Albion open their season with a home game today – for only the fourth time since 1996.

Goals from Ian Baird and George Parris secured a 2-1 win over Chester at the Coldstone that day.

The three home openers in between have seen the Seagulls scale highs and lows.

Excitement was at fever pitch before they hosted Doncaster at the Amex – and many memories will perhaps turn to that momentous afternoon as fans head to the stadium today.

But the same was also true on opening day 15 years ago when Mansfield visited for the first game at Withdean in 1999 – and were trounced 6-0.

Albion thrash ten-man Mansfield in 1999

It is easy to forget now that there was a wave of optimism, too, before the only other home opener Albion have had in that time.

That was five years ago, though it feels longer than that, when a revamped Albion side, still living on the buzz of the previous season’s Great Escape, took on Walsall.

That optimism came crashing down at about the same time as Andrew Whing headed into his own net to set the scene for a few months of struggle.

The pre-match excitement of 1999 and 2011 was matched by the drama of the opening game - but not by seasons of success.

This year? Apprehension and a sense of not really knowing what to expect are the over-riding emotions.

But it will make a change for Albion fans to be at home to start the season.