Brighton is one of the classic British seaside locations, so a weekend in Sussex by the sea is a must. We visit a team knocking on the door of top flight football.
Brighton & Hove Albion is a true phoenix club. At the time of writing the Seagulls are riding high in the Championship, unbeaten and in early contention for automatic promotion to the Premier League.
The club hasn’t been in the top flight since 1983, when its home was the old Goldstone Ground. It’s where I first watched the Seagulls and is now a drive-thru Burger King. After a period in the wilderness which saw the club ground hop from the 8,850-capacity Withdean Stadium to as far afield as Gillingham FC’s Priestfield Stadium, Brighton finally moved into a magnificent new ground in Falmer in 2011. [Continues]
Life at the Amex
The 30,750-seat American Express Community Stadium – or the Amex for short – is a clear statement of intent for a city of 275,000 inhabitants. This is a club ready for life in the Premier League.
It’s tempting to get nostalgic for the old school, pre-Taylor Report stadiums that many of us grew up with, with their rusty barriers, corrugated iron roofs and cigarette smoke drifting on the breeze.
The Goldstone was all that: classic wood seats, away fans penned in on concrete terrace open to the elements. And the atmosphere under the lights was special. I remember going down on a school night to watch the Seagulls take on the mighty Liverpool team in 1991 in an FA Cup replay after scrapping back from 2-0 down to draw at Anfield. This was the last Liverpool team to be crowned champions of England, so I was made up as a 15 year-old standing just feet away from John Barnes as he took a corner.
That was an epic night. Liverpool won 3-2 in extra time thanks to a Steve McMahon header, I recall, but the Amex will start to create its own history. It has already: as a Rugby World Cup 2015 venue, this is where Japan stunned the Springboks. [Continues]
Seagulls fans create a great atmosphere at the Amex. The North Stand is where the most vocal home fans sit and with the flags and non-stop singing, there is a genuine Bundesliga feel about match day at the Amex. It’s inclusive, friendly and easy to get in and out of.
After a play-off semi-final defeat in recent seasons and a great start to 2015-16 for the Seagulls, it seems that Premier League football – and a top flight meeting with arch-rivals Crystal Palace – is only a matter of time.
How to get to Brighton & Hove Albion
Matchday travel within Brighton and Hove is included in the match ticket. The station for the Amex is Falmer, just a couple of minutes walk from the stadium itself. Local buses also serve the ground on match day.