“Brighton are back! Brighton are back!”

The fans’ message rang out loud and clear on the afternoon league football came to the Amex.

We had had the test event against Eastbourne Borough in the delayed Sussex Senior Cup final.

Then Harry Redknapp brought his Spurs side to the Amex.

(Gareth Bale started and Harry Kane was an unused sub, you might recall).

That was the official opening, the tenth anniversary of which we celebrate today.

But the first time points were up for grabs was on the opening day of the Championship season against Doncaster, the last visitors to the Goldstone 14 years earlier.

You couldn’t script what happened on the pitch with the fightback from 1-0 down and the very late Will Buckley winner.

You certainly couldn’t give Gus Poyet a script. He was a free spirit.

The man who built a team to fill the Amex was as fired up as anyone on that red hot afternoon in Falmer.

That is why he ended up watching from the press box, having been banished for an explosive reaction to what, in fairness, looked a poor decision to deny Kazenga LuaLua a penalty.

All part of the drama of a day to go down in club folklore.

We have seen some great times at the stadium since then. And a few crushing disappointments – and many more matches between those two extremes we have probably forgotten about.

We all have our favourites. We all have our own classics.

We all have those little moments which pop back into the memory at times.

Those are the great times. But even the not so great have to be put in perspective.

For those who have followed the club long enough, there must come a moment in every game when you look around yourself at 30,000 people in such a striking stadium, look out on to the pitch and appreciate where the club has come from.

Admittedly, in the more disappointing times, those thoughts might not hit you until late in the evening.

That you have been part of the type of spectacle we used to dream of.

Of course by now, ten years on, there will be those who have only known the Amex.

This arena, these crowds, this level of football is the norm for them.

And that is great too because Albion built the stadium to stage Premier League football.

Appreciation of the past is important but you can’t keep harking back in a “look how far we’ve come” way.

That is why the club have set the target of top-ten status.

To head off that “what now?” moment for clubs who have climbed the divisions and reached a certain point on the steep ascent.

And it IS steep. Lift your foot off the accelerator just a little and you don’t stop. You roll backwards.

As Tony Bloom told The Argus a couple of years ago and has now repeated, he did not plan the Amex – back in days of 7,000 crowds at Withdean – as a venue for the club to be pushing for the Championship play-offs in front of 18,000 or so.

It wasn’t worth doing for that.

He planned it for Albion to get to where they are now – and beyond.

Perhaps it is no coincidence that the development of the stadium and training complex has seen the club enjoy their most stable period since the days when they seemed forever stuck in the old Division Three South.

One change of division in (at least) ten years at the Amex.

(At least) 11 years in the top two divisions for the first time.

A fifth season in the top tier. No relegation in (at least) 16 years.

Never in the Prem bottom three after the first couple of games in 2017, unless you include the 18 minutes they spent in 18th place on the “as it stands” table while trailing in the first half at West Ham 18 months ago.

Steady progress - not as dramatic as we would have liked at times.

But the Amex era has seen clubs shoot ahead of Albion, then drop back. Clubs they used to look up to sink down the divisions while the Seagulls thrive.

Arch rivals for honours – Middlesbrough, Sheffield Wednesday, Huddersfield, Hull, Derby – are left behind.

One of the better games at the stadium, for example, saw Albion test Bolton Wanderers to the limit back in 2012-13.

A penalty saved, three efforts against the bar or post, a Bruno wonder goal and then the concession of a last-gasp equaliser.

It was a heart-breaking finale to a magnificent contest beneath heavy rain and dramatic dark skies.

But “look how far we’ve come to give Bolton such a scare” was the cry afterwards.

That was one of those games which felt like a highlight and lowlight at the same time.

As was the play-off second leg against Sheffield Wednesday.

For many, that goes down as the best atmosphere the Amex has seen and heard. And, later, the most crushing disappointment.

We all have different perspectives, of course.

The loudest I have experienced was at the final whistle of the 1-0 win against Manchester United at the end of the first Prem season.

If pushed, I’d put that as my favourite match at the stadium so far.

Others would say differently.

The day promotion was clinched would rank very highly along with wins over Crystal Palace and the first game versus Doncaster.

Ah yes – Doncaster.

Albion have played 243 matches at the stadium.

But curiously, for me and many others, one of the best memories of the Amex is still the 20 minutes or so before a ball was even kicked there in competitive league action.

This was the bit of the Doncaster game they COULD script. The build-up.

The buzz, the euphoria, the excitement, the anticipation, the feeling of achievement and the sense of occasion in that period as we waited for Gordon Greer to lead the team out will still generate a warm nostalgic glow for many who were there.

For those who had taken their places in a stadium which, when you look back at that day now, seems half-finished.

No upper tier in the East Stand, no seats in the corners, just holes where the lounges would be in the South Stand, no TV studios in the South East corner.

So much development in the main arena and in lounges and concourses has taken place in the last ten years.

For those who enjoyed the novelty of trying to hook their mobiles up to the stadium Wi-Fi.

For those who lapped up the montage of goals from the past on the screens, over suitably epic music (Escape by Craig Armstrong).

That video is something we are very used to now but it was mind-blowing at the time.

“Superb from Jimmy Case."

"And Leon Knight fires the dream.”


“It’s the stuff of dreams.”

There was Fan Zone, Gully’s Girls, music playing and announcements being made. So much to fit in. So much to say.

But then they let it all go quiet, gave it all time to breathe and allowed a chance for fans to have their moments.

The chants rose and swelled around the stadium as blue and white flags were waved.

Albion were back. Back in the Championship, back to a proper stadium with room for 20,000 people.

Back to a status to which now, ten years on, they would not want to return.

On July 30, 2011, the front cover of the programme for the Spurs game told fans they had come a long, long way together.

Ten years on, it feels like the club have come an awful lot further.

But the thrill of that special time - ten years ago right now - must be forever cherished.