AS ALBION’S highly-anticipated Premier League campaign kicks off today, they are being backed to bring success off the field as well... by businesses.

Restaurants, hotels and pub owners are crossing their fingers for Chris Hughton’s men in the biggest year in the club’s history, and they are expecting Brighton to benefit from the huge reach of the Premier League.

Renowned as the biggest league in the world, English top-flight clubs have huge followings, which could mean fans coming to watch their team take on Albion will stay for the weekend – and that can only be good news for businesses.

The city’s traders have long had close ties with the club, especially Italian restaurant Donatello, which has ridden through the tough times side-by-side with Albion and their supporters by sponsoring them and offering discounted food for season ticket holders.

Owner Sue Addis appreciates the affinity between her restaurant and supporters, saying it will always offer discounts, but is opening its doors to travelling fans, too.

She said: “Obviously there will be a lot of away supporters, so we hope they will be coming to us as well.”

Pubs around the city already get a lot of custom from sporting events, but with Albion going up, they feel it can only get busier and better.

The King and Queen in Marlborough Place, Brighton, is already a booming sports pub, but staff feel Albion’s Premier League presence could make it even bigger. They have a big Liverpool fanbase, known as the Brighton Kop, though staff have said Albion supporters massively outnumber them.

It looks as though the boys in blue and white will help continue Brighton’s reputation as one of the biggest tourist hotspots in the country, with the Premier League an excuse for fans to spend weekends in the city while supporting their team.

After Brighton recorded a one per cent decline in tourism last year, top-flight football could hold the key to bumping those figures back up, according to Anne Martin, who runs Brighton Palace Pier and heads the tourism alliance.


BRIGHTON’S offer of a south coast destination may be a bigger magnet for travelling fans than other Premier League cities.

That is according to The Grand’s manager Andrew Mosley, who thinks the city could see a boost in visitor numbers during Albion’s maiden season in the top tier.

He said: “From a business point of view, it’s great [that Albion are in the Premier League].

“It raises awareness of Brighton, and it will be bringing more away fans here.

“They might see it as an opportunity to get away and have fun on the sunny south coast.”

Mr Mosley works in Brighton but lives in Southampton, and said there were similarities between the two clubs.

He said: “I see it in Southampton with travelling fans coming and loving it. There is that south coast pull about it.”

He pledged his support to Albion, adding: “We are all proud of what they have achieved.”


FORMER Albion shirt sponsor, Italian restaurant Donatello, in The Lanes, is hoping travelling supporters will provide added income.

Restaurant owner Sue Addis, pictured above, said those travelling from afar might want to make a weekend of their away day, and could help her business.

She said: “I think having travelling fans coming down will definitely be a boost for us and the city.”

Last summer, Donatello sponsored Albion’s dugout at the Amex, continuing a tight-knit relationship spanning more than a decade.

The restaurant is not forgetting Albion fans, either. They will continue the ten per cent discount for season ticket holders, and they can expect a treat at Donatello.

Sue said: “There will be some very special dishes on the menu this season.”


ALBION’S Premier League status may be able to pull tourism figures back up next year.

With a one per cent decline from April to June last year, the league’s most crucial period is April to May, and fans rally behind their teams to get them over the finishing line.

Anne Martin, Brighton Palace Pier CEO, thinks Albion’s presence may put the statistics back where they belong.

She said: “It is a good time of the year to end the season. It gives more reason for people to get down here.

“Historically, when teams are in the Premier League it has a positive effect on towns and cities. It has a massive pull.

“Blackpool were in the league for one season and it transformed the town. It got a lot of investment.”

She said the pier will likely be flying Albion flags today to support the club.

“The timing of the matches is very good,” Ms Martin said.

“Any extra event is positive for us.”


SEAGULL fever is coming to the Royal Pavilion Tavern in North Street.

Bar supervisor Robyn Harris is dressing as a seagull for every Albion match this season, with other staff in blue and white colours.

Robyn, 25, says today’s match against Manchester City has the potential to break records at the pub.

She said: “It could be the busiest sporting event we have had in years.

“We have already had one big private booking, so we are keeping the rest of the pub free because we are expecting it to be extremely busy. It could be like it all day.”

The ‘Pav Tav’, as it is affectionately known, will have Albion flags pinned around the pub as a show of support.

It is also offering a ten per cent discount for season ticket holders throughout the 2016/17 season as a tribute to their unwavering support.

“Albion fans are very loyal to their team and their city,” said Robyn.

“They are well-behaved and take good care of the staff, and we are looking forward to the new season, especially because it is a few decades since Albion have been in the top division.”


THE owner of a retro football merchandise shop is preparing for a busy season as Albion pull in international customers.

Benedict Farr, who owns Saturday 3pm in Worthing’s Royal Arcade, said foreign tourists could be swayed by Albion items in his recently-opened shop due to their Premier League status.

The shop sells vintage shirts and other memorabilia from a range of teams, but an Albion item remains their best seller.

Benedict said: “Albion things definitely go better than anything else. A mug that says ‘We are Premier League’ is our best seller.

“There has been an upsurge in Albion sales.”

The shop also sells posters, including a Brighton Rock mock-up with Chris Hughton as Pinkie among other items.

Benedict said: “The Premier League is very high-profile, so we are hoping for a lot more visitors from abroad.

“I think more international visitors might be coming in.”


THE King and Queen, perhaps Brighton’s best-known sports pub, is expecting an Albion overhaul this season.

Deputy manager Laurence Johnston thinks the pub’s renowned Brighton Kop – the city’s Liverpool fanbase – will be washed away by Albion supporters, resulting in even bigger takings for the pub on match days.

Laurence said: “I would say Albion will outnumber Liverpool fans, definitely. Maybe 60/40 in their favour.

“We are expecting this season to be much busier because of them being in the Premier League, and we’re looking forward to it. It is a fantastic opening game of the season and there will be a great atmosphere.”

Mr Johnston thinks Albion’s promotion can only be a good thing for the city.

He said: “People can come and have a whole weekend here. It’s a fun, vibrant city and I would assume away fans will come and stay.”

The pub will be taking health and safety very seriously, too. “We’ve geared up with plenty of staff, and are serving drinks in plastic cups to ensure the unthinkable doesn’t happen,” said Mr Johnston.