Archive for the ‘Withdean Stadium’ Category

In a puff of smoke, it’s gone

May 1, 2011

Farewell old chum, my arse misses you already

Brighton and Hove Albion 2 – 3 Huddersfield Town. That result will be forgotten quite quickly here on the south coast, but the date 30th April 2011 won’t, not because it was such a memorable day’s events, but it signalled a momentous day in the turbulent history of the Albion.

A mate in the pub afterwards summed it up perfectly “I feel like I didn’t really give the occasion the attention it deserved, I couldn’t really get into it. We won the league weeks ago, so the party atmosphere has been dragged out a bit.” I agree (although I missed the fucker), we won it too early. But just as Oh Gary Hart missed a tap-in in his last ever home game yesterday to cement his cult status forever with Albionites – the fairy tale season had a bit of a damp squib ending, you can’t have it all. Football isn’t like the movies, unless you’re a Manc (a red one, not an Arabian blue). So, we had our last day at the Theatre of Trees, and instead of reflecting on and celebrating the most successful stadium in the long history of BHAFC, yesterday the sell-out crowd was there to deliver a collective sigh of relief that we’re finally moving out of the place.

I’ll not cover the match, two players impressed – Craig Noone for his industry, and Marcos Painter for the most commanding defensive display I’ve seen in ages on any pitch. I’m sure even the onlooking Player of the Year Adam El Abd appreciated it, Gus Poyet definitely did and his “we’re not worthy” bowing, after Painter embarassed a Town forward with a Bobby Moore tackle, was the best comedy moment. Painter was my man of the match. But the day belonged to Harty, and every free kick, attacking move, and even defensive pass was greeted with “Give it to Harty!” from the stands. In true “ledge” style though, Gary came close, but ultimately failed. Never has such a squad player received such warm reception from his fans. That’s down to his loyalty and ordinariness, he’s an anachronism in these days of mercenary slag footballers with their off the field antics, and demands for squillions of pounds each week. And I will miss this ditty, my favourite Albion terrace chant of all time:

Oh Posh Spice is a slapper

She is a fucking tart

And when she’s shagging Beckham

She thinks of Gary Hart


For those readers who are unfortunate enough not to be Albion fans, that’s sung to the tune of “My Old Man’s a Dustman”.

So, it’s gone now, the old bleachers will be ripped up and Withdean will go back to hosting athletics in front of two old boys and a dog. It’s legacy will be as one of the worst football stadiums in the football league, but it’s also been one of the most formidable places to visit. I firmly believe that time will produce a fondness for it in the minds of all those who sat and got soaked in the open stands, miles from the pitch action. It will never compete with the Goldstone for the affections of the faithful, but Falmer has a hard act to follow in terms of footballing success, and yes some great games. Rest In Peace.


Albion 4 – 0 Plymouth

February 22, 2011

"Cheer up Peter Reid"

A workmanlike performance tonight, nothing flash or owt, against a Plymouth Argyle team with more on their minds than a Tuesday night match at Withdean. The most important thing is that there’s clear blue daylight between us and Bournemuff again.

I feel sorry for Argyle, there’s a lot of clubs I dislike more than the boys from the western scrag-end of Britain. The usually agitated and interested Peter Reid was nowhere to be seen, never putting his head out of the away dugout, who would envy his job now? Not me.

As for the game, 4-0 maybe flattered us a tad, Plymouth worked hard in the second half to close down our back four’s tip-tapping, and it nearly paid off for them. But even the most diehard Albionite would say our goals were not spectacular, like I said – workmanlike. That said  we did well, and a few players caught the eye. Liam Bridcutt is in great form at present, as is Marcos Painter. Wood got a soft goal and made way for the lively Noone in the second period. Fran Sandaza’s supersub goal was good value too, but man of the match was two-goal Glenn Murray, another masterclass of holding up play and clinical finishing from the big man.

So, not a great game regardless of the final score, but most Albion fans will feel sorry for Argyle, I hope they stay up, but it doesn’t look good.

The Hovian’s Team performance : 8 out 10

The Hovian’s Man of the Match : Glenn Murray

Attendance: 7261 (254 Plymouth)

Npower League One table
Tuesday, 22 February 2011 21:59 UK
    P GD PTS
1 Brighton 29 34 59
2 Bournemouth 32 22 55

3 Huddersfield 31 15 52
4 Peterborough 31 7 50
5 Southampton 29 23 49
6 MK Dons 33 -2 49

7 Charlton 29 6 47
8 Oldham 32 4 46
9 Colchester 31 -1 45
10 Rochdale 29 8 44
11 Leyton Orient 29 9 43
12 Carlisle 30 7 42
13 Exeter 31 -6 42
14 Hartlepool 31 -14 41
15 Brentford 30 -4 39
16 Sheff Wed 30 2 37
17 Tranmere 30 -5 37
18 Notts County 27 0 35
19 Yeovil 30 -15 33
20 Swindon 32 -13 31

21 Walsall 32 -18 30
22 Bristol R 31 -28 30
23 Dag & Red 29 -12 29
24 Plymouth 32 -19 23

Albion 4 – 1 Hartlepool

February 13, 2011

"Eey up, we was shiyte down that there Brighton"

This was my first league game this year, and it was a great one. Work has me away lots now, so I’m missing some great performances. How Hartlepool beat us up at theirs I don’t know, for they are the poorest team I’ve seen at Withdean for a long time. Their consolation goal flattered them, and I felt sorry for the cold, quiet, army of 129 monkey hangers sat forlornly on the ridiculous west stand.

No Albion player had a bad game. Ankergren spent most of the final half hour ripping the piss out of the exhausted ‘pool lone striker, running about his penalty area with the ball at his feet, only to pick it up or pass it out to the back four once the big Hartlepool lump had yet again run in at him to hurry him up. Funny as fuck it was. That Craig Noone is alright isn’t he? First time I’ve seen him play, his pace is phenomenal, and he makes opposition players look slow and dopey by comparison. He looks like a good buy.

But, my man of the match is Glenn Murray. Big Muzza is on fire at the minute, from winning his trademark soft free-kicks by going to ground, erm, a bit easily, to winning headers by timing his jumps to perfection and hanging in the air like Magic Johnson. He should have added to his brace yesterday, but he was still at his laconic best even so.

I’ve got a ticket for Stoke this weekend, but I’m 90% sure I’ll be away at work before then, and this time I could be out of the country for two months. I can’t complain really, but I am missing out on all the fun. I fully expect Poyet’s side to get something at the Britannia, maybe a second bite at the kick and rush kings back at Withers. Cheers.

The Hovian’s Team performance : 9 out 10

The Hovian’s Man of the Match : Glenn Murray

Attendance : 7296 (129  Monkey Hangers)

Npower League One table snapshot

As it stood on 12 Feb 2011 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Brighton 28 30 56
2 Bournemouth 30 22 53
3 Huddersfield 29 15 50
4 Southampton 28 23 48
5 Charlton 27 9 47
6 Oldham 29 6 45
7 MK Dons 30 -2 45
8 Rochdale 29 8 44
9 Peterborough 28 4 43
10 Colchester 28 -1 41
11 Leyton Orient 28 8 40
12 Exeter 29 -8 38
13 Hartlepool 28 -14 37
14 Sheff Wed 28 5 36
15 Brentford 29 -5 36
16 Carlisle 27 5 35
17 Tranmere 27 -6 34
18 Yeovil 29 -13 33
19 Plymouth 31 -15 33
20 Notts County 26 -2 32
21 Swindon 31 -12 31
22 Dag & Red 27 -11 28
23 Walsall 30 -17 27
24 Bristol R 30 -29 27

Albion 3 – 1 Portsmouth

January 9, 2011

My first Albion game of 2011, and the first time I’ve watched a ball kicked in anger since FC United on the 8th December. And what a game to come back to. As I expected to miss this game through work, I only managed to get a ticket on Friday – for the West Stand, where I could savour the ‘atmosphere’ at Withdean from half a mile away, like opposition fans have been enduring since 1999. To be fair when the ball is down in your half it ain’t half bad, but second half was difficult, the low angle of view didn’t help, and I missed Franny Sandaza’s ping-pong goal.

Pompey brought a big following and as we were rushing from the pub to find the route into the usual away end (the West -away- Stand was home fans only so Pompey could take up their 15% ticket allocation in our bigger Family Stand), I saw John Westwood – AKA the Pompey Bell(end) Ringer staggering about the East/South Stand concourse. He really needs to put the hat, clown shoes, and wisket in the wash – filthy it was.

Sadly for Westwood and his boys his team never turned up. Getting a player as good as Kitson sent off early didn’t help them, but I genuinely felt we would beat the Skates yesterday, and was touting “2-0” as the final score in the pub beforehand. We battered them in the first half, and the amount of Pompey yellow cards handed out by, dare I say it, an Albion-friendly ref, was proof of their frustration at getting taken apart by a lower league side. Portsmouth seem to have a Premier League-sized collective ego, and hangover. You were shite, admit it.

Poyet started with three strikers (FLAIR!), and each had a fine game, Glenn Murray was the pick even though he was the only one of the trio who didn’t rattle the onion bag. I want to give Mauricio Taricco Man of the Match, as he not only stood in well for the suspended Calderon, but surpassed him in his brilliant 60 minute cameo. Treacle must’ve been some player in his younger days. Pompey were annoyed at being skinned by a 37 year old, and he got some rough treatment before he was subbed after tiring later on, but job done.

Adam El-Abd gets my nod, although any one of four of five players deserved the plaudits too. Bomber is fast becoming the cult hero here at Casa Hovian, another assured display with the rehabilitated Tommy Elphick at the back was the foundation that built the performance. After the game as we walked down the hill past the unhappy Pompey crowd returning to their coaches, a few started chopsing and giving it the big one (from behind a police line of course), that rounded off a perfect day back at the Theatre of Trees, one that I’ll remember fondly when I’m sat in my shiny new padded seat at Falmer next season.

The Hovian’s Team performance : 9 out 10

The Hovian’s Man of the Match : Adam El-Abd

Attendance : 7792 (1421 Skates)

I’m back….

January 6, 2011

…and I’m knackered to fuck, but will be sat at the Withdean this Saturday for the cup match, insh’allah

Albion 1 – 1 FC United of Manchester

November 28, 2010

Loud, proud and confused? FCUM put on a good show

It was a strange old day at Withdean yesterday, one of the oddest I’ve spent at our soon-to-be-forgotten home among the posh trees of BN1. First of all there was the unseasonal weather, it was fucking baltic out there, horrible.

I took a mooch up around the pubs near Brighton Station at midday, just to see if the much-heralded FCUM fan takeover of ‘our’ alehouses was indeed happening. There were rumours rife on the internet that some sort of Manc mob would be on show, and I was curious to see them, if indeed some boys had travelled down. They hadn’t, all I got was a heavily swamped Evening Star full of friendly, thirsty and be-scarfed Mancs.

I could hear them as I walked up to Withers, and when I joined my usual seat-dwellers in Block H the away stand was bouncing with 800+ noisy FCUM fans. But what else would you expect? Yes they outsang an undermanned Blocks H & J, yes they sang throughout half-time, and yes they made quite a show with their MUFC inspired flares at full-time. But, when I saw the ‘MUFCUM’ banner with the words “TWO UNITEDS ONE SOUL” it kind of spoiled the spectacle. Either you’ve given up the Grand Old Trafford Whore or you haven’t, if you haven’t then FCUM are your pet team, a vanity project. Try this, “TWO DONS ONE SOUL”, nope? Didn’t think so.  I smell a rather large Mancunian rat.

The game. Lest said the better. Poyet needs to get a grip and treat the FA Cup with respect or play the reserves, end of. FC had two efforts on target, scoring one, we had at least 10. Why is Elliott Bennett still taking penalties? I’ll not dwell on the match, it was shit, and the cold didn’t raise the mood. Man of the match? I’m not giving one, perhaps the confused visitors on the away stand should get that honour, they were better viewing than the football on show.

Albion 2 – 2 Bristol Rovers

November 20, 2010

Withdean gets the 'ToyCam' treatment on my phone camera, like it

A frustrating afternoon today, I expected the team to give me a nice birthday present: three easy points. I think the much heralded ‘wobble’ in our form is definitely here, not the best timing with the scummers, Colchester then Huddersfield away up next.

First half we were crap, and Rovers deserved the lead. Second half saw things improve somewhat, but old (bad) habits are starting to creep back into our play. Casper Ankergren made a couple of top notch saves, but he flapped all afternoon in the box at high balls. Our defence was shaky, and the passing along the back was pretty dire. Rovers’ two goals were from corners – that shouldn’t be happening, and the second was plain fucking awful, how an own goal came from among 3-4 unharried Albion players is beyond me. Two valuable points needlessly dropped against a shit team.

Best players were Calderon and Gary Dicker. New boy Chris Wood did ok, but didn’t get great service, his penalty was excellent, but how we miss LuaLua. I don’t like slagging our players off, but Augustin Battipiedi was awful today, Jamie Smith should get a start before him next time. I’m giving man of the match to Calderon as Dicker made one or two poor passes later on. Not great, but I think we’ll be well up for Tuesday night at St. Mary’s, anything but our best performance there will be severely punished by a rampant Southampton team.

The Hovian’s Team performance :  6 out 10

The Hovian’s Man of the Match : Inigo Calderon

Attendance : 7407 (268 gas bags)

Npower League One table

Saturday, 20 November 2010 17:11 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
Full Npower League One table
1 Brighton 17 17 35
2 Charlton 17 7 31
3 Colchester 17 4 29
4 Bournemouth 17 14 27
5 Sheff Wed 17 11 27
6 Southampton 17 10 27
7 Oldham 16 6 27
8 Carlisle 17 8 26
9 Huddersfield 17 6 26
10 MK Dons 17 -2 26
11 Peterborough 17 -3 25
12 Exeter 17 -4 25
13 Brentford 17 -2 22
14 Tranmere 17 -6 22
15 Swindon 17 -3 21
16 Bristol R 17 -7 21
17 Rochdale 16 2 20
18 Leyton Orient 17 0 20
19 Hartlepool 16 -5 20
20 Plymouth 17 -7 19
21 Notts County 16 -8 16
22 Dag & Red 17 -12 15
23 Yeovil 17 -14 15
24 Walsall 17 -12 14

Albion 3 – 0 Exeter

November 3, 2010

A wobbly phone camera shot of Poyet and Taricco, I think I'll take the real snapper from now on

Twelve games unbeaten now. This was an easy match, but our passing game was a bit sluggish all the same. Exeter battled hard, but weren’t good enough. Ashley Barnes now has seven goals this season, he should be first choice penalty taker as his second in two games was put away with nonchalant ease. Murray should get a lot of credit for setting up his second, an easy tap in. El-Abd’s earlier header from a Bennett corner was by the numbers.

The Albion team are just that, a team, and their performances of late leave it hard to pick out best players. Gordon Greer, who was immense last night, was just pipped to man of the match for me by Barnes. Big Ash is on a roll, but should have had a hat-trick here, just like on Saturday. 

It’s hard to find a bad thing to say in this remarkable run of games, but looking at the table now, apart from us it’s starting to look how many thought it would before the season started. Huddersfield and the scummers are both hitting a purple patch too, and I still think the latter especially are our biggest threat to lifting the League One title next year.

The Hovian’s Team performance :  8 out 10

The Hovian’s Man of the Match : Ashley Barnes

Npower League One table

Wednesday, 3 November 2010 00:00 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
Full Npower League One table
1 Brighton 15 19 34
2 Huddersfield 15 8 26
3 Colchester 15 4 26
4 Peterborough 15 4 25
5 Charlton 15 2 25
6 Southampton 15 8 24
7 Bournemouth 15 11 23
8 Carlisle 15 8 23
9 MK Dons 15 -1 23
10 Sheff Wed 15 6 21
11 Oldham 14 4 21
12 Bristol R 15 -4 20
13 Rochdale 14 4 19
14 Brentford 15 -1 19
15 Plymouth 15 -5 19
16 Exeter 15 -7 19
17 Swindon 15 -4 17
18 Hartlepool 14 -6 17
19 Leyton Orient 15 -3 16
20 Notts County 14 -5 16
21 Tranmere 15 -8 16
22 Yeovil 15 -11 15
23 Dag & Red 15 -13 12
24 Walsall 15 -10 11


Albion 2 – 0 Yeovil

October 24, 2010

I visited the University of Brighton on Saturday morning, where I took this picture on my phone of you know where from the footbridge at Falmer railway station, just thought I’d put it on this post as I’ve no phots of the match.

That match later on was pretty much a home banker against a pretty uninspiring Yeovil side who came to disrupt our style of play. Peterborough slipped up and Bournemouth drew with other promotion hopefuls Sheffield Wednesday, making the easy victory even sweeter. The Albion machine is looking well-oiled, efficient, and barring a complete disaster between now and May, should at least see us in the play-off positions or better.

Gordon Greer has slipped effortlessly into the back four, and his club captain armband. Adam El-Abd should be his main partner, but he took a nasty clash of heads early in the second half and Elphick – third choice now I’d guess – did ok in his place. Calderon was probably the pick of the defenders, his goal was a beauty, and Painter had a solid game on the other side.

LuaLua and Murray were brilliant up front, both went close for my man of the match. Barnes fired another blank, but his overall performance was good, he went deep to pick up the ball and gave his all, the goals will come. It was the midfield unit as a whole that really shone, Gary Dicker was the complete midfielder yesterday, he created much and bossed the rest. Anything Dicker missed was cleared up by Kishishev, together they had Yeovil in their back pockets. With midfield sewn up, both Bennett and LuaLua were allowed space to impress. But overall Dicker was our best player out there, man of the match for me.

Posh next weekend should be a cracking game, and if we take all three points we are sailing away at the top, just like Norwich managed to do so impressively when they won the division last season. Let the good times roll.

The Hovian’s Team performance :  8 out 10

The Hovian’s Man of the Match : Gary Dicker

Attendance : 7523 (112 wurzel gummidges)

Npower League One table

Sunday, 24 October 2010 00:00 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
Full Npower League One table
1 Brighton 13 13 28
2 Bournemouth 13 12 22
3 Peterborough 13 5 22
4 Sheff Wed 13 9 21
5 Huddersfield 13 5 20
6 Colchester 13 2 20
7 MK Dons 13 0 20
8 Carlisle 13 6 19
9 Rochdale 13 5 19
10 Exeter 13 -2 19
11 Charlton 13 -2 19
12 Bristol R 13 -2 19
13 Oldham 13 2 18
14 Southampton 13 2 18
15 Swindon 13 -1 16
16 Notts County 13 -3 16
17 Plymouth 13 -5 16
18 Hartlepool 13 -6 16
19 Brentford 13 -3 15
20 Yeovil 13 -10 14
21 Leyton Orient 13 -3 13
22 Tranmere 13 -8 13
23 Walsall 13 -7 11
24 Dag & Red 13 -9 11

Albion 1 – 1 Bournemouth

October 10, 2010

Bobby Zamora gets the interview treatment from Attila the Stockbroker at half-time (he's over by the far touchline, honest!)

The producers over at Sky Sports must have been congratulating themselves for opting to show this south coast derby exactly as both us and the Cherries were riding high in the league. It’s a shame for them, and League One football, that the game didn’t live up to its billing.

Proceedings were too edgy, too bad-tempered, and Bournemouth set out from the start to spoil the Albion ‘total football’ method, the legend of which is gathering further publicity the longer we cling onto pole position in the division. Bournemouth are ugly, they drew ugly, and I left the Withdean Stadium with a keen sense of the unfairness of it all (“robbery” is too strong a word, used by twonks who follow football blindly).

With the opposition defending from way up the pitch, our back two and Ankergren were reduced to playing square keep-ball, which got so boring the home crowd were turning on them; after a minute of tip-tap the ball would go back to Ankergren and he hoofed it up to Barnes and Murray, we were back to Russell Slade Inc, and Bournemouth were loving it.

Outstanding players. LuaLua was erratic, but his goal was sublime, and hopefully the Premier League couch potatoes who tuned in appreciated his unique celebration. Calderon was putting it about and took a clump or two, as did Tommy Elphick, suffering a blatant elbow in the face, which produced a yellow card for the culprit, when it could easily have been red. Kishishev was the pick of midfield. But for me Glenn Murray caught the eye the most, and he wins the dubious Hovian Man of the Match award. It was also nice to see a crutch wearing Bobby Zamora get interviewed by Attila at half-time, the latter pestering him to come home sometime in the future.

I don’t want to dwell on the Bournemouth penalty, only to say that once the referee went to speak to his furiously flagging linesman, I knew he would point to the spot, don’t ask me why. When I got back to the pub after the game, everyone assured me it was never a penalty, but that’s football.

With Peterborough slipping up we actually extended our lead at the top to three points, so we’re still grinning. I’m being press-ganged into going to Charlton next week, looks like I’ll have to go along after all. Cheers.

The Hovian’s Team performance :  7 out 10

The Hovian’s Man of the Match : Glenn Murray

Attendance : 7348 (478 lesser holiday town dwellers)

Npower League One table

Sunday, 10 October 2010 00:00 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
Full Npower League One table
1 Brighton 11 7 22
2 Carlisle 11 8 19
3 Peterborough 11 5 19
4 Bournemouth 11 11 18
5 Sheff Wed 11 7 17
6 Huddersfield 11 4 17
7 Oldham 11 3 17
8 MK Dons 11 0 17
9 Rochdale 11 5 16
10 Charlton 11 1 16
11 Colchester 11 1 16
12 Exeter 11 -2 16
13 Southampton 11 3 15
14 Bristol R 10 -2 15
15 Hartlepool 11 -5 15
16 Yeovil 11 -6 14
17 Notts County 11 -4 13
18 Plymouth 11 -4 13
19 Swindon 10 -1 12
20 Walsall 11 -4 10
21 Dag & Red 11 -8 10
22 Tranmere 11 -8 10
23 Leyton Orient 11 -4 9
24 Brentford 11 -7 9