24 January 2011


Back in the summer of 1997 (I think), myself and my esteemed Co-Editor of The Seagull Love Review, were invited to talk about the bad old days for a book.  It was about desercration of our footbal club and I suppose the silver lining that that accompanied that infamous cloud.

At 13 years old though perhaps we had our heads elsewhere,  we spent our time darting around the backstreets of BN1 like the kids in Slumdog Millionaire and forgot about the invitation.

The book was Build A Bonfire, and obvioulsy we have regrets about not being as interested in it then as we are today.

Still, the legibility of our input would have been iffy (have you seen how we write today!) and the book is, as you all know, the most the important collection of thought ever commited in ink about Brighton and Hove Albion Football Club.

We were aware some time ago that the authors - Paul Hodson and Steve North - were planning a reprint, but here's some blurb about a) the book and b) the future from the new BaB facebook group which we implore you to join by clicking here;

"(Build A Bonfire) is a book that was published in 1997 written by Steve North and Paul Hodson. It is an account of what happened to Brighton and Hove Albion FC, a club that nearly died and which was saved by its fans. In July 1995 the club owners, Bill Archer and Greg Stanley, announced that with the support of the chief executive, David Bellotti, they had decided to sell the club's 95-year-old Goldstone Ground to a property developer for #7.5 million. With no new site to go to, the club was to share Portsmouth's stadium for the 1996-97 season, requiring a round trip of anything up to 200 miles for fans wishing to watch "home" games. All this was done without consulting anyone connected with the club. To combat this move supporters mounted a campaign to save their club. Using interviews with people involved in the struggle, this book traces the events leading up to the sale of the ground and charts the progress of the fans in their fight against the board. The battle culminated in Dick Knight's group gaining a controlling interest in the club at the end of the 1996-97 season. The book also explores possible implications for other clubs. The book had a limited print run of 2000 and subsequently fetches up to £80 per copy on Ebay. To co-incide with the opening of Brighton's new 25,000 seater stadium at Falmer in August 2011, the authors are republishing the book in paperback form. They are also writing a second book charting the 13 year campaign to build the new stadium which is due to published just before the opening game at the AMEX stadium in August."

If you own a copy of the book already, it is important - a duty perhaps - that you lend it to younger fans who either know very little about the A*cher years, or were too young to appreciate the complexities of the events of the period.  On a car trip to Bristol Rovers a couple of years ago with some fans younger than me we passed a Focus DIY lorry.  I hissed, as one does by default, and was met by looks of confusion by my companions.  They did not know about Focus DIY and it's relationship to the club and by lending them Build A Bonfire, now they do.

Anyway, join the group to keep abreast of progress!

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