Brighton is one of the classic British seaside locations, so a weekend in Sussex by the sea is a must. We visit a team now back in top flight football.
Brighton & Hove Albion is a true phoenix club. At the time of writing the Seagulls are back in the top flight for the first time after a 34-year absence.
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.