Small Screen Seagulls; Aldershot (A) 18/11/2000

Small Screen Seagulls 2000sBrighton negotiated a move back to Sussex to play at Withdean Stadium in 1999 and immediately took to the new, if unusual, surroundings. The first campaign there brought about the highest League finish for four seasons, ending the campaign in eleventh place in Division Three. Form towards the end was particularly impressive and had the season carried on for a few more games, the Albion might even had found themselves close to a Play Off spot. Things were on the up and, in Micky Adams, the club had a bright, young manager who resonated with players and fans alike. After starting the 2000/01 campaign brightly, a tricky trip to non-League Aldershot awaited in the First Round of the FA Cup. This garnered interest from BBC Match of the Day with the potential for a Cup upset on the cards. Could the Seagulls avoid national embarrassment and progress through?


Aldershot 2-6 Brighton, FA Cup Round 1; 3pm, Sat 18th Nov ’00

ALD Titles

Beginning in 1964 to help build the public interest in football ahead of the World Cup to be staged across the country two years later, Match of the Day went on to become one of the most iconic and recognised sporting television brands. The early years had highlights of one pre-selected game per week, hence the name, the show then expanded at the end of the decade to incorporate further matches on firstly a regional, then a national basis. By the 1980s there were three fixtures selected for extended action on MotD, before losing the top flight League action in 1988. For the following four years it was FA Cup all the way until the birth of the Premiership on Sky Sports in 1992. The BBC had the highlights of this exciting new Division and typically showcased the best of three games plus a goals round-up of the rest in both League and Cup. By the time tonight’s edition was on, in November 2000, Live FA Cup rights were with Sky and ITV but, curiously, highlights of the grand old competition remained with the BBC. Which brings us up to date ahead of this clash between Aldershot and Brighton. After seeing all the top flight goals, one match received the full MotD treatment from the First Round of the FA Cup and what better choice than the Albion? Gary Lineker presented from the studio at Television Centre in London, whilst Tony Gubba was dispatched to the corner of Hampshire to commentate on this potential Cup banana skin.


Match of the Day, BBC One, 10.30pm (Saturday 18th November 2000)

BBC One ident 2000 BBC Sport ident 2000

A mammoth one-hundred-minute Match of the Day was broadcast on BBC One in the regular 10.30pm slot on Saturday 18th November 2000. Earlier in the evening you could have seen Ant and Dec host Friends Like These after a bit of The Generation Game hosted by Jim Davidson. Classic Saturday night family entertainment, even with Davidson. The extended edition of the Beeb’s long-running highlights programme was to incorporate the best of the FA Cup action alongside the regular Premiership highlights, with a full round in swing. The famous globe idents were still being used and were followed by a quick BBC Sport sting before that unmistakable title music played. It was a big day of Premiership football, with both the Manchester and North East derbies taking place. Manchester United and Sunderland came out on top of those matches, respectively. Elsewhere Charlton defeated Chelsea, causing Alan Hansen bafflement at some of the Blues defending. And in the basement battle, Bradford remained rooted to the bottom after defeat at Derby. With the top flight action complete, attention could turn to the magic of the Cup. The first goals round-up came before the extended highlights of the Seagulls visit to this garrison town. Also making the trip would be commentator Tony Gubba, a regular across BBC’s sporting output since the 1970s. He covered every Olympics from 1972 and every World Cup from 1974. He also presented midweek highlights show Sportsnight for three years until 1975. Behind Motson and Davies in the football pecking order, Gubba would often cover more of the middle ranging matches but did voice a World Cup Semi Final in ’86 and the ’96 Charity Shield in amongst his wide range of other sports such as darts, ice skating and hockey. He was a true all-rounder.

ALD Lineker ALD Pundits ALD FA Cup graphic ALD Referee

Former Leicester, Tottenham, Everton and Barcelona striker Gary Lineker successfully made the transition from player to broadcaster after retirement in the early 1990s. He began as a pundit, making appearances on ITV during the World Cup whilst still a professional, before being given more regular work by the BBC when his playing career was drawing to a close. When he moved to Japan, he still cropped up on Match of the Day and BBC Radio 5 Live when available. He fully concentrated on his media aspirations after calling it a day in ’94 and wanted to go down the presenting route more so than sitting on the other side of the studio. He first big hosting role came in 1996 when he took over preview programme Football Focus from Steve Rider and went on to front Grandstand and Match of the Day as cover for the main hosts. His biggest gig came when Des Lynam transferred to ITV in August 1999 which enabled Lineker to step into the great man’s shoes and become the BBC’s face of football. He was joined in the MotD studio for this edition by regulars Alan Hansen and Mark Lawrenson. The former Liverpool defenders were long-standing members of the BBC football team. Hansen joined in 1992 for the re-launch of the new Premiership-based programme, having tried his hand in the studio for Sky Sports on their Sunday afternoon Italian football matches the season before, straight out of retirement. With his distinctive Scottish accent and erudite analysis, Hansen quickly became one of the leading pundits on television and was the corporation’s first choice. Mark Lawrenson also began his punditry career elsewhere before becoming a mainstay of Match of the Day, with appearances on ITV’s Welsh and West Country region, HTV West, as well as Sky Sports Soccer Saturday and European matches. He had a brief spell coaching at Newcastle in the mid-90s before returning to the television studio and radio gantries with the BBC. The pairing was now their first choice studio pundits.


ALD Aldershot

The story of today’s hosts, Aldershot Town, is one of hope from despair. Their predecessors, Aldershot FC, racked up debts they just couldn’t afford to pay back and were wound up in March 1992. In doing so they became the first Football League club to go out of business during the season since Accrington thirty years earlier. Aldershot regrouped later in ’92, adopted the Town name and began life as a football club five Divisions lower than their March position; Isthmian League Division Three. Fans stuck with them with big attendances and success came quickly as they climbed back up the pyramid. Two promotions in the first two seasons saw them compete in the Isthmian League Division One by 1994, and the Premier Division by 1997, the level where they were at when Brighton came to town. This was one level below the Conference. Manager George Borg took over for the 97/98 campaign and gained promotion in his first year and local Cup joy in subsequent ones. The star name in his side was veteran striker Gary Abbott, a non-League legend showing no signs of slowing down at the age of thirty-six. He built a name for himself scoring goals for Welling in the 1980s, joined the Shots in 1998 and won last year’s Non-League Player of the Season. He’s partnered up top by Wayne Andrews, a pacy twenty-two-year-old signed from St Albans in February. Captain Mark Blake began at Southampton before spells at Fulham, Shrewsbury and Cannes in France. Winger Mark Graham enjoyed Football League experience, spending five years at QPR before moving on to Cambridge. Substitute Stafford Brown had a three-month spell with Brighton at the start of season 1998/99.

ALD Brighton

Micky Adams brought his side to Aldershot sitting second in the Division Three table and on course for promotion. He’d built a consistent core team with three starting all eighteen League matches thus far. Amongst those were top-scorer Bobby Zamora, with ten goals to his name, all coming at Withdean. His strike partner Gary Hart was also an ever-present, as was left-footed right-back Paul Watson. He was also a dead-ball specialist, adept at free-kicks and penalties. Combative midfielder Charlie Oatway returned to the starting line-up after suspension, receiving a red card in the top of the table defeat at Chesterfield. Alongside him was Richard Carpenter, who missed two matches in the early stages of the season but has been immovable since returning. The same goes for Danny Cullip, a rock at the back. Matthew Wicks was his centre-back partner, a former Arsenal and Manchester United youth prospect who joined initially on loan from Peterborough before making the switch permanent this year. The defence ably protected Dutch goalkeeper Michel Kuipers, signed on a free transfer from Bristol Rovers over the summer. Captain Paul Rogers had top flight experience with Sheffield United and even scored the winner for Wigan in the Auto Windscreens Shield Final at Wembley in 1998. Options from the bench included Scouse striker Lee Steele, tricky winger Paul Brooker and solid centre back Andy Crosby. Refereeing the contest was Paul Rejer.

ALD Carpenter 1-0 ALD 1st penalty challenge ALD 1st penalty ALD One One

The Albion got the game underway in the rain sodden pitch, kicking from right to left in the first half. It didn’t take them long at all to settle into the match, scoring the opener after just two minutes. Charlie Oatway was tripped by Ricard Gell around thirty yards from goal. Paul Watson with his left foot and Richard Carpenter with his right both stood over the set piece. It was the latter who struck it and struck it well (above, top left). It flew around the wall and into the back of the net, goalkeeper Pape was nowhere near it. The perfect start and what a fantastic goal from Carpenter. Commentator Tony Gubba drew comparisons with England’s own free kick specialist David Beckham, adding “he won’t have scored many better himself.” Aldershot got right back into the Cup tie around twenty-five minutes when Danny Cullip fouled Wayne Andrews in the box to concede a penalty. Kerry Mayo cut out Protheroe’s forward ball, diverting it into the area. Andrews got there quickest ahead of Cullip, whose outstretched leg brought the striker down (above, top right). The Shots talisman Gary Abbott stepped up and blasted his kick straight down the middle but, crucially, high enough for Kuipers not to get a meaningful hand to it, just fingertips on the way through (above, bottom left). One-one and it was game on at the Recreation Ground.

ALD Zamora challenge ALD Watson 1st pen

The pace of Andrews up top almost put the home side in the lead soon after the equaliser. He picked up a pass around the halfway line before going on a lightning run through to the area. Matthew Wicks did his best to stay with him all the way and just did enough, with Andrews forced slightly wide his shot smashed into the side netting. Brighton then began to take control of the match and should have taken the lead through Bobby Zamora. He latched onto a fantastic Watson cross, the header just not quite on target as it smacked against the crossbar and out to safety. Very unlucky. He was not to be deterred though as he raced onto a Kerry Mayo ball over the back line. Zamora’s first touch took him into the box out on the left whilst his second put the ball past the outrushing goalkeeper. Pape had already slid in and his arms caught Zamora to bring him down for a penalty, this time to the Albion (above left). It may have looked a little theatrical but the contact was there and enough to send Zamora flying and hand the ‘keeper a card. Paul Watson stepped up and converted the spot kick expertly (above right), tucked into the corner low and hard to his right to give Brighton a two-one lead right on half-time.

ALD Second Half ALD Oatway ALD Oatway goal 2 ALD One Three

Into the second period and it didn’t take Brighton long to extend their lead, beginning the second as brightly as they had the first half. A positive drive down the left flank from Welsh wizard Nathan Jones gained territory. His cut back found Charlie Oatway in space some twenty-two or so yards out. He took two touches to get the ball out of his feet before looking up and curling a shot magnificently into the top right-hand corner of the net (above, top right and bottom left). What a sensational goal! The rare sight of an Oatway goal must have caught everybody by surprise, particularly the extravagant manner of it. Commentator Tony Gubba called; “Good strike! Ohhhh well done Oatway. It’s three-one now, Brighton and that might well knock the stuffing out of Aldershot.” The replay from behind the goal showed just what a strike it was, no chance again for the goalie. Oatway notched his first of the campaign eight minutes into the second half and the travelling supporters began chanting and singing his name.

ALD 3rd penalty foul ALD Watson 2nd pen

There was no let up from Brighton, keen to get the game beyond the reach of the Reds. Zamora tried a long crossfield pass to Jones, which was just cut out by Protheroe. His header sent the ball bouncing around and into the penalty area. Pape came to claim but lost possession in a tussle with Jones. The ‘keeper then proceeded to drag the Welshman down in the resulting scramble (above left), with referee Rejer under no illusions and awarded the third penalty of the match. Paul Watson again took the kick and again sent it flying into the back of the net (above right). It was identical to his first in that it was struck low and hard into the bottom right-hand corner past the stretched arm of Pape, the only difference was it was now at the opposite end. It was another fantastic penalty and surely now the game was beyond the non-League outfit. Four-one the score at the hour mark as the rainfall got heavier in Hampshire.

ALD Subs ALD Zamora goal ALD Wicks goal ALD Wicks celebration

A triple substitution for Aldershot prompted a response, with one-time Albion man Stafford Brown bundling the ball into the goal. However it was deemed unfair by the referee who adjudged the number fifteen to have fouled Michel Kuipers. He pretty much jumped into him as Kuipers claimed a routine cross, with the result that both he and the ball ended over the line. A double sub of their own saw Lee Steele and Paul Brooker on for Albion. And a fifth came shortly after. Gary Hart’s cross from the right bounced up off a defender in the box and landed kindly at the back post for an unmarked Bobby Zamora to nod home from just a couple of yards out (above, top right) with a quarter of an hour to go. It was his first away goal of the season. And the rout was completed following an Oatway corner late on. Gary Hart hung out a leg to meet it fifteen yards from goal. His touch fell to Matthew Wicks on the edge of the six-yard box who instinctively prodded home (above, bottom left). It just needed a little touch as the combination of the slick surface and the close proximity to goal was too much to prevent it going in.

ALD Consolation ALD Goalscorers

A six-one scoreline perhaps flattered Brighton a little, who had been by far the better side but took their opportunities better and stood firmer. As commentator Gubba pointed out, “As the rain continues to fall, Aldershot’s defence proving as leaky as their guttering.” The giantkilling potential had long gone but there was still time for the home fans to cheer something as they scored a consolation second with a couple of minutes left. Some nice work from sub Brown presented Abbott with the ball near the eighteen-yard line. His fierce shot stung the palms of a diving Michel Kuipers to force a corner. The resulting set-piece was swung in to the near post and temporarily cleared after a scramble. Left-back Chewins crossed it back in high towards the back stick. Waiting there was, of course, Gary Abbott who arched his neck and powered a header across the face and into the corner of the net. It was a great header and no more than he deserved having worked tirelessly all game in difficult circumstances. And so they pulled one back to make the final scoreline Aldershot two, Brighton six. It was excellent reading for Seagulls supporters; the upset was avoided and then some! The ghosts of the previous non-League defeats to Kingstonian, Hereford and Sudbury were banished for now. National television highlights coverage was one to savour rather than peer behind the sofa at. Micky Adams and his men were through to Round Two.


ALD Scoreline ALD Borg ALD Adams

In the post-match interviews we heard from Shots boss George Borg as well as their scorer Gary Abbott. Borg was disappointed at half-time to have conceded so close to the break to go behind but remained gracious; “All credit to Brighton they played very well today, knocked it around and we’ve got no complaints really.” Abbott agreed that the first half penalty was the turning point after putting up a decent fight. Micky Adams returned the compliments to the hosts, saying “I thought they were terrific today. On their day I think they’ll cause teams a lot of problems.” The teams were friendly at full-time, applauding each other off the pitch after a crackingly entertaining and open Cup tie. However, it was not to last for Borg who left Aldershot later that month. Micky Adams meanwhile continued to lead Brighton on to greater things and sealed promotion from Division Three at the end of the season with the title trophy secured in the process.

ALD Studio ALD Lawrenson

With so many games and so many goals to cram in, there was no time for any analysis on Match of the Day back in the studio other than a brief word from former Albion defender Mark Lawrenson. He played over 150 times for the club in the late seventies and early eighties before securing his big move to Liverpool where he became a household name. After the ten minutes or so of match action, Lawrenson said “It’s always nice to see your old team do well. If you consider, what, two or three years ago could’ve gone out the League and could’ve actually been playing Aldershot in a League match. They’re doing very well in Division Three, right manager in Micky Adams and long may it continue.” Hear, hear, Lawro. And that was it as far as the Albion were concerned for this edition of the programme. Lineker introduced the rest of the round-ups before the long night was over. Brighton’s progress in the FA Cup came to an end in Round Two with a two-one defeat away at fellow Division Three side Scunthorpe. Better things were to come but for now, that six-two scoreline would do very nicely thank you very much. Six of the best.

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

Withdean on Screen; Milestone Matches part 1

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. Our story begins on a sunny Saturday afternoon back in August 1999.

SUN Commentary Box

OPENING IN STYLE (7th August 1999) Division Three

Soccer Extra, Sky Sports 2; Brighton 6-0 Mansfield 

Mansfield Titles Mansfield Lorenzo

The long-awaited first League match back in Sussex could not have gone any better for Brighton and Hove Albion and their supporters. The two years sharing with Gillingham saw a continuation of the poor performances on the pitch, finishing 23rd and 17th at the foot of the English League structure. There was hope upon moving to Withdean that this would galvanise the fans and the team and finally start to turn the fortunes around. This six-nil thumping of Mansfield poured fuel to those fires. In the 1999/2000 season, lower League highlights were shown in the middle of Monday night on ITV’s Nationwide Football League Extra, regionally on the local ITV station on Sunday afternoons and on the Saturday evening news bulletins depending on how quick they could turn it around. Sky Sports held the exclusive Live rights, and with that they could show goals from all the other matches too. This took the shape of a weekly Football League Review studio show and Sunday morning goals round-up Soccer Extra, essentially the forerunner to what became the Chris Kamara-fronted Goals on Sunday. In this clip we have the goals from Soccer Extra presented by former ITV World Cup anchorman Matt Lorenzo, back on Sky fronting all sorts of magazine shows and the odd Live match, having rejoined in 1997. Nick London voiced the goals report.

Mansfield Intro Mansfield Lynam Mansfield Freeman first Mansfield Thomas

New ITV signing Des Lynam was in attendance (above, top right). His transfer away from Match of the Day meant he could now attend more Albion games with his Saturday afternoons freed up. The visiting team got off to a dreadful start when David Kerr was sent off after eleven minutes for use of the elbow in a challenge with Jamie Campbell. The rest of the day’s headlines were stolen by new boy Darren Freeman, who would forever be remembered for this debut hat-trick. His first came two minutes after the red, when the ball dropped nicely for him on the edge of the six-yard box following a free kick. He lashed it into the roof of the net from close range (above, bottom left). His second goal six minutes later came after a defensive mix up enabled him to nick the ball and get behind them. He rounded the goalkeeper for a cool finish. Into the second half, Rod Thomas made it three with a superb strike just inside the area (above, bottom right). The winger was signed ten months earlier from Chester after fans contributed money towards a ‘Buy a Player’ fundraiser.

Mansfield Freeman hat trick Mansfield Six

Freeman got his hat-trick after a neat through ball left him one-on-one with goalie Richardson. As he came rushing out, Freeman kept his nerve to slide it past him and hurdle the challenge. The covering defenders could only run back and watch as the ball rolled into the far corner for four-nil (above, left). The scoring didn’t end when Freeman was replaced, as substitute Aidan Newhouse bagged a brace in the final quarter of an hour. Newhouse joined from Swansea in the week of the game on a monthly rolling contract and wasted no time in opening his account. David Cameron battled on the far touchline to win the ball back and burst into the box. His cut back was hit first time into the roof of the goal for five. And the rout was complete when the same pair combined for Newhouse’s header to loop up over the goalkeeper and in. Six-nil! What an incredible result for Micky Adams and his men. They went on to finish eleventh in Division Three that season, the highest since relegation to this level in 1996. It was dubbed ‘the season that ended too soon’ though, as a push for the Play Offs was left just too late. As the profile grew, fans of many other clubs soon got to see for themselves the charms that Withdean had to offer during a march up the Divisions.


2

SECURING THE LEAGUE TITLE (1st May 2001) Division Three

Football League Review, Sky Sports 1; Brighton 1-0 Chesterfield

Chesterfield Intro Chesterfield aston

In Brighton’s second Withdean season, the club kicked on from the good end to the last campaign to surpass even the most optimistic of supporter’s expectations. After an indifferent opening month, a six-two victory over Torquay was the catalyst for a ten match unbeaten run. In fact, the only defeat in nineteen matches came at the hands of Chesterfield when a last minute goal sunk ten-man Albion. Form in the New Year continued well, with just one defeat in each of February and March, and the club found themselves in with a shout of one of three automatic promotion places available at the top of Division Three. Chesterfield and Cardiff were also going very well. Promotion was secured on Easter Saturday with a two-nil victory at Plymouth, now the Seagulls set their sights on the title. Brighton and Chesterfield had battled it out all season at the summit, forming a rivalry this campaign. However the Spireites were docked nine points and fined £20,000 for breaching financial regulations over the transfer of striker Luke Beckett from Chester. The deduction was applied in late April, taking them off the top of the table to be replaced by Brighton. On the Tuesday before the final weekend of fixtures, the top two met at Withdean in a match which would decide, once and for all, the destiny of this year’s Division Three championship. The Albion also wanted to prove a principle that they didn’t require the points removal in order to win the trophy, they wanted that gap to be more than nine points. Going into this clash, the final match of the year at Withdean, Brighton sat top on 88 points with three games left whilst Chesterfield were second on 86 and two to play, but that would go down to 77 points when the penalty’s taken into consideration.

Chesterfield Goal Chesterfield Scoreline Chesterfield trophy Chesterfield celebrations

Rights holder Sky Sports rounded up all the final midweek action with their Thursday night magazine programme Football League Review, which was voiced out-of-vision by number one Live match host Marcus Buckland. The reporter for Brighton versus Chesterfield was Nick London. Brighton were romping home, unbeaten in ten with seven of those as wins, and on course for more than ninety points. Stark contrast to just three years earlier when consecutive 23rd placed finishes made for drab viewing and on the verge of going out the League at the other end. They found things a little tougher up against Chesterfield in this match, with Bobby Zamora unable to take a couple of decent chances. Kerry Mayo also went close to a collector’s item goal after a mazy run from the halfway line. Step forward Danny Cullip to secure the win when his powerful header went in (above, top left), via a deflection off Chesterfield’s David Reeves, with twelve minutes left on the clock. They’d done it, Micky Adams and his men could celebrate promotion and the League title to boot. The trophy was presented there and then on the Withdean pitch, our first silverware since winning the equivalent Division in 1965! What a fantastic achievement for the Seagulls, flying high once again.

Chesterfield Adams Chesterfield Goalscorers chart Chesterfield final table

Micky Adams was full of praise for his squad afterwards, telling Football League Review; “Give them the credit they deserve because they’ve worked their socks off.” Bobby Zamora in particular did, ending up the Division’s top goal scorer with thirty-one in League and Cup. The final League table the following Saturday confirmed Albion’s place at the very top of the League for all the history books to show, and they did finish more than those nine deducted points ahead of Chesterfield, legitimising the win further. They ended up third some twelve points back, with Cardiff sandwiched in the middle. An average of exactly two points per game for the Albion is a phenomenal record and a real confidence booster for the players and supporters who were languishing around the mid-to-lower half of the table for the previous few years. Perhaps this temporary home was going to be alright. The momentum gained from this outstanding season was carried over to the 2001/2002 campaign where back to back championships were secured. Even a change of manager, with Micky Adams departing for Premiership Leicester early on to swap the South Coast with the departing Foxes boss Peter Taylor, couldn’t hamper the Albion’s rise up the Leagues. Extended highlights of the match with Swindon, and the subsequent title party, when the Division Two title was secured twelve months later is covered in a separate post. Within three Withdean years, Brighton had jumped from fourth tier to second and a place in Division One awaited in the 2002/03 season. The next aim was to stay up there.


3

AVOIDING AN UNWANTED CLUB RECORD (2nd November 2002) Division One

Football League Extra, ITV1; Brighton 3-2 Bradford City

Bradford Titles Bradford Division One

Following a season of exclusive Football League rights belonging to ITV Digital, it all ended rather sour. The company went into administration at the end of the first of a three-year deal, meaning emergency contingencies had to be put in place. This hugely impacted the finances of many lower League clubs who were banking on the vast amounts of money ITV had promised but would never materialise. Consequently on the broadcasting side, Live rights transferred back to Sky Sports and we were without a highlights deal for the first three months of the 2002/03 campaign. Brighton had won back to back League titles to rise from Division Three to Division One here but got off to a disastrous start. After a fantastic opening day win away at Burnley, things went from bad to worse to the verge of an unwanted milestone. A draw in the first home match of the season was followed by an incredible twelve League defeats in succession, culminating with the worst of the lot – a five-nil scoreline at arch rivals Crystal Palace in midweek, the first meeting for thirteen and a half years. Saturday 2nd November saw the visit of Bradford City to Withdean, where another defeat would be a club record. Manager Martin Hinshelwood paid the price for the poor form early on, with former Palace and Manchester United boss Steve Coppell now in charge at the Albion on a one-year contract. This was his third game at the helm.

Bradford Scoreline Bradford Penalty  Bradford Rodger Bradford Foul

This match marked the start of a new highlights deal which saw the welcome return of ITV’s middle-of-the-night goals programme Nationwide Football League Extra, which had covered the best of the action in a concise forty-minute slot since 1994. For this return, Tom Skippings led the voiceover round ups of our match and the rest of the second tier; assisted by Tony Jones and Trevor Harris each taking one of the other two Divisions. Brighton made a dream start when Bobby Zamora tucked away a penalty in the tenth minute. Gus Uhlenbeek tripped Paul Brooker in the box, allowing Zamora to convert low to the goalkeeper’s right (above, top right). Albion raced into a two-goal lead three minutes before the break. Zamora laid the ball off for midfielder Simon Rodger to hit a scorcher from twenty-five yards (above, bottom left) which flew into the top corner of the goal. Into the second half, the dream start got a bit nervier when Andy Gray halved the deficit with a stooping header from Paul Evans’ inswinger. Just six minutes later the two-goal cushion was restored, courtesy of Wayne Jacobs’ foul on Albion’s on-loan striker Graham Barrett (above, bottom right).

Bradford Kuipers Bradford table

Up stepped Zamora to convert another spot kick for three-one. This was the sixth penalty Bradford had conceded in their last six games, with ‘keeper Steve Banks saving one in each of the previous two games. He had no chance with this one, Zamora sent him the wrong way. In the final minute of the match, the man between the Albion posts rushed out of his goal all the way to the edge of the box and upended Stephen Warnock to give Bradford a penalty (above left). Kuipers received his marching orders from referee Brian Curson, with Andy Petterson coming on to keep goal. He couldn’t stop Andy Gray’s penalty to make it three-two. The Seagulls survived stoppage time to finally put that record behind them and begin to pick up Division One points again. Further joy came against Preston, Derby and Live on Sky against Wolves as the gap at the bottom started to close. However, by the end of the season it was just a little too much to do and the club were relegated back to Division Two on the final day following a draw at Grimsby, also Live on Sky. It was a topsy-turvy few years for the club as we yo-yoed around the Divisions but it was certainly never dull!


4

BEATING YOUR RELEGATION RIVALS (4th December 2004) Division One

The Championship, ITV1; Brighton 1-0 Rotherham

Rotherham titles Rotherham Intro

Mark McGhee took over as manager in October 2003 after Steve Coppell’s departure to Reading. In that season McGhee guided the club up via the Play Offs with a Final victory over Bristol City Live on Sky to gain entry to the newly rebranded Championship. The new name brought with it a new highlights programme to accompany Sky’s Live coverage, with ITV again the broadcaster. Their programme, imaginatively named The Championship, was broadcast at 10.30am on Sunday mornings and consisted of one featured match, usually two additional reports and a goals round up of the rest of the Leagues at the end. Brighton started life back in the second tier much better than when we were last at this stage in 2003, with four wins in the opening two months. Form in October and November had dipped and the club found themselves in the (realistic) position in the bottom third of the table. We would be in for another relegation battle this season but with that bit more experience, things were hopeful of turning out differently. And they didn’t come much more experienced than thirty-eight-year-old striker Steve Claridge, who joined the Albion on a month’s contract. Prior to this he had been player-manager at non-League Weymouth after a long playing career which dated all the way back to 1983 and Fareham Town. He enjoyed spells at Cambridge, Birmingham and Portsmouth as well as linking up with McGhee at Millwall where they missed out on Premiership promotion in the Play Off Semi Finals in 2002. His move to Sussex garnered the interest of ITV’s highlights show, which sent Andy Townsend down to Withdean for his first visit. Regular presenter Matt Smith hosted the show from the main game at the Stadium of Light – for Sunderland against West Ham – and linked to our report after highlights of that clash.

Rotherham Townsend Rotherham Claridge Rotherham McGhee Rotherham Claridge playing

Townsend’s report began in the temporary stand behind the goal at Withdean as he introduced the piece before zooming out to reveal just a handful of fans dotted around him. The main focus was on Steve Claridge, whom he interviewed first in the tunnel. The pair had a chuckle at the surroundings before Townsend asked Claridge if he still felt the same about the game or if it had started to wane; “I don’t see how it ever does if you’re fit and you can play and can do a job, just take the enthusiasm for granted because I don’t think that ever goes.” Manager McGhee told Townsend that Claridge was “one of the fittest players you’ve ever seen, either as a player or as a manager… He’s made a big difference.” They touched upon the contract situation, with him only signed up for a month which was due to expire after the match the following week. McGhee stated he wanted to extend it but the club may say otherwise due to the costs and the financial constraints the stadium situation placed upon them all. Before showing the best of the action, we returned to Claridge who outlined the importance of this match; “We’ve lost a couple recently, it just puts a bit of difference between us and the bottom three if we can win today.” You have to beat the teams around you in relegation battles and failure to do that cost the Albion last time in this League.

Rotherham Harding Rotherham scoreline

Rotherham were right down at the foot of the table, with just one win in the last twenty-one matches. That came in the previous game so were in buoyant mood ahead of this crucial clash. Townsend voiced the footage which used pitch-level cameras and jaunty angles, a trademark of this type of report on The Championship. Townsend highlighted Claridge’s first half performance as the biggest threat, constantly looking lively and dangerous as we saw two of his shots saved by goalkeeper Mike Pollitt. Into the second period it was Leon Knight who looked liveliest now, having an effort cleared almost off the line by Ronnie Moore’s defence. The clock ticked away quickly with neither side quite doing enough. That was until the 82nd minute when left-back Dan Harding netted his first for the club (above left). A free kick bounced around the area before dropping to Harding on the left of the box to strike from seven yards. It crept into the far corner for a priceless goal and all three points. The VT ended with Claridge explaining his final match for Brighton was due to be in the upcoming Millwall trip but he was on his way in to see the manager now for clarity. It turned out that his contract wasn’t extended. But that was not the end of his Football League career as, remarkably, he went on to play for a further seven League clubs over the course of the next three years! The result sent the Seagulls seven points clear of the drop zone, now a few games past the half way stage of the season.

5

AND AGAIN (26th December 2004) Division One

The Championship, ITV1; Brighton 2-1 Gillingham

Gillingham titles Gillingham Smith

Three weeks after the victory over bottom of the table Rotherham came another crucial clash in the relegation battle; Gillingham were the visitors to an icy Withdean on Boxing Day 2004. The Gills were below the Albion in the standings but Brighton suffered back to back defeats following that Rotherham win. A two-nil loss at Millwall was followed by Stoke claiming all three points on the South Coast. As the country suffered another cold wintery Christmas period, Withdean was usually one to fare particularly badly. A number of games had been postponed since arriving at the athletics track in 1999 due to the weather, with rain causing waterlogs and ice or snow taking its time to clear. Presenter Matt Smith was wrapped up warm with a big coat and scarf as he introduced the day’s festive football from the featured match Coventry versus Sheffield United. Voicing the goals and incidents in our match was fellow Brighton fan Dave Beckett, who sounded a little bunged up no doubt due to the weather.

Gillingham intro Gillingham Crofts Gillingham Carpenter equaliser Gillingham Virgo winner  

The report began by mentioning Stan Ternant’s Gillingham side’s cause for concern about the state of the pitch, with a white sheen present brought about ice. But it was they who broke the deadlock thanks to future Seagull Andrew Crofts. He latched onto Nicky Southall’s cross, appearing to burst in from nowhere and more determined than anyone. His header burst the net and flew through goalkeeper Kuipers, Crofts leaving his marker Paul Reid flat footed (above, top right). It looked like it was going to be a frustrating Christmas for Seagulls supporters all the way until the 78th minute when up stepped Richard Carpenter. As a headed clearance fell to him, he took one touch to set himself before hitting a divine half-volley from almost thirty yards (above, bottom left) which skipped off the turf and slid right into the bottom left hand corner of the net. A fantastic way to equalise but more was still to come. A Mark McCammon header was saved well by Paul Gallacher. But he wasn’t to deny Adam Virgo, who turned home the winner three minutes from time. A long throw in was flicked on by McCammon with Virgo arriving in the centre. He made connection before his marker and struck past Gallacher, who managed fingertips to it (above, bottom right).

Gillingham scoreline

Another terrific result for Brighton who were managing to get the better of the teams around them at the bottom. This ensured they did the double over the Gills and entered the New Year a whole seven points clear of the drop zone. The form continued into January taking ten more points from the next six unbeaten matches. A fantastic victory over leaders Sunderland followed in February, as featured as the main game on The Championship, and come the final day of the season just a point was required to maintain their Championship status. That’s exactly what happened when Adam Virgo netted in a Sky Live one-all draw with Ipswich in May. Brighton would remain in the second tier for another season under Mark McGhee. Though the 2005/06 campaign fared much worse and Brighton were relegated finishing bottom of the table, the more important result came off the field when permission for the new stadium site in Falmer was initially given the go-ahead by Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott in October 2005 and, after another legal challenge delaying the saga further, the stadium finally could at last begin building work in the latter half of the noughties with the club consolidating in League One.


This look back over Albion’s tenure at Withdean Stadium continues with part two which can be accessed HERE.

#20: Brighton 0-1 Reading 21/03/2005

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

REA Titles

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

REA Promo REA Sponsor REA Intro

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

REA Brighton REA Reading REA Formation

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

REA Gavin REA Adams REA Studio REA Whelan

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

REA Build Up Transition REA Mobile Shop REA Ref REA Prescott

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

REA Sidwell REA Virgo REA Coming Up 2 REA Coming Up 

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

REA Kick Off REA Comms

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

REA Coppell REA Stretcher

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

REA Table

BRIGHTON 0 READING 1
Forster

REA Replay REA Replay 2

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

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

#27: Luton 1-1 Brighton 17/02/2009

#27 LUTON 1-1 BRIGHTON (LUT win 4-3 on pens) Johnstone’s Paint Trophy Southern Area Final 2nd Leg
Tuesday 17th February 2009 Sky 2007

SHR Titles

PRESENTER David Jones GUEST Peter Beagrie
COMMENTATORS Ian Darke & Garry Birtles REPORTER Patrick Davison
7.45pm Kick Off; Kenilworth Road, Luton     7.30-10pm Live on Sky Sports 2 (Extended to 10.15pm)

SS2 Ident Titles start LUT Intro

Context of the Match: Luton and Brighton were now one match away from a trip to Wembley Stadium. It would’ve been Brighton’s first trip to the stadium since a Play Off Final defeat to Notts County in 1991. Both teams went into this match in the relegation zone in their respective Leagues; Brighton 21st in League One whilst Luton were cut adrift at the bottom of the entire Football League. The Albion were looking ahead to better times with the initial stages finally underway just before Christmas for the new stadium site in Falmer, expected in a couple of seasons time. Off the pitch things were finally looking up but on the pitch was a real struggle. Since Micky Adams returned to the club last summer the fortunes have been mixed; excelling in Cup competitions but not able to replicate that in the League with 28 points from 29 games. As we approached the final third of the season there was still a lot of work to be done to avoid relegation down to the fourth tier for the first time since 2001. Luton by contrast were already there and already pretty doomed. They suffered two successive relegations from the Championship down to here and began this season with a massive record 30 point deduction due to financial irregularities; 10 points deducted by the FA and 20 by the Football League for breaking the rules on exiting administration. Money problems had been going on for a couple of years, culminating with this. So the JPT was somewhat of a leveller, a chance to rectify a terrible season. The first leg at Withdean ended goalless, there would be no away goals rule or extra time. If it finished level on the night tonight then penalties would be required again. Brighton had been involved in three shootouts this season, winning all three and scoring fifteen out of fifteen taken. Like in the previous round, the club arranged for free coach travel to the match, ensuring around 1,500 Seagulls supporters were present.

LUT Luton LUT Subs LUT Brighton

The Teams: After the disappointing start to the season, Micky Adams tried to overhaul the side in the January transfer window. Brighton’s squad included a number of new faces including on-loan Calvin Andrew from Crystal Palace up top. Six changes were made from the previous match at the weekend, as out went penalty save hero John Sullivan for Michel Kuipers. Andy Whing and Dean Cox also returned due to a combination of tactical and enforced tinkering. Chris Birchall joined in January on a six-month contract and is perhaps most famous for somehow managing to sneak into the Trinidad and Tobago World Cup 2006 squad where he faced England in the group stages. Another on a six-month contract was Jason Jarrett, described by Adams as “an energetic box-to-box midfielder who can operate in either an attacking or defensive role anywhere across the middle.” Big things were hoped of him. 17 year-old Steve Cook was on the bench. Luton manager Mick Harford needed to practically rebuild his squad in the summer following another relegation but were faced with a transfer embargo until just 48 hours before the first match of the season, this on top of their points deduction. Their mix of youth and experience meant the likes of top-scorer Chris Martin, not his Coldplay frontman namesake, former Ipswich and Swindon striker Sam Parkin and player of the year Keith Keane all returned. Many January signings for both clubs were ineligible; Seb Carole, Jim McNulty and Craig Davies for the Albion, hence the high number of changes. Refereeing was former top flight official the dreadful Andy D’Urso.

LUT Jones LUT Beagrie LUT Studio

Presentation Team: As with the previous round of the JPT, Sky’s duo of David Jones and Peter Beagrie presented coverage from the corner of the stadium adjacent to the away fans. David Jones was fast rising up the pecking order in favour of established main Football League anchor George Gavin, picking up the Saturday Night 5.20pm slot and all the extras such as this competition. Peter Beagrie was his regular pundit and Sky’s firm number one on the League. In the commentary box were Garry Birtles and Ian Darke. Birtles had been on the coverage since 2003 and firmly second choice behind initially Chris Kamara, and now Don Goodman. With two Live Football League matches on most weekends, Birtles would usually pick up one of them. When it came to League One he was the voice, covering Play Offs and Finals as well as the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy. Ian Darke was in the near unique position of being a semi-regular voice on both Sky’s Premier League and Football League coverage. He was behind Martin Tyler, Rob Hawthorne and Alan Parry in the top flight, meaning sometimes there weren’t enough Live games to go round Sky’s big four commentators. As a result he would pick up Football League matches behind their number one Bill Leslie (who was on Scottish Cup duty this midweek), particularly around international break weekends as we saw last season with our Live Leyton Orient match. His enthusiasm and engaging style made it a pleasure to listen to and livened up even the poorest of matches. He perhaps deserved a bigger gig and in 2010 joined ESPN in America after a hugely successful World Cup, covering the top Premier League games for the US audience. The partnership with Darke and Birtles was amongst Sky’s most enjoyable. Reporting pitchside today was Patrick Davison, a new name to Brighton’s Live television coverage. Davison had begun reporting for preview programme Big League Weekend since the beginning of last season and was slowly gaining experience on Live matches of relatively low profile, such as in this competition and Leagues One and Two. He started off at Sky working behind the scenes on Sky Sports News.

LUT Table LUT Adams LUT Kick Off LUT Comms

The Coverage: Jones and Beagrie came on-air fifteen minutes before the kick-off at Kenilworth Road. This was just enough time to discuss the struggles of both clubs, look at their dismal League standings (Brighton 21st and Luton 24th in Leagues One and Two respectively). The second leg of both the Northern and Southern Area Finals were being played tonight and the goals from the first legs were shown pre-match. As Brighton v Luton was goalless that meant we just saw Scunthorpe’s two against Rotherham from January. Patrick Davison interviewed both managers in the tunnel, asking Harford and Adams about their preparation for penalties. It seemed many were expecting this to be a tight match. Commentator Ian Darke talked us through the starting line-ups before heading for a quick break before the kick-off. The title sequence and graphics remained as they were for the previous match in this competition, with the replay transition for everything including goals being the nice flying trophy from the top left into the middle of the screen and out again. The aggregate scoreline was added between the team names and the clock for clarification. One addition this season was the total number of cards earned that year when given a yellow or red, which helped highlight when a suspension would be due. Half time analysis centred on the two goals and of course the red card for David Livermore. When the second half concluded there was just a little bit of time to grab some reaction from Peter Beagrie before straight onto the penalties without a break, capturing the atmosphere and the nerves well. The programme was extended by fifteen minutes to account for the pens, and after the break Patrick Davison conducted interviews with the man of the match and the winning goalkeeper, as well as the victorious manager. Jones and Beagrie reviewed the goals again, rounded up the result from the other Area Final and analysed the penalties before closing the show and Brighton’s JPT campaign for another season.

LUT Goal LUT Red Card LUT Analysis LUT Coming Up 

Story of the Match: What is it they say ahead of a big match? Keep it tight early on, start brightly, be nice and sharp and switched on. Brighton certainly heard that. And proceeded to do the complete opposite as Luton took the lead within 60 seconds. A long ball forward from defence was headed on by Craddock to a seemingly innocuous enough position. Michel Kuipers came racing out of his goal to the edge of the area to clear but got in a complete tangle with Adam Virgo as both players had embarrassing air-shots. This left Tom Craddock to pick up the loose ball and calmly slot it into the empty net well to leave Micky Adams shaking his head in disbelief on the sidelines. The surface was rather bobbly but that was no excuse for the shambolic way the goal came about. Brighton didn’t let it affect them too much in a very open first quarter. In the fifth minute Nicky Forster burst down the right but his cross-shot narrowly alluded everyone. A quarter of an hour later he was in behind again with his shot rolling agonisingly just inches wide of the post. Forster wasn’t to be denied though as the skipper got the equaliser less than a minute later, deservedly so as he was everywhere early on. The resulting goal-kick went straight to Chris Burchill in the centre circle, he brought the ball forward ten yards before setting Forster through centrally behind the Luton defence. He took one touch to steady himself, with the ball hardly moving due to the poor pitch, before unleashing his fierce shot early from the edge of the box and low past the outstretched Price’s hand. The fact it was taken early was key, not giving the goalie or defender enough time to react. Forster’s celebration unveiled a t-shirt stating “Sorry but that’s 200” referring to his career goals tally, however commentator Ian Darke had been stating all evening that he was on 198 prior to tonight. The discrepancy arose because he was indeed on 198 club goals but had also scored once for the England under-21s. So technically both were correct and it wasn’t a case of the Ian Wrights about him by celebrating too early like Wright did wrongly when he thought he broke the Arsenal record. Michel Kuipers in the Brighton goal was having a nightmare return to the side and nearly made another fatal error 33 minutes in when a backpass to him was bizarrely underhit straight back into play as Kuipers was leaning back off-balance and narrowly missed Sam Parkin as the defence were able to pick up the pieces. All of Brighton’s hard work was undone a minute before the break with a red card for David Livermore. His interception sent the ball away from his control and he lunged in for a 50:50 challenge. He was too late and over the top as Spillane got the loose ball first, even though there didn’t seem a huge amount of actual contact it was still a dangerous tackle. After consulting with his linesman, referee Andy D’Urso sent the defender off and we went into the break level on goals but a man down. This forced Dean Cox to be sacrificed for Tommy Elphick to shore up the back line. The second half was equally as tense and as close with only half-chances being permitted for both sides. Brighton were happy to sit back and force Luton into bringing the game to them, the ten man having to concentrate for every moment. As an attacking force, the red card killed them off, with Nicky Forster having to feed off scraps all by himself. Brighton survived a last-minute scare when Kuipers was called into action to parry a shot and pounce on the rebound but that was about it. And so, inevitably, it went to penalties again, to be taken in front of the home end.

LUT Penalties LUT Pen Save

Forster was first up, scoring and sending the ‘keeper the wrong way. Chris Martin levelled it identically. Virgo was next, going the other way and still sending the ‘keeper the wrong way. Craddock made it two-two straight down the middle. Tommy Elphick just squeezed his penalty in despite a big hand from Price. Asa Hall equalised again. But the incredible run was to come to an end, Jason Jarrett the first man to miss a spot kick for Brighton in a shootout this year as his effort was saved onto the post. Ryan Charles put Luton ahead and it was all over when Birchall’s was saved brilliantly by Price as the Hatters fans poured onto the pitch to celebrate their 4-3 penalty win. Luton went on to face Scunthorpe in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy Final and lifted the trophy. They won a pulsating contest at Wembley by three goals to two in April in front of 55,000 people. The cup success wasn’t quite enough to save their League season. Despite a fantastic effort, they were relegated with several games to go and ended up fifteen points off safety. Had they not had the 30 points deducted their final League position would’ve been 15th. Brighton’s season would continue to be a struggle after this. Micky Adams lost his job and Russell Slade was appointed at the start of March until the end of the season. His task was simple – keep the club up. He managed to achieve the great escape thanks to a final day home win against Stockport. That win flew the Seagulls up the table, finishing 16th but would have been relegated on goal difference had they lost that match. Crazy, tense and all-too-close but Slade rescued a pretty dismal season after last year’s hope. A huge improvement was required if Brighton were to achieve their aim of being a Championship club when the move to Falmer commenced.

LUTON 1 BRIGHTON 1
Craddock. Luton win 4-3 on penalties Forster

LUT Replay

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

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

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

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

SHR Titles

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

Xmas Ident 1 Xmas Ident 2 Intro

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

SHR Shrewsbury SHR Subs SHR Brighton

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

SHR Jones SHR Beagrie SHR Studio SHR Studio setting

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

SHR Adams SHR Interview SHR Kick Off SHR Comms

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

SHR Santa SHR Christmas graphics SHR Sub SHR Knight

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

SHR Penalties SHR Save SHR Man of the Match SHR Analysis

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

SHREWSBURY 0 BRIGHTON 0
Brighton win 5-4 on penalties

SHR ResultsSHR Replay1 SHR Replay2

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

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

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

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

PAL Titles

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

SheffWed05 Ident PAL Sponsors PAL Intro

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

PAL Brighton PAL Palace PAL Formation

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

PAL Gavin PAL Adams PAL Studio PAL Whelan

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

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

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

PAL Minute silence PAL Kick off  PAL Comms  PAL Fatboy Slim

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

PAL Hart Red PAL Table

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

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

PAL Replay PAL Goal

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

PAL SSN titles PAL SSN presenter

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

PAL SSN Clark PAL SSN McGhee

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

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