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  1. #1
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    To the early leavers, a cautionary tale


    61 Not allowed!
    I don't want to re-hash the many threads on the topic but today possibly marks the end of a long era of regret resulting from leaving a game early.

    I was 12 years old and a season ticket holder. I'd travel to each home game on the No.2 bus from Shoreham. After the matches there would be massive queues for the bus home, and the buses that came along seemed to all go to Mile Oak or Hangleton with only the occasional 2 or 2a. So, if the match looked done and dusted, I'd leave at the 85 minute mark and be head of the queue. That is until the day in 1983 when we played Spurs at the Goldstone. As the 2nd half progressed, we didn't look like we were going to recover from 1-0 down, so I decided to cut my losses and head for the bus.

    As I started walking along the Old Shoreham Road I heard a massive cheer - we'd just equalised. I was annoyed but pleased .We'd gained a point and I was still going to get home early. Then, as I reached the bus stop, another roar. We'd come back with two goals in the last two minutes to gain a famous victory. And I'd missed it. Never has being front of the queue felt so worthless, the appearance of the bus coming over the hill felt like a dagger to my heart and I've never been so miserable being on the top deck at the front - I didn't even pretend to drive.

    From that day, I vowed never to leave a game early again and I never have. Through drubbings and drabbings, I've stayed until the bitter end because, as that match taught me, you just never know.

    This evening marks the first chance I've had in 35 years to see Brighton beat Spurs at home in the top flight. No matter what the score at 85 minutes, I'll be sticking around cos I may not be around in another 35 years.

    So, to the early leavers, I understand the attraction of leaving but I guarantee you won't spend 35 years regretting staying at a match or remembering the extra 30 minutes you had to queue. But you may end up regretting leaving and missing something magical.
    That's the number for Albion information. Every day, 24 hours a day.

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