Small Screen Seagulls; 2011/12 Season part 2

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

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


Brighton 2-0 Portsmouth Highlights

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

POR Titles POR Comm

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

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

POR Brighton POR Portsmouth

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

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

POR Vicente sub POR Vicente 1st goal

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

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

POR Poyet money gesture POR Vicente 2nd goal

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

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

POR Full Time POR Studio


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

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

FLW Titles FLW Everton

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

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

FLW Vokes FLW Mackail-Smith

FLW Golf challenge FLW Laptop

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

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

FLW Vokes shot FLW Vokes distance

FLW Mackail-Smith shot FLW Mackail-Smith distance

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

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

FLW Leaderboard FLW Top ten

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

FLW Studio FLW Remaining Fixtures

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

FLW CMS vs Pro FLW Trophy presentation

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

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


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Interview with Vicente and Inigo Calderon

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

LKO2 Titles LKO2 Walker

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

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

LKO2 Studio LKO2 Bright

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

LKO2 Vicente and Calderon.JPG

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

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

LKO2 Vicente quote LKO2 Vicente shirt

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


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West Ham 6-0 Brighton Highlights

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

WHAM Titles WHAM Fisher

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

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

WHAM West Ham WHAM Brighton

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

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

WHAM Vaz Te opener WHAM Nolan three nil

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

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

WHAM Vaz Te spectacular WHAM Own goal

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

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

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

WHAM Full Time WHAM Studio

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

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


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Report on The Amex bucking the trend of dwindling attendances

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

LKO3 Titles LKO3 Gupta

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

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

LKO3 Dix LKO3 Ambler

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

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

LKO3 Fans LKO3 Hebberd

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

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


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

#32: FC United of Manchester 0-4 Brighton 08/12/2010

#32 FC UNITED OF MANCHESTER 0-4 BRIGHTON FA Cup Round Two Replay
Wednesday 8th December 2010 Related image

FCUM Titles

PRESENTER Ray Stubbs GUESTS Steve Cotterill & Dion Dublin
COMMENTATORS Jon Champion & Craig Burley REPORTER Darrell Currie
7.45pm Kick Off; Gigg Lane, Bury     7.30-10pm FA Cup Live on ESPN

FCUM Ident FCUM Bumper FCUM Intro

Context of the Match: After their penalty shoot-out victory at Woking in the FA Cup First Round Replay, Brighton were handed another favourable match in Round Two; at home to FC United of Manchester. They were a semi-professional club founded in 2005 by Manchester United supporters (hence the name) in protest at American businessman Malcolm Glazer’s takeover at Old Trafford. They used Bury’s stadium to play their matches and after three promotions in their opening three seasons were competing in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Premier Division; the seventh tier of English football. Brighton had been top of League One since September and were currently the highest placed team in the competition, the tie at Withdean should have been a routine victory for the Albion. As tonight’s match is a Replay, you can see that was not the case eleven days prior. Nicky Platt gave the part-timers a surprise lead in the first half on the South Coast, against the run of play. United were holding on until Scott McManus had an off-the-ball altercation with Gary Hart to earn him a straight red card. They managed to keep Brighton out until the 83rd minute when a scrambled equaliser came about; Mauricio Taricco’s header got the final touch of substitute striker Fran Sandaza. The Albion really went for it in the final few minutes, with Ashley Barnes seeing his shot blocked on the line and then, in stoppage time, Sandaza was bundled over in the area for a penalty. Given how the Seagulls had reached this stage it was somewhat ironic that the spot-kick was missed here. Or, to put it more accurately, Elliott Bennett’s penalty was brilliantly saved by the ‘keeper to remain level and force tonight’s rematch. Manchester shouldn’t have been underestimated, to reach Round Two they had already won through four rounds of qualifying matches then knocked out Rochdale of League One with a last-minute winner, who were 95 places above them at kick off. Whilst this Replay was Albion’s fourth FA Cup match of the season, would it be lucky number seven for the hosts?

FCUM Manchester FCUM Brighton FCUM Formation

The Teams: With the previous Saturday’s League One match at home to Colchester postponed due to the weather, Poyet was able to choose a strong side here. Only six survive from the original tie; Cup goalkeeper Peter Brezovan, Marcos Painter at the back, Glenn Murray up top and the midfield trio of Bennett, Kishishev and former Chelsea youth captain Liam Bridcutt, who joined in August. This allowed Fran Sandaza, signed from Dundee United on a one-year contract at the end of August, to come in for Ashley Barnes. Man of the Match in the First Round Replay at Woking, Matt Sparrow, returned to the midfield. And in defence Inigo Calderon returned at right-back with Adam El-Abd and captain Gordon Greer in the centre for a much more experienced back line. They replaced assistant boss Mauricio Taricco and youth team graduates Tommy Elphick and Lewis Dunk, who both dropped down to the bench. Other substitute options should we need them included long-serving Gary Hart, Argentinians Battipiedi and Baz and young ‘keeper Michael Poke who joined in the summer from Southampton but never featured for the Albion. 21-year-old Jamie Smith was also a sub but despite the surname was nothing to do with Albion ’83 Cup scorer Gordon. Karl Marginson’s FC United of Manchester side made two changes from the one-all draw at Withdean. Scott McManus, sent off in the first game, and Jerome Wright were suspended, so in came Martin Parker and Ludovic Quistin. The latter being an international for Guadalupe no less. Nicky Platt has scored in both the last two Cup matches. Jake Cottrell was voted the Player of the Round after scoring in victory at Rochdale and was last season’s Player of the Year for the club. Sam Ashton was the late hero in-goal saving Bennett’s penalty to take us to this Replay. Refereeing at Gigg Lane was Eddie Ilderton.

FCUM Stubbs FCUM Cotterill FCUM Dublin FCUM Beer

Presentation Team: This FA Cup Replay was hosted from Gigg Lane by Ray Stubbs. He joined ESPN ahead of their launch last year, leaving his 26 year career with the BBC. Immediately before joined he was hosting BBC’s Final Score programme, bringing news of all the goals as they happened from around the country. He had hosted that since 2004. In addition he was the BBC’s England reporter from 2008 and stood-in for Gary Lineker and Adrian Chiles on the Match of the Day programmes, as well as secondary Live matches at tournaments and Cups. His pundits tonight were Steve Cotterill and Dion Dublin. We’ve already seen Dublin on a Live Albion match this season when he was working for Sky Sports on the League clash at home to Bournemouth. Whilst he was signed as a full-time Sky pundit back in May 2008, he didn’t feature all too prominently in the subsequent seasons and by now was working freelance. He has a friendly, engaging manner if a little light on individual player knowledge and preparation but he’s affable and seems to understand the mechanics of broadcasting well. He played for the ‘other’ United, Manchester United, back in the early 90s before enjoying successful spells at Coventry and Aston Villa in the Premiership. He also made four appearances in an England shirt around the 1998 World Cup but narrowly missed out on the tournament squad despite finishing joint-top scorer in the League. Steve Cotterill was the Portsmouth manager and he was on a scouting mission as the winner tonight would host his side in Round Three. Cotterill is no stranger to the television studio, frequently popping up on Sky’s Football League coverage amongst other things. He also had a brief loan spell playing for the Albion in 1992, in which the striker scored four goals in eleven matches. Before Gus Poyet got the job just over a year ago, Steve Cotterill was linked with the vacant position having been out of management for two years. In the commentary box was Jon Champion alongside Craig Burley. This was Champion’s first Live outing on a Brighton match and was a welcome addition. He started his television career at BBC Sport, joining Match of the Day in 1995 as cover during John Motson’s sabbatical, before moving full-time the following season when Clive Tyldesley left for ITV. He went to the World Cup in 1998 and famously called Michael Owen’s wonder-goal against Argentina for the BBC highlights programme; a very high-profile gig for such a young commentator. Since joining ESPN at launch in 2009 he has been their number one covering all the Premier League and biggest FA Cup matches, as well as Europa League games. Champion was at Withdean for the original tie, calling it for the ITV highlights programme. Craig Burley regularly worked alongside Champion at Setanta on their Premier League matches and enjoyed a reunion at ESPN during their Cup coverage. He also is their Scottish Premiership co-commentator next to Derek Rae, with that pairing doing our last Live match at Woking a few weeks ago. Also covering that was reporter Darrell Currie, who was also on the touchline tonight. His Scottish football role is the usual pre and post match interviews with players and managers, whilst he gets to be heard and seen a little bit more on the FA Cup broadcasts when the non-league teams allow him to chat in-game with managers in the ‘Access All Areas’ coverage.

FCUM Dressing Room FCUM Bennett Preview FCUM Kick Off FCUM Comms

The Coverage: New to the FA Cup this season, ESPN broadcast two Live matches from Rounds One and Two before the big teams joined, as well as up to two Replays from each stage. Brighton were picked in the First Round Replay, going all the way with Woking before emerging on penalties, and we were picked for tonight’s Live Replay too. You wait ages for a televised FA Cup match (nine years to be precise – Rushden and Diamonds in 2001) then two come along in the space of a month! Tomorrow night Luton would host Charlton on the channel but first it was our trip to the unfamiliar team of FC United of Manchester in the familiar setting of fellow League One club Bury’s Gigg Lane. Coverage was again hosted from the ESPN mobile caravan studio in the corner of the pitch and began fifteen minutes before the 7.45pm kick off. Host Ray Stubbs set the scene with a little intro before the title sequence; standing in a snowy field in Newton Heath where Manchester United was formed. A planning application had just been approved for a new stadium, sound familiar? This time it wasn’t about our new home though, it was the FC United side who would be able to move out of Bury and get a place to call their own in a couple of seasons time. ESPN kicked off their Cup coverage by showing United’s First Round shock win away at Rochdale and the focus in the build-up was more on the non-league outfit hoping for another upset tonight. They even had their own special FA Cup celebratory ale – Scarlet Ribbon – brewed just for tonight which Stubbs got his hands on. Comparisons naturally were drawn to the Albion’s previous FA Cup experiences with a United team from Manchester; the 1983 Final. Reporter Darrell Currie once again chatted to both managers before the kick off, with Gus Poyet commenting on the home team and supporters; “they are unbelievable and they just keep going, non-stop action.” He was also happy with the surface which was looking good despite small concerns earlier in the day that the game may be in doubt due to snow. The pitch was clear, it was just extremely cold; as low as minus 6 degrees at times. No wonder pundits Steve Cotterill and, particularly, Dion Dublin were wrapped up warm pitchside. They picked out United midfielder Nicky Platt, the goalscorer in the first match, and Brighton’s Elliott Bennett as being amongst the key players tonight. Both guests believed Brighton wouldn’t make the same mistake twice after drawing at Withdean and would go through to Round Three. After the break our commentators Jon Champion and Craig Burley took us through the line-ups and we were all set for kick off.

FCUM Pitchside FCUM Analysis FCUM Axis FCUM Coming Up

A new addition to the scorebar was the colours of each team next to their name to make it easier identifying who was who, particularly useful for viewers when teams like tonight are not used to regular television exposure. The end of the title sequence was updated to denote it’s not the 2nd Round of the competition, the replay transition was still the ESPN logo like it was across all the matches they covered. The rest of the graphics remained as they were for our last Live match. As with many of their Cup games, access all areas was granted by the non-league side, with dressing room cameras and Darrell Currie interviewing the home manager at various points in-game, including right on the whistle after his side conceded the second. At half time Cotterill and Dublin reviewed the goals with the help of the ‘ESPN Axis’ fancy graphics to illustrate their points. With the suspensions in the defence, Steve Cotterill thought the timing of the second goal was crucial as, if they could have stayed in the match and with the vocal crowd’s support, the longer the game stayed at just a goal to nil the home side perhaps might have done something. Before the second half was underway there was a quick pointer towards ESPN’s next Live Premier League game at the weekend, featuring Liverpool at St James Park where Newcastle had surprisingly just sacked manager Chris Hughton. I’m sure he’d get better jobs in years to come. The studio team stood on the pitch just before the second half got underway, pointing out that the turf was pretty good considering the weather but there were a few slips around the perimeter where the snow and ice had been shunted too. Indeed the linesmen were running mostly inside the touchline rather than outside it. During an in-game chat in the second half, United boss Marginson complimented the Albion side well, saying ” They’re a great side, to be fair. For a team at our level, it’s a joy to watch some of them.” Upon the end of the match a few dozen home supporters ran onto the pitch, to the dismay of the rest of their support who just wanted to applaud and thank their players and coaches for a fantastic Cup run. After the break Currie caught up with two of Brighton’s goalscorers; Man of the Match Elliott Bennett and Fran Sandaza. Bennett was “very relieved, if we’d have gone out cos of my missed penalty (in the first match) I’d have been gutted. It wasn’t to be, all credit goes to them but, you know, a professional performance from the boys today.” Losing boss Karl Marginson made his way across to the mobile studio to reflect on a fantastic Cup campaign with the pundits as they had around ten minutes to wrap everything up. Upon reviewing the penalty decision, the United boss admirably said it was harsh to give it, just as his phone began ringing on-air! Everyone spoke kindly about Manchester whilst praising Brighton’s professional, clinical performance. Then it was time to go and get warm as Stubbs closed another great broadcast.

FCUM Bennett aston FCUM Attempts FCUM In Game Chat FCUM Sub

Story of the Match: It was a freezing cold night in greater Manchester with temperatures below zero and ice and snow having to be cleared off the pitch in order to get the game on. The United fans were in full voice, bouncing and singing from the moment the programme came on-air and all throughout, creating a fantastic Cup atmosphere. They had various banners dotted around the ground taking a pop at ‘modern football’ and the increasingly corporate feel of the top-level clubs; “Making Friends not Millionaires” and “Pies not Prawns”. Owned by the supporters, the club was a very principled one and had strong views on the televising of their football matches. Whilst they acknowledged exposure and revenue from broadcasting was important to football, the balance had swung too far in TV’s favour and objected to matches being moved from their original date and kick-off purely for television. Tonight’s tie wouldn’t apply as the Replay would had to have been midweek, and they knew when they decided to participate in the FA Cup that they would be prepared for potential moves for broadcast. However when their League’s internet television channel, NPL TV, decided to move their fixture with Curzon Ashton to a 12.45pm kick-off in 2007 they couldn’t object but showed their opposition with actions; by fans not turning up to the match. Consequently no further games of theirs were moved for the internet channel. All the asked for was a greater discussion rather than being dictated to by television, as the Premier League had increasingly become. The match itself started with Brighton looking comfortable without really threatening too much. That changed in the 25th minute when Elliott Bennett skipped inside his marker towards the box, his shot as he was falling actually turned into a decent pass to the back post where Fran Sandaza was waiting to poke home from six yards out. United had small shouts for a penalty after Liam Bridcutt’s outstretched arm appeared to deflect a cross in the area but it probably would’ve been harsh and wasn’t given. The home side enjoyed a bit more possession which boosted the record crowd further, their flares flaming and smoking out the goal Albion were attacking, but the team possessed little danger for Poyet’s men. But Brighton didn’t pose too much of a threat either, not having to move out of second gear much. In injury time at the end of the first half they doubled the lead through Inigo Calderon. Sandaza’s drive forward was inadvertently advanced by a United defender, whose tackle sent Bennett free in behind in space. His first-time cross was perfect for the onrushing Calderon who had an open goal to head home for his fourth of the season.

FCUM Interview FCUM Sandaza

After the break, the home side’s first chance of the match fell the way of Platt in the 50th minute. A lay off on the edge of the box was perfectly into Platt’s path, his first time side-footed shot trickled inches wide of the post. They performed well at the start of the second forty-five with lots of possession spells and this paid off in the 67th minute. Deegan did well on the left and as he drove into the penalty area he tripped over Calderon’s outstretched leg for a penalty. The Spaniard protested his innocence saying there was no contact but it does appear to have been the slightest of touches right on the line. Co-commentator Craig Burley thought “for a big fella he’s gone down pretty easily” but ultimately said there was slight contact. Jake Cottrell scored against Rochdale and he stepped up tonight but his kick smacked against the post as another golden chance went begging. That would prove to be it for them, as Brighton cruised to victory with two late goals. Sandaza played a lovely through-ball for Elliott Bennett to nab his second with a cool low finish under the ‘keeper with four minutes to go. Then in the final minute sub Gary Hart found himself one-on-one but unselfishly squared it to Matt Sparrow alongside him to just tap across the line for a slightly harsh fourth. The defence appealed for offside, probably more as they couldn’t fathom how much space was afforded to the Albion players, but alas he was behind the ball, the goal stood. And so the side 112 places below the League One leaders gallantly bowed out in the Second Round. They pushed Brighton all the way and hung on for a Replay, could have been a lot closer if they took the key chances. The exposure would have given them everything they needed, with the focus now on securing the funding for their new stadium, something all Seagulls supporters would have wished them well with having gone through so much ourselves. The Albion would go on to play Championship Portsmouth in the Third Round, and beat them, before seeing off Championship Watford away in the Fourth. The Seagulls eventually exited the Cup away at Premier League Stoke City but the final season at Withdean would go on to be another very successful one as far as the League campaign went.

FC UNITED OF MANCHESTER 0 BRIGHTON 4
Sandaza, Calderon, Bennett, Sparrow

FCUM Replay

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

NEXT; #33 COLCHESTER 1-1 BRIGHTON 25/04/2011

 

EXTRA; Owing to the Albion’s progress into the Fifth Round of the e-on FA Cup during the 2010/2011 season, a separate Small Screen Seagulls post charting that run *will be* available HERE, detailing the ITV highlights programmes which showcased our matches.