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

#20: Brighton 0-1 Reading 21/03/2005

#20 BRIGHTON 0-1 READING Championship
Monday 21st March 2005 Image result for

REA Titles

PRESENTER George Gavin GUEST Micky Adams
COMMENTATORS Ian Crocker & Garry Birtles REPORTER Greg Whelan
7.45pm Kick Off; Withdean Stadium     7.30-10pm Football League Live on Sky Sports 1

REA Promo REA Sponsor REA Intro

Context of the Match: With the Albion’s fight for Falmer dragging on and no fixed date in sight, budgetary constraints forced the chairman’s hand in selling the best assets. Impressive summer transfer Darren Currie didn’t hang around long on the South Coast, as promotion-chasing Ipswich snapped him up for a £250,000 December transfer whilst captain Danny Cullip also headed out of the club. Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott was due to make a decision on the planning permission for the site in October 2005. To ramp up the pressure on Prescott and keep the cause in the public conscience, the club released a version of 1950’s original song, but later made most famous by The Piranhas, Tom Hark. The 80s version gained notoriety amongst the football community by being used as goal music by a number of League clubs. Brighton fan John Baine, AKA Attila the Stockbroker, reworded the lyrics to fit with the Albion’s chant of “We Want Falmer”, and the song was a big success. It reached number seventeen in the UK charts outselling Robbie Williams and Elvis Presley. On the pitch goals were hard to come by. To counter the lack of end product, various strikers were tried. Veteran Football League journeyman Steve Claridge spent a month here but failed to find the back of the net before moving on to Brentford. Maheta Molango fell out with manager Mark McGhee and rarely featured before being shipped out on loan to Lincoln. Albert Jarrett was another who didn’t find his feet and was also sent on loan, to non-League Stevenage. The club were going through a difficult spell of results, with five defeats in seven. However, consecutive wins over table-topping Sunderland and top-half Millwall dragged Brighton to within reach of surviving the drop but it would be a close one. This was aided by a very promising Christmas, unbeaten in the Championship from Boxing Day through to the end of January. With a bit of a makeshift squad and disruption in goal due to injuries, the Albion had shipped nine goals in the past two matches including a humiliation at fellow strugglers Plymouth five-one in which Richard Carpenter saw red. Tonight’s match against Reading was the last before the Easter international break. Managed by our former gaffer Steve Coppell, the Royals had their eyes on a Play Off place. They defeated the Albion in the reverse fixture on the opening day of the season, with goals from Molango after just twelve seconds and academy star Jake Robinson not enough to prevent a three-two loss. Crunch time in the second tier required cool heads and hard work as the Sky Sports cameras came to town.

REA Brighton REA Reading REA Formation

The Teams: Brighton approached the final stages of the season with a much changed side from that which began life in the Championship. Battling midfielder Charlie Oatway was made captain following the sale of Danny Cullip for a quarter of a million back in December. Brighton’s cult hero joined the top end of the Division, moving to Sheffield United after rejecting a new deal at Withdean. His time with the Blades was unsuccessful after a promising start, as he joined Watford on loan earlier this month. Adam Hinshelwood filled Cullip’s place next to Guy Butters at the back. Right sided Paul Reid and midfielder John Piercy both came off the bench in last year’s Play Off Final victory but had suffered contrasting fortunes since. Piercy was forced in retirement at just twenty-five in November suffering from the illness colitis. He made just two appearances this season. Reid though flourished in the Championship after making his move permanent, becoming a regular figure in defence and midfield. Kerry Mayo continued on the opposite flank combining with Dan Harding playing further forward. The midfield area continued to be a work in progress, with Adam Virgo now filling in after a spell up front. Leon Knight continued to struggle for form in the higher League, with just four goals to his name. A good sign though was that when he did score this season, Brighton did not lose; three wins and a draw. McGhee turned to former club Millwall for an answer, with Mark McCammon coming on loan in December before making the switch permanent in February. The twenty-six-year-old was prevented from making a huge impact due to first a back injury then illness but netted thrice including a crucial winner against League leaders Sunderland. On the touchline, stalwarts of previous promotions, Paul Watson and Nathan Jones, made only a handful of starts between them this term as their time with club was coming towards the end. Former trainee Chris McPhee burst into the first team squad last season but starts were now rare, as he once again occupied the Seagulls bench. Keeping nets was Swedish goalie Rami Shaaban who signed in February until the end of the season following his release from Arsenal. He joined to alleviate the goalkeeping crisis which saw injuries to Ben Roberts and Michel Kuipers with only inexperienced teenager Chris May on the books. Tonight’s fixture saw former boss Steve Coppell return to Withdean with the Reading side he left us for in October 2003 following relegation from the second tier, citing the lack of finances at the club for his departure. Another who left Brighton for Reading was midfielder Steve Sidwell, who chose to leave Arsenal for the Royals in 2003 after an impressive loan spell with which we wanted to make permanent. Ivar Ingimarsson played for Brighton fifteen times in the League on loan from Wolves but found his way along the Meridian region at Reading shortly after. Two further Albion connections were on the bench with Paul Brooker and Martin Keown. The latter spent a few months on loan at the Goldstone in the beginning of his career and now sat on the bench to see it out. Midfielder Paul Brooker was at Withdean when the back to back titles saw the Seagulls fly up the Leagues but was poached by Micky Adams at Leicester before Reading. The experienced Nicky Forster was an option up front if Dave Kitson or Dean Morgan needed assistance. Refereeing was Kevin Friend.

REA Gavin REA Adams REA Studio REA Whelan

Presentation Team: Regular Football League presenter George Gavin was once again at the helm for this clash between two Meridian region teams. Joining him in the scaffolding-clad studio at Withdean was Micky Adams. He made a return to his former home on a scouting mission for current club Coventry City, with the Seagulls travelling to the Sky Blues in their next fixture in two weeks’ time. Adams was in charge of the Albion between April 1999 and October 2001, guiding us to the Division Three title in the process and laying the foundations for much of the side which continued in the Championship here. Having spent three years at Leicester he resigned in October of this season after a poor start to life back in the second tier following relegation. Brighton’s last Live television match was against Adams’ Foxes, where Adam Virgo’s strike stole the three points back in August. In January 2005 Coventry appointed Adams as manager following a short-lived Peter Reid reign and sat a couple of places and points below Brighton in the Championship table, battling to avoid the drop. In the commentary box in the open air of Withdean were Ian Crocker and Garry Birtles. The pair were in the same spot less than twelve months earlier to witness one of the most remarkable moments of Play Off drama there’s been, when Virgo again cropped up to net the equaliser against Swindon to take the match to a penalty shoot-out. The rest, of course, is history. This was Garry Birtles’ second season regularly commentating on the lower Leagues for Sky Sports, having made his name in local radio in the Midlands. Ian Crocker was a near ever-present again this season for all things Football League, combining that with Scotland internationals and Champions League ties. Completing Sky’s line up was number one reporter Greg Whelan, in his first season promoted to Football League duties from the Conference and Soccer Saturday. His distinctive Midlands accent and confident line of questioning saw him instantly take to his new role and covered the vast majority of League games on Sky’s nationwide roadshow. All this season he regularly appeared in-vision during the build up to relay the team news as viewers became very familiar with the newest member of the broadcast squad.

REA Build Up Transition REA Mobile Shop REA Ref REA Prescott

The Coverage: A brand new title sequence was also in use for the first time on an Albion match. Out went The Skids and in came The Farm with their classic track All Together Now. The song was re-released for England’s Euro 2004 campaign the previous summer and must have caught the eye of the bosses at Sky but presumably too late to get it up and running for the start of the campaign. The new titles came in after the Christmas period rather than the beginning of the season which I’d not seen happen before. The ribbons of the Coca Cola Leagues now flew into the screen as we saw the contrast between how the Football League used to be, with old black and white footage, being replaced with how it is now; advanced technology, current players, stadiums and goals. It’s a very nice intro and the music soundtracks it superbly. Similarly, Sky’s coverage was now sponsored by Powerade, part of Coca Cola, who replaced Sky Bet at the same time. This came with new sponsorship bumpers involving West Ham’s Nigel Reo-Coker and other young England prospects. The rest was pretty much as you were when we were Live previously in August, only with a slight tweak to animate some, but not all, of the graphics for the studio portions of the show mainly. Host George Gavin introduced the programme by stating the Albion’s clear aim; “After four seasons of ups and downs, Mark McGhee’s mission is simple: keep the Seagulls up at all costs.” He was exactly right, Brighton got themselves into a decent position which included an excellent win over title-chasing Sunderland recently and survival was in their grasp. The last man to manage the club in the same Division for two consecutive seasons was tonight’s studio guest; Micky Adams. The pair came on air from behind the goal, and indeed behind the track, in the South West corner of Withdean Stadium in their lofty gantry perch. The programme began fifteen minutes before the 7.45pm kick off, giving enough time to run through the Championship standings and preview both teams. Comment was made about the surroundings, with Adams saying “Withdean is an unusual stadium, as you rightly say. I think there’s a better atmosphere for night games but having said that it takes teams by surprise.” He went on to say he wasn’t expecting Reading to be too bewildered owing to some of the players links to Brighton and, of course, Steve Coppell returning as manager. Reporter Greg Whelan brought the all-important team news from the touchline.

REA Sidwell REA Virgo REA Coming Up 2 REA Coming Up 

Micky Adams discussed some of the key men involved for both sides, with Dave Kitson’s recent goalscoring form a key for the Royals. The wingers would look to cross the ball into the box for the target man at all opportunities. Midfielder Steve Sidwell was another star player, with Seagulls supporters remembering him well for his loan spell here and his goal for Brentford against us Live on the ITV Sport Channel three years earlier. For the home side, Adam Virgo was once again highlighted in the build-up as being crucial. Having played at the back and up front this season, he was starting in midfield tonight. We saw some of his goals so far and Adams praised his tenacity, putting defenders under pressure and ability to come up with goods at the right time. He admitted when he was in charge he never saw Virgo as being a free-scoring centre forward but has impressed in the role. Greg Whelan spoke with both Coppell and McGhee in the interview area. The Brighton boss said he thought probably two more wins from the eight games remaining would secure survival now; “Prior to the games on Saturday I was starting to think it might be three wins, but when you look at the fixtures – everyone’s playing each other – I think it’ll come to fifty, fifty-one points.” Steve Coppell called for his Reading side to get back on track after a patchy run, with poor goalscoring form since Christmas time and wanted players other than the strikers to start contributing on the scoresheet. With that, the fifteen minutes were up and George Gavin handed over to commentators Ian Crocker and Garry Birtles as the teams ran out of the tunnel, with no pre match advert break. At half time Micky Adams was critical of Brighton’s play, allowing Reading to dominate possession. He thought the penalty for the foul on Kitson early on should have been given but could see why the referee and his assistants did not give it. They reviewed what little chances there were in the first half, which didn’t really take long. After the post-match break, the studio team returned to close the show with around ten or so minutes of the programme left. Reporter Greg Whelan spoke with Powerade Man of the Match from Reading, Ibrahima Sonko, and goalscorer Nicky Forster. In studio, the result would have pleased Coventry manager Micky Adams to ease the pressure on his side despite his Albion connections. He disagreed that Reading were good for the three points, praising Brighton’s second half fight back. Of the goal he said it should have been ruled out for handball from Nicky Forster and thought the officials between them could have done more to have a clearer view. He and Gavin talked through the rest of the key chances in the game from both sides, interspersed by interviews with the managers. Mark McGhee said “We’re disappointed to have lost the game but, you know, we’re fighting. We’ve got seven more games to compete with these other teams around us and I think we’ve shown we can compete.” After hearing from Steve Coppell and taking another look at the Championship table, it was time to say bye for now as Brighton headed into the international break with four straight defeats. The survival battle would go down to the wire.

REA Kick Off REA Comms

Story of the Match: Steve Coppell was reunited with his former chairman Dick Knight as they sat alongside each other in the Withdean stands at the beginning of the match, Coppell choosing a higher vantage point for the first half. A lively start saw action at either end within seconds of each other. Mark McCammon’s drive forward gave Gary Hart a crossing opportunity which Reading were able to deal with. They broke on the counter right up the other end, with Glen Little setting Dave Kitson through. The striker sprung the offside trap but was thwarted by Rami Shaaban who appeared to bring Kitson down with his hands. The applause from the home crowd drowned out any, if at all, away appeals with the referee confidently pointing for a corner. On closer inspection it should have been a penalty after just four minutes but the Albion got away with one, finding a Friend in referee Kevin. Shortly after, the goalkeeper got into all sorts of trouble again when trying and failing to claim on the edge of his box. His defence came to the rescue on that occasion. Reading began to dominate and Steve Sidwell came close with a diving header from a Nicky Shorey cross, the effort going wide. The goalkeeping errors weren’t confined to the Albion box though, as McCammon was presented with a chance by Marcus Hahnemann out of nothing when he slid to keep a backpass in play only to give it straight to the Brighton forward, via a deflection off Sonko, on the edge of the area. The first time effort was poor and in fact going wide of the open goal by which time Hahnemann got back to it. There was a lack of composure from Brighton perhaps due to the recent bad spell. After a collision with Hughes by the far corner flag, Adam Hinshelwood’s match was over a quarter of the way into it thanks to a jarred knee. His replacement Dean Hammond forced a tactical re-jig in the midfield, where Sidwell was restricting Albion to scraps. Adam Virgo dropped back to his more regular defensive role to compensate. After the early exchanges there was nothing by way of goalmouth action until just before half time. Sonko’s glancing header narrowly went wide and the teams went in level.

REA Coppell REA Stretcher

At half time Mark McCammon was seen being stretchered off around the athletics track. He had been suffering from flu in previous days and was clearly struggling today, going down for rest a couple of times and signalled to the bench for assistance. He was replaced by youngster Chris McPhee. With half an hour to go Reading tried to force something to happen as Nicky Forster replaced Dean Morgan up top. He made an immediate impact as within three minutes of his arrival, Forster broke the deadlock. Little’s cross on the near side went over Kitson to the back post where Forster was waiting. His initial header was parried by Shaaban but, like all good strikers, he was in the right place at the right time as it rebounded off him to sneak home. It appeared to go off his head and onto his arm for the initial contact but there was no chance of the referee spotting that. Despite the Albion looking better in the second half, going forward more and enjoying spells with the ball, there was just no attacking threat there. An equaliser looked hard to come by until the game was raised in the closing stages. With ten minutes to go a fierce half-volley from Virgo on the edge of the box needed to be palmed away by the ‘keeper. Five minutes later Brighton’s fans felt aggrieved by the lack of a penalty from the officials after McPhee appeared to be shoved over by Sonko, alas nothing was given. With just two minutes of the ninety to go, a corner from Knight was headed forward by Hammond with Charlie Oatway getting the final contact. His hook a couple of yards from goal went wide when he perhaps should have done better. The last chance saloon gave Leon Knight a free kick opportunity on the edge of the area. His strike flew over the wall and into the side netting. The resulting goal kick was the final touch of the match as Reading secured the three points and Brighton’s survival story would need a couple more exciting chapters to be written.

REA Table

BRIGHTON 0 READING 1
Forster

REA Replay REA Replay 2

PREVIOUS; #19 LEICESTER 0-1 BRIGHTON 30/08/2004

NEXT; #21 BRIGHTON 1-1 IPSWICH 08/05/2005

#19: Leicester 0-1 Brighton 30/08/2004

#19 LEICESTER 0-1 BRIGHTON Championship
Monday 30th August 2004 Image result for

LEI Titles

PRESENTER George Gavin GUEST Neil Warnock
COMMENTATORS Ian Crocker & Tony Gale REPORTER Greg Whelan
12.30pm Kick Off; Walkers Stadium, Leicester     12-2.30pm Football League Live on Sky Sports 1

LEI Ident LEI Sponsor LEI Intro

Context of the Match: Brighton bounced back to the second tier at the first time of asking with the victory in the Play Off Final back in May. A solitary Leon Knight penalty beat Bristol City at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium to enable Albion’s fourth change of Division in as many seasons. Amidst all the promotions and relegation in recent times, one constant has remained; the need for a new permanent home in Sussex. The team on the field were wildly outperforming the circumstances off it, with athletics ground Withdean continuing to house the club for the time being. With the running track pitchside and the leafy forest behind the South Stand, big clubs like Sunderland and Leeds were in for a shock travelling down. They could be forgiven for thinking they were on a pre-season friendly in Norway rather than vying for promotion to the Premiership. The fight for a new ground continued as we entered the 2004/05 season in the newly rebranded Coca-Cola Championship – the new name for the old Nationwide Division One. The Divisions below were also renamed; as Leagues One and Two, and received a shiny new trophy to compete for. Brighton’s early form in the new League hadn’t got off to the best of starts. The Seagulls lost three of the first four, including a home tie to fellow newly-promoted side Plymouth. Things were starting to pick up though, as the first win of the season came just two days before today’s clash, as Albion beat Preston at Withdean thanks to an own goal. Games were coming thick and fast as we travelled up to Leicester for an August Bank Holiday Monday fixture. The Foxes were relegated from the Premiership last season in eighteenth place under former Brighton gaffer Micky Adams. They too struggled to adjust immediately to the new League, also with just the one win thus far. They were defeated last time out at the Walkers Stadium, Watford winning one-zero. The squad wasn’t hugely different to that of the last campaign so bigger things were expecting of Leicester and Adams. All this garnered the interest of Football League rights holder Sky Sports, who selected the match to be broadcast Live at the earlier time of 12.30pm. Could Brighton get one over their old boss in front of the nation and secure a vital three points?

LEI Leicester LEI Brighton LEI Formation

The Teams: Goalkeeper Ben Roberts kept seven clean sheets out of eight to guide Brighton up to the Championship at the back end of last season, but a persistent back injury forced him out of this campaign and had to retire in 2005. Michel Kuipers returned to the first team in his place, having previously been number one for most of his time on the South Coast since joining in 2000. He spent time on loan at Hull last season where former Albion boss Peter Taylor was in charge, but a car crash put him out of action. On the bench today was local eighteen-year-old Chris May, a product of Martin Hinshelwood’s youth system. Hinshelwood’s nephew Adam was given his Albion debut two years ago, when we were last in this Division, making over twenty-five starts since and increasingly becoming a regular. Usually a defender, Hinshelwood played in the middle of the park alongside another youth product; Dean Hammond. Joining Brighton at the age of eleven, he first featured in an LDV Vans Trophy match in 2000 aged seventeen. Professional terms were agreed in 2002 but never really broke through consistently to the first team, spending time on loan at Aldershot and Leyton Orient before getting his chance in this midfield. This area was strengthened over the summer with two trialists signing on; former Wycombe playmaker Darren Currie, who was out of contract, and Chelsea youngster Alexis Nicolas on loan. The central defensive partnership of Danny Cullip and Guy Butters was so key to Albion’s rise up the table last season. Left back Dan Harding was sent off in the first home match in the League and had been out of the squad since, with long-serving Kerry Mayo keeping his spot. Adam Virgo was surprisingly being used as a makeshift striker, perhaps spurred on by his crucial headed goal in the Play Off Semi Final in May against Swindon. This opened up an opportunity for nineteen-year-old Adam El-Abd to come into the side for his first start this season at right back. Play Off Final hero Leon Knight was yet to get off the mark. New names on the subs bench since that Final included Maheta Molango – who scored just twelve seconds into his debut at Reading – and former Wimbledon winger Albert Jarrett. Mark McGhee took on Micky Adams, who left the Albion for Leicester in 2002. Following their relegation from the Premiership, there was much comings and goings in the transfer market. Former Aston Villa forward Dion Dublin, sent off on the opening day on his debut, partnered David Connolly, who lost in the Division One Play Off Final with West Ham in May. They had experience in ex-England goalie Ian Walker, European Championships winner with Greece, Nikos Dabizas, at the back, left-footer Danny Tiatto and Foxes favourite James Scowcroft. On the bench, defender Martin Keown and striker Trevor Benjamin both had loan spells with the Albion; Benjamin back at the beginning of the calendar year scoring five in ten before Chris Iwelumo joined, whilst Keown made his professional debut on loan with us twenty years ago before enjoying huge success at parent club Arsenal. Taking charge of this Bank Holiday clash was referee Keith Hill.

LEI Gavin LEI Warnock LEI Studio LEI Whelan

Presentation Team: George Gavin once again hosted Sky’s exclusively Live coverage of the Football League, with the Divisions now sponsored by Coca Cola instead of Nationwide. With Ian Payne no longer fronting Saturday lunchtime Football League kick offs, Gavin had pretty much a monopoly on the coverage this campaign as well as hosting the Thursday evening preview programme Football League Review from Sky’s studios. With the new branding to the Championship, a regular Sunday night edition was added, showing all the goals from all three Divisions linked by Gavin’s voiceover. This was Sky’s answer to the new networked ITV programme The Championship broadcast each Sunday morning replacing Football League Extra. Joining Gavin at Leicester’s Walkers Stadium today was Sheffield United manager Neil Warnock. The Blades weren’t in action until the following evening, giving Warnock the chance to scout the opposition as he’d be visiting here Leicester in two weeks’ time, and the Albion a further couple of weeks after. Due to his loud, brash character, Warnock found himself making regular television appearances throughout his career. He joined Sheffield United in 1999 and had since became the ‘nearly men’, taking them to an FA Cup and a League Cup semi-final and losing out to Wolves for Premiership promotion in 2003. He enjoyed Play Off success with an earlier club; Notts County, as Brighton fans remember all too well back in 1991 as we were defeated three-one at Wembley. In the commentary box were Ian Crocker and Tony Gale. This was the beginning of Crocker’s third season as the voice of the Football League, established when Sky regained control of the rights in 2002. At the same time, the Scottish Premier League contract was lost, of which Crocker had been lead commentator for four years. Last season he re-established his Scottish football credentials by commentating on Celtic and Rangers in the UEFA Champions League during Sky’s first year covering the competition. His co-commentator today was Tony Gale. During the course of last season, Gale became a regular voice on the Football League behind Chris Kamara and Garry Birtles. He covered the Division Three Play Off Final in May and was also behind the mic for our First Leg Semi Final one-nil win at Swindon. He won the Premiership with Blackburn in 1995 but is more remembered for his spell before that at West Ham. Reporting on the touchline was a new name to Sky’s Football League coverage, Greg Whelan. He joined the Live team at the start of the season taking over from Fraser Robertson. Whelan previously reported on Sky’s Live Conference football over the past three seasons. He also regularly featured in-vision on scores service Soccer Saturday providing updates on games around the country.

LEI Fixtures LEI Referee

The Coverage: The whole League rebrand to the Championship brought about new logos, which Sky incorporated into the same style title sequence from last year. The theme tune remained The Skids – Into the Valley with the flashing scoreboard end card, now featuring the words ‘Championship Live’ as opposed to Football League Live. The programme however was still referred to as the latter. Leon Knight’s celebration in the face of the camera during our Live match with Plymouth last season was now part of the opening sequence too. Coverage was sponsored by SkyBet, as before, with new sponsorship bumpers featuring an irate Alan Partridge style commentator who was voicing over real action as his bet lost. Host George Gavin and pundit Neil Warnock came on air at midday for this 12.30pm kick off, giving a full half an hour’s build up to set the scene for this match and all the other 3pm games. Coverage was hosted from within the Walkers Stadium. The top of the show told of the changes brought about at Leicester following the drop out of the Premiership; “Director of football Dave Bassett has helped Micky Adams bring in eleven players to Leicester but seventeen have gone since relegation.” Their form didn’t begin well in the new League either, with a very inconsistent start particularly at home. Speaking of inconsistency, the Albion haven’t played in the same Division two years in a row since the turn of the Millennium; “Brighton’s players have been either promoted or relegated in each of the last four seasons.” The new season brought about new graphics for Sky’s Football League broadcasts, adopting the same style red and blue 3D bars as the top flight coverage took back in February and which we enjoyed in the last Live game; the 2004 Play Off Final. However, this League set was more basic than then, with fades in and out as opposed to the stylish animation. The refresh was brought in at the beginning of the campaign when Leeds opened Sky’s Championship season against Derby three weeks earlier; the first of sixty regular season games to be broadcast Live in the third of a four year contract since regaining the rights in 2002. All graphics were now different to before apart from the scorebar which remained as last year. The replay transition had changed; still the beautiful Championship trophy but now ran diagonally and with a bright light glow. The club crests crashed in as before when a goal was shown. The main backing track when the table and fixtures were shown was now the excellent ‘Apache’ by Michael Viner’s Incredible Bongo Band.

LEI Baine & Samrah LEI Dick Knight LEI Division 3 Champions

Gavin and Warnock looked back over the best of the weekend’s action, with clubs doubling up playing Saturday and Monday over the Bank Holiday. This included showing the only goal of the game as Brighton secured their first win of the season at home to Craig Brown’s Preston. The former Scotland manager then got the boot after a poor start. There was also brief discussion about the news from the morning that Newcastle had sacked Sir Bobby Robson in what turned out to be his final managerial role. Attention turned to the Live match, as we crossed pitchside to reporter Greg Whelan who brought us the team news. One of the key stories over the past few years had of course been the Seagulls’ fight for a permanent home and Whelan compiled a report on the latest goings on in that long-running saga, which can be viewed at the bottom of the page. The piece linked Saturday’s win with a look back at the story of the pitch battles, with archive footage from 1996 and the invasion protest, through to the Gillingham years and now at Withdean. Amongst the most prominent supporters leading the charge for the new stadium were John Baine and Paul Samrah. They were both on the PA system at Withdean and gave their take to the Sky cameras, telling the grim reality of the situation. Chairman Dick Knight also gave his story, from taking over at the end of the Goldstone period right up to now. Today’s opposing manager, Micky Adams, began the resurgence by winning the fourth tier in 2001 and came in for high praise from Baine; “In my opinion Micky Adams is the best manager that this club has ever had and I’ve been watching the Albion since I was seven. Certainly the best manager that I’ve ever seen, I think given the restrictions, the team he put together – many of which are still the backbone of the team we’ve got now.” The VT took us right up to now and beyond, glimpsing the proposed Falmer site and the struggle manager Mark McGhee had to keep players with the limited budget and facilities. Back in July the man making the decision, deputy PM John Prescott, ordered another public inquiry into the new stadium to drag things on even further. On the back of the report we heard from some of the travelling supporters at today’s match, stressing how important the decision is. It was amplified by playing Leicester who themselves had fairly recently moved home.

LEI Leon Knight LEI McGhee LEI Infobar LEI Coming Up

The studio team took a closer look at some of the key men in this fixture. Leicester strikers Dion Dublin and David Connolly were expected to be in with chances today, whilst the Albion’s cause was represented by Leon Knight. Warnock questioned Knight’s attitude, speaking specifically about a loan spell at Sheffield Wednesday where he proved very inconsistent. The Sheffield United manager though also praised his ability on his day, with the goal tally last time round speaking for itself. Greg Whelan spoke with both managers ahead of kick off. Mark McGhee was taking all the positives out of the first win on Saturday; “The fact is we still don’t have some of our experienced players back fit and we’ve got four points. In many ways we look upon that as a bonus because we have been playing with a very young side.” The scene was set for the big match, an advert break separated the build up from the teams emerging from the tunnel for our commentary team of Ian Crocker and Tony Gale to take over. At half time, Neil Warnock’s tactical advice for Brighton was paying dividends, saying if they could hold out for twenty to twenty-five minutes and take their only chance they could cause an upset. The match facts running across the info-bar at the bottom of the screen showed a picture of domination from Leicester in the first period, having more shots and possession, even if it didn’t quite come across like that in reality. The replays also proved conclusively that Virgo was onside for the goal, with Warnock full of praise for the emergency striker’s tireless effort and work rate all match. The studio team didn’t have much time at all after the final whistle, with the off-air time due at 2.30pm it gave them just a couple of minutes to wrap things up. They analysed the decisive goal again and looked at the few chances which fell to Dion Dublin before he shifted to the defence. The table showed Brighton flying up from twenty-third before the match up to eleventh at full time, albeit before anybody else had played their sixth match. There wasn’t time to hear from the players or managers, with the final word going to Neil Warnock who wanted to praise the referee’s performance in a rare act of positivity towards officials. It was one of those days!

LEI Kick Off LEI Comms LEI Yellow LEI Onside

Story of the Match: Brighton started the better of the two teams, taking the game to Leicester in the opening minutes. The home side’s frustrations were evident, both in the stands and on the field. Frustrated with the start to this match and the entire campaign. The first flash point came after the quarter hour mark when David Connolly took a little off the ball swipe towards Adam El-Abd after he was blocked off during a long throw. Luckily for Connolly, his swinging leg didn’t connect too much with the Brighton defender or his yellow card could have been a lot worse. The Albion nearly opened the scoring five minutes later through a very dangerous free kick whipped across goal by Darren Currie. Dean Hammond was closest to getting the touch, any touch, which would have fired it past Ian Walker but couldn’t quite stretch long enough as it flew just wide of the post. The Foxes’ first real sight of goal came through a Dion Dublin header after half an hour. Danny Tiatto chipped the ball in from the near side of the penalty area, as Dublin leapt highest to meet it. The effort went wide of the target when he had done everything in the move correct until that point. This was followed up moments later by Connolly curling a first-time shot low and just wide of the near post, as Leicester finally began to crank up the pressure. So when the deadlock was broken with five minutes to go before half time it was with great relief that the goal went the way of Brighton. After Leon Knight made a nuisance of himself driving towards goal, Leicester were able to boot the ball upfield towards Dublin. After initially controlling it, the ball was nicked off him by Guy Butters on the half way line. Hammond touched it back to Cullip to launch a long ball forward where Knight was running back from. Knowing he was a long way offside, he made no attempt to interfere with play instead allowing makeshift striker Adam Virgo to run on. The home defence was caught out by Virgo’s run as he took the ball down from the sky well. Facing up against Matt Heath on the edge of the box, Virgo took a further touch to give a yard of space before unleashing a low drive towards goal. The quickly taken nature caught Walker out in goal as the ball found its way into the back of the net, squeezing just inside the post, to give Brighton the lead. Leicester were appealing for offside but with Knight not playing the ball and Virgo definitely level with his man the complaints were waived away. The Seagulls went in at half time in the lead with their only shot so far, to the boos of the home fans.

LEI Corner LEI Sub

Brighton in yellow kicked off the second half kicking right to left, after a false start. Michel Kuipers was forced into a smart stop early on to deny Connolly, the wide angle against the Irish striker. Dion Dublin then tried to catch the former Dutch marine off his line, lofting a shot from the half way line with Kuipers scrambling slightly. He did get back to cover it but in the end there was no need as it bounced over and wide. Warning shots were being fired. As the second period wore on, it was Leicester who were having all the creativity and the chances but without any joy or serious threat. The Albion defence stood strong. A tactical reshuffle for Leicester saw Dublin revert from centre forward to centre back, the opposite move from goalscorer Virgo who was now head to head with the ex-England man. A couple of clashes held up the game as it drew towards its final stages. A collision of heads meant Cullip required a new shirt without the blood spilt, as well as without a name or number, a rare sight in the modern game. A few minutes later James Scowcroft went studs first with a nasty looking leap towards the shin of Guy Butters, fortunately no injury was caused and a caution was collected. With Leicester’s lack of penetration and poor form, frustrations grew louder following substitute Keith Gillespie’s foul throw late on. There were half-hearted appeals for a Leicester penalty in stoppage time, as Adam Virgo’s hand was raised when trying to head the ball away from a free kick. It definitely hit his hand and should have been given but wasn’t spotted. Come the full-time whistle chants of “What a load of rubbish” rang round the East Midlands. So the Albion hung on for a famous away win to make it two victories on the bounce to close August out before the international break. A better start to life in the second tier here compared with two years ago was always going to be vital and the signs were positive as Brighton aimed to stay put in the Division for a bit longer. For this afternoon at least, the Seagulls were soaring into the top half of the Championship!

LEI Table

LEICESTER 0 BRIGHTON 1
Virgo

LEI Goal LEI Replay

PREVIOUS; #18 BRIGHTON 1-0 BRISTOL CITY 30/05/2004 

NEXT; #20 BRIGHTON 0-1 READING 21/03/2005

#30: Brighton 1-1 Bournemouth 09/10/2010

#30 BRIGHTON 1-1 BOURNEMOUTH League One
Saturday 9th October 2010 Image result for

BOU Titles

PRESENTER David Jones GUEST Dion Dublin
COMMENTATORS Daniel Mann & Garry Birtles REPORTER Greg Whelan
12.15pm Kick Off; Withdean Stadium     12-2.30pm Football League Live on Sky Sports 2

SS2 Ident BOU Bet365 BOU Intro

Context of the Match: With Gus Poyet taking charge of Brighton eleven months ago he had transformed the team from relegation candidates to promotion pushers. He won the Manager of the Month award for September and after ten League games the Albion sat top of the League One table. A win here would represent our best start for 57 years. The squad was improved further over the summer with several signings in each position to complement the existing core of Glenn Murray, Elliott Bennett and Tommy Elphick. The opponents for this Saturday lunchtime clash were fellow seaside club Bournemouth. The Cherries were promoted last season under 32-year-old manager Eddie Howe. Their good form had continued into the early stages of this campaign, sitting in 3rd place. Pre-season Southampton were the best placed South Coast team to go for promotion but they’re languishing in 13th whilst these two flew. It had been over twenty years since Bournemouth won in the League in Brighton, back when Harry Redknapp was the gaffer. Albion’s home form this campaign had been excellent, unbeaten so far. With the new stadium in Falmer on the way next season it was all starting to take shape. The area was now far less of a building site, tantalisingly within touching distance. Could the Seagulls start life in their new home in a new League and continue this fine form so far? This afternoon would mark the last ever Live televised match from our ‘temporary’ Withdean home of eleven seasons, a place which had served us so well for much of that time.

BOU Brighton

BOU Bournemouth BOU Subs

The Teams: Table-topping Brighton made three changes from a battling draw at Tranmere. Adam El Abd returned after a ban. 36-year-old Radostin Kishishev, who played at Euro 96 and the 1998 World Cup for Bulgaria, joined the Albion in the summer and came into the line-up. And finally Kazenga LuaLua, as with the end of last season, was back on loan from Newcastle. Other summer signings had quickly established their places as regular starters; experienced goalkeeper Casper Ankergren, who joined from Leeds, and Ashley Barnes up front, who came in on loan for the final few matches of last season before soon making it permanent. Captain Gordon Greer was recovering from a calf injury and named as a substitute. He joined in the summer from Swindon but was sent off on his debut for an off the ball incident at home to Rochdale. Matt Sparrow, Liam Bridcutt, Toby Agdestein, Agustin Battipiedi and Cristian Baz were all new names on the Brighton bench since the summer. Elsewhere Gus Poyet stuck by much of the same core that survived and flourished last season. For Eddie Howe’s impressive Bournemouth, Shwan Jalal in-goal had a spell at Brighton as a youngster. Familiar Football League name Lee Bradbury began his career as a striker but now in his final playing season was starting at right back. Michael Symes up front is a graduate from the Everton youth team where Wayne Rooney was his partner before hitting the big time. Marc Pugh joined the Cherries in July for a £100,000 nominal ‘tribunal fee’, which was in place partly due to their transfer embargo owing to debt, which had been in place for around eighteen months before being lifted somewhat in the close season. Veteran hero Steve Fletcher, who must be one of the only players to have a stand at his club’s stadium named after him whilst still competing in said ground, was listed as a substitute. Darren Sheldrake was the (indecisive) man in the middle.

BOU Jones BOU Dublin BOU Studio BOU Voice of Whelan

Presentation Team: David Jones was at the helm under the guise of Sky’s Football League main presenter. He was joined by Dion Dublin, who had the Sky Sports logo on his name strap but the reality is slightly curious. He was signed, to small fanfare, by Sky Sports ahead of the 2008 Championship Play Off Final between Hull and Bristol City as a full-time pundit. At this time Sky had very few contracted pundits; Andy Gray and Jamie Redknapp on the Premier League and Peter Beagrie on the Football League were about it, with the likes of Graeme Souness, David Platt, Glenn Hoddle and Ruud Gullit frequently appearing across the biggest matches. At the time of Dublin’s arrival he stated, “Sky Sports have given me the chance to air my views on something that I love. I’m going to be working a lot with Jamie Redknapp who I know very well – he’s helped me before when I’ve been on TV.” Yet since covering that Play Off Final, in the two seasons between then and today’s match he hadn’t featured that much at all, to the point where you’d forgotten he was even a full-time Sky man, whereas the likes of Redknapp and Beagrie were on most weeks. Towards the end of this season, Dublin would begin working for others including ESPN and then BBC Sport on Football Focus, Final Score and the occasional Match of the Day, before going on to be part of their international tournament coverage. As of 2015 he joined long-running BBC daytime property show Homes Under the Hammer in a hugely surprising career move. On the touchline at Withdean was Greg Whelan in his role as the senior Football League Live reporter, this the seventh successive season doing so. In the commentary box were Daniel Mann and Garry Birtles. Former Nottingham Forest striker Birtles is no stranger to Brighton matches, having co-commentated on our Play Off Final victory in 2004, the dramatic penalty shoot-outs against Swindon, Luton and Shrewsbury as well as our previous two Live matches, amongst others. By contrast, this was Daniel Mann’s first Brighton commentary. He joined the Sky Sports Live staff roster at the start of this season, as second choice on the Football League matches behind Bill Leslie. Mann had been working freelance for Sky since 2006 on Premiership 3pm Football First highlights as well as regularly covering red button Champions League games. In addition, from April 2010 Sky began showing selected matches in 3D and, owing to the different camera angles used compared with the regular broadcast, required a separate commentary team of which Daniel Mann was given Live experience on. He then went to the 2010 World Cup in the summer doing the 3D commentaries for the world feed. His distinctive, rather old-school voice and excellent all-round broadcasting skills, particularly for such a young commentator, means he is quickly becoming one of the best in the business already. He would surely be destined for the top so it was great to have him on an Albion game.

BOU Team BOU Zamora BOU Stadium BOU Stadium 2

The Coverage: This season the Football League was sponsored by nPower, taking over from Coca-Cola after six seasons, which in turn brought in a new design for the League One and Two trophies, as well as the Play Offs. These were reflected at the end of the updated title sequence this season, and the replay transitions were the shiny new prizes with a yellow hue background. I always prefer the flying trophy to be used as the replay over generic wipes or League logos. The theme tune and much of the rest of the look remained as you were last year; with Candi Staton’s excellent ‘You Got the Love’ chiming out to open the shows. The Premier League graphics were overhauled at the beginning of the season, keeping their blue and black backgrounds but with a 3D effect and sleek wipe animations central of the screen rather than extending all the way across. The Football League coverage unusually didn’t follow suit this season and kept the same look as previous years. Coverage today was hosted from the ground, behind the goal towards the corner where South stand met West. This is where Sky always plonk their portable box studio but this time it was glass-fronted, keeping the pundits warm and background sound away. Not that any of our fans could get anywhere near there as it’s at the back of the athletics track! David Jones and Dion Dublin came on-air fifteen minutes before the kick-off. After chatting through the line-ups and giving their overall opinions we saw recent footage of the stadium build at Falmer. The new ground had long been a feature of pre-match build-ups and reports across multiple Sky Sports broadcasts, with them playing a role in publicising the Albion cause over the years. The site was getting oh-so nearer to completion with the moving date set for the end of the season. Reporter Greg Whelan spoke to both managers prior to kick-off. Poyet believed consistency was the key to the club’s successful start, with his passing philosophy paying dividends already. He admitted it was a risk introducing that when the team were at the wrong end of the table when he arrived. Fulham striker and Albion hero Bobby Zamora was present at the match, with him a long-term absentee due to a broken leg. He was also interviewed before the game, heaping praise on his former side. He played with both Poyet and Taricco at Tottenham and said he perhaps foresaw Gus going into management but not Mauricio so much.

BOU Kick Off BOU Comms BOU Poyet BOU Analysis

After a little more chat, Jones handed over to our commentator Daniel Mann to relay the teams to us. When the game started he was joined by Garry Birtles for an entertaining commentary. At half time Dion Dublin’s assessment was that whilst Brighton’s play was very good, they were just perhaps a little too long on the ball instead of cutting it back and playing round the opposition quicker. He also thought Symes should’ve seen red during the first half for his elbow on Elphick. Owing to the extensive injury time at the end of both the first and second halves, there was very limited time for any post match coverage. Once the whistle finally went and we’d come back after the ad break there was only around five minutes to review the match, which sparked into life in the second forty-five. As a result we didn’t get to hear on the Live programme from any of the personnel involved, with Jones and Dublin just reviewing the goals and incidents. Dion’s view was that Bournemouth “nicked a point on that decision” from the referee’s assistant to flag for a penalty when it should’ve been a free-kick. He conceded it was “handball without a doubt” but the contact was not in the penalty area and had no idea why the linesman felt he needed to get involved, especially as it was some ten seconds after the incident. He thought it was definitely two points dropped for Brighton. The ex-Villa forward described LuaLua’s opener as a fantastic strike, highlighting the bends and swerves on its way through. He concluded that he believed Brighton could go the distance this season, as Poyet liked “to play the game in the right way” and had “lots of attributes in their side.” And that’s all we had room for at Withdean, as David Jones signed off from the athletics ground for one final time.

BOU Ankergren BOU Goal BOU Sub BOU Handball

 

Story of the Match: The spectators could bask in the early October sunshine for this lunchtime fixture on the South Coast. Early pressure came from the home side with Kazenga LuaLua lively and shooting whenever he got sight of goal. His blast in the third minute almost beat a wall which contained the majority of the rest of the players, instead hitting his own man yet being given the corner. The resulting kick found Murray’s head but couldn’t direct it like he’d prefer. Albion goalkeeper Casper Ankergren was in the wars in the seventeenth minute when he slid in low to claim the loose ball. Bournemouth striker Symes was chasing it down and caught the ‘keeper full in the face with his boot; causing a lot of blood to pour from his head and the game to be stopped for several minutes before Ankergren could carry on after patchwork bunging of the nose. “It’s amazing what you can do with marshmallows now, isn’t it” joked Garry Birtles. We later heard from reporter Greg Whelan that Ankergren had actually broken his nose and the medical staff popped it back into place in order for him to continue. Whilst Brighton were in control of the half possession-wise, chances were at a premium. The ball was getting into good wide areas but crosses were cut out well. The first opening had to wait until after the half hour mark when Bennett won a 50:50 in midfield allowing Calderon to run into space on the right. He played it on nicely for Murray to take a touch and, almost facing away from goal, unleash a low shot which needed to be turned round the post. Michael Symes was involved again ten minutes before the break when he flung an elbow during an aerial battle with Tommy Elphick. The referee was in a good enough position to see this but after consulting with his linesman he decided only a yellow card was the punishment. The Brighton players were furious, as were the commentators, nobody quite believing the referee didn’t give a red. Indecision was the order of the day for our official on-field. A goal almost fell Ashley Barnes’ way in stoppage time with a half-volley but it went wide. Bournemouth enjoyed a little spell of possession on half-time but nothing was coming from it and the game was goalless at the break, following six minutes of added time thanks to that injury. Early in the second half Elliott Bennett forced Jalal into a neat save direct from a wide free-kick. The deadlock was finally broken on the hour mark. Glenn Murray was fouled for a free-kick about thirty yards from goal. Gary Dicker took it by simply squaring the ball a few yards to Kazenga LuaLua, once the referee had hurdled the pass. LuaLua took one touch to steady himself before unleashing a ferocious shot which moved and spun viciously on its way into the back of the net, flying past the ‘keeper for what Garry Birtles described as “an absolute rocket.” What a goal from the winger, only bettered by his trademark multi-backflip celebration. Brighton looked comfortable and almost doubled their lead in comical circumstances with twenty minutes remaining. A hopeful cross forward looked food and drink for defender Bradbury to head back to the ‘keeper, but he got too much loop on it and, coupled with Jalal rushing out, the ball sailed over the head but managing fingertips on it to very fortunately see the post come to his rescue. The match carried along a similar vein of form and was in danger of fizzling out until the very last-minute where one incident changed the entire feel. Referee Darren Sheldrake gave a free-kick to Bournemouth on the edge of the box, penalising Tommy Elphick’s handball in an aerial challenge. Some thirty seconds or more later went by before the referee was called over by his assistant who persuaded him to give a penalty instead. The Brighton players and fans were furious, the commentators couldn’t believe it and replays showed that the handball was unequivocally outside of the area. The referee was a matter of ten or eleven yards away, the assistant was all the way over the other side of the pitch with several players in the way, how he gave that decision with the confidence, arrogance, to overturn the referee is anybody’s guess. It was the wrong decision and cost Brighton the three points. Marc Pugh stepped up and, after some delay due to protests from the Albion players, he slotted the spot kick home very coolly to equalise. So that was that, a game which Brighton had the majority of the play and all the decent chances ended up being a draw due to a referee’s inability to make up his own mind. When the final whistle blew he was surrounded by players arguing the toss but it was too little, too late. The match had ended all square, with the Seagulls sitting pretty at the top of the League One table. It would take a lot to dislodge them this time round.

BOU Table

BRIGHTON 1 BOURNEMOUTH 1
LuaLua Pugh

BOU Replay

EXTRA; Goals on Sunday showed highlights and all the key moments from Saturday’s match action from the Premier League and Football Leagues each and every Sunday morning on Sky Sports 1. It’d been running in a couple of different formats since the beginning of Sky’s Premiership coverage, initially as a desk-based presenter and guest goal show on a Sunday night before moving to the early morning sofa format it’s most associated with. The current theme tune reflected its timeslot; Commodores – Easy (Like Sunday morning). The graphics were similar to the Live broadcast ones, just with a light blue and white colour scheme as opposed to the red and black on the Football League and dark blue and black on the Premier League.

GOS Titles GOS Presenters

On Sunday 10th October, presenters Ben Shephard and Chris Kamara had highlights of Brighton’s Live game against Bournemouth from the afternoon before, featuring Daniel Mann and Garry Birtles’ commentary on the edit. Chris Kamara had been hosting the show alongside Rob McCaffrey since 2000, then for a season with Clare Tomlinson when McCaffrey moved to Dubai in 2007. Latterly Ian Payne was in the seat between 2008 and last season before Ben Shephard took over when he joined Sky to host Live matches and Goals on Sunday at the beginning of the 2010/11 campaign.

GOS Goal GOS Studio

Guests on this edition were former Leeds manager Howard Wilkinson, who spent five years playing for Brighton in the late 1960’s, and ex ‘Crazy Gang’ Wimbledon and Cardiff boss Bobby Gould. Gould was at Withdean covering the game for Talksport and believed “the referee would not take any responsibility in that game yesterday.” Wilkinson agreed stating “the referee was in a far better position than the linesman. If the linesman’s dead in line, fine, but the referee could see where the linesman was. He never moved after he went over to him, so his perspective, distance was not as good as the referee’s.” After the chat about the match, as with all Goals on Sunday guests, the pair told of stories from their career interjected with the rest of yesterday’s goals.

GOS Wilkinson GOS Gould

 

PREVIOUS; #29 COLCHESTER 0-0 BRIGHTON 08/03/2010

NEXT; #31 WOKING 1-1 BRIGHTON 16/11/2010

#28: Southampton 1-3 Brighton 15/11/2009

#28 SOUTHAMPTON 1-3 BRIGHTON League One
Sunday 15th November 2009 Sky 2007

Titles

PRESENTER George Gavin GUEST Peter Beagrie
COMMENTATORS Martin Tyler & Garry Birtles REPORTER Greg Whelan
4.30pm Kick Off; St Mary’s, Southampton     4.15-7pm Football League Live on Sky Sports 1

SOU Intro

Context of the Match: This match kick started a whole new era for Brighton and Hove Albion, Live in front of the Sky Sports cameras. The club were languishing near the bottom of the League One table, starting the season as poorly as the previous campaign had. With Micky Adams departing just a couple of days after our last televised match – the JPT Area Final defeat to Luton – Russell Slade was brought in to rescue the club from relegation. He did so on the final day by beating Stockport which earned him a two-year contract. However his initial success was temporary and a poor start to this year saw Slade sacked with the club just one place above the relegation zone. Slade was in charge for little under eight months whilst his assistants Dean White and Bob Booker also left the club after a long spell working alongside several different managers. The final straw was a three-all home draw with Hartlepool at the end of October. Martin Hinshelwood took charge temporarily until today where the Albion had somehow managed to convince former Chelsea and Uruguay midfielder Gus Poyet to join. This was his first job as manager having worked as assistant at Leeds, Tottenham and Swindon in recent seasons. He brought with him former Spurs left back Mauricio Taricco as number two and former Seagulls midfield battler Charlie Oatway. Today also marked his 42nd birthday and what better way to spend it than to take charge of a new club Live in front of the nation. No pressure, Gus. Southampton were starting to hit form this season having dropped down to the third tier for the first time since 1960. They were hampered with a ten-point deduction due to going into administration towards the end of the last campaign but were unbeaten in their last eight matches and could finally move out of the relegation zone for the first time this season with a win today. For the away side, the appointment of a big name like Poyet, albeit untested in management, was a huge statement to make and a big departure from the likes of the older British managers of recent times – Peter Taylor, Micky Adams, Russell Slade.

SOU Southampton SOU Subs SOU Brighton

The Teams: Brighton went into this fixture having won just one of the last ten so Gus Poyet immediately made three changes here. Long-serving ‘keeper Michel Kuipers was restored in place of Graeme Smith who made his debut as substitute earlier this season in the 7-1 humiliation at Huddersfield. Arsenal loanee Gavin Hoyte was suspended for Andrew Whing came in at right back. The final change saw youngster James Tunnicliffe, signed in the summer from Stockport, take captain Adam Virgo’s place in defence. Other new faces brought in to the squad over the summer included winger Elliott Bennett and midfielders Gary Dicker and Andrew Crofts. The attacking trio of Dean Cox, Nicky Forster and Glenn Murray were key to survival. Local lads Tommy Elphick and Adam El-Abd came through the youth system and had been enjoying regular football for the past couple of seasons. Southampton’s side was packed full of quality that really shouldn’t have been at this level. Former Premier League goalkeeper Kelvin Davis returned to the side after being rested. Dan Harding left the Albion in the summer of 2005 following his desires to be playing at a high level; just four years on he’s back in League One now with the Saints. Dean Hammond spent eight years playing for the Seagulls until joining Colchester last year and now the home side today. Despite being made captain towards the end of his time at Withdean, he refused to sign a new contract unless the club showed ‘Championship ambitions’. Glenn Murray was brought in for 300k but this wasn’t enough, Hammond was sent off on his final Brighton appearance and moved to Colchester in January of last year for a quarter of a million pounds. Youngsters Adam Lallana, Michail Antonio and Morgan Schneiderlin would all go on to enjoy Premier League football. Rickie Lambert up front was vastly experienced in the lower leagues with Stockport, Rochdale and Bristol Rovers but it was at Southampton that his career was really beginning to move up, joining earlier this season. David Connolly had also enjoyed a terrific career thus far, for the likes of Wimbledon and West Ham in the top flight, and had joined Alan Pardew’s men just a month earlier. Watching on from the sidelines as Saints assistant manager was ex-Brighton player, youth coach and manager Dean Wilkins. Taking charge of the match was Kevin Friend.

SOU Gavin SOU Beagrie SOU Studio

Presentation Team: George Gavin presented from St Mary’s stadium alongside Football League number one pundit Peter Beagrie. Gavin’s Live appearances are mainly lower league games and Cup competitions, with particular emphasis on games over the international break when regular staff often appear elsewhere. This is highlighted in the commentary box with an extremely rare appearance from Sky’s number one Martin Tyler on the Football League as a whole let alone the Third Tier. His only previous match for Sky as far as I can recall was a Championship tie in August 2006 though he would go onto cover the League One Play Off Semi Finals at the end of this 2009/10 season too. Even so, extremely rare appearance for him so it was a delight that it was for an Albion match. He of course reported on our first ever Live televised home game; FA Cup 4th Round win over Liverpool on ITV in 1984, as well as working for the local ITV region Southern during that period. He joined Sky as their lead commentator at the start of the 1990s and has been the undisputed number one pretty much ever since (barring a small period in 2005 when games began to be shared around between Ian Darke and Rob Hawthorne more). The more familiar voice of Garry Birtles to League One action was alongside Tyler. He was second choice to Don Goodman in the pecking order. Reporting on the touchline was Greg Whelan, having been the number one reporter for the Leagues ever since Coca Cola took over the branding of the Divisions in 2004.

SOU Pre match3 SOU Pre match4 SOU Kick Off SOU Comms

The Coverage: This season Sky Sports changed their Football League titles and theme tune from the previous All Together Now (January 2005-May 2009) to Candi Staton’s You Got The Love, across Live and magazine programming. The song is a belter, particularly this New Voyager mix, and the instrumental used as backing music just before and after the breaks is very nice. This coincided with George Gavin moving away from more Live matches in favour of David Jones who had become number one increasingly over the past year or so. Gavin did all preview and review shows Football League Weekend and occasional lower League matches such as today’s third tier clash so still remained prominent. Also from this season, terrestrial highlights rights transferred from ITV to the BBC in the form of Saturday night post-MOTD slot The Football League Show hosted by Manish Bhasin with former Sky pundit Steve Claridge. The contract also incorporated ten Live matches for the Beeb, bringing free Championship games for the first time since the ITV regions in 2002. The graphics on Sky’s coverage hadn’t changed from last season, with the familiar red and black astons and trophy replay transitions we’ve seen before.

SOU Pre match1 SOU Pre match2 SOU Coming Up SOU Analysis

Coverage began fifteen minutes before the unusual 4.30pm kick off. This was international break weekend hence highlighting a Live match from League One. Gavin hosted alongside regular pundit Peter Beagrie from the stands at St Mary’s. They spoke about Southampton’s excellent form and Brighton’s ambition by appointing Gus Poyet. He was interviewed before the game by Greg Whelan who began by asking how much he was looking forward to his first managerial match; “I’ve been looking for ten, eleven months… we had a very good day today, we’ve done everything possible because it’s only three days – normally you have a month or pre-season.” His early assessment of the side was there was ‘talent, quality’ and goals up front but poor defensively, something he wanted to address immediately. The studio team backed this up by highlighting the goal threat Nicky Forster possessed. Beagrie believed that the future was certainly going to be bright for Brighton after some tough times of late. Ricky Lambert was the player in the spotlight for the home side before hearing from their boss Alan Pardew. Our commentator Martin Tyler took over to talk us through the teams before they emerged from the tunnel and a chance for him to use his famous catchphrase “And it’s Live!” A quick break was squeezed in before a minute’s silence to honour those who passed away over the last twelve months. When the match got underway it was Garry Birtles alongside Tyler in the box. Once the ninety minutes were over, Gavin and Beagrie had around twenty-five minutes or so to wrap things up and analyse the game. Man of the Match Glenn Murray and goalkeeper Michel Kuipers were interviewed together by Greg Whelan. Both players were quick to praise the efforts of the team as a whole, all wanting to prove themselves in front of the new manager. After reviewing the goals and key incidents in the studio, we heard from birthday boy Poyet himself. He was particularly pleased that, despite the limited preparation time, the players listened to his instructions, applied them and kept strong throughout the match. After hearing from Saints boss Pardew, Beagrie and Gavin talked us through selected highlights of some of the other League One action from the weekend and looking at the table before signing off.

SOU Stats SOU Table SOU Round Up SOU Top of Table

Story of the Match: The early stages of the match were lively with both sides posing an attacking threat. Michail Antonio in particular down the right wing was causing all sorts of problems with his pace and power. Nicky Forster was leading the charge for Brighton with a couple of half-chances he created from nothing, neither too threatening for Davis though. The breakthrough came in the sixteenth minute from Glenn Murray. Dean Cox worked his way into a good crossing position on the right, outrunning Dan Harding, before delivering for Murray waiting around the penalty spot. He just guided the ball into the net with a lovely cushioned volley into the corner for the perfect start to the Poyet regime. Murray continued to be a threat all afternoon and just five minutes later he doubled the lead. A throw from El-Abd on the far touchline was flicked on by Murray to Forster. He held the ball up, turned and found the path of his strike partner to burst into the box. He needed just one touch to set himself before shooting ahead of the onrushing Harding. Davis got a touch to deflect it onto the post but it rebounded right into Glenn Murray’s path to volley into the empty net from six yards out for two-nil. What a fantastic five minutes for the 3,000 travelling supporters. Southampton were shell-shocked. The onslaught continued and Nicky Forster could have grabbed a goal himself just minutes later when he was sent clear by Murray, Forster’s touch and pace letting him down as he was forced wide and dragged his shot with his weaker left. And again just afterwards he found himself with an opportunity to lob Davis from twenty yards or so, not getting the connection quite right. Brighton were creating so many chances it was difficult to keep up in that opening half hour.

SOU Poyet SOU Man of the Match SOU Interviews

Slowly Southampton were creeping back into the game, enjoying more and more possession, with the early tempo inevitably dropping from the Albion. Rickie Lambert had a free kick central about twenty-five yards out which forced Kuipers into a low save ten minutes before the break. Four minutes later a volley from Lambert in the box had to be kept out again as the entire match was being played in the Brighton half. The pressure paid off just a minute later when Andy Whing dragged Adam Lallana down in the area defending a cross, giving the home team a lifeline. Lambert smashed his penalty home to the goalkeeper’s left and into the corner. The power behind the shot gave Kuipers no chance and right on half time it was game on again. The whistle came at the right time for Brighton, giving Poyet a chance to calm his team down and regroup after such a fantastic start for the team in yellow and blue. It seemed to do the trick as they were on the front foot again at the start of the second half. Nicky Forster’s high chipped cross from the near side turned into more of a shot, even if he didn’t mean it to be, as it sailed over Davis to clip the far post. Southampton then went straight up the other end and forged a decent chance themselves from a long throw. The resulting scramble fell to Dean Hammond who leaned back and shanked it high over the bar, later on Adam Lallana had a good chance too but his header went wide. Long throws were causing all sorts of panic in the Albion defence with Whing’s header away coming dangerously close to an equalising own-goal. Andrew Crofts had Brighton’s best real chance during this spell, when the ball broke loose his way twelve yards out. His low drive was kept out well but the captain was not to be denied later on. With five minutes remaining substitute Liam Dickinson was found running in behind, he cut it back to the incoming Crofts on the edge of the box who slid in as he launched a fierce drive low to the ‘keeper’s left and beat him for pace. “Crofts! It’s in the bag for Brighton” was the call from Martin Tyler. After having to soak up so much second half pressure the defence which had been so leaky so far in the League held strong and Brighton had the three vital points. “A new regime at the club has got off to a tremendous beginning; Southampton one, Brighton three” Tyler closed his commentary with.

SOUTHAMPTON 1 BRIGHTON 3
Lambert Murray (2), Crofts

SOU Replay SOU Replay2

PREVIOUS; #27 LUTON 1-1 BRIGHTON 17/02/2009

NEXT; #29 COLCHESTER 0-0 BRIGHTON 08/03/2010

#26: Shrewsbury 0-0 Brighton 16/12/2008

#26 SHREWSBURY 0-0 BRIGHTON (BRI win 5-4 on pens) Johnstone’s Paint Trophy Southern Area Semi Final
Tuesday 16th December 2008 Sky 2007

SHR Titles

PRESENTER David Jones GUEST Peter Beagrie
COMMENTATORS Bill Leslie & Garry Birtles REPORTER Greg Whelan
7.45pm Kick Off; Prostar Stadium, Shrewsbury     7.30-10pm Live on Sky Sports 1 (Extended to 10.15pm)

Xmas Ident 1 Xmas Ident 2 Intro

Context of the Match: The Football League Trophy, known here as the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy, is a competition between teams from Leagues One and Two and for many represent their best chance of getting to Wembley Stadium and winning a trophy. Brighton had never really got very far in this competition since it began as the Associate Members Cup in the 1983/84 season. Tonight was the Southern Area semi final, meaning a win for the Albion would put them in a two-legged Area Final with the winner progressing to face the Northern Area winners in a one-off Final at the Home of English Football. The draw wasn’t too kind for Brighton, pitting them against League Two high-flyers Shrewsbury Town at their shiny new Prostar Stadium. It was fair to say Shrewsbury were favourites for this match, being at home, in-form and with Brighton struggling just seven places above them albeit in different Divisions. The Albion had changed managers in the summer, somewhat surprisingly given Dean Wilkins had steadied the ship and just missed out on a Play-Off place by one position, finishing seventh. This was largely thanks to captain Nicky Forster’s 15 goals. Nevertheless Wilkins was out and Micky Adams returned to the club. Adams guided Brighton to Division Three champions in the 2000/2001 season before leaving the following season for Premiership Leicester. Seven years down the line and after a spell with Coventry as manager and Colchester as assistant for a few months, he was reunited with Dick Knight back in charge of the Seagulls. Promotion was again the aim and the mood was positive with the good news about the stadium finally given the go-ahead, building work would begin with preparation the day following this match, and a successful former boss returning fans were optimistic going into the 2008/2009 campaign. It would not start well at all. Brighton were 20th in the table with just four League wins all season. The cups however provided much needed respite, having already knocked out Premier League moneybags Manchester City on penalties in the Carling Cup, and knocking out Northampton, Leyton Orient and Swindon to get to this stage of the JPT. Now the spotlight of the television cameras fell on the club for the first time in 2008. Brighton provided fans with free coach travel for this big occasion.

SHR Shrewsbury SHR Subs SHR Brighton

The Teams: Micky Adams’ Brighton side included captain Nicky Forster, Dean Cox, Adam El-Abd, Tommy Elphick and Andy Whing all featured in the last Live match the previous season. Kevin McLeod, not to be confused with his Grand Designs namesake, turned down a two-year contract extension with Colchester in the summer to join Brighton and got a goal in the JPT win over Northampton. Play Off hero from 2004 Adam Virgo returned to the club after an unsuccessful spell with Scottish champions Celtic which then followed loan spells with Coventry and Colchester before signing permanently again with the Albion. Goalscorer Glenn Murray was an absentee for Brighton having picked up an injury. Murray signed permanently from Rochdale at the end of January 2008. Irish midfielder Kevin Thornton was on a short-term loan from Adams’ former club Coventry. With Michel Kuipers again out injured, youth team graduate John Sullivan, not to be confused with his Only Fools and Horses writer namesake, kept goal after only making his professional debut at the end of October. Goalkeeping coach Paul Crichton came out of retirement at the age of 40 to make up the numbers on the substitute bench. The danger man for the homeside was undoubtedly Grant Holt up front alongside Richard Walker who won this competition in 2002 with Blackpool. The Shrews were the top scorers in the tournament with Holt netting seven goals in just two appearances so far! Goalkeeper Luke Daniels is on loan from West Brom and was one of three changes from their last match, with Walker and Hunt also coming in for Paul Simpson’s side. Brighton wore a special one-off all-white kit due to the other three all clashing. The last time we wore this was the famous Crystal Palace away win in 2005. Keith Hill was the man in black.

SHR Jones SHR Beagrie SHR Studio SHR Studio setting

Presentation Team: Saturday Night Live duo David Jones and Peter Beagrie hosted coverage of this Johnstone’s Paint Trophy semi final. The competition was rarely shown Live before the overall Final match under previous contracts, with the occasional regional Final Live and that’s about it. However under the latest contract there were a few more Live matches from this competition, seemingly on an ad-hoc basis. As of the beginning of last season, David Jones was the Football League number two sharing duties with George Gavin, back after his operation last season. Previously Jones was more familiar as a face of Sky Sports News and was pitchside reporter for Premiership Plus in their first two seasons before going full-circle and hosting the final handful of Live pay-per-view PremPlus matches before the venture closed down in 2007. Jones first experiences of anchoring Live matches came during the 2006/2007 season when he was one of a couple of new presenters given an opportunity to host the League Cup early rounds, as was Soccer AM’s Tim Lovejoy. Peter Beagrie became a regular full-time Sky Sports Live pundit at the same time as Jones, forming a regular partnership with Jones. In the commentary box were familiar Football League voices Bill Leslie and Garry Birtles. As number two co-commentator, Birtles covered the pick of the lower leagues, JPT and League One play-offs, as well as regular Championship matches. Bill Leslie was the number one League commentator and was making occasional Premier League, Scottish Cup and Scotland international commentaries as well as regular England under-21 and Champions League games. Greg Whelan was reporting once again as the League’s first choice.

SHR Adams SHR Interview SHR Kick Off SHR Comms

The Coverage: The programme came on-air fifteen minutes prior to kick-off from the studio next to the Brighton fans in the Prostar Stadium away end (where the Sky Sports 1 Live DOG is in the above screenshot). Amongst the fans were several Father Christmas suits, with the match taking place just nine days before the big day. This also meant we got to see Sky Sports’ Christmas presentation, with the snowmen idents and the frosty graphics. For the past few years, each December Sky Sports used special festive idents with sporting snowmen to introduce the programmes in a long-held television tradition. One of these features snowmen versions of Premier League hosts Richard Keys and Andy Gray using the touchscreen before their arrows crashed into snowmen playing football. As shown below, when advertising upcoming Live matches, frosted ice would form the background whilst an instrumental version of Christmas (Baby, please come home) rang out. The title sequence for the JPT was the generic one with library music Sky Sports used for any football match which didn’t have its own regular one; friendlies, youth games etc. The match graphics broadly the same as when they were introduced at the start of last season, with the red and black colours for the Football League, compared to the blue and black of the Premier League. The team line-ups though had been tweaked this year. The circles for the numbers replaced squares, the red pitch background had a cleaner, glassy effect, and the team name moved from the sides to the bottom. The player name would transition from a black to a white background when the commentator was highlighting a particular man. When changing from one team to the other, the darker part featuring the team name rotated round to clear the pitch nicely. The scorebar had also been tweaked to include the team colours, easily identifying who’s who. This became a trend across the rest of the broadcasters. Something which also came in, which I first saw on Channel 5’s UEFA Cup coverage in previous seasons, was the scorebar being introduced at the bottom of the screen during half time and full-time; helpful for those who had only just tuned in.

SHR Santa SHR Christmas graphics SHR Sub SHR Knight

For today’s programme, the build up centred around the two managers. Micky Adams was interviewed as normal, whilst Paul Simpson had a more in-depth chat with Greg Whelan situated in the home team dressing room. Shrewsbury moved into this ground for the start of this season so Sky built up the element of a team getting a new stadium versus a team longing for a new home after several seasons of temporary surroundings. This extended to the half-time break when Brighton chairman Dick Knight was interviewed pitchside to update us on Brighton’s battle, which Sky had followed closely every step of the way, and brought good news. The first steps would be taken the day after this match with preparation work on-site as the road-widening and initial stages begin. And Knight was beaming to tell us all, whilst praising the facilities he was standing on. The feature of many a pre-match VT over the past six years, a new stadium in Falmer, was finally becoming a reality in the morning. “Will the earth move for me tomorrow? Yes it will!” he said. The rest of the build up and half time was the studio team in discussion. With the match going to penalties, the programme was extended by an extra fifteen minutes to incorporate full post-match analysis. Interviews with Man of the Match John Sullivan alongside Dean Cox, as well as losing manager Paul Simpson. Sky also got to roll out their penalty shoot-out score graphics which you rarely see. After the interviews were concluded, the spot-kicks analysed and the results from the other area semi finals revealed, David Jones said his goodbyes on a chilly Shrewsbury night.

SHR Penalties SHR Save SHR Man of the Match SHR Analysis

Story of the Match: Shrewsbury started as favourites due to their excellent form and goalscoring ability and this showed in the early stages. Brighton were forced into an early change with Colin Hawkins picking up an injury. He was replaced by Adam Hinshelwood after just twelve minutes, Hinshelwood recalled from a loan spell with Crawley for this game to pad out the bench. It took until the half hour mark for the first real goalmouth action where John Sullivan was called into action. A long throw-in from the far touchline was inadvertently flicked towards his own goal by Virgo and Sullivan had to react quickly to get down low and keep it out. The resultant corner kick was whipped in furiously which everyone, including Sullivan, just missed. Other than a mini-scramble in the Brighton box right on half time there was not much action elsewhere in the first half barring a few dangerous looking crosses from either side. Referee Keith Hill went off at half time injured and was replaced by his fourth official Phil Gibbs. Brighton started on the front foot in the second half with Andy Whing bursting down the wing, he pulled it back for Dean Cox to fizz a shot narrowly past the post. The depleted squad had more injury woe with McLeod coming off after a knee problem with Jake Robinson coming on just before the hour point. Both teams were restricted mainly to long-range pot-shots or penalty box scrambles for much of the match. When John Sullivan was called into action though he was certainly alert. Shrewsbury had a great chance to take the lead when a cross found White six yards out, which perhaps even surprised himself as his shot was palmed away. And with Sullivan’s excellence through the game, it ended goalless and thus straight onto penalties. With his confidence high and Brighton knowing both penalty shoot-outs they’d been involved in so far this season they had won, surely this was only going to end one way. Brighton went first, with Nicky Forster making no mistake low to the keeper’s right. Ben Davies replied for Shrewsbury to the same side but up high for one-one. Adam Virgo restored Brighton’s lead with a copy of Davies’s. McIntyre followed suit to go back level. Tommy Elphick used Forster’s penalty for inspiration to give Brighton the advantage again. As did substitute Steve Leslie for three-three. Another substitute, Jake Robinson, became the first man to go the other side of the goal. His precise penalty flew past the keeper into his bottom-left hand corner. Shane Cansell-Sherriff did likewise to equalise for Shrewsbury. Brighton’s fifth penalty was taken by left-back Matt Richards who scored in the other corner despite Daniels getting a hand to it. Something had to give, and with the final penalty of the ten it was Shrewsbury star Grant Holt who gave it. His spot kick was poor, low and central and straight into John Sullivan’s diving arms to end it. Brighton had won with a perfect five out of five penalties converted. It was only right that Sullivan got to be the hero after such a solid performance during the ninety minutes. Up next for the Seagulls in this competition; Luton Town over a two-legged area Final. Bring it on!

SHREWSBURY 0 BRIGHTON 0
Brighton win 5-4 on penalties

SHR ResultsSHR Replay1 SHR Replay2

PREVIOUS; #25 LEYTON ORIENT 2-2 BRIGHTON 17/11/2007

NEXT; #27 LUTON 1-1 BRIGHTON 17/02/2009

#24: Brighton 0-3 Blackpool 08/10/2006

#24 BRIGHTON 0-3 BLACKPOOL League One
Sunday 8th October 2006 Image result for

BLA Titles

PRESENTER George Gavin GUESTS Steve Claridge & Ian Taylor
COMMENTATORS Rob Hawthorne & Tony Gale REPORTER Greg Whelan
1.30pm Kick Off; Withdean Stadium      1-3.30pm Football League Live on Sky Sports 1

Ident BLA Sponsor BLA Intro

Context of the Match: After Brighton’s terrible season last time out with relegation from the Championship finishing bottom of the table, this season didn’t start any better for Mark McGhee and was sacked in early September with the club in 17th in League One. Youth manager and former Albion midfielder Dean Wilkins took charge, initially temporarily but then was offered the job permanently later that month. His task has been about rebuilding and looking towards the future. Ten of last year’s Youth Cup Quarter Finalists managed by Wilkins have since signed professional contracts, the emphasis currently at Brighton being on bringing players through the academy. The form hadn’t improved since Wilkins took over a few weeks ago, losing the last four matches. This had seen Brighton sink to 19th in the table, while opponents Blackpool were even lower down in 22nd position. The Tangerines had visited Withdean three times before today, losing all of them and not scoring a single goal. This was our first Live match to be broadcast in High Definition.

BLA Brighton BLA Blackpool BLA Formation

The Teams: Goalkeeper Wayne Henderson had signed permanently after a loan spell last season but was missing today due to international duty with Ireland. He was also looking to leave the club after handing in a transfer request. Michel Kuipers returned to the side after missing much of the previous campaign through injuries. Sam Williams was on a short-term loan from Aston Villa up top alongside summer signing Alex Revell and academy graduate Dean Cox. Another promising product of the academy, Joel Lynch, started at the back. On the other side of defence, Andrew Whing was making his debut having just joined on loan from Coventry. Adam Hinshelwood was fit again after a long absence, returning on the bench. Seven of Brighton’s starting XI were aged 23 or under. Blackpool were managed by Simon Grayson. Ben Burgess up front could have easily been playing in this match for Brighton instead, as the club pursued him over the summer but chose to join the Tangerines from Hull. He has already caused us problems on TV before having scored for Brentford in their 4-0 win back in 2002. He was looking for his 50th career goal today. Irishman Wes Hoolahan would be one to watch. The entire squad was unchanged from their victory in the previous match against Leyton Orient. Paul Armstrong (not the former Albion midfielder) refereed.

BLA Gavin  BLA Claridge  BLA Taylor  BLA Whelan  BLA Studio

Presentation Team: George Gavin was once again host for this Football League Live broadcast. It was the international break for the Premiership and Championship so the spotlight fell onto Leagues One and Two this weekend. Sky Sports had a double-header of Live matches today; first up this Brighton v Blackpool game, followed by Grimsby v Hereford at 4pm. As usual with Sky’s doubles, the entire coverage was hosted from the stadium of the second match, so Blundell Park is where Gavin and his guests Ian Taylor and Steve Claridge watched from. Steve Claridge had become a regular pundit for Sky Sports this season on the Football League and also long-running phone-in show You’re on Sky Sports on Monday nights with host Gary Newbon and fellow guest Peter Beagrie. Claridge had loose Albion connections having made five appearances two years ago. He was still technically registered as a footballer but was currently without a club at the age of forty. Ian Taylor was also still a player but far more involved than Claridge. Taylor was at Northampton where he won promotion from League Two last season and was named in the PFA Team of the Year. Commentating on the match were Tony Gale, for his fourth consecutive Albion Live match, and Rob Hawthorne. International breaks provide no rest for Sky’s regular commentators, with four of their big five assigned to a country. Martin Tyler of course covered any England games Sky held, Alan Parry was the Wales commentator, Rob Hawthorne did the Republic of Ireland and current FL number one Bill Leslie covered Scotland. Leslie replaced Ian Crocker domestically and internationally, who left in the summer to join Setanta Sports to commentate on his original regular Live gig – the Scottish Premier League. Today gave Hawthorne a rare return to the lower leagues. Greg Whelan was reporting from Withdean as first choice reporter.

BLA Build up  BLA Build up2  BLA Build up3  BLA Build up4

The Coverage: Today’s Live broadcast began at 1pm as part of a Sky Sports double-header, seeing the studio team based in Grimsby for the 4pm kick off. Brighton versus Blackpool was given thirty minutes pre-match coverage which packed a lot of features about the game into a short space of time. The programme began by looking at the state of League One after Saturday’s action, including some of the key goals and a look at the table. Team news from Withdean was delivered by reporter Greg Whelan pitchside, as loanee Andrew Whing was confirmed as a starter. The main VT package was all about Brighton’s ongoing and much delayed quest for a new stadium site in Falmer, much as it had been on several occasions in previous seasons. Whelan voiced his report which started with an impassioned speech by Paul Samrah, Withdean PA announcer and one of the key men leading this charge. The report touched upon the two seasons at Gillingham after selling the Goldstone before glimpses of the current situation; an athletics stadium forming a temporary home, pop-up offices in the city centre and a small club shop on Queen’s Road. Samrah was also interviewed pitchside, followed by Dick Knight, both championing the necessity of a new stadium. Supporters including Tim Carder and Ed Bassford had set up The Seagulls Party in a bid to put pressure on current Lewes councillors of the Liberal Democrats and stand against them in 2007’s local elections. Footage from the rally on the Seafront was interspersed with reports from earlier this week with the news that Lewes District Council had pulled out of its legal battle and plans were now in the hands of the Secretary of State Ruth Kelly to decide over the next several months. Finally, Chief Executive Martin Perry highlighted the current state of affairs. After the studio team discussed the difficulties of Withdean for players and managers of both home and away teams, there was a live link-up with Chairman Dick Knight pitchside. “We’re being stopped from getting this stadium by a few Nimbys in an adjoining town council who are defending their case against the side that we want on the basis that it’s an area of outstanding natural beauty. It was fifty years ago, it no longer is.” Knight was confident Ruth Kelly would follow John Prescott’s decision in approving this, it’s just a question of when this would be.

BLA Blackpool owner  BLA Revell  BLA Kick Off  BLA Comms

After Knight did a fantastic job of explaining why the stadium is a must, spoke well of Dean Wilkins and the current playing staff as well as the difficulties this season with a transitioning side. Andrew Whing and Alex Revell were highlighted by the studio as potential key players for Brighton today. For Blackpool Andy Morrell, formerly of Wrexham and Coventry, was in the spotlight. The recent takeover of the club which resulted in Valery Belokon becoming their investor, hoping he’d become a ‘lower league Roman Abramovich’. He was interviewed, as were both managers, before handing over to the commentary team for kick off. The title sequence remained the same as last season, soundtracked by The Farm’s All Together Now, but for this League One match the action shots were of lower league matches rather than the usual Championship players. The graphics were tweaked slightly with full names appearing in the team line-ups rather than just surnames, and the replay graphic was not of the League One trophy unfortunately. Instead it was the Sky Sports logo crashing in from the right and out to the left of shot very quickly. Championship matches still had the same trophy replay as last season. For goals the 3D club crest was still going strong even if we weren’t able to see it in action for the Albion today. The scorebar was changed for this season again, morphing into a more appropriate shape and font more in line with the rest of the set. After the match around ten minutes were afforded to wrap up this game, including interviews with the man of the match, goalscorer and winning manager, before taking an advert break and moving onto their second Live match of the day at 3.30pm; Grimsby v Hereford. Fifteen Live matches throughout the season were broadcast from Leagues One and Two under the current contracts.

BLA Wilkins  BLA Corners  BLA Red card  BLA Table

Story of the Match: Brighton had an early shout for a penalty when Blackpool defender Michael Jackson (not that one) handled the ball in the box but the claims were ignored by the referee. After a fairly even and open first fifteen minutes, Blackpool took the lead. Shaun Barker improvised with the outside of his boot to get a cross in the from far side of the box which was met by Keith Southern’s head/shoulder six yards out giving Michel Kuipers no chance from close range. Brighton had a couple of chances with debutant Andrew Whing’s header early on and a dangerous cross from Kerry Mayo causing panic in the Blackpool defence. Not much goalmouth action either end for much of the first half, but Brighton showed some fight just before the break with winger Dean Cox linking up well with Kerry Mayo but not able to get a decent effort at goal. The second half started slowly, with the expected Brighton charge never materialising. Blackpool took the initiative themselves and doubled the lead after the hour mark. With their sixth corner of the game, the ball was drilled towards the penalty spot, headed back into the danger area where substitute Scott Vernon nipped in ahead of Kuipers to prod home from just a couple of yards out. A moment to sum up Brighton’s lacklustre approach at goal came after seventy minutes when goalkeeper Evans came to punch a cross clear, barely got anything on it as it fell to Guy Butters on the edge of the box to volley but Cox got in his way and it came to nothing. Things got even worse a minute later when Alex Frutos was given a straight red card for a flying elbow. It was the fifth Albion sending off this season already in thirteen matches. After impressing greatly last season, Frutos found it difficult to get into Wilkins’ plans this year. Vernon scored again with three minutes remaining. A long ball forward wasn’t dealt with well by Mayo who just lumped it up in the air. He then lost the resulting header which found Vernon in behind Adam El-Abd and through on goal. Kuipers goes down early and as Vernon goes to round him he misses the ball as it rolled past the helpless goalie and easy to tap in to the empty net. Three-nil down, three minutes to go, three sides of the stadium started emptying out. Blackpool deserved the win, perhaps not quite by such a margin, but Brighton really looked unsure in front of goal. It was to be a season of establishing themselves and settling back into the third tier after a yo-yo few years. Blackpool would go on to gain promotion to the Championship via the Play Offs whilst Brighton would stay in the bottom half all season, eventually finishing in 18th place, just six points above a second successive relegation. Things were going to need to get better quickly as the off-the-field battle for the ground showed little sign of easing up.

BRIGHTON 0 BLACKPOOL 3
Southern, Vernon (2)

BLA Replay

EXTRA; Post match interviews were broadcast on Sky Sports News due to the scheduling of the Live double-header meaning attention turned to the second match around ten minutes after ours was over. The below screenshots are taken from Through the Night, broadcast from 11pm until the following morning’s live programmes begin at 6am. Presenters David Bobin and Alex Payne were on shift that evening. The programme had its own theme tune at the time; Artisan – Deadly Avenger.

BLA SSN titles BLA SSN presenters

Manager Dean Wilkins commented afterwards “It’s very hard for me to hide the disappointment that I’m feeling at the moment to be honest with you. We’ve worked all week, we’ve worked on a plan to approach the game with and I think in the end the players have got to take a lot of responsibility for not putting that plan into practise.”

BLA SSN report BLA SSN Wilkins

PREVIOUS; #23 BRIGHTON 2-3 CRYSTAL PALACE 20/11/2005

NEXT; #25 LEYTON ORIENT 2-2 BRIGHTON 17/11/2007

#23: Brighton 2-3 Crystal Palace 20/11/2005

#23 BRIGHTON 2-3 CRYSTAL PALACE Championship
Sunday 20th November 2005 Image result for

PAL Titles

PRESENTER George Gavin GUEST Micky Adams
COMMENTATORS Bill Leslie & Tony Gale REPORTER Greg Whelan
1.30pm Kick Off; Withdean Stadium      1-3.30pm Football League Live on Sky Sports 1

SheffWed05 Ident PAL Sponsors PAL Intro

Context of the Match: This was the first Live televised meeting between arch-rivals Brighton and Crystal Palace, a derby most outside of the two clubs just do not comprehend. Matches between the two sides have been scarce in recent times, with just three prior to today in the past fifteen years. Brighton won the last head-to-head one-nil at Selhurst Park just four weeks ago, courtesy of Paul McShane’s header to write himself into Albion folklore. However that was Brighton’s only win in the last twelve this season, leaving the club second from bottom in the Championship. The opposition arrived having been relegated from the Premiership last season after just one year back in the top flight. Their fans would be housed in the new West Stand behind the goal left-of-camera at Withdean, moving from the corner behind the other goal and taking the capacity to over 7,000 at the club’s temporary home. The talk in the build up and in the stands was of celebration at Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott’s decision to approve planning permission for the new stadium at the Falmer site more than five miles away. However the matchday programme at the ground gave a warning that would turn out to be proved correct when stating “Lewes District Council officers will make a decision as to whether they’ll push for a Judicial Review on 24th November”. The news would not be welcome.

PAL Brighton PAL Palace PAL Formation

The Teams: Goalscoring hero from the win at Selhurst a month ago, Paul McShane, was not in the squad due to suspension so Adam El-Abd took his place for his first League start this season. On-loan Alan Blayney began in goal with on-loan Wayne Henderson out and Michel Kuipers still injured. Another long-term casualty was Richard Carpenter so the same midfield quartet as in the last televised game at Sheffield Wednesday began this one; with Dean Hammond and Charlie Oatway at the heart of everything. Up-front Colin Kazim-Richards made way for top scorer Leon Knight, who had fallen out with manager Mark McGhee ahead of Brighton’s last match two weeks ago – a three-nil defeat to Stoke. Gary Hart’s versatility continued having gone from striker to winger to right back over the past few seasons. Southampton veteran Jason Dodd was on the Brighton bench. Crystal Palace had their star striker Andy Johnson out injured still, having also missed the reverse fixture. Experienced Dougie Freedman and Clinton Morrison provided Palace’s attacking prowess. Gabor Kiraly kept goal in his trademark grey jogging bottoms. Fitz Hall, nicknamed ‘One Size’, was alongside Darren Ward at the back for Iain Dowie’s team. Only Freedman played for the Eagles the last time they beat Brighton three years ago. Eight of their starting line-up played in their Premiership relegation season last year. Taking charge of the match was Mick Fletcher.

PAL Gavin PAL Adams PAL Studio PAL Whelan

Presentation Team: Whilst Jeff Stelling had a monopoly on Monday night matches, it was George Gavin who continued to host all other Football League Live broadcasts this season. He was situated in the South-West corner of Withdean in the Sky box. His guest this Sunday lunchtime was former Brighton manager Micky Adams. This provided both a welcome home and current scouting mission for Adams, with his Coventry side playing Crystal Palace next. He won Division Three with the Albion but no televised games came during that period so this is the first time he and Brighton have been together for a Live broadcast. Reporting on the touchline as usual was Greg Whelan. In the commentary box for the third successive Brighton Live game was Tony Gale. Also for the third successive Brighton Live game, he was with a different lead commentator. After Rob Hawthorne on Ipswich and Ian Crocker at Sheffield Wednesday, today it was the turn of Bill Leslie making his Brighton debut. Leslie joined Sky last season covering Football First delayed Premiership 3pm matches, Live Champions League and occasional cover on the League behind Crocker and Hawthorne (including the League Two Play Off Final last May). This season his workload has increased further in this Division to incorporate more Live matches when Ian Crocker isn’t available. He was previously one of the commentators for Capital Gold radio, the training ground of many great broadcasters, and worked as a reporter and occasional highlights voice for Channel Five. He also did a bit of presenting on Sky News and Sky Sports News when the football season had finished but was now quickly establishing himself as Sky’s Football League number two.

PAL Fans  PAL Mayo  PAL on the road  PAL VT PAL Knight

The Coverage: Regular slots for Live Football League matches this season were Friday nights, Monday nights and Sunday lunchtimes. This occasion was the latter, playing warm-up to the main Super Sunday event coming up when Sky Sports weren’t showing a Premiership double-header. The regular top flight kick-off time of 1.30pm was also used for the Football League, meaning we got half an hour build up but extremely little post match. The title sequence remained as The Farm’s ‘All Together Now’ with those lovely graphics introduced at the start of the season. Host George Gavin and guest Micky Adams were in the studio at the ground, now situated alongside the away fans in the new West Stand. The build up consisted of a quick round-up of the best of the Championship goals from yesterday, as well as a lengthy feature about the troubled time Brighton have had fighting for a new stadium, which at the time of broadcast we all believed was finally sorted and the ground would be just two-and-a-half years away from completion. Local lad Kerry Mayo was the interviewee, having been there since the worst times when we nearly fell out of the League in 1996/97. He spoke about the final day showdown with Hereford, the selling of the Goldstone Ground to become a retail park, playing home games at Gillingham and the subsequent resurgence at Withdean on the field to now. It was a detailed, accurate account of the club’s struggles over the past decade. Mayo said “When we get the stadium and the financial stability for the club then we can look to bring in bigger names. The structure of the club will be a lot more solid and that’ll be the next step to hopefully the Premiership where I feel this club belongs.” How true that would turn out to be. Eventually! With Micky Adams being today’s pundit the focus was naturally more slanted towards the Albion. Chairman Dick Knight was then interviewed pitchside by the studio team, still very much in a celebratory mood but reminding “we’re still a long way from Falmer”. Both managers were then probed by Greg Whelan before a quick advert break prior to the teams coming out of the tunnel. Coverage came off air very shortly after the final whistle went, with just enough time for Gavin to talk us through the table and thank Micky Adams before signing off to make way for the Live Super Sunday between Middlesbrough and Fulham from 3.30pm. Post match interviews were shown on Sky Sports News.

PAL Minute silence PAL Kick off  PAL Comms  PAL Fatboy Slim

Story of the Match: Ahead of the match a terribly organised minute’s silence took place, with the referee blowing the whistle during the PA announcement meaning the minute was spent with the ground silent apart from the tannoy.  This was for ex-Brighton captain Glen Wilson and former Palace man Alf Noakes who passed away this week. An early error by Blayney, carrying the ball out of his penalty area, gave Crystal Palace an opportunity to attack which came to nothing and was fortunate not to have received a card for his mistake. A quick counter attack at the other end saw Seb Carole fizz an excellent ball into the box to find Jake Robinson who couldn’t get the right connection to get a shot off and a great chance went begging. But it was to be Brighton who would break the deadlock after twenty-two minutes. Leon Knight, back in favour with the manager, rounded off a nice move with a wonderful backheel flick into the net. The ball was given away in the centre of the pitch, picked up by Frutos who drove forward towards the goalline. He outpaced his defender and drilled a low cross into the middle where Knight was waiting to improvise magnificently. A minute later Frutos again was involved and nearly made it two, with a volley from the eighteen yard line just clipping the top of the bar. But it was not to last as Dougie Freedman crept into the box to nod home an equaliser just five minutes later. He combined with his strike partner Morrison who crossed from the far side of the box and Freedman leaped unchallenged to score his 100th Crystal Palace goal. That’s how it remained at the break.

PAL Hart Red PAL Table

Five minutes into the second half it was very much game on as Brighton were awarded a penalty. Spot kicks are part and parcel of this rivalry of course! Jake Robinson was adjudged by the linesman to have been pulled to the ground by Borrowdale. Up stepped Leon Knight to just about squeeze the ball through and under Kiraly who got a big touch but it wasn’t enough. The lead wasn’t to last though as Dougie Freedman got his second of the game just before the hour mark, despite a good spell from the Albion. A good breakaway run from Reich saw Freedman with the ball on the edge of the area. He took a touch to take it slightly wide into the box, past Butters, to unleash a fierce shot drilled hard and low to the bottom right hand side of Blayney’s net. A goal from nothing but expertly taken and the dynamics of the game changed again. Very few chances fell for either side after this but two yellow cards within the space of three minutes for Gary Hart saw the utility man sent-off with four minutes remaining, whilst also picking up an injury from a challenge by futurer Brighton forward Calvin Andrews. Neither yellow card could be argued against; the first was a late foul and the second a deliberate handball to stop the ball going on behind him. To cap it all off, Crystal Palace nicked a win in the last minute of the four added on. Substitute Jobi McAnuff hit one from twenty yards out which clipped at least one defender on the way through, catching Blayney out and nestling in the bottom corner of the goal. In the days after this match, Lewes District Council did indeed launch a legal bid to overturn the planning permission for the new stadium and the whole thing was delayed further whilst both sides were listened to again. By the time of the next Live match eleven months later we were still waiting official confirmation of where the club would be playing in the years to come. At the end of the season Brighton were relegated from the Championship after two years, finishing bottom of the table. Palace would make the Play Offs but lose out to Watford in the Final. The rivalry would have to wait a few more years to resume.

BRIGHTON 2 CRYSTAL PALACE 3
Knight (2) Freedman (2), McAnuff

PAL Replay PAL Goal

EXTRA; Post match interviews were broadcast on Sky Sports News due to the scheduling of the Live programme’s off-air time being so soon after the final whistle. About twenty minutes after the programme ended, they brought us an interview with Mark McGhee. Afternoon Report was the daily slot around 12-5pm, with the programme’s theme tune being Deepest Blue – ‘Shooting Star’. Presenters Di Stewart and Dave Clark rounded up the day’s headlines before introducing the Brighton boss and his interview with Greg Whelan.

PAL SSN titles PAL SSN presenter

McGhee believed not just a point was deserved but victory was snatched away from his team at the death. “The sending off has cost us the game… Disappointed not to have won the game let alone draw it.” He went on to dispute the second yellow card awarded to Gary Hart, saying he was fouled (which caused Hart’s injury) and wanted the linesman and fourth official to have done more to help the referee. All in all a frustrating day for the Seagulls.

PAL SSN Clark PAL SSN McGhee

PREVIOUS; #22 SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY 1-1 BRIGHTON 24/10/2005

NEXT; #24 BRIGHTON 0-3 BLACKPOOL 08/10/2006

#22: Sheffield Wednesday 1-1 Brighton 24/10/2005

#22 SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY 1-1 BRIGHTON Championship
Monday 24th October 2005 Image result for

SheffWed05 Titles

PRESENTER Jeff Stelling GUEST Kevin Blackwell
COMMENTATORS Ian Crocker & Tony Gale REPORTER Greg Whelan
7.45pm Kick Off; Hillsborough, Sheffield      7.30-10pm Football League Live on Sky Sports 1

SheffWed05 Ident SheffWed05 Sponsors SheffWed05 Intro

Context of the Match: Mark McGhee’s 100th match in charge of Brighton came at the historic Hillsborough ground as the last two winners of the Third Tier Play Off Finals met in front of the Sky Sports cameras. Newly promoted Sheffield Wednesday had struggled early on back in the Championship, with Brighton not faring much better; both sides were in the bottom five prior to kick off. Despite this, Brighton had only lost once away so far in the League, perhaps suggesting the players are happier and more comfortable playing in big stadiums with larger crowds than the Withdean home can currently provide. This included a memorable win the previous week away at arch-rivals Crystal Palace! However Brighton had never won at Hillsborough. This was due to be a big week for the Albion as a decision was pending on the planning permission for the new stadium site in Falmer. This decision came three days after tonight’s match, with deputy prime minister John Prescott overruling the advice of two planning inspectors and granting permission for the club to build a 22,000 seater stadium. However, we all know that it didn’t quite work out like that and objections were raised later in the year as the fight carried on.

SheffWed05 SWFC SheffWed05 Brighton SheffWed05 Formation

The Teams: Mark McGhee made one change from the win over Crystal Palace last midweek for tonight’s match, with French midfielder Alex Frutos coming in on the wing for his full debut. On-loan Irish defender Paul McShane got the only goal of that game. Brighton lost two key players over the summer who were instrumental in staying in the Division last season; player of the season Adam Virgo joined Celtic(!) for £1.5million(!) and left-back Dan Harding moved to Leeds. Nineteen-year-old striker Jake Robinson recently signed a three-year contract to remain at the club and he led the line up front alongside top scorer Leon Knight. Goalkeeper Wayne Henderson’s on loan from Aston Villa, covering for long-term casualty Michel Kuipers. Charlie Oatway captained the side in midfield in a 4-4-2 formation. On the bench was summer transfer Colin Kazim-Richards, signed using the infamous £250,000 won by a Brighton supporter in a promotional event by League sponsors Coca-Cola; hence his nickname the Coca-Cola Kid. Sheffield Wednesday were unbeaten in three and unchanged from their previous match. As Jeff Stelling remarked in his opening intro, it’s all a bit ornithological tonight with the Seagulls versus the Owls who have Eagles, Partridge and Peacock all in their squad. Eagles being on-loan Manchester United winger Chris. On the other wing, Chris Brunt scored three goals in his previous two home games. Nigel Miller refereed.

SheffWed05 Stelling SheffWed05 Blackwell SheffWed05 Studio

Presentation Team: Coverage from Hillsborough was hosted by Jeff Stelling. From this season Stelling had secured an improved contract which included presenting all Monday night matches on Sky Sports, regardless of the League or competition, on top of his main Soccer Saturday gig. This came about after he was headhunted by ITV to replace Gabby Logan as their number one anchor for the World Cup at the end of this season. By his own account Stelling was very close to accepting but Soccer Saturday is his baby and he found it very difficult to relinquish so Sky offered him this and Live games. Jeff’s taken to it very well and brings a bit of personality and wit to proceedings. His guest tonight at the stadium was the Leeds United boss Kevin Blackwell. They shared a joke about him having to sneak in to the ground tonight due to being a former Sheffield United manager. Blackwell appears on Sky’s Football League Review and Live coverage a few times a season and always comes across well and knowledgeable. On the touchline was Sky’s number one Football League reporter Greg Whelan. He came in when the League rebranded from Division One to the Championship having previously been a Soccer Saturday reporter. In the commentary box tonight were Tony Gale alongside Ian Crocker. Crocker became Sky’s main Football League commentator when they regained the rights in 2002, having previously been their voice of Scottish football. He always has a memorable turn of phrase or soundbite ready. His co-commentator, former West Ham defender Tony Gale, also covered Brighton’s last Live match; the final day draw with Ipswich back in May.

SheffWed05 McGhee  SheffWed05 Knight  SheffWed05 Kick Off  SheffWed05 Comms

The Coverage: Monday night matches under the helm of Jeff Stelling were all presented from the stadium, like the vast majority of Sky’s Football League games. Coverage began fifteen minutes before the 7.45pm kick off and there was not an advert break until the end of the first half. This was the norm for short build ups of this period. The build up was enough time to feature Greg Whelan’s interviews with both managers, which saw him push Wednesday boss Paul Sturrock on a potential new signing which by kick was confirmed not to be going ahead. Each team had one player featured during their warm-ups, which Stelling and guest Kevin Blackwell highlighted. This was winger Chris Brunt for the home side and Leon Knight for Brighton. The studio in the corner of the ground was open air and tiny mics were stuck to the faces of our presenters, which meant that when the atmosphere was building up with loud music and sirens, they were really having to raise their voice to be heard. Then it was over to the commentary team to talk us through the team news using this season’s lovely new flashy graphics.

SheffWed05 Whelan SheffWed05 Sub

These were introduced on the opening weekend of the season and represent the biggest overhaul of graphics in Sky’s history. For the past two sets, the Premiership graphics were more advanced and fully animated whilst the Football League ones were an imitation of these. But this new set were all-singing, all-dancing; same animations, same swooshes but with their own Football League colours of red and white as opposed to the others being red and blue. I really love these ones; they’re modern, sleek and animate so well, nobody else has anything like this at the moment. Some elements from before have survived, including the 3D spinning club crests and the replay and goal graphics. The presenter’s name aston now has a 3D rotating trophy alongside the Sky Sports logo and the majority of all graphics tilt back and forth towards the screen after the entry animation. This is a big leap forward in Sky’s presentation. The coverage is now sponsored by Sky Bet taking over from Powerade but the theme tune remains as The Farm’s All Together Now, with the titles being tweaked every so slightly from those that were introduced half way through last season. After the game there was around fifteen minutes or so left to wrap up the match and get some reaction from the players and managers before coming off air at 10pm.

SheffWed05 Analysis SheffWed05 Table

Story of the Match: Whilst it was the Brighton fans who were in better voice amongst the 20,000 crowd, it was the home side who enjoyed much of the early play. Sheffield Wednesday’s position as the lowest scorers in the Championship was to make them pay as for all the possession and good play, they just couldn’t score. Striker Lee Peacock had a few half chances early on, and Chris Brunt fired in a fantastic cross which was crying out to be tapped in but there were no attackers in a good enough position. Brighton held on and slowly grew more confident. Winger Seb Carole’s dipping shot almost bounced over the goalkeeper’s outstretched arms but Lucas was able to tip behind for a corner in the 24th minute. Much of the first half was restricted to long-range shots for both teams. “Not one for the absolute football purists” commented Stelling at half time. The breakthrough goal the game sorely needed came ten minutes after the break, but unfortunately it went to the home side. Chris Brunt went on a run from the half way line beating two Brighton defenders before getting the shot away outside the box. His long range effort was parried straight back out in front of him by Henderson where Lee Peacock was waiting to pounce in the right place at the right time in the centre of the goal. He reacted quicker than the Brighton defence to lift the shot up over the goalkeeper for one-nil and his 100th League goal to wake that crowd up. Peacock should’ve put the game to bed in the 72nd minute when a quick free kick resulted in a cross into the middle waiting for him to tap home but he placed the shot wide. The chances were piling up for Wednesday as a minute later Chris Eagles run forward to the corner fo the box and shot agonisingly wide of the far post. A streaker on the field tried to halt the momentum but the Sky cameras were having none of it. Four minutes were added on at the end of the match, which was the cue for Paul Sturrock to disappear down the tunnel for superstitious reasons. It seemed his defence may have joined him in heading off as they were caught out two minutes into injury time. Seb Carole delivered a good cross in towards the penalty spot where substitute Colin Kazim-Richards was waiting. He angled his header powerfully towards goal and brilliantly beat David Lucas as the ball nestled in the bottom corner of the goal. Brighton rescued a point from nothing, the Coca-Cola Kid struck for the first time! The unbeaten away run was extended to a sixth match and valuable points were not gained by a relegation rival.

SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY 1 BRIGHTON 1
Peacock Kazim-Richards

SheffWed05 Replay SheffWed05 Goal

PREVIOUS; #21 BRIGHTON 1-1 IPSWICH 08/05/2005

NEXT; #23 BRIGHTON 2-3 CRYSTAL PALACE 20/11/2005