly seated Albionites. Serial joker of a keeper Da
vid James parried it into the path of CMS but the City keeper did well to recover and block the rebound from point blank range. Just then, the realisation dawned on us that we may not win. Not that we needed to worry. Soon after, Will Buckley and the vintage LuaLua came off the substitute’s bench to start working their magic and a corner from Buckers - flicked on by Calde - arrived at the feet of the prolific Ashley Barnes. His first shot was blocked from close range once more but he made no mistake from the rebound to send us delirious. Again. And that was that. There was time for a late City chance before we posed with the bizarre gorilla statue by the Bristol City Megastore, took a trip on the jovial Gus Bus back to Weatherspoons and then sat on a train home with several egg chasing Bath supporters, a giant teddy bear and songs about winning the title this year. And next. It’s gonna be three in a row… TSLR
The Carling Cup Reviews will appear on the website very soon ...
PREVIEWS BRISTOL CITY (A) : It’s always nice to be visiting Bristol in a season and this time we switch from the Memorial Stadium and Rovers to Ashton Gate and City for a match up with the 2004 play-off losers. We last met in the 2006/7 season when they beat us both at the Withers and at their place in a season where they got back to Division Two level. Our best win in Bristol came with a 3-0 win on Boxing Day way back in 1935 - the last time we won there was ten years ago, in November 2001 when one Robert Zamora scored in a 1-0 victory. Hilariously, the season we beat them in the Play-Off Final, we’d lost 4-1 at home and miserably drew 0-0 at Ashton Gate in the league fixture there.
LEICESTER (A) : The start of the run of four games - three of which beginning with the letter ‘L’ and the fourth against the evil Palace. The last time we met the Foxes was in January 2009 when we picked up a point in Division Three on a night an M4 accident scuppered most TSLR hopes of witnessing the Albion playing in the home side’s away shirts. Although, one TSLR contributor made it and wore a TSLR badge in the home end
that night but they didn’t witness a goal - the last of which we scored at the New Filbert in August 2004 when an Adam Virgo wunderstrike secured a surprise win on our return to Division Two. Our only other league win at Leicester was back in 1980, and we’ve only played them on twelve occasions - yielding four wins - at their place. LIVERPOOL (H) : Blimey, this cup run has pulled us out a cracker - Liverpool at home for a first meeting between the two sides in over 20 years. They last came to town back in a replay at the Goldstone in 1991 following the epic 2-2 fourth round match at Anfield in the FA Cup. The last time we beat a Liverpool side in Sussex was back in January 1961 when Nicholas, Windross and Jennings scored in a 3-1 victory. It is funny how many people in Brighton have asked us for tickets for the game. If you’re interested in tickets, TSLR has no spares - try befriending a player on Twitter instead. Ridiculously, the match will be played on the Wednesday for Sky Sports meaning we appear twice on TV in just 48 hours (the Friday for the visit of Leeds). If all else fails and we lose heroically, at least our bank cards will breathe a huge sigh of relief.
SEP / OCT LEEDS CHAMPIONS OF EUROPE (H) : One of the greatest January signings from our perspective was the departure of Max Gradel - who has looked hugely impressive for Leeds so far this season. The Friday night switch will mark a new first for us to get excited about at Falmer. And with it coming towards the end of September, there may even be scope to drink at the University bars with students all night. Leeds have beaten us in their last three visits to Brighton - all at Withers - and you have to go back to January 2006 to find a win against them at our temporary home when Paul Reid and Gary, Gary, Gary Hart scored in a 2-1 win for Albion in Division Two. It was one of few victories that season but it didn’t stop our campaign to remain in the second tier of English football being ultimately doomed. P***** (H): Ah, the sinister neighbours from south London - an area mainly consisting of vicious rioting youfs and a team of pure hate. What better way to mark the return of the rivalry than a visit to our shiny new stadium - a venue that makes a mockery of Selhurst. And the return of the backstabbing Nuromol loving Judas himself. The first time they visited Withers, they picked up a point in a drab
0-0 draw; the second time Palace visited they won, live on television, in injury time with a winner from their current manager. Palace first visited the Goldstone on Christmas Day 1920 and beat us 2-0 - just two of many reasons to dislike this lot. It’s time to change that first game home record against a rival we have beaten 36 times in our history to their paltry 34. They also beat us the last time when we fell from the second tier last. IPSWICH TOWN (A) : Our last visit yielded a corking win back at this level in April 2006 when Gifton Noel Williams and Joel Lynch gave us an unnecessary portion of hope that meant as much as the Leeds win that same season. It secured us three much needed - but ultimately fruitless - points. They’ve gone down 7-1 to Peterborough this season but they have shown a few signs of recovery since then. Ivar Ingimarsson played for us in the Coppell era and he now finds himself in Suffolk with a whole host of has beens including Jimmy Bullard, Jason Scotland and Lee Bowyer so it should make for some amusing viewing. Paul Jewell - their current manager - has a tortoise called Trotsky. TSLR
A pair of Albion fans scale a lamppost to catch a glimpse of the home match against Mansfield Town in 1996 - a game which the large majority of fans boycotted in protest of Archer and Belottiâ€™s evil regime. Against Leeds United, we urge all fans to wear green as a sign of solidarity with Plymouth Argyle - a club facing their own significant board room troubles. Picture by Stewart Weir 1996
HOBO LIVING With Albion sitting so swimmingly at the top of the Championship Hit Parade, the media attention being afforded to Super Gus Poyet has spiralled beyond all measure. With great success comes great link-ability and Super Gus will no doubt see his name banded about willy-nilly whenever a boss is given the chop. We have already seen him linked to Villa, even before this term’s start. One question that keeps rearing its ugly head is who will replace him. Who will take the helm post Super Gus? Who will Sussex pin its collective hopes on once Super Gus departs to the #1 seat in the sky (the Premiership)?
Plenty of people are touting Mauricio Taricco as an ideal replacement. I don’t agree. If he isn’t dragged begrudgingly along to whichever new club the Gus Bus rolls up at, he will be more heartbroken than anyone. Like a spurned lover, Tanno will be in no shape to lead the Stripes. He’ll be writing love poems never to be read, sat on the floor of his Italian villa, hugging his knees to his chest and sobbing himself to sleep, comforted only by the sweet smell of Super Gus’ jacket. Eunice Huthart, lest we forget, was the only contender ever to become a Gladiator on the ITV show. The Super Scouser first appeared on our screens in 1994 when she became the female champion at a time when Super Gus was making a name for himself with Zaragoza, long before he became a housewife’s favourite here in the UK. In the Final that year, Eunace battled Kerryn in a contest even fiercer than Super Gus’ international face-offs with Argentina. Eunice fell down the Travelator twice. Was the People’s Champion about to fall at the final hurdle? No. A nation crossed its fingers and managed to perform a Uri Geller esque bending of the space time continium akin to the ‘moving of the ball’ seconds before McAllister’s Euro 96 penalty. Kerryn fell too and Eunice swung to victory. TSLR032
Following her triumph, Eunice was sent to the international series - this time with a nation’s hopes and dreams resting on her Atlas-esque shoulders. While running the Gauntlet in the final, Eunice got into bother with American Gladiator, Ice, who raised her ramrod and struck Eunice in the face. Was this the end of the true People’s Princess? A thousands times no. Eunice got to the end in just over 20 seconds and added the international crown to her UK title. She was given the greatest honour known to man. Eunice was invited back to become a gladiator. Gone was the Huthart we knew and love. In her place came Blaze, whose walk on music was Every Little Thing She Does is Magic. But, while her time as a gladiator was magic, it was also brief. She shed the title in order to compete in the Ashes series against Australia, where the fickle finger of fortune saw her lose in the final to her very own Crystal Palace, Kerryn. A 1995 Champions title restored some pride to the now battle-weary Eunice. And, having decided to bow out at the top, Huthart called it a day and, in an extreme a case of ‘you couldn’t make it upness’, she departed for Hollywood - with hundreds of thousands of fans waving her off from Liverpool Docks. Appearances as a body double for a string of far fitter actors followed, before Huthart disappeared without a trace. Confined to our nostalgia tinged memories. There, nestled somewhere between Mr Benn and Rowland from Grange Hill she sits, waiting for the day when her fans need her once more. Hopefully, that day is still someway off. But, when rather than if Super Gus leaves sunny Sussex, all Tony Bloom needs to is dust off a lycra suit and shine a giant G into the night sky above The Amex. Huthart is waiting.TSLR
HAYWARDS HEATH LEDGER This is the first time the start of a league season has seen me in full employment so I’ve never been witness before to the way fantasy football becomes an office obsession in the weeks leading up to and following the opening weekend. However quickly the excitement dies away, as the casual class of erstwhile managers drift off and lose touch with it, for the first few weekends of the season it definitely lends a lot more excitement to watching the top-flight results come in at 5pm on a Saturday. I have to admit to spending a few hours following live text commentary of Sunday games on the BBC website and flicking to my fantasy league to see which colleagues have picked the player who just scored or got sent off.
bigger things. flirt with bigger things. Fantasy football though feels like the right sort of platform to engage in a bit of vicarious pride. When people ask me about my team I explain that I reckon Norwich will do alright this season, and they’ll probably score a few from midfield, given the style they play, oh, and I know these two because they used to play for my team, so I reckon they’ll do pretty alright. Until the day actually arrives where you can pick Adam el-Abd alongside Gary Cahill, this feels as good as a surreptitious little victory in the name of all things Albion gets, in the face of the office Premiershit boors who don’t know or care about us.
Seeing Bennett and Crofts play, and pick up points for me, in Norwich’s opening few fixtures somehow still didn’t have the same thrill for me though as the days when Bobby had just moved to Spurs and you wished him a start and a goal every week. Now that we feel like it could just be us in Norwich’s place next year, our previous crop of departed stars doesn’t feel so far away from Sussex anymore. Back then Bobby seemed a player that was always too good for us and we were privileged just to watch for a few seasons; Crofts and Bennett feel more like players that by mischance arrived just a few years too soon, peaking before us and off before we got a chance to see them lead us into our own flirt with
Important to cherish these little victories because there’s as many defeats. The other office conversation as September comes around is the transfer window saga lumbering into its final few days. Needless to say I added to the endless email chain speculating on the Sneijders and Nasris with another name which I naively assumed the world would be as excited about as I was. Vicente earned not a single reply from the office-wide public, even if the next day the Brentford fan from the 2nd floor tracked me down to stop me in a corridor and discuss it – in disbelief that life could be so good for us Brighton fans. I’ll definitely be picking him in my fantasy team for next year. TSLR TSLR032
GULLS EYE TOONS
We love the old covers on seminal Albion fanzine Gulls Eye
BY RICHARD KNIGHTS
AMEX TOUR As a member of the Brighton & Hove Albion Collectors & Historians Society (BHACHS) I was on one of two tours conducted for the society by member & Amex tour Guide, Peter Near (with thanks to Tim Carder). Starting at main reception, we ascended to the hospitality lounges and it was clear from the off that Peter would have a job to do in keeping this group moving; for not only did we want to fully absorb the experience but no images on the walls could be passed by without a complete recognition and naming of featured players. Boy would we have been good on a picture round of a pub quiz featuring Albion players! After checking out a sponsors box, well lush, we had privileged access to the Club Trophy room. Well it’s actually Trophy Cabinets installed on one side of the short corridor that leads to the Boardroom and I must admit to being a tad disappointed, as it’s almost full and I don’t think the cabinet has been built big enough to fit the European Cup in. Severe lack of ambition in this department; though reckon we may be rebuilding this part if we do need to fit in some choice trophies soon. Ascending further we took in the concourse of Upper West, and the views across Stanmer Park, Coldean, Upper Wild Park and toward Brighton are actually quite breathtaking, which was useful as I’m told on matchdays there’s little breath & room up here at half time so went a little way to recreating the actual full experience. Then up to the highest point and, I have to admit, that I experienced a little vertigo when looking up and down to the pitch fairly quickly and am happy for my choice of Lower West front row seat. My continued admiration to you West Stand Uppers. Our Tour continued downwards, taking in the largest of the hospitality suites before descending to the West Lower Concourse, where we were served the information that so far TSLR032
we have drunk 17,000 pints of ale at each league match, 8,000 of which are Harveys; and haven eaten 10,000 pies. And then to the business area - the changing rooms, tunnel and pitchside. We were advised that as it was just two days before a match NOT to touch anything in the changing rooms as things were being prepared. As we entered into the area our excitement of Paul Watson coming through the doors was, almost audibly, but certainly in spirit of each and every one, deflated by the sight of Tommy Elphick on crutches looking far worse than we’d seen. Unfortunately the Team Kit boys (@TeamkitBHAFC) apparently aren’t so keen to have to do their job with Tour parties trailing about so the Home Changing Room was locked and we were denied access. Amusingly the Away dressing room is nowhere near as plush as the booth-style Home one we are all so familiar with from the Club’s merchandising materials. And the astro-turf warm-up room is a must for every purpose built house. I may even start a campaign. I really wanted to get changed, pull some football boots on, and kick a football round a room that could host (proportionately) an interesting 5-a-side game of two year olds. Through the tunnel to pitchside, where the super plush ‘benches’ are more like upholstered deckchairs which I reckon is pretty apt for us. A proper touch of the pitch before we meandered in front of the South Stand to the East. The artwork in the East concourse has been done by projects in our local school communities and shades some of the ‘professional’ offerings. A final run through the North before being shown the location of the Albion museum, which is actually through the ‘Staff Only’ door to the right of the mosaic in Dick’s Bar. Which was where, post-tour, I enjoyed a nice toasted ham and cheese sandwich washed down with a latte. Nice. TSLR
MEADE’S BALL In any neighbourhood we move to or find ourselves moved to, and by, we like, I think, to assemble the cast of those behoused there too. A scene without characters or character is one we’ll soon forget, a blank canvass we weren’t too interested in to populate with blotches of colour or imagining. In some neighbourhoods everyone seems to know each other, to have met and talked in the sugar-borrowing moments that once existed or the darker clicks of time when the power goes out in winter and a bonfire is lit both metaphorically and factually to warm the more chilled in the community.
– OK I have spoken to 3 people, but that’sa dramatically high number for me. And also I have espied those who are worthy of character without me ever talking to them.
Where I dwell I’ve met no one out loud, other than a man this morning in a Tescos Express who asked me through the music on my headphones whether I was equally shocked by the photo on my newspaper’s front of Blair embracing Gaddafi emotionally in the not too distant past. I quietened and asked him to repeat and then we shortly conversed. He finished filling my bag, one he’d asked if I wanted to use, and we smiled, offering each other a warm day with an uncommon heartfeltness. My immediate neighbours I must on occasion inspect for safety’s sake – over the road is a trainee fire-eating couple who sometimes practice past midnight in the open road: they are ones to watch – but if my door knocks I will look not to answer it.
Now, in the new North Stand, I have a few characters already to admire again. One is the Puyol-haired guy that we of course call Puyol. His style is cracking and I was gutted he didn’t sit in front of me. I would have fingered his expert locks after every goal. Another is a chap I call Loving It who rightly since what looked his first visit was amazed by everything around him, and each time I have seen him since he has been astonished all over again. Or on pills. I also like the barstaff Jeremy and Gregory, both clearly living 300m away at Sussex uni and brilliantly bemused, as first-job people are, by machinery. They remind me of my first time on a computer and my refusal to admit that it’s just a load of seemingly abstract buttons beeping and inducing sweat in and on me. Got a correct-centred pie from Jeremy, and very wellplayed to him. I’ll log for longer on who’s the better though.
The Amex, compared to my living vicinity, is a completely different kettle of fish. I don’t saunter in there with any grotesque amiability or unnatural gregariousness, but I do quietly enter with a modest sense of belonging. It’s somewhere in which I can live with the thought of being approached or even nudged by strangers knowing that for a time we happen to be one and the same. I have spoken to more people there in three games than I have in any place since I was at school
My friend and I used to watch people in the Goldstone’s North Stand and give them personalities or nicknames. I remember Freddie Mercury caught forever in either song or celebrity grin and Farmer Mick with his straw cigarettes almost a foot in length and one of Harry Enfield’s The Scousers, his bubbleperm impenetrable and full of secrets. We’d tick their arrival on an unwritten register.
Perhaps the most moving to see there is Farmer Mick though. His figure is a reflection of a past I cherish, but also of a future I feel somewhat silently blessed by. He’s not exactly the same, Farmer Mick as 1992 had him, although similar, just as the new North Stand isn’t and is, in songful feeling at least. TSLR TSLR032
PETER GRUMMITT’S BRIGHT GREEN GLOVES Wow! What a start to the Amex era. As someone Tweeted, I keep thinking I’m dreaming and will wake up on a train to Gillingham! Just when we think Gus can’t do anything more amazing, he does - Vicente a signing in a different class! I had to chuckle a bit, though, when Gus complained about the FL change from 7 to 5 subs. It got me thinking back to the days of the #12 solitary sub (no, even I’m not old enough to remember no subs). Some managers would only use them if a player was so badly injured they couldn’t walk. Or as a last desperate attempt to rescue a game. So invariably the sub was an attacking player of sorts, although I remember Eddie Spearritt being given the job when dubbed a ‘utility’ player (age 9, I thought this meant he washed the kit). The sub generally sat around on the bench in a scruffy tracksuit, smoking or picking his nose and was only allowed to warm up 30 seconds before the manager chucked him on. However, I remember 3 players in the ‘70s who made a proper contribution to the cause from the bench. The first was Gerry Fell who ran down the wing like a horse in full gallop and had a shot like a mule. He suffered in the Chicken Run’s affection stakes by unseating local boy Tony Towner but nevertheless won the crowd round with wholehearted displays and 20 goals over a 4 year period of mid-70s ascendancy for the Albion. The second was Eric Potts who I banged on about last month but the third and (in my mind) most prolific sub was Malcolm Poskett TSLR032
Malcolm had impeccable North Country (as my Mum used to say) credentials. Born in that bastion of polluted deprivation, Middlesbrough, he failed to make the grade with his home-town club nor initially at glamorous Hartlepool and spent time working on the North sea oil rigs . So you’d think he’d be eternally grateful to be paid to pick splinters out of his ar*e in the relative balmy climes of the South Coast. But no, just because he wasn’t a regular starter he lodged transfer requests hither and thither at a time when, hindsight suggests, a successful side wasn’t always a happy side under Mullery’s volcanic leadership. He is entirely forgiven, though, for one pre-Xmas 1978 afternoon at a then semi-decrepit Valley when a second half hat-trick clinically destroyed Charlton and lifted the stripes into a top 3 position they would not relinquish that season. It was fitting that Poskett once more occupied the dugout at Newcastle, the 5th of May that season: the same dugout that a fresh faced 16yo (it was my birthday) was proud to clamber on and salute the conquering heroes alongside the reputed 10,000 Seagulls fans present, most of whom stormed the main stand at St James’s. I fell asleep on the Special train home and the feeling I had waking up was not dissimilar to current post-slumber thoughts. Pinch me Gus, I must be dreaming, and don’t worry too much about the subs. TSLR
MARCO VAN BASTARD Unbelievable how much fun this season has been so far, not least in redressing karmic balances. Younger members of my kin who once had to engineer their own sordid entertainment by mooning the golf stand at Withdean have been dazzled by floodlights and calmly slotted Ashley Barnes penalties, older ones have had only the ample human warmth of a well-roofed temple, reached by a gloriously exhaustive staircase to heaven, where once they got pissed on to add to the ignominy of hoof and despair bollocks. I’ve shifted betwixt the beautiful unwashed masses of the North and the ‘scuse-me-just-going-for-a-widdle serenity of my season ticket bumholder in the West, dithering like a moth giddily whoring itself between two welcoming flames, finding equal delight in both atop a carpet of undefeated football finesse. These are crazy, joyous days all the way to a zenith we are unlikely to ever better, realigning my life. I’d find out I was going to Withdean the night before the game, I liked that because if I’d found out any earlier it would’ve put a dampener on the rest of the week. Now I begin to look forward to the integral highlight of Saturday home games all week, a lengthy anticipation which sends me all aquiver by Friday and on to a generous climax initiated on first sight of the Amex (and I don’t even mind suckling that commercial teet by name, what’s a decade between muchneeded big business backing?)
Her beauty belies something so supposedly inanimate, even my girlfriend calls her the curvy goddess and envies a love so pure no windswept defeats can scotch it (they’ve met, madame Van Bastard came to the Eastbourne and Gillingham games, technically in doing so losing her footballing virginity to the stadium of slinkiness, but I leave the word ‘footballing’ out of that and it makes me feel slyly warm and naughty.) Such was the stream of texts I got on my phone after the Liverpool cup draw I was half expecting to see an Orange van pull up outside my house all twitchy, most of ‘em from people I hadn’t had word from for yonks, but you can’t begrudge the piqued interest among the casual converts. I have a great deal of affection for those who attend games indiscriminately despite having imaginations old enough to perceive other ways to spend their time and money – I only rebuke their presumably inherent dullness when I’m drunk or mocking Facebook (“disappointed Liverpool at home is on a Wednesday”, “off to the Amex”, “haven’t had sex since 1992”). No home game on a Satdi ‘til October the 15th is akin to having your crack pipe snatched from your open craw just as you toot on the choicest slosh, but we all know the idealised benefits of absence when it comes to romantic dalliance, by the time Hull prepare for the sword we’ll probably all be licking the screens and dry humping those forlorn students keeping the queues hungry. Love is in the air. TSLR
MIDFIELD DIAMOND Like Usain Bolt, we’ve gone too early. The likes of Birmingham, Reading and Leeds are still in the blocks while we are already up and running. I’m just waiting for that dreaded false start signal which eliminates us from the title race, robbing the public of the glorious sight of the Albion in full stride, powering over the line first with a smile as wide as a Falmer concourse.
But it’s a marathon, not a sprint. It is far too early to read too much into our early season form. However, it seems rude not to. Life as a Brighton fan has rarely, if ever, been sweeter than it is today. The stadium, the team, the manager, the style of football; practically everything about the Club at the moment means it is great to wear the stripes. And wouldn’t you ‘eight two’ be an Arsenal fan? Some of us remember that joke from 1973, when Bristol Rovers beat us at the Goldstone by the same score. I’ve been waiting for the opportunity to use it against someone else ever since. Good trivia question from that game – can you name the young lad on the Brighton bench that day who went on to make his debut for England over 15 years later? Anyway, back to this season and we’ve already done it all. A last minute winner to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, a win against a local rival, a great game against a newly-relegated Premiership side, spectacular goals from several different players and a giant-killing Cup run. We’ve even scored two penalties. “We’re the famous Brighton
and Hove Albion and we’re shit at penalties” is all in the past. I’ll admit that, impressed as I was with the new signings, I feared that Gus was becoming a bit of an Arsene Wenger in that he was neglecting the defence in favour of flair and quality going forward. With the centre-half injury crisis, surely it was time to visit a Land Rover dealer and get a couple of Defenders. But there was no need with Dunk aboard the Gus Bus. So far, we’ve rarely looked troubled at the back and only Derby have conceded fewer goals than us. That’s also a clue to the trivia question by the way. The only fear now is that Gus is tempted away to another job, even bigger than managing us. However, Pep Guardiola has stated that he has taken Barcelona as far as he can and he’s looking for a new challenge. I reckon a job swop could suit them both when the time is right. We’d have to get used to a less attractive style of tippy-tappy football of course but I’m sure we would be fine. Meanwhile, we just have to keep up the current form and we’ll be celebrating again come April. Or perhaps, having hit the top of the League a month earlier than last season, we’ll be celebrating in March. Of course we can win two titles in a row, just as Usain Bolt took the 400m title during his lap of honour for winning the 200m recently. Trivia question? The answer is current Derby manager Nigel Clough. His dad Brian was our manager and made him watch the game from the dugout as a seven year old. TSLR
THE MONTH IN NUMBERS
Our lowliest crowd of the season so far at the shiny new stadium.
Gus Poyet will mark 100 games in charge for the League Cup tie against Liverpool.
We think you all know that the Will Buckley winner v Donny came in the eighth minute of injury time.
13 2k 17,000 Including Gus, the amount of nationaalities represented in the first team squad.
Pounds per week alledgedly offered to Glenn Murray by Gus to wind up the miserable northern git in the summer contract talks.
The average number of pints of beer consumed at The Amex per match. Wowzers. Number of times weâ€™ve dared think about winning the league during the intl. break.
The number of goals scored by Fran Sandaza in all competitions for Albion last season in Division 3.
Vicenteâ€™s caps for Spain. Some 38 more than M i k e l Arteta.
The number of goals scored by Fran Sandaza in all competitions for St Johnstone so far this season in the Scottish top flight. TSLR032
THE HOVIAN Now that we’ve settled into our new home the competitive games are coming thick and fast, and of course each team brings a different class of supporter into our South Stand, allowing for a detailed study of their dress and behaviour from yours truly, as I’m nicely settled among the gentlefolk of the East Stand and not put off by all that singing and chanting malarkey.
First up were Doncaster Rovers - last up at the Goldstone, remember? – who brought a fair few down from Yorkshire. It looks like the east side of the away end will be where the most gobby of visitors will be situated, as the extreme west seats are cordoned off by Albion stewards, well until Chrystal Phallus turn up I hope. What this does is put up an uneven mutual “banter” dialogue between diehard away travelling fans and Albion ‘fans’ who only buy the odd day ticket, those strange fellows who turn up because they’ve nothing better to do, and curious first-timers; more of a banter monologue then
in our don’t care/hate relationship. Gills fans, while failing to notice their own mediocre turnout of 1328, saved their biggest noise for “You’re supposed to be at home”, the irony being that it was Wednesday night in the League Cup against fourth tier tinpotters, ding dong. “You’re going down with the Palace” and offering out some bewildered-looking Spanish students sat in the East rounded off a cringefest of div-type supporting. Blackpool were game, the Tangerine hordes made an exciting game even better. The banter was good-natured and they were scratching their heads as much as us when that RAF chopper with the Albion fan/loon appeared over the ground. Falmer witnessed its first ever (mini) pitch invasion when Kevin Phillips banged in their equaliser last thing. A handful of Seasiders of the North got on the pitch, in various states of sunbathing undress, only to be put back in the stand by thankfully level-headed Albion stewarding staff. They had quite a day out.
Donny away look like a ‘Where’s Wally’ convention gone wrong. I don’t like polyester football shirts on fat middle-aged men per se, but if you’re going to wear one then Doncaster Rovers have a particularly striking shirt on offer – massed together they are like a sideways & red version of the Toon Army. Rovers made a good bit of noise and only had two or three pillocks giving it the big one during the game.
When Sunderland came down I made a decision beforehand to elope from the East and take in a flavour of the North Stand, anyway I’d seen the Mackems get drunk on non-alcoholic lager at our pre-season game in Portugal in 2010, not a pretty sight. Still, not a bad turnout coming from the grim North-East on a midweek night to be fair, but they were too far away for any real observations.
Gillingham came down for a mid-week League Cup game, and it was nice to show off our new place with the big floodlights to our old landlords. And how things have changed
Peterborough were up last and were boring, not even a shout or holler at CMS. I love London Road myself, but their travelling fans are quite tame and respectable, and must try harder. TSLR
We pulled out this slim programme from 1976, and though it’s technically a Chelsea publication, that’s just because the game was played at Stamford Bridge. As legend states, this single FA Cup replay was the biggest catalyst for the Albion/Palace derby. The legacy of vitriol that we still ‘enjoy’ today was sort-of down to this game; who would’ve thought a team called ‘The Dolphins’ could create such a fuss. TSLR
CARTER I’ve just made a lovely addition to my collection of favourite celebrity biscuits with Craig Mackail-Smith’s revelation that he enjoys: ‘a Digestive and a nice cup of tea’. He now joins the likes of Andi Peters (‘nice’), Sally Gunnell (a fellow Digestive lover) and ex-Atomic Kitten Liz McClarnon (‘those caramel and chocolate ones’) who have furnished me with essential knowledge should they wish to pop round for a brew.*
Another collection I enjoy is things the wife has said or done, which lead into an article for the fanzine. The most recent entry involves Mrs Carter enquring whether or not I intended on getting her a ticket to watch the Liverpool cup game: ‘Maybe you could take me to that 101 club’. Everyone knows the concept of ‘Room 101’ as the most awful place in the world. Clearly, George Orwell had never payed a visit to Selhurst. However, we don’t want to get oursleves into an analysis of his torturous Room 101in Nineteen Eighty-Four; firstly because we’re all lowbrow now, interested only in what Craig Noone likes on his toast, and secondly, because it will eat into my article about the TV series of the same name. With a bit of serendipity, news has just come to light that Room 101 is to be revived on BBC2 this winter and hosted by Frank Skinner. But what does this have to with the Albion? Not much, other than the fact that I got to thinking about what Albion stuff I would
banish forever if the Amex did have such a torture room. For all I know, it actually might, which could be the reason why we’re getting so good at getting the players we want these days. ‘Ok Ryan, get on the Gus Bus now or you can spend half an hour in there with Charlie Oatway and a sink plunger’. Like with most things in life, I asked myself ‘what would Des Lynam do?’. Well, if I remember rightly, everyone was left slightly disappointed in 2001 when Des appeared on the show and not even a hint of an eagle appeared on his list. Although this is quite right; the Albion would be nowhere near as fun without the existence of Palace and we certainly need them around to benchmark shitness against. For reference, football related items which have been condemned into TV’s Room 101 are: The FA Cup, Eric Cantona, shielding the ball in football and footballers who complain. Cantona needs saving there, for obvious reasons, but I’m still not sure what I’d bung in. I wouldn’t even get rid of Scott McGleish as without him around I’d have nothing to bump my word count up with each month. This whole discussion is redundant anyway, given the fact that ‘football’ in general disappeared into the oblivion of the Room in 2007. *All of these are factual and gathered via endless stalking on Twitter. In addition, magician and entertainer, Paul Daniels, enjoys ‘all biscuits, dunked’ should you find yourself catering for him. TSLR TSLR032
Published on Sep 13, 2011