TSLR036 / January 2012 / £1
THE SEAGULL LOVE REVIEW S ’ E R E H W ? E T N E VIC
TSLR A collection of badly edited Albion related-ish drivel that will roll up and fit in your back pocket.
Much like the sorry state of the online auction world when we had to bid a sad farewell to the old eBay Crap feature of old, trips to find suitable content for the eBay Gold column is becoming equally strained. With Albion’s illustrious rise to the big bucks Championship, we have attracted the sort of dull, copyright dodging, generic products from sellers who’ll print the same tacky t-shirt for all 24 clubs. Back in the golden age of second hand Albion merchandise there would be a plethora of vintage portakabin-era pap. The 70s was the age of basic pennents, the 80s a blend of classic Adidas and Open Market FA Cup garb, the 90s represented the halcyon days with pink kits and Pro-Set cards and finally the 00s with Dick Knights tacky gift revolution and that horrible badge that we can only look back on with regret. But from a random antique dealer in Devon came a diamond amongst the rough. Behold, a dirty, flame-enticing pillow from before we were born, at it’s heart an odd poker reference. eBay Gold lives on. TSLR TSLR036
TSLR036 The Seagull Love Review is an independent Brighton and Hove Albion Magazine. Issue 36, January 2012.
The views expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editors, or The Seagull Love Review.
It’s been another crazy month in the life of Brighton and Hove Albion. There was the Burnley game - remarkable for when we almost pulled off a Walsall-at-Withers result against 11 men. We were very angry with the referee at that point, and we got even angrier with the festive away performances at Reading then Coventry.
We do hate Palace though, officially.
But all that dissipated with the win against last season’s rivals, Southampton - it really changed everything and we began to look up again.
Thanks this issue to BM, TS, BM, GE, JP, LE, TC, SK, SH, SW, GC, LW, RB, SW, NB and JS Edited by SS and SS Artwork by SS, ML, SK Printed by MCR Print of Hove www.mcrprint.co.uk
And looking up is what we plan to do this month - we’ll be wishing upon several stars that we make amends for the P****e defeat earlier in the season. Selhurst is where we take our dreams and loyalty points and try to atone for the first league defeat at the new Withers. Thanks for purchasing this issue - it means a hell of a lot to us - and ta for all the positive feedback we received over December and January.
TSLR is printed using eco-friendly paper and ink apparently.
We have some great stuff packed into this issue including a chat with those at Piglet’s Pantry, plus all the usual tripe from our usual wonderful contributing staff.
The Seagull Love Review Apt 19 City Heights, MCR, M1 7AX firstname.lastname@example.org
If you want to contribute yourself, sell fanzines or just give us some abuse, then look no further than the email address to your left.
www.theseagulllovereview.com http://twitter.com/tslr Signed off 0918 11/01/2012
Up the Albion! S+S TSLR036
CONTENTS 2 eBay gold / 5 what’s hot, what’s not / 6 news in brief / 8 flairwatch / 9 marco van bastard / 10 amex security / 11 reviews / 14 previews / 18 bitter & twisted / 20 peter grummitt’s bright green gloves / 22 corridor / 21 midfield diamond / 22 hayward’s heath ledger / 23 WSL snapper / 24 brighton ‘til I pie / 28 the hovian / 31 healthy / 30 carter 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)
or at www.radioreverb.com
Missed the show?
Listen again at www.albionroar.co.uk or on iTunes The Albion Roar is a guaraneteed Phil Collins-free zone AND we have far better studio guests than every other show. FACT.
WHAT’S HOT WHAT’S NOT
Let Mendoza have a Nando’s black card so he can follow players not on Twitter
Seagulls Player / The £3.99 a month subscription fee is an absolute bargain. It allows you to log into the version of the opposition we have just played and watch extended highlights of our games which Seagulls Player doesn’t offer. For the £3.99 you can watch the whole 90 minutes of Reading away. 14 minutes of the Burnley game and 8 minutes of the trip to Middlesbrough. Bargain!
Vicente / Like a lap dance he stood in front of us for 5 minutes during the Southampton game, gyrated around a lot, slowly removing some clothes, but ultimately, none of us got we wanted. Action! What a cock tease!
Billy Paynter / Gus chased him and chased him, and finally got his man on a 3 month loan deal. In his 10 appearances for The Seagulls, Paynter managed just one…. shot on target and won just one header, which gave every fan hope they could still make it in the professional game as a second tier striker. A new hero for all of us! Gonzalo Jara Reyes / His behaviour should in no way be condoned, but the Chilean must have submitted possibly the greatest ever entry in to Brighton & Hove Albion’s Flair Almanac with his “was not available for the Nottingham Forest game because he had been arrested for driving whilst disqualified on the way to the game” effort. Flairerro Rocher anyone? The FA Cup / People try to tell us the romance of The FA Cup is dead, but the cup gave the Wrexham fans a dream chance to see Roland Bergkamp warm up live in the flesh. Bergkamp threw in some text book lunges and delivered a tremendous 6 yard backwards jog right in front of the travelling army. Stuff of dreams! Brighton Fans / So far your perviness has raised a couple of thousand quid for charity, by purchasing the Gully’s Girls 2012 Calendar. Thanks to all who have splashed out on one so far. Ps - apologies in advance for when you get to February x
Nando’s / There seems to be a direct correlation between players going to Nando’s for dinner and players “doing a hamstring.” Noone, El-Abd, Painter, Taricco and LuaLua have all recently been for a delicious chicken supper, and Buckley can’t worship the place enough. Time to put a stop to these chicken antics, we need these players fit! Referees / The match officials are so poor they are costing us valuable points. So far their ineptness caused our forwards to miss sitters, made our midfield give the ball away for no reason, allowed Coventry strikers to run 60 yards unchallenged with the ball and shoot, and made our keepers drop or flap at crosses. FA sort it out, it’s killing our season! Fabio Capello / It is an absolute disgrace that the national manager hasn’t picked our £74million rated, ballon d’or winning, linked to Real, Jake “Even Pele said he is the nuts” Forster-Caskey for England’s first team. He is easily better than Lampard, Wilshire, Gerrard, Parker, Barry, Iniesta, Xavi and Yaya Toure. EASILY! - not that the Brighton fans are over hyping or anything... The Transfer Window / Once again silly season is upon us, where we get linked to 101 different players, building our dreams and hopes up of a promotion push and that amazing new signing, then we get let down by no one coming in, and letting club greats such as Jamie Smith and Michael Poke go out the door... TSLR TSLR036
Now when it comes to the Gonzalo Jara Reyes debacle the question has to be, was he arrested by a Pala*e fan? Just think, he was arrested by police on the morning of a game which made the Chilean unavailable for selection later that day. Some would claim what we should be asking is, why did he drink drive in the first place? But that’s beside the point as his arrest that made him miss the Burnley refereeing melee was for ‘driving whilst disqualified’ rather than drinking on a Saturday of a match. Seeing as Reyes is due to appear at Brighton Magistrates we’re assuming he was arrested by Sussex Police. The only explanation is that the arresting officer must either be a Burnley or Pala*e fan. Whatever the reason behind the arrest, he doesn’t even play for us on loan anymore.
ahead of kick off and purchase a pie and eat it. Secondly, you need to purchase a pie at half time and eat it. Thirdly, and this is the important bit, you need to purchase a pie at full time and eat that. There, your hat-trick is complete. For a double hat-trick, make each pie purchase a pie and pint purchase. And back to Twitter, massive respect for to Matt Sparrow (@MattySparrow10) for uploading a picture of his dog dressed in sunglasses and an Albion shirt.
NEWS IN BRIEFS January 2012
We also had the pleasure of meeting Spadge, Bridders and KLL at the signing of Build a Bonfire II aka We Want Falmer at the club shop just before Christmas. Obviously, we were there to lambast them for signing a book that features jottings from both TSLR co-editors and not those three players but it was an opportunity to throw TSLR035 at them. As you can see in the photo, they spent more time reading this fanzine than they did signing autographs.
There’s only one Kerry Mayo, it is official. Some people have already expressed their knowledge of this fact but it’s something we here at TSLR didn’t bother to notice at the time. The ginger prince has been busy on Twitter recently and one TSLRite thought it wise to suggest ‘there’s only two Kerry Mayo’s’ to the God of left-backs. Poor Kerry took it well but revealed that, sadly, there is now only one - albeit happy - Kerry Mayo. If you’re on Twitter do get involved we think he needs his ego massaged by Albion fans and you can find him (@kerrymayo3) by logging on to Twitter.
Writing of arrests and Matt Sparrow, it is worth mentioning that Spadge served time in prison when in his youth according to Steve Claridge in the Guardian back in 2007. What for we don’t know and we’ll be trying to grab an interview with Sparrow at some point to decipher that particular conundrum in the coming months. It surely just adds to the Albion’s high rating on Tom Stewart’s flairo-meter.
During the early part of January, we were introduced to the Piglet’s Pantry pie hat-trick. It took us awhile to completely understand what was going on but it’s pretty simple really: first, you get into your Falmer concourse
Homophobia update: there was another caution dished out for vociferous anti-gay posting in an online forum. The cautioned - a Barnsley fan based in Pal**e country, where else? - had been warned by police during the
Tykes’ visit to Falmer and was arrested after discussing the incident in a forum. And former Seagull Lee Steele hardly helped the debate - he was released by Oxford City after tweeting: “I wouldn’t fancy the bed next to Gareth Thomas #padlock my a**e.” We all got pretty excited when we went to Reading. Of course, it had nothing to do with the game, the ground or the town itself. We got excited because on the hideous industrial estate where you find the new Elm Park is a wind turbine. Makes you think we should have incorporated a few of these into the Amex design - the environmentalists would have loved it. In fact, maybe we should add some with the Falmer corner extensions - would keep the Greens on Brighton Council quiet. Tommy Elphick was the epitome of cool when describing a gorgeous looking lady in the gym on Twitter: “Saw the most stunning girl at the gym today.....if you read this..... lady in the pink, you have an amazing rack!” Smoothly does it Tommy. Should the Wrexham replay feature on Welsh television channel S4C, we thought we’d offer you some key Welsh phrases to listen out for. Gôl is a pretty obvious one but try your linguistics on these: Cerdyn coch (Ker-din koch) - Red card, Cerdyn Melyn (Ker-din Mel-in) - Yellow card, Camsefyll (Kam-sev-ithl) - Offside, Cwpan FA (Koo-pan FA) - The FA Cup, Lôn i
Wembley - Road to Wembley, Cic o’r smotyn (kick or smot-in) - Penalty, Dyfarnwr (dovear-noor) - Referee and ei fod yn gymhleth ees complictaed. And one for Mr Elphick: oes gennych rac anhygoel - you have an amazing rack. It seems fitting that one of Steve Cook’s last acts as a Brighton player was to clear a ball from over the line against Southampton to pull the wool over the eyes of the officials. Mr Cook, we salute you - and best of luck to you down the coast at Bournemouth, sir. Fair play to Southern trains and the club who have at least made travelling to and from the stadium a little easier since our TSLR034 cover - we never have a problem post match as we spend so much time in the North Stand Atrium Social Club. However, the possibility of a Brighton Main Line 2 is as exciting to us as high speed rail is to Birmingham. Norman Baker at the Department for Transport, sort it out. Rangers of the SPL are looking at signing former Albion greats Chris Birchall and Fran Sandaza. You can make your own assertions about the quality of the Scottish league. And Gus spent all his transfer money in the summer so the best case scenario for bringing in new players is loan deals of Billy Paynter’s ilk. No worries, having seen the promise of the youf team against Wrexham, we’ve got a development squad of new signings. TSLR TSLR036
FLAIRWATCH Ladies and Gentlemen, I have a new flair hero. I know I’m notoriously fickle with my hero worship but this time it’s for real, I mean it this time. This man is stylish, handsome and has a double-barrelled name. Guessed who it is yet? Of course, I’m talking about Jake Forster-Caskey. I support a club that in the past has produced the odd half decent player. Adam El-Abd, Dean Hammond, Dan Harding and Adam El-Abd are all holding their own in the Championship, but boy have we produced some absolute turd. I still wake up in a cold sweat shaking and in a state where I’m almost inconsolable for days whenever I accidentally think of Tommy Fraser strutting his stuff in Albion’s central midfield (or even worse when Adams played him on right wing). Bobby Zamora was injured, so who better to lead the line in his absence than Chris McPhee? Jesus that one left me on the border of self-harm. Making the step up to the Championship, why not throw in Danny Marney and Shaun Wilkinson to terrify defences......I think I cried myself to sleep that night. But now we have someone with real class. He looks so continental in his play. He’s everything I wanted Agustin Battipiedi to be. Against Southampton (apparently the best team in the league) he was often HOUNDED by their pack of anti-flair bastards, but he not once did he panic. He was nutmegging scoundrels left, right and centre and strutting around the pitch like he was a seasoned flair TSLR036
pro. As he becomes more accustomed to life in the world of mans football I fully expect him to be pulling off tricks willy-nilly. But what is he really lacking? Well, for starters he’s English. Whilst Darren Caskey is a true flair icon, so flair is in Jake’s blood, but surely there’s some foreign lineage in there somewhere, some Asian or South American maybe? Also, two games, how many cards? Give us a violent sending off Jake! We’ve got a bad boy reputation to live up to, but our latest addition to the flair ranks is letting us down somewhat. People criticised Gordon for getting sent off against Southampton, but personally I just think he was showing Jake how a real flair icon gets the job done, and that is by needlessly getting sent off. One of the first things Mauricio did in his Albion playing career was to get sent off for dissent, that’s how to do it Jake, sort it out or you and me are going to fall out. The biggest piece of news on planet flair? We NEARLY got a peek at Vicente. Gus is teasing us beyond belief with this one isn’t he? Apparently El Punal was going to come on before Gordon unleashed his flair weapons, so come on Gus, enough is enough. You’ve wooed us, you’ve taken us out for a flair meal, we’ve come back to yours in the taxi, you’ve dimmed the lights, you’ve whipped out the red wine, you’ve put the romantic music on, we’re in bed, we’re in our lingerie, we’re ready for you, we’re there for the taking, now it’s time for you to slip it in. Just play Vicente, that’s all we ask Gus. TSLR
MARCO VAN BASTARD When you’re a vegetarian football fan, your culinary expectations tend to be lower than your supposed iron count. At most grounds, we’re lucky if we’re dangled an overpriced cheese and onion pasty, invariably a lumpen strew of flavourless gloop encased by a morbidly thick pastry. At Coventry, they’d even run out of those. But this season, at Falmer, we were hopeful of more - largely because of pre-season proclamations from the great and good that this would be a stadium to break the marketing mould. We were sold an “experience”, where we would feel enticed to spend lunchtime in the bowels of the place, with local delicacies, Sky Sports and waistcoated waiters tending to our bodily functions with gold-encrusted flannels. It hasn’t quite turned out like that. The veggie pies and noodles probably are better than the minimal shortlist of rival grounds you could name which provide similar sumptuousness, but given the nigh-exhaustive list of places where you could enjoy better for half the price along the incoming 25 bus route, it’s not worth gambling on any being in stock (there hardly ever have been this season, and that’s not because they’ve sold out). The queues are long enough to visually deter whenever you arrive, mainly because the till staff - who I have no meat-free beef with, given that nearly all of us were students once spend most of their time surmising how little stock they have, offering alternative options,
dreaming of their next spliff or battling with technology they’ve clearly never used before. As a result, unless I bring mates or family who want something, my matchday spending is back to nil, post-match beers in the throes of jubilation or despair notwithstanding. This isn’t really a moan, attested to by the fact that I’ve had to expound several sentences in this article in a bid to meet the word count. I could get on to the toilets, but there’s something about queuing in rows, getting your trainers wet and feeling obliged to talk to the person next to you because you’re weeing so close to each other which reminds me of the Goldstone, and therefore instantly makes me feel warm and fuzzy and want to listen to Walk Away by Cast. Perhaps the club were never on to a winner with those of us not naturally predisposed to forking out (boom boom) at half-time, and they are, to some extent, competing with a city where posh nosh is the fare of most of our streets. For all the talk of disenfranchisement and corporate whoring, Falmer is still a brilliant place to watch football. There again, I - and many others, from what I hear and read - would have wanted to exorcise the horror of the Withdean catering vans and gleefully hand over our pennies if we’d been given a decent option. That the service was never good enough for us to try seems like a wasted opportunity, even if it isn’t a huge surprise. TSLR TSLR036
AMEX SECURITY I don’t yet know exactly what to expect from the approaching Christmas “Do” with some of my “Amexers”, as we’re collectively known, by just a few of us - the one’s I’ve slyly grown closest to. A flyer was handed out by the management with a few guidelines and Must-Nots. Maybe for laughs on the back of it was a cartoon that included doodles of what might bring the club to shame. The one of a barstaff-nametagwearing fella steamily plopping on the Pavilion lawn whilst two dribbling colleagues chase a poorly-drawn poodle with a knife and fork was a step too far, I thought. But maybe they’ve had some bother of this kind in the past. I asked Bert, a veteran of the groundstaff, and his cheeks puffed, to make a face as if he were scouring through his slightly addled memory for an identical thundercrap mishap snapshot from a Seagulls Xmas bash of the last few years. “No,” he said, but the light grin he wore as he turned made out perhaps something similar might have occurred. Or something more freaky. Bert is a one-question man - any more and he says it’s an interrogation and begins to physically fume - so I had to leave it at that. It’s probably the same for a lot of you out there, but the “Do” we’re about to have has to be pretty much self-funded. The food is free. And of course they’ve hired a venue for the afternoon - one which I shan’t give you the name of for obvious reasons. So it’s not all out of our own pockets. But it’s the drinking that can make someone’s wallet explode, and not always purely on how much was necked The decision-making of almost any sane man TSLR036
is completely thrown out by the combination of leaving work at midday to booze and the sparkly shirts and blouses and hats that can dazzle the eyes and confuse, I reckon. I’ve been in a mess on the Saturday after such an event. As soon as I know the date of one, I tell the wife of when to stay elsewhere for the night to avoid me barging in and spilling some weird lukewarm meats all over the flat as I stumble for water and forgiveness. It was at Layer Road that it went the wrongest for Christmas for me about 5 years back. I’d only been at Colchester for a couple of months and didn’t really know anyone all that well. I learnt to never trust anyone called “Barney” again from that day. I remember up until 7pm when another tray of sticky pink drinks came over in Barney’s hands. After that, nothing at all until about 12 hours later in a public park sandpit in Norfolk. Barney tells me that when I dive headfirst into a cab in the early hours I just keep saying “Diss, Diss, Diss, Diss, Diss, Diss”. It’s a place I’d never heard of, but I nodded to the driver when he asked if I was sure I wanted to go there and pay £160 for the benefit, apparently, and off we drove those 40 fateful miles. The missus had to come and get my by car with a foul look on her face that was repeated when she found out I couldn’t afford the present I’d promised her. Not my finest hour. This year I reckon I’ll take it easy. But I say that every year. My plan is £50 in cash so I can’t quite afford any madness. No wallet or cards. And maybe a pooper-scooper just to be on the safe side. TSLR
REVIEWS BURNLEY / H / Zero red cards had been shown at the Amex before this game. Despite there being hundreds of reckless lunges, wild kicks, and persistent fouls from opposing teams (biased?...moi?) we still hadn’t received a ‘homer’ (referee who appears to favour the home side in their fancy new stadium) in our fancy new stadium. Nothing could prepare us for what we were about to witness in the first 12 minutes: first Vincelot was shown a red for no apparent reason on 6 minutes, although replays showed he did give his man a playground style dig in the ribs, by the letter of the law a red card but very soft; then Albion fans including myself were cheering as a second red was brandished 6 minutes later for a two footed lunge followed by throat grab on Barnes, but it turned out Barnes was the recipient for stamping - arguable from the replay but surely the lunge and grab were worthy of red as well. Of course after this Burnley had all the possession but Albion were still playing well and in the game. After half an hour the away side took the lead when their right back smashed it into the top corner but Albion went in still in just 1-0 down.
TSLRsiege mentality was the only thing that The got the South Stand rocking at Withers - on this day that attitude got the whole ground jumping as a superb rendition of the Great Escape lasted a good 15 minutes. The ground was close to erupting as Tano picked the ball up on the edge of the box but his shot was saved. A supreme bit of play from CMS saw him get on the end of his own flick on to volley narrowly over, and then came the greatest chance for glory in the last minute - a great ball over the top from Navarro was brought down, his first effort came back off the keeper and with only a defender on the line his wee little legs just could not quite produce the accuracy to finish as the ball was hacked clear and that was it. Boos all round at the final whistle but they were for the referee and a tremendous reception was given to Albion’s players for a mighty effort. Everyone in the concourse was talking about how proud and happy they were after a home defeat, and how this game will
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be remembered much more than the home wins over Coventry or Barnsley. If by some miracle this rag ends up in the toilet of an FA bigwig, and you, sir, are reading this then for fucks sakes, give us a homer. READING / A / So when asked by the coeditor to write a match report for this esteemed fanzine for some unknown reason I decided on the reading away game. A game in which very little exciting happened and that has already been pretty much forced from my memory due to the rush of more notable Christmas fixtures. I could have chosen the Burnley game with that prick of a ref and incredible atmosphere, the Coventry game which although dull was a most enjoyable away trip, the joy of hammering Southampton or the kids versus Wrexham. Despite the almost complete lack of public transport in this country on Boxing Day a reasonably impressive two and a half thousand Albion fans made their way to the Madejski stadium to spur on the boys. Unfortunately the atmosphere from both us and them throughout the game was rubbish. I blame the lack of pre-match drinking and another insipid performance with little to cheer about. I quite liked Reading’s ground - when I first visited it a decade or so ago but the intervening years haven’t been kind and it looks increasingly shabby and the transport links are woeful. We started off sluggishly and Reading were soon on top and leading due to former palace villain Jobi McAnuff. Our response wasn’t too bad without really creating a great deal. However, disaster struck just before half time as El-Abd’s lack of pace was exposed again by McAnuff as he scored his second and left Brighton with a mountain to climb in the 2nd half with a two goal deficit. The second half started off much more brightly no doubt partly due to the arrival of loanee goal scoring sensation Billy Paynter. A player who gives me hope of still playing up front for the Albion despite my age and lack of natural ability. He was soon involved in the action and volleyed over from a couple of yards. This was probably his first real attempt TSLR036
REVIEWS at goal in the half dozen or so appearances he made for us and was unsurprisingly inept and a bit shit. To be fair to Billy though I think I may have seen him jump for a header during this match which was an improvement on previous outings at least. Despite being two down the Albion were at least creating a number of decent chances in contrast to previous ventures. Unfortunately they all fell to CMS whose goal scoring touch has deserted him of late. He missed a couple of sitters and should have had a penalty when hauled down in the area but with our recent selection of shocking officials it wasn’t a huge surprise when the ref waved away our appeals. To top it all off Adam El-Abd scored a fine own goal leave Reading with a rather flattering 3-0 win. COVENTRY / A / This was our last game of 2011 and a last venture that took us on a 161 Mile round trip to an American Bowllike ‘Arena’. Most travelling supporters had two agenda items; one was watching the super Seagulls getting three points against an underperforming Coventry side. The second was getting home from the Midlands so they could party hard into the New Year. As I arrived at the stadium I pulled into the parking outside the away end to find out people in this area wear masks and striped jumpers. The parking cost me £10 - at which point I knew the day wasn’t going the green and black way. The only positive part of it was the get away wasn’t too disastrous due to the appalling attendance of home fans. After being fashionably early, I decided to leave the girlfriend in the car (her choice) whilst I went to watch the early kickoff and get a couple of beers. Her three and a half hours consisted of doing boring s*** girls do. And for once she didn’t come and moan all game that she feels intimidated and uncomfortable with standing up all game and spending money on something she doesn’t understand…. No loss. After failing to score in our last three outings I was actually quite confident our 5-3-2 TSLR036
formation could actually pull off a win away from home. Within the first 15 minutes of the game the Albion started quiet well and the first chance of the game fell to El-Abd from a Harley cross. But after 15 minutes of a seemingly positive start and a referee who also started the game in the correct manner, things went sour. The ref had then decided to miss all 950 fouls that Nooney received in the game from the right side of Coventry’s team. With Billy Paynter starting this could only end in another goal drought from the green and black stripes - I think he should be on a field gnawing at a carrot. The second chance of the game fell to Coventry who hit the Albion on a counter attack, with Gary McSheffery steering the ball through the legs of El-Abd and past Grasper. This was their own fault due to the decision not to close down the man running at goal with the ball. Mackail-Smith then missed the chance of a quick reply when Murphy saved his shot from 12 yards. Second half started and I seriously thought my £1 bet on Coventry 1-0 HT and Albion 2-1 FT was going to happen. However, in less than 10 minutes of the restart, Lukas Jutkiewicz had put the Sky Blues 2-0 up. This was another defensive error when McSheffery crossed the ball and Jutkiewicz climbed up to header the ball into the Albion net from 6 yards. This made Gus react with changing the side and bringing on Lua Lua, Buckley, and Forster-Caskey. But the Albion were depleted and didn’t create much else. Hopefully the New Year will bring us better fortunes and a win against Southampton. Or at least a goal! SOUTHAMPTON / H / I walked past a bookies on the way to this game who usually display an optimistic scoreline in Albion’s favour, whoever we are playing, that they suggest you take a punt on. The ‘optimistic’ scoreline for this game was ‘Brighton 0 Southampton 3’! Fair play to any lucky fucks who had a punt on the actual result but even they must have been tempted to tear up their slip upon hearing the team news - Brezovan in goal and 17 year old Forster-Caskey making his debut! Southampton had a lot of pos-
DEC / JAN session in the first half and carved out decent opportunities - the best ones falling to Guly (not our Gully) who skied it from 6 yards and of course the phantom ‘goal’ where it’s still not entirely clear whether Cook managed to clear the ball before the line or not. The highlight of the first half was pretty boy wanker Harding first receiving a yellow card and then being done so many times by Buckley he was humiliatingly hauled off! Not long into the second half and an off the ball scuffle saw Lambert viciously brush ElAbd’s face leaving him in clear agony - a straight red for their most important player was most welcome and Albion took full advantage. Kaz was sensational and after skinning his man yet again fired in a shot which was parried to the outstanding Jake ForsterCaskey to bundle in for a full debut goal: beautiful. 10 minutes later and some lovely build up play created room for Sparrow to ping in one of the best goals seen at the Amex so far - it fucking flew in off the post! And with a few minutes left the scoreline in the reverse fixture at St. Mary’s was matched by Albion as Sparrow again scored after a corner was not cleared. Gordon Greer hates clapping Albion fans after a game and was once again the first down the tunnel as he decided to assault one of their forwards in the dying minutes. So a great day was had by all, except the shockingly quiet supporters of the league leaders, and the concourse was extra busy with punters full of unexpected joy. Shit performance and defeat to bottom of the table Coventry, followed by excellent display and win against top of the table Southampton gotta love the Albion! WREXHAM / H / I must firstly start off by saying that I am pretty surprised that I’ve been asked to do another match report after my shambolic piece last time. In an email attachment cock-up I managed to send my notes rather than the real deal; leaving the editors no choice but to try and fix my notes into some sort of contemporary poem…it was awful. Sorry.
But anyway, let’s talk football. The injury and suspension list pretty much named Gus’ starting XI for him, with youth players Sampayo, Hall, Agdestein, Rodgers, and Forster-Caskey all featuring. With Wrexham going so strongly in their own division it was never going to be an easy game, especially considering all the changes that had to be made. The games a bit of a blur for me to be honest, as my sole intention for the day was to get blind drunk and say my farewells (I’ll be in Australia by the time you read this). From what I can remember it was a pretty even affair in the first half, with LuaLua going close, and Wrexham’s number 10 Speight giving Calderon a tough time. Albion went one up shortly after HT, which I missed as I was still drinking my HT beverage. It was set up as a result of one of LuaLua’s surging runs down the left. With ForsterCaskey finishing smartly. Fingers crossed Kaz’s injury isn’t too serious. Wrexham equalised on 62 minutes through Cieslewicz’s deflected effort. And played well for the remainder of the 2nd half earning them a draw that they fully deserved. The 2000+ Wrexham fans were fantastic throughout the game, making as much noise as any other group of away supporters to visit the Amex so far. Many came into the north stand concourse after the game to have a few drinks and a chat, all of which seemed to be thoroughly nice people having a great day out. One of the drunker Welshmen was coming out with some “cracking” comments during our chat that genuinely made me “LOL”. Wrexham fan: You’re called the seagulls and some seagulls flew over the pitch. We’re called the dragons and I’ve never seen a dragon.” (Maybe you had to be there?) Despite the fact that a draw was probably the worst result that the Albion could have wished for, I don’t think anyone that spoke to the Wrexham fans could begrudge them the replay. Hopefully they carry on their good league form and get back into the football league. TSLR TSLR036
PREVIEWS BRISTOL CITY / H / Apparently we beat a dishevelled and dour City at Ashton Gate earlier in the season but such was the dullness of the 0-1 away cracker that all recollections have become lost in a mire of ‘meh’. A slightly rejuvenated City side will pose a different test at The Amex however, but what level of test we’re not really sure. Post-game love ins will occur with Martin Perry who gave the Robins a helpful bit of advice in their efforts to secure a new stadium. The recession might have hit that idea but we always wondered a) what was wrong with AG and b) why was it not muted to share a ground with Rovers? Here’s hoping they’ve signed the Horse aka Fran Sandaza from St Johnstone by the time you get to read this. WREXHAM / A / The Racecourse Ground should be a reasonably exciting trip for fans
of old grounds with plenty of atmosphere. However, when the game is to be on a Tuesday night and possibly on the TV, Albion will probably only muster a couple of hundred at this one. Last year less than that made the effort to see our replay at FC United; largely because it was about - 10 degrees and Sandaza was a guaranteed starter. The FA will be hoping The Dragons win this one as it would mean there will still be one interesting tie in the 4th round. PETERBOROUGH UNITED / A / Ahh, little Posh, everyone’s second favourite team due to their mental style of play and pre-war away end. TSLR can’t remember the last team we felt disappointed at another team’s performance but ‘Boros ineptitude against a dull Sunderland side in the 3rd round of the cup left us feeling cheated. After our tedious 2-0
The sunset at Wrexham was as red as a dragon. TSLR TSLR036
JAN / FEB home win against them earlier in the season it would be naive to think we’ll walk another 3 points this time, but with the infamous Nightmare on London Road warming the hearts of the 2k away fans we hope the old ground continues to be a happy hunting ground for Albion. NEWCASTLE UNTED / H / Not going to tempt fate with this one, no, no, no. CRYSTAL PALACE / A / We travel to play the great rivals in the second instalment of this seasons El Crapico. To put it bluntly, we’ll have to win by some margin to really shut up the red and blue idiots and regain some sort of long-term pride but do Albion have that performance in them? There’s tears on the keyboard as we think back to that awful night in September, but Palace ain’t that good so here’s hoping Gus gets the lads really
fired up for this one and we show a bit of class at Selhurst. Players and Manager shirked responsibility after the last game, another performance like that and there’ll be all sorts of trouble. LEICESTER CITY / H / The away loss at Leicester earlier in the season was a bit of a shock. For the first time since promotion we had looked rather pony and failed to make any sort of impression on the Foxes goal. The big-spending East-Midlanders have struggled with consistency this season with the pair of us mingling around mid-table for the best part of 2 months. New acquisition Billy Sharp will relish a return to The Amex where he scored the first ever league goal but these are the sort of games Albion need to be winning if we’re going to do anything spectacular this season. Doubt Sharpe will be swapping shirts with Dunk afterwards, mind. TSLR
Cantona for President. TSLR TSLR036
There’s only one thing we wanted for Christmas and that was a loan deal for Sir Bobby Zamora - pictured here doing what he always did well at the Withers, scoring. But why would he jeopardise a trip to Euro ‘12 by coming back home? He’ll come to Falmer alright. But not just yet. TSLR Picture by Stewart Weir 2004 TSLR036
BITTER & TWISTED If last month’s edition of this august organ was buzzing with discussions of goalkeeping frailties, this month’s is devoted to the mixed record served up over the festive season. The Albion have turned tradition on its head by dishing up the most turgid leftovers for those of us braving the chill climes of Reading and Coventry whilst leaving the steaming roast until the New Year. Regardless of your view of the Albion’s progress of late one thing is for sure, referees’ use, misuse, or lack of use of their cards has had a profound effect on the team’s progress. As a result there were some glum faces around the Albion family Xmas table as they prepared to tuck into their textured vegetable protein. We might all agree that we are unlikely to see the like of the Burnley game again but you don’t need a long memory to go back as far as 21st September 2008 when the Albion went down 1-0 to a Walsall team who soldiered on for the best part of an hour with only nine men. Let’s not dwell on that piece of inglorious history. Simply being out-
played by Reading wasn’t so bad in hindsight but Coventry’s only tactic appeared to be kicking lumps out of Noone, who was Brighton’s only decent player on the day. When Mark Haywood finally felt in his pocket the cards he produced was brandished at Navarro for taking a free kick from the wrong place and Dunk for farting during a quiet passage of play. The result – three more of the squad whimpering off the radar, two disciplinary, the other retired hurt. The turning point of our fortunes appeared to come in the unlikely form of Andy D’Urso who made up for his earlier leniency towards Dan Harding by sending Ricky Lambert for a well deserved early bath. My estimation of Martin Adkins increased immeasurably for pulling off Harding just before half time (stop sniggering at the back please). Just as the faithful were beginning to enjoy their afternoon, Lualua hobbled off and the red mist descended on the otherwise reliable Greer. If we continue to lose players at this rate we will need to press the mascots and Gully’s Girls into service.
“The Albion went down 1-0 to a Walsall team who soldiered on for the best part of an hour with only nine men.” TSLR036
Enough of this navel gazing introspection let’s have a laugh at someone else’s expense, it’s what fanzines do best after all. In September last year at an FA Youth Cup match between Newport County and Bath City Academy no less than 6 were sent off from a single team. Fortunately only 4 were actually on the pitch, the other two being the manager and a substitute. The problems began when the referee took exception to the on-trend fashion statements sported by two Bath players which contravened Football Association Rule 4 regulating players equipment. This states undershorts must be in the same colour as the team’s overshorts (but we all knew that didn’t we?) Whilst divesting themselves of their incorrectly coloured shorts Newport scored and a certain amount of fuss was generated much to the amusement of the 200 spectators. The most high profile game of recent years worthy of mention is probably the Battle Of Bramall Lane. ‘Which one?’ you may well ask. I can only guess it was the only battle that did not involve two Sheffield or even
Yorkshire sides which took place in 2002 between Sheffield United and West Brom. That gift to football writers and pundits, Neil Warnock, having lost his goalkeeper so early his kit didn’t need washing the following week, saw two more players head down the tunnel mid way through the second half following a spot of handbags. Having used his subs and knowing less than 7 players would force an abandonment of a game his side were losing 3-0, two of his remaining 8 players developed mystery injuries.Gary Megson the West Brom manager was not a cheery chappie and threatened a walk out at the kick off whistle if a replay was ordered. As Greavsie was fond of saying ‘It’s a funny old game Saint’. But finally spare a thought for the Coventry fanzine seller I patronised with my custom on New Year’s Eve. As if living in Coventry weren’t enough he had sold only three mags all afternoon and all three to Brighton fans. I am sorry to report it was a thoroughly depressing read, a one pound call to the Samaritans would have been better value. TSLR
“If we continue to lose players at this rate we will need to press the mascots and Gully’s Girls into service.” TSLR036
PETER GRUMMITT’S BRIGHT GREEN GLOVES Reading through TSLR35 I was struck by the lack of oldgit writing. On the occasions when I hawk this mag at the back of the West Stand, there seems to be an endless stream of what can only be described as oldgits. Maybe it’s because many are 1901ers, or maybe they are the early arrivers (I like to sell early then have a swift one before ko). Now a few stop me and buy one. But most don’t. They fiddle with their smartcards. They adjust their woolly hats. Anything to avoid my gaze and the upbeat ‘BRRighton Fanzine, just a pound!’ that passes for a sales pitch. So I sat down and tried to write some oldgit prose, for them. You know, how it’s not as good as back in the day. That trek to Grimsby to lose 5-0 was character building, etc. etc. But I couldn’t do it. I bloody love the Amex. I love when we all sing together in the monster West Upper that you can’t hear yourself think, never mind speak to your neighbour. I love it when we lead the North, and the East in a song started near me that goes right around the ground and pins back the ears of the away fans. The Goldstone was never like this. Sure it could be noisy in the North Stand on occasion. But in the 26 years I went there, the number of really noisy games were few. The acoustics weren’t there. Sure, it was much better than Withdean. And standing behind the goal and surging, leaping around was great when you are 16. But this is a proper stadium with proper acoustics.
I love the support we take away. That you know wherever and whenever we travel that there will be a minimum 500 die-hards who do their best to outshout the home crowd, and often do. And if we’re going well or it’s not far or it’s against decent opposition, then the Albion Army marches into town, colonises a pub or two and it’s a great day out, win or lose. My memories of the away support when we were in the top division are that it varied hugely. In the first 79-80 season, a lot of fans took the chance to go to the glamorous grounds. But by the 81-82 season, although we were getting decent results under Mike Bailey, the football was not attractive and Thatcher’s recession was biting. I can recall a Saturday trip to Goodison where less than a hundred Seagulls turned up. We complain about the ‘moaners’ on the internet, but t’was ever thus: I remember a fans meeting at that time being dominated by complainers, and we we’re 13th in the top division! Then again just about everyone stayed to the end. At the Goldstone, the gates used to be opened about 20 minutes from time and sometimes more fans would come in (for free) than would leave early. It is irksome that so many folk now feel the need to miss part of the game for food or drink, or to avoid the train queue. I just can’t fathom some fans’ priorities. So maybe I am an oldgit after all. TSLR
“I can recall a Saturday trip to Goodison where less than a hundred Seagulls turned up.” TSLR036
MIDFIELD DIAMOND “Going to football this weekend?” says the armchair fan, before telling you about the games he’ll watch on Sky. Despite him almost certainly seeing at least one better football match than us, we all know he’s the one missing out. The fact is, going to football involves so much more than watching the game. It is total immersion in a social occasion, full of camaraderie, passion and enjoyment, even if the game itself is crap. The emotions of despair and elation are far more intense when experienced collectively than on your own in your living room. I think that seeing football only on TV means you miss so much - the atmosphere and the sense of involvement obviously, but so much more besides. If I watch a game on TV, I miss all the peripheral things. The antics of the two benches berating the fourth official for the ref’s incompetence, the lino’s amusing running style, the bloke who shouts at the Saints’ replacement left-back, “You must be really shit if Dan Harding gets in the team in front of you.” I miss the fans who seem to watch only one player whom they slate throughout the game. “Get stuck in Harley” seems to be the favourite at the moment from those who used to shout nothing but “Mayo, NO!!”, whether he was playing or not. In the interests of balance, I should also mention those who have eyes only for their favourite player and cheer their every touch of the ball. Like the first time I went to the Goldstone with the future Mrs Diamond and her dreamy gaze never left the number 8 during the game, despite my obvious youthful charm. But I suppose we were all in love with Wardy at the time.
Television also fails to recognise the special efforts made by many Clubs to enhance the away fans’ matchday experience. I’m not talking about Falmer’s coloured mood lighting and familiar real ales, although the latter would be a welcome alternative to Carlsberg from plastic bottles. But Clubs do other things to entertain us. For example, I reckon those really fat St John’s Ambulance men on duty at several away ends must have been deliberately selected by the Clubs to allow the away section to amusingly enquire about their pie consumption. Similarly, when it comes to allocating season tickets close to the away supporters, I think Clubs go to great lengths to place gobby female fans whose boyfriends like to wear pink in those seats. It is surely no coincidence that this sight is common to so many grounds. And the stewards must have ‘Please describe any features, mannerisms or behaviours which make you particularly suitable for stewarding the away fans’ on their application forms. For example, why else would we have Bianca from Eastenders looking after us at Millwall and a Mark McGhee look-alike at Leeds that we could accuse of drinking whisky in pints? Or that flirty couple at Walsall? It was very much part of the day to sing about him scoring in a minute and then, when she realised that they were the subject of the song and pushed him away, changing to “You thought you had scored...” Those armchair fans really miss out on so much. TSLR TSLR036
HAYWARDS HEATH LEDGER One of the talking points that inevitably tends to arise as a consequence of FA Cup weekends is the quality of the current crop of young players hovering around the edges of the first team set-up. We’ve gone through a lean phase of late; since Dean Wilkins left his youth role to become first team manager Lewis Dunk and Tommy Elphick have been the only significant breakthroughs. Wilkins’ determination whilst manager to build a side of world beaters all from his own youth team (which reputedly bordered on monomania at times) gave players like Tommy Fraser and Doug Loft more of a chance than they might otherwise have had, but in the end there was little left to show for his commitment to this vision. A far cry from the glory days of the midWithdean era when Dan Harding, Dean Hammond and Adam Virgo all came from the youth team and went on to successful post Albion careers within a few seasons of each other - albeit leaving mixed memories behind them. I think it may be a recent idea, but it’s now oft-repeated, that when a manager ‘puts down roots’ at a club where he intends to stay for a long time he’ll focus on building a youth setup founded on his own football philosophy. This seems odd given that very few managers can hope to last as long in the job as the average youth team coach. Wilkins was in charge of the youth set-up, along with Martin Hinshelwood at first, then later alone, for nearly a decade from his appointment by Brian Horton to his promotion to manager. It’s almost certainly unfair to judge him too harshly given the shoestring TSLR036
budgets he likely had to work with during that time, but it does seem significant that of all the players he produced only the defensive minded ever really went on to be successful. The creative players that came from the Albion youth set-up over the last decade always seemed to fall just short of the cut be it Jake Robinson or Dan Marney. For me this was epitomised by the half season under Martin Hinshelwood, when with Zamora injured Shaun Wilkinson and Chris McPhee led the line, with a combined age less than Dave Bessant on the bench and both about to drop into non-league football the following season: We looked like we could play for a season without scoring. Now we hope we might be seeing the signs of something fresh. A new group of young players seem on the verge of making themselves useful about the squad. Some of them (as Forster-Caskey’s shown) can score goals too. Poyet has spoken about a commitment to ensuring that even the youth teams play in his way. But he’s not rigid in demanding to mould players his way from their first kick: Encouragingly he’s adapted to what looks likely to become the future for the 72 clubs post EPPP and has scouted widely for promising young players, both cast-offs from the big clubs (Cup debutants Anton Rodgers and Ben Sampayo were both picked up after being spat out by the Chelsea youth set-up) and from further afield (Agdestein). One way or another it looks like there’s a good chance we might start delivering something we haven’t done for a long time: Exciting, creative young players. Yet another reason that now is a great time to be following the Albion. TSLR
WSL SNAPPER Inadequate cup match ticket booking by TSLR meant the WSL photographer got a new angle against Wrexham. It’s like we’re on the bench too.
PIGLET’S PIES As pre-seasons go, Albion were pretty liberal with the cash last summer. What with bringing in three players for over a million pounds and a Spanish international to boot, an outsider would predict that one of these pitchside stars would have the fans tongues wagging come the end of the year. Yet it was a non-Gus signing that has proved to be the most talked about new recruits at The Amex, and it’s not just because they’re available for every game. Piglet’s Pies, the Shoreham based, family run bakers du jour have caused near-riots in the cramped Amex concourses this season. We caught up with chief-sow (Ed; seriously?) and founder Joanna Philips to find out exactly what ingredient is turning Albion fans pie-crazy?
TSLR : Tell us a bit about Piglet’s Pantry? Joanna Philips : Piglet’s Pantry was a seed of an idea when I was at a crossroads in my career towards the end of 2010. Piglet is the nickname my husband Steve calls me and it seemed appropriate for a family run business. At the start I wanted to recreate a small retail bakery that reflected the one my Dad has in Oswaldtwistle in Lancashire serving home made good local food. I had a love of food from a young age, all my family are obsessed with good food and I went on to study at Brighton College and then completed an apprenticeship as Catering Manager at American Express – so quite lit
erally I’ve come full circle serving the Amex Stadium!
At what point did you think, hang on, we can do pies for the ground? Where you Albion fans to begin with? In the very first two weeks of the business I went with my son Luke to buy his first season ticket at the new ground and to get a glimpse of the new Stadium. During this visit I happened to speak with Richard Hebberd, who shared the dilemma the club was having finding a good pie for the ground. I discussed how important the pies are in Lancashire and a bit about my background, Richard was impressed and asked me to speak directly with
Elliott Moore, Catering Manager at Azure. I’ve always followed BHA, my beloved Grandfather used to go to the games at the old Goldstone ground and went to Wembley. My boys Grant and Luke are both avid North Stand fans, they were amongst fans campaigning on the seafront for the ground and Luke organizes all the travel for every away game with his friends.
What was the process in securing the contract? Was it a drawn out nerve-wracking experience? At that stage I really didn’t think my small
BRIGHTON ‘TIL I PIE business would get a look in as the pie-off was against the mighty Higgidy and Forfars. However, undaunted, I went to meet with Elliott and Fred Tobin (Head Chef at The Amex). Many rounds of pie samples later and a tweak of the vegetarian option and the overwhelming consensus was that Piglet’s Pies were indeed voted number 1 choice by the Directors, Azure and the Club.
What sort of things went through your mind when developing the stadium pies? Were you always conscious of the poor quality pies that are the norm at football grounds? Like many of the great Chef’s we believed that serving mass food didn’t have to mean poor quality pies, there had to be a better way and one that was good enough for the great new venue. When designing the pies, the small Piglet Team went out and bought pies from all local suppliers, we discounted most and liked others but felt we could provide something that was more homemade, incorporating the local elements. I went through many different recipe ideas, looking at what local people liked and tried them out on my own customers. They were tested at a pre-launch charity event and were so popular people queued and waited for over an hour for a pie! I knew that I had discovered some very special products.
How are the pies made and where are the ingrediants sourced from? Are they still produced in Sussex? At the heart of the Company, we wanted to make sure that we provided food that came from local sources wherever possible, reducing food miles (baking on site couldn’t get much better) and local ingredients hence the Harvey’s Ale angle. We also wanted our pies to have real pieces of meat and tasty sauces – none of your pale gunk with spot the meat competition. TSLR036
The dilemma came with space, at this stage of the business I was just renting a small retail space nowhere near big enough or geared up for mass production of pies! At midnight the day before the inaugural meeting with Azure, I had a brainwave; what about if we made them on site, Albion could be the first club to literally bake their own pies! Elliott and Fred thought it was a genius idea and Martin Perry fully endorsed it. Plans went ahead for a kitchen to be dedicated to the pie making for the Stadium between the two companies.
Let’s talk numbers; have you been surprised by the popularity of the pies? We have heard you sell around 9k a match, was this expected or has it increased since the first match? We should say at this stage, Azure’s experience of other Stadia in the UK was that they sold around 1,000 pies, therefore if we added 50% to allow for the publicity around the coup of making them on site and 500 for good measure we wouldn’t be far wrong. Famous last words! The Piglet Team at this stage consisted of husband Steve, sons Grant and Luke and some help from my Mother-in-Law Lee. To gear up for the Stadium we employed additional team members and we now employ a further 5-6 people. We were amongst the first people ever to cook in the Stadium and for the early games we did indeed make and bake all the pies on site. However nothing could have prepared us for the sheer amount of interest and publicity the pies gave us. We worked with Paula at Natural PR and literally everyone we gave samples to spoke about us, from SKY to Meridian TV to local radio stations – we became something of a local food celebrity. Very quickly it became an issue of space, whilst there are great shiny new kitchens at the Amex, they are not necessarily geared up
for production on a mass scale. The pies were not just 50% more popular, they had achieved legendary status! At sell out matches we produce up to 10,500 pies – that is 10 times more than average. We needed a new plan and fast so we moved to co-produce with a local supplier whilst we worked out how to take the business forward.
What have you got planned for the future? More fillings? Expansion? A fans cook book? (that’s a good idea actually!) We have now moved to new premises in Worthing where we make all of our pies on site. We use local suppliers for the majority of our products including meat and vegetables. At the game against Southampton we produced 10,500 pies for the Amex Stadium, an all time record for Piglets. We continue to develop new ideas for pies and products and we hope to release some of these over the next few months. Looking to the future, a recipe book is an excellent idea and we will think about that one. In the meantime we would like to take on the challenges of the NHS and provide to them, we will be stocking at Sussex University shortly and we intend to look at Piglet’s outlets across other areas of the city.
We hope to expand our business further this year and take on perhaps another Stadium not to mention looking at the Olympics. It will be a very busy Piglet year and one we hope will continue to bring us lots more loyal fans.
Finally, what sort of feedback have you had personally from fans? Do you think engaging with the fans on Twitter etc has been positive for PP? We are mindful of all feedback, we regularly check North Stand Chat and get direct feedback from fans through Twitter, Facebook and our Web Pages. I personally responds to each and every. On-line feedback has been invaluable to the business growth and success; we continue to engage with our fans at every opportunity. We do go to the games and visit the kiosks and buy pies to check how they are provided by Azure. We talk directly to customers buying our pies and find out what they think. All feedback is discussed and passed on to Azure to further improve the experience of the fans. Buy Piglet’s Pies at the ground and now at the Southern Co-operative on western Road. TSLR
THE HOVIAN 2011 trundled to a close with the Albion playing like the ghosts of Christmas past, that was in between getting carded and sent off for every crime imaginable on a football park, whether deserved or not. A siege mentality descended over the club and fans, and some crazy football was witnessed. But I don’t want to worry you with that, what about the people trailing in the wake of their teams - the away fans? Burnley has had a reputation of producing some of the fiercest football fans to be found anywhere. Passionate, partisan, and not adverse to the odd bit of extra-curricular activity around the football. They also have had a fairly well dressed mob too. But the reasonably sized Burnley contingent at the farcical red card game on the 17th December were conspicuous for being inconspicuous. Maybe it was witnessing the game being killed on 12 minutes by Albion’s second red card that stunned them into silence. Who knows, but the noise generated by a hostile home crowd was electric, best atmosphere at the new place yet. The Burnley Suicide Squad must’ve been true to their name and committed hara-kiri at some point, because they were not at Falmer this day.
end full of scarves and replica shirts; Saints have already prepared for life in the Premier League by having largely middle-aged and middle-class fans as their away crowd. Very disappointing. The only ray of hope for banter were the 5-6 fat 50-something bastards down the front giving it large to the Albion kiddies opposite them in the East Stand, but they shut up not long after our second goal went in, and were on the way to the car park as the third was scored. Fair weather fatties, perfect for the country’s top league, although they’re not so sure of getting there now after this game, as West Ham closed the gap.
“Lots of Welsh fans were drinking themselves silly in town afterwards, some acting a bit tin pot to be fair, the way they were treating Brighton like some collosus on the football stage.”
After such a poor run of form, the first match of 2012 was the visit of the Gopher-faced one and his team from Southampton - a game not many Albionites really fancied much as a curtain-raiser for the New Year - but that’s football, you just never know. We did get an away TSLR036
Brighton & Hove Albion v Wrexham was always going to be a fan love-in for reasons that don’t need repeating here, so I decided once again to take a pew over in the North Stand for the FA Cup third round game. We ended up down the front second row - close enough to smell the grass and hope for a wayward shot (Ashley Barnes started this game, so it was 50/50 really) to thunder into the crowd for me to get a solid defensive header on it. I’ve always wanted to do that at a match. Wrexham seemed noisy enough, but you’re so far from the away fans in the North that only the loudest singing will travel up to the home end. Lots of Welsh fans were drinking themselves silly in town afterwards, some acting a bit tin pot to be fair, the way they were treating Brighton & Hove (team and city) like some colossus on the football stage. I’m guessing many of these blokes never made a trip to Withdean. Bread of Heaven indeed. TSLR
HEALTH AND WELLBEING Falmerâ€™s new Health and Wellbeing Centre was officially opened just before this issue hit the streets of Brighton so we sent Jerry the Sport down to accost some Albion favourites past and present. And a rather perma-tanned Robbie Savage. Grabbing a photo of Robbie Savage and a few of any players that showed up (and plenty past and present did) for the opening of the Health & Wellbeing Centre had been my mission. But the delightful hospitality from an extended family of staff at the launch compels me to scribble a few words to offer best wishes and urge support of this venture.
As Albion fans we want everything to go well in every way at the Amex so a definite heads up here to those who are in need of physiotherapy, podiatry, massage, osteopathy and other healthy healthy stuff. Knowing my therapy prices they appear as competitive as similar treatments in town - open til 8pm, no parking costs, pretend to be a player a la Tommy, and a beer/coffee in Dickâ€™s bar after. Come on, someone cause me injury. The Healthy Company behind the Health & Wellbeing Centre also provide over my head services for businesses, too, so if you happen to be one of our Company Owning tslr readers then this is the place we insist you go to to ensure the health and wellbeing of your employees. You know it makes sense. Jerry The Sport. TSLR
CARTER I once went downstairs - possibly searching for things with barcodes on - to be greeted by the sight of my Mum doing a karaoke duet with Stuart Storer*. Did you ever have a Barcode Battler? No, you were probably too cool and had proper things like a Nintendo Game Boy or a girlfriend. This was a hideous looking handheld games console seemingly modelled on Iain Dowie. It came with a small set of cards - slightly less than seen at the recent Burnley game - featuring various fantasy warriors and monsters each with their own unique barcode. The basic idea was that you’d swipe a barcode into one end of this lump of black plastic and then your opponent would slip one in the opposite end; the perfect game for young Brightonians. ‘Once the game itself started, the characters “battled” against each other. The characters’ statistics were applied to an algorithm containing a random number generator to determine the outcome of each round in the fight’. I had to quote that bit from Wikipedia, as to this day, I’ve no idea what was going on as the digits danced around the tiny LCD screen; probably a similar confusion felt by a Palace fan watching the numbers round on Countdown. In hindsight it was all pretty crap, but there was fun to be had as you could run any barcodes from everyday products through the readers to forge your own army of battlers. With football never to far from my thoughts, I hit upon the idea of making my own cards with barcodes scavenged from all over the place accompanied by crude drawings of various players. For example, If I was making them today, aside from my wife wanting a divorce, I’d probably glue the barcode from
20 Marlboro Lights onto a card with a picture of Ankergren. I’m not sure if my sister was more disconcerted at constantly finding the barcodes ripped off her Tampax boxes, than I am now with the realisation that no Albion players featured on my personalised cards back in the early 90s. You have to remember that this was the early days of the ‘Premiership’. As far as the Albion were concerned, I was regularly going to the Goldstone at this stage. I could pick all of the players out, but I honestly don’t think I would have been in awe of any of them. It’s not that I wasn’t starting to fall in love with Brighton, far from it, but in my younger days of support that there was no saturation of stickers, Corinthian figurines with massive heads, TV coverage or chat in school to bolster the celebrity status of the Albion players. Outside the Amex recently, I saw two lads swapping their Championship Match Attax cards featuring Brighton players, just around the corner from a massive superstore with some half decent merchandise. Gully has obviously kicked the crack and is doing some sterling work with young fans. I’m sure Young Seagulls today definitely look to our players as heroes, maybe even superheroes Vicente has mastered the power of invisibility after all. Maybe they don’t, but surely they’d be pretty impressed if they caught CMS singing ‘Endless Love’ with their mum. *I’d like to point out that I used to live in a pub, just in case you thought this was a common occurrence in my kitchen. I don’t remember the full details from this event and am actually beginning to think it might not have happened. TSLR