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Brighton & Hove Albion: The 1901 to Falmer is right on time!
If you’re an Albion fan on Saturday morning you’re having a fairly pleasant dream, top of the entire Football League a 22,500 capacity sell out cup tie against Liverpool next week and still awaiting one of Spain’s greatest ever players to be unveiled in the midfield.
Oh hang on, this is actually happening. After the years of drudgery and disappointment you wake up to find this is all real. Ok Megan Fox won’t be bringing you a bacon sandwich and a cup of tea in bed (in most cases) but the rest is pretty damn alright.
Yes it is good to be an Albion fan right now. For some of us whatever the team is doing on the pitch it has always been good to be an Albion fan. One day we’ll miss playing Orient and Gillingham and holes opening up in the Withdean pitch. A bit like you miss spam fritters and shopping trips to Hanningtons with your Mum, as a kid. Yeah ‘in a not at all’ type way.
Supporting the Albion in 2011 is a world apart from even Mickey Adams particularly unfortunate second Albion coming.
A majority of people either turned up at Withdean at 12.30pm just to get in The Sportsman or turned up as late as possible to kick off and maybe used the UK’s most expensive ice cream van (I wonder what that particular Mr Whippy is doing now? St Tropez I heard) Many won’t have spent too much dosh , getting to the bar in the Sportsman was like trying to get in a Smoothy Bar in the North Laine on a Saturday afternoon in June, elbowy and sweaty.
Now of course we get to our wonderful Amex at about 1pm, stand outside marvel and do a big sigh like we are looking some astonishing piece of art, or a puppy.
When you get inside you can have a leisurely pint and watch the telly, have a pie or a Thai curry. There is loads of room to mill around, or you can just sample the brilliant pre match atmosphere I'm not sure if you can get an ice cream.
I am fortunate enough to occasionally, (alright most games) frequent the 1901 club Albion’s executive style area.
But it’s not really. It’s mainly long term Albion fans who have spent a little more, of their hard earned, not on going out every weekend or on designer clobber, but on one of the loves of their lives. No I didn’t tell my Mrs that.
Paul Rogers and his team are attentive and very forward thinking. They are always on hand to ensure every visit is as enjoyable as it should be.
They operate in a discreet manner not in your face, but if you want a chat or need to know something they are on hand.
T he bar staff if a little slow early in the season, are now up to the pace of Craig Noone instead of Phil Stant.
You can even order half time drinks , and if you need to you can get a cup of coffee or tea to take with you to the second half, in a natty little Albion cup. For no extra charge.
I have quite a few cups actually, I putt balls from the kitchen through to the hallway into them. If you hit it too hard into the cup it ruins it, suffice to say, I have loads left.
So far Andy Rollings , Gary ‘Chelsea’ Chivers and Kerry Mayo have been hosts. I haven’t eaten yet (except quite a few pies) but the food looks and smells super.
I recommend a trip to the 1901 Club to anyone, do go if invited.
So forget Leicester, all those Stadium name changes is enough to confuse anyone.
It’s on to the three L’s all in the space of a week, Liverpool Leeds and Losers.
Sounds fab doesn’t it.