• Disheartened and disinterested - Albion's Derby following tells a tale

    The Albion have long enjoyed an away following the envy of many clubs of a similar standing. Often competing in divisions with a Northern bias, travelling Seagulls are frequently faced with lengthy and expensive journeys when the club are away from the Amex. Travel they do though, in sizeable numbers, season after season.

    On average each away day for the Albion this season involves a trip of 141 miles (followed, of course, by a journey home of 141 miles) which is the fourth longest in the division, narrowly behind Cardiff (142 miles) and fellow South Coast club Bournemouth (149 miles). Fans of Middlesbrough face the longest journey to see an away game, with each game an average 155 miles from home.

    Last season the Albion made the trip to Derby in mid-January. It is, traditionally, a poor time for away attendances as people feel the pinch of Christmas spending excesses and are being miserly until their pay day finally arrives at the end of the month.

    The fixture represented the first of four consecutive games away from the Amex for Oscar Garcia's men with a fourth round FA Cup tie at Port Vale to follow. Championship games at Burnley and Watford completed the travels before the club could enjoy home comforts at the Amex again. This sequence would also not be favourable for Albion's away attendance at Derby, as many would need to be selective about which away games they were able to make.

    Despite these mitigating factors, nearly 1,400 Albion fans were at the iPro as Derby edged out the Albion by a single goal in a tight affair. From there Derby have continued to kick on - finishing a comfortable third behind promoted Leicester and Burnley before inflicting third and fourth defeats of the season against the Albion in the play-offs.

    Many clubs suffer a hangover after failing to clinch promotion at Wembley but that has not been the case for Steve McLaren's side who have been amongst the division's pace-setters this season, and lead the league ahead of tomorrow's encounter. Having experienced play-off agony, Derby will be doubly keen to secure automatic promotion at the end of this campaign.

    There could not be a starker contrast between the fortunes of the two clubs since last season's play-off tussle. Albion currently sit third bottom, below the dreaded dotted line that indicates League One football may lie ahead.

    The news that only 500 Albion fans have bought a ticket in advance of the trip to Derby is an indication of just how people are feeling about Sami Hyypia and his team. Social media, as well as NSC, is awash with criticism and concern at the Albion's plight. There is, additionally, some amusing gallows humour - if you don't laugh, you cry, and no-one wants to cry at Christmas.

    There will be walk-ups tomorrow - pay on the day is available - but there won't be 900 people who wake up on Saturday morning and suddenly decide to make the trip, and who can blame them?

    Those who are heading to Derby tomorrow will be doing so more in hope than expectation and they will, undoubtedly, give it their vocal all in support of the Albion. Tony Bloom, who is no stranger to away day train travellers, is sure to notice the diminished number of fans joining him on the journey.


    Comments 2 Comments
    1. Gwylan's Avatar
      Gwylan -
      While it's gloomy reading, you're not really comparing like with like, the weeks before Christmas traditionally see lower gates than usual, but, yes, it shouldn't make that much of a difference.

      Oh, and disheartened they may be but if they're supporters, by definition they're not disinterested; you mean uninterested
    1. LamieRobertson's Avatar
      LamieRobertson -
      In reply to the article... it could be said our best performances this season have been away from the Amex ..if i hadnt the season ticket i'd consider going to saturday away games and missing the home ones
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