• Albion ramp up Amex match day offerings

    Albion fans approaching the Amex from the direction of Falmer Station on the opening day of the season would have noticed a new arrival. A Fish and chip shop had popped up - the first time catering of any kind had been available outside the stadium's inner concourse areas.

    Catching wind that this could be a taste of things to come. we spoke to the Albion's new Head of Marketing, Tom Gorringe about how some elements of the match-day experience may evolve this season.

    Tom knows what he is doing. He has recently arrived from a similar role at Cardiff City, where he is widely credited with putting in place changes that saw the Welsh club voted as the best Premier League away-day experience in a poll conducted by the Football Supporters' Federation.

    "You should feel like you are entering into something special."

    Firstly Tom, welcome to the Albion Tom, how are you settling in?

    Thanks. I am settling in well. There is a brilliant team here off the field and Iím really enjoying being part of that.

    You're not a stranger to the club, we understand you were a Withdean season ticket holder before your work took you away from Brighton. Things have changed somewhat since then.

    They have changed a huge amount. I was a season ticket holder at the Withdean, sitting out in the rain season after season. To stand at the Amex now on a matchday and think back to what it was like really brings home how far this club has come.

    We're particularly keen to ask you about some changes to the Amex match day set-up we've heard about. Fans at the Sheffield Wednesday game will have noticed a fish and chip van outside the North West corner of the ground - is that sticking around? And will there be any more food options available, this Saturday or in the future?

    There will be food options available outside of the concourse on a game by game basis. For this weekendís game against Bolton the Fish and Chip option remains and we are working with our caterers to provide additional options available throughout the season. This will however obviously be dependent on demand so the better the take up at the weekend the better the argument moving forward to continue to develop these options.

    We've heard whispers there may even be bar facilities at some point. What's the story with that?

    Correct. There will be a beer garden facility in front of the stage this weekend. Unfortunately we are only able to do this for certain police category fixtures, so it will not be available for the Charlton game. However there is only in a handful of instances across the season when we canít serve alcohol.

    There was talk of a band playing outside the ground for the Sheffield Wednesday game, but we heard there were was a licensing issue. Is that resolved? Will we have live music at the Amex now?

    This has now be resolved, the council and the police have been great in helping us overcome the issues. We have a great local band called Rory Indiana signed up for this weekend and there is a schedule of local acts building up across the season.

    Will the catering options and live music be in place for all home games now?

    Yes, this will now be a fixture for every match moving forward.

    Albion fans love the Amex, but outside it's felt a bit sterile, as if it needs Albion-ising a bit. Are there any plans to change that at all?

    Again, this is something else that is on the radar. We are currently looking into suitable areas and solutions with station approach forming a key part. For me this space should be akin to the players walking out of the tunnel. For a fan, you should feel like you are entering into something special. We will be liaising with fans over content once the space has been agreed.

    Family days have been a big success, are there any plans to expand on these at all?

    Every game at the Amex should be a family day. It is important that we are offering an array of services to engage with children as they will form the fanbase of the future. We will be looking to give the East Stand a bit of a facelift and have already began filling this with some more engaging content including live entertainment, table football and a photo opportunity in the old dugout seats.

    What other things are on your 'to do' list that people would be interested to know about?

    At last count my to-do list was 26 pages long so I wonít bore you all with that. I think the three main areas of focus to begin with will be matchday experience, branding and redevelopment of how we communicate and interact with the fanbase.

    Finally, we have to ask - you arrived at the Albion from Cardiff. You're not going to change our kit to red or rename us the "Brighton City Seagulls" are you?

    I have been in football for a number of years now and there is a huge amount I will be bringing from my previous clubs. Fortunately kit colours and name changes fall well outside of my remit and in addition this would not something that I think would fit the chairmanís view for the club.

    The outside bar will start serving at 1pm, with the band taking to the stage at 1:30pm. With the addition of these outside catering options, access to the inner concourses will commence slightly later than has been the case in the past, also at 1:30pm. Early birds can access Dick's bar from 11:30am, with the Seven Stars opening at noon.

    We would like to thank Tom for taking time out to speak to us as he prepares for this Saturday's first fanzone at the Amex. You can follow Tom, and keep up to date with his work by following @Thgorringe on Twitter.

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    Comments 2 Comments
    1. Horses Arse's Avatar
      Horses Arse -
      Will he be banned for standing?

      To stand at the Amex now on a matchday and think back to what it was like really brings home how far this club has come
    1. Mackenzie's Avatar
      Mackenzie -
      Its all good.
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