• We All Follow the Albion

    by Published on 30-11-2016 16:32
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    by Published on 28-11-2016 11:36
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    Writing this up, without resorting to the lazy 'game of two halves' cliché is a challenge. One that I'm not going to bother to attempt. This match was exactly that.

    Coming into this contest, it felt (yet another) big moment - yet another test of the Albion's true credentials. Outside doubters are increasingly falling behind the Seagulls' promotion chances - its the die-hard amongst us, with the badges and t-shirts of decades of disappointment, that sometimes struggle to truly believe.
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    by Published on 31-10-2016 10:17
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    How would you script the perfect home match?

    The tension of a crucial fixture against a close rival?

    Plenty of goals?

    A hat-trick?

    A clean sheet?

    An unlikeable away manager, to jeer?

    A pantomime villain, or two, in the opposition ranks, to boooooooo?

    Comedy errors from the opposition keeper?


    Whoever had the task of writing this one did an utterly fabulous job. What a thoroughly magnificent afternoon to be an Albion fan.

    The Seagulls came into this in good shape, but Norwich City, with their Premier League squad fully intact, sure to present a stern challenge. The Canaries had
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    by Published on 20-10-2016 14:55  Number of Views: 1834 

    Work, work, work.

    Too much work, unfortunately = no match report on the excellent win over Barnsley, nor of the ultimately frustrating draw against Preston. The frankly unprofessional finale to that game, left this subsequent home game, feeling like a 'must win' - much as I hate that term - if the Albion were to hold their place in the emerging breakaway pack.

    Difficult to know what to expect from the visitors - a side who followed a 0-4 defeat at home to Barnsley, with a 2-0 win away at Newcastle - but a decent game in prospect, no doubt. A decent crowd there to see
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    by Published on 14-09-2016 08:03
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    First apologies for the lack of a Brentford report. I could (honestly) point to some crazy work pressures as the sole reason, but in truth, you can add me to the long list of those of a blue and white persuasion, who failed to put the effort in. Horrible performance, completely lacking in intensity or desire. Take nothing away from the Bees though, who thoroughly deserved their victory - and especially Scott Hogan, who looked mightily impressive - if not surely, the Sergio Aguero equal that we made him look.

    So to last night - a big reaction
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    by Published on 24-08-2016 11:48
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    Another Tuesday evening, another fixture in the early season game-frenzy set up by the Football League (sorry…”EFL”), in order to make sure those lazy players have worked off the summer excesses of Vegas & Marbs. This time, the Albion found themselves en route to Oxford United of League One in the freshly monikered EFL Cup (formerly the Capital One Cup, the Coca Cola Cup, the Worthington Cup, the Rumbelows Cup, the Littlewoods Cup and even the Milk Cup, once won notably by last night’s opponents of course). Also not to be confused with the prestigious Checkatrade
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    by Published on 17-08-2016 10:54
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    33 years into my Albion supporting experience, and I’m encountering a whole new sensation. This is a little bit different, isn’t it? Where’s the tension and the gut-wrenching stress? What happened to the unshakeable feeling that even when things are good, some form of calamity is lurking round the corner?

    Last night we enjoyed one of the most comfortable league wins we have seen in an age - a thoroughly professional Albion performance, brushing aside a Rotherham side intent on disproving the ‘no easy games’ cliché. All credit to the 247
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    by Published on 15-08-2016 11:57
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    After a creditable point at Derby, and a straightforward cup win, back at the Amex for what felt like the real start. New season, same Sky - Friday is the new Saturday. More travel bullshit to overcome, meant the sofa alternative was attractive to some - noticeable gaps at kick off leading to the least effective flag-show to date, as the club took the occasion to celebrate the magnificent stadium's fifth birthday.

    An unchanged side from the first league game. Dale Stephens, free from injury, then suspension, on the bench somewhat allaying fears of any impending departure. Star man Britt Assombalonga missing for visitors Forest, amongst transfer rumours of their own. Pleased to see the name of Henderson on their sheet - not flaky former Albion keeper Wayne, but his equally average nephew, Stephen. Lots of crosses please.

    A strong looking midfield though. Teenage Premier League target Oliver Burke out wide - excellent new signing Kasami partnering perennial irritant Henri Lansbury in the centre. One set piece apart - Dunk stabbing wide from Skalak's whipped corner - it was the visitors who made the early running. Kasami pulling strings, and Burke looking a great prospect - tall, strong, pacy and direct. Less effective on the other flank, former Albion target Jamie Ward, somewhat below his usual busy, angry self.

    Forest set about the Albion with huge intent - last ditch blocks from captain Bruno, and Lewis Dunk saving the day. Liam Rosenior recovering to clip a dangerous cross behind. Burke then had the moment, the chance, to make the bright start count. A well timed run saw him in behind Gaeten Bong, his pace took him past Dunk, and one on one with David Stockdale. The Albion keeper got his angles right, and Burke slid the ball past him and a foot wide of the far post. The travelling Tricky Trees (best / worst nickname in world football) fans, utterly silent until now, piped up without a hint of irony, that they’re Nottnum Forest, they’ll sing on their own.

    They certainly weren’t singing alone five minutes later. Jiri Skalak ran to the corner, drew in two defenders, then turned and laid the ball back for Bong, to whip in a low cross. Henderson could have dealt with it but stood on his line. Ben Osborn stood and watched, as Anthony Knockaert drifted past him, to half volley calmly as you like, under the keeper. The brilliant Frenchman broke down in tears, as his team-mates mobbed him. He explained after the game, that it was the birthday of his older brother, tragically lost to his family some years ago. An emotional moment for a very special player.



    These five Amex years have seen some very fine players turn out in the stripes, from Jedi master Vicente, to the brilliant Leo Ulloa, the agelessly magnificent Bruno and the all-round hero that is Inigo Calderon. I love all of them, making this a huge call, but I wouldn’t swap Anthony Knockaert for any of them. What an absolutely mesmerising footballer he is. The old cliché about being ‘worth the entrance money alone’? That’s Knockaert.

    by Published on 10-08-2016 14:24
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    Well, hello all. We, as they say, 'go again'.

    A while back, I wrote up a home cup match versus Cheltenham, calling it a ‘League Two tribute night’. This one wasn’t quite the same – not hilariously inept – just thoroughly low key, in all aspects. A lack of glamour from the rebranded ‘EFL Cup’, bland opposition, a makeshift Albion line up and travel ball-ache all contributing to the ‘occasion’.

    The best part of 7,000 people still rolled up though, ...
    by Published on 18-05-2016 14:08
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    Now that the dust has settled, and the pain is less raw, the overwhelming feeling is one of pride. We fell agonisingly short, but the season has been remarkable and Monday night was such an incredible occasion that it would be remiss of me, not to commit it to words.

    As a defence mechanism, I think a lot of Albion fans were approaching the game with the mind-set that success was beyond us, but we would treat it as a celebration of the season. The events of Friday night had killed us – yet more outrageous misfortune decimating the side and leaving the proverbial mountain to climb
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    by Published on 03-05-2016 13:32
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    Game 45. Derby at home. Nerves absolutely jangling ahead of the game. A new record Amex crowd. Streamers and flags. The feel of an utterly huge game – even though Boro’s slip on Friday night meant that this one was no longer an absolute MUST win – to fail to do so would make the final day harder, but not close the door. Whatever happened here, a win on the 7th will do it.


    A bright start from the (unchanged) Albion. Brighter indeed, than the two recent thumping home wins. Beram Kayal went close
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    by Published on 20-04-2016 20:50
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    Déjà vu, all over again.

    The AMEX under lights. Visitors from West London dominating early exchanges, before conceding from a set piece, then getting swept away.

    The Albion's incredible run goes on, with another massive win - but not without a tense opening. It took the Seagulls half an hour to click - careless in possession, and suffering a collective loss of composure, in the face of Rangers' high tempo pressing. Time and
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    by Published on 16-04-2016 17:14
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    Yet more time off work, for an afternoon dash to Brighton for an evening game. Love the Friday nights though - seems to work well (incompetent railways aside) and the Amex atmosphere is often at its best.

    Visitors Fulham, despite their lowly table position, arrived off the back of three straight wins, which have all but secured their Championship status. The Albion need nothing but wins at this stage though, so lined up with intent - James Wilson alongside Tomer Hemed up top, with
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    by Published on 06-04-2016 19:41
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    Well now. It's all getting a bit real.

    Through a combination of lethargy, man-flu and work pressures, my brief Burnley notes never turned into a report. Here they are anyway - I think they pretty much cover it.


    Onwards and upwards. Onwards indeed - to Birmingham. A handily arranged work commitment. An expensed hotel. A poorly chosen real ale pub with iffy beer and half-cut clientele. A sea of familiar faces. A mood of contentment and cautious optimism.

    Until the team news.

    No Knockaert? FFS. Murphy's out? Sidwell? Seriously? 4-5-1? Nah can't be. You are joking, right?
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    by Published on 16-03-2016 12:25
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    Yet another Tuesday night. Another half day holiday used up. Another slog down the A27 through rush hour in Worthing. I make it sound like an effort, and it IS an effort, but undertaken gladly – more so when the team are going well.

    The Albion team changes were intriguing – one obvious and essential - the return of King Beram Kayal in place of Steve Sidwell. The other unforced – James Wilson’s pace for Tomer Hemed’s guile. Hemed could consider himself hugely unfortunate, having been in excellent form recently – indeed
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