21 May 2013
17 May 2013
The pre-match circus laid on by the club was nothing short of embarrassing, and an undignified way to generate support for a club like ours. Such was the lack of class that surrounded events prior to kick off, it sullied our fine stadium and disrespected our fans.
In a programme of plastic antics devised by club officials, they predictably only fanned the flames that led to Palace’s fine away fans generating the passion and noise needed to turn the match in our bitterest of rivals favour from kick-off.
The more I thought about Palace fans jibes about our new support in the lead up to the match, the more I felt offended by their lack of understanding of the heinous situation that befell the club in the mid to late 90s. Palace, a club that have emerged ultimately unscathed from decades of boardroom mismanagement, had the affront to judge us without a single thought about the context of fandom at our football club since 1997. The fools, I thought, that they question our heritage as if we’re MK Dons. It could so easily have been them playing at a local athletics track in the Fourth Division, our similarities as clubs, as supporters, are in my opinion one of the main drivers for this continued feud.
This rivalry, at a point never more bitter, and at a meeting never more important, marked one of the most important games in the history of the football club. This wasn’t just a Play-off semi-final, the whole thing was amplified by the opposition. Let’s be honest here, our progress in the league this season has been fantastic and no fan would be ashamed to miss out on Wembley this year. Upset, of course, but not ashamed.
The Palace element gave it so much more. The dynamic that they brought to the table is almost impossible to find in anything else; everything else would be mere nostalgia, a touch of colour to an already impressive event.
This match though would be different. It is the ultimate match, the clashing of two upwardly mobile teams, with fans who, in recent surveys, sit in the top 10 of football rivalries in England amongst Black Country derbies or century old Lancashire feuds, Steel cities and Tyne and Wear warzones. It matters, we all know this.
Although maybe some don’t. Maybe some people within the whitewashed halls of The Amex Stadium thought it’s no big deal, that they needed to raise the atmosphere in other ways, that those customers wouldn’t be that clichéd twelfth man without some help.
Some help, yes, good idea. Some help for the 27 thousand people who proudly wear a seagull on their chest, some help to sing some songs, some help make our award winning stadium look ‘impressive’, some help to clap our hands. Some help to create an atmosphere in a Play-off Semi –final, in which we are favourites, against Crystal Palace Football Club.
Palace fans call us plastic, the club didn’t get the joke. To enforce this most unlikable of reputations the club physically made us plastic, thousands of frankly pathetic ‘clackers’ to hold up when the teams came out. ‘NOW’ screamed the big screens, the club being explicit in telling you what they want you to do, and when they want you to do it. I can only guess that the club shop were devastated that the pictures of such a scene can’t be flogged to fans such is the association with the subsequent football match.
They were multi-use though, these vile instruments. You can ‘clack’ them of course, making the stadium sound like a … well, I don’t know. Not like a football match, anyway.
The most horrific aspect of these satanic sheets though was the patronising song sheet on the back. Yes, we’d seen them before at Withdean, and yes even TSLR had produced some GOSBTS hand-outs at an away game nearly 5 years ago, but at least we didn’t change the words to the song.
In my opinion people shouldn’t have to sing along anyway, there should be no perverse kudos with knowing all the words, the fact that you’re at an Albion match is far and away enough proof of your fandom. Fans should be able to hum along, or do the der-der-der version if they wish, there’s no problem there. The club created something akin to a North Korean military rally, sing in time, make sure you get the words right, concentrate on that instead of the imminent football match.
That wasn’t the worst bit though. The worst bit was the singer. Even then, I can handle the GOSBTS bit. I should add though that our famous county anthem is a marching song, sung by working class servicemen from all over the country since the last century. Normal men and women, just like us, it’s not fucking Nessun Dorma and never will be.
But I can handle that, whatever. What I can’t handle, and was perhaps the single worse non-football related thing I have ever seen at this club that I love so dear, was said opera singer belting out a Westlife song – I repeat, a Westlife song – before the teams came out. I appreciate that ‘You Raise Me Up’ may be quite rousing as a soundbed to a soppy story on the X-Factor, but when that note change came in after a little pause and the songstress started approaching* the poor sods in the WSL a little part of me died inside.
I never thought, after the infamous and internationally respected blood and guts support that we Albion fans have put in to this club over the past 15 years, that the club would feel it appropriate to soil such an event with that sort of display. I am astounded that the club, at a time when in fact we need to generate a more visceral and organic kind of atmosphere at The Amex, chose that farce instead.
It’s time to have a think about how we, as fans, regain and control our matchdays. It’s time to unify, collaborate and create. It’s time to sing your heart out even when we’re not doing so well, and it’s time to let everybody know, and dare I say it the football club too, that we’re no plastics so don’t ever treat us like we are.
*We have been told that the opera singer had to move because the sprinklers came on! Fantastic.
10 May 2013
As usual they are priced at a miniscule £1, plus £1.50 for postage and packaging.
These will sell out very quickly, so go to the TSLR Shop by clicking HERE and grab yourself a copy pronto.
9 May 2013
3 May 2013
2 May 2013
Hand screen-printed in Brighton, our exlcusive tees proved to be the most sought-after Christmas present in our fair county (and more-so for our exile fans around the UK), but alas weather has not allowed us Albioninos to show off our guns and give the clobber a good airing.
So don't hesitate now, get over to our secure online shop HERE and pick one up for a measly 11 quid. We can think of nothing better than sporting one of these with a cold pint of Stella on the beach after work.
We've sold out of L and XL but will have more in stock very soon.
1 May 2013
23 April 2013
Grealish’s story gives hope to all Sunday footballers since he was discovered by George Petchey playing on Hackney Marshes and took the short trip to Brisbane Road, Leyton to play for the team then known as just Orient. After a spell at Luton, Tony joined the Albion in the summer of 1981 in a swap deal for legendary skipper Brian Horton. His career at Brighton was always to suffer by comparison with the dynamic, driving force that was Nobby. Nevertheless, he provided sterling and reliable service as a combative midfielder in what would now be called a holding role. He played the vast majority of games in Brighton’s best ever league season, 1981-82. When the Albion won at The Dell in December of that season, the table showed us in the giddy heights of 7th place and challenging for Europe. Tony played a resolute role in the famous win at Anfield in March of that season that left us in 8th, but after he dropped to the bench towards the end of the season it may have been no coincidence that the season tailed off to a 13th place finish.
Never blessed with great pace, he relied on a decent range of passes and liked a tackle. He was the sort of player who you noticed when he wasn’t there – his reading of the game and no-nonsense approach appreciated perhaps more by team mates than by a Goldstone crowd used to flair and winning during the rise of the late 70s.
Anthony Grealish 1956 - 2013