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

Withdean on Screen; Milestone Matches part 2

Small Screen Seagulls 2000sThe media spotlight didn’t often shine on the Albion. Outside of the glorious run to the FA Cup Final, and Replay, in 1983, appearances on the television were rare. Goal clips were shown on the news and, if you were lucky, the Brighton game might have been selected for extended highlights on Match of the Day or The Big Match. Live games were even rarer, with the Seagulls on screen just three times in the 1980s and four in the 1990s. The satellite television boom didn’t really reach the South Coast until the 21st Century. The story of the club’s homelessness, two-year exile to Gillingham’s Priestfield Stadium and twelve year stay at Withdean did garner some attention. Television helped play its part in this. This piece remembers some of the milestone matches Brighton played at their temporary abode. This is the SECOND part of the story, the first can be found here.

Ipswich 05 Pitch invasion

1

BIGGEST MARGIN OF VICTORY (11th November 2006) FA Cup Round One

Match of the Day, BBC One; Brighton 8-0 Northwich Victoria 

Northwich Intro Northwich red button

After a disappointing 2005/06 season which saw the Albion relegated in last place from the Championship, and further frustrating delays over the planning permission for the new stadium in Falmer, the club were back in the third tier for a period of transition. It got worse just a month into the campaign when boss Mark McGhee left after a lacklustre start and three consecutive losses. Hopes of bouncing straight back up like the last time they were at this level were quickly diminished. Chairman Dick Knight said at the time he thought McGhee had lost the fans and accepted his proposal to stand down. Former Albion midfielder Dean Wilkins, coach of the academy, was appointed initially in a caretaker role before being given the post full time. Results weren’t showing much sign of improving with five defeats on the bounce, including a disappointing defeat Live on Sky against Blackpool in October. That proved to be a bit of a turning point as Wilkins’ young Seagulls then began a six match unbeaten run, five of them wins, ahead of an FA Cup 1st Round tie at home to Conference side Northwich Victoria. As the 1990s showed, Albion taking on non-League sides in the Cup wasn’t always a guarantee of a result. Terrestrial FA Cup broadcaster BBC showed the pick of the First Round ties at the end of an extended one-hundred-minute Match of the Day, once all the Premiership highlights had been on. In fact there were so many goals to get through, there was only time to show three of ours on the main show, with the rest shunted to the BBC Red Button where every goal from every game was played on a loop overnight. Damien Johnson voiced all eight Albion finishes, eventually!

Northwich Cox opener Northwich Robinson 2nd Northwich Revell Northwich Rents

Dean Cox got us off to the perfect start with a goal in the eighth minute. A positive surge from Dean Hammond brought the ball inside the area where Cox finished first time to curl into the bottom corner (above, top left). Jake Robinson doubled the lead ten minutes later when he skipped past two to drill low into the corner past goalkeeper Phil Senior. The juniors were out on top at half time and it was three nil ten minutes after the break. Robinson was again the scorer, cutting in from the right touchline past his marker and finishing from a wide angle under the ‘keeper (above, top right). The low corners were proving to be the weak spot for Senior and Alex Revell took full advantage with a fantastic strike (above, bottom left) from twenty-five yards. Four more goals were added in the final twelve minutes, the first of which completed Jake Robinson’s hat-trick (below left). This time the effort flew high into the roof of the net from range. The sixth came about when, for some reason, the furthest forward was Adam El-Abd who saw his shot parried into the path of Joe Gatting, son of former Albion defender Steve, to tap home from six yards. That was his first senior goal for the club after coming up through the ranks and another also got that accolade with a minute to go. Sam Rents was put through by Dean Cox with time and space to make it number seven (above, bottom right). And it was Cox who rounded things off neatly, scoring the first and the last, to make it a great eight-nil. His run into the area was spotted by Gatting, the through ball perfect for Cox to lift it over the goalie and into the top corner. A fantastically ruthless display from a Brighton side full of youth and excitement. They progressed to the Second Round with the biggest margin of victory Withdean would see.

Northwich Robinson Hat Trick Northwich Scoreline

This result didn’t quite prove to be the shot in the arm to push on for the rest of the season. Further exploits in the Cup continued, ending with a Third Round defeat to Premiership West Ham away. League form was patchy and the club trundled to an eighteenth place finish in League One in 2007, picking up just eight points from the final twelve matches. The following season was much more positive though and Wilkins narrowly missed out on a Play Off spot by a single place. The biggest result came off the pitch, with permission finally granted for Falmer, this time Lewes District Council decided not to challenge. Things were on the up again! But sadly not for Dean Wilkins, who was relieved of his duties at the end of the season, in a surprise move. Brighton searched through their former glories and brought back Division Three winning manager Micky Adams after seven years away for the 2008/09 season. What could possibly go wrong?!


2

BIGGEST SHOCK (24th September 2008) League Cup Round Two

Carling Cup Highlights, ITV1; Brighton 1-1 Man City (2-2 AET, 5-3 on pens) 

Man City Intro Man City Skippings

In September 2008, Manchester City were taken over by an Abu Dhabi Group consortium for £200 million which instantly made them the richest club in world football. The club finished ninth in the Premiership the season before and were now competing in Europe this time round. On Transfer deadline day they bought Brazilian superstar Robinho from Real Madrid for £32.5 million. By contrast at the same time, Brighton were competing in League One having brought back the manager who left to become an assistant at Leicester seven years earlier, beginning their twelfth season without a home, lost to Crowborough Athletic in the final pre-season match and the biggest bit of transfer news was the re-signing of Adam Virgo on a free, having not spent a penny on a new player all summer and relying on youth, free agents and loans. So when the two sides were drawn to play each other in the Second Round of the Carling Cup it was fair to see it was a complete mismatch. The City schedule was jam-packed due to their progression in the UEFA Cup so this match had to be played when pretty much everybody else was playing the Third Round. They went into the match off the back of a six-nil thrashing of Portsmouth and won three out of the first five Premiership games. Brighton’s form had regressed since an unbeaten August, without a win in four and lost the previous Saturday to the nine-men of Walsall. Nobody really held out much hope of making it to the League Cup Third Round this Wednesday night at Withdean. Football League highlights broadcaster ITV put on a late-night programme at 11.35pm to round up the events of the week presented by Matt Smith in the studio, with our match receiving the voiceover treatment from regular reporter Tom Skippings.

Man City Opener Man City Murray Man City Anyinsah Man City Equaliser

Big money signing Robinho was a no-show but City’s side included several famous names, the likes of Peter Schmeichel’s son Kasper, Richard Dunne, Vincent Kompany, Michael Ball (not that one), Michael Johnson (not that one either) and Jo all starting. The Albion’s team featured local born Adam Virgo, Tommy Elphick, Adam El-Abd and Tommy Fraser alongside new signing David Livermore and Ipswich loanee Matt Richards. But honours were even in the first half, with Steve Thomson nearly even putting Brighton one up when he struck the post. However, City took the lead just after the hour mark. Gelson Fernandes saw his effort take a huge deflection of Elphick and fly past Kuipers (above, top left). Just when you thought that would be that, Brighton popped up with an equaliser in the final minute after great work from Thomson. He received the ball from a throw-in on the left touchline, dribbled past Stephen Ireland and through Vincent Kompany. He received the ball in the box from a Virgo flick over the top before stabbing the ball goalwards. Waiting to pounce from no more than two yards out was Albion striker Glenn Murray who got there ahead of Fernandes to equalise (above, top right). Extra Time was required. Brighton turned the game around just five minutes in when substitute Joe Anyinsah, on loan from Preston making only his second appearance, pounced in the area (above, bottom left) after good work from Dean Cox. For all their wealth, experience and technique, it took Mark Hughes’ Manchester City side to go route one for their equaliser three minutes into the second period. A long punt upfield from goalkeeper Schmeichel was missed by everyone and allowed to bounce just outside the box. Stephen Ireland latched on to it to squeeze between the central defenders and slot the ball through the legs of Kuipers for two-two (above, bottom right). They still couldn’t be separated and a shoot-out was next.

Man City Richards penalty Man City Adams Man City Scoreline

Penalty shoot-outs had served Brighton rather well, with a superb dramatic win over Swindon in 2004 on the way to Play Off glory being the most famous thus far. Nobody was giving an inch during this, with the first seven spot kicks all being converted. Livermore, Elphick, Murray and Virgo scored for the Seagulls, with Ched Evans, Elano and Kompany replying for the visitors. Michael Ball couldn’t follow, with his kick saved well by Kuipers low to the Dutchman’s right. That presented Matt Richards with the opportunity to win it, which he duly did; dispatching his penalty to the left (above, top left) sending Schmeichel the wrong way and Brighton through! Cue a mini pitch invasion, the hoardings and running track of Withdean no barrier for the fans. There was no doubting this was an embarrassing exit for Manchester City, who would get over it in subsequent years of course. Pure elation for Brighton, supporters getting that little chance to gloat over the big clubs. In his interview afterwards, Micky Adams said “The fans have thoroughly enjoyed it tonight. It’s nice to see the Withdean packed out.” Adams wouldn’t go on to see that again too much. Defeat to Derby in Round Three saw a swift exit, they were knocked out of the FA Cup in Round One via a replay and were a penalty shoot-out away from a Wembley Final in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy but Luton edged it that night, Live on Sky. Form in the League crashed and burned and he was sacked in February after just nine months as the club slid into the relegation zone. An emergency rescue operation was required in the final third of the season to avoid falling into League Two.


3

THE GREAT ESCAPE IS ON (18th April 2009) League One

The Championship, ITV4 (repeat); Brighton 3-1 Oldham

Oldham Titles Oldham Smith

With Micky Adams losing his job in February and the club in the bottom four of League One, it was a tall order to reverse the slide with so few matches remaining. Come in, Russell Slade! The 2007 League One Manager of the Year was appointed in March until the end of the season, giving him just fourteen matches to lift them from 22nd place. Early on he got the better of his old side Yeovil with a five-nil thrashing but that was the only win in March. Defeats on the road at Walsall, Scunthorpe and MK Dons followed before a vital win at Hereford. An Easter Monday victory at Colchester kick-started an incredible finish to the season which continued with this match, at home to Oldham. Joe Royle’s side were comfortably mid-table with the Play Offs not quite in reach so essentially had little to play for. But Brighton had the worst home record in the Division, with just two wins at Withdean since 1st November – that’s an astonishing thirteen matches. ITV’s The Championship continued to be the terrestrial highlights programme for the Football League but despite the name, they did show the goals from all three Divisions. Matt Smith presented the Sunday morning show on ITV1, repeated on Monday nights on digital channel ITV4, from Molineux as Wolves celebrated promotion. Reporter Chris Hall talked through the goals on a big day for Brighton.

Oldham League One Oldham 1st goal Oldham Owusu header Oldham consolation

Dean Cox got Brighton off the mark after twenty-six minutes, left unmarked at the back post to nod home Lloyd Owusu’s cross. And the assister became the goalscorer just before half-time in slightly unusual circumstances. Gary Hart, who was actually released in the summer by Dean Wilkins only to be immediately brought back when Micky Adams was appointed, provided a similar looking cross to the back stick where Owusu stood. The striker joined in March on loan from Cheltenham. He was denied a goal at the first attempt when his stooping header was saved by goalkeeper Mark Crossley but his quick reactions ensured he wasn’t to be denied completely. Whilst lying full stretch on the floor, he flicked the loose ball in from all of a yard to improvise brilliantly (above, top right). You don’t see too many horizontal headers! After an hour, Lewis Allesandra pulled a goal back for the Latics when he outmuscled Adam El-Abd to win a ball over the top and calmly slot past Michel Kuipers (above, bottom left). The hope was short-lived as Lloyd Owusu grabbed his second and Brighton’s third less than two minutes later to seal the points. Somehow the ball trickled through the middle of the Oldham defence and Owusu latched onto it to slot past Crossley (below left).

Oldham Owusu 2nd Oldham table

Three-one was the final scoreline as Brighton completed a huge victory and shook off that Withdean hoodoo. There were three more matches in order to pull off the greatest of great escapes, with just one of those coming at Withdean. The League One table still made for uncomfortable viewing from an Albion perspective, with the club languishing in 22nd spot but three vital points brought them that little bit closer to getting out. Hereford’s fate was sealed that weekend after another defeat, just three other spots now waited to be filled. Brighton followed up these back-to-back wins with two more great away performances. A two-one victory at Bristol Rovers saw the Seagulls come from behind to snatch the three points. That man Owusu scored again, cancelling Rickie Lambert’s opener, whilst on-loan Crystal Palace forward Calvin Andrew got the winner. This was backed up by a crucial point at Huddersfield, who had veteran Andy Booth still firing strong and on the scoresheet. Again, Andrew and Owusu netted. These results lifted Albion out of the relegation zone and meant that a win in the final match of the season at home to Stockport would be enough to complete what was unthinkable just a few short weeks ago; stay in the Division. Could the Seagulls hold their nerve for one more match?

4

FINAL DAY SURVIVAL (2nd May 2009) League One

Big League Weekend, Sky Sports 1; Brighton 1-0 Stockport

Stockport Titles Stockport Gavin

Sky Sports previewed the final weekend of the Football League season with their usual Friday night magazine show Big League Weekend 1. This replaced the old Football League Review show on Thursday nights in previous seasons with a Friday preview and a Monday review show under the Big League banner. This was introduced for the 2007/08 season. George Gavin was the main man fronting it in the presenter’s seat. Gone are the days of having to stand around that podium for an hour! Graphics and titles were the same as used on the Live matches. For this edition, Gavin was joined in the studio by Brentford manager Andy Scott and Sky Sports pundit Scott Minto.

Stockport Slade dugout Stockport Studio 1  Stockport table before match Stockport Fixtures

The studio team looked ahead to the intriguing battle at the bottom, where five teams were battling to avoid the drop; Crewe, Carlisle, Northampton, Hartlepool and, of course, the Albion. Crewe had the unenviable task of playing Champions Leicester and even a win might not have been enough for the Railwaymen to avoid joining Hereford and Cheltenham. Perennial escape artists Carlisle could do it again as they hosted Millwall, the Lions with nothing much to play for but pride having already secured a top five spot. Hartlepool headed South West to Bristol Rovers knowing a point would be enough for them. Northampton faced a tricky tie at Play Off bound Leeds, where coming away with anything is usually tough. And at Withdean, Stockport were dragged down towards the battle after a ten point deduction for going into administration. However, with their positive goal difference it was almost impossible for Carlisle to overturn that swing so effectively were safe. Brighton knew a win would secure the great escape for Russell Slade having only taken the reins in March. Reporter Dominic Johnson voiced a package interviewing someone from all the clubs involved in the relegation battle. Slade said “That was my biggest worry, that there wasn’t a lot of game to be played and to turn it around in such a short space of time.” Pundit Scott Minto thought Northampton and Crewe would be the two to drop, with tough final day fixtures for the pair.

Stockport Titles 2 Stockport Studio 2 Stockport Withdean merchandise Stockport Knight

The Monday after the Saturday before, Sky Sports broadcast their ninety minute weekend round-up of the Football League in Big League Weekend 2, presented by George Gavin with Birmingham’s Kevin Phillips and Burnley’s Robbie Blake. Tony Lockwood voiced a report detailing the season’s conclusion at the foot of League One, having discounted Crewe after their defeat at Leicester sent them down. Four teams remained trying not to get that final spot. The package began on the South Coast with the sun shining at Withdean as the fans and staff went about their preparations. Chairman Dick Knight was interviewed pitchside prior to kick off putting an excited, positive spin on the events. “It’s actually why we come to football, days like this, a wonderful, exciting day. We’re very optimistic, we’ve got a full house, record crowd that’s ever been here.” 8,618 turned up to the pack out the athletics ground, fully expecting a good result for Russell Slade’s miracle men.

Stockport Intro Stockport Forster goal Stockport Full time Stockport Forster

Things didn’t get off to the best of starts though as an early goal from Graham Kavanagh put Carlisle one up in their match and with the Albion level with Stockport, the goal put Brighton into the relegation zone. However, that position didn’t last for long as a Leeds goal against Northampton sent the Cobblers dropping instead. As things stood, Brighton and Carlisle were safe, Northampton were joining Crewe, Cheltenham and Hereford in League Two. Carlisle extended their lead against Millwall to save them from the drop and Leeds soon doubled their advantage against Northampton. A third goal for the Yorkshire team secured Northampton’s fate late on. With seventeen minutes to go, Brighton made sure of it when Nicky Forster pounced to score the sort of poacher’s goal he was famous for (above, top right). On loan Gary Dicker’s volley on the edge of the box was parried by goalkeeper Conrad Logan but only as far as Forster who tapped home from five yards. It was enough to get the win, with the final whistle a cue for a pitch invasion to celebrate (above, bottom left). Afterwards, Forster (above, bottom right) was full of praise for the support; “It was a fantastic atmosphere, the fans came in force and that was definitely key to the day.”

Stockport Slade Stockport Celebrations Stockport Player of the Month Stockport Owusu

Russell Slade told Sky Sports “The lads have responded exceptionally well in recent weeks and I think they deserve it.” The boss was carried on supporters’ shoulders (above, top right) on the pitch, enjoying every second of this magnificent achievement. It’s easy to underplay it in hindsight but when he arrived the club morale was low; the home form was abysmal and it was difficult to see where the next win would come from. A couple of loan signings and some fresh thinking from the manager galvanised the side into promotion form in the final third of the campaign, ending with a five-match unbeaten run taking thirteen points out of fifteen. Six goals from striker Lloyd Owusu earned him the Powerade Player of the Month award for April (above, bottom left and right). He rejected the offer of joining permanently in the summer, but there was better news (initially) for Russell Slade, who was offered the job on a two-year deal. The final table (below) actually saw the Seagulls leap up to sixteenth position, three points clear of the drop zone but four places. As Scott Minto predicted on the Friday show, it was Crewe and Northampton who joined the already relegated two on their journey down to the basement League. It could so easily have been Brighton were it not for good old Russell Slade. It was a shame that his good impact didn’t stretch into the 2009/2010 season where a terrible start saw him dismissed in November to be replaced by former Chelsea midfielder Gus Poyet for his first managerial role. The rest really was, as they say, history!

Stockport Final Table


5

THE FINAL MATCH (30th April 2011) League One

The Football League Show, BBC One; Brighton 2-3 Huddersfield

Huddersfield Titles Huddersfield Studio

When Gus Poyet was appointed Albion boss in November 2009, the club were just above the relegation zone in League One. His first match was televised Live on Sky Sports and the terrific three-one away victory at Southampton was a taster of results to come. It wasn’t all rosy though and the first few months were hit and miss. Gradually as the campaign wore on, he went about adjusting the playing style to a more fluid, passing one. He got the best out of the likes of Adam El Abd at the back, Matt Sparrow in the middle and Ashley Barnes up top alongside Glenn Murray. There was a clear identity about the club again. That season ended with the club climbing the League table from twentieth in January up to thirteenth in March, where the club would finish. The second half of the season was more like the Brighton we would come to see during the 2010/11 campaign; our final year at Withdean Stadium. With a new look structure of Tony Bloom as chairman and Gus Poyet as manager, the Albion stormed League One from the off. Just one defeat in fifteen saw them in the top six places and they would never look back. A terrific run of eleven wins out of twelve in March and April saw firstly promotion clinched with a four-three defeat of Dagenham, then the title secured with a three-one scoreline at Walsall. The foot eased off the gas a little towards the end of the season, the first home defeat was inflicted by Southampton at the end of April before a comedic own goal at Colchester, Live on Sky, saw further points dropped. The target of one hundred points was just slightly out of reach. And so the final match after twelve long, hard seasons at Withdean was upon us. Huddersfield were the visitors, themselves needing the points to join Albion in the Championship next season. Terrestrial highlights had switched from ITV to BBC in 2009 so The Football League Show presented by Manish Bhasin in the studio with Steve Claridge was where we could witness the best of the action.

Huddersfield Intro Huddersfield Barnes Huddersfield Sparrow Huddersfield Winner

It was only right that Dave Beckett, a Brighton supporter and voice of the Football League for more than a decade, got to narrate the final ever Albion match at Withdean. Beckett was there throughout the entire story of the sale of the Goldstone and playing at Gillingham, where he reported for ITV Meridian News. He was the presenter of ITV’s Football League Extra in the early years at Withdean before providing the reports for The Championship when that began in 2004. And when the BBC gained the League highlights he became one of their principle voices on the round-ups. He summed up the departure of Withdean nicely, beginning his report with “No electronic scoreboard at Withdean’s humble surroundings, a ground Brighton’s fans are delighted to say goodbye to after twelve years, even if it has seen some excellent seasons.” Huddersfield provided a guard of honour for the Champions but soon took the lead after just eight minutes. Benik Afobe swivelled to sell Gordon Greer a dummy in the area before slotting the ball under Peter Brezovan’s dive and into the back of the net. Brighton had their chances to equaliser, immediately with Ashley Barnes thwarted then later with Chris Wood, who saw his header crash against the crossbar. The Terriers lead at the break but just two minutes into the second half there was a chance of an equaliser when Elliott Bennett was fouled for a penalty. Up stepped Barnes. Goalkeeper Ian Bennett guessed the right way to keep it out but couldn’t do anything about the rebound, as Barnes stooped to nod in (above, top right). With less than half an hour remaining, Huddersfield regained the lead through Afobe’s second. He was presented the opportunity from a mistake by right back Inigo Calderon, whose chest back to Brezovan did not reach the intended target and Afobe nipped in to finish smartly. Eight minutes later and the Seagulls were on level terms again. A terrific through ball from Greer was dummied by Gary Hart to allow Matt Sparrow to latch onto it. Through on goal, he took two touches before finishing into the far corner for two-two (above, bottom left). That wasn’t the end of things as Danny Ward won it for Huddersfield in stoppage time when he put two Albion defenders on their backsides with one simple touch before firing past Brezovan at the near post (above, bottom right). Three-two the final scoreline for the final match.

Huddersfield scoreline Huddersfield Table Huddersfield Poyet Huddersfield Brighton Champions

That win for Huddersfield kept alive their hopes of joining Brighton in the Championship via the automatic promotion route, going level on points with Southampton in second place. The Saints also won that day, a three-nil scoreline at Brentford, but with a game in hand they were still favourites to go up. That’s exactly what happened, with Huddersfield having to try their luck in the Play Offs. For Brighton fans, the final ninety minutes was just a sideshow for the main event of the day – saying goodbye to this peculiar stadium in style with the presentation of the League One trophy. Captain Gordon Greer held the silverware aloft as the champagne flowed and the celebrations began. Manager Gus Poyet was lapping it up with the supporters (above, bottom left). It capped off a remarkable last season there, blowing away the rest of the competition and ending up on a hugely impressive 95 League points. The second tier would be where Brighton would begin life at Falmer in. The 2011/2012 season would not only see a change of Division, but also a change of home. At long, long, long last! Goodbye Withdean, and thanks for the memories.


Huddersfield Goodbye

#33: Colchester 1-1 Brighton 25/04/2011

#33 COLCHESTER 1-1 BRIGHTON League One
Monday 25th April 2011 Image result for

COLU Titles

PRESENTER Simon Thomas GUESTS Phil Parkinson & Mark McGhee
COMMENTATORS Gary Weaver & Andy Hinchcliffe REPORTER Patrick Davison
12.15pm Kick Off; Weston Homes Stadium, Colchester     12-2.30pm Football League Live on Sky Sports 1

COLU Ident COLU Sponsor COLU Intro

Context of the Match: Brighton and Hove Albion had done it. After narrowly avoiding relegation into League Two on the final day of the season under Russell Slade in 2009, climbing out of the relegation fight to finish 13th under Gus Poyet in 2010, the Seagulls secured promotion into the Championship in 2011 with a month of the campaign to spare. By the time this Easter Monday fixture arrived, we’d gone one better than promotion; we were the Champions! The Albion had achieved the fairytale story of arriving into our wonderful new home this summer in the best possible style. When today’s match away at Colchester was initially selected for Live coverage by Sky Sports, it was hoped that promotion could be secured in front of the television cameras, possibly even confirmation of the title. Poyet’s men were that good this season that we did it much earlier than that, so we could relax and enjoy a Bank Holiday stroll knowing the outcome really didn’t matter. Owing to the progress to Round Five of the FA Cup plus December postponements, the players had to get through eight games in twenty-nine days in March. The result; eight straight victories. Promotion was secured in early April at home to Dagenham before sealing the thoroughly deserved title away at Walsall. There was one little bit left to achieve, though. Including today’s fixture, three games remained of the season and Brighton were on an incredible 93 points. Could we reach that magical 100 point mark, becoming the first side since Wigan in 2003 to achieve it in this Division? The hosts Colchester had left it too late to have a serious crack at reaching the Play-Offs and for the second season running would have to sit a couple of places outside. The focus was all about the Albion today, enjoying somewhat of an early promotion party in the Easter sunshine.

COLU Colchester COLU Subs COLU Brighton

The Teams: Four changes were made to the Albion side which lost at home to Southampton on Saturday. Top scorer Glenn Murray injured himself so in came Chris Wood, who’d been on loan from West Brom since November. Local teenager Lewis Dunk started for only the second time in the League, with El-Abd dropping to the bench, as was Matt Sparrow. Liam Bridcutt scored a fabulous goal in the 4-3 win over Dagenham and Redbridge which secured promotion earlier in the month but he sat out this one with Alan Navarro coming in. Former roofer Craig Noone was signed from Plymouth in the January transfer window, having excelled during the first half of the season on the wing and returned to the line-up here. Left-back Marcos Painter was the only player to start every League match for the Albion this season, whilst midfielders Gary Dicker and Elliott Bennett also featured in all matches. PFA Team of the Season defender Inigo Calderon continued a fine run at right-back. John Ward’s Colchester were much changed from this fixture last season; with just four survivors from the starting XI thirteen months ago also starting today. They were Ben Williams in-goal, defender Matt Heath, and midfielders John-Joe O’Toole and Kemal Izzet. The U’s were without leading striker Steven Gillespie through injury. David Mooney scored thirteen goals for United, all of them coming at home. The man in black was little Keith Stroud.

COLU Thomas COLU Parkinson COLU McGhee COLU Studio

Presentation Team: Coverage was hosted by Simon Thomas, who had enjoyed a sharp rise into presenting Live football this season. Thomas was most associated with his six years and more than 550 episodes on iconic children’s BBC programme Blue Peter, where he completed London Marathons, climbed mountains, met the Queen, boxed with Amir Khan and all sorts of exciting adventures you associate with the long-running show. Upon leaving in 2005 he acknowledged that “whatever I go on to do now is not going to be a patch on what I’ve done. That’s one of the hardest things about leaving.” He outlined his intentions to go into sports reporting or presenting and that’s exactly what happened. Soon after leaving the BBC, and with their sports department not willing to take him on, Thomas joined Sky Sports News as a newsreader working regularly with Georgie Thompson in the afternoon slot. He hosted a number of Live shows for Sky Sports in the intervening years before getting the chance to host Live Football League broadcasts this season, deputising for number one host David Jones on lower League games. He benefitted greatly from the huge fallout in January 2011 when Sky’s Premier League faces, Richard Keys and Andy Gray, left after leaked sexist comments. This forced a major reshuffle of personnel for the rest of this season. Effectively four hosts auditioned to present their flagship Super Sunday and Monday Night Football programmes; Jeff Stelling, Ben Shephard, Ed Chamberlin and David Jones. With Jones stepping up to the top flight, Simon Thomas presented far more Championship matches, the vast majority in fact, with Jones returning for the bigger games. Thomas’ pundits for today’s game were Phil Parkinson and Mark McGhee. This very fixture was broadcast Live in March last season, with Parkinson a guest on that too, given his Colchester connections as manager between 2003 and 2006. Most recently, until January, he was the Charlton boss. Mark McGhee needs no introduction having achieved promotion with Brighton out of this League, the last Albion manager to do so, in 2004 via the Play Offs and then successfully keeping them in the Championship the following year. That survival was arguably a bigger achievement than the Play Offs owing to the vast differences in budget, stadium and players between McGhee’s Albion and the high-flyers like Sunderland, Leeds and West Ham. McGhee is remembered fondly by many Seagulls supporters for his part in bringing great success to the South Coast, and he still had a property locally long after he’d left the club. McGhee was in-between jobs after managing Motherwell and Aberdeen. In the commentary box were two newcomers to Brighton matches; Gary Weaver and Andy Hinchcliffe. Both men began appearing on Sky’s Live Football League matches this season in a big overhaul of the personnel. Bill Leslie and Don Goodman were the long-established number one pairing, with Weaver used when Leslie or Daniel Mann weren’t, and Hinchcliffe was third choice behind Goodman and Garry Birtles. Today was the perfect low-key opportunity to give the newbies some vital Live experience. On the touchline was Patrick Davison, now in his third season as number two reporter behind Greg Whelan. He also covered this fixture Live last year.

COLU Murray COLU Talent COLU Kick Off COLU Comms

The Coverage: All this year Sky Sports were celebrating 20 years of broadcasting, with special idents and anniversary programming such as the excellently nostalgic The Sky Sports Years, which looked back over Sky’s portfolio for each and every year since 1991. Coverage of the League remained sponsored by bet365, who had their animated logo splashed over so much football output across all the broadcasters around this time it seemed they sponsored everything outside the top flight. The title sequence continued to be soundtracked by Candi Staton’s “You Got the Love”. However the graphics had a slight tweak to them, with the ends effectively chopped off so they sat within the 4×3 aspect ratio ‘safe area’ rather than extended horizontally all the way across the screen. This was introduced around the turn of the year, in a slight effort to look more in-line with the new graphics the Premier League coverage had at the beginning of this season that the Football League wouldn’t adopt until next year. The replay transition was the beautiful trophy the Albion would get their hands on at the final home match of the season, and the last to be played at Withdean, against Huddersfield next Saturday. The show came on-air at noon, fifteen minutes before the early afternoon kick-off. Pre-match build up was presented from pitchside at the Weston Homes Community Stadium, Sky taking advantage of the hot weather. The atmosphere came across well, with Albion fans in full voice and a party mood. For the half and full-time analysis, the team moved up to a more familiar studio position in the corner of the stadium. During Gus Poyet’s pre-match interview he spoke of when he saw this fixture was to be broadcast “how nice it would be to get promoted or to win the League Live on TV. We were so good we done it before coming here so now it’s time to enjoy and to plan next season.” The PFA Team of the Season was announced earlier in the month, with the Seagulls having three representatives; Inigo Calderon, captain Gordon Greer and Elliott Bennett. Whilst former Brighton defender Dan Harding was in there for Southampton, and future signing Craig Mackail-Smith up front for Peterborough.

COLU Pitchside COLU Play Off COLU PFA Team COLU Coming Up

The coverage was all about the Champions, kicking off with a ‘Brighton’s Got Talent’ intro highlighting the individual stars the Seagulls had this season, taking inspiration from Britain’s Got Talent. Phil Parkinson noted of Brighton that “right from the word go they’ve been the best team in the Division. I think back in pre-season, no-one thought they’d have the season they’ve had but as soon as the season started they hit the ground running.” Mark McGhee spoke about the 2004 Play Off Final victory, saying the club had a better opportunity now than his side did what with the ground arriving, giving Albion “a new platform, a new revenue stream that we didn’t have then. A lot of what we earned then was sacrificed in the fight for the new stadium.” Whilst looking at the table it was noted how Brighton could reach the magical 100 points marker. In conversation with reporter Patrick Davison, Gus Poyet told what was left to achieve in the remaining three matches; “Keep the momentum, keep the identity, keep playing football. Keep enjoying, and making people enjoy watching us.” After previewing the game for around ten minutes or so it was time for commentator Gary Weaver to talk us through the team news before the pre-kick-off advert break. At half time the team analysed the first half chances from their studio position, looking at Ankergren’s injury and the Colchester goal as well as the half-chances the away side had mustered. They joked at one point Poyet shouted out to his players “You’re not in blue and white today, you’re in red!” Emphasising how un-Brighton like that first half was. Straight after the final whistle reporter Patrick Davison spoke to Man of the Match Craig Noone and Elliott Bennett. The latter was asked directly about his future, having previously handed a transfer request in. Brighton had rejected offers from a number of higher Division clubs. He responded to if he would be playing for the Albion in the Championship saying, “Yeah, definitely. What Gus Poyet’s created here is unbelievable and all the lads are pulling in the right direction. We play great football, a magnificent stadium to move into and Championship football so why would I want to move anywhere else?” Elliott Bennett joined Norwich in June. After the break the team had just under ten minutes to wrap the match up. Davison spoke with Poyet, who reminded us just what a slog it is in the Football League. “It’s difficult because it was a long season for us, very, very long. From September we were at the top under pressure, the effort and everything you have to do, you’ve done it for a long, long time,” he said before going on to bemoan the goal conceded as probably the worst of the season from a defensive point of view. Thomas, with Parkinson and McGhee, reviewed the goals and the key moments as well as highlighting a couple of players who might be making a case for the manager to include them more next season before it was time to sign off for the afternoon.

COLU Comedy goal COLU Substitute  COLU Stat COLU Yellow

Story of the Match: The glorious sunshine was beaming down in Essex as the Albion, in their change kit of red and black stripes, kicked off. Tactically both teams matched each other in a 4-3-3 formation, slightly different to how Sky had set the graphics up, as Craig Noone was playing much further forward with Bennett sitting in central midfield. Casper Ankergren broke his nose in the last televised League fixture, against Bournemouth back in October, and he was in the wars early on here. Whilst collecting a loose ball his left knee was caught by Henderson but hobbled on. Perhaps the niggle was playing on his mind as a couple of minutes later on the quarter-hour mark, Colchester took the lead after an almighty comedy of errors. John-Joe O’Toole’s effort was dragged somewhat but Ankergren was scrabbling around to get a hand to it, pushing the ball into the path of Tommy Elphick. He swiped at it, completely miscuing it back towards goal where Calderon was waiting. He then also miscued under pressure from the attack, with his attempted clearance across goal falling to the feet of Ian Henderson; presented with the easiest chance of his season to break the deadlock from six yards out. It was a terrible goal to concede and so unlike the solid Brighton defence which earned them twenty League clean sheets. The ‘keeper immediately signalled to the bench calling for a sub, as Peter Brezovan came on for his first League appearance this season. The Albion weren’t playing anywhere near as well as they had done this campaign, passes were sloppy and the defence was sitting deep allowing Colchester to control the ball and the midfield. The first chance came to Ashley Barnes six minutes before half-time with his header from a Calderon cross being simple for Williams in-goal. Bennett was booked a minute later for sarcastically applauding the referee, which for somebody as fussy as Keith Stroud was never a good idea. Colchester should have doubled their lead after James was allowed to run towards the Albion defence, his shot dragged towards the far post where an outstretched Henderson could only divert it over from six yards out.

COLU Barnes COLU Man of the Match

Ten minutes into the second half Peter Brezovan was called into action having to block with his chest and then leap to claw away a second effort. The half time break hadn’t done Brighton too much good as it was still Colchester who were enjoying the better of the play. The Albion’s best chance of the match thus far occurred in the 65th minute, following a quickly taken throw-in to set Marcos Painter free down the left. He pulled it back for Barnes to shoot with his left but inadvertently helped it on towards Chris Wood waiting at the back post. The goalkeeper palmed Barnes’ tame shot onto Wood as they both went for the ball, the ricochet taking it inches wide of the far post. The luck just not quite there for the Champions but the momentum began to swing their way. A couple of scrambles in the area followed in the next couple of minutes as Brighton really began to knock on the door for an equaliser. After a spell of domination, enjoying 74% of the possession, that goal finally arrived through Ashley Barnes. “A clinical finish. It’s the response of Champions!” cried commentator Gary Weaver as Barnes did the pregnant belly celebration. Elliott Bennett was found on the right-wing, turned back on his defender to swing in a cross on his weaker left-foot. It was a fantastic ball in to the right foot of Barnes to volley home on the edge of the six yard box, having ran in front of his marker to beat him to the ball for his eighteenth goal in all competitions this season. Brighton nearly completed the comeback with seven minutes to go when Elphick’s powerful header from an excellent Craig Noone cross was well tipped over by Williams. At the other end Brezovan had to remain alert with a couple of straightforward saves in the final few minutes. The last chance of the match was Chris Wood’s; his header from Bennett’s cross landed the wrong side of the post and the match ended all square at one-one. Brighton didn’t quite manage to reach the 100 point target, losing the final Withdean game against Huddersfield and drawing away at Notts County, but that barely mattered in the end. Promotion was achieved in the best way, as Champions, and second tier football would be played in Falmer come August. The football Brighton played this season was excellent, Poyet’s stock was extremely high and everybody couldn’t wait for the summer break to be over so we could take our seats in a place we could, finally, call home. What a time to be a Seagulls supporter.

COLU Table

COLCHESTER 1 BRIGHTON 1
Henderson Barnes

COLU Replay

PREVIOUS; #32 FC UNITED OF MANCHESTER 0-4 BRIGHTON 08/12/2010

NEXT; #34 BRIGHTON 1-2 LIVERPOOL 21/09/2011

2011 Champions

Brighton & Hove Albion League One Champions 2010/2011

#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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

#29: Colchester 0-0 Brighton 08/03/2010

#29 COLCHESTER 0-0 BRIGHTON League One
Monday 8th March 2010 Image result for

col titles

PRESENTER David Jones GUESTS Phil Parkinson & Adam Virgo
COMMENTATORS Bill Leslie & Garry Birtles REPORTER Patrick Davison
7.45pm Kick Off; Weston Homes Stadium, Colchester     7.30-10pm Monday Night Live on Sky Sports 1

2010 ident 365 sponsor col intro

Context of the Match: Gus Poyet arrived in Brighton back in November with the aim of moving the club away from the relegation zone and to start climbing up the League One ladder. His improving team visited a Colchester side bang in form and chasing for promotion out of the Division. They sat in fourth place ahead of this match, winning their last four home games in a row. Brighton’s form was improving too, having beaten Charlton and drew at Leeds in the last two away matches and won the previous weekend at home to Exeter. In fact the Seagulls had lost just twice in the League since Christmas and had enjoyed an extended FA Cup run which saw them knock out Wycombe, Rushden & Diamonds and Torquay before losing 3-2 at Premier League Aston Villa. As we entered the business end of the season, Brighton were five points clear of the drop zone and just about able to look over their shoulders without too much panic. Colchester moved into their new stadium here at the beginning of last season, something which Brighton were looking to do the season after next with the long-running public battle for a ground nearing its long conclusion. They would hope for a better playing surface than what tonight’s hosts have been used to of late, with very muddy patches and bare, patchy grass causing issues in previous matches. Brighton would go into the match confident of getting a result here, boasting the fourth best away record in the Division.

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The Teams: Consistency is key for the Albion at the moment, with the side unchanged for the third time in a row. With Michel Kuipers an absentee until next season due to injury, Slovakian Peter Brezovan kept goal again. He’s supported by full-backs brought to the club in the January transfer window; Inigo Calderon, signed from Alaves, and Marcos Painter on loan from Championship Swansea. The midfield core of Elliott Bennett, Gary Dicker and skipper Andrew Crofts were mainstays under Poyet so far, boosted by Alan Navarro and loanee winger Kazenga LuaLua. Glenn Murray was the solitary striker in a familiar 4-5-1 formation, keeping out top scorer Nicky Forster. Among those on the subs bench, long-serving Gary Hart, youth graduate Mitch Walker as back up goalkeeper and defender Jim McNulty. Seb Carole returned to Brighton in January for a third short-term spell having previously spent the 2005/06 season here and a six month contract at the beginning of 2009. For Colchester, they made three changes from their last match – a defeat at Bristol Rovers. In came defender Magnus Okuonghae, Kemal Izzet and Kayode Odejayi up front. Former Southampton, Leeds and Nottingham Forest midfielder David Prutton joined in January until the end of the season. The experienced Clive Platt played up top, supported from attacking midfield by John-Joe O’Toole and youth team graduate Anthony Wordsworth. Their top scorer was also on the bench in the shape of Kevin Lisbie. Refereeing tonight; Tony Bates.

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Presentation Team: Coverage was presented from the studio inside Colchester’s nice new stadium by Sky’s first choice Football League host David Jones. He’s been a regular on the broadcasts since 2007 and currently hosts both Saturday Night Football and Monday Night Live. Jones’s stock has been rising ever since and does the vast majority of the League matches. Joining him in the studio were Charlton manager Phil Parkinson and current Albion defender Adam Virgo, who also had a loan spell with Colchester for the 2007/08 season. Parkinson had a vested interest in the match with his Charlton side flying high and chasing for promotion, with his former side Colchester amongst the chasing pack. Virgo was three games into his four match suspension for the Albion, having been sent off for the second time this season. Tonight’s appearance was clearly to test the waters for a future career in the media for the Brighton man, going on several years later after retirement to become a very successful co-commentator and pundit for BT Sport amongst others. That broadcaster didn’t even exist when tonight’s match took place of course. Commentating on the match were Bill Leslie and Garry Birtles. Leslie was the outright number one, having been so since Ian Crocker departed for Setanta back in 2006. Since then, Setanta went bust with their portfolio of football rights being divided up. This included some Scottish Premier League rights ending up back with Sky Sports so Crocker followed suit to become SPL lead commentator like he was for Sky up until 2002. Garry Birtles was once again behind the microphone as co-commentator for tonight’s fixture. He’s covered a lot of Brighton down the years, including earlier this season when the Southampton away match was televised Live. He knows League One inside out. Reporting on the touchline was Patrick Davison. He’d previously covered our JPT match at Luton last year and by now was regularly the second choice Football League reporter, deputising for Greg Whelan upon absence.

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The Coverage: Tonight’s programme began fifteen minutes before the 7.45pm kick off, Live from the Weston Homes Stadium. It went under the banner of “Monday Night Live”, which was a new initiative which encompassed all sports broadcast Live around this time on a Monday; lower league football, speedway, tennis, all sorts. There was a short uniformed title sequence which reflected the multi-sport aspect, culminating in a voiceover stating “Tonight; football from the Coca-Cola Football League”. It was a shame the usual title sequence wasn’t used with the ‘You’ve got the Love’ theme tune as that’s excellent. Apart from this all other aspects of the coverage was as it was for any other day of the week, with the red and black graphics and the flying trophy transition for all replays. There was a clear emphasis from Sky Sports towards promoting High Definition coverage and pushing us towards the HD version of the channel. This came with a slight change to their logo, with the Sky part now all in lower case rather than all upper like it has been throughout their history. The colouring had slightly changed too, with a darker red background and a glassy effect. Bet365 were the coverage sponsors this season, as they were for so many football shows in recent years. Hosting the show was David Jones alongside guest pundits Phil Parkinson and Adam Virgo. Virgo spoke well in the build up of both sides, showing knowledge of both teams and the League as a whole. The build up included a word with both managers; Gus Poyet and Aidy Boothroyd. Poyet spoke of Brighton’s more clinical edge away from home, stating that the football is the same but the reason for the impressive away record was simply due to chances being taken. He also confirmed it had been agreed with Newcastle that Kazenga LuaLua would be extending his loan spell until the end of the season. Reporter Patrick Davison brought up the recent sight of Boothroyd’s United side walking over hot coals, which the United manager explained as trying to unfreeze the pitch as well as freshening things up and forcing players outside of their comfort zone.

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The pitch was highlighted by Jones and his pundits for being patchy and a poor surface to play on; notably in a Live televised match a few weeks back where a comical goal was scored when the defender on the line was unable to clear the ball as his foot was stuck in the mud. The surface had improved since then but was still pretty bare in places. After commentator Bill Leslie talked us through the team news there was time for a quick break before coming back to join a minute’s silence for the much-loved Macclesfield manager and friend of Sky Sports Football League coverage down the years, Keith Alexander, who died last week at the age of just 53. At half time the boys reviewed the best of the first forty-five, with Brighton having more of the opportunities for the breakthrough. Virgo pleasingly referred to Albion as “us” and “we”, saying the game was going to plan so far for Poyet and more of the same please in the second. After the game there was around ten minutes or so to review a match low on chances but Adam and Phil did their best in the studio. Virgo stating he was “very proud of them, they’ve done very, very well tonight”, whilst Parkinson believed it was probably a fair result. Patrick Davison caught up with Glenn Murray and Man of the Match Tommy Elphick, with Murray adamant he should have had a first half penalty. Our reporter got the views of the home manager; Boothroyd joking the viewers probably switched over to EastEnders instead. And that was that, another Live match done.

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Story of the Match: It was very nearly the perfect start for the Albion side in their red and black change strip with Glenn Murray’s header from a free kick going just wide, beating the keeper all ends up. Colchester’s first sign of danger came after a jinking run from David Prutton found Platt wide. His first time cross was towards his strike partner but Adam El-Abd was in the right place at the right time to cut the ball out for a corner. Chances were at a premium during this match, with Brighton’s passing play meaning they dominated a lot of the ball but lacked a killer instinct to get in behind the defence. A chance did fall to the Seagulls when a thirty-third minute free kick from twenty-five yards was floated into the back post where El-Abd’s header was unfortunately straight where Williams was waiting in-goal to parry away. The passing game was paying off and with seven minutes to go before the break Brighton had another good chance. Andrew Crofts found Gary Dicker whose patient play waited for Calderon to run on the overlap. His shot was well saved again by Williams who was keeping the home side in it by now. They went in level at the break but the Albion were looking the more threatening. It was Colchester who enjoyed the early possession in the second half but the first opportunity came from another Brighton dead ball. Elliott Bennett’s excellent corner was just over the head of Murray and met firmly by Crofts but his effort flew wide of the target. Set pieces were the key for the Albion here. Peter Brezovan in the Brighton goal had a solid game all night, commanding from crosses and always in the right place. The one time he was caught out he was fouled. With fifteen minutes remaining a couple of hopeful balls into the box from the visitors caused a bit of a problem for the United defence but still nothing forthcoming in the way of a goal. Further danger occurred five minutes later as a ball across the box from Murray found Bennett lurking to touch back towards goal. Substitute Chris Holroyd couldn’t get a touch nor stay on his feet and the ball was scrambled clear. And so for the first time since 1968, or sixteen meetings, there was a goalless draw between Colchester and Brighton. The Seagulls played with confidence and cleverness, utilising set pieces and trying to make Poyet’s passing plan work on slightly bobbly conditions. There were clear signs that the lowly place in the table was undeserved and better things would come. They saw out the rest of the season losing just three more times and climbing up the table to 13th. By contrast, Colchester seriously derailed their promotion bid winning on just two more occasions in the run-in and missed out on the Play Offs by eight points in 8th place. After a worrying couple of years in Sussex, Brighton would go into their final season at Withdean with renewed hope under a positive, progressive manager and a decent squad.

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COLCHESTER 0 BRIGHTON 0

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PREVIOUS; #28 SOUTHAMPTON 1-3 BRIGHTON 15/11/2009

NEXT; #30 BRIGHTON 1-1 BOURNEMOUTH 09/10/2010

#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

#25: Leyton Orient 2-2 Brighton 17/11/2007

#25 LEYTON ORIENT 2-2 BRIGHTON League One
Saturday 17th November 2007 Sky 2007

LEY Titles

PRESENTER Rob Wotton GUESTS Peter Beagrie & Roberto Martinez
COMMENTATORS Ian Darke & Garry Birtles REPORTER Andy Burton
12.30pm Kick Off; Matchroom Stadium, Leyton Orient      12-2.30pm Football League Live on Sky Sports 1

Ident LEY Sponsors LEY Intro

Context of the Match: The Albion’s second season back in League One had started far better than the first. Ahead of today’s match Brighton were sitting in sixth place, in the play offs, with today’s hosts Leyton Orient in third. Dean Wilkins remained in charge hoping to improve on a disappointing yet transitional season last time. The aim is to be promoted to, or fighting for a place in, the Championship for when the new stadium in Falmer is due for completion in a couple of seasons time. Orient themselves haven’t moved stadium but the facilities were vastly improved since our last televised visit eleven years ago. Under the new name of the Matchroom Stadium, courtesy of chairman Barry Hearn’s sports company, the all-seater ground also had flats built into it as they too look to move into higher leagues. Brighton came into this game relieved to be playing someone other than Cheltenham! Having played them the previous weekend in the FA Cup 1st Round, there was a replay the midweek after this match and they also met in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy the midweek just gone. The squad has improved since we saw them Live last but the core team and the promotion of youth was still very much at the heart of it. This international break weekend for the top two tiers always puts the lower leagues in the spotlight, would we thrive or freeze under the microscope?

LEY Leyton Orient LEY Subs LEY Brighton

The Teams: Brighton added a couple of key players since last season, particularly up front where goals were a struggle. Moonwalking cult-hero Bas Savage came in on a free from Gillingham, gaining national attention for his Michael Jackson celebrations on Soccer AM. Experienced striker Nicky Forster was signed in the summer after an unsuccessful attempt to bring him in last January, costing £75,000 from Hull. Andrew Whing, signed permanently after loan spells last season, was missing today through suspension. George O’Callaghan and David Martot were loan transfers. The Dean Wilkins Youth influence is still going strong with thirteen players graduating involved in the first team this season. That includes Tommy Elphick at centre half, as well as substitutes John Sullivan and Tommy Fraser amongst others. Dean Hammond continued to skipper the side. Veteran defender Guy Butters is in his twentieth season as a professional. Matt Richards is on-loan from Championship Ipswich. Orient boss Martin Ling saw out his playing career at Brighton, whilst Dean Wilkins had a short spell at Leyton Orient during his pro days. Paul Terry is the brother of Chelsea and England captain John. Striker Wayne Gray had a loan spell with Brighton a few years ago. The impressive George Boyd was his partner up top. Tony Bates was the man in charge.

LEY Wotton  LEY Beagrie  LEY Martinez  LEY Studio

Presentation Team: This League One match was presented from a studio inside the Matchroom Stadium by Rob Wotton. We’d previously seen Wotton hosting the FA Cup Live match against Rushden and Diamonds six years earlier. In between that time he was a regular on Sky Sports News and had been promoted this season as cover for regular number one host George Gavin, who was undergoing several months recovery after a hip operation. Alongside him today were Peter Beagrie and Swansea manager Roberto Martinez. The Spaniard had been used for one-off appearances several times down the years on both ITV and Sky and is usually an interesting, thoughtful listen. Peter Beagrie had been appearing on phone-in You’re on Sky Sports alongside former Sky Football League pundit Steve Claridge but now he was their number one studio analyst, appearing most weekends from this season. Reporting pitchside for the majority of Saturday lunchtime matches this season was Andy Burton. He was better known as a Sky Sports News reporter, particularly around Transfer Deadline Day, as well as being a match commentator. He had been used on Football First 3pm broadcasts, Champions League red button on Sky as well as Football Italia on Bravo and the summer before last covered the World Cup Final Live for digital broadcaster UKTV G2 (latterly known as Dave). In the commentary box for his Brighton Live debut was Ian Darke. After launching his Sky career on Monday Night Football for the first three Premiership seasons, he became Sky’s chief big fight boxing commentator. He returned to football out of nowhere in January 2005 getting many of the big games as well as continuing with boxing, and is currently one of four commentators Sky use on their Premiership matches (with Martin Tyler, Rob Hawthorne and Alan Parry). He also provides back up to Bill Leslie on the Football League coverage, especially on international weekends when Leslie is with Scotland as Darke doesn’t cover a nation. Garry Birtles was alongside him today. Birtles remained one of three regulars used on the Leagues behind Don Goodman, who joined earlier this year as Chris Kamara moved away from co-commentary, and ahead of Tony Gale. Birtles commentary style is best described as critical.

LEY Kick Off LEY Comms LEY Sub LEY Coming Up

The Coverage: There were big changes to Sky’s Football League team this season. Saturday Night Football was re-introduced as a regular kick-off time as direct competition to newcomers to the English game – Setanta Sports – who had broken Sky’s Live monopoly on the top flight broadcasting 46 games a season with former Football League number one Ian Crocker among their regular voices. With their Saturday games kicking off at 5.30pm, Sky went all out to disrupt this by putting the main Football League Live game at 5.20pm, trying to gain that crucial head start. These games were hosted pitchside by newcomers to the coverage – David Jones and Peter Beagrie. George Gavin began the season by covering everything else from the preview and review shows to the non-Saturday Live games. However he’s a long-term absentee due to an operation and as mentioned before Rob Wotton took his place. Despite the personnel and graphics changes, the titles remained as ‘All Together Now’. The replay graphic was updated to the individual League trophies flying in from the top left towards the centre and out bottom left of the screen. This was used for all replays in the lower leagues including goals, sadly seeing the last of the 3D club crest crashing in which had survived the last four graphics sets. Other competitions did have a club badge appear for goals but this was a new design which was on a black disc, like shown in some of the screenshots above. Initially the score and clock were in the bottom left of the screen but that experiment was dropped after only a few weeks into the new season to sit in the more traditional top left. One new feature of this was the colour changing from black to white to indicate we were in additional time at the end of the half or match. Team graphics were also new and for Football League coverage only the formations were shown, with no analysis from the co-commentators anymore. This remained in the Premiership, where individual images were used for the main commentator’s intro before the co-commentator discussed the setup seeing a similar formation graphic to what we enjoyed here. In terms of the programme today, reporter Andy Burton was shown around the in-stadium flats by Barry Hearn as the key VT in the build-up, whilst the pundits picked out their key men and we heard from both managers. There were only a few seconds of post-match coverage, with Wotton talking through the updated League table without a word from his guests before handing over to a busy day of international football.

LEY Yellow LEY Stats

Story of the Match: The game began frantically with half-chances at either end of the field. Orient appeals for a penalty for shirtpulling were turned down. The game calmed down when interrupted by a streaker, or “exhibitionist” as Ian Darke described it in commentary. The first half continued to be very scrappy and tight, with neither team wanting to put a foot wrong. Consequently the teams seemed nervous and goalkeepers weren’t troubled much. The first shot on target resulted in the opening goal for Leyton Orient. Thornton and Boyd linked up nicely before setting up Wayne Gray on the edge of the area. He got the wrong side of the defence from Albion’s point of view and blasted the ball into the centre of the goal above Kuipers who had no chance against such power. Brighton started to come into the game more towards the end of the half, with danger from wide areas and corners. Irishman George O’Callaghan curled an effort towards the top right-hand corner, narrowly missing the target. On the stroke of half-time Brighton had an equaliser disallowed. Bas Savage did well on the left wing driving forward and pulling the ball back for Dean Cox to cross. It was met well by the head of Dean Hammond to direct goalwards and a bobble took it up over the ‘keeper and into the goal. Yet as he headed it, the whistle went. Quite why that was we’re still unsure. It wasn’t offside, it didn’t look like a foul so only the referee can be sure, as such it was still one-nil at the break.

LEY Forster LEY Table

The second half started livelier with Brighton looking more likely to trouble the goalkeeper and a defence having to throw bodies on the line. Then out of nowhere Nicky Forster levelled it up. He picked the ball up from a long pass, spun his defender and got a bit of a lucky break with a touch off another defender laying the ball back into Forster.s path. He just said ‘thankyou very much’, looked up and struck a fierce shot from more than twenty yards out at the far side of the area straight through Nelson’s outstretched arms and nestled into the inside of the net. A tremendous strike but the goalkeeper should be saving shots like that from that distance and angle. Take nothing away from Nicky Forster though, his goalscorer’s instinct and power behind the early shot foxed Stuart Nelson. Brighton were level for no more than about two minutes though. A run down the line from Melligan gave him a crossing opportunity which went all the way through in front of goal past the defence to the back post. Waiting there was Jason Demetriou unmarked and with lots of time and space. He was able to just pick the corner of the goal he wanted and expertly curled past Kuipers and two defenders on the line to restore the home side’s lead with twenty minutes remaining. A crazy seven minutes was completed when Brighton equalised for a second time. O’Callaghan and Savage combine nicely to get a crossing opportunity in towards Nicky Forster. His header hits the bar and bounces back out to Dean Cox waiting to calmly nod home from three yards out past the bodies on the line for a goal. The little man was in the right place at the right time to score his fourth this season. With ten minutes remaining Forster showed again how clever a footballer he is, manufacturing an instant chance from very little as he tried to lob the ‘keeper on the edge of the box which had Nelson scrambling across and relieved to see it land just wide. Seconds later substitute Jake Robinson shot from twenty-five yards just clipping the top of the bar. It seemed if anyone was going to win this late on it would be the away side. However with the last kick of the match Orient nearly stole it. A long ball in from Demetriou was flicked on by Terry to the back post where Gray was waiting unmarked. His half-volley was well saved with his body, legs and anything he could get to block it. Panic in the Brighton defence but the game ended all square.

LEYTON ORIENT 2 BRIGHTON 2
Gray, Demetriou Forster, Cox

LEY Replay

 

EXTRAS; This season Sky Sports Football League coverage included a regular Friday night preview programme and Monday night review programme; both named The Big League Weekend. Like with the Live coverage, Rob Wotton stepped into George Gavin’s shoes whilst he was recovering this year. His guests for this week’s preview show were Coventry manager Iain Dowie and ex-pro Scott Minto (who must’ve liked what he’d seen as he would later go on to host Sky’s Live Football League coverage). The show crammed lots into the hour, with interviews, midweek goals, analysis and reports from all three Divisions all hosted from Sky Studios, complete with the usual graphics and All Together Now title sequence.

BLW1 Titles BLW Wotton

The show crammed lots into the hour, with interviews, midweek goals, analysis and reports from all three Divisions all hosted from Sky Studios, complete with the usual graphics and All Together Now title sequence. Previewing the Leyton Orient versus Brighton match, O’s defender Tamika Mkandawire was interviewed by Guy Havord about his form so far this season and Orient’s flying start.

BLW Studio BLW1 Interview

On Big League Weekend 2 on Monday evening, Wotton was joined by Walsall striker Tommy Mooney to review the weekend’s matches. He’d faced both Orient and the Albion this season and praised Brighton’s footballing abilities and possession. Dean Wilkins singled out Nicky Forster post match and the studio team here focussed on the former Reading striker’s form this season. “He knows the right areas of the pitch to be in, and he can score goals from inside and outside of the box. Every team needs that one-off goalscorer, he can certainly be that man for Brighton” said Mooney.

BLW2 Studio BLW2 Result

 

Long-running Saturday morning football preview show Soccer AM crossed to the stadium ahead of the game to look ahead to the match with pundit Peter Beagrie. The Live broadcast was to follow Soccer AM at noon. Hosts Andy Goldstein and Helen Chamberlain, alongside today’s guests including Billy Sharp, Andy Keogh and Mark Watson, were in the studio whilst Beagrie was on the monitor and pitchside at the Matchroom Stadium.

Soccer AM preview Titles Soccer AM preview studio

Beagrie began by correctly predicting that there would be a few goals for both teams and the majority would come later on in the game. “You can nip out, make a cup of tea, have your dinner in the first half. The second half is gonna be an absolute glut of goals! 19 out of 23 for Leyton Orient have been scored in the second half and 12 out of 19 [for Brighton.]” He did go on to say Brighton would win 2-1 though so didn’t get it all spot on.

Soccer AM preview Beagrie Soccer AM preview Table

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

NEXT; #26 SHREWSBURY 0-0 BRIGHTON 16/12/2008

#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

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