Small Screen Seagulls; 2012/13 Season part 2

Small Screen Seagulls LogoThe opening months of the 2012/2013 season put the Albion within touching distance of a Play Off place, improving upon the progress made the previous year. The second half of the campaign would be dominated by meetings with arch rivals Crystal Palace en route to the bitter end. Relive some of the highest highs and lowest lows against them here, as well as crucial points picked up against East Midlands clubs going well in the Championship. After Christmas, the grit and determination turned possible defeats into tangible points as the Seagulls soared up the table to end in fourth spot. Gus Poyet didn’t quite have it all his own way, with off the field matters proving his ultimate downfall. This year showed the fine margins between great success and failure.

Here are some of the features and coverage during the Albion’s highest placed finish for thirty years. Screenshots are provided from various clips of coverage by BBC nationally and locally. This is part two, the first part is HERE.


Crystal Palace 3-0 Brighton Highlights

The Football League Show, BBC One (1st December 2012); Championship

CRYA Titles CRYA Bhasin

After a terrific start to the campaign, hitting highs of first place at the end of September, Brighton were winless in October sliding down towards mid-table. Wins against Peterborough, Huddersfield and Bristol City last time out in midweek, along with draws with Leeds, Wolves and Bolton saw Albion surge back strongly. Ahead of this trip to rivals Crystal Palace, Brighton sat in seventh spot.

Crystal Palace were flying under Ian Holloway, going top of the table in mid-November. A loss and a draw in their last two games ahead of this one moved them down to second, but a win would see them at the summit again. Despite the good start, they lost manager Dougie Freedman to Bolton near the end of October, with Holloway replacing him soon after. In the lead up to this derby game, Holloway admitted he was ‘baffled’ by the rivalry but would soon learn.

The BBC’s Football League Show was on the road for a rare outside broadcast this edition, owing to a reduced schedule. The Second Round of the FA Cup consumed most League One and Two fixtures, so host Manish Bhasin presented solo from The Den for Millwall’s match with Charlton. As well as that London derby, our match at Selhurst was one of the featured commentary games. BBC Radio Solent man Laurence Herdman was behind the mic.

CRYA Palace CRYA Brighton

The standout man from the Crystal Palace starting line-up was, of course, the former Brighton striker Glenn Murray leading their line after suspension for five bookings. Murray had fifteen goals to his name already this season and joined the club in May 2011. He scored in Palace’s win at The Amex last season. Elsewhere, defenders Joel Ward and Peter Ramage were close season signings. As was Congolese winger Yannick Bolasie who joined from Bristol City in August.

Brighton welcomed back their top scorer Craig Mackail-Smith after being rested in midweek. He netted nine goals thus far and partnered Ashley Barnes up front. Will Hoskins and Stephen Dobbie dropped to the bench, with a total of two goals so far between them – both for Dobbie. Midfielders Dean Hammond, on a season-long loan from Southampton, and Andrea Orlandi, signed from Swansea in the summer, were both on the scoresheet last time out.

CRYA Comm CRYA Red Card

Brighton got off to the worst possible start when defender Lewis Dunk was shown a straight red card within eight minutes for a foul on Palace’s Yannick Bolasie. A pass from Bruno to his centre back was miscontrolled by Dunk twenty-five yards from goal. Bolasie nipped in to push the ball forward. Dunk stretched out a leg in a desperate bid to win the ball back, he was nowhere near. Instead, he just brought the attacker down.

The referee had no hesitation in brandishing the red and the Seagulls were on the back foot for the rest of the contest. The resulting free kick by Owen Garvan hit the top of the crossbar with Brighton still rocked. Later on, Bolasie himself had a go. His fierce shot from the corner of the penalty area was palmed away by Tomasz Kuszczak in the Albion goal.

CRYA Murray 1st CRYA Murray 2nd

With seven minutes remaining in the first half, the home side took the lead via a Bolasie corner. From the other side of the pitch, the kick was swung in to the near post where that man, Glenn Murray, leapt highest to head on beyond Kuszczak and into the net. Of course it had to be Murray. The man Gus Poyet stubbornly allowed to leave on a free transfer at the end of his contract in 2011 was coming back to haunt the Albion. He refused to celebrate his goal, but the Selhurst Park support made sure we all knew what had happened. He made it look so simple.

Brighton almost got straight back into it when Liam Bridcutt crossed in for Ashley Barnes. The striker couldn’t quite manage to connect with a diving header, but Julian Speroni in the home goal still had to be alert to push away the bouncing cross. Then, after the interval, Craig Mackail-Smith was freed by Barnes to run behind the defence. He dribbled into the penalty box, slightly left of goal, with commentator Laurence Herdman describing the run as “like a rampaging Viking”. As Speroni narrowed the angle by advancing off his line, Mackail-Smith shot beyond him with his left foot, but it crashed against the post and wide.

A let off for the Eagles, who would soon punish the Seagulls. It took just nine second half minutes for them to double their lead. They worked a counter attack very well from one end of the pitch to the other, Bolasie again causing problems. He was brought down on the edge of the box but, in doing so, flicked the ball forward for an unmarked Glenn Murray. As the forward tried to round the ‘keeper, he was felled for a penalty. The ex-Albion hero stepped up to take the spot kick that he won and fired it into the bottom left hand corner of the goal sending Kuszczak the other way. Two-nil down and with ten men, this was turning out to be a terrible afternoon for the Albion.

CRYA Garvan penalty CRYA Full Time

Things got even worse with twenty minutes to go, when a second penalty was awarded. What is it about this fixture and penalties?! Yannick Bolasie crossed to the far post for Glenn Murray, who went to ground upon leaping with Gordon Greer. The referee awarded the spot kick for a shove by the Albion skipper, which looked to be a silly move. Murray did not take the kick this time and did not complete his hat-trick, instead it was left for Owen Garvan who just about managed to sneak it past the goalie’s outstretched arms. Three-nil.

The result showed Brighton still had a bit of work to do if they were going to be up there with Crystal Palace at the end of the season. Everything went the way of the hosts on this December Saturday, not helped by a rash sending off in the first ten.

Afterwards, Gus Poyet pointed to the Mackail-Smith chance just after half time as the turning point, citing chances needed to be taken. “That is the moment when you need to take advantage, because you will have one or two and you need to take it.” He went on to say he had “no complaints” with the result and “we need to accept that”. Onwards and upwards. Indeed, the Albion’s form after the turn of the year dramatically improved, with no greater day than our next feature.


2

Brighton 3-0 Crystal Palace Highlights

Late Kick Off, BBC One South East (17th March 2013); Championship

CRYH Titles CRYH Studio

Regional Football League magazine show Late Kick Off returned to the BBC in January 2013 for another run, this time moving from the Monday night slot to a Sunday night. In our region, London and the South East, there was a change of host as Dan Walker was replaced by Jacqui Oatley. Walker’s Christian beliefs meant he did not work on Sundays, so he left the programme after one series.

Oatley’s broadcasting career began in hospital radio before moving around various local BBC radio stations and then up to 5 Live as a commentator and reporter. She covered the 2005 UEFA Women’s Euros in England for the station but became infamous in April 2007 when she became the first female to ever commentate on a men’s game for Match of the Day, when Fulham hosted Blackburn. This earned her huge press attention, largely negative. Since then she has returned to the programme on occasions to voice other Premier League games as well as covering the Olympics and Euros in 2008 for television. She is heard more frequently on radio covering both the men’s and women’s games and has branched out into television presenting to add to the commentating and reporting.

Oatley was joined in the studio for this Sunday 17th March edition of the show by former Crystal Palace striker Mark Bright and Gillingham manager Martin Allen. The main feature of the programme centred around a clash between two of the regions clubs; Brighton and Crystal Palace. The match was moved to a Sunday noon kick off on the advice of the authorities and this gave Late Kick Off the perfect opportunity to cover the match highlights. Commentary was provided by Jamie Reid, better known as a presenter and commentator for BBC Radio in London.

CRYH Ulloa goal

Brighton’s home form in 2013 had been terrific, taking thirteen points from a possible fifteen at The Amex since the turn of the year. Crystal Palace though were flying and a win here would have sent them second in the table.

After the obligatory video to explain why these two clubs are rivals, it was down to the action as the Seagulls aimed to avenge the three-nil reverse back in December. The first chance fell Palace’s way, albeit through the unlikely source of Albion defender Matthew Upson. His low header from a free kick almost went into his own goal, but for a good reflex save from Tomasz Kuszczak. Left back Jonathan Parr was later presented with a good opportunity for the visitors, his shot much simpler to handle for the Pole in our goal.

They would go on to rue the missed opportunity when Brighton took the lead through January signing Leonardo Ulloa. Will Buckley ran down to the byline and stood up a cross to the back post. Ulloa jumped highest to head. He slightly mistimed things, with the ball going off his head down on to his knee to deceive goalkeeper Julian Speroni into the net. It was a scrappy finish but it did not matter, Brighton had the lead two minutes before the break.

CRYH Lopez goal

In stoppage time at the end of the first period, things got even better for the Albion. Will Buckley again did well on the right wing, cutting inside before being scythed down by Kagisho Dikgacoi twenty yards from goal. Two of the Spanish contingent stood over the free kick but it was David Lopez, who joined from Athletic Bilbao in August, that won the vote ahead of Andrea Orlandi to strike. The rest is history, as Lopez wrote his name into Albion folklore in sensational style.

His right foot strike found its way into the top right-hand corner of the goal, clipping the underside of the crossbar to bounce down over the line in the process. Nicknamed ‘Spanish Dave’ by the Seagulls support, he instantly became a fans favourite with one clean, beautiful strike of a ball. It came at the perfect time, with two goals in three minutes sending the home side into the lead at the interval.

CRYH Ulloa 2nd

The elation continued for Brighton five minutes into the second half when a third goal was scored, this time in front of the noise of the North Stand. A very well worked goal began with holding midfielder Liam Bridcutt chipping the ball from thirty yards out towards the six-yard box. Andrea Orlandi was the target. He saw the better opportunity was waiting centrally in Leonardo Ulloa. Orlandi’s cushioned header was pin-perfect for the Argentinian striker to volley home past Speroni and seal three precious points for the Seagulls.

More chances fell the way of Ulloa and Buckley but neither could increase the deficit further and it ended Brighton three, Crystal Palace nil. What a joyous Sunday afternoon it was.

CRYH Full Time CRYH Table

The win was Albion’s first over Palace at home for twenty-five years, since a three-one scoreline on Boxing Day 1988 at the Goldstone. The result meant the Eagles stayed in fourth, missing the chance to move up to the automatic promotion places occupied by Cardiff and Hull.

Brighton went level on points with Leicester in the final Play Off position with eight matches to play. Crucially, they still had the Foxes to play at The Amex, Forest away next as well as winnable games against the likes of struggling Blackpool and Wolves. Supporters were starting to believe.

CRYH Poyet CRYH Bright

After the match, Palace boss Ian Holloway assessed things fairly and honestly, saying “They took their opportunities and we didn’t take ours.” Gus Poyet explained how the game went to plan, praising his side’s organisation. “We knew the danger, we knew what would happen if we went ahead, we knew that Ian would throw as many players as possible forward”, he said before adding of his players, “I think they were fantastic today.”

In the studio, Crystal Palace fan Mark Bright was visibly disappointed with his side’s effort, or lack of, during the match he attended. He cited Jonathan Parr’s miss as the key moment; “If they score first, they don’t lose. If they go behind, they don’t win.” He added it was the worst he’d seen Palace play since their first away game of the season – a four-one defeat at Bristol City. He concluded by diplomatically pointing out that it all made it more exciting for the region’s teams. Indeed, three of the four Play Off teams could come from this Late Kick Off area.


3

Nottingham Forest 2-2 Brighton Highlights

The Football League Show, BBC One (31st March 2013); Championship

FOR Titles FOR Comm

The game of the day in the Championship saw fifth placed Nottingham Forest host seventh placed Brighton at the City Ground. The Seagulls bounced back in superb style before the international break with that wonderful win over Palace, ending a three-match winless streak. Forest’s form of late was sensational under Billy Davies, winning their last six League games and moving into the top six after spending much of the season in mid-table. They had lost at home just once since early December. The reverse at The Amex ended goalless.

This afternoon’s fixture was the BBC’s featured match on The Football League Show. Manish Bhasin was back in the usual studio, joined by pundit Leroy Rosenior for this edition. Commentary was provided by Alistair Mann. The former ITV Granada man’s been a regular voice on the BBC since joining the Match of the Day roster in 2006 and covered the 2008 and 2012 Olympic football tournaments.

FOR Nottingham Forest FOR Brighton

If Billy Davies’ side won here, they would equal a club record of seven straight wins stretching back 120 years. Davies only took over the reins at the beginning of February, his second spell in charge having spent two-and-a-half seasons with Forest from January 2009. He was the club’s fourth manager since the end of last season, with Steve Cotterill, Sean O’Driscoll and Alex McLeish all departing. The Forest squad included Darius Henderson up front, who had a ten-match loan spell on the South Coast a decade earlier. Gonzalo Jara Reyes on the bench had two loan periods with Brighton last season from West Brom, he joined Forest temporarily this January.

A big change for Brighton saw first choice goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak absent through injury, allowing Casper Ankergren to make his first start in fifteen months. Midfielder Liam Bridcutt was another key man out injured. He picked up a knock during his international debut in the week for Gordon Strachan’s Scotland against Serbia. Andrew Crofts took his place in the middle alongside Spanish contingent David Lopez and Andrea Orlandi. Wingers Kazenga LuaLua and Will Buckley supported £2 million signing Leonardo Ulloa, who had already netted eight goals since arriving at the end of January. He was certainly needed, with Craig Mackail-Smith sidelined for a long time through injury and Ashley Barnes suspended after picking up two red cards in the space of five weeks.

FOR LuaLua yellow FOR Ulloa goal

This would be remembered for a ‘mixed’ afternoon for stand-in goalkeeper Casper Ankergren. He rescued Brighton early on with a good double save, the second particularly vital as he dived in the way of Darius Henderson’s close-range effort.

Tempers frayed in the first half, with Forest captain Danny Collins going in referee James Linington’s book for a late foul on Ulloa. A petulant shove to the ground from Kazenga LuaLua on Hutchinson earned the winger a yellow later, his silliness to react risked a red and was brought off after the break. An uneventful first half ended goalless.

Twelve minutes into the second half, Brighton took the lead through Leonardo Ulloa. A corner was whipped into the danger area from the left. Buckley’s tame shot was blocked into the path of Ulloa, who was waiting between the penalty spot and six-yard line. With four Forest bodies in his way, he struck powerfully, low and hard. It found its way into the bottom left hand corner of the net via a slight nick on the way through.

FOR McGugan goal FOR Buckley goal

Brighton were in confident mood and almost added to the lead from a Matthew Upson header. He diverted a Hammond shot goalwards, with Karl Darlow needing to parry away. But it was the home side who scored with just eight minutes remaining, getting the equaliser from a tight angle through Lewis McGugan. There didn’t appear to be much danger as McGugan took the ball forward on the right side of the penalty area. But he unleashed a shot which looped over Ankergren at his near post off Hammond’s boot and nestled into the other corner of the goal. One-one.

Undeterred, Brighton went up the other end to regain the lead just three minutes later. Calderon clipped it up for Ulloa, one of four Albion men in the Forest penalty area. He held the ball up well before sliding it wide to an unmarked Will Buckley. You cannot leave that man on his own with the goal in front of him. Buckley’s first-time strike found the same corner of the net that Ulloa hit earlier and Brighton were back in front.

FOR Ankergren error FOR Rosenior

But, as four minutes of added time were announced over the PA system, a terrible error by Brighton’s Danish goalkeeper threw the lead away and handed Forest a precious point. Henri Lansbury hit a shot from outside the box which was straight down Ankergren’s throat. It should have been a comfortable save. Having done so well earlier on to deny the home side, this was just a momentary lapse in concentration. He allowed the ball to slip through his grasp and under his legs to trickle into the back of the net, Massimo Taibi style. “Lansbury can’t believe his luck! Ankergren, who’s been outstanding all afternoon, makes an horrendous blunder”, cried commentator Alistair Mann.

It finished two apiece. Before kick-off, Albion probably would have taken that result, given Forest’s form to keep them at bay. Being just minutes away from a famous victory, the draw felt a bit like a disappointing result. That sentiment was shared by Gus Poyet when he said in his post-match interview; “Unfortunately today we had a massive error at the back and we gave two points away.” Their manager Billy Davies said afterwards, “If we didn’t get anything, it would’ve been a complete travesty.”

In the studio, pundit Leroy Rosenior talked through Casper Ankergren’s day; the good and the bad. “He made some terrific saves and he looked very sharp. At times he kept Brighton in the game.” Blaming concentration for the error, Rosenior believed it wouldn’t affect the goalie any more than this moment; “He’ll come back because he had a decent game today. When ‘keepers make mistakes, it’s obviously highlighted.” Still, a point is no bad result at that place and the Seagulls were very much in the promotion hunt.


4

Brighton 1-1 Leicester Highlights

The Football League Show, BBC One (6th April 2013); Championship

LEI Titles LEI Comm

With Brighton’s form picking up again after a dodgy spell at the beginning of March, Leicester’s had completely tailed off as they dropped from second place in February down to seventh today. Four defeats in their last five for Nigel Pearson’s men scaled up to just one win in eleven as they crumbled at the worst possible time.

The Albion displaced them in the final Play Off spot ahead of this crunch meeting at The Amex, with only six League games to go. A goalless draw at home to Charlton stuttered the upwards charge but Brighton’s destiny was still in their own hands to secure a top six finish for the first time since 1991 at this level.

The Football League Show had Brighton versus Leicester as the opening match of this early April broadcast. Manish Bhasin was in the IMG studio in London alongside Leroy Rosenior. Former ITV Anglia, MUTV and Eurosport commentator, Dan O’Hagan provided the words to meet the pictures. He made his Match of the Day debut at the age of just twenty-six on Boxing Day 2004 at Norwich, reuniting with his Anglia TV roots.

LEI Brighton LEI Leicester

Brighton’s main man was Leonardo Ulloa, making an instant impact since his transfer from Almeria in January. His goals were keeping the side in the hunt for the top six in the absence of Barnes and Mackail-Smith. The likes of Will Buckley and Andrea Orlandi provided the creative outlet, with Liam Bridcutt bridging the gap between defence and attack. Former England defender Matthew Upson came in from Stoke on loan until the end of the season back in January, providing that much needed top-level experience as the Seagulls aimed for the Premier League. Spanish magician Vicente was among the substitutes, he netted twice in four days back in February including the televised winner against Hull.

Andy King’s goal decided the reverse fixture back in October, as the Foxes won one-nil to top of the League. He started up front with David Nugent, who scored on his one and only England international cap in 2007. Midfielder Matthew James graduated through Manchester United’s youth academy, whilst former United goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel’s son Kasper tended to the Leicester goal. Centre back Michael Keane was on loan from Old Trafford. On the bench, Harry Kane was loaned out by Tottenham whilst former Albion striker Chris Wood joined from West Brom in January.

LEI Off the line LEI Schlupp chance

It was the unlikely figure of Inigo Calderon who almost broke the deadlock early on, when he had an effort cleared off the Leicester goal line. Calderon made the smart run in the box to head Orlandi’s corner, but Danny Drinkwater was in the right place at the right time to clear off the line. Drinkwater had to improvise well, flicking out a right leg to keep it goalless.

Brighton were enjoying themselves in the first half, building up a momentum but not quite nabbing that breakthrough goal. David Lopez floated the ball across the box for the head of Leo Ulloa but the Argentine didn’t quite time his header right as it looped over the bar.

For all the possession and good spells Albion had, a warning sign was fired by Andy King when he crashed an effort against the bar after good work by Jeffrey Schlupp. And the two very nearly combined later on but the other way around, with King setting Schlupp free. Kuszczak raced out of his goal and, indeed, penalty area. As Kuszczak starfish jumped to try and block the potential shot with his body, the Leicester man slid his effort low. The goalie just about got a foot on it as he landed to prevent the inevitable goal and it remained without score at the break.

LEI James goal LEI LuaLua

Both King and Schlupp continued to look dangerous in the second period, forcing the Brighton stopper into action to prevent their efforts on goal. At the other end, some nice work from early sub LuaLua on the left provided Ulloa with a guilt edged chance just a few yards out. He wasn’t quite firing, as the touch was stabbed wide across the goal past the far post.

The goal soon did arrive, and it was the away team who scored it through Matthew James. A long throw-in from the near touchline alluded Wayne Bridge and just bounced off Matt Upson behind him. The loose ball was seized upon by James, who danced past Upson and the despairing lunge of Dean Hammond to create a sight of goal. His finish low into the bottom right hand corner of the net was too quick for Kuszczak as Leicester took the lead. Leicester went for the kill, bringing on sub strikers Chris Wood and Harry Kane, with the latter forcing Kuszczak into a decent save before Wood’s rebound was blocked.

As time began to run out, Brighton pulled a hugely important equaliser out of the bag from Kazenga LuaLua. As fellow substitute Vicente appealed for a penalty for a soft push, waved away by referee Jonathan Moss, LuaLua picked up the ball on the near side of the box. He took a couple of touches to dribble more centrally before blasting the ball for goal. It bounced just to the left of Kasper Schmeichel on the way through, with the ‘keeper visibly frustrated at not quite being able to reach. “It’s a big-time leveller for Brighton scored by Kazenga LuaLua”, came the call from commentator Dan O’Hagan.

LEI Oatway LEI Studio

An important point was secured with late drama on the South Coast. This result changed the Play Off picture, swinging back in Brighton’s favour and keeping the Foxes at bay. First team coach Charlie Oatway told afterwards of the take away from this draw and how scorelines hadn’t quite gone the way of the Albion recently; “We’ve had a couple of results away from home that we felt we should’ve got more points and this one could’ve been a lot more of a happier point than what we got.” Whilst Leicester’s Nigel Pearson spoke of how stalemates at this stage weren’t enough, they needed victories.

Leroy Rosenior in the studio thought a draw was about the right result. “If Brighton had come away with nothing, that would’ve been a travesty. They certainly deserved something. But it was a very nervy, disjointed game.” He was asked to evaluate the Albion’s season to this point, with them firmly in the Play Off shake up. Rosenior had nothing but praise; “You’ve got to remember where they’ve come from, how they’ve developed the club in terms of the stadium, everything that’s gone into that club. I think they’re above where they would’ve expected to be in their plan.”

Most Seagulls supporters would agree with that sentiment. Brighton went on to finish fourth in the Championship table and qualify for the Play Offs. Despite a well-earned goalless draw at Selhurst Park as we faced Crystal Palace once more, in the Second Leg it all fell apart and Gus Poyet’s tenure came to a bitter end shortly afterwards. However, with The Amex packed and rocking and a very talented squad assembled, the foundations had been laid for a bright future.


This is the second part looking back at Season 2012/2013. The first part is available HERE.

Small Screen Seagulls; 2012/13 Season part 1

Small Screen Seagulls LogoBrighton settled into life back in the second tier of English football, and at their new home in Falmer, with a very impressive campaign last time out. The Seagulls surprised most with their form as they narrowly missed out on a top six finish. But this season those Play Off places were a legitimate and realistic target. With Gus Poyet still at the helm and a squad full of talent, the mood was quietly confident on the South Coast. One of the improvements needed was to convert draws into wins. The Amex Stadium had been expanded to include an upper tier in the East Stand and further developments in the offing. It was a year that promised so much yet would all end in bitter tears.

Here are some of the features and coverage during the Albion’s highest placed finish for thirty years. Screenshots are provided from various clips of coverage by BBC Sport and Sky Sports. This is part one, the second part is HERE.


Craig Mackail-Smith phone interview

The Fantasy Football Club, Sky Sports 1 (28th September 2012)

FFC Titles FFC Hosts

For this season, Sky Sports introduced a new weekly programme on Friday evenings to replace football quiz Take It Like A Fan, called The Fantasy Football Club. This was based on the popular fantasy football game where competitors picked a ‘dream team’ comprised of players from a variety of top flight clubs. This studio show was again presented by John Fendley, AKA Fenners. Joining him was former Arsenal and England creative midfielder Paul Merson, part of the Soccer Saturday panel working with Jeff Stelling. The set was decorated out like a changing room and each week a guest would join them and a Live studio audience to talk through the game, their career and culminated by picking their ‘One2Eleven’; a starting line-up made of the best eleven they ever played with. As with most Sky magazine shows, there were also games, challenges and features to fill the hour, as well as a Fantasy Football Club scarf up for grabs for the viewer who picked the best fantasy team of the week.

Part of the show’s title sequence was filmed at The Amex, with them using the tunnel area before running out onto the turf. On Friday 28th September, Brighton’s Craig Mackail-Smith was interviewed on the phone to chat about his season so far. And, along with loan signing Wayne Bridge, he would be going head-to-head with Fenners and Merse in a round of the fantasy game. This was a regular feature, with the pair taking on Norwich’s John Ruddy and Anthony Pilkington the previous week. The Norwich duo scored more points which led Merson into the forfeit of wearing a full replica kit for the start of this week’s programme. They were also joined in the studio by West Ham midfielder Matt Taylor.

FFC Head to Head FFC Mackail-Smith on the phone

The phone interview kicked off with Mackail-Smith joking about how confident he was of beating the hosts after their recent form. Talk turned to a potential forfeit, with the striker offering Fenners the chance to come down to the Albion and train with the squad; “Maybe at the end stick you in goal and have a bit of shooting practice against you!”

Attention then turned to real life football, with Fenners reminding Mackail-Smith of the “dream start” this season; top of the Championship with Craig scoring six in seven so far. “I’m catching my target from last season quite quickly”, he said. Merson asked what had been different this year, to which Mackail-Smith responded; “Last season we kept the ball a lot and we didn’t really penetrate teams so well. I think this season with Bridgey and Bruno left and right wing back, we’re getting higher up the pitch and probing, getting more shots away.”

FFC Overhead kick FFC Oatway

They talked through his spectacular overhead goal against Burnley from the start of the month, where Albion went on to win three-one at Turf Moor. It was also pointed out during the celebration that Ashley Barnes got a bit carried away with the knee slide, careering straight into the goalscorer, giving him a bit of a dead leg in the process. They also discussed his rather unusual athletic prowess growing up; the pole vault. In typically modest fashion, he said; “I went and had a go and I wasn’t too bad at it and did it for three or four years”. On that note, the interview was concluded with results about the fantasy challenge to come the following week.

So, on Friday 5th October, Fenners was back to see which pairing came out on top. Points were awarded for players in the fantasy team that scored goals, provided assists and defensively for clean sheets, whilst yellow and red cards were punished as were goals conceded. The Brighton boys scored a total of eighty-two points between them, a whopping thirteen more than the hosts, meaning it was the Seagulls who defeated Sky in this challenge. First team coach Charlie Oatway, never one to stray away from the limelight, send the show a video message from the team bus implying they didn’t know what they were talking about and needed to “watch a proper game, like us.” He was right, Brighton’s season had begun so very well.

FFC Results


2

Brighton 0-1 Middlesbrough Report

The Football League Show, BBC One (20th October 2012); Championship

MID Titles MID Clem

BBC highlights programme The Football League Show returned for its fourth season, and the first of a new broadcast contract, for the 2012/2013 campaign. There were a couple of changes; where previously the BBC held ten Live Championship fixtures and three League Cup games, it was now just highlights for the next three seasons. For this late October edition, regular host Manish Bhasin was joined in the studio by pundit Leroy Rosenior. Reporter Mark Clemmit was dispatched to Brighton to get an insight into how things had progressed during this second Amex season, ahead of a visit from fellow promotion candidates Middlesbrough.

Last season the format was tweaked slightly to drop the, admittedly unnecessary, viewer emails and texts read out by the likes of Lizzie Greenwood-Hughes and Jacqui Oatley. This year saw further amendments. The theme tune was changed to now use an actual piece of music! Out went the drum beating, crowd noise style opening replaced by Snow Patrol’s In the End. The title sequence featured football freestylers doing tricks and flicks in front of a brick wall. The wall was decorated with various Football League bits and pieces which then flew from the wall to become highlight clips from years gone by before bringing us up to date. It was an improvement on the previous sequence, for sure.

MID Poyet MID Building site

Mark Clemmit’s report began with a quick reminder of Brighton’s stadium saga; saying it “shaped a generation of supporters who were as familiar with land wrangles as football formations.” With development work done over the summer to increase capacity of The Amex from around 22,000 up to more than 27,000 now, with a further increase by the end of the campaign to sit at an incredible 30,750. Such was the demand for tickets so early on, the folk of Sussex couldn’t get enough! With things never better off the field, Clem explained that the next challenge was to re-write the history books on it. “Since their formation in 1901, Brighton have been in the top flight for only four seasons.”

He spoke with manager Gus Poyet near the dugouts in the empty bowl, the calm before the matchday storm. They talked through the fantastic facilities and the change in such a short space of time to when they last were together on this site, two years ago during the construction stage. Poyet told, “Last year it was spectacular, great football days here. And then I found out we were putting an extra five, six-thousand seats and I’m thinking ‘More pressure for the manager!'” But he said he loved the pressure, as long as there were no upper limits to where it could take us; “If we don’t hit the roof, if there is no roof and we can always go and improve, then I will stay here for long.” That ‘roof’ word would come back round a couple more times during the campaign when Poyet spoke of frustrations.

MID Barber MID Fatboy Slim

Changes were made to the Albion at boardroom level during the summer of 2012 as Paul Barber was appointed Chief Executive. The businessman moved from North American side Vancouver Whitecaps, where he oversaw two stadium moves in a short space of time. Prior to that he was Tottenham’s Executive Director, running the club’s day to day operations for five years from the mid-noughties. Perhaps his highest profile, and most successful, job came at the English FA where he worked for over a decade as their Commercial Director. This was during highly controversial times; appointing England’s first foreign manager, rebuilding Wembley and moving international matches and Cup Finals all around the UK. He arrived in Sussex with an impressive CV. Speaking with Clemmit in the hospitality lounge, Barber confirmed planning permission had been granted for a state-of-the-art training ground in Lancing; the next step on the way to attracting and attaining the best young players.

One of the biggest criticisms when a club moves stadium or makes major changes it that the ‘soul’ of the club is lost. Superstar DJ, Seagulls supporter and Falmer campaigner Norman Cook, AKA Fatboy Slim, confirmed that was definitely not the case here. “It’s just got very bigger, very quickly. When we first got here, you had to pinch yourself, because we gone up the Division and were still playing well.”

MID Comm MID Goal

Next came the brief highlights from the match. Defeat on the opening day at Hull for the Albion followed an embarrassing Capital One Cup First Round exit to lower Division Swindon Live on Sky. Things were back on track by the end of August, with a five-one thumping of Barnsley which started a run of five consecutive victories. September ended with defeat at home to Birmingham to set off a three-match streak without a win, ahead of this clash with Middlesbrough. The Albion sat in fifth place at the start of the day, whilst Tony Mowbray’s ‘Boro were down in eleventh after a stop-start, inconsistent beginning.

Commentary was provided by Paul Walker. As well as commentating now, Walker was previously more familiar in a reporting role voicing the round-ups. He came from BBC Radio Sheffield where he hosted phone-in shows, Live football on Saturdays and covered other sports such as ice hockey and boxing.

The first piece of action shown was the goal, which arrived on twenty-one minutes through Marvin Emnes. The Dutchman was provided the ball on the right by Grant Leadbitter. He travelled ten yards forward to the corner of the penalty area, where he struck for goal. It took a huge deflection off Gordon Greer on the way through to wrong-foot summer signing Tomasz Kuszczak in goal, send the ball the other way and sneak in.

MID Full Time MID Studio

Brighton created several opportunities for the likes of Ashley Barnes, Will Buckley and Craig Mackail-Smith but they weren’t taken. ‘Boro goalie Jason Steele kept out a header from Barnes but Mackail-Smith really should have buried the rebound. Instead, he blazed over from five yards. Leadbitter tried one from range for the visitors which didn’t trouble Kuszczak too much but at the final whistle, it was the team in red who took all three points to leapfrog Brighton in the table.

Speaking with Clemmit after the game, Gus Poyet told of a couple of things his side needed to get used to if they were to go one further and make the Play Offs this time. As well as the increased crowds at home, Poyet said; “Second one is how the opposition is going to play here, how difficult they’re gonna make it for us.” Taking chances was crucial. Back in the studio in London, host Manish Bhasin surmised the team were being targeted for the success of late, whilst pundit Leroy Rosenior said “They’re being shown the respect they deserve. I saw them early on this season and was very impressed.” That result made it three home games in a row without a win for the Seagulls, as players adapted to the extra noise and pressure from the expectant crowd.


3

Blackpool 1-1 Brighton Highlights

The Football League Show, BBC One (27th October 2012); Championship

BLA Titles BLA Comm

The Albion were the featured match on The Football League Show the following Saturday, as the Seaside trip to Blackpool came calling. Host Manish Bhasin described it in the intro as; “Two ambitious clubs with realistic prospects of automatic promotion, but they share the same problem – lack of consistency.” Ian Holloway’s Blackpool finished fifth last year in their first campaign since Premier League relegation but ultimately lost in the Play Off Final to West Ham. After starting this season with four wins out of six, form dried up with five defeats from their last eight. The Albion followed up last Saturday’s Middlesbrough loss with a midweek defeat at Leicester to slide to ninth in the table and just a point above today’s hosts.

Steven Wyeth was the match commentator. Like Paul Walker, he was previously a long-standing local radio employee having worked at BBC Manchester since 2000 specialising in covering Manchester United. He went freelance in September to commentate across a wider variety including The Football League Show and European matches.

BLA Blackpool BLA Brighton

Blackpool welcome back French winger Elliott Grandin back for his first start in ten months, having joined Nice in January. He returned earlier this season but was left out altogether for the past five games and trained with the development squad for a perceived bad attitude. Striker Gary Taylor-Fletcher scored the club’s first ever Premier League goal on the opening day of the 2010/11 season. Attacking player Tom Ince started his career at Anfield but failed to break into the first team before moving to the Seaside in 2011. He’s the son of former England midfielder Paul Ince. There was a heavy Scottish presence in the side, with goalkeeper Matt Gilks, defenders Stephen Crainey and Kirk Broadfoot, making his home debut, and midfielder Matt Phillips all starters.

Gus Poyet made one change from the midweek defeat as Gary Dicker dropped to the bench for Dean Hammond to come in. Hammond returned to the Albion where he began his career after four years away, joining on a season-long loan from Southampton. Another loanee for the year was former England and Chelsea left-back Wayne Bridge, dropping down from Manchester City. Andrew Crofts also made a comeback to Sussex, re-joining from Norwich after two seasons. Right-back Bruno transferred in from Valencia on a free. Craig Mackail-Smith top scored with six thus far, whilst Ashley Barnes netted three. On the bench sat striker Stephen Dobbie, who had two loan spells with Blackpool in the last two years. He joined on transfer deadline day from Swansea.

BLA Barnes goal BLA Grandin goal

The early chances fell Blackpool’s way, with Kuszczak denying Ince and Taylor-Fletcher narrowly heading wide from a corner. Centre-half Alex Baptiste was in the thick of Brighton’s half too, trying a shot from long range which went wide of the target. The Albion offered very little in the first period and went in goalless at the break.

That changed eleven minutes into the second half when Ashley Barnes nabbed the scrappiest of goals. A long ball from Adam El-Abd on the halfway line was flicked into the area by Mackail-Smith to Crofts. In battle with Broadfoot, the ball bounced around the penalty box. Gilks came out of goal to claim but instead tangled with the pair and the ball broke loose. Standing next to them was Barnes who was able to instinctively stab home into the empty net from six yards.

The opportunities were still falling the home side’s way, with Ince guilty of missing a golden chance with the goal gaping five yards out. With father Paul watching on in the stands, Tom Ince couldn’t adjust his body to turn the ball home and instead scooped it over the bar. Brighton were soaking up a lot of pressure again. But with less than twenty minutes to go, the equaliser finally came. Elliott Grandin provided the home relief, diving in for a header six yards out to connect with Matt Phillips’ perfect delivery.

BLA Full Time BLA Claridge

Kuszczak had to fly around his goal to keep Grandin from scoring again a minute later as Blackpool didn’t want to rest on their laurels. Another great chance had to be denied when substitute Nathan Delfouneso failed to connect properly central to the goal. The stripes too had their moments, including an attempt at an overhead kick from Mackail-Smith. The bounce unfortunately took the ball up and over the crossbar. When the full-time whistle arrived, it was a relief that the Seagulls clung on to the draw, finishing one a piece.

Gus Poyet summed it up well by saying; “The effort was there, desire was there. Quality was missing today.” Ian Holloway was frustrated by the missed chances and the “calamitous” goal they conceded but was pleased with the domination overall. First choice FLS pundit Steve Claridge analysed the Albion approach in the studio; “They just slightly tinkered and changed the emphasis on the way that they play. I look at the midfield; Buckley who can play a little bit, then you’ve got Hammond, you’ve got Crofts, you’ve got Bridcutt who are all players who are renowned for their defensive qualities. So there’s a little bit of an emphasis change there… bit of resilience.” He pointed out that just nine goals conceded shows an improvement in that area.

Both this game and the Middlesbrough one highlighted the difficulties faced in the Championship. Despite outplaying the opposition, Brighton came away empty handed last week. This week, they got an undeserved point on their travels. If the Play Offs were to be reached this season, there needed to be an upturn in consistency and winning whilst on top.


4

Craig Mackail-Smith and Charlie Oatway on the sofas

Soccer AM, Sky Sports 2 (3rd November 2012)

SAM Titles SAM Hosts

Sky Sports Saturday morning football and entertainment show Soccer AM was by now in its eighteenth season, fantastic for a low budget satellite programme. From the 2008/09 season it was hosted by Max Rushden with Helen Chamberlain. The latter had been there since the first season back in 1995, working first with Russ Williams, Jane Hoffen and Gary Stevens before Tim Lovejoy took over and shaped what the show was to be recognised for. When Lovejoy left with most of the established crew including Fenners, Andy Goldstein came in for a season before ex-BBC London and radio presenter Rushden got the gig and had to move the show into a new dawn.

The show received an overhaul, with new graphics, titles and studio set as well as features and games. The duration was cut from three hours to two in 2010 in a bid to improve quality, now airing from 10am until midday. Entertainment always remained at the heart of it, with certain features standing the test of time, such as Taxi, Showboat, Third Eyes, Goals of the Week and the famous kicking the ball through a hole in the carpark, whilst others fell by the wayside as society moved away from the laddish nineties.

SAM Green Room SAM Walk On

On Saturday 3rd November, Brighton striker Craig Mackail-Smith and first team coach Charlie Oatway journeyed to Osterley in West London to Sky HQ to adorn the famous orange sofas. The last time Brighton had anyone from the club on this programme, Oatway was still a player and joined Nathan Jones and Leon Knight back in December 2004! Things had changed a lot since then. Now, with Albion playing the night before Live on Sky against Leeds, a rare Saturday off gave them the chance to join Max, Helen and the gang in the studio. Although, it was supposed to be Gus Poyet joining Oatway. He decided against it late on so sent Mackail-Smith instead. And completing the line-up were Suggs and Woody from the band Madness. The fans of Blackburn Rovers provided the noise in the Luther Blissett Stand, supported by a Live studio audience.

SAM Guests.JPG

Charlie Oatway’s cheeky nature was a good fit for a show like Soccer AM, where he could fit in with the mickey taking and show off. The previous night’s Leeds game was talked through, ending in a two-two draw with Mackail-Smith bagging both Brighton goals. Rushden said the Albion were “miles better” than their opponents, with Oatway adding “If it was a boxing match it would’ve been stopped”. Unfortunately Mackail-Smith saw his penalty saved to deny him the hat-trick and all three points. Having already scored from the spot earlier in the game, he was asked if it was mentally tough to take two penalties in a game. “Sometimes you change your mind, I thought I hit it really well.” Oatway joking; “Didn’t hit it well enough!”

SAM Leeds game SAM Studio

Having started the season so brightly in the first two months, form dropped off in October and the Albion pair were asked if that was a concern. Oatway batted it away saying performances were good; “I don’t think you really have to worry yourself, just keep going with what you’re doing and how the boys are playing.” Mackail-Smith’s form over the past eighteen months earned him a Scotland call up by manager Craig Levein, which Oatway also joked about. It backfired when Mackail-Smith enquired about Oatway’s international cap tally but, as always, the Londoner had the last laugh; “I’d rather none than play for Scotland!”

On a more serious and worthy note, they discussed Oatway’s testimonial year with the club. Having joined in 1999 from Brentford, he played for the Seagulls until 2007 before professional retirement. Then when Poyet was put in charge in late 2009, he rejoined the club on the coaching staff, with the combination of roles taking him to the tenth year with Brighton. With half of the earnings going towards Albion in the Community, the club’s charitable arm, he outlined what was in store; “We’ve got a game next year, we’ve got a golf day, we’ve got other events…”

SAM Bugs SAM Oatways Ordeals

He also explained the concept of ‘Oatway’s Ordeals’, in which he completed a series of challenges decided by a vote, all designed to play to his weaknesses and fears. He said he had fears of flying and being stranded in water, amongst others, so obviously they were going to be two of his challenges upcoming. Another was eating insects and, through the magic of television, Helen Chamberlain unveiled an ‘I’m A Celebrity’ style plate of bugs for him to try Live on the show. Mackail-Smith dived in to eat one first, before Oatway and Rushden joined. Suffice to say they didn’t recommend them to us. In return, Oatway’s testimonial events would be plugged on the Soccer AM website.

SAM Hairy Strikers SAM Sausage smashing

The main interview had concluded by the boys would stick around for the rest of the show. One of the Live studio sketches for the season was ‘The Hairy Strikers’, parodying its name from the Hairy Bikers television programme. The skit involved crew members Dave Morgan and Rocket Long dressed as hairy strikers Andy Carroll of West Ham and Everton’s Marouane Fellaini, as well as two of the sofa guests taking part in a game or challenge. For this edition falling during National Sausage Week, Craig Mackail-Smith and Suggs had to smash as many raw sausages with a mallet as they could in thirty seconds. And why not, all part of the fun.

SAM Carpark Game.JPG

The traditional culmination of the show took place outside in the Soccer AM car park with the end game featuring the Fans of the Week. The aim was always for them to kick a ball through a hole and score as many as possible within the allotted time. This season saw a variation on the format with five holes to choose from, as they had to progress in turn from the biggest – League Two – up through the Divisions to the smallest hole – the Champions League. After the fans had their go, it was the turn of the guests. Unfortunately for Suggs, Charlie Oatway was around and threw a football at his when he was about to strike. The Blackburn fans reached League One whilst none of the guests could get their effort on target. And once everyone was back inside, it was time to end another fun-packed programme as our Seagulls were once again in the TV spotlight.


This is the first part looking back at Season 2012/2013. The second part is available HERE.

Small Screen Seagulls; 2011/12 Season part 2

Small Screen Seagulls LogoAfter a sensational start to the first campaign at our magnificent new home which saw Albion lead the Championship table in September, form dipped in the autumn with no wins in October. Following the Southampton defeat as featured in part one, Brighton won three League games in a row to send the Seagulls hovering around the edge of the Play Off places. A dreadful December saw four consecutive losses before a fantastic return to form in the New Year. This included knocking out Premier League Newcastle in Round Four of the FA Cup before bowing out to Liverpool for the second time in the Cups this season. As we entered the closing months, a place in the Play Offs was a real possibility. They couldn’t, could they?!

Here are snippets of some of the features and coverage of the Albion during that homecoming season. Screenshots are provided from various clips of coverage by BBC Sport and Sky Sports. This is part two, the first part is HERE.


Brighton 2-0 Portsmouth Highlights

The Football League Show, BBC One (10th March 2012); Championship

POR Titles POR Comm

Since the turn of the year, Brighton were unbeaten in eleven League games ahead of this clash with Portsmouth as the club climbed back up from mid-table to sit in seventh. Pompey however were having a terrible time. They were rock bottom of the Division and on the verge of financial ruin, thankfully granted a reprieve by the League in the days leading up to this match. BBC highlights programme The Football League Show chose the South Coast clash as one of the featured matches.

This edition was presented by the usual host, Manish Bhasin. He gave up the Football Focus gig to lead the BBC’s Football League coverage when they gained rights to the three Division in 2009, their first time broadcasting this level since 1991. Alongside him was Leroy Rosenior, the former West Ham striker turned pundit. He was a familiar face to fans of both Brighton and Portsmouth with his work on magazine show Late Kick Off in the BBC South region. Commentating on the match was John Roder. He too was familiar to the Southern clubs with longer memories, as he was ITV Meridian’s lead commentator between 1997 and 2003 before moving on to Eurosport’s Serie A matches then BBC Match of the Day.

POR Brighton POR Portsmouth

Gus Poyet brought three players into the club on loan during the January transfer window, they all started this match. Up front, Sam Vokes of Premier League Wolves made the switch until the end of the season, having not started for his parent club all campaign. He scored on his full home debut as the points were shared with Millwall a month ago. Vokes was preferred ahead of summer capture Craig Mackail-Smith. West Brom allowed two of their players to gain first-team football in Falmer, signing defenders Joe Mattock and Gonzalo Jara Reyes until June. The latter already had a spell here this season, featuring from October until Christmas before being briefly recalled by the Baggies. The Chilean already had more than fifty international caps to his name. Joe Mattock actually had a loan spell earlier in the season with today’s visitors, making seven appearances.

The visitors were managed by Michael Appleton in his first permanent role. They exited both Cup competitions at the first hurdle and had just the two away victories to date, coming at Burnley and Peterborough. Brighton won one-nil at Fratton Park back in August, with Mackail-Smith netting the winner. Among Portsmouth’s key men today, Greg Halford was a summer signing from Wolves, as was new captain Jason Pearce who moved from Bournemouth. With finances stretched to the limits, regular goalkeeper Stephen Henderson was about to be sent on an emergency loan to West Ham in a desperate bid to cut the wage bill. Seventeen-year-old academy graduate defender Adam Webster filled a place on the bench, having made just three sub appearances to date. Mike Dean was the referee.

POR Vicente sub POR Vicente 1st goal

The first half was one of few chances for either side. Sam Vokes tried to nip in and round goalkeeper Jamie Ashdown after a defensive mix up saw him intercept a backpass from Pearce. It was to no avail. At the other end, Gordon Greer and Peter Brezovan tried their best to help Portsmouth’s situation by gifting them possession on the edge of the box. Scott Allan chipped his effort just over the bar. An almighty scramble in first half stoppage time nearly saw Brighton take the lead but for some resolute defending to ensure it was goalless at the break.

Joe Mattock was the unlikely man the ball dropped to at the back stick in the second half following a Liam Bridcutt cross. Mattock’s shot was deflected onto the post through the goalkeeper’s legs. The game changing moment was the introduction of former Valencia star Vicente. His fancy footwork twenty-five yards out was enough to bamboozle the Pompey defence and bring him down in a dangerous position. The winger got up to take the kick and struck it brilliantly, low and hard into to bottom-right of Ashdown’s goal (above, right). Albion had the lead with a quarter of an hour to play. Gus Poyet’s way of celebrating this was to turn and face up towards the director’s box to make a money gesture with his hands (below, left), frustrated with the budgetary constraints.

POR Poyet money gesture POR Vicente 2nd goal

In stoppage time, sub Kazenga LuaLua battled excellently on the near touchline firstly to hold up the ball to waste time. Then secondly, win the ball back from a tussle with Tal Ben-Haim. He galloped into the penalty area to lay it off to that man Vicente. The ball was very slightly behind him but that did not matter to a man in possession of thirty-eight caps for Spain. He adjusted his position to swing that magical left foot back and hook in a second goal to seal a hard earned three points for the Seagulls.

In his post-match interview, Poyet praised the match winner for coming back strong after injury problems blighted much of his first season in Sussex; “Without any doubt he was the difference because it was a difficult game, close, not too many chances. You needed a bit of quality and Vicente’s got that.” Back in the studio, Leroy Rosenior outlined why Brighton need Vicente to stay fit and how they haven’t quite seen the best of him yet; “Having only played seven games this season, Gus is desperate to get him on the pitch. He has got great quality and he’s got a great left foot.” The win sent Brighton up to fifth in the Championship with ten matches remaining.

POR Full Time POR Studio


2

Long Drive Golf challenge with Sam Vokes and Craig Mackail-Smith

Football League Weekend, Sky Sports 1 (16th March & 27th April 2012)

FLW Titles FLW Everton

As part of Sky Sports’ build up to the three Divisions of the nPower League, every Friday evening they broadcast preview programme Football League Weekend from Sky Studios. The magazine show had goal round-ups, interviews, previews and features packed into a one hour slot, hosted by George Gavin. He’d been involved in Sky’s Football League output heavily since they regained the rights from ITV Digital in 2002, first fronting the coverage as main host and more latterly as the face and voice of the magazine programming in the studio.

The show used a pool of reporters to get the interviews up and down the country, most of whom were Sky Sports News regulars. These included the likes of Peter Stevenson, David Craig, Jonathan Oakes, Mark McAdam and Tony Lockwood. During the 2011/2012 season, another name was added to the fold; Chloe Everton. She first found fame whilst appearing as a contestant on the third series of Channel 4 reality show Shipwrecked broadcast in late 2001. She went on to do some presenting work on satellite channels before joining Sky Sports in the summer of 2007. Everton presented on Sky Sports News, mostly in the Good Morning Sports Fans slot, and co-hosted phone-in show You’re on Sky Sports firstly with Gary Newbon and now Jason Cundy when that relaunched with a new set a couple of years back.

FLW Vokes FLW Mackail-Smith

FLW Golf challenge FLW Laptop

One of the features on the programme this year was a footballers’ golf challenge called Long Drive, hosted by Chloe Everton. There was a long standing link between footballers and enjoying golf in their spare time. The aim of this challenge was simply to find out which of the Championship strikers could hit a golf ball the furthest. On Friday 16th March, it was the turn of two of the Albion forwards; Sam Vokes and Craig Mackail-Smith.

The game involved a real life golf shot taken on the course and relied upon computer technology to measure the distance of the drive with software on the laptop. A leaderboard was kept in order to determine which of the Championship strikers was the best driver of a golf ball. It was also a good excuse to interview a couple of footballers in a more relaxed environment than your straightforward sit down chat.

FLW Vokes shot FLW Vokes distance

FLW Mackail-Smith shot FLW Mackail-Smith distance

The pair chatted about the season so far, as just ten League matches remained. They both praised the efforts of the squad, particularly the recent unbeaten run to climb into the Play Off places. Mackail-Smith was excited by the prospects of the run-in; “Everyone’s enjoying training and looking forward to every game. The next four of five games we’ve got are a few teams around us which will shape our season. But everyone’s loving life and when the sun comes out it’s a nice place to be.”

On loan Wolves striker Sam Vokes was first to take up the challenge. He said he played off a handicap of eighteen, two more than that of Craig Mackail-Smith. The lowest scores were Watford’s Lee Hodson with 195 yards and Bristol City’s Brett Pitman on 196, and ahead of the game that was the Seagulls minimum target to beat; don’t come last! After a few attempts each, it was clear they weren’t going to be languishing near the foot of the board. In fact, Vokes recorded an effort of 303 to climb into second position overall. Before his strike partner went even further with a colossal drive of 324 yards. Mackail-Smith’s faux-surprise tried to suggest he “didn’t even catch that right.” He most definitely did, sending the ball flying further than anyone else.

FLW Leaderboard FLW Top ten

With only a handful of shows remaining, this was a chance for the Albion pair to secure their places at the top of the leaderboard. The likes of Derby, Burnley, Reading and Doncaster had already submitted their efforts. It was Barnsley’s Matt Done who lead the way ahead of Brighton’s go; achieving a score of 307, the only man to go above the three-ton mark before today. With Sam Vokes effort of 303 yards and Craig Mackail-Smith’s 324, both Albion strikers joined Done in that exclusive club. We were used to him running and running on the pitch, covering the length of the pitch. Turns out Mackail-Smith could also do it on the golf course. They would have to go some to dislodge the Scot from his lofty perch.

FLW Studio FLW Remaining Fixtures

Back in the studio, host George Gavin was joined by recently departed Sheffield Wednesday manager Gary Megson. Upon watching Mackail-Smith’s drive, Megson remarked “I don’t go that far on my holidays!” He was clearly a big fan of the Albion number twelve, going on to say; “If there was one player who I could sign outside the Premiership it would be that Mackail-Smith. Terrific player.” The studio pair then discussed Brighton’s form and upcoming fixtures in the hunt to secure a top six finish. Megson put things into context; “Given the fact they came up last year and if somebody had said to them where they would be at this stage of the season, they’d certainly take that. Wherever they finish, it’s been a great season.” They cited Norwich doing a double promotion in the previous two campaigns and the importance of momentum to promotion charges.

FLW CMS vs Pro FLW Trophy presentation

On Friday 27th April, ahead of the final game of the season, Football League Weekend wrapped up the final standings of the Long Drive challenge. Nobody had managed to trouble the top three since Brighton claimed two of those spots a month or so earlier. Therefore Craig Mackail-Smith claimed the prize of top Championship striker with the longest golfing drive at a fantastic 324 yards. Sam Vokes remained in third spot. Chloe Everton revisited Mackail-Smith for one further challenge before presenting him with the overall trophy. They were joined on the course by the UK’s longest driver, professional golfer Adam Stacey.

Mackail-Smith was no match for the pro, as Stacey recorded an effort of 405 yards. He even managed to hit a good couple of hundred once on his knees and another time using just a putter. He was showboating. Upon accepting his trophy in front of an invited crowd including his manager Gus Poyet and his father-in-law the ex-Peterborough boss Barry Fry, Mackail-Smith joked it was “the best award I’ve ever won”. In the studio that week were George Gavin and Peter Beagrie, who briefly touched upon the Albion’s season as a whole. Beagrie commented, “Massively overachieved and what a brilliant debut season in that fantastic stadium. After promotion last year, they’ve been amazing”. Kind words, indeed.


3

Interview with Vicente and Inigo Calderon

Late Kick Off, BBC One South East (2nd April 2012)

LKO2 Titles LKO2 Walker

Dating back to the beginnings of ONdigital in 1998, which went onto be the ill-fated ITV Digital and then Freeview, the digital switchover project had been ongoing in the UK ever since. In a bid to convert analogue terrestrial television broadcasting to digital terrestrial by the end of 2012, changes were made to the way viewers received free television channels. As part of this, in March 2012 the Brighton and Hove area saw their BBC region switched from South to South East. This impacted BBC regional programming, with ITV Meridian unchanged.

Consequently, the region now received BBC South East Today as their local bulletin instead of BBC South Today, whilst the regional football magazine programme came from London and the South East. Albion fans would no longer be grouped with the likes of Bristol City and Exeter, but now with Millwall, Crystal Palace, West Ham, Charlton, Crawley, Stevenage, Aldershot, Gillingham, QPR, Brentford, Watford, Wimbledon, Barnet, Leyton Orient, Wycombe and Dagenham and Redbridge.

LKO2 Studio LKO2 Bright

Football Focus host Dan Walker presented the programme for its 2012 run, usually alongside former Crystal Palace striker and BBC pundit Mark Bright. For this edition Walker was joined by former QPR midfielder Marc Bircham and Crawley boss Steve Evans. The show, broadcast on Monday 2nd April 2012, saw Bright travel to The Amex to hear from two of Albion’s influential players of late; Spanish pair Inigo Calderon and Vicente. For Vicente, his grasp of the English language was not the best so it was an added bonus to be playing alongside a fellow compatriot in Calderon. He also acted as translator for this interview, conducted in the padded seats of the West Stand.

LKO2 Vicente and Calderon.JPG

Vicente was first asked about the differences between La Liga, where he arrived from last summer, and the English Championship. He answered by saying “In Spain, the players are better technically but here in England, it’s more physical, more aggressive.” He explained he had always expressed a desire to play in this country and after speaking with Gus Poyet, Vicente was sold on the club’s ambition. He admitted there were other opportunities in Spain but had no regrets about his choice on the South Coast.

Poyet paid his tributes to the star man too; “He makes this team stronger, when we attack he makes this team different. Because when he’s on the ball, everything can happen.” Inigo Calderon was asked about the ‘promotion’ word, where he was in confident mood of sustaining the fourth or fifth position currently held. Vicente added they were in a good place for it despite not having the budget others enjoyed. As for his future in Sussex, Vicente didn’t yet know but did express he was happy to stay, happy with his contract, the club and embracing life in Brighton.

LKO2 Vicente quote LKO2 Vicente shirt

Back in the studio, guest Steve Evans complimented the job Poyet was doing with the Seagulls; “He’s a football purist… he wants them to play in a style which gets the ball down and play.” The presentation team then talked through the goals from the weekend’s one-all draw at home to Middlesbrough, which saw Calderon nod home the equaliser from a Kazenga LuaLua corner. Pundit Marc Bircham didn’t think Calderon would “adjust to the English style of play in the lower Leagues” when he first arrived but admitted his opinion had since been changed completely. Brighton were leading the renaissance of the South Coast teams, with Evans expecting them to be a Premier League club in the very near future.


4

West Ham 6-0 Brighton Highlights

The Football League Show, BBC One (14th April 2012); Championship

WHAM Titles WHAM Fisher

After the Portsmouth victory placed the club in the top six, it was followed up with just one further win all season. Two draws then two defeats in a row saw the Play Off places head out of their own hands. With four matches remaining, this trip to promotion chasers West Ham would be a big chance to gain some ground on those above them. Win and the dream is still alive, lose and that’s pretty much the season done and dusted. The Hammers hadn’t won at Upton Park since February though, as their automatic push fell a little flat.

As you would expect, the BBC picked this game to feature on their highlights programme The Football League Show. The main pairing of Manish Bhasin and Steve Claridge presented the action, with commentary from Martin Fisher.

WHAM West Ham WHAM Brighton

Gus Poyet had Liam Bridcutt back in the side after serving suspension for his tenth booking of the campaign. Left-back Marcos Painter returned for the first time after three months out injured. A new name on the sheet was Gai Assulin, signed on loan from Manchester City in mid-February as part of a double deal with Abdul Razak until the end of the season. Assulin was preferred to ten goal Craig Mackail-Smith who hadn’t netted since 3rd March.

Sam Allardyce named Henri Lansbury in the starting line-up for the first time in a month. Striker Ricardo Vaz Te was in great form, having scored five in his previous four games. Captain Kevin Nolan scored the decisive goal at The Amex in the reverse fixture back in October, a match which was televised Live on Sky Sports. Taking charge of the Upton Park clash was referee Roger East.

WHAM Vaz Te opener WHAM Nolan three nil

On the day that Neptune Collonges won the last Grand National to be televised Live on the BBC, this match was very much a one horse race right from the off. The warning sign came immediately when Lansbury’s deflected shot looped over Peter Brezovan and onto the bar in the first minute. The Slovakian goalkeeper didn’t cover himself in the third minute either, as Ricardo Vaz Te’s ferocious strike from thirty yards sailed through his arms and in for one-nil. Brighton were under severe pressure and needed their ‘keeper to up his game, which he did in the following few minutes making two vital blocks. But the Hammers were not stopping there and Vaz Te doubled the advantage with less than eight minutes on the clock. His head connected with the deep cross and beat Brezovan low to his right.

Incredibly, it was three-nil just three minutes after that as West Ham went all out to obliterate the Albion within the opening passages of play. “Brighton have not turned up, this is already embarrassing,” cried commentator Martin Fisher. The marking was slack from Matt Taylor’s floated free kick. James Tomkins headed it back across goal and captain Kevin Nolan was waiting on his own to tap home into the roof of the net from all of three yards. It was a shocking start from the Seagulls, conceding three very early goals in the net right in front of the travelling support. The attack calmed down somewhat as the half progressed but by that point it was already too late to recover. Gordon Greer had an effort clawed off the goal line when it looked suspiciously over, but it would have been little reward. The deficit remained three at the break.

WHAM Vaz Te spectacular WHAM Own goal

Seventeen minutes into the second half, the West Ham onslaught continued with two quickfire goals in three minutes. Their fourth of the afternoon was the pick of the bunch, as Ricardo Vaz Te completed his hat-trick in spectacular fashion. Taylor’s cross to the back post was headed into the centre by Carlton Cole. Appeals for a penalty when Liam Bridcutt appeared to bundle over Lansbury were waved away. But it didn’t matter as the ball bounced for Vaz Te to try a bicycle kick. It absolutely flew into the back of the net for one of the finishes of the season.

When it’s not your day, the luck goes against you. It certainly didn’t go our way for West Ham’s fifth. Carlton Cole drove into the box from the left, skipped past one defender before unleashing a fierce drive. But the ball skipped up off the heels of Lansbury as he tried to get out of the way. The deflection gave Brezovan no chance as he was already committed on the ground. That was the final straw for large sections of the away support, who headed for the exits to the pub early enough to still catch the Grand National race.

Continuing on the hard luck theme, the sixth and final goal was an own goal from Gary Dicker. Mark Noble’s in swinging corner could only find Dicker just inside his own six yard box. As he tried to volley clear, he got his timing all wrong. Attempting to boot it with his right, he missed the ball completely and it bounced into the back of the net off his standing left leg. It completed a day of abject misery for the Albion, and it was somewhat fortunate to get away with just the six.

WHAM Full Time WHAM Studio

Brighton’s heaviest defeat since the seven-one humiliation at Huddersfield in August 2009 under Russell Slade put pay to the Play Off hopes this time. Albion were five points off the top six with just three matches remaining. We went so near, yet so far. But what a return to the second tier of English football. Gus Poyet knew the West Ham game plan would be to try and press and try to win it in the first twenty minutes but didn’t deal with it. “A big question that we need to ask ourselves if it was because we have a bad day or because we were not strong enough.”

In the studio, one time Seagull Steve Claridge explained how to shape up against his former side. “There are two ways of playing Brighton; you can sit off them and let them play out from the back and let them dictate the play. Or you can get after them right from the very start.” Sam Allardyce opted for the latter with unstoppable consequences, with Claridge saying it could’ve been five in the opening twenty. This was an unusual result for the club, having kept a tight ship all year. Too many draws in the final weeks of the season cost Brighton a Play Off place, but the supporters couldn’t grumble too much after making such fantastic strides at The Amex. Next season was shaping up to be a cracker.


5

Report on The Amex bucking the trend of dwindling attendances

Late Kick Off, BBC One South East (23rd April 2012)

LKO3 Titles LKO3 Gupta

BBC Late Kick Off in London and the South East region featured a report on attendances at Football League matches. Host Dan Walker began, “Football would be nothing without the fans but these days it’s rare to see a packed stadium outside of the Premier League.” He then handed to Rajeev Gupta’s report detailing some of the challenges clubs faced in with their fanbase in times of austerity. Gupta was a broadcast journalist and producer for the BBC, working across various outlets including this regional magazine programme, having joined the corporation out of university four years earlier.

His report centred around two of the London and South East region clubs with contrasting fortunes; Brighton and Millwall. At The Amex, attendances couldn’t be better. The stadium was packed every week and plans had been given the go ahead already to extend the capacity to include filling in corners and adding in an upper tier to the East Stand. Three-thousand plus people were on the season ticket waiting list. But the Albion were very much an anomaly. “Football League attendances as a whole have been falling and that’s meant some clubs have had to come up with new ways to try and bring fans into grounds”, Gupta explained.

LKO3 Dix LKO3 Ambler

The report used a stadia consultant by the name of John Dix to add context to the worrying trend of dwindling support. “When you start drilling down a bit lower, what you see is the Premiership is quite insulated – not surprisingly. But it’s when you go to Championship and Leagues One and Two that you start to see some of the fans maybe drifting away there.”

We then heard from representatives for Millwall, who had the lowest average gate of any of the London sides in the Championship. Andy Ambler, their Chief Executive, shared some of the schemes they were getting behind in order to win back those fans whose interest may have lessened in recent times. The family section had changed with a concerted effort made to bring in more from the community to that part of the stadium. Things such as food options and overall facilities had been tweaked to appeal more to the whole family.

LKO3 Fans LKO3 Hebberd

John Dix outlined some of the key things clubs should be doing in order to attract higher attendances. He said they needed to understand exactly who their supporters are, where they would draw them from and target them specifically. “We see some clubs who put out a lot of information but it’s focussed at one key group; the diehard fans who will come week in, week out anyway. It’s about looking at the occasional fan.” The impact of a new stadium can benefit clubs hugely, expanding the fanbase and providing introductory offers that then convert people from newbies to regulars. Something Brighton was managing very nicely.

The Albion’s COO Richard Hebberd discussed how the club were encouraging people to make a day of it, rather than just coming for those two hours from three o’clock. The stadium opening hours were extended on matchdays, with turnstiles up two hours before kick-off. More importantly though, certainly as far as revenue was concerned, it was after the match that was proving popular. One of the areas of The Amex was open until eleven on the matchday of filming. Hebberd said, “They’re entitled to feel they’re being well treated… At the end of the day, people will spend money on something that’s good.” Seagulls supporters certainly could not grumble too much about that first season in Falmer. The club missed out on the Play Offs, what a ride it was along the way. But the only thing that ever mattered was getting into that home we could call our own. Now, for many more wonderful years to come!


This is the second part looking back at Season 2011/2012. The first part is available HERE.

Small Screen Seagulls; 2011/12 Season part 1

Small Screen Seagulls LogoThe 2011/2012 campaign was a landmark season for Brighton and Hove Albion. After a seemingly never-ending battle to secure planning permission for a new stadium, that dream was finally realised when the American Express Community Stadium in Falmer was opened in the summer of 2011. Brighton had come home to a stadium they could call their own for the first time since the Goldstone Ground was sold and demolished in 1997. The ‘temporary’ abode of the Withdean Stadium, complete with athletics track and unsheltered seating, ended up being home for eleven seasons! As successful as the team were during that period, with three titles and a Play Off Final victory, this new stadium would be the catalyst for even greater success.

Here are snippets of some of the features and coverage of the Albion during that homecoming season. Screenshots are provided from various clips of coverage by BBC Sport and Sky Sports. This is part one, the second part is HERE.


Away Days visit to Brighton

Soccer AM, Sky Sports 1 (20th August 2011)

SAM Soccer AM titles SAM Away Days

Sky Sports long-running Saturday morning entertainment show Soccer AM, hosted by Max Rushden and Helen Chamberlain, had a popular comedy feature called Away Days. In this, crew member Adam Smith played the part of ‘Franky Fryer’, a Danny Dyer spoof character who visited a new stadium each time and took in some of the local sights and sounds as if a visiting supporter on a day away. The mannerisms and language used parodied Dyer’s presenting style on football hooligan documentaries such as The Real Football Factories. The character aped Dyer’s use of cockney rhyming slang and exaggerated speech, with a trademark catchphrase “Keep me nut down!”

SAM Pier SAM Sealife centre SAM Laughter therapy SAM Stadium

In Franky Fryer’s visit to Brighton, he arrived at the station to learn that the new stadium isn’t technically in Brighton, but instead nearby Falmer. He moved down to see the famous Palace Pier, “standing for over one hundred years man and boy”, and along the seafront and pebble beach. A quick visit to the Sealife Centre followed, apparently “the world’s oldest operating aquarium”. Fryer liked to take in the weird and wonderful parts of a city so a trip to the Laughter Centre for some laughter therapy was in order. How very Brighton. Before long he had stumbled across the fields adjacent to the stadium in Falmer.

SAM Dicks Bar SAM In the stands

The supporter’s bar, named Dick’s Bar after former chairman Dick Knight, located at the back of the North Stand and adjacent to the club shop was “my sort of place” according to Fryer. He made his way round to the other side of the ground for the culmination of the piece; the South Stand away end.  He remarked upon the padded seats in all four stands of the magnificent stadium as we saw the view visiting supporters are treated to. The final shot panned out to reveal the entire South Stand, sat to the right of the impressive three-tiered West Stand and opposite the vocal home support from the North Stand. The stadium had only been open a matter of weeks by the time of Soccer AM’s visit, so it was all shiny and new. Away fans as well as, of course, Brighton fans were in for a treat when they visited England’s newest Football League ground upon opening in the summer of 2011.


2

Quiz Show from The Amex for Brighton 2-2 Blackpool

Take It Like A Fan, Sky Sports 1 (26th August 2011)

TILAF Titles TILAF Hosts

Sky Sports Friday night football quiz show Take It Like A Fan returned for a second season during 2011/2012. Presented by former Soccer AM crew member and Soccer Saturday interviewer John Fendley, AKA Fenners, and Bianca Westwood, current Soccer Saturday reporter. Westwood became a permanent fixture on the show this season having covered last year when previous co-host Charlotte Jackson was absent. The programme was presented entirely on location at a football stadium around the country with the premise of giving away cash for correct answers to a range of football-based questions and games. The show visited Withdean Stadium back in January, as chronicled on the blog post In the Spotlight. Today, the seaside special was the centrepiece, as Blackpool were the visitors to The Amex.

TILAF The Possession Game TILAF Home or Away

The first feature was called ‘The Possession Game’. In this, one fan would answer a quiz question, get it correct he kept ‘possession’ of the £500 cash prize. Get it wrong however, and he’d hand the money over to his opponent. The person in possession after the fifth and final question would then go on to take a penalty at half-time in the Blackpool match where if successful would keep that £500. Albion supporters Simon and Danny took on the game. Questions included “What nationality is Manchester City’s Edin Dzeko?” and “Who’s won more FA Cups – Manchester United or Arsenal?” The all-important poser (shown in the screenshot above, left) was answered incorrectly by Danny, giving Simon the opportunity to win the cash at half-time, shown later in the show.

The next game was the more familiar ‘Home or Away’ premise; home questions would be about Brighton and win you a tenner, or for fifty pounds you could choose an away question on Blackpool. Brighton fan Richie maximised his earnings by selecting to go away for all three questions. Questions here included, “As a player, which of these clubs didn’t Blackpool boss Ian Holloway have a spell at – Wimbledon, Luton or Brentford?”, and “Who was Blackpool’s top scorer in the Premier League last season?” He answered two of the three correctly and decided to choose the double or quits option (shown in the screenshot above, right). Answering incorrectly, he lost the one-hundred pounds he accumulated.

TILAF Birds Eye View TILAF Brighton players

Another Brighton fan competing was Ben, who previously appeared on MasterChef. For today’s TV appearance he took part in the game ‘Bird’s Eye View’, where you had to identify football stadiums from an aerial shot. Each correct answer was rewarded with ten pounds. Helped along the way by Fenners, Ben scored eleven earning him £110 in sixty seconds. He too took the double or quits option but fared better than Richie by guessing the home of Liverpool correctly.

Brighton trio Gary Dicker, Craig Noone and Steve Cook took part in a special round of ‘Fenners’ Tenners’, answering as many questions correctly inside half-a-minute as possible. First team coach Charlie Oatway was on stopwatch duty. Questions included, “What is Ashley Barnes’ squad number at Brighton?”, “Who did Brighton sign Craig Mackail-Smith from?” and “Who play their home games at Roots Hall?” The boys achieved nine correct, largely thanks to Gary Dicker. Their question to double the pot to £180 was as follows; “Which player committed the most fouls in the Premier League last season – Kevin Davies or Cheick Tiote?” Watch the video below to see how they got on.

TILAF Poyet TILAF Full Time

With kick off approaching and the players warming up, Bianca Westwood chatted to manager Gus Poyet in the dugout. He gave his thoughts on the excellent unbeaten start to the season as well as the magnificent new surroundings. “It’s been great, difficult to keep everybody calm!” the Uruguayan began. On the stadium and new League this season he added, “It’s perfect. We need it, it was the aim last year. It wasn’t easy but we are here and now we are enjoying the Championship and doing well.” She also spoke with veteran Blackpool striker Kevin Phillips before and after the match, as he entered the final spell of his playing career.

The goals and key chances from the afternoon’s match were shown, set to music. Craig Mackail-Smith opened the scoring with a header on half an hour. Ashley Barnes tapped home a second goal five minutes into the second period as Albion enjoyed the summer sunshine. But Kevin Phillips headed one back after the hour mark to ensure a nervy finish. And in stoppage time the goalscoring great bagged a great goal to equalise and rescue a point with a superbly executed volley on the turn.

TILAF Half Time TILAF Penalty

During the half-time interval, Simon from earlier on in the show faced goalkeeper Dan in a penalty kick. Score it and Simon would pocket the £500 from ‘The Possession Game’ but miss and he’d go away empty handed. Simon kept his cool and slotted the penalty away well, in front of the North Stand crowd.

The final game of the programme was with Blackpool fan and the godson of Manchester United assistant Mike Phelan, Liam. He played ‘Fenners’ Tenners’, scoring an impressive thirteen correct in the minute. He also managed to answer in full sentences rather than just the right answer! To double up to £260, he had to answer the following; “Which stadium has the smallest capacity in the Premier League – Loftus Road or Liberty Stadium?” The West London ground earned him the big money to cap off a very fun show.


3

Brighton 0-0 Sunderland (1-0 AET) Highlights

The League Cup Show, BBC One (24th August 2011); Carling Cup Round Two

CCUP Titles CCUP Comms

The games came thick and fast in the opening weeks of the Football League season and by the end of August we were already at the second stage of the League Cup. BBC held highlight broadcast rights to the competition, producing a midweek round up show on the Wednesday night. Imaginatively titled The League Cup Show, the studio and set up was the same as Saturday night highlights programme The Football League Show that began for the 2009/10 season. It was hosted by former Football Focus presenter Manish Bhasin. Joining him for this edition was pundit and former West Ham and Fulham striker Leroy Rosenior. One of the featured matches tonight was the Albion’s clash with Sunderland. Commentary was provided by Match of the Day regular Martin Fisher.

CCUP Teams

Brighton reached the Second Round of the Carling Cup by defeating their old landlord, Gillingham, in Round One. Ashley Barnes from the penalty spot was the decider that night. It set up a clash with Premier League side Sunderland at The Amex. Steve Bruce’s team were yet to win either of their top flight matches; drawing one and losing the other. By contrast, the Albion were unbeaten in their opening five games, winning all but one – the two-two draw with Blackpool last time out. Victory in these opening three matches was the club’s best start since the 1953/54 season.

Gus Poyet made two changes for tonight’s clash, as midfielders Gary Dicker and Romain Vincelot dropped out, replaced by Alan Navarro and Ryan Harley. The latter was making his debut having signed from Swansea the previous day. Steve Bruce swapped out three of his Sunderland players that lost to rivals Newcastle at the weekend. In came new goalkeeper Kieran Westwood for his Black Cats debut, and midfielders David Vaughan and Craig Gardner; all summer signings. The referee was Andy D’Urso.

CCUP Post CCUP Dive incident

The five-minute highlights edit began with a great chance for Sunderland after Kazenga LuaLua was caught out in his own penalty area. Thankfully, Stephane Sessegnon couldn’t provide a finish. He was also denied from long range by Casper Ankergren later in the half. Craig Mackail-Smith was at the heart of all Brighton’s attacking play at the other end, with two efforts on goal causing problems. He was denied by Westwood with the first and shot over for the second. It was goalless at the break.

The best chance arrived in the second half when Mackail-Smith was sent clear through an excellent long-range pass from Liam Bridcutt. The striker sprung the offside trap to find himself one-on-one with Westwood (above, left). Unfortunately, the shot bounced onto the post, back across the goal line and out. So close! The big talking point came when Inigo Calderon of all people found himself galloping into the area. Goalie Kieran Westwood raced out and appeared to bring the Spaniard down for a penalty (above right). The referee blew his whistle but signalled the other way, booking Calderon for a dive. It looked like a close call, with commentator Martin Fisher adamant there was contact; “The right boot of Westwood on the left boot of Calderon. It’s a huge escape for Westwood and Sunderland.” Sunderland too had a couple of half-chances but Ankergren stood firm and it finished after ninety minutes at nil-nil.

CCUP Goal CCUP Full Time

The match had to be decided on the night so on to Extra Time we went. Within six minutes, Brighton had the breakthrough and it was the tireless Craig Mackail-Smith who notched it. Scouse duo Craig Noone and Alan Navarro linked up on the near side to send the latter on down the right-hand side of the box. He hit an instinctive cross up towards the back post which was perfect for Mackail-Smith. Last season’s highest goalscorer in the country added another to his new club’s tally with a header back across from inside the six-yard area. There was nothing Sunderland could do about that one and you couldn’t say the Seagulls didn’t deserve it. The Black Cats found no answer and suffered an early exit to the competition as the stripes of Brighton went marching on.

CCUP Mackail-Smith CCUP Studio

In his post-match interview, Gus Poyet believed Brighton to have been good enough to win this close match and praised the efforts of the goalscorer, whilst Sunderland’s Steve Bruce was gracious in defeat; “they were terrific on the night, they played some really good stuff.” Match winner Mackail-Smith spoke of the club’s positive attitude; “We just believe in the way we play football and we feel that whoever we play we can go out and beat.” Back in the studio, pundit Leroy Rosenior believed this Cup upset to be no shock to Seagulls supporters, loving life in their new home; “It’s no surprise to them, they just carried on where they left off. Nobody fancies playing Brighton at the moment.” If only that were to continue! Round Three saw even more prestigious opponents descending on the South Coast; Kenny Dalglish’s Liverpool.


4

Southampton 3-0 Brighton Highlights

The Football League Show, BBC One (19th November 2011); Championship

SOU FL Show titles SOU Comm

The Championship returned after the international break and we welcomed back the BBC’s highlights programme The Football League Show late on Saturday night to round up the day’s play. Hosted by Manish Bhasin with pundit Steve Claridge, the featured match for this mid-November edition was a South Coast clash as Southampton took on Brighton. The Saints sat top of the Championship table, a position the Albion occupied briefly in September before a dip in form saw them slide out of the top six and into tenth. After an unbeaten first half a dozen League games, Brighton won just one of the following ten, ending a terrible run with a two-nil victory over Barnsley last time out. Commentating on the action was Martin Fisher, who also covered our opening day dramatic victory over Doncaster for the show.

SOU Southampton SOU Brighton

Brighton wore their change kit of green and black for the visit to St Mary’s. Southampton’s home form was remarkable; they’d won their previous nineteen matches in a row at this stadium. In the line ups, Dean Hammond captained the home side and returned to the first team in place of Morgan Schneiderlin. Midfielder Adam Lallana had been in the senior squad since 2006 having come up through the youth system. Rickie Lambert was the club’s top scorer but failed to find the target in the previous five. For the Albion, just one change was made from the side that beat Barnsley two weeks ago. Left-back Marcos Painter was preferred to Inigo Calderon. Goals had dried up for record signing Craig Mackail-Smith, his last came in the disappointing home defeat to Crystal Palace at the end of September. Strike partner Billy Paynter was on loan from Leeds until January but was yet to register a goal for the Seagulls. Half the midfield was Scouse, in Navarro and Noone. The referee in charge was Peter Walton.

Southampton complained of two penalty shouts early on, neither given by referee Peter Walton. The first was a definite no, when a shot from close range struck Gordon Greer on the arm. There was nothing the Scotsman could have done from such a short distance to get out of the way. The second saw Ricky Lambert’s shirt being held by Marcos Painter. The striker still outmuscled his man and headed goalwards regardless. Chances were few and far between in the first half as the sides went into the break goalless.

SOU Lambert goal SOU Incorrect Penalty decision SOU Penalty award SOU Full Time

It took the Saints just four minutes into the second half before the took the lead through Rickie Lambert. Richardson crossed from the near side, cutting back on his left foot and swinging a delivery towards the back post. Lambert outjumped both Craig Noone and Mauricio Taricco to win the header and power it past Steve Harper in goal. Brighton rightly avoided giving away a penalty when Dean Hammond went down under Harper’s challenge. The referee didn’t buy it and booked the ex-Albion midfielder for diving. But Southampton were awarded a penalty soon after when the linesman flagged for a foul by Dunk on Jose Fonte. If they got the Hammond decision correct, the officials lost all credibility when giving this one as the contact clearly took place outside the box. Taricco went mad and got sent off for presumably something he said to the referee. From nothing, Brighton were about to lose all hope of getting something from this crunch clash. Lambert tucked away the spot kick sending Harper the other way for two-nil just before the hour mark.

Alan Navarro went close to joining Taricco for the proverbial early bath when he lunged into a challenge with his studs showing. He connected full on with the calf of substitute Morgan Schneiderlin. Navarro was awarded a yellow card when it could easily have been more. The resulting free kick towards Lambert then should have been a penalty for a push by Painter but wasn’t given. They say these things even themselves out. It capped off a pretty bad day for the officials. Yet another shout for a penalty came when Lambert appeared to be felled by the foot of Inigo Calderon. This was more difficult to judge as first glance it appeared to be a foul but the replay showed contact was minimal and, if anything, Lambert just lost his footing. Either way, it was given and Lambert completed his hat-trick with another superbly taken kick into the roof of the net twenty minutes before the end. They could have had even more but for Harper and some tame efforts, but it finished three-nil to the home side at St Mary’s.

SOU Poyet SOU Studio

In Gus Poyet’s post-match interview he, understandably, spoke out about the refereeing performance. “We respect the referees a lot and we give them credit for the job they do and how difficult it is nowadays in football to give a penalty or not… And when it’s so embarrassing, if you want the players just to accept it and clap their hands and go home and just relax and forget about that. They took everything we done in fifty-five minutes away just because… who knows what went through the head of the referee and the linesman today?”

In the studio, Manish Bhasin and Steve Claridge also began by discussing the decisions of the officials. For the penalty that should have been a free kick on Fonte, Claridge called it an “incredible decision. I don’t think Jose Fonte actually gets any part of his body at any time into the box apart from when he falls over eventually.” They emphasised that the right team did still win the game, but they were helped along the way by Peter Walton and Brighton’s challenge ended with the award of that first penalty. The studio team reviewed five big penalty decisions Walton had to make and judged that he got four of them wrong. The one correct decision was to book Hammond for his dive. Claridge’s assessment of Brighton was that although they were in the game for the first fifty-five minutes, he didn’t think they ever looked like they were going to win it, whilst Southampton’s start to the campaign was better at this stage than the previous two winners of the Division. Bit of a turnaround from the two sides competing together last season in League One.


5

Amex Stadium Report from an away perspective, Brighton 2-0 Bristol City

Late Kick Off, BBC One South (16th January 2012)

LKO1 Titles LKO1 Studio

The BBC’s regional Football League magazine show, Late Kick Off, returned for a new series on Monday 16th January 2012 until the end of the season. In the South and South West, the programme was presented by James Richardson with regular pundits Graeme Murty, formerly of Reading and Southampton, and Leroy Rosenior, ex-West Ham and Bristol City striker. It was the second season running with this trio at the helm, having taken over from original host Jonathan Pearce. The show covered the Albion as well as Bournemouth, Portsmouth, Southampton, Swindon, Aldershot, Plymouth, Bristol City, Bristol Rovers, Cheltenham, Crawley, Exeter, Oxford and Yeovil.

The lead feature of this edition centred around stadiums; with Brighton having moved into their new home ahead of this season, meanwhile Bristol City were fighting their own battle with the powers that be to secure their new one. The two sides met on Saturday at The Amex in the Championship. The Albion board made their visitors feel very welcome, sympathetic to their cause. As host Richardson explained in the show, “A judge has today ruled that a full review is necessary on City’s bid to build their new stadium.” Andy Steggall (below left), better known as the face of sport on ITV Meridian during the 1990s, reported on the story for Late Kick Off. He also co-owned the production company that made the programme, along with Match of the Day commentator John Roder.

LKO1 Steggall LKO Bristol ale

Steggall’s report began with Brighton’s two goals to secure the victory; a fantastic long ranger from Inigo Calderon, an unlikely goalscorer, plus Will Buckley rounding the goalkeeper. He then moved into the away concourse to showcase the efforts Brighton made to feel visiting supporters feel at home, treating them with respect rather than contempt. It’s a lesson a lot of other clubs could learn from. Little touches included lighting in the colours of the away club, this time being red, selling a guest ale from their local area and decorating the television screens with images of the opposing players. “When The Amex was designed, serious consideration was given to making away fans feel welcome”, Steggall explained. He spoke with a few of the travelling support to gauge their opinions of the away fan experience at Falmer. Some of them had clearly been enjoying the hospitality of the local ales! “Brighton’s an example to all teams” one fan slurred, as the tributes were all glowing.

LKO1 Touring LKO1 Martin Perry and Guy Price

In addition to some two-thousand away fans, Bristol City directors and board members were welcomed to The Amex to have a look around. “Before kick-off, Albion had welcomed every door to all of their opponent’s heads of department, from the rooftop to the tunnel. Happy to give them every war story, every helpful hint about planning success and stadium building”, Steggall added. In the director’s lounge, the suits of both clubs were in discussion. Guy Price, Bristol City’s CEO, asked about the defining lessons Brighton learned that City could take away. The reply explained the experience for the fans had been thought of in every last detail.

Price also spoke to Martin Perry, Brighton’s chief executive and a huge figure in the club’s success off the field in obtaining this stadium. Perry had lent his support to Bristol City’s bid for a new stadium at Ashton Vale, arguing their case and attending their planning committees. “It was important that we demonstrated that when they talk about the benefits to the community, we’d already begun to deliver them. So this wasn’t just talk, this was real”, Perry told us as he expressed how we’re all part of the wider football family.

LKO1 Doncaster game LKO1 Lynam

Steggall’s report continued by explaining the situation from a Bristol City point of view; “The judge’s decision now means further delays, further cost for club and council.” Perry’s final words of advice? “Never give up.” We also heard from broadcasting great and Seagulls supporter Desmond Lynam who spoke about the emotions when that first League game against Doncaster came about back in August 2011. “We were so moved in the directors’ box we were shedding a tear… It had taken so long, so much heartache and all the rest of it… This isn’t the biggest and it’s probably not the best, but it’s ours. It’s for us.” Hear, hear.


This is the first part looking back at Season 2011/2012. The second part is available HERE.

World Cup 1994 on the BBC

World Cup Logo FIFA brought the world of football to the United States of America for the staging of the fifteenth World Cup in 1994. However, the tournament would perhaps be best remembered for events off the field. On the opening day, America was gripped by an altogether different occasion involving a sports star as former NFL player OJ Simpson went on the run from the police in a car chase which gripped the nation and played out Live on television, following suspicions of murdering his wife. When the football did get underway, it was once again Diego Maradona who grabbed the headlines for the wrong reasons when he was sent home after two group matches due to failing doping. He was found with a ‘cocktail of drugs’ in his system, which came as no surprise to anyone who saw his extreme close-up celebration at the camera after his one and only goal this summer against Greece. And Colombian defender Andres Escobar was tragically murdered by members of a drugs cartel five days after his country was eliminated from the tournament, believed to be in retaliation for his own goal against the host nation in the group stages. BBC pundit Alan Hansen clumsily, and presumably accidentally, described defending during the Argentina versus Nigeria match the day after Escobar’s death in the worst way; “the Argentine defender wants shooting for a mistake like that.” Elsewhere there were no home nations present at the World Cup for the first time since 1938, owing largely to Graham Taylor’s disastrous campaign with England and a Scotland side in decline. Republic of Ireland were the nearest representative and upset the odds immediately by beating Italy in New York. They graced the knockout stage before elimination at the hands of the Dutch. The competition culminated with the first ever Final penalty shoot-out, as Italy were defeated by Brazil in one of the most laboured of matches. British broadcasters BBC and ITV were there to beam the vast majority of matches direct to our late-night living rooms. In this post I look at the efforts of the BBC, who opened the tournament with the ceremony and the first match.

 

BBC SportPresenters; Des Lynam, Bob Wilson
Pundits;
 Jimmy Hill, Alan Hansen, Terry Venables, Gary Lineker, David O’Leary, Steve Coppell, David Baddiel, Frank Skinner
Commentators; Barry Davies, John Motson, Tony Gubba, Clive Tyldesley, Gerald Sinstadt
Co-Commentators; Trevor Brooking, Liam Brady, John Fashanu, Chris Waddle
Reporters; Ray Stubbs, Hazel Irvine, Garth Crooks


TITLE SEQUENCE & THEME TUNE

Grandstand Titles

Theme: Leonard Bernstein – America (from West Side Story)

The BBC went route one with their choice of theme tune; using ‘America’. Taken from the musical West Side Story, they used Leonard Bernstein’s instrumental version. The familiar tune was definitely one that would stay in your head but after the monumental success of the 1990 titles with Nessun Dorma, this was a bit of a climb down. However, the celebratory joy of the American World Cup came across in this tune even if the dog barking sound effects were a slightly odd addition!

BBC titles 1 BBC titles 4 BBC titles 2 BBC titles 3

The titles kicked off with the instruments blaring in full flow whilst cutting to various shots of famous American landmarks. Starting with fireworks by the Statue of Liberty before flashing through the likes of the Brooklyn Bridge and the huge buildings that crept into the New York skyline. When the music quietened, the titles switched to clips of footballing action, updated as the tournament progressed. In the example here, we saw the likes of Ray Houghton’s goal against Italy in the group stage and Jack Charlton’s celebrations on the sidelines, amongst other goals and crowd shots. To emphasise the host country, the stars and stripes adorned the top and bottom bars of the screen. When the music came back round to the bombastic bars of the chorus again, the title sequence was coming to a close with a spinning ball filled with previous World Cup winners lifting the famous trophy. As the track reached a crescendo, the red stripes of the USA flag covered the centre before a ball flew from the bottom right to act as the flag’s ‘stars’, revealing the title card “World Cup ’94”. Below, the titles to the Brazil v Netherlands Quarter Final.


PRESENTATION TEAM

BBC Host BBC Pundits

Desmond Lynam was once more at the helm of the BBC’s World Cup coverage, fronting the opening match, key games and, of course, the Final. As the corporation’s principal football presenter, Lynam had just finished the second season chairing the best of the action from the Premiership on Match of the Day since the Beeb regained the rights to the top flight in 1992. He previously hosted the show’s FA Cup coverage from 1988 and USA 1994 was his fourth FIFA World Cup. Lynam anchored more than just football though, he was a real all-rounder with his work fronting Grandstand and light entertainment shows. Consequently, he was absent for much of the group stage, instead hosting coverage of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships, but was present for the Republic of Ireland games and the latter stages. Bob Wilson deputised. A regular in the studio was pundit Alan Hansen. The Scotsman joined BBC television for the new Premiership rights in 1992, having previously covered European football for Sky as soon as he retired from playing in ’91. He was also heard on BBC Radio Five Live and quickly earned a great reputation for his considered, authoritative and forthright analysis. He made his name playing in the great Liverpool sides as a centre back during the 1970s and 80s, winning everything there was to win. Hansen excelled with his studio work during his first international tournament with the BBC.

BBC Lineker BBC Lineker studio

One of England’s all-time great goalscorers, the 1986 World Cup Golden Boot winner, Gary Lineker earmarked a career in the media once his playing days were over. He made occasional media appearances during previous tournaments, either by doing the TV interviews for England or, once knocked out, appearing on the broadcasts as a guest. He was still a professional during this tournament, plying his trade in Japan for Nagoya Grampus Eight, whom he joined in the summer of 1992. Two injury-hampered seasons followed. He returned to England whenever he could during this spell, enjoying stints on BBC Radio 5 Live and Match of the Day, including the first Premiership version of the programme in August ’92. However, instead of just going down the usual route of punditry, it was clear Lineker also wanted to be in the presenter’s seat. During the build up to the opening match of the tournament – Germany versus Bolivia – he presented a piece to camera previewing some of the big hitters; above left. Back in the studio, host Lynam told us, “We’ll be seeing quite a bit of Gary, of course, over the next couple of weeks or so”, as Lineker’s BBC career began in earnest. He appeared mostly as an analyst for this tournament but would soon go on to front shows once hanging up his boots for good in September of this year.

BBC Wilson BBC Coppell

For now though, the number two football host was Bob Wilson. He had been the host of magazine preview show Football Focus for the past twenty years upon retirement from keeping goal for Arsenal for more than a decade. Wilson made the leap from player to presenter straight away, rather than via the pundit seat, and also hosted Grandstand and Match of the Day during his time with the BBC. He played a major part during the 1994 World Cup whilst number one Des Lynam was engaged with fronting Wimbledon tennis for much of the group stage. Anchoring World Cup proceedings from Television Centre in London allowed Lynam to return to the fold for the bigger group games but it was Wilson who did much of the heavy lifting on both Live and highlight programming. One of the BBC’s recruits for this tournament was former Manchester United and England winger Steve Coppell. The 1977 FA Cup winner had his playing career cut very short due to persistent knee injuries. It stemmed from a terrible challenge in a World Cup qualifier against Hungary in 1981. He struggled through for two years before calling it quits in October ’83 at the age of twenty-eight. The following summer he moved into management and began his relationship with Crystal Palace, managing them for eight years before resigning last year following top flight relegation. Being out of work, he used the summer opportunity to sit in the BBC studio and analyse the World Cup, providing both a player and coaches perspective, but was keen to get back into management.

BBC Venables BBC Hill

Two long-standing members of the BBC team were present once more in the studio. Terry Venables was a familiar face on the corporation since the mid-1980s, appearing on commentary before becoming more established in the pundit role. His playing career was almost exclusively London based, enjoying success from midfield at Chelsea and Tottenham as well as spells at QPR and Crystal Palace. After retiring in 1975 whilst at Palace, he was handed a coaching role with the club before taking over as manager the following year. Since, he’s had spells with former clubs QPR and Spurs as well as taking charge of Spanish giants Barcelona for three years, he was able to combine this with tournament appearances for the BBC. He hadn’t actually taken charge of Tottenham since 1991, instead moving to Chief Executive for two years before being dismissed. In January of this year, he was appointed England manager following Graham Taylor’s notoriously bad campaign culminating in failure to qualify for this tournament. Another regular on the Beeb was the one and only Jimmy Hill. This was his eight World Cup as a broadcaster, stretching back to 1966. He presented Match of the Day for fifteen years from 1973, often with Bob Wilson as co-host, before moving back into the analyst seat when Lynam took the helm in 1988. As the most senior pundit, he was still going strong at the age of sixty-five during this World Cup, featuring on all the big games including the Final. Completing the line-up of regular studio guests for this tournament was former Arsenal and current Leeds defender David O’Leary, shown on our right of the picture, below, with Liam Brady. With Arsenal, the Irishman won all domestic honours; League, FA Cup, League Cup and Charity Shield. He won sixty-eight caps for the Republic of Ireland and played at the previous World Cup in 1990. After joining Leeds last summer and starting the campaign well, a serious achilles injury kept him out of action for most of the 93/94 season. It was something he would not recover from and, although officially in rehabilitation on the books of Leeds, he would never play again.

BBC Brady and OLeary

Whilst the studio team were all based in London, the commentary was done on-site in America. Co-commentators utilised for this Cup were number one Trevor Brooking, along with Irish representation in the form of Liam Brady; shown in the picture, above, on the left. Brooking was celebrating a decade on-air with the BBC having joined after finishing his playing career, appearing over half a century of matches for West Ham’s midfield. He appeared both in studio for Match of the Day and was first choice as Live match summariser, commentating across both BBC radio and television during his media career. Former Republic of Ireland midfielder Liam Brady was covering his second consecutive World Cup for the BBC, both featuring his national side. After retiring from playing in 1990 he managed Celtic from the following year before joining his current post at Brighton and Hove Albion in 1993. Unfortunately for Brady, both spells have been marred by financial trouble at the top and poor form on the pitch. He was co-commentator for all Ireland’s matches as well as select others during the tournament. Providing a current player’s view from the gantry were John Fashanu and Chris Waddle. With Fashanu in the final couple of seasons of his playing career, he was looking for media roles. When ITV sporting entertainment giant Gladiators launched in the UK in 1992, he was host alongside Ulrika Jonsson and launched his catchphrase ‘Awooga!’ into the public conscience. He attracted controversy during his career both on and off the field. On it, his elbow during the 93/94 season fractured Tottenham captain Gary Mabbutt’s eye in a sickening clash. Off it, he publicly denounced his own brother Justin for coming out as gay in 1990, a decision he later regretted. John Fashanu’s finest day in football came when, as John Motson put it, ‘the Crazy Gang beat the Culture Club’ to win the 1988 FA Cup with underdogs Wimbledon, defeating Liverpool by a goal to nil. He spent the last eight years with the Dons but would move to Aston Villa after the World Cup for his final season before retirement. His struggled to take to co-commentary, with his fellow broadcaster having to pick up a lot of the slack during matches, confined mostly to the midnight BST kick-offs.

BBC Davies

Leading the BBC’s commentary team for his one – and sadly, only – Live World Cup Final as number one was Barry Davies; above, seen hosting the BBC’s Review of the Tournament from December ’94. He celebrated twenty-five years at the BBC in July. After serving as number two behind John Motson for so long, he was rewarded with this summer’s showpiece climax, having had experience on European club Finals during the 1970s and 80s and the 1972 European Championships Final between USSR and West Germany. This meant John Motson would have to settle for second best in 1994, including sharing Republic of Ireland duties with Davies on one Live game apiece. Motson did get to do the BBC’s Semi Final as well as the likes of USA’s first match, Brazil, Germany and Italy games too. The pair covered eighteen of the BBC’s twenty Live matches between them, leaving the other commentators to pick up the remaining couple of games as well as the non-Live ones for highlights. Clive Tyldesley was the man getting the nod for the other two Live fixtures, having joined from ITV in the summer of 1992. This was ahead of the relaunched Premiership Match of the Day, getting the chance to voice top flight fixtures on a regular basis as well as voiceovers and reports across the sporting output. Tony Gubba first covered a World Cup for the corporation in 1974, commentating on every tournament since. Owing to the large travel distances across the States, a fifth voice was needed to cover the highlights. Gerald Sinstadt, who moved over from ITV in the mid-80s, was chosen. As well as commentating, he was a familiar voice to the MotD goal round-ups at the end of the programmes.

BBC Studio 2

Fulfilling the roles of reporter in the USA were Ray Stubbs, Hazel Irvine and Garth Crooks. Stubbs started with the BBC in 1983 on local radio as a presenter and commentator before moving to Manchester after three years to produce. It was as a producer that he went to Italia ’90, for investigative sports programme On the Line, and since the formation of the Premiership he too voiced round-ups as well as touchline reports for Live FA Cup fixtures. He followed the fortunes of the Republic of Ireland from their US camp this summer. Hazel Irvine was another transfer from ITV, following the 1990 competition where she reported from the Scotland camp. At the age of twenty-eight, she became the youngest ever presenter of Grandstand in June ’93. Crooks was previously in the studio as an analyst for the 1982, ’86 and ’90 tournaments but was dispatched around America to showcase the vibrancy and atmosphere of the competition this time round.


LIVE MATCH SELECTION

BBC Sport broadcast a total of twenty Live matches during the USA 1994 World Cup, kicking off the tournament with the opener featuring holders Germany and concluding with the Brazil versus Italy Final. They showed the Republic of Ireland’s final group match with Norway which saw Jack Charlton’s men progress to the knockout stages. Whilst ITV front-loaded the tournament, the BBC had control over the picks for the knockouts, selecting the best potential clashes including the first choice UK prime-time Semi Final, Ireland’s Second Round defeat to the Netherlands on Independence Day and the Quarter Finals of both Germany and Brazil. Their coverage, although UK based, was much better received than ITV’s Dallas location.

GROUP STAGES; Friday 17th June
Germany 1-0 Bolivia (8pm Kick Off)

Saturday 18th June
USA 1-1 Switzerland (4.30pm) & Romania 3-1 Colombia (Midnight)

Sunday 19th June
Cameroon 2-2 Sweden (Midnight)

Monday 20th June
Brazil 2-0 Russia (9pm)

Tuesday 21st June
Nigeria 3-0 Bulgaria (Midnight)

Thursday 23rd June
Italy 1-0 Norway (9pm)

Friday 24th June
Brazil 3-0 Cameroon (9pm)

Saturday 25th June
Argentina 2-1 Nigeria (9pm)

Monday 27th June
Germany 3-2 South Korea (9pm)

Tuesday 28th June
Rep of Ireland 0-0 Norway (5.30pm)

Thursday 30th June
Bulgaria 2-0 Argentina (Midnight)

LAST 16; Saturday 2nd July
Germany 3-2 Belgium (6pm)

Sunday 3rd July
Romania 3-2 Argentina (9.30pm)

Monday 4th July
Netherlands 2-0 Rep of Ireland (5pm)

Tuesday 5th July
Bulgaria 1-1 Mexico, AET – BUL win 3-1 on penalties (9.30pm)

QUARTER FINALS; Saturday 9th July
Brazil 3-2 Netherlands (8.30pm)

Sunday 10th July
Germany 1-2 Bulgaria (5pm)

SEMI FINALS; Wednesday 13th July
Italy 2-1 Bulgaria (9pm)

FINAL; Sunday 17th July
Brazil 0-0 Italy, AET – BRA win 3-2 on penalties (8.30pm)


COVERAGE & GRAPHICS

BBC Ident BBC Sport Ident

When the BBC 1 ident came on followed by that iconic BBC Sport sting, you knew you were in for a treat. Above left; this set of BBC idents came in back in February 1991 and was their second major international football tournament, following the 1992 European Championships. Known as the ‘virtual globes’, the circle rotated around the numerical 1 in the centre. The BBC Sport ident followed, with that classic jingle that will surely now be playing in the heads of those of a certain vintage at the very sight of that image; above right. The gold tinge of the ‘nucleus’ around another rotating globe came in for major events beginning with the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, with this ’94 World Cup their international football tournament debut.

BBC Studio BBC Opening Ceremony

Coverage was hosted from Television Centre for all matches bar the Final, when Des and the team travelled out to the States to present on-site. Above left; the establishing shot of the sofa studio, taken from the opening match between Germany and Bolivia. Joining Lynam in the studio were principal analysts Alan Hansen and Jimmy Hill. Above right; the panel behind Lynam was a television screen, allowing Live pictures to be shown behind him as he and the panel discussed the match. In the example, the Opening Ceremony was about to begin. There were two studio sets used during the coverage of the World Cup, the main sofa area is shown above. A desk and chair set was also used, as detailed further down the page.

BBC Final Italy BBC Final Brazil

The host broadcaster provided graphics ahead of, and during, the match for channels all over the world to use. This included the team line ups as shown above. Their graphics were on a translucent blue panel with italic white text. The official tournament logo was incorporated in, with the white dots underlining the headings and the striped ribbons of the US flag appearing in the background. Above left; the Italian line up in numerical order for the Final. Above right; the Brazilian starting XI for the Final laid out in formation, shown after the numerical list as the commentator talked us through the players. These graphics would fade or appear in, with little animation or fanfare. Considering these were US graphics, they were rather simplistic and understated.

Aston 1 Replay transition 2

In-play graphics were also provided by the host broadcaster across all of BBC, ITV and Eurosport. Above left; the world feed name aston for Italian talisman Roberto Baggio. Again, this featured the blue panels with white dots and italic text. The addition of the flag and three letter country code was placed on the right, whilst a yellow number appeared left of the name to indicate the squad number. Above right; the replay transition as we returned to Live action. Replay pictures flew in from the left of screen with a thick white border. Once complete, the replay flew back out towards the right of screen as shown. This was the case throughout the tournament other than the Final, where the fixture adorned the border instead.

BBC Scorebar

This was the first international tournament where the BBC provided a permanent on-screen scoreboard and clock. With occasional experiments using this on other sports during the 1980s, a scoreboard became a permanent fixture on the football coverage in this country when Sky Sports launched in the early 1990s. The BBC took to the idea in the 1993/94 season for their UEFA Cup broadcasts and deployed it for this World Cup. Above; similar to that of ITVs, the BBC logo appeared in the top left of the screen with the clock underneath and the scoreline to the right. The timer appeared within a translucent box whilst the fixture was in a yellow italic font. This formula remained a constant throughout the rest of the decade, with only a few minor tweaks along the way.

BBC graphics BBC Sub

The host broadcaster’s graphics did not stretch to a permanent scoreboard, instead using the more familiar approach from previous tournaments of flashing up the clock and score at intervals. Above left; this would sometimes lead to slight conflictions between the exact seconds of the timer, with this example showing the BBC clock two seconds ahead of the official one. The graphics on the blue panel with the white dots would appear all around the world at the same time. Above right; for substitutions the host broadcaster graphics would appear on screen and indicate the player coming on and off with a little “In” or “Out” signal on the left accompanied by an animated arrow.

BBC Aston BBC Standings

The BBC did use their own graphics for coverage outside of the Live match. Above left; BBC aston captioning Ireland’s goalscorer over Italy, Ray Houghton’s. The blue background and italic white text fitted with the World Cup branding, whilst the trophy was added to the left and further text written in light blue. The graphics faded in and out. Above right; full screen graphics with very much a blue theme. This was after that Irish win opened their campaign. The BBC Sport globe and corporation logo adorned the bottom corner of the screen.

BBC Score astonBBC Coming Up

Further examples of the BBC’s own graphics are shown here, again using that blue panel background. Above left; during the highlights of the Nigeria v Italy match, a caption appeared signifying the progression into the Extra Time period. Above right; at the conclusion of the Live match programme, the coverage would usually end with a graphic detailing the next World Cup programming on the BBC. In this case, highlights show World Cup Report would be on air from 11.25pm.

BBC Rule Changes BBC Rules 2

Ahead of the tournament, there were genuine fears that it being held in America would change the game for the worse; with reports of the game being split into quarters rather than halves for advertising purposes, lots of gimmicks and would the supporters even know what was going on. It’s fair to say those never materialised and the tournament was the best attended to date. However, some big rule changed did come into effect. The most positive, as outlined during the BBC’s build up to the opener (above left), saw three points awarded for a win rather than two. The complaint about Italia ’90 was too many dull, defensive matches and not enough attacking prowess. The group stage alone saw ten one-nil victories and eight draws. The additional point for a win was a bid to encourage more teams to go for victory. Elsewhere we saw the introduction of names on the back of shirts, and additional substitution allowed and the possibility of video evidence determining if a suspension should stand or not. The referees were also encouraged to look out for certain things to punish as well as yet another interpretation of the offside law; above right. Other directives were to give the attack the benefit of the doubt over tight offsides, timewasting reduced to a minimum and the introduction of an electric cart! Technology was there and they were going to use it. All whilst refereeing in something other than the traditional black uniforms.

BBC Studio 3

Whilst the previously mentioned sofa area was the main set used by the BBC for coverage of this tournament, there was also a large desk area too, as shown above. In this example, host Bob Wilson is joined by pundit Steve Coppell and comedic guests Frank Skinner and David Baddiel. The pair were dressed in the unique style of USA defender Alexi Lalas. The desk would often feature on highlights programming, Grandstand and more formal broadcasts, whilst the sofa was more utilised on Live matches. During the regular season, Match of the Day’s set was like the above, featuring pundits either side of the large table. The three-coloured BBC logo was unmistakable at the front.


FEATURES & SUPPORT PROGRAMMING

Diana Ross Opening Ceremony 1 Opening Ceremony 2

The BBC showed Live coverage of the tournament’s opening ceremony in Chicago, during their build-up to Germany versus Bolivia. If people had their doubts about the Americanisation of soccer, there could surely be no doubts that they knew how to put on a show. You knew it was going to be good when someone had the bright idea of inviting comedian Robin Williams on with FIFA general secretary Sepp Blatter to conduct the group draw. The ceremony was the usual mix of colour and noise, compered by television superstar Oprah Winfrey. The show introduced each country in their individual traditional dances, such as samba for Brazil and Irish dancing for the Republic (above, bottom left), there was a performance of the official tournament song – also ITV’s theme tune – by Darry Hall and The Sounds of Blackness; above, bottom right. But the standout moment came right at the start when legendary Motown singer Diana Ross kicked it all off. Wearing oversized red jacket and trousers, she ran the length of the pitch, through a parade of dancers and performers, whilst singing her classic hit “I’m Coming Out”. The intended culmination was for her to score a penalty kick which would catapult the goal frame to split in half and launch the ceremony. What actually happened was one of the most memorable moments of any opening ceremony anywhere, but for the wrong reasons. After playing to the crowds, Ross stuttered her run up, toying with the goalkeeper before slicing her shot horribly wide (above, top)! As the old adage states; the show must go on. The nets collapsed as if it was all still going to plan and Diana Ross ran through onto the stage for the next part of her performance. Seamless. She did not reign Supreme on this occasion.

Baddiel and Skinner 1 Baddiel and Skinner 2

BBC Studio 4

Comedians David Baddiel and Frank Skinner came to prominence during 1994 for their hit late-night BBC 2 television programme Fantasy Football League. The programme ran weekly on Friday nights from January and was a mix of comedy, sketches and discussion around the Premiership centred around Fantasy Football; the idea of choosing a team of players from the League, earning points for goals, assists and clean sheets amongst other things and competing against others in a League table, first popularised in the mainstream in the 1990s in England. Celebrity guests would come on to the show during the series and discuss their team of players, but it was also an excuse to show some funny clips from football and take the mickey out of it. As a result of the immediate popularity of the show, Baddiel and Skinner were invited onto the final day edition of Match of the Day as pundits alongside Des Lynam in May and did a good enough job to be asked back for appearances during the World Cup. They made a handful of cameos during the post-match coverage of some of the late-night Live group matches, sitting alongside the regular pundits. Their remit was to provide a lighter look at the tournament as they did on Fantasy Football League, using funny clips and making jokes. Quite brilliantly, during the closing credits after the World Cup Final, their names appeared in the list of pundits alongside the likes of Hansen, Hill and Lineker!

BBC Goal of the Tournament BBC Maradona report

A tradition of previous Cups was the Goal of the Tournament vote. BBC viewers were asked to call in to vote for their favourite from the shortlist of ten provided, which included new Tottenham signing Jurgen Klinsmann’s effort against the Koreans; above left. Following the huge news that Argentinian star Diego Maradona had failed a drugs test at the tournament and would be banned, BBC One broadcast a special twenty-five-minute programme before their coverage of Argentina’s final group match, against Bulgaria, documenting his story. Above right; Bob Wilson voiced ‘Maradona – A Special Report’ which featured archive footage, news reports and interviews. This was eight years on from his infamous ‘Hand of God’ goal in the 1986 World Cup against England, so the development sparked little sympathy from the British broadcasters and provided Baddiel and Skinner with further comedy ammo.


THE FINAL

Coverage of the last match on BBC One was hosted Live from the stadium as Des Lynam attended his first World Cup Final in person. Des’s previous tournament finales had been hosted from the BBC Studio in London. He was accompanied by Jimmy Hill and Alan Hansen in a cramped box which was presumably too small to also include Terry Venables. He instead found himself sat away from his fellow pundits and up on the gantry providing his thoughts when asked by Lynam during the pre- and post-match broadcast.

BRAZIL 0-0 ITALY (AET, BRA win 3-2 on pens) World Cup 1994 Final, Los Angeles
Sunday 17th July 1994, 8.30pm Kick Off BBC One Logo

BBC Final Studio BBC Final CreditsBBC Final Credits 2

PRESENTER Des Lynam GUESTS Jimmy Hill, Alan Hansen & Terry Venables
COMMENTATORS Barry Davies & Trevor Brooking
Hosted from the Rose Bowl, California     8.15-11pm Live on BBC One (Extended to approx 11.35pm)

Trophy Lift

For details on ITV’s World Cup 1994 coverage click HERE.

#7: Brighton Women 0-4 Arsenal Women 12/01/2020

#7 BRIGHTON WOMEN 0-4 ARSENAL WOMEN Women’s Super League
Sunday 12th January 2020 LIVE via Red Button

ARSW Intro

COMMENTATOR Vicki Sparks CO-COMMENTATOR Gemma Fay
REPORTER Patrick Austen-Hardy HALF TIME Eilidh Barbour & Jayne Ludlow
12.30pm Kick Off; People’s Pension Stadium, Crawley     12.20-2.30pm Live on BBC Red Button

ARSW Table ARSW Arrivals ARSW Arsenal arrivals

Context of the Match: Since Brighton’s last Live televised appearance, the five-nil loss at high-flying Manchester City in December, just one match had been played since the Christmas break. Last week, Brighton secured their second Women’s Super League victory of the season in an absolutely crucial game with Liverpool. Midfielder Aileen Whelan nabbed the solitary goal as Albion ran out one-nil winners, turning the ball home from close range following Lea Le Garrec’s cushioned header back. The victory put Brighton on nine points from ten games into ninth place but, more importantly, created a six-point gap between them and bottom of the table Liverpool. With only one team relegated again this season, this was a big opening as we entered the second half of the campaign today against table-topping Arsenal. The Gunners led the way, and would go back to being three points clear of Manchester City with a win today, as City played a day earlier to level things up in terms of points, goal difference and goals scored! Brighton did record a victory, of sorts, over Arsenal back in November in the Continental Cup group stages. After drawing nil-nil, to decide the match winner and a bonus point, the format of the competition meant a penalty shoot-out followed. Albion’s Kirsty Barton stepped up first but fired wide. Goalkeeper Sophie Harris kept it level when saving Arsenal’s first penalty from Kim Little. Kayleigh Green then converted to give Albion the lead in the shoot-out. Kirsty McCabe equalised before Maya Le Tissier restored the Brighton advantage. England striker Beth Mead blazed her kick over the bar and Dani Bowman converted to extend the Brighton lead to three-one. Danielle van de Donk squeezed the ball into the corner to pull one back but Lea Le Garrec scored the fifth and final penalty to secure the bonus point for Brighton, winning the shoot-out four-two. Brighton enjoyed more success in this competition than they had enjoyed so far in the WSL. A three-nil victory at Charlton kicked off the competition, with two goals from Kayleigh Green and one from Ini Umotong. A defeat at home to Bristol City hampered progress but after the Arsenal shoot-out win, the group concluded with back to back wins in the capital ensured progress to the knockout rounds where they were handed a difficult trip to Manchester United. Those two victories were high scoring ones; beating London Bees five-nil with five different scorers. Amanda Nilden, Victoria Williams, Emily Simpkins, Ini Umotong and Kate Natkiel all got in on the act. The final group game was a four-two win at London City Lionesses, where Matilde Lundorf, Umotong again, Emily Simpkins and an own goal secured progress. Looking ahead, the Women’s FA Cup draw had been made during the week. Brighton were handed a trip to Aston Villa for their Fourth Round last-32 tie. Villa were unbeaten and top of the second-tier Championship and a chance to test themselves against another in-form side. The WSL though was a whole different prospect but the Seagulls could go into today’s televised clash with Champions Arsenal with a bit more belief than before. The BBC cameras were present in Crawley to showcase the Albion Women Live on the Red Button.

ARSW Brighton ARSW Arsenal

The Teams: Hope Powell handed new deals to two of Albion’s women this week; goalkeeper Megan Walsh and midfielder Maya Le Tissier, her first professional contract. Whilst the former started here, the latter missed out. Walsh’s place was perhaps under threat after the club signed Norway international ‘keeper Cecille Fiskerstrand, with three now competing for the starting place. Defender Fliss Gibbons was an automatic starter. Returning to the starting XI as one of two changes was Victoria Williams. Prior to joining the Albion in 2018, Williams played for the Great Britain university football team win a gold medal in the 2013 Summer Universiade in Russia. Brighton’s longest serving player, Kirsty Barton, returned to the starting XI. Barton joined from Chelsea in 2011, making over 150 appearances for the Seagulls on the rise from the third tier to the top. Midfielder Emily Simpkins was featuring in her second season at the club, having joined from the now defunct Doncaster Rovers Belles and becoming their first player to be given a professional contract back in 2015. The other change from the Liverpool victory saw twenty-one-year-old Amanda Nilden come in for Kate Natkiel. Nilden represented Sweden at under 17, U19 and U23 level. Whilst Lea Le Garrec worked her way up the French youth levels, including winning the under-19 European Championships in 2010, before earning a senior international cap seven years later. Welsh striker Kayleigh Green’s two goals and one assist have been invaluable in Albion’s few wins this campaign. Before Brighton, Green played in the UEFA Women’s Champions League for Cardiff and played for Italian Serie B side Chieti. Goalscoring prowess on the bench included the only woman to score in a Live televised Brighton match, Ini Umotong, as well as Irish striker Megan Connolly and Kate Natkiel, who began her career in the Arsenal under-10s before progressing through the age groups.

Arsenal boss Joe Montemurro opted for a three-four-three formation. Their star player is the sensational striker Vivianne Miedema, who has fourteen goals and eight assists to her name in the WSL this campaign thus far. Centre-back and captain Leah Williamson came up through Arsenal’s youth ranks and represented England at under-15, U17, U19, U20 and U23 level before making her senior debut in the World Cup 2019 qualifier in Russia back in 2018. Her first goal for her country came last November, a late winner in a three-two result against the Czech Republic. Alongside her in defence for Arsenal was Republic of Ireland international Louise Quinn, who joined in 2017 and signed a new contract ahead of this season. Manuela Zinsberger returned to the first team in goal. In midfield, Jordan Nobbs, Kim Little and Danielle van de Donk all netted in the reverse fixture in September as Arsenal ran out four-nil winners against the Albion for the third League match in succession. The trio all started again here. Dutch international Jill Roord joined in May ahead of the Women’s World Cup, where she scored the only goal in the Netherlands win over New Zealand. Switzerland’s Lia Walti completed the quintet across the middle. Amongst the options on the sidelines were England striker Beth Mead, who scored the goal of the season when the sides last met in Sussex in the WSL back in April, and German defender Leonie Maier who joined for this season. The referee in charge was Kirsty Dowle.

ARSW Kick Off ARSW Comms ARSW Barbour and Ludlow

Presentation Team: Vicki Sparks led the BBC Red Button commentary, voicing her third Albion Women’s match Live and the second time it’s been against Arsenal. She combined her WSL schedule with reports for Final Score and Premier League and FA Cup commentaries for Match of the Day. Alongside her in Crawley was the former Scotland goalkeeper Gemma Fay. She retired in 2017 having been capped by Scotland a phenomenal two-hundred-and-three times over nineteen years, a record high for any British footballer. Fay captained the National side from 2009 and was earmarked for a place in Team GB’s 2012 Olympic squad, missing out behind Karen Bardsley and Rachel Brown-Finnis. She did make it to the 2017 European Championships in the Netherlands. Fay’s club career began in her native Scotland with St Johnstone, Aberdeen and Ayr before moving down to England. At the age of twenty-one, she joined Brighton Women for the 2002/03 season before returning North to Hibernian. Seven years were spent at Celtic Ladies, during which time she also turned her hand to acting for the lead role in one-off Sky drama Rubenesque. Since retirement she expanded on her media appearances, travelling to France for the Women’s World Cup coverage with the BBC in 2019 where she was a key member of the punditry team providing a Scottish angle. Reporting on the touchline was Patrick Austen-Hardy. A new name to this website and to televised sports broadcasting, Austen-Hardy was employed by production company Whisper for today’s match and others over the previous eighteen months, as it’s Whisper who dispatch the WSL Live match reporters. His previous work showcases a lot of written articles for a variety of online publications such as La Liga News and Ronnie Dog Media. As of this season he worked as Swindon Town’s media assistant and contributed to Southampton Solent University’s website, where he was completing his education. Present at pitchside in situ for The Women’s Football Show later in the evening were host Eilidh Barbour and pundit Jayne Ludlow. The pair also contributed to the half-time discussion. Barbour was one of the regular rotating hosts of the show and combined that with other BBC Sport work across football and golf, and was Sky’s Scottish football presenter this year, maternity cover for Hayley McQueen. Jayne Ludlow was a regular contributor to the BBC’s WSL coverage, both as a guest or co-commentating. The Wales manager previously called Brighton’s Live WSL clash at Arsenal, the reverse of today’s fixture back in September.

ARSW Fixtures ARSW Powell ARSW One to Watch ARSW One to Watch Arsenal

The Coverage: The second weekend of the new decade saw the second round of the Women’s Super League take place after the pause for the Christmas period. Ten minutes before the scheduled 12.30pm kick off, the BBC Red Button coverage came on-air. Commentator Vicki Sparks handled proceedings out-of-vision. She introduced the day’s fixtures with the featured match being in Crawley as the Champions came to town. One match had already taken place the day before, Live on BT Sport, as challengers Manchester City kept up the pace with Arsenal by defeating Everton by three goals to one. Elsewhere, a waterlogged pitch put pay to Liverpool versus Manchester United but still going ahead after the Albion’s match would be a London derby between Tottenham and West Ham, Reading faced Birmingham whilst the other hopefuls in the title race, Chelsea, hosted Bristol City. A look at the table saw how close things were at the top of the table, with Arsenal only top because of alphabetical order over Manchester City – with everything else level but Arsenal had played a game less. Shots of the two teams arriving into the People’s Pension Stadium in Sussex followed, getting off the team bus and into the reception area. We heard from both bosses ahead of kick off, speaking with our reporter Patrick Austen-Hardy. Brighton manager Hope Powell said the result from the previous Cup match against Arsenal would give confidence despite it being just a memory now; “It was a long time ago but we have to take heart from that. Obviously a really good performance from us, more importantly to win the game – albeit on penalties.” Arsenal’s Joe Montemurro spent a couple of weeks away from the squad to return to his native Australia last month but was back ready to take the team again as the season hotted up. With the news that Manchester City were losing their coach Nick Cushing to America next month, it was important to keep focus on the task ahead. “Every game’s got its own particular situation,” he said, “we don’t really look at what other teams are doing, we look at how we can improve and how we can be the best we can be.” Sparks introduced us to former Albion goalkeeper and Scotland’s record appearance holder, co-commentator Gemma Fay. They pair focussed on a couple of players to watch out for, starting with the current Brighton goalie Megan Walsh who was celebrating a contract extension this week. Fay said of Walsh, “She’s started, I think, all but one game and as a goalkeeper to be midway through a season, having just arrived at a club and to be offered that contract extension must give her great confidence.” Unsurprisingly the Arsenal one to watch was of course the WSL’s record scorer Vivianne Miedema. And with that, the teams were ready in the tunnel for kick off.

ARSW Half Time 1 ARSW Half Time 2 ARSW Half Time 3 ARSW Half Time 4

As usual with these broadcasts, the half time break is the most feature filled. The interval began with the commentary team looking back at the goals and key chances from the first half, in which Arsenal led by two goals to nil. Co-commentator Gemma Fay focussed on praising the attacking play for the goal, calling the first “a delightful finish”, but more critical of Brighton’s left side for the second as Williamson had time and space to pick a pass, likewise van de Donk for the shot. Next, we saw highlights from the only WSL game played on Saturday, as Manchester City defeated Everton. The game was Live on BT Sport and their commentary team of Adam Summerton and Lucy Ward voiced the best bits at the Academy Stadium. A regular half time feature this season on the BBC coverage has been the ‘Getting to Know’ segment, where each club had a player interviewed by twins Rosie and Molly Kmita. The chat took place on a golf buggy, for some reason, but allowed for a more casual environment. This time, West Ham’s Adriana Leon was the player involved. The Canadian international joined the Hammers a year ago. Supporting her fellow countryman, Leon revealed she was a fan of Justin Bieber. Shame. The final part of the half time break saw us head down pitchside to link up with the team fronting the evening’s highlights on The Women’s Football Show; Eilidh Barbour and Jayne Ludlow. Speaking from a tactical perspective, the former Arsenal woman noticed two key points; the use of Leah Williamson on the right almost acting as a right-winger at times, and the early switching of the play over to the left to utilise Danielle van de Donk. She emphasised the collectiveness this Arsenal group have; “There’s a team ethic that runs through this team whether they’ve got the ball or whether they haven’t got the ball, they work extremely hard for each other.” They also picked up on the slightly bobbly conditions of the Crawley pitch, with big soil divots dotted around the surface. After the match there was just enough time for Eilidh Barbour to grab a quick word with Gemma Fay’s Player of the Match; Leah Williamson. The Arsenal and England defender was involved in assisting the goals and put in a terrific shift. With a further reminder pushing us towards the magazine show later on in the evening, it was time for Vicki Sparks to wrap the broadcast up as, once again, Arsenal defeated the Albion on the telly.

ARSW Teams ARSW Opening goal ARSW Second goal

Story of the Match: Brighton’s Lea Le Garrec got the game underway, with the Seagulls kicking from left to right in the first half in the familiar stripes of blue and white. Arsenal wore their change kit of yellow shirts and socks with blue shorts. Brighton would have been aware of Arsenal’s ability to fly out of the blocks and score early, having inflicted that on the Albion in previous meetings. So, it was a disappointing start to the game when the deadlock was broken just three minutes in. Having just tried a crossfield ball from right to left in a bid to set van de Donk free moments earlier by Jordan Nobbs, this time Leah Williamson measured the skill to perfection. Her pass from effectively the right centre-back position sailed over the head of Albion full-back Kirsty Barton to set van de Donk in behind. She took three touches to drive into the box and showed terrific strength to outmuscle Barton as she attempted to track back. As she approached the six-yard line, the Dutch midfielder stroked the ball past Megan Walsh’s near post to strike an early blow. The finish described as “cool” by commentator Vicki Sparks, whilst summariser Gemma Fay believed Brighton allowed it to be a bit too easy for Arsenal. Williamson was enjoying a lot of freedom down the right-hand side, charging up and down the touchline for both defensive and attacking duties. The next chance came as a result of another marauding run from the English defender. Her pass down the line allowed Lisa Evans to get forward to cross into the danger area. Jordan Nobbs completely missed her kick but the ball fell to Jill Roord behind her just inside the box. She took a touch to steady it before trying to curl round the defence. Dani Kerkdijk’s foot deflected the shot up and Walsh had to scramble around on the line to collect under pressure from Miedema. After the half hour mark it was to be two-nil, this time Roord wasn’t to be denied. Again, it was Williamson who provided the assist, receiving the ball out wide and delivering the perfect pass between the two central defenders and into the area where Roord found space. Her finish gave Walsh no chance, just guiding the ball into the other corner of the net as it bounced up nicely for the hit. The Albion defence weren’t close enough to her and paid the price. Arsenal’s quick play and switching from one flank to the other caused all sorts of problems for Brighton, almost resulting in a third from Nobbs, instead landing just the other side of the post. However, there was one decent opportunity for the home side which arrived as we approached the break. Aileen Whelan played a fantastic through ball to cut out three Arsenal defenders and find Emily Simpkins. Her first touch just took it a little wide and struggled to get the ball out of her feet. As a result, she had to take the shot a little off balance and with the covering defender now back in position the effort ended up wide of the target. Just a one-off or something of a warning sign that the Seagulls weren’t out of it just yet? The first half drew to a close with the scoreline at nil-two.

ARSW Third Goal ARSW Fourth goal ARSW Player of the Match

Into the second half, it didn’t take Arsenal long to extend that lead further after some very neat interchanges over on the far side. Just six minutes in, Jordan Nobbs netted to make it three-nil. Leah Williamson spread the play from the centre to the left where it soon found Danielle van de Donk. Her low ball into the mixer was expertly dummied by Miedema to allow Nobbs to run onto it. She only needed a touch with the right then a shot with the left to slot the ball home and seal the three points. Gemma Fay on commentary was wowed by the passing play from the Gunners in the build-up. With this the first of three games for the visitors in around a week, substitutions were made to keep the legs fresh. England’s Beth Mead was brought on for Kim Little and the striker didn’t waste her opportunity when it was presented. Lia Walti’s ball forward seemed neither a cross nor shot and should have been a routine take for goalkeeper Megan Walsh. However, the bounce just in front of her made it that little bit more difficult and she spilled the ball at the feet of another substitute, Leonie Maier. In a desperate attempt to regain the ball, Walsh dived out and brought Maier down, who was first to the loose ball. If it hadn’t fallen to an Arsenal woman, referee Kirsty Dowle would have pointed to the spot. Alas, there was no need as Beth Mead firmly struck the ball into the open net to round things off in the final minute. The three previous meetings in the Women’s Super League had all finished four-nil to Arsenal. An unusually goal quiet Vivianne Miedema tried to break that sequence to add a fifth in stoppage time but her lob over the onrushing Walsh from the edge of the box landed just over. So, it was to be a fourth successive four-nil League victory for the Champions. Brighton disappointingly didn’t muster a shot on target in the ninety minutes and lacked the pace and level of quality that Arsenal brought to the game from the off. They restored their three-point cushion at the top of the table, whilst Brighton knew their biggest result was actually the week before by widening the gap between themselves and the foot of the table to six points. It wouldn’t be a comfortable end to the season just yet, but the hard yards would be fought against the teams around them rather than the elite few such as today’s opposition.

ARSW Full Time.JPG

BRIGHTON WOMEN 0 ARSENAL WOMEN 4
van de Donk, Roord, Nobbs, Mead

ARSW Replay

PREVIOUS; #6 MANCHESTER CITY WOMEN 5-0 BRIGHTON WOMEN 15/12/2019

NEXT; #8

#6: Manchester City Women 5-0 Brighton Women 15/12/2019

#6 MAN CITY WOMEN 5-0 BRIGHTON WOMEN Women’s Super League
Sunday 15th December 2019 LIVE via Red Button

MCW Intro

COMMENTATOR Vicki Sparks CO-COMMENTATOR Faye White
REPORTER Kelly Somers
12.30pm Kick Off; Academy Stadium, Manchester     12.20-2.30pm Live on BBC Red Button

MCW Fixtures  MCW Table

Context of the Match: The Women’s Super League broadcasters, BBC and BT Sport, did not like to pick matches where Brighton would be in with a shout of three points! Today was the Albion’s sixth Live match to be shown on television, with three of the previous five coming against Champions Arsenal and the latest showing was away at FA Cup holders Manchester City. Formed in 1988 as Manchester City Ladies, they spent the first ten years bumping around the North West Regional Football Leagues and then the subsequent years towards the bottom of Women’s Premier League. They didn’t gain prominence until the big shake up of English women’s football and the formation of the WSL. City missed out on a place initially in 2010 but applied again three years later, this time successfully, when the FA expanded the League into two tiers comprising a total of eighteen clubs. That was the point that Manchester City Women as we know it today really began, with a place in the top tier of the WSL for the start of 2014. A complete reform of the playing squad saw a number of England internationals flock, most notably goalkeeper Karen Bardsley, midfielder Jill Scott and captain Steph Houghton join new manager Nick Cushing. In the years since, they’ve won the League, two FA Cups and three League Cups as well as competing in Europe to become one of English women’s football’s most successful sides. Ahead of today’s game they sat in third, three points off the top. Whilst City were claiming trophies, Brighton were building to reach the point where they were here; playing as a fully professional club against the likes of City, Arsenal and Chelsea. The Albion Women’s last televised match came at the home of the Champions back in September, losing by four goals to nil. Since that afternoon, there were back to back League defeats to West Ham and Everton in a dreadful October. November began more brightly, particularly in the Continental Cup with a shoot-out victory over Arsenal the highlight. In the middle was the inaugural ‘Women’s Football Weekend’, taking place across Sunday 17th November during the international break in men’s football. Similar to the opening weekend, many WSL clubs played at men’s stadiums, with The Amex hosting Albion versus Birmingham. A sensational three-nil scoreline saw Brighton’s first WSL win of the season as Kayleigh Green’s brace and Lea Le Garrec’s first goal capped a memorable day. The Seagulls couldn’t capitalise on this momentum, going down four-nil at Manchester United and drawing two-two with Reading as a last-gasp equaliser cost Brighton all three points for the second time this campaign. There was a defeat to promoted Tottenham last week, but the progress to the knockout stages of the Continental Cup was capped off in style; beating London City Lionesses four-two on Wednesday. All this left Brighton tenth in the WSL table, two places and four points away from the sole relegation spot, and a trip to Manchester United awaited in the knockout stage of the League Cup. This afternoon’s trip to Manchester to face City was the final game in a relatively positive 2019. The BBC Red Button broadcast the match Live for some pre-Christmas football.

MCW Man City MCW Brighton

The Teams: The big team news from an Albion point of view was a change in goal, as Megan Walsh was dropped in favour of Sophie Harris. The former London Bees ‘keeper joined Brighton joined in 2018 and made her League debut against today’s opposition back in February. She went on to win the PFA Fans Player of the Month. In front of her, the familiar backline of Fliss Gibbons and Victoria Williams combined with summer signings Danique Kerkdijk and Matilde Lundorf this season. Another new face this year, French midfielder Lea Le Garrec, provided a touch of class in the middle. Aileen Whelan scored against title-chasing Chelsea back in September and opened the Brighton scoring in the recent two-all draw with Reading. Dani Bowman scored a consolation goal against Manchester City in January, during the crushing seven-one defeat in the League Cup. Left-sided winger Emily Simpkins netted in last month’s Continental Cup win at London Bees but is yet to get off the mark in the WSL. Welsh forward Kayleigh Green has five goals to her name this season, whilst Ini Umotong has four. Attacking options off the bench include Irishwoman Megan Connolly, who scored a consolation in the three-one defeat at home to West Ham. Sweden’s Amanda Nilden and England’s Maya Le Tissier also posed a threat in the final third. Missing from the squad was injured defender Fern Whelan joining long-term absentee Laura Rafferty on the sidelines.

Nick Cushing’s Manchester City side had enjoyed the luxury of picking from the cream of the England crop since their relaunch in 2013 joining the WSL. That continued here, with eight of the starting XI English. Goalkeeper Ellie Roebuck started at Sheffield United before joining City’s Development Squad as a seventeen-year-old in 2016. She made seventeen appearances last season and progressed through the ranks for the national team, making three senior England starts under Phil Neville. Steph Houghton has been the lynchpin of success, wearing the armband for both club and country and awarded an MBE in 2016. She rose to prominence during the 2012 London Olympics, scoring three crucial goals in four games for Team GB, including the decider in the match against Brazil at Wembley. Hailing from the North East she worked up the ranks at Sunderland, moved to Leeds and enjoyed three successful seasons at Arsenal in the WSL before moving to City in 2014. She’s won three WSL titles and ten Cups. Houghton has over a century of caps for England, being made captain by Mark Sampson in 2014. For a central defender, she’s scored an impressive thirteen international goals including one at each of the past two World Cups and lifted the SheBelieves Cup earlier this year. Fellow North Easterner Jill Scott has an incredible 146 England caps to her name and also played for Team GB during London 2012. Scottish midfielder Caroline Weir scored the only goal of the game in the first-ever WSL Manchester derby in September. Lauren Hemp signed a new contract earlier in the week and broke through to the England side in October for her debut cap. Up front, Ellen White shared the Golden Boot at this year’s World Cup with six goals, along with eventual winners USA’s Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe. White’s partner Georgia Stanway has become a key part of club and country, winning the 2019 PFA Women’s Young Player of the Year and scoring on her England debut a year ago. England left-back Demi Stokes, German forward Pauline Bremer and South Korean Lee Geum-min were amongst the substitutes. Refereeing this clash was Lucy Oliver.

MCW Kick Off MCW Comms MCW Somers

Presentation Team: Commentary was led by Vicki Sparks. A regular voice on the Women’s game, she also reported for BBC results service Final Score and magazine programme Football Focus. She became the first female commentator to voice a men’s World Cup match Live in 2018 when she was alongside Martin Keown for Portugal versus Morocco in the group stage. Alongside her today in the commentary box was Faye White. Born locally, in Horsham, White’s youth career was spent with Horsham Ladies, playing in the first team at the age of just fourteen. By sixteen she was called up to the national team before a career-making move to Arsenal Ladies, where she spent the rest of her career in the heart of the Gunners defence and captaining the side to glory. In seventeen years at Arsenal she made over three-hundred League appearances and lifted numerous trophies during the club’s most successful ever period. In just her second season in North London she was named the FA Women’s Player’s Player of the Year. In the same season she won the FA Cup and FA Women’s Premier League Cup to add to the Premier League National Division title from her first campaign. She would win the latter a further nine times, and all but one League title between 2000 and 2010, dominating the domestic scene before the WSL was introduced in 2010. She also lifted the inaugural Super League title in 2011. Four Community Shields, an additional eight FA Cups and five Premier League Cups were added to the collection. The trophy cabinet was completed in 2007 with the UEFA Women’s Cup, the first – and to date only – English women’s side to win the European prize. She made her England senior international debut aged nineteen in 1997 against Scotland and made a total of ninety appearances for the Lionesses, scoring twelve goals and captained them for a decade including at four major tournaments; UEFA Euros 2005 and 2009 and FIFA World Cups in 2007 and 2011. Current Albion boss Hope Powell gave White the England armband in 2002. She became a familiar presence on-screen too, in the studio for British Eurosport’s knockout stage coverage of Euro 2005 held in England, as well as at major women’s international tournaments for the BBC and domestically for Sky Sports, ESPN and BT Sport both during and after her playing career. Due to a number of serious injuries, White retired from international football in 2012 and professionally the following March. She was awarded an MBE in 2006 for her work on and off the pitch, Faye White is one of England’s all-time great women’s footballers. Completing the broadcast line-up on the touchline was Kelly Somers. Since joining the BBC in 2017 she has gone on to become a key part of the women’s coverage as well as reporting for Final Score and Football Focus. She is one of the regular presenters on The Women’s Football Show, along with Reshmin Chowdhury and Eilidh Barbour, and travelled to France to report on the Women’s World Cup 2019 in the summer. She came from a stadium presenting background, on the PA for the likes of West Ham and Surrey Storm and covered the 2018 men’s World Cup for Australian television.

MCW Brighton Arriving MCW Powell MCW Half Time Analysis MCW Coming Up

The Coverage: As always on the Red Button, Live coverage began ten minutes before the scheduled kick-off time; in this case 12.20pm. Proceedings were handled out-of-vision by the commentary team of Vicki Sparks and Faye White. With two WSL matches falling foul of the weather this weekend, there were only four League games taking place; two at 12.30pm and two at 2pm. Our trip to Manchester was the only televised game, whilst all the others were available Live on the FA Player app and website. This was introduced at the start of the campaign, allowing fans to watch any WSL match they wish to, Live and free, that isn’t already being televised. Because all matches were now being filmed with multiple cameras, replays and commentary, the BBC’s magazine programme The Women’s Football Show could show a comprehensive round-up of the weekend’s action and in an earlier 7pm slot, as well as the late night repeat after Match of the Day 2. Coverage began by looking at the surviving matches on a cold, winter’s Sunday. Leaders Arsenal and their visit to Everton being the other standout fixture. A glance at the current standings followed, where an unlikely win for the Albion would see them overtake Birmingham to go ninth with nine points. City needed the win to keep the chase on Arsenal, who held a three point advantage at the summit. The commentary team talked through shots of the two squads arriving at the Academy Stadium, adjacent to the Etihad Stadium on the campus. The other member of today’s BBC team, reporter Kelly Somers, spoke with both managers to preview the clash. City boss Nick Cushing was looking for an immediate response to their defeat against Chelsea last time out, saying it was “imperative” that they win today. “I’ve always said since I’ve been the coach here, that losing a game is disappointing but you have to make sure you win the next game after you lose.” Seagulls manager Hope Powell knew her side were in for another tough afternoon. She spoke positively of the overall achievements throughout the calendar year; “We’re in a better position this time compared to last season, so I’ve got to be pleased with that. Performances have been a little bit inconsistent; we’ve got to find that consistency going into the New Year, but generally I’m relatively happy.” Manchester City midfielder Lauren Hemp was picked out as the ‘One to Watch’ by the graphics as she warmed up. And before you knew it, it was time for the teams to emerge from the tunnel and the commentators to run through the line-ups before the big kick off.

MCW Getting to Know MCW Demi Stokes MCW Everton Arsenal MCW Player of the Match

The half time whistle blew after a very comfortable forty-five minutes for the home side. The break is when the BBC roll out a few features and VTs, with these fifteen minutes being longer than the pre-match and post-match coverage they have to fill the time. The commentators reviewed the three goals from the first period. The opener from Houghton was very tricky to save when hit with that much power from such close range. Co-commentator Faye White was impressed by the finish for the second goal; “There’s still a lot for her to do for Ellen White to get that on target, especially when it’s coming in at that pace.” Whilst the third was down to Steph Houghton’s movement and good knock down from the corner, finding Hemp for an easy nod home. They also took a look back at some of the other chances for Manchester City, who could have extended their lead on a number of occasions. The first VT of the interval featured City substitute Demi Stokes in the ‘Getting to Know’ feature. Twin sisters Rosie and Mollie Kmita interviewed the left-back whilst driving around on the golf buggy. The twins played together at Brighton when they were teenagers around 2013/14 and were most recently at West Ham. When the club went professional to join the WSL for last season they faced a choice. Rosie signed her first pro contract there and moved to London Bees for this campaign, whilst Mollie decided to go down her own route and manager a nationwide coaching academy. The pair presented radio shows for BBC 5 Live during the Women’s World Cup and were regulars during the half-time break as they interviewed stars from each WSL club to try to get an insight into the new breed of women’s footballer. Following on from that we saw first half highlights from the other 12.30pm kick-off as Everton hosted Arsenal. Commentary for the FA Player, and on this edit, was provided by Matt Davies-Adams. Goalscoring machine Vivianne Miedema’s strike separated them in the first half but the injury to Beth Mead being stretchered off was the concern for Faye White after the highlights edit. After reviewing the key moments from that half, it was time to switch focus back to the Academy Stadium for the second half of Manchester City versus Brighton. No involvement from the reporter with a special guest pundit on this occasion. After the full-time whistle, the broadcast remained on-air for around five minutes in order to wrap things up from the gantry. We got to hear from the Barclays Player of the Match, Lauren Hemp, speaking with Kelly Somers pitchside. And there we had it, Brighton’s heaviest televised defeat came at the hands of the FA Cup holders as the WSL signed off for 2019 and our commentators said their goodbyes to us for another day.

MCW Teams Emerge MCW Everyone on the goalline MCW Celebration MCW Hemp goal

Story of the Match: Brighton wore their change kit of all black against the blue of Manchester City’s shirts and white of their shorts and socks. The home team kicked off, shooting from left to right. Albion’s game plan should have been clear enough; as commentator Vicki Sparks pointed out after one minute, “It will be a tough test for Brighton. So important that they keep it tight early doors.” Ten seconds later, winger Janine Beckie struck a shot from the edge of the area to sting the palms of Brighton ‘keeper Sophie Harris. She palmed it away and it hit Matilde Lundorf to go comfortably back to the stopper and the danger passed. However, referee Lucy Oliver thought otherwise and gave an indirect free-kick some eight or so yards out for what she deemed a deliberate backpass. It was a dreadful decision from the official, there was no way that could ever be deemed an intentional pass when it just hit her leg, with no City players appealing for it and the commentator even assuming it was an offside, such was the banality of the decision. A shocker early on but a golden chance for Manchester City. Up stepped Steph Houghton, captain fantastic, who actually scored from a very similar position for England in the World Cup. That time she converted low to the bottom-right of the goal as she saw it. This time she went for power, driving it straight down the middle and under the dive of Harris and the leap of the covering defenders on the line. Manchester City were gifted a goal from the referee after just two minutes, it was going to be a very long afternoon for the Seagulls. Just before the quarter-hour mark, another goal arrived. Houghton played a nice ball wide to the right where Beckie was in space. She took one touch to control and the next to cross a fantastic ball into the middle, between defence and goalkeeper. Waiting to pounce for her opportunity was England’s summer goalscoring hero Ellen White, who executed an excellent volley into the top corner from close range. Two-nil and not much Harris could have done about that strike, the technique was terrific. Cue White’s now-familiar ‘goggles’ celebration, nicked from her favourite Bundesliga team Cologne and their striker Anthony Modeste. It was a half dominated by the blues and they added further misery to Brighton with eight minutes to go before the interval. Georgia Stanway’s corner was looped to the back post. Houghton won the header to send it back across and waiting to pounce three yards away was Lauren Hemp. She celebrated a contract extension in the week and signed it with a goal, heading home over the efforts of defender Fliss Gibbons to make it three-nil. Hemp couldn’t have asked for an easier finish. Further chances fell City’s way without adding to the scoresheet in the first period, and the half-time whistle was a relief for the Albion and a chance to regroup.

MCW Disallowed Albion goal MCW Harris save MCW Stanway goal MCW Five nil  

The second half began more brightly and more evenly. A few narrow misses from City at one end were followed by the ball in the back of the net up the other, as Ini Umotong thought she had pulled one back for Brighton. Aileen Whelan’s cross on the left was floated to that near post. City ‘keeper Ellie Roebuck hadn’t had much to do in the opening hour but had to be alert here. As she jumped to claim the cross, Umotong was up with her and the ball bounced down and over the line. As Albion players wheeled away, thinking they’d scored their first WSL goal away from home this campaign, the referee’s whistle was again to hamper them. There was a moment of confusion, as both the graphics department, the commentator and Roebuck herself believed the goal had been given. But Lucy Oliver slowly marched towards where the incident took place and awarded Manchester City the free kick for a foul. She signalled a push but replays showed that not to be the case. It was a harsh decision, the goalkeeper over-protected, as the challenge from Umotong seemed to be a fair one. Applying pressure on Roebuck, as did her own defender Gemma Bonner, the England goalie appeared to fumble and allow the ball to slip through her hands and tipped it in as it bounced down. Nevertheless, the Seagulls were denied and they remained three down. The half continued to be an open one, with Brighton looking much livelier and better organised. But the home side always looked more likely to add to their tally, posing so many dangerous threats with their wealth of talent across the field. This was emphasised with a move beginning from Roebuck and ending all the way up the other end with a one-on-one for Caroline Weir. An excellent through ball from Keira Walsh took four Albion defenders out of the game and set Weir through. Sophie Harris flew off her line to close the angle down, Weir’s shot saved by the ‘keeper and looped up and over for a corner. However, a fourth was added with eleven minutes remaining when another excellent through ball cut Brighton clean apart. This was another move starting at the back with City playing it around before Walsh, in her own half, decided to go long. Her pass through the gaps was outstanding to find Georgia Stanway in on goal. She used the pace on the ball to guide it past the outrushing Harris and give herself an empty net to tap into. It was another well-worked, clinical Manchester City goal. A fifth goal really put the icing on the cake to cap off a fantastic home display. Late substitute Pauline Bremer became the fifth different scorer when her thigh improvised to flick in from a cross with less than four minutes to play. Beckie provided the assist from the right and Bremer’s touch just looped up over Harris into the other corner of the net. Lea Le Garrec worked an opportunity on the edge of the area with the final shot of the match hoping to bring Brighton a consolation, but Roebuck watched it all the way to dive and gather. So that’s where the scoring ended, a five-star performance from Manchester City to keep them in the title race amongst the chasing pack. Brighton remained towards the foot of the table ahead of the Christmas break. The next WSL fixture for the Seagulls saw bottom club Liverpool come to Crawley. That was a much more important match in the bid to remain in this League for another season.

MCW Final Score

MANCHESTER CITY WOMEN 5 BRIGHTON WOMEN 0
Houghton, White, Hemp, Stanway, Bremer

MCW Replay

PREVIOUS; #5 ARSENAL WOMEN 4-0 BRIGHTON WOMEN 29/09/2019

NEXT; #7 BRIGHTON WOMEN 0-4 ARSENAL WOMEN 12/01/2020

 

 

#5: Arsenal Women 4-0 Brighton Women 29/09/2019

#5 ARSENAL WOMEN 4-0 BRIGHTON WOMEN Women’s Super League
Sunday 29th September 2019 LIVE via Red Button

5ARS Intro

COMMENTATOR Robyn Cowen CO-COMMENTATOR Jayne Ludlow
REPORTER Kelly Somers HALF TIME Danielle Carter
12.30pm Kick Off; Meadow Park, Borehamwood     12.20-2.30pm Live on BBC Red Button

5ARS Fixtures 5ARS Table pre match 5ARS Home team arrival 5ARS Brighton arrivals

Context of the Match: The Seagulls survived their first season as a full-time professional top flight club, finishing the 2018/2019 Women’s Super League campaign in ninth spot out of the eleven clubs. Hope Powell’s side won four and drew four of their twenty League matches to give a final points tally of sixteen. Yeovil dropped down to the FA Women’s Championship, with two new teams – Manchester United and Tottenham – coming up to form a twelve club top level. Brighton’s aim was to maintain their WSL status for another year. With the increased competition from the strong promoted teams, as well as a huge gulf between the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City at the top, this would be another difficult season. The spotlight was on the Women’s game in this country following an incredibly popular World Cup in France during the summer. England’s Lionesses reached their second successive World Semi Final, losing to eventual Champions USA, and viewing figures went through the roof. The record audience was smashed four times during the tournament; culminating in a peak of 11.7 million on primetime BBC One, almost three times the record in this country pre-World Cup. It was important for the game to ride the crest of this wave to expand and improve further. Brighton reported a huge increase in season ticket sales, at a cost of just £30, hoping to attract record attendances through the Crawley turnstiles once more this campaign. On the broadcasting front, the television rights deal remained as it was last year with a Live match from each round of the WSL being broadcast on BBC via the Red Button and a further game on BT Sport. In addition, the Football Association launched their own app – the FA Player – which allowed anyone anywhere to watch every single WSL match Live and for free. It was a huge initiative and meant that, for some players, it would be the first time many of their friends and family would be able to watch their League performances in full. The BBC’s summer of Women’s sport was tag lined “Change the game”; this attempted to do just that. And financial support was provided by Barclays Bank, who became the first title sponsor of the League, now known as the FA Barclays WSL. For Brighton’s first Live televised match of the campaign, a tough trip to Champions Arsenal awaited. This was just the third match of the League season and both clubs went into it unbeaten. The Gunners defeated West Ham and Manchester United to have a 100% start, whilst the Albion drew the opener at Bristol City nil-nil and were just seconds away from beating Champions League Semi Finalists Chelsea, but for an injury time equaliser. If they could come away with something from Borehamwood here, it would be the biggest result in the Division so far, and in front of the BBC cameras.

5ARS Arsenal5ARS Brighton

The Teams: Hope Powell strengthened her Albion squad over the summer break, adding a couple of new faces to bolster the core that survived their first season as a fully professional top flight team. Goalkeeper Megan Walsh made the switch from relegated Yeovil, where she spent two years. Yeovil’s relegation followed a period of administration which hit the club dearly, forcing them to move down to the third tier after their application to join the second tier Championship was rejected; forcing a mass exodus of their star players. The twenty-four-year-old represented England at under-17, 19 and 23 level. Another new signing was young Danish full-back Matilde Lundorf. She transferred from Aarhus and previously was part of Paris Saint Germain’s youth setup. Lundorf slotted in to an established back four including Fliss Gibbons and Victoria Williams. The latter saw her penalty saved in the opening day goalless draw at Bristol City. Completing the defence was Fern Whelan, with the Seagulls missing Laura Rafferty long term due to an ACL injury picked up in training. In front of the defence sat Dani Bowman, the midfielder better known as Dani Buet. She got married in the summer, hence the name change. On the left wing, Aileen Whelan’s goal in the previous League match at home to Chelsea almost caused a huge upset before the Blues scrambled home a stoppage time equaliser. Ellie Brazil featured heavily in the previous WSL campaign, whilst Emily Simpkins was more of a fringe player. This was her first start of the League season, coming in to replace French international Lea Le Garrec; a close season recruit from Guingamp. Irishwoman Megan Connolly could play either in the middle or up top. Completing the starting XI was Welsh international Kayleigh Green. Among the options on the bench were striker Ini Umotong, who opened the scoring in this fixture last season, and defender Danique Kerkdijk. She was part of the Netherlands World Cup squad that finished as runners up in France in the summer, having signed for Brighton prior to the tournament. For Joe Montemurro’s Champion Arsenal side, six of the starting line-up were in their nation’s World Cup squads over the summer. That included the deadly Dutch duo up top of Vivianne Miedema and Danielle Van de Donk. Miedema broke the WSL record for most goals in a single season last campaign, netting a total of twenty-two in twenty League matches. She also became the Netherlands all-time top scorer in June, scoring for the sixtieth time in international competition at the age of just twenty-three. Scottish duo Kim Little and Lisa Evans provide further goals and creativity in a star-studded line up. That meant no room for England’s Beth Mead, who started as a substitute today, whilst her fellow Lioness Leah Williamson held firm in the middle of the park. The big absentee from England’s Semi Final squad was Jordan Nobbs but back in the domestic side this season after recovering from the injury which kept her out of the entire first half of 2019. French reserve ‘keeper Pauline Peyraud-Magnin kept goal for the Gunners, as they waved goodbye to Dutch stopper, and goalie of the World Cup, Sari van Veenendaal after four years. Refereeing today’s contest at Boreham Wood Football Club was Elliot Swallow.

5ARS Kick Off 5ARS Comms 5ARS Presentation team

Presentation Team: Commentary was provided by Robyn Cowen and Jayne Ludlow. Cowen is one of the leading voices of women’s football in this country. She commentated on the Women’s World Cup for the BBC in France, behind Jonathan Pearce as the number two. Two years earlier, Cowen was second choice behind Steve Bower for Channel 4’s coverage of the Women’s European Championships in the Netherlands. Since 2018, along with Vicki Sparks, Cowen is one of the BBC’s regular voices on Live WSL matches and has commentated on the men’s game for Match of the Day. As of the beginning of the 2019/20 campaign, she featured more heavily on the Premier League highlights and has been a reporter for Final Score and Football Focus for four years. This is the second time commentating on an Albion Women’s match Live, having been behind the mic for the defeat to Chelsea in December 2018. Co-commentator Jayne Ludlow is the Welsh Women’s national team manager, having been in the post since 2014. The forty-year-old retired from playing in 2013 and has a year in charge of Reading before her country came calling. The former midfielder spent thirteen years at Arsenal, of which she is a supporter, and captained the side to numerous League and Cup successes. Since the BBC regularly broadcasted Live WSL matches from the start of last season, Ludlow has become an increasingly frequent member of the team. She is a pundit on magazine programme The Women’s Football Show and rotates turns in the commentary box along with Sue Smith and Laura Bassett. As with the other BBC Red Button games, the programme is handled out-of-vision by the commentary team apart from a brief couple of minutes during half time. During this period, the presenter and guest for the evening’s Women’s Football Show provide a report on the match so far. That role fell today to Kelly Somers, who doubled up as the pitchside reporter, and guest Danielle Carter. Somers previous work included matchday stadium hosting at AFC Bournemouth and cricket side Surrey Storm before climbing the ranks at the BBC. She continues to do stadium presenting for West Ham but is better known as a reporter and presenter for The Women’s Football Show on the BBC for the past two years, sharing duties with Eilidh Barbour and Reshmin Chowdhury. Somers also reported on other BBC magazine programmes Football Focus and Final Score and on radio for Talksport. Outside of the UK, she can be seen by the world on the Premier League Productions preview and Fantasy Football fan shows. Her guest Danielle Carter is a current Arsenal Women’s striker out injured with a knee problem suffered in pre-season. She’s spent her entire senior career to date at the Gunners, playing over a century of matches in ten years graduating from the Leyton Orient youth setup to the Arsenal first team. She has also represented England at every level from under-17, under-19, under-20 and under-23s as well as the senior side, netting a hat-trick on debut in an eight-nil victory in Estonia.

5ARS Powell 5ARS One to Watch 5ARS Coming Up

The Coverage: From the beginning of this season, a brand new initiative was launched by the Football Association which transformed the coverage of the women’s game in this country. The “FA Player” app made every single Super League match available Live and for free, wherever you were in the world. This was in addition to the television broadcast deal in place from last year, where Live League games were shown on BT Sport and the BBC Red Button. The FA Player meant that all other non-televised matches were available to stream Live on the app. On the back of the success of the England team reaching the Semi Final of the Women’s World Cup, and the huge audiences achieved on the BBC, the FA attempted to capitalise on the growing interest. Matches were being played in men’s first team club stadiums such as Stamford Bridge and The Etihad, with record attendance figures being smashed in the opening days of the season. The national side would be playing at Wembley in November setting a new record for ticket sales as over 80,000 people were expected. In terms of the television coverage, BT Sport continued to broadcast at least one game per matchweek. The BBC provided their magazine programme The Women’s Football Show with a new primetime Sunday 7pm slot on BBC Four and a repeat on BBC One after Match of the Day 2. Like before, one WSL match per round was moved to an earlier kick off slot for Live broadcast on the BBC website and Red Button. Coverage began ten minutes before the 12.30pm start and was introduced by the commentary team of Robyn Cowen and Jayne Ludlow. The programme began with a glance at the day’s other WSL fixtures and the current table standings before previewing our clash with Champions Arsenal. We saw shots of the two teams arriving at the ground and getting off the coach, across a rainy Meadow Park stadium, before hearing from both managers who were interviewed by Kelly Somers. Arsenal’s Joe Montemurro called it “probably the toughest game of September”, aware of Albion’s impressive draw with Chelsea last time out. Brighton boss Hope Powell was in good spirits reflecting on the first matches of the campaign; “Really pleased we’ve started well, it’s a 100% improvement on last year which is great. Today we’re under no illusions on how challenging the test will be but we’re in fighting spirit, we’re gonna give it a good go.”  She went on to stress the importance of the defence standing strong and being diligent in order to get something out of this match. Jayne Ludlow picked out Leah Williamson as the ‘One to Watch’ for Arsenal, equally adept at playing in defence or midfield. Whilst the Albion’s Dani Bowman was her choice from our squad, highlighting the midfielder’s tough tackling and links to her time at Arsenal early on in her career. After a little more chat, the teams were ready and waiting to emerge from the tunnel.

5ARS Half Time 1 5ARS Half Time 2 5ARS POTM

New for this season was the replay transition wipe sporting a BBC logo instead of the WSL crest. During the half time break, fifteen minutes of air time had to be filled and this was where the BBC’s Red Button coverage would include a couple of features and interviews. The commentary team began by analysing the best of the first half action, including the two Arsenal goals separating the teams. The pass for Kim Little’s opener and the finish from Vivianne Miedema to double the lead were particularly good. They showed how tough it was for Kayleigh Green up front on her own for the Albion, having to do a lot with little possession and support. Our first VT of half time was an interview with Manchester United Women’s captain Katie Zelem in a feature called ‘This is Me’. She spoke about how she got into the game, her earliest memories of football and her influences. She’s the skipper and big United fan but used to play for Liverpool, and the two sides met in the WSL the day before. Extended highlights of that clash were shown next, with commentary from Michael McCann. With every match streamed Live on the FA Player, it meant each one had a commentator, which would then be used during the highlights show. Goals from Lauren James and Katie Zelem secured a two-nil victory at their Leigh Sports home, their first League win of the season. Then it was time to head down to the touchline to join Kelly Somers and Danielle Carter to review the first half, who were in situ ahead of recording that evening’s Women’s Football Show links. Carter said it was as expected from Brighton, sitting in deep and trying to defend for their lives making it trickier for Arsenal to break them down. She cited the difference in the quality of players being the difference, whilst the first half stats scrawled on the bottom right hand corner of the screen confirming the home side’s dominance. Arsenal enjoyed two-thirds of the possession, had six shots to Albion’s one and both on target resulted in goals. The pair also chatted about the League in general, England Women and the other matches that weekend. They ended by updating us on the progress of Carter’s knee injury, at the very early stages of her rehab and expecting to be out for quite a while yet. With that, it was time for the second half to begin. When the match concluded, there was just three or four minutes left to wrap things up before coming off air. Barclays Player of the Match Jordan Nobbs was interviewed on pitch by Kelly Somers, as the rain continued to lash down on them. The midfielder was delighted to back playing again after a long time out, this her first home game of 2019. She summarised by saying “I think we controlled the ball very well and kept possession but we’ve seen Brighton get points and play very well against Chelsea. So I think we’ve got the three points we wanted and Joe [Montemurro] will be happy with the way we played today.” After a quick look ahead to programmes to come on the BBC, it was time to say goodbye and bring an end to another Live Seagulls broadcast.

5ARS Lining up 5ARS Little opener

Story of the Match: The Gunners got the game underway kicking from right to left in the first half. The BBC scorebar initially struggled to cope with Albion’s change kit, wearing green instead of blue, and so disappeared from screen intermittently whilst they updated the colours. On the field, Arsenal dominated the ball and it did not take long for them to break the deadlock. In just the ninth minute, Vivianne Miedema slipped the ball through the back line for Kim Little to latch on to. The Scot took one touch to set herself before slotting low past Megan Walsh from six yards. The Albion had to dig deep for much of the rest of the half, with left back Fliss Gibbons in particular earned her pay cheque and preserved the scoreline. The Seagulls were restricted to very little by way of attacking threat. Kayleigh Green’s speculative right-footed effort from twenty-five yards was about as good as it got. The shot not a problem for Payroud-Magnin ten minutes before the break. Five minutes later, Arsenal doubled their lead through some nice, neat passing. A short corner found Little on the left. She looked for Jordan Nobbs whose lovely first-time cushioned pass sat nicely for Miedema in the area. She got her shot off early, a hard drive on the left of the six-yard box which flew into the opposite corner of the net. It was a very well worked move from the Champions and they deservedly went in two-nil up at the whistle. Hope Powell brought back Lea Le Garrec to bolster the attack for the second half, replacing Emily Simpkins. The Frenchwoman immediately showed positive intentions with a long-range shot, even if the execution left a lot to be desired.

5ARS Sub 5ARS Nobbs four

However, it took just eleven minutes for a third goal to go in, this time from Danielle Van de Donk. Brighton’s Megan Connolly was dispossessed twenty yards inside her own half by Maier. In an attempt to win it back, Connolly’s challenge deflected the ball into the path of Miedema who rolled the pressure of Victoria Williams. Miedema then laid the ball on for her fellow Dutch international Van de Donk, who took one touch and finished like a natural goalscorer. Deadly from Arsenal and it was game over for sure now, if it wasn’t already. The task for the Seagulls was now to keep the score respectable. Maya Le Tissier replaced Kayleigh Green for fresh legs in the midfield. A four-goal margin was about par against these top sides last season. And four-nil it was when Jordan Nobbs added her name to the scoresheet with twenty minutes to play. Substitute Beth Mead was set free down the right of the penalty area from Little’s pass. Her cross went over everyone and to the other side of the box. The cut back was headed out to the edge of the box for Nobbs to hit it on the half-volley. Her shot squirmed through the crowd of players to deceive Megan Walsh as it went between her legs and in for four. A chance to pull one back fell the way of right-back Matilde Lundorf ten minutes from time, but she scuffed her effort wide of the target after latching onto a loose ball in the area. Back at the busier end, Beth Mead saw her effort on the edge crash against the angle of post and bar after a one-two with Nobbs. It remained four-nil to the Arsenal as the final whistle brought to an end a miserable, tough afternoon for Brighton. It was clear the Albion were still a long way off those top clubs in the Women’s Super League. Onwards and upwards from now on.

5ARS Full Time

ARSENAL WOMEN 4 BRIGHTON WOMEN 0
Little, Miedema, Van de Donk, Nobbs

5ARS Replay

PREVIOUS; #4 BRIGHTON WOMEN 0-4 ARSENAL WOMEN 28/04/2019

NEXT; #6 MANCHESTER CITY WOMEN 5-0 BRIGHTON WOMEN 15/12/2019

 

 

Small Screen Seagulls; The Rise and Fall of Gus Poyet

Small Screen Seagulls LogoGustavo Augusto Poyet Dominguez, or Gus Poyet to you and me, made a name for himself as a talented midfielder for Zaragoza, Chelsea and Tottenham. The Uruguayan spent seven years in the Premier League picking up the FA Cup, Charity Shield, UEFA Super Cup and Cup Winners’ Cup. At international level, although he didn’t earn too many caps, he did lift the Copa America in 1995. Affectionately nicknamed “the radio” due to his incessant talking, there was no doubting he would go into coaching. Not many would have earmarked League One Brighton and Hove Albion as the club to give him his first managerial break. In November 2009 that’s exactly what happened, as Poyet brought a South American touch to the South Coast. 


Gus Poyet Brighton Manager 10th Nov 2009-23rd Jun 2013

Poyet's first game interviews (1)Gus Poyet had been assistant manager at Tottenham, Leeds and Swindon but now was given the top job for the first time. It was undoubtedly a gamble from new chairman Tony Bloom, but he was no stranger to playing the odds. Having taken over from Dick Knight in May, Bloom arrived as Brighton had just saved their skin on the final day with victory over Stockport at Withdean meaning they would remain in League One for another season. But the following campaign saw more misery at the start and Russell Slade’s short tenure was over. After Slade’s dismissal, Bloom said he received lots of applicants for the vacancy but when Poyet’s name was thrown in, he became ‘very interested’ before adding, “His reputation as being a top quality coach shone through, as well as being a top man… I am certain he will be a big success at the Albion.” Poyet certainly agreed, stating in a BBC Sussex interview “This is another challenge for me to take the club where everybody in Brighton wants to be and that’s in the Championship… Being realistic I think eighteen months is possible. If that is the goal of the club, it’s no problem.” He signed an initial contract until the end of the following season, which would be Albion’s final one at their makeshift home of Withdean. There was an immediate interest in the club from the media and it just so happened that Poyet’s first match in charge would be televised Live five days after taking charge. As a well known player in the Premier League, he scored some fantastic goals and assisted many more. As assistant coach he worked alongside big names, the likes of Juande Ramos and Dennis Wise. He was well used to lots of attention, but Brighton were not. The main focus in the spotlight was usually about the club’s fight for a stadium, a battle which dragged on for over a decade. Now, with Gus at the helm, there was an increase in coverage purely to see how the Uruguayan would be getting on. It turned out to go rather well.

Poyet appointedClimbing the table and building his own style was the first aim for Poyet. Results started to arrive and the style of play was overhauled. It was about getting the ball on the floor, playing out from the back, enjoying possession and passing the ball as much as possible. It was his philosophy and he only wanted to play one way. The club finished thirteenth in League One in May 2010 and sights were set on the top six. Poyet’s free-flowing Brighton side went even better in the 2010/2011 season, Poyet’s first full campaign, as they stormed to the top of the table and ran away with the title at a canter, soaring to the top of the table in September and never letting up. The club played some of the best football the supporters had ever seen. It culminated with a whopping 95 points to be crowned Champions as they bid farewell to life at Withdean and welcomed in the new stadium in Falmer with Championship football after five years away. In the process, Poyet earned the PFA League One Manager of the Year award and went on to claim the Outstanding Managerial Achievement prize at the Football League Awards. Praise was flying in from everywhere and the momentum continued in the second tier. His Seagulls narrowly missed out on the Play Off places in the 2011/2012 season as they took naturally to the higher League. One big push the following year saw them finish fourth and reach that end of season showdown for the first time at this level since 1991. That time it was ended at Wembley by Notts County, but for Gus it was Crystal Palace who did for us in 2013. And everything immediately fell apart in the days and weeks that followed. It ended with a bitter public fallout in which Poyet lost his job and Brighton had to start again. Here, we take a look at some of the media appearances Gus Poyet made whilst in charge of Brighton. A natural in front of the camera, he interviewed with passion and honesty and was a favourite in the studio. It all began by taking his new side along the South Coast for a birthday to remember.

 

First Match in Charge; v Southampton (A), 15th November 2009

#28 Southampton 15/11/2009 Table on Poyet's arrival

Five days after signing on at Brighton, Gus Poyet took his new club along the Coast to Southampton for a big clash at the foot of the League One table. Sky Sports couldn’t believe their luck, having already chosen this match in advance for Live television coverage over the international break weekend. Having a high-profile new manager in charge, and on his birthday, was the icing on the cake. Brighton sat 20th and in need of a rethink having shipped four goals in the previous match at Wycombe. In contrast, Southampton were in great form yet propped up the table for most of the season so far due to a ten-point deduction owing to financial irregularities but a win would take them out of the drop zone and above Albion. Sky Sports reporter Greg Whelan spoke to Poyet before his debut in charge and began by asking how much he was looking forward to the challenge. “We’ve done everything possible, because it’s only three days normally you have normally have a month of pre-season but, like I always say, I don’t complain at the situation and we have to accept it.” He spoke of the “talent and quality” of the squad he inherited but emphasised the need to shore up the back line, which he immediately tried to address by dropping captain Adam Virgo from the starting XI. The match couldn’t have gone any better, a full report is available here, as Brighton surged to a terrific three-one away victory with goals from Andrew Crofts and a Glenn Murray brace. Afterwards, a slightly hoarse Poyet spoke again with Whelan. “The lads were superb. We had two or three days to train, they adapted themselves to the situation very well.” He was pleased with the effort from the defence and debated whether the Southampton goal from the penalty spot should have been given in the first place. His focus was now about taking it game by game whilst he worked out exactly what to do with this squad and where strength was needed. “We need to think about keep improving as a team, keep working hard, keep believing in the strength of the team and work hard on the weakness.” In the studio, host George Gavin and pundit Peter Beagrie predicted brighter things for the Albion. “It’s a big task for Gus but I think, because you’ve got somebody with such kudos attached to it, I think he’s gonna be given time to build something at Brighton,” Beagrie said. That time spent during the rest of the 2009/10 campaign was enough to lift the club up the table steadily and with an attractive, open style which was enough to secure thirteenth place the following May, well clear of the relegation zone this time. Times certainly were changing.

SOU Poyet SOU Studio


Football League Weekend studio appearance; Sky Sports 2, 21st October 2011

FLW Titles FLW Poyet

In Poyet’s first full season in charge, Brighton were unstoppable as they stormed their way to the League One title. He built an exciting, attacking team dominating possession with free-flowing, passing football. The 2010/2011 campaign would be remembered amongst the greatest in Albion’s history as they took on and defeated all comers. The championship was secured in the final season at Withdean with four games to spare and ensured the opening of The Amex in Falmer would be as a second tier club again. A massive ninety-five points were obtained along the way, with Poyet named LMA League One Manager of the Season earning him huge acclaim. He strengthened over the summer to twice break the club’s transfer record – first on Will Buckley and then Craig Mackail-Smith – and began life in the Championship in superbly dramatic style with a last-gasp two-one opening day win over Doncaster. However, form over the next couple of months had stalled after positive opening weeks. Sky Sports had selected the home match against West Ham for Live television coverage on the Monday night. To preview that and the rest of the weekend’s fixtures, Gus Poyet was invited into the Football League Weekend studio to accompany George Gavin on the Friday evening. He admitted that he found the step up in League “very hard, very competitive” citing more power, strength, quality and experience in the Championship. After a dozen matches the Seagulls sat in tenth place on nineteen points going into this weekend. Poyet’s achievements so far earned him a contract extension beyond the original eighteen months and boasted a terrific win ratio of more than 50% over a century of matches. The stats were looking fantastic.

FLW Studio FLW Record

Gavin and Poyet discussed the move from Withdean to The Amex and how that impacted the club. Gus made his feelings clear about the old athletics ground; “I know people love it but I don’t. I’m the only one at Brighton who said that it was one of the horrible places to play football!” Of course by contrast he loved life in Falmer; “It’s totally the opposite – it’s massive, it’s comfortable, even the seats now!” He made a number of improvements on the playing staff too, bringing in the likes of Mackail-Smith, Buckley and Vicente as well as younger talents like Will Hoskins and Romain Vincelot. Poyet singled out Scotland’s newest striker Mackail-Smith for his outstanding workrate; “He’s the type of player that, when you are a defender, you don’t want against you. He’s quicker than what people think, he’s always running, desperate to play”. The Tuesday before the show, Brighton drew one-all away at Millwall which featured one of the weakest penalties in club history from Ryan Harley. Poyet’s response; “I was not a penalty taker so I’m not gonna blame anyone who takes penalties.” Without a win in six, form had gone off the boil having not lost in the opening six matches. A tough period was ahead for Poyet as clashes with West Ham and Southampton were coming up but Poyet was in buoyant mood. “I look at that as a manager, as a player, the fixtures – where is West Ham? There. Where is Birmingham? There. That’s the games you want to play… I love it.” Poyet talked through his own methods of coaching. On his preparation, he said “I’ve done everything possible to win this football game… I’ve done my job, then it’s up to the players” He didn’t join in playing during training whereas assistant Mauricio Taricco did. And the programme drew to a close with a quick mention of the success in League One; “I think it’s incredible what we did last year… The way we played we surprised people early doors and got points ahead and it was difficult for them to get back.” His aim of a top ten finish was in sight. “We’ll see.”

FLW Signings FLW Fixtures


Football League Weekend interview; Sky Sports 1, 2nd March 2012

FLWI Forster Poyet's Office

After a bit of a blip, Brighton were firmly back on course in the Championship. By March the club were on the fringes of the Play Offs in their first season back. Sky Sports preview programme Football League Weekend sent their reporter and former Albion striker Nicky Forster to the manager’s office to catch up with the boss. This was a particularly enlightening interview, given what we know subsequently. It began by discussing the situation at the time; Brighton were in seventh place level on points with the final Play Off team and thirteen matches remaining. Poyet admitted that placing was “just a little bit better than expected” as he was “expecting to be in the middle really”. He continued to play things down, saying “I don’t think we should be real contenders but I think we’ve got a chance because we are a little bit different.” To give a real insight into the mind of Poyet, Forster questioned him on the inevitable links to bigger clubs that come when a manager does as well as Gus had done thus far. “It’s good because that means we’re doing something right. I try to wait for the time it happens, I try to live with it. Sometimes it’s a shock and it’s crazy for a few days but I’m lucky.” The attention feeds into a crucial part of the man; his ego. The success in League One earned Poyet a new long-term contract but, he said, “at the same time, like any other job, there is a time frame that you need to set up… depending on how we do, you can stay forever or not.” He then spoke of some of the positives of the future, with the academy on the horizon and a plan in mind but didn’t want to commit to too much detail for fear of everything changing and then “looking stupid”. Perhaps this attention from other clubs and talk about promotion was a bit much as things quickly began to go off the boil. After this interview, Brighton won just two of the thirteen matches to drop down to tenth. Was their eye taken off the ball and heads were allowed to turn, we’ll never probably know. But what was known amongst the footballing community was how good a job Poyet was doing. The studio team of host George Gavin with Simon Grayson and Phil Brown echoed that afterwards, demonstrating it with the excellent results since the New Year.

FLWI 2012 Results FLWI Presentation team


Football League Award Winner; BBC One South East, 12th March 2012

LKO Titles LKO Award

Gus Poyet’s great work at the Albion was recognised by the Football League at their annual awards dinner in March 2012. He was honoured with the Outstanding Managerial Performance across the three Divisions for transforming the Seagulls from relegation candidates to League One Champions within eighteen months of taking charge. BBC regional magazine show Late Kick Off reported on the event the following evening. The Brighton area was now served by the “London and South East” BBC region, meaning a new line up for the 2012 series of Late Kick Off, with Football Focus presenter Dan Walker at the helm as the Albion shared the spotlight with the clubs from the capital. Walker was joined in the studio by former Charlton and Wimbledon striker Jason Euell and ex-Crystal Palace front man Mark Bright. Poyet said of his award; “I’ve been lucky to be at the right club at the right time… The key is the players. If you make sure you get the right players, you convince them, you make sure they want to play for the football club and they believe in what we do… you got a chance.” By the time the gong was handed out to him, Brighton were sat fifth in the Championship table with ten matches of the season to go, such was the lateness of this award we had almost completed the following season. In fact, Poyet was doing such a great job to carry on the momentum of promotion into the higher tier and in the new stadium, he wouldn’t have looked out of place on the shortlist for the award for this 2011/2012 campaign either. In the studio, Mark Bright was full of praise for the job done by the former Chelsea midfielder. “The move into the new stadium was fantastic for the Brighton fans and for the team. But the style of football they play, they’re now looking at back to back promotions – and seriously as well – I think they are big contenders. There was a lot of respect in the room for Gus Poyet.” The final few matches of the season saw the Albion tail off and miss out on the Play Offs but over the course of Poyet’s first two seasons in charge he won plenty of plaudits for the open, attractive passing style of play and were candidates to go one step further into the top six the following season.

LKO Poyet LKO Studio


Last Match in Charge; v Crystal Palace (H), 13th May 2013

PAL Titles PAL Poyet

The club missed out on the Play Offs in 2012 having dropped too many points in the final third of the season and winning just one of the last ten. Poyet signalled to the board that, in order to go one step further, investment was much needed. Tony Bloom answered by providing funds to bring in top class players such as Tomasz Kuszczak, Bruno, Wayne Bridge, Andrea Orlandi and David Lopez over the summer. The squad was sharp and solid. The Albion even led the Championship briefly in September. Too many draws cost us in November and December as Brighton slipped down the top half. Leonardo Ulloa and Matthew Upson were brought in to add even more quality in January and result picked up again for Poyet. Just one defeat in the first eleven matches of 2013 saw the club back in the Play Off pack and an unbeaten last nine games cemented fourth place in the second tier, the highest finish for thirty years since relegation from the old Division One. It set up a crunch clash with Crystal Palace in the Play Off Semi Finals and, after drawing the away leg nil-nil on the Friday, it was all down to this Monday night in May at The Amex. Brighton were favourites and dispatched of their rivals three-nil as recently as March here. Gus Poyet was one match away from a Wembley Final. It turned out to be a dreadful night. Palace won the game two-nil and went on to gain promotion with a Final win over Watford. An incident in the away dressing room prior to kick off enraged their boss Ian Holloway and fired up the Palace players.

After the televised match, Poyet spoke to Sky Sports reporter Jonathan Oakes in a conversation which fuelled speculation about the Uruguayan’s future with the Albion and saw him lose the support of the chairman and board. It began with Poyet’s summation of the campaign; “You have a very, very good season, better than expected. You done something very good and then because of this Play Off you go home with a terrible feeling and I’m really sad.” Over the course of the two Legs, Poyet thought Brighton should have edged it. He praised the First Leg performance in particular, dominating that first half but not getting the reward. But complained of his side’s poor showing in this match; “We were not ourself, too much tension, too much responsibility… That is not us.” The damning moments came at the end of the interview when asked about recovering from this and his future with the club. “I don’t want to make any decisions or any comments right now because the feelings are not the best so I will sit down, check properly everything… Where is the roof? Did we hit the roof today and there is nothing above? What is going to be the situation next year? But we’ve got time.” Asked if he would be here next season he replied, “I need to analyse my personal diary.” Emotions played a big part of Poyet’s success, being fiery and passionate and feeling all the highs and lows. But when it came to interviews, particularly just after a defeat or if something hadn’t gone his way, Poyet showed his managerial immaturity too many times. It wasn’t his place to question the ambitions of the club in the minutes after a heart-breaking defeat in this manner. Blame was being placed at everyone else’s door instead of his own. Brighton’s squad was better than Crystal Palace’s but he couldn’t get past them. And for that he should have faced up to it. It was silly to talk about ‘hitting the roof’ and touting himself as available for other jobs in such a manner. This was noted immediately by the board, who acted to suspend him from his job pending an internal inquiry in the subsequent days. Poyet was in danger of undoing all the great work he put in to this club and it was his own fault for the bitter ending.


TV Pundit Poyet dismissed by Brighton; BBC Three, 23rd June 2013

TV Studio TV Poyet

Never one to go quietly, the manner of Gus Poyet’s eventual dismissal from Brighton following a period of suspension caused headline news. Not necessarily for the sacking itself though, more for the way the news reached the public domain. On Sunday 23rd June 2013, Poyet was working as a pundit on BBC Three’s Live coverage of the FIFA Confederations Cup match between Nigeria and Spain. Sat in the warm Salford studio alongside fellow guest Efan Ekoku and host Mark Chapman, the news was delivered to the viewers at home during the half-time break that Gus Poyet’s contract with Brighton had been terminated with immediate effect. Chapman began the coverage by announcing, “We will look more at that first half during half-time, but we’re gonna start half-time by talking about Gus because it’s been a slightly odd first forty-five minutes for those of us in the studio and particularly for Gus because after three-and-a-half-years as Brighton manager, whilst we’ve been on-air this evening Gus has been told that his contract has been terminated.” The official statement, below, issued by the football club on the Seagulls website was read out. Poyet insisted that the first he heard of the decision was when a member of the BBC production staff printed out the statement and handed it to the studio team whilst the match they’re covering was in play. Brighton and Hove Albion refute these claims.

TV Statement

Poyet began by saying, “I think BBC have got a great story forever, really. Because a manager getting information that he’s been released from his employment by the BBC during the time of a programme is quite surprising.” He said he did not receive any form of communication from the club prior to this statement being released. He added a veiled barb towards the Albion hierarchy by saying, “I think everybody, the viewers and everyone, can take their own conclusion about the way that I’ve been informed.” He confirmed that he intended to appeal the decision and had already spoken with his lawyers around the next steps but was limited in what he could say right now. He was most sad with the fact that during the suspension period, lasting for over a month until this point, Poyet had not been allowed any form of communication with his players or staff for legal reasons. After the match, they returned to the subject of Poyet’s dismissal to delve a little further and reiterate the news to any latecomers. Chapman asked him if he was now on the job market again, to which he replied, whilst reaching for the piece of paper in front of him, “From what I read from the statement is that I am unemployed.” If he genuinely didn’t know about this before coming on-air then he handled it brilliantly. If he did know, it was a masterclass in hamming it up and feigning surprise. Given the nature of his fiery personality on the touchline, you tend to think that he would have been a bit more outspoken if this was genuine news to him. He did look rather emotional though as the questions wore on. Gus Poyet’s time in charge of the Albion concluded with the following message at the end of the programme; “First I would like to thank every single Brighton fan for being so patient with me, supportive. They’ve been outstanding. I know how difficult it was in the beginning to change a way of understanding football and they’ve been excellent with me all the time. They were patient, they believed, they got convinced and I’m sure they are proud of the football club and the team they’ve been watching over the last three-and-a-half-years.” Gus Poyet did not go through with his appeal and his tenure at Brighton came to a sad end after such highs.

TV Chapman TV Studio 2


The relationship between Brighton and Hove Albion, the supporters and Gus Poyet completely broke down after that terrible Play Off night in May 2013. Poyet was soon suspended by the club, along with coaches Mauricio Taricco and Charlie Oatway, pending an inquiry after comments made after the Crystal Palace match. The full truth probably will never emerge about exactly what happened behind the scenes there but it was all rather unsavoury. When he was dismissed from the club in June, Poyet insisted the first he heard of it was when he was making a punditry appearance Live on the BBC, who broke the news to him on-air. The club statement said Poyet was already aware of their decision. Whatever happened, it was a very sad ending to what had been a fantastic period for both Poyet and the Albion. He oversaw the move into the new stadium with a seamless transition from Champions of League One at Withdean to promotion candidates in the Championship at the new home of The Amex. He transformed the playing style of the club, moving away from long-ball plodders struggling at the foot of the third tier to an attractive, flowing passing philosophy knocking on the door of the Premier League. He was at the helm for almost two-hundred matches emerging the victor in eighty-six, that’s a win ratio of 44.3%. Too many draws cost him a Play Off spot in the 2011/12 campaign but it still built up the points, losing just forty-nine matches in charge. As far as first managerial jobs go, Poyet had a stormer and was highly sought after and respected in the wider football community, both at home and abroad.

Poyet Manager

Defeat in the Play Offs to your biggest rival and then a bitter fallout with the club hierarchy did mean that Poyet was enemy number one amongst sections of the Seagulls support for a time after his sacking. But to gloss over the fantastic achievements he had with the club would be foolish. Without Poyet, Brighton could well have begun life at Falmer in the bottom Division of English football and going nowhere fast. It wasn’t just results he was able to get, but he improved players too. The best example was probably with local lad Adam El-Abd, who was transformed from a big bruising old-fashioned centre-half into a ball-playing modern defender. Poyet’s fiery style and passionate displays didn’t endear him to everyone and several high-profile names fell foul of him. Nicky Forster and Glenn Murray’s partnership didn’t last nearly long enough. But he was able to attract a whole new calibre of player, the likes never seen before in Sussex. Former Valencia playmaker Vicente was somehow convinced to join and, in the limited game time he got, showed glimpses of brilliance. Kazenga LuaLua flourished. A host of other top Division players dropped down to the Championship to earn their stripes with the blue and whites. Gus Poyet was a huge factor in that. He gave us a glimpse of the potential this football club had now the stadium and training facilities had started to take shape.

Poyet Memory Lane

In his final post-match interview, he questioned if we’d ‘hit the roof’. In fact, it was quite the opposite. The foundations were laid, they just needed someone to crank it up a notch. Should Poyet have been the man to have taken the club into the Premier League? Possibly. It may have been a case of trying to go too far too soon. Brighton were not a top level club in 2013 and had overachieved to get within 180 minutes of making it. Allowing Glenn Murray to slip away for nothing in 2011, and to end up at Palace, was a terrible error of judgement and his goals we struggled to replace for a long time. Poyet’s passion would sometimes boil over into petulance, he received his marching orders from the touchline and saw rage transfer to his players on the pitch too often. Establishing the club in the second tier soon attracted interest from bigger clubs and Poyet didn’t exactly hide his delight at that. For a while it seemed we were destined to lose him to the Premier League as former stomping grounds Chelsea and Tottenham sniffed around. As much as his philosophy brought huge success, it could sometimes be stifled in the Championship as clubs learned how to counter it and frustrate Brighton. Plan B was rarely in the offing and this harmed the promotion charge in both second tier seasons. His ego got the better of him and when the final, crucial battle was won by Ian Holloway’s Palace, blame lied everywhere except at the manager’s door. In the end it became a tussle between manager and board and there would only ever be one winner. Poyet paid the price.

He was responsible for the best of times as an Albion fan. We were making headlines for the attractive football and fantastic facilities, showcasing the club and the city to the world in the process. Players flocked to Falmer from far flung corners of which Poyet was usually a big factor. We came so close to achieving the dream of top flight football, but just fell short. Poyet questioned if that was as far as the club could go. But as far as he could go with the club, come June 2013 it was adios, Gus, and thanks for the memories.

Huddersfield Poyet

Small Screen Seagulls; In the Spotlight at Withdean

Small Screen Seagulls 2000sDuring our twelve-season tenancy at Withdean the club was extremely successful. Three League championships were won, with a fourth promotion via the Play Offs. The Albion arrived in the lower half of the lowest League, Division Three, before consolidating, improving and taking the fast track up to Division One. Two relegation seasons in the dozen years saw some of the lower on-field moments, but the club were determined to be in the second tier by the time the new home was in place. The fairytale story was completed with the League One title secured prior to the final match in April 2011. As the success grew, television naturally came calling that little bit more. Here, look back at some of the programmes that showcased the Seagulls players and surroundings on screen whilst at Withdean. The piece begins with a cult Saturday morning football show on Sky in December 2004.

1

SOCCER AM (18th December 2004) Sky Sports 1

SAM Ident SAM Sponsor SAM Titles

To get you in the matchday mood you had Football Focus in the 1970s. Saint and Greavsie dominated the 1980s. Fantasy Football took the mid-1990s by storm. And as the 20th Century drew to a close, a small budget early morning entertainment programme on satellite was beginning to make big waves in the footballing community. Soccer AM began life on Sky Sports in 1995 as a four-hour discussion and phone-in show with Russ Williams and Jane Hoffen at seven in the morning, before Gary Stevens and Helen Chamberlain joined later on. It was a bit bland, a bit straight but it filled up lots of hours of Sky’s schedule when there was little chance of Live sport. When Tim Lovejoy came on board as producer and presenter in 1996 he changed the show beyond recognition and took it to new heights, with the aim being to replicate the excitement and build up that the Cup Finals of the 70s and 80s got on the telly. They built up a small but loyal following over the next couple of seasons on Saturday mornings, inviting viewers into their world of silly costumes, funny sketches, games, goals and star names. Soon everybody was clambering to be on the show, from the likes of Ray Winstone and Chris Evans, through Noel Gallagher to Rio Ferdinand and Paul Gascoigne. It was the place to be and soon became one of Sky’s most talked about shows. By 2004 it was a staple of the football coverage; for three hours each and every Saturday morning forty weeks a year from 9am you would tune into Soccer AM to see Tim and Helen, along with crew members Fenners, Sheephead, Tubes, Rocket, Robbie and co, entertaining you ahead of the big matches over the weekend. The show was sponsored by Yorkie, during the chocolate bar’s “It’s not for girls” campaign. With Brighton’s promotion into the Championship via the 2004 Play Off Final, media exposure was on the rise. On 18th December 2004, having played (and lost to Stoke one-nil) on the Friday night, three of Albion’s finest were invited onto the famous orange sofas to talk all things Brighton. They were striker Leon Knight, winger Nathan Jones and midfielder Charlie Oatway.

SAM Presenters SAM Sofas

With the show being three hours long at this point, the first hour was usually spent looking back at some of the best goals of the week along with funny moments, features and sketches. Particular highlights included Boston Goals, a parody of the unusual phrases American commentators use for football, showed the goals from Boston (in Lincolnshire as opposed to New York!), there was Northern 1970s style comedian Big Stan Hibbert (“I’m here all week!”) telling a classic gag and crew member Sheephead with his Topless Weather, once again pointing out down South there was “light drizzle!” These things sound ridiculous in isolation but once you joined in with the world Soccer AM created in that Isleworth studio, you were hooked and part of the gang. The second hour of the show was all about the guests and there were a whopping 7 (seven!) of them on this episode. As well as the Albion trio, joining later was former Spurs and Chelsea man Jason Cundy and three members of The Charlatans, backed by the noise of the Fans of the Week from Oxford United. When introducing them all at the top of the show, Lovejoy asked Chamberlain, “What’s Charlie Oatway like, Helen?” To which she replied, “He’s brilliant. He’s hard as nails so don’t upset him!” And the final hour, with the guests still present on the sofa, would go up a gear as the big hit features came out. The likes of Third Eyes, Showboat, Crossbar Challenge, Soccerette, Live link-ups to a ground and the locker sketches were amongst the most popular items before the show culminated with the fans kicking footballs through a hole in the end game. We’ll return to that last one later.

SAM Guests SAM Stoke game SAM Trio

Tim Lovejoy introduced the Brighton boys onto the show for their main interview with the line, “Our first guests have got their Christmas party tonight so are getting very excited. Please welcome Brighton’s Leon Knight, Nathan Jones and Charlie Oatway.” After the opening pleasantries they showed Ade Akinbiyi’s decisive goal from the previous night’s loss at Withdean to Stoke as well as Oatway’s chance towards the end, his miss getting a ribbing from the other Seagulls. That was going to be the order of the day, it was just a chance for each of them to take the mickey out of the other. Helen Chamberlain brought up Knight’s yellow card during the game, his fifth of the season, for an apparent dive. Both Knight and Chamberlain protested it should have been in fact a penalty, whilst a researcher frantically trawled through the tapes in order to find the incident. No sympathy from Jones though; “Ask him what his other four bookings were for though?” with Oatway adding “Exactly the same thing!” As Lovejoy mentioned in his intro, it was the Albion Christmas party that night and each of the boys drew out a famous name to dress up as. Knight got the short straw, his own words, and ended up as a lion, Jones got Dolly Parton and Oatway had probably the best you could get, Freddie Mercury. They talked about the Play Off Final victory in Cardiff, where the club produced a DVD using Charlie Oatway’s self-filmed footage behind the scenes that day. A clip of him imitating boss Mark McGhee running away from the fans during the Semi Final pitch invasion was shown and Oatway revealed the money he received from that would go to an unnamed player who recently had to retire due to illness.

SAM Jones press ups SAM Jones Soccer Skills SAM Basil Fawlty SAM Bus Stop

A feature of the show during the 2004/05 season was a footballer would do press-ups as the end credits rolled. The previous week had seen Nathan Jones’ attempt, which was controversially discounted as the arms didn’t lock back on the way up, enabling him to do more quicker. As he pointed out after seeing a clip, “Brian Jacks won Superstars with them!” In a bid to rectify that, Jones agreed to do press-ups Live at the end of the show, and Leon Knight being the competitive type decided he’d go head to head with him. It wasn’t the first time Jones had been featured on the show though, as a couple of years earlier his tricks earned himself its own item called ‘Nathan Jones’ Soccer Skills School’. In it, Fenners voiced a heavily exaggerated Welsh accent over the top of three of Jones’ tricks. The first, entitled the ‘Basil Fawlty’, saw him hugely overestimate a step and stretch his leg out in the style of Fawlty impersonating a German (above, bottom left). He actually won a penalty with the move. The second was the ‘Exaggerated Rhondda Valley Stepover’, in which he comically feigned a stepover. And the final one came in the same passage of play, after he did the stepover and sent the defender in a spin he just stopped and put his hands on his hips, AKA the ‘Bus Stop’. All set to the tune of The Entertainer. Afterwards, Jones revealed, “To be honest with you, it’s a bit detrimental because I used to get booted.” During the week, the guest researchers would phone the players up to get some idea of stories for the show and the Brighton players just used this as an excuse to wind the others up. As a result, Leon Knight was accused of having the driest shins of any footballer, Nathan Jones was revealed to be obsessively neat and tidy yet never washed his clothes and Charlie Oatway used and abused his local trainer store by returning each pair after he wore them. “I had that shop in the bag, now you lot have killed it!” he laughed. At which point the interview came to an end but the trio would still be hanging around in the studio for the rest of the morning.

SAM Stools SAM Knight Crossbar

A little bit later on the crew had dug out the Knight penalty incident from the Stoke game which saw him pick up his fifth caution of the season. After seeing it twice, it seemed only Knight and Chamberlain still thought it was a penalty, with the rest laughing at the comical fall. Lovejoy recommended he got Chris Kamara to highlight it on Goals on Sunday, as he often did with incorrect refereeing decisions. Fast-forwarding some more past next guest Jason Cundy’s chat and it was time to bring out the band. In order to accommodate The Charlatans on the sofa for their chat, the other four guests had to relocate. They were placed on stools behind the sofa, which gave the team a huge laugh as they knew what was coming next. A pan up of the camera was accompanied by a burst of the “Fool Again” chorus by Westlife, with the boyband famous for just sitting on stools when performing. It was so funny they did it every chance they could! The Charlatans were unable to stay for the whole show so the stools were only utilised for a few parts unfortunately before the boys returned to the sofa area. Fun whilst it lasted! The previous week it was Brighton’s turn to feature on the Crossbar Challenge, where all they had to do was hit the crossbar with a shot from the halfway line. It proved harder than it sounded. We saw our three guests attempts again this week (above, top right), with none of them able to get anywhere near. “Bit far” was Jones’ excuse.

SAM Oxford fans SAM Oatway Kick SAM Press Ups

The traditional climax to the show was outside in the Frank McAvennie car park where the Fans of the Week had sixty seconds to score as many balls through the hole as possible, with the caller guessing nearest winning a t-shirt and other merchandise. This year, as last, the show was celebrating Sky’s purchase of UEFA Champions League football rights with the game “We are the Champions League”. The target was the star-shaped hole in the middle of the ball logo, with the guests acting as ballboys for them before it was their own turn to have a kick. The Oxford fans were not very good at all, only managing two. Of the four guests, only Charlie Oatway was able to convert his kick (above, top right). They all rushed back inside to close the show with the head-to-head press-up challenge as Knight took on Jones, Live! The credits rolled along the bottom of the screen, along with the joke names and gags, whilst a version of Santa Baby played, given the time of year. Nathan Jones’ press-ups didn’t seem to dissimilar to the ones he executed (badly) previously but even so, he couldn’t keep pace with Leon Knight over the minute and the striker took it 71 to 61. And another excellent show came to a close. It was the first taste of a big light-entertainment show featuring any of the Withdean crop and they did well. The club got plenty of mentions, came out of it looking like they were up for a laugh and joined in with all the craziness that went with Soccer AM.


2

COCA COLA’S ‘WIN A PLAYER’ PRIZE (30th May & 30th June 2005) Sky Sports

WIN Group

The Football League went through its biggest rebranding since 1992 when it renamed the three Divisions in 2004. Division One became the Championship, whilst Two and Three became League One and League Two respectively. A new sponsor was gained in the form of fizzy drinks giant Coca-Cola, replacing Nationwide on the titling. As part of their sponsorship, Coca-Cola went into marketing overdrive. Their iconic red logo was adapted into the colours of each and every one of the seventy-two League clubs for use in the stadium, in the programmes, online and in print. The new logos were everywhere. They even redesigned the lower League and Play Off trophies into what looked sort of like a drinks bottle. But the most memorable campaign came towards the end of that first season of sponsorship when they launched their ‘Win a Player’ promotion. In exchange for buying a bottle of Coke, fans could enter into a prize draw where their football club would receive £250,000 to go towards a player, or players. The winning fan would also receive £10,000 for themselves. It was a simple yet brilliant idea, with a quarter of a million being a deciding factor in whether or not a club with little to no money could afford to actually spend money in the transfer market. For the lower League clubs this could be season changing. Even though the Albion were now competing in the Championship, finances were all being poured onto the campaign for Falmer which was still ongoing at this point. So this money would be a wonderful addition in order to welcome a new face to the club. The Terms and Conditions allowed for entries for multiple supporters from the same club rather than just one chance in seventy-two. The clamour for Coca-Cola bottles was on up and down the land!

WIN Cheque WIN Aaron Berry WIN McGhee WIN Studio

After eighty days of the promotion, a winner was drawn from the hat and would be revealed during the pre-match build up to the Coca-Cola Championship Play Off Final at the end of May 2005. Sky Sports televised the match Live between Preston and West Ham United at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium. Reporter Chris Kamara, who had been heavily involved as one of the faces of Coke’s promotion, was standing by the centre circle with the winning fan along with their club’s manager and chairman. Over one million entries were received. So imagine the delight when up pops Dick Knight and Mark McGhee next to Kamara. They were joined by the winning supporter, Albion fan Aaron Berry, all behind the giant cheque confirming a quarter of a million pounds was heading to the South Coast. The rules stated the money had to go towards the transfer and/or wages of players and couldn’t just be pocketed by the club and that £250,000 needed to be spent by the end of August that summer. This gave Coca-Cola the opportunity to market the player for the new season. During the Live Sky Sports interview, Dick Knight joked that the winnings could afford Mr Berry to become the chairman now! Knight spoke of how this would “double the playing budget” and would invest wisely. Always alert to the bigger picture, he of course stressed the need for a new stadium, really taking that television opportunity to remind everyone watching – and especially John Prescott – once more. He, thankfully, never missed a trick in promoting the needs of the club. Manager Mark McGhee responded to Kamara’s question of how he would spend the money simply with one word – “Wisely!” He added, “We’ve now got a budget!.. It’s a fantastic windfall for us. It really could be the difference between us staying in the Division and being relegated.” Up in the studio, host George Gavin and his guests George Burley and Paul Jewell echoed the chairman’s words regarding a new home. Gavin said, “All the problems they’ve had, I’m not sure any fan in the country would begrudge Brighton having that money if they couldn’t have it.”

 

WIN Sky Sports News WIN Kazim-Richards

A month later, on 30th June 2005, Brighton used the whole £250,000 windfall to sign eighteen-year-old striker Colin Kazim-Richards from Bury (or you could say Berry, after winning fan Aaron) on a three-year contract. Sky Sports News reporter Jeremy Langdon was there to cover the story as Kazim-Richards posed with Berry, Knight and McGhee for Coca-Cola’s promotional material. The new signing was immediately dubbed “The Coca-Cola Kid”, a tag which he would always be remembered. Speaking on the moniker, he said “I’d rather just Colin! But it’s nice for someone, anyone, to just know who I am.” Mark McGhee hoped that is exactly what he’d be known for as opposed to anything else. Whilst the chairman explained Kazim-Richards had been on their radar for some time, even before the money, fighting off competition from the likes of Wigan and Leicester. Signed as a prospect for the future, he lasted just one season at the Albion before being shipped on at his own request, but did score a memorable last-minute equaliser in the Live televised match at Sheffield Wednesday which was probably one of his highest points with the Seagulls.


3

THE FOOTBALL LEAGUE SHOW (1st January 2011) BBC One

FLS Potted History FLS Clem Goldstone FLS Wembley 83 FLS Goldstone Retail Park

The spotlight dimmed when the Albion were relegated from the Championship in 2006 and took a few years to find their feet in the third tier. By the time the BBC took over highlights of the Football League in 2009, their Saturday night programme The Football League Show had extended coverage of a couple of the day’s matches, all the goals from all the rest of the games and a report or feature. The latter involved their reporter Mark Clemmit providing a ‘Potted History’ of a club, looking at some of the key moments and achievements of a team’s past. He would also report from a selected match from the three Divisions to take a closer look behind the scenes and interview players and managers. Clemmit was a familiar voice on BBC Radio Five Live and in his native Middlesbrough and transferred to television with this programme. On the 2011 New Year’s Day edition, Clemmit’s potted history was on Brighton and Hove Albion. Soundtracked by ‘Sussex By the Sea’, the report began with shots of the home at the time; Withdean Stadium before a note on the formation of the club in 1901 and subsequent move to the Goldstone Ground a year later. He appeared from behind the gold rock (above, top right) located in Hove Park from which the stadium took its name. He then moved on to 1920, when the club first joined the Football League, before looking back at the Albion’s main piece of national notoriety; the 1983 FA Cup Final appearance (above, bottom left). By law, any mention of that match must then include Gordon Smith’s chance to win in in the last minute of extra time. Twelve years later the bitter row between the inept board and the heroic fans was chronicled, as the iconic Goldstone Ground became just another retail park (above, bottom right) when the site was sold for redevelopment. Clemmit touched upon the final day relegation escape at Hereford in 1997 and the subsequent two-year ground share with Gillingham as the 1990s drew to a bitter close.

FLS Goldstone now FLS Goldstone then FLS Withdean FLS Withdean North Stand

The Goldstone now (above, top left) and then (above, top right) were compared and contrasted before moving to the current situation of playing at Withdean Stadium, the temporary home since 1999 (above, bottom left and right). “The athletics stadium, formerly a zoo, was supposed to be a temporary one. By the time they move to their £93 million new home next season, they’ll have been here twelve years.” He told how the club’s nickname changed from the Dolphins to the Seagulls in 1976, in direct response to rivals Crystal Palace and their Eagles moniker. The potted history concluded with shots of the pier (below, left) as he gave details about the club song Sussex By the Sea; it “was written in 1907 as a military march. It was a favourite of former Brighton director, the late Norman Wisdom.” Following the report was a quick round-up of the Albion’s match that day against Leyton Orient. The result was a comprehensive five-nil victory over Russell Slade’s side, the man who kept the Seagulls in the Division just eighteen months earlier. Dave Beckett voiced the action, starting with Glenn Murray netting courtesy of a Chris Wood cutback. Wood, on loan from West Brom, crossed from the left less than two minutes later and saw it fumbled into the net by goalkeeper Jamie Jones to double the lead. In the second half, Liam Bridcutt was sent through on the near side. He fired it low across the box for Murray to finish first time for three-nil. His hat-trick was complete on the hour mark when Elliott Bennett slid a pin-point ball through the defence and extend Murray’s excellent goalscoring form. A fifth was added by Ashley Barnes when he latched on to his own headed flick, with the Orient defence giving him acres of space. A five-star performance for manager Gus Poyet and his League One leaders, who said afterwards; “Passing the ball, moving around – it’s a pleasure. As a manager to achieve that with the players that we’ve got in this Division is absolutely fantastic.” Almost five months later the Albion were crowned Champions as their time at Withdean, finally, drew to a close.

FLS Piers FLS Scoreline


4

TAKE IT LIKE A FAN (21st January 2011) Sky Sports 2

TILAF Titles TILAF Presenters

After leaving Soccer AM with Tim Lovejoy and half the crew in 2007, Fenners returned to Sky Sports three years later to do some interviews for Soccer Saturday and then co-host his own weekly football quiz show on location; Take It Like A Fan. The show was new for the 2010/11 campaign and aired on Friday nights, usually following the Live Football League match. Fenners, AKA John Fendley, and co-host Charlotte Jackson from Sky Sports News would present the show from a football ground each week, playing various games and quizzes in order for fans to win money. In January 2011, with the club going very well at the top of League One in the final season ahead of the move to Falmer, the programme came from Withdean Stadium around the Peterborough match. Fenners and Jackson would ask various questions in rounds before and after the match, and a special prize for one of the fans would be to take a penalty kick at half-time in order to win big. Welcome to Take It Like A Fan! They had a cracking theme tune too, Hunger by Frankie and the Heartstrings.

TILAF Round One TILAF Zamora goal TILAF Zamora question TILAF Zamora guesses

The show began with the round borrowing from a famous line of commentary; “There’s Some People on the Pitch”. So-called because the spot from where they film from is based on a famous moment on that pitch. After showing Kazenga LuaLua’s spectacular strike against MK Dons earlier this season and the incredible comeback against Swindon in the 2004 Play Off Semi, it was then decided as to where our first quiz would be taking place. For this Withdean special it came from the spot within the penalty area where Bobby Zamora volleyed a superb goal past the Halifax goalkeeper back in March 2000. After seeing the goal, we met the two contestants who were going head-to-head to win the chance to take a penalty at half-time and win £500. Playing today were Albion fans Christos and Joel. They were asked to write down how many of Zamora’s 117 goals thus far were scored for Brighton, the nearest would take the spot kick later. Unfortunately for Christos, the answer was 76 and so Joel Kaltz would be stepping up to test his shootout skills.

TILAF Dugout TILAF Home or Away 1 TILAF Home or Away 2 TILAF Oatway

Our hosts caught up with manager Gus Poyet in the dugout as he went about his pre-match routine. He pointed out it was the half-way point of the campaign, unbeaten at home so far but too many games were played at this level. They also mentioned his son, Diego, who had represented England – and not Uruguay – at under-16 level recently. Before leaving they tested him out with one of the quiz questions; Which Spanish club are nicknamed El Submarino Amarillo (the Yellow Submarine)? Quick as a flash he named Villarreal and won £10, sent straight to charity. The next round was Home or Away, very much not the same as the round in A Question of Sport as the ‘Back off Barker’ campaign from the show attempted to make clear so Sue doesn’t sue. Joel’s brother Jake took part in this one, with the aim of the game being to answer three questions correctly about either today’s home team – Brighton – and win a tenner or, for fifty pounds, the away team – Peterborough. He went with the home option for the first question, shown above top right, which he correctly bagged ten pounds. For the remaining two he went away, getting the second correct but unable to name which of Mark Wright, Terry Butcher and Tony Adams had a spell managing today’s visitors. After the three, there was the option to go double or quits and answer question four, shown above bottom left. He got it right and doubled sixty quid to one-hundred-and-twenty English money pounds. First team coach Charlie Oatway popped up pitchside before the warm up to give Fenners some grief about his jacket choices and answer the following question, somehow, correctly; ‘Which club did Manchester City sign Eden Dzeko from?’ So off he went ten pounds richer.

TILAF Fenners Tenners TILAF Tenners TILAF Players TILAF Goal

Tenners galore were up for grabs in the next round, where our contestant was hairdresser Adam who had sixty seconds to get as many questions right to stack up the cash. Amongst the teasers he got were; ‘Who are the only non-League club left in this season’s FA Cup?’, ‘What is Cesc Fabregas’ squad number at Arsenal?’ and ‘Which club play their home games at The Lamex Stadium?’ He got eight correct within the minute and tried to double it with this killer question; ‘Who has scored more goals for Liverpool – Robbie Fowler or Kenny Dalglish?’ He guessed correctly and pocketed a cool £160 before it was time for the adverts. Part two kicked off with three of the Albion squad members, above bottom left, answering a mini thirty-second edition of Fenners Tenners. Their questions included; ‘Which Scottish club play their home games at Hampden Park?’ and ‘Who knocked Newcastle out of this season’s FA Cup?’ They scored a fantastic seven correct, bagging seventy pounds, before blowing it all in the double or quits question when guessing Olof Mellberg’s current club incorrectly. Charlotte Jackson caught up with camera-shy Barry Fry, Peterborough’s Director of Football and former manager before we saw the goals from the big match as the Albion hosted the Posh. Chris Wood opened the scoring after twenty-five minutes with a near post header before Elliott Bennett doubled the lead two minutes later with a nice curling effort from just outside the penalty area (above, bottom right). And that led us nicely onto the next segment at half time.

TILAF Penalty TILAF Penalty Miss TILAF Full Time TILAF Where on Earth.

It was time for earlier winner Joel Kaltz to take his penalty. The opponent in the sticks was Brighton academy ‘keeper Josh James. If Joel netted, and he was confident, he’d take home the £500, if it was saved he’d get nothing. He stepped up and struck it low just left of centre but James guessed the right way and gathered well to keep it out (above, top right). “Fluffed it” was Joel’s reaction before adding, “Had a ‘mare!” Josh James’ reward for saving the show £500 was a ton himself. Back to the match and the second half continued where we left off, with Albion adding a third through Wood again, this time bundling in Glenn Murray’s cross. Peterborough pulled one back through Lee Tomlin with twenty-four minutes remaining but it was just a consolation, the final score ending three-one. Next up was back to the quizzing, with Sean taking on the ‘Where on Earth?’ round. He was shown a series of cards with players on, he just needed to name the country they were from. For every one right he’d receive ten pounds and had sixty seconds to pick up as many as possible. Examples included Eden Dzeko (that man again!), Alexander Hleb, Ali Al-Habsi and Dani Alves. He managed eleven correct but threw it all away by incorrectly answering where on Earth Brede Hangeland was from. He was not Swiss.

TILAF Wood TILAF Trackside

The programme ended with a quick natter Posh boss Darren Ferguson before hearing from two-goal hero Chris Wood (above left), both speaking to Charlotte Jackson. He joined on loan from West Brom in November until the end of the season, scoring on his debut as well in the recent Cup win over Portsmouth. And finally, the last word from Brighton went to gaffer Gus Poyet, who had something to say about the referee during the match, as often the case. Poyet said the show was welcome back anytime now that they won the match, with them hoping to return the following season in the new surroundings at The Amex. With that, our presenters Fendley and Jackson bid us farewell and onto the next show at another football stadium next week. Brighton continued the terrific form and stayed on their lofty perch at the top of League One for the foreseeable.


5

LATE KICK OFF (18th April 2011) BBC One South

LKO Ident LKO Titles LKO Richardson LKO Murty and Rosenior

The Seagulls soared to the top of League One and never looked back during the 2010/11 campaign. Promotion was secured with a sensational four-three win over Dagenham and Redbridge and that was followed up four days later with a superb three-one victory at Walsall. That was enough to secure the League One title with four matches to spare and two of Albion’s heroes all season – Tommy Elphick and Elliott Bennett – appeared in the BBC South studio on the Monday evening to celebrate. Late Kick Off was the BBC’s weekly regional Football League magazine programme. It launched in January 2010 to cover the second half of the season, the BBC’s first as League rightsholder in the deal, and returned for the second half of this 2010/2011 season too. The country was split into seven regions and Brighton were predominantly served by the South, West and South West version which also covered Bournemouth, Southampton, Portsmouth, Reading, Bristol City, Bristol Rovers, Swindon, Exeter, Plymouth, Aldershot, Oxford, Cheltenham, Torquay, Wycombe and Yeovil. To complement the main highlights programme The Football League Show on Saturday nights, Late Kick Off aired on Monday nights showing the goals from the region as well as reports, interviews and analysis. Match of the Day commentator Jonathan Pearce presented our region’s first season but did not return for this one. His place was taken by former Channel 4 Football Italia host and king of wit and wordplay, James Richardson (above, bottom left). Joining him in the studio were regular pundits Graeme Murty and Leroy Rosenior (above, bottom right).

LKO Trophy in studio LKO Inflatable trophy LKO Going Up

The programme began with Richardson introducing his two guests, Elphick and Bennett, sat on the sofa who temporarily displaced the usual pairing of Murty and Rosenior. The latter would be back towards the end of the show. The shiny League One trophy was also present, with Brighton not able to get their hands on it for real until the final home match against Huddersfield in just under two weeks’ time. By Tommy Elphick’s own admission, the players had been partying almost non-stop since securing the title on the Saturday so any croakiness of voice would surely be forgiven here. A VT montage played of the two matches over the past week which secured firstly promotion followed by the championship, cut with the scenes of jubilation and celebration. It was set to Florence and the Machine’s “Dog Days are Over”, appropriately enough. Thoughts immediately turned to next season and the Championship Division. Elphick responded to Richardson’s question of nerves with, “I think with the way the club’s going and everything, that we should be well in hand for next year and prepared.” He praised the people in charge at both the club and manager level.

LKO Elphick LKO Bennett LKO Bennett goal LKO Studio

Brighton had three players named in the PFA Team of the Year for League One, with defenders Inigo Calderon and Gordon Greer joining Elliott Bennett. Perhaps harshly overlooked was striker Glenn Murray, with Bennett arguing his case; “Top player, he’s scored over twenty goals this season. Hopefully the club can tie him down to a long contract and he can score some goals next year as well.” He provided Murray with a lot of assists but it was the winger who scored the final goal in the weekend’s match at Walsall (above, bottom left), a cracker from twenty-five yards that flew past the ‘keeper in the final minute. Elphick added of it, “We see it every day in training. Nothing surprises the lads when he pulls one of them out the bag.” The trio also discussed manager Gus Poyet, with plenty of superlatives for him as a person and coach. Elphick told of the changes he brought about to transform the club from the bottom end of the table to the very top within eighteen months. “He brought a real winning mentality to the squad. Everything we do in training, whether it be a five-a-side or head tennis, it’s all down to winning whatever way you do it. I know we’ve done it the right way and passed the ball a lot but we have got the other side to the game as well which I think does make you Champions.” Elliott Bennett confirmed the next target of theirs was to go for the one-hundred points marker. He also played down his PFA accolade, saying it could have been any one of the team included, which presenter Richardson wasn’t quite buying the modesty! Some of his goals were shown as they discussed the achievement, in the process almost creating his own ‘Goal of the Month’ compilation they were that good.

LKO Group shot

The opening third of the programme focussed entirely on the Albion and the two studio guests before continuing almost as normal with reports and goal round-ups. Graeme Murty was sent to Southampton on an access-all-areas mission to provide an insight into what the day is like from a player’s perspective before he, Richardson and Leroy Rosenior voiced over all the goals from the region’s clubs from the weekend. Elphick and Bennett moved back to the sofa for the final few minutes of the show, along with the regular threesome to form a packed studio. Richardson quipped, “It’s kind of like a before and after, isn’t it, of footballing careers and the effect it can have on your body!” The long goodbye to Withdean Stadium and the move to Falmer was touched upon. Elphick saying “I believe it’s the biggest pitch in the Football League” before appealing for Murty to come down and film one of his tactical reports that he filed for the show earlier. He also said he was not sad to be bidding farewell to the athletics stadium; “We’ve obviously had some great nights there and some good games but I think for the club to progress the way it wants to we’ve definitely got to get out of there.” And that was just about that as they closed the show for another week. The Albion didn’t go on to win the last Withdean game, or indeed any of the final four fixtures missing out on the century of points. But who cares now?! A new Division and, most importantly, a new stadium was on the horizon. A home the Seagulls could finally call their own. What a time to be a Brighton fan.


Twelve seasons at Withdean Stadium began in the basement Division, scrambling for survival in the Third, and ended up flying high with the League One title and a place in the Championship upon arrival at the magnificent new home in Falmer. It was a rollercoaster ride from start to finish; with the uncovered stands, the shoestring budget, the battling on and off the pitch and some remarkable afternoons and evenings that supporters will never forget. For the players, appearances in the spotlight on the likes of Soccer AM brought the sort of exposure you only really get as a footballer at a certain level the higher up the Leagues you go. The history of the club and the fight for a home became a story told on an increasingly frequent basis as the years at Withdean went on. National coverage of it was always welcomed. Things would go up, in all areas, several notches by the summer of 2011 and the opening of the American Express Community Stadium. The Withdean years, though, should never be forgotten.