Archive for the ‘Albion Legend’ Category

Welcome to Sussex, Oscar

June 26, 2013

Oscar has landed at Falmer

So, after an epic drama worthy of Tolstoy himself, here we are now, Poyet has been seen off (with the far more sympathetic figure of Mauricio Taricco leaving in his wake) and Brighton have appointed Óscar García Junyent, fresh from winning the Israeli domestic league with Maccabi Tel Aviv.

I’m reasonably happy with how things have panned out, after missing such a horrible end to last season, and the embarrassment of Poyet’s drawn out sacking, it really feels like a new page has been turned in the Albion history book. Tony Bloom has come out of this a lot stronger in the eyes of most Stripes fans, but what of the éminence grise, the shadowy figure of Paul Barber? The jury is still very much out for me, and the more I learn about this guy, the more I can’t but think “Garry Cook, Manchester City”. Enjoy 2013-14, if you’re an Albionite you’ve earned yourself a good season.

Will he? Won’t he? Episode 2375

May 18, 2012

Even I’m getting bored with this crap now. He keeps saying he won’t play in the Championship, but he might not have that choice come the end of the close season if one of the Premier League also-rans hasn’t picked him up. The bookies aren’t buying his “No Championship” line, or they weren’t last night. If the right money was offered I reckon he’d be all over it and on his way to Falmer. But I’m not sure if he’d be any use to be honest, his injury proneness has got worse during his spell at Man United.

This one will run for a while either way, and will keep us checking the internet for news, at least until Euro 2012 kicks off anyway.

Crystal Palace 1 – 1 Albion

February 1, 2012

You can see us holding hands, but we can't see the pitch

The Return to Selhurst. It was an old school football outing up in South London last night. A big Albion mob of 2700 turning up at the crumbling home of the hated Crystal Palace seeking revenge for the 3-1 drubbing at Falmer back in September. Well, we didn’t exactly get that, but the entertainment was top value.

The train situation – with suspiciously malfunctioning points systems on the Brighton to London line – meant that there was a bit of a crush to get into the Arthur Waite Stand in time for the 8pm kick off. But we made it – just – and took our standing places (no sitting at this fucker, no way) roughly where our tickets indicated. I ended up stood on the steps, as the place was jumping and everyone was stood on seats, walls and concrete screaming at the embarassingly empty Whitehorse Lane End and the Park Road lot opposite. What sort of home turnout was this for a supposedly bitter derby? Even the Palace Groupon deals couldn’t get the Nigels to fill the place. Very sad, for the banter stakes alone.

The Arthur Waite is very old school, and the Albion turned it literally into a terrace, all-standing, half smoking and loads of beer being drunk in view of the pitch, naughty, naughty, not me of course. The view and atmosphere was very 1980s, and there were strange cables and other bits an bobs hanging from the gantries and roof, very odd. And, even though I moved around quite a lot with the ebb and flow of a noisy away support, a big wet drip kept dropping on my swede, although the night was dry and freezing. I do hope it was rain water.

At half-time I went for a slash in the underground ‘toilet’, and to my amazement found myself aiming my stream to the left of an upturned electric hand drier in the trench urinal. How it got there is anyone’s guess, well actually it’s not, and it’s not on trying to wreck the ground like that, even Selhurst Park. Bad form.

A walk on the tame side back to Norwood

The match – quickly – Palace edged the first half, with drama bitch Zaha taking the piss a bit. I felt we were lucky to go in at the break 0-0. Second half, and the Holmesdale ‘Fanatics’ (more of whom later) pelted Brezovan in our goal with what looked like used bog roll wipes, they’re no Galatasaray this lot. Zaha duly went over for a penalty, it looked like a dive from where I was peering through the cables and falling masonry of the Arthur Waite. 1-0. Then ten minutes later, the excellent Buckley mugged their defender and went sprawling in the penalty area himself, soft penalty, cool headed Ash Barnes put that one away with aplomb. We then finished the game well on top, and the addition of Adgestein and new boy Sam Vokes was nearly the masterstroke that won us the match.

The fans. The noisiest Albion away crowd for many a year, songs about the Palace Groupon fiasco and “You stupid bastards, You burned your own town” alluding to Croydon going up in smoke during last summer’s riots, meant we easily won the banter/fan face off. The Holmesdale’s famed ‘Ultras’ were akin to these buffoons from the movie ‘Major League':

20-30 choreographed pre-pubescents and some cunt with a drum, they are noddy as fuck, a joke. Add the fact Palace play music after their goals rounded off the idea of “Nigels” to a tee. And they call us plastics?

A song and ducking a few thrown Palace coins and confectionary (?) behind a massive Police line on the way back to Norwood Junction was the highlight of the extra-curricular rivalry, it was cold and getting home was the priority for me anyway. The train home was sardine city, my back was killing as we pulled into hallowed ground at Brighton Station. It was a good old night, but a win would have made it far better.

The Great Michael Owen Mystery

January 23, 2012

Coming to Brighton?

It’s right up there alongside Death On The Nile, Murder On The Orient Express, and other mysteries. Is Michael Owen coming to Falmer? Rumours have been rife before regarding the one-time England wonderkid, but this time it feels different.

I was tipped off by an aquaintance who’s MUFC yesterday, now it’s all over the news today and even on the back page of The Scum tomorrow (Apologies for even mentioning that particular bumwiper here, but them covering it just shows how much this story is growing).

Could he do a job? Fuck knows, but it would bring a lot of publicity down to Sussex, and might lighten the mood after Vicente has turned out to be permanently missing in action. Of course, having TWO supremely gifted but aging crocks sat in the stands isn’t what anyone wants.

But before all that, let’s just see if it turns out to be true, or more pie in the sky, like it was last summer.

The one hot ticket

January 19, 2012

I’ve not anticipated a game of football as much as this for a long time. Forget visits from your Liverpools and Newcastles, noisy trips along the coast to Pompey or Southampton, this is the one every Albionite dreams of – Palace away in the league.

The general consensus is that we may have underachieved a little bit this season, while our friends from Croydon have definitely overachieved on their pre-season goal of staying alive in the Championship. They battered us at Falmer, no argument, but since then both clubs have peaked and troughed pretty much in mirror fashion, to the point that you couldn’t get a cigarette paper between us (in League form anyway).

This should be a belter, don’t ask me for predictions, just enjoy the occasion and perhaps eradicate the memory of that night of shame back in September.

On late Christmas presents

January 3, 2012

Happy New Year friends. 2011 spluttered down like an old street drunk falling over into his own spew, December was particularly painful, like watching the Albion of old. There were even faint rumblings of dissatisfaction with Gus Poyet. But what a change a day makes. 3-0 at home against The Gopher-faced Physio and his team of cheating cunts. Bliss.

After the strangely uplifting defeat against Burnley on 17th December, yesterday rung the new year in with the most satisfying 90 mins I’ve yet to witness at Falmer. Fat Lambert walking on a straight red, and Dan Harding being tore a new arsehole by a resurgent Will Buckley, so much so that the gopher subbed him after 40 minutes. This game will live long in the memory. Man of the Match was Matty Sparrow, his second a thunderous effort that summed up the match. Notable performances from Jake Forster-Caskey on his full home debut, and LuaLua terrorised when needed. Great show.

That’s one late Chrimbo present. The other is this – the much-heralded sequel to Build a Bonfire, We Want Falmer. Steve North and Paul Hodson come up with the goods again, chronicling the struggle after the Goldstone fiasco, the wilderness years at Priestfield, then Withdean; The fight against those blue-rinsed bastards on Lewes Council, and finally, arriving at our lob-sided home on the Edge of the Downs – Falmer. It will be of no interest to non-Albionites, but it’s essential reading for all stripes fans. I read it in two days and feel much the better for it. In fact, it made that tonking of Nadkins et al all the more sweeter, knowing how much of a war it caused to be able to sit in the East Stand at Falmer and watch us stuff the Championship leaders.

A prosperous 2012 to you all.

Albion 1 – 2 Liverpool

September 22, 2011

That was a great night of football. Even though we lost it felt that this exciting new Albion side has finally arrived, with the potential we now show it can only take a catastrophic loss of nerve not to make something special of this season, the tools are there already, it’s the psychological factor that will decide if we rise or fall.

Seeing Liverpool – virtually at full strength – take to the pitch at Falmer was fantastic. The noise inside the ground was spine-tingling. The scousers are the first ever team to fill the away end (though I suspect the majority of them were probably from the South anyway) and they made some great noise themselves.

Dalglish’s side are in a different class to us, make no mistake, arch-twat Bellamy scored their first with nonchalant ease and the Reds battered us for most of the first half after that. I wasn’t arsed for two reasons – it’s only the League Cup, and I appreciate the beautiful game being played to the highest standard no matter who’s kicking the leather around. This is a team that most likely will finish top five this season in the Premier League, it just shows the quality of the top end of the big league.

Poyet made a couple of changes, Steve Cook replaced the on-form Dunk, which raised a few eyebrows. But the former Albion schoolboy had a decent game. Sparrow and Navarro both started in midfield, and they had a hard time against Rodriguez, Spearing and Lucas. CMS, up front alone without Barnes, ran and ran. I thought he might give that old fart Carragher a harder time, but the former England man is still a class act.

Our best players in the first half were once again our flying wingers – the perennially unlucky Will Buckley, and having the night of his life, life-long Liverpool fan and former tiler of Steven Gerrard’s roof – Craig Noone. Man of the Match for me again.

As someone mentioned on twitter (sorry I can’t remember who exactly) the club spent a fortune on one new winger, and chased another all summer for a loan deal, when actually we had our best winger at the club already. Nooney already has player of the season wrapped up in September, unless our latest winger can make an impact (more about him later).

It wasn’t until 5-10 minutes from half-time that Albion got a foot on the ball and started to threaten. Up until then it was flap central at the back, and our uprights played a blinder as Ankergren showed a worrying lack of nerve against the onslaught from Bellamy, Kuyt and Suarez.

No-one needs any further proof of Gus Poyet’s powers of motivation, and after his half-time talk a new team emerged (same players) from underneath the West Stand ready for the second interval. We took it to them, and it was one of the best second half performances I’ve ever had the privilege to watch. The atmosphere went stratospheric, and there were a few worried-looking faces in the away end.

Noone rattled the crossbar with Reina stranded and off we went. Sparrow went close, and Calderon and Noone started making progress into the last third. Then the crowd went hushed – poor old Buckley injured his hamstring again and the player who was taking off his trackie was none other than Vicente Rodríguez – The Dagger of Benicalap. This is Hollywood stuff folks, two times La Liga winner, UEFA Cup Winner, and 38 caps for Spain, now wearing the stripes in Brighton. The roof came off.

Vicente may not be 100% match fit, but straightaway he was flicking and dribbling into the danger area. Liverpool were reeling, and another world class player was about to come on. Say what you want about Gerrard, and he is a prime example of a modern-day shithouse millionaire footballer, but the guy can play. The Reds’ fans were happy he was back and he set about marshalling his midfield.

With ten minutes to go and Albion pressing, we got hit with the classic sucker punch, Liverpool broke, it was two on one at the back and Rodriguez put Kuyt in to finish us off. Hopes were raised when Vicente took a tumble in the area, and the substitute Ash Barnes tucked away the spot-kick with aplomb. It didn’t matter though, the game was worth it no matter how it turned out.

The train home was good fun, lots of scousers being scouse, the ‘let them mingle’ policy at the ground has worked famously – although Friday night and Leeds, then the Palace on Tuesday will almost certainly be segregated. But, there was no drama with the Liverpool lot and they remain dedicated and noisy on their travels.

I thought the recent international break broke Albion’s momentum, apparently we were bobbins at Leicester on Saturday, but this game hopefully has us back on track for a tilt at promotion. Roll on Friday.

The Hovian’s Team performance : 8 out 10

The Hovian’s Man of the Match : Craig Noone

Attendance: 21,897 (2,403 Liverpool)

TSLR 32

September 6, 2011

Thanks to everyone who bought the last copy (issue 31) of The Seagull Love Review. As expected the big crowd at the new stadium meant for bigger sales, far bigger, so give yourself a pat on the back for supporting your only current Albion fanzine.

I’m away all this week and next, so I’ll miss the Bristol City and probably the Leicester games, hopefully to be back for the Liverpool match. The latest TSLR will be on sale at Ashton Gate this Saturday, treat yourself and buy a copy – it’s still only ONE POUND, outstanding value for money. Those of you like me who will be absent Saturday, the fanzine will be on sale at other games home and away until next month, or you can buy one online at TSLR’s most excellent blog here.

Half of my contribution is above, and I’ve got a regular column there too, there’s some great writers on board this season, check it out.

Albion 2 – 3 Spurs

July 31, 2011

"Those Who Sow in Tears Shall Reap In Joy"

What a great day! I won’t bang on about the match itself, read the club website for that here, but I’d like to reflect on the whole day.

First off, getting a drink near Brighton station was hectic, but that might die down when the daytrippers etc disappear in the winter months. We ended up going to our old Withdean regular then getting a taxi over to Falmer, easy peasy Saint & Greavsie. Getting a beer in the bar under the East Stand was easy enough, and being a fat bastard I managed to taste both meat pies and a cheeseburger (I did say “taste”, as we like to share in our little commune). The Chicken pie was 9 out of 10, the beef 8 (bit dry) and the burger scored 7 out of 10.

The Spurs fans in the South Stand

The bevvy was good too, and even though the staff were stacking pints up after pulling them, they were still cold and fresh by the time you get to sup them. The Harveys didn’t look good in a wobbly plastic pint topped off with a Starbucks type coffee lid, but it tasted fine. The ale at £3.60 was twenty pence cheaper than draught lager, all a bit steep to be fair.

The corner bar at the west end of the North Stand

The stadium – the photos speak for themselves, and my decision to sit opposite the main stand was a good one, best view in the house with the mighty West Stand soaring over the whole scene. There was a feeling all around the ground that it wasn’t real, and after the wilderness years and especially just coming from Withdean, it’s all a bit much to take in for some folk, myself included. But the noise generated from the West and North Stand especially will surely help the team this coming season.

Peter Ward

Gordon Smith

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meeting leg-ends Peter Ward and Gordon Smith in the Lower West bar after the game is surely a one-off event, although the leisurely Wardy is more likely to pop over from Florida to watch the team than Rangers FC Director of Football Smith travelling down from Glasgow. The affable Mr Ward was still on the shant down the town long after the match, as he was after the Brighton ‘Til I Die show at the Theatre Royal Thursday night. He genuinely loves the adulation he receives down Sussex way, and fair play to him.

I managed to jib the train home from Falmer, lots of hi-vis types with clipboards in and around the newly refurbished station monitoring crowd dispersal. The big gate at Brighton was left open to get fans out quickly without adding to the usual summer weekend congestion. My only thought here was “What will the polis do when there’s a few hundred Cardiff or Brum trying to get into town at the same time?” Could be interesting as the pub to street ratio around the station is higher than most towns in the UK.

West Stand Roof

So, after all that the verdict from this little corner of Hove is 99% positive (no such thing as perfection, is there?) and I am twisting my knickers in anticipation of the coming football season.

Heading home, satisfaction guaranteed

Brighton ‘Til I Die

July 25, 2011

Watching in a Wardy Wonderland

I nearly missed this one, forgot about it in all the build up to the first game at Falmer this Saturday against Spurs. I missed the original show first time round in 2001 (so thanks to R for reminding me it’s on again). The story of Albion’s history, as told through the eyes of two ordinary fans – from the highs of top flight football, through the wilderness years after the death of the Goldstone –  has been updated for 2011 now that the club has finally arrived at the promised land.

Tickets for both shows this Wednesday & Thursday night are still for sale online here, and probably at the Theatre Royal itself. Should be a good show, whetting the appetite for Saturday’s stadium opener. It’s a very exciting time to be an Albion fan at the minute.


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