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Will Brighton and Hove mayor be gunning for Seagulls?
He is the first citizen of Brighton and Hove but when Saturday comes mayor Bill Randall will be hoping the city isn’t celebrating an FA Cup shock.
The long-serving city councillor is a life-long Arsenal fan and will be cheering on the London side when they visit American Express Community Stadium for this weekend’s sell-out cup clash.
Despite his Arsenal links, Councillor Randall said he wouldn’t be too disappointed if his beloved Gunners suffered a shock defeat when they visit the South Coast for the fourth round cup tie.
And he said he would be keeping his allegiance under wraps when he joins what is expected to be the biggest crowd the stadium has ever seen.
Whatever the result, the mayor says it will be a fantastic day for Albion and Brighton and Hove as a whole with the arrival of one of the biggest and most successful clubs in the country.
Coun Randall was brought up in Surrey and his choice of club was influenced by his two Arsenal-loving parents and grandmother.
Fortunately for him, this is the first time since he was a resident or councillor in the city that the two clubs have clashed, with the last meeting in 1988.
Coun Randall said he had been teased by a lot of people in the build-up to the game about where his allegiances lie.
He said: “In all other circumstances I would support the Albion but I’ve been a Gooner all my life and I will be supporting Arsenal.
“As any real football fan will tell you, you stick with the club that you were brought up to support.
“I have supported the Albion in other ways, especially as leader of the city council in 2011 when I worked closely with Martin Perry to ensure the club got its extra 8000 seats and car parking.
“The football club puts a smile on the face of the city and if it wipes the smile off mine on Saturday I won’t be too disappointed.”
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