Archive for the ‘Season 2011-12’ Category

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.

TSLR 36

January 12, 2012

The latest production of The Seagull Love Review is out this Saturday at Falmer v Bristol City. The Albion’s only current fanzine is going from strength to strength this season, and that’s down to two things – 1, it’s a quality read, and 2, it gets great support from the fans of BHAFC. The price remains one pound, that’s a third of the price of the official matchday programme, so it’s always worth a punt.

I was going to attend the FA Cup replay at Wrexham next Tuesday night, but have to cry off because of transport problems, those of you who do go – have a good time. I know you will because Wrexham and the Albion are on a bit of a love-in at the minute, after their big weekend in our beautiful twin city recently. Enjoy the Brizzle match and hunt down a fanzine seller somewhere outside the stadium.

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.

Chrimbo reading

December 14, 2011

Burnley on Saturday is my first visit to Falmer since West Ham in October, shocking. There are new ‘Christmas Pies’ for sale at the ground, but more importantly The Seagull Love Review (TSLR) number 35 is out as well. The only BHAFC fanzine has really taken off since the move from Withdean, it seems the nu-fans also enjoy an irreverent Albion-ish read on the bog too. And why not? It’s a damn good read.

The mag will be for sale in and around the concourse outside, and it’s still just one pound a copy, great value. If like me you’re a bad fan and miss too many games, you can buy a copy online at TSLR’s blog.

As for the match itself, it’s a tough one, Burnley have a decent away record, and the Albion – well, we’re still adjusting to this division, there’s a big gulf between the Championship and League One. Accepting 7th place at this point would seem prudent, but when the scummers are doing so well it makes you wonder “What happened?”. But, we’re stalking the play-offs nicely, although I think even they might be a bridge too far this campaign.

Enjoy the match and buy the fanzine, Forza!!

Checking in, fanzine’s out

November 17, 2011

Hello rat fans. I’m still far and away from home shores, but I’ve just got interweb facilities, so I’m checking up on all things Albion.

TSLR 34 is out this Saturday and available to buy in Scumhampton, home of that lovable South Coast Club – Stains FC. I haven’t seen the Albion lose at St Marys, and I’m not about to start this weekend either; saying that, I do fancy us getting something over there, they can’t keep that 100% home win run going ALL season, can they?

The latest fanzine is in TECHNICOLOUR, although my artwork (see above, that’s meant to be Liam Bridcutt by the way) is still in B&W for the fanzine purists among our TSLR readers.

I hope to be home again sometime before Xmas, but I haven’t a clue when. Good luck to those who are going to the match on Saturday, and make sure you put ONE POUNDAGE into the pocket of your nearest TSLR vendor.

Albion 3 – 3 Leeds

September 24, 2011

It wasn’t a night for dicky hearts at Falmer last night. A scintillating game of football that had me out of my seat all night.

The Leeds away crowd were great, best banter at the Amex yet. Loads of big fat Yorkies with no tops on screaming abuse and singing their hearts out. They were almost as entertaining as the match itself.

Almost identical to the Liverpool game, we didn’t turn up in the first half, and Leeds punished us more than the Premier League outfit as a result. Second half started with Nooney replaced by the dagger, and Vicente was ace. We battered Leeds, a complete turnaround from the first 45. Vicente was pulling the strings and LuaLua, Barnes and CMS had a great performance each.

Mackail-Smith’s first was a beautiful turn and finish, and he rounded off his man of the match run out with a second and winning a penalty which Barnes put away easily, he does take a good penalty.

Leeds were allowed to come at us for the last 5, and Ankergren inexplicably punted the ball down to his opposite number Lonergan in the Leeds goal. Lonergan hoofed it back and it ended up in front of McCormack who tucked it away with 94 minutes up of the 95. Lumps of blubber exploded in the away end and Leeds sneaked a draw when they looked down and out.

Great game, but I felt we gave away three points when we had fought so hard to take the lead. Southampton and Middlesbrough drew today though, so we’re still very much in the mix and it’s Crystal Palace Tuesday night, with Glenn Murray fully fit. I cannot wait.

The Hovian’s Team performance : 7.5 out 10

The Hovian’s Man of the Match : Craig Mackail-Smith

Attendance: 20,646 (2,361 Leeds United)

As it stands – Championship table

Projected table based on latest scores

Position Team P GD PTS
Full Championship table
1 Southampton 8 10 19
2 Middlesbrough 8 8 18
3 Derby 8 7 18
4 West Ham 8 9 17
5 Brighton 8 6 17
6 Hull 8 -1 13
7 Cardiff 7 3 12
8 Blackpool 8 2 12
9 Leeds 8 1 11
10 Leicester 7 0 11
11 Peterborough 8 3 10
12 Crystal Palace 8 0 10
13 Ipswich 8 -5 10
14 Portsmouth 8 -1 9
15 Reading 8 -1 8
16 Birmingham 7 -2 8
17 Barnsley 8 -2 8
18 Watford 8 -3 8
19 Millwall 8 -5 7
20 Burnley 7 -4 6
21 Coventry 8 -4 6
22 Nott’m Forest 8 -6 6
23 Bristol City 8 -6 6
24 Doncaster 8 -9 4

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.


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