Archive for July, 2010

Return of the Mac

July 29, 2010

"Brighton? I'm bigger than you and higher up the food chain. Get in my belly"

Mark Magoo’s Aberdeen are coming down from the Granite City to play his old club at Withdean on Saturday. I’ve got a bit of time off work, and I see that there’s still plenty of seats available on the club ticket website. I’ll probably get a seat in the North Stand, as it’s likely to be the last chance I’ll ever get to sit in that quiet expanse of seating. To say a stand is ‘quiet’ compared to the rest of the noise vacuum that is the Theatre of Trees should give you some idea how somnambulant the old fellas over there really are.

Opinions are divided on Mark McGhee’s tenure in Sussex, I like(d) the guy, the teams he put out were always entertaining, his sacking was, for me, premature. But, it’s an ever-distancing memory now and I’m looking forward to seeing how his latest team do back in his old stomping ground.

Advertisements

A Passage to Portugal (part deux)

July 27, 2010

I’ll be brief with this post because A) There’s been plenty of talk in the Argus and on the interweb about Albion’s second ill-fated match in the Algarve B) I’m tired and fancy a wee nap.

We arrived late Saturday afternoon at the Estadio da Nora in Ferreiras, 3-4 miles north of Albufeira itself, in good time for a few shants before kick-off. The stadium bar were not interested so we found a bar out on the main drag where we met up with other travelling Seagulls on the same mission.

The match itself was never going to reach the same levels of satisfaction as Wednesday’s for two good reasons. Portimonense are not Sunderland, and they were never going to be troubled by an Albion team reduced to the archetypal ‘kick and rush’ British style of play so denigrated by the Great Beckenbauer. The second was that the small crowd was full of Albion fans, a few locals, and a scattering of Portimonense followers. I missed the Mackems and their noise and banter.

We met up with a regular Withdean mate, who drove over from Lagos with his missus and her two daughters. The girls weren’t that keen on watching this game, and they way it ended up made me certain my pal wouldn’t be hassled for a young person’s ticket at the Theatre of Trees anytime soon.

Now the meat – after Portimonense took a well deserved 2-0 lead I was feeling that regular down-to-earth-bump you always get as a Brighton fan. The difference in style between these two sides was enormous. I was scrutinising two guys in particular on the park – Messrs Poke and El-Abd. Poke looks dodgy – that’s all I have to say – but of course he could be better and it’s only pre-season, but the doubt is there.

Adam El-Abd has always warmed the cockles of the residents of Casa Hovian. The big bruiser is the consummate club man, an all-round good guy who shut up a few critics last year with some sterling displays alongside Tommy Elphick at the back of our defence. With the arrival of Gordon Greer – who looks, is built the same, and runs like Elphick – El-Abd has his work cut out keeping his slot at centre back. Greer was Lawrenson-esque on Wedsnesday, poor old Bomber was Hawkins-esque on Saturday night.

The “Brawl”? Nothing, nada. I didn’t see what happened until I saw first the Albion bench empty, then the Portimonense bench empty, followed by two local coppers, and finally, assorted handbag wavers. For the referee to abandon the match over what amounted to a bunfight was ludicrous, almost as ludicrous as his burgundy coloured outfit and his haughty, imperious manner, not in keeping with officiating a friendly match in the Algarve in July. He is obviously an admirer of a certain bald off-duty copper from Rotherham, and this was his World Cup Final. A bellend.

After the ritual booing of and gesticulating to the Portuguese team as they left the field, most of our fans were at a loss thinking of what to do next. Some (including us) retired to the nearest bar again for a soak, others waited for taxis that never came; the rumour was that the cab firms heard the news “Football stadium? Check. Fight? Check. English fans? Check.” and gave the place a wide berth. We were lucky in that after we sank a couple of beers our generous host ordered us a cab home.

We flew out of Faro the next morning, the fastest week of our lives over, until the next foreign holiday of course. All in all it was a great experience and I loved every moment of it.

Hang on, I said I would be brief! But I love waxing about the Albion, I’ve missed the buzz since May, and my season ticket arrived home today, that has given me a much needed post-holiday lift. First game for me will probably be at home against Rochdale on August 14th, I’m working on the day we go to Swindon. Bugger.

A Passage to Portugal

July 26, 2010

I’ve returned from the land of the burning sun to bring you tales of awe and wonder, of drink and football, and finally (in a later post than this) the details of one “friendly” game that will pass into Brighton and Hove Albion folklore. So, with without further ado, let us start.

We stayed for the week on a hill above the old town in Albufeira – a great area, not too commercial compared to the rest of the place, and full of characters. Straightaway I was on the local swally, Sagres.

One of the first things we noticed was Albufeira’s Cliff Richard fixation – the great man’s visog was everywhere – our Thomson rep informed us that Sir Cliff keeps a home closeby in the Algarve, and he’s a “living legend” hereabouts. Congratulations Cliff.

So, after a crazily drunken Tuesday night spent in town with a gang of Seagulls that resulted in an extended stay in bed Wednesday, we headed up to the Municipal Stadium for the first match against Sunderland.

The main stand, which was the only one there, quickly filled up with 50/50 South Coasters and Mackems. We found ourselves behind a gang of the latter who actually made the news back home.

The problem for Sunderland fans was twofold. First the Albion played their side off the park with the Gus Poyet trademarked short passing game, the 1-1 final scoreline flattered the Mackems somewhat. The second was the appearance of Titus Bramble, who apparently was “a c**t”, but then so was Steve Bruce after a few more alcohol-free pints of lager.

You see when we got to the stadium we soon found out that the local cops must’ve thought this would be a high risk game – because the club bar was only serving soft drinks and offensive non-alcohol beer! But nobody told the dozen Mackems who turned up shit-faced in front of us. They were buying round after round of the stuff (and I swear they were getting more pissed on it) before one of them shouts “H’way, this is fooking alcohol free laagaa man, bastaaads!”

It was all good fun, but they were shouting so loud that the Sunderland bench turned round to watch them, and some other Mackems started to tell them to shut the fuck up. Soon the local plod took an interest, aided by a big burly bloke in plainclothes who must have been Sunderland’s football intelligence officer, he immediately started filming them (and us sat behind them). The local cops moved in and the gobbiest one was hoyed out, only to sneak in again near the end.

As the match wore on and Sunderland got steadily worse on the pitch the rowdies in front of us sat dejectedly, they all agreed that Brighton had “a better manager”, and that we looked like the Premiershit team, not them. One young fella kept shouting out “Shite!” every two minutes. He turned to his mate and says “If I say shite one more time man, fuck me!” He then thinks for a minute and shouts out “Shit!” for the rest of the half. Priceless.

I’ll put more stuff up later, and there was a lot happened at the next match, as you probably all know about already. I’ll put my version of it, but I missed the actual punches going in (if indeed they actually did). Obrigado!

Here’s a taster….

More Albufeira

 Here’s a few more pictures from the Sunderland match

 

Summer Holiday

July 17, 2010

That’s it, the bags are packed, the money’s changed, all’s that left to do is get ourselves up to Gatwick tomorrow morning. Hovian Towers will be closed for business between the 18th and 25th July, as yours truly and Mrs H are off to the Algarve.

No doubt there’ll be a fair few Seagulls circling about Albufeira’s strip and old town, so I’m expecting a largish crowd at both our matches over there. Wednesday sees the Albion taking on Sunderland at the Estadio Municipal de Albufeira, home of Imortal DAC. Saturday’s fixture against local first division side Portimonense has been moved closer to Albufeira at the Estadio Da Nora, where Ferreiras FC ply their trade.

I’ll be everywhere with the trusty old snapper, chronicling the sights and flavours of the whole trip, so whenever I get home there’ll be a record of all the shenanigans all ready for posting here. See you all next week.

Albion in Europe

July 13, 2010

Supporting Brighton and Hove Albion doesn’t give you many options for European football travel, that’s just a fact of life when you pin your colours to the mast of a Division Three club. Not for us are tales of wild-eyed grafters and jibbers taking the Transalpino rattler through the continent on the coat-tails of their all-conquering football teams, robbing and pillaging poorly guarded sports and fashion outlets for the latest continental threads. It just didn’t happen.

But this pre-season even lowly Albion fans can get a taste of what is seen as a birthright for fans of the Big Four – we’re playing two matches in Albufeira in the Algarve next week, and I’ll be there folks, oh yes.

Some say being a dresser is most difficult in the summertime, it’s hard to stand out from the herd when everyone it seems is in cargo shorts and trainers, of course this is true. But I see it as a challenge too – although bright garish sportswear is strictly for whoppers in the winter, in summertime the discerning dresser can let his colourful side – hidden underneath big, expensive hooded outerwear during the season – come out to play. So, I’ve bought a few bits and bobs to throw on while fighting the 30+ degree heat of southern Portugal in July. It’s tough I know, but duty calls.

I don’t normally wear hattage, a throwback to my army days where it was good to let the barnet out in the fresh air now and again. But, as my celtic skin burns like an Albino’s arse cheeks, I have to cover up in hotter climes. I bought this bucket hat by Beechfield for under a fiver on Amazon, the pin badges give it a bit of life – two from the highly recommended casual connoisseur chaps, and the Seagull a snip at £2 from the club shop.

The orange ‘Four Across’ t-shirt I picked up from Brighton’s very own Mod emporium – Jump The Gun in Gardner Street, a great place for Fred Perry by the way. The adidas trainer tee was in an online sale. I’ll also be taking three or four Lacoste polos, a pair of jeans and a couple of pairs of trainers as well – and along with the beachwear: pool shorts, flippies, towels and tinnie cooler – I’ll be well sorted. So, it’s Sunderland FC up first next Wednesday night at the Municipal Stadium in Albufeira, stay tuned for words and pictures some time after that. Cheers.

Bish Bash Ash Barnes

July 9, 2010

On his bike to Sussex - Ash 'The Bash' Barnes

Great news – Ashley Barnes has put pen to paper and signed a two year deal with the Albion. 20 year old Ash was easily our most exciting player for the latter part of last season, netting four good goals for us in eight appearances (remember that beauty against Saints at Withdean in April?).

He shoots on sight and fearlessly throws himself around the box, thats why I had him as our best newcomer, and definitely one to watch this campaign.

After a slow start Gus Poyet has made some flair, if risky, signings this summer. But for me the fact he’s opting for youth is a sign he’s trying to build a side that can take this club forward, but he’s looking at long term, not a quick fix. It all augurs well for a great season ahead, but before I get too carried away I realise that probably every football fan in the country thinks ‘this is the season’ then watches wretchedly from the stands as his July heroes turn into November sad sacks. We shall see. (p.s. nine more days til Albufeira!)

A casual buy no. 22

July 7, 2010

 

A vintage kagoule from K-Way, folds up into its own bumbag and we’re good to go. I picked this up for peanuts off eBay, where there’s always a cheap deal for rare and out of stock clobber.

“One rainy day in Paris, 1965, Leon-Claude Duhamel observes attentively as people rush by in soaking wet clothes (a familiar sight round these parts too).

It was this day that K-Way was born; a lightweight, completely waterproof jacket folded in a small hip bag. Soon everyone begins to look to the practical jacket in nylon with enthusiasm, happy to leave the old umbrella at home. In the first year alone, more than 250,000 pieces are sold.

Perfected with time in terms of practicality and breathability, by 1970 the K-Way jacket had become a cult phenomenon. It’s clear to see why, they’re stylish, practical and unbelievable value for money. Don’t dilly dally now…”

Jazzing with Jimmy

July 6, 2010

Time for another plug for another blogger on The Hovian. Jimmy Jazz is a 16 year old Tottenham lad (these youngsters are making me feel old) who’s started a blog about clothes and other facets of the modern world that hold his attention.

Already he’s managed two blogging coups – two separate online interviews with the Stockport-based chaps who are real movers and shakers on the scene, one half of Casual Connoisseur, and the editor of the excellent Proper Magazine. Check out Jim’s site, I’ll be keeping my eye on him as he looks destined for blogging glory.

Fugue for a Monday morning

July 5, 2010

Manc(ish) miserablists Doves are a band that have slowly grown on me over the past ten years to the point of perma-playing on my iPod of late. It took so long because I clapped eyes on their unfortunate visogs long before I heard much of their stuff, and the first tune of theirs I listened to on the wireless (can’t for the life of me remember the exact tune) wasn’t much cop.

But, I eventually stumbled across their 2003 compilation album ‘Lost Sides’ and found this track ‘Darker’, and I was hooked. Hauntingly beautiful with a bitter edge, shoe-gazing through northern wet weekends never sounded so cool, a masterpiece.