31 July 2011


I've woken up this morning wondering if yesterday was all a dream but the thickness of my head and the photographs I took seem to resemble reality. I write this from the depths of north London in the shadows of the New Highbury and, having been inside there a couple of times, Falmex feels nicer. But then I would say that, I don't support Arsenal. I'll start with the only negative - the biggest problem I encountered yesterday were the throngs of wasps attracted to the god awful away shirt I was wearing.

Falmex is a beauty. The North Stand atrium is, thanks to the end of the West Stand roof, more akin to a well designed new development - more Kew Gardens than a football stadium. Its well stocked bar added to the fantastical element of the day - never before had we seen beer inside an Albion home ground, and it was pure joy to behold. The acoustics lived up to their billing and, even in a pre season friendly, the crowd sounded louder than it ever had at Withers with the north west corner doing everyone proud. The post match drinks in Dick's - supplemented by staring at the wonderful fan's mosaic - meant that the crowds had mainly dispersed by the time we headed back to Brighton proper.

At times in the first half, we even had a team that did quite well in the European Cup on the back foot. Defensively, there were concerns - but we should be one of the most exciting in the division when going forward. Kazenga was back, and what a man he is. Falmex is a venue that would not look out of place in the European Cup itself and its ultimate gorgeousness could be seen across the smiling faces of all in attendance throughout the day. And yes, we should have a marching band playing Sussex by the Sea every match (even if the crowd still claps along so fast they leave the professional musicians behind).

So all in all, what a day. The place is so exquisite, so unbelievable and so long in the pipeline that, of course, it will take some settling into. But settling in we are prepared to do. Roll on Doncaster in just six days time.

Right, that's enough from me - I've got a few things to write for TSLR031, out next weekend. We'll be loitering outside Falmex offering the issue for a £1 or you can subscribe for the season by dropping us an email at tslr@hotmail.co.uk or messaging us on Twitter @tslr. For more Falmex reaction, read contributor The Hovian here and European Football Weekends here.

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