FAMILY and friends have paid tribute to an Albion superfan with an unusual story.

David May, known affectionately by friends as “Dave The Legend”, died on June 21 aged 87.

Despite having a strong claim to being one of Albion’s most dedicated followers, having watched almost 1,000 games, David did not start life as a Seagull.

Growing up in Gillingham, he supported his local team for the first half of his life and rarely missed a game.

But he moved to Sussex and began working as a technician at a college in Hastings where he met his partner, Gillian Thomas. The pair never married but had stayed together ever since.

It was Gillian’s son Mel who took David to his first Albion game at its old Goldstone Ground in 1991.

The 53-year-old said: “I invited him to come to a match with me and he was converted almost immediately. He just loved it. There were only about 5,500 or so people watching most games but there was always an amazing buzz. He was hooked straight away.”

David was quick to immerse himself in the club’s social scene after being introduced to Mel’s fellow Albion fans.

Mel said: “He left us a message, after he died, saying thank you to the lads and I for making him feel so welcome at the football.

“He loved the Brighton fans and their passion. We went to all sorts of grounds, the big games, but also some crazy places like Rochdale and Rotherham, but there was always a good turnout.

“The level of commitment always amazed him.”

In an odd twist of fate, it was not long before David found himself heading back to Kent when Albion’s former owners sold his beloved Goldstone Ground – forcing the club to share a ground with Gillingham for two seasons.

But he returned to his old spot on the terrace as a bonafide member of the Albion faithful.

Mel and David barely missed a game as Albion moved to the Withdean Stadium and continued to compete in League One and the Championship. But one of David’s highlights as an Albion fan came in recent years as the club made its new home at the Amex and won promotion to the Premier League.

Mel said: “He was blown away when we moved to the Amex. His 80th birthday was in the same year as the first season there so we rented a box and held a surprise party for him with about 25 friends.

“My mum brought him up and when he came out of the lift there were tears in his eyes.”

But David’s favourite Albion moment did not come at the Amex. Instead, it was the when the team faced Hereford, fighting for their football league status.

Albion secured their safety with a 1-1 draw. Mel said: “For him, that was the biggest and the best game. Brighton could have been kicked out of the Football League, it was a real showdown and he would often talk about it.”

David had other interests including boating, but Albion was an ever-present – his boat was called Seagull.

David had wanted to raise money for good causes, including Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity, so Mel has set up a JustGiving page in his name and is aiming to raise £1,000 as a celebration of David’s life.