22 May 2013


I, like most of you i'm sure, am still trying to comprehend what has gone on at our football club over the last week or so. What seems like an eternity ago now we were poised to go into battle with our most fierce rivals, two games, 180 minutes, with the winners off to Wembley to participate in what is generally regarded as the worlds most valuable game of football.

However, as I sit writing this, we have a club which from the outside looks in a bit of state. Gus Poyet our manager, along with his assistant and first team coach, are suspended. Dramatically told to 'STAY AWAY' from the football club pending investigation. We also have shit on the away dressing room floor, and silly clappy bits of paper on our seats at Falmer. You couldn't make it up.

These mounting issues have seemingly lead to the club receiving all sorts of abuse, from not only Crystal Palace and Ian Holloway (fully understandable), but more worryingly in my eyes, from our own fans. The BHAFC hashtag on Twitter has exploded, and no one at the club escapes the wrath.

Now I'm not for one moment trying to defend what happened last Monday prior to the Palace match. It was vile, it was low, it was stupid. 'Here you are Ian, there's your teamtalk just over there, all around the toilet..' Braindead.

However, whilst I appreciate that this sort of publicity is most definitely not what the club needs, we also have to bear in mind that the club didn't plan this. It's not like the clappers which were intentionally handed out to add to the atmosphere were malicious, this wasn't a pre-planned 'dirty protest' from the club hierarchy.

With that in mind I actually believe that this has been handled pretty well by the powers that be at Brighton, however a large number of fans were quick to demand answers and explanations.

Quite simply the club probably didn't have any. A police investigation has, and still is being carried out, generally during these sort of things you'll find that every detail isn't made public as they go along. I imagine that a lot of Albion fans, like myself, were still hurting from the defeat and saw the clubs silence as something to attack.

Since last week we've since had an email from Paul Barber, or Satan as he's known in many corners of the Albion family, astutely explaining how and what has happened since 'Poogate'. Along with quite rightly an apology to Crystal Palace. Pretty professional all in all I think.

I guess what I'm getting at is that I don't like to see people get carried with the bashing of our club. Maybe our rapid elevation in league position and possible over achievement, has added to many peoples expectations. I haven't the experience of any other football clubs when it comes to customer service, media handling etc, as I've only ever supported Brighton, but in the same way that we all tell Gus to appreciate what he's got going here, I think we need to aswell.

What this club offers in the community for example has been winning awards for several years now, how the club reacted to the sub-standard catering in the first year at The Amex by getting rid of Azure and replacing them in order to please fans, how the club rewarded all those who made the wasted trip to Blackburn with a free pie, these are all seen as maybe trivial things by many, but are also things that the club don't need to do.

In the email sent recently you'll see that Barber openly admits that the threefold increase in support has maybe caught the club out a little, and I'm not surprised. Has there ever been a bigger jump in average attendances in English football? I'm not sure that there has. I personally think the board have done a decent job in keeping the close-knit family aspect of the club whilst at the same time attempting to evolve the Albion into a Premier League outfit. There is going to be issues with tickets, with queues, with personal feedback, but every club will have them. In the twenty years I've been going to watch Brighton this is without doubt the most professional set up that I've experienced.

On the subject of professionalism, I think the way in which Tony Bloom has dealt with Gus Poyet over the last week has been the epitome of it.

For all the unsavoury goings on at Brighton recently, it's been the behaviour of our manager that for me has left the most bitter taste.

I won't ramble on, as the point of this blog wasn't to give my opinion on Gus. However, from what I can make out, we were lead into one of our biggest games in 20 years by a man who's head was already away from the football club. Tactically he seemed uninterested, for him it was almost just a match just to get out of the way as opposed to the biggest of a generation.

As for his comments after the game I think he was lucky to get away with just a suspension. Bleating about next seasons budget minutes after he had been tactically outdone by a man who's entire starting XI cost less that Leonardo Ulloa? Not for me Gus. One ego trip too far.

I think Poyets suspension, coupled with the other dramas of the week have left many disillusioned and wondering where we head from here. As far as I'm concerned we wont go far wrong. We have a club, which I admit at this moment in time looks like it's rattled to it's very core, in very safe hands. A man who wont have his already well used pockets stretched any further by a demanding manager with ideas above his station.

Under Tony Bloom, Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club is moving, and will continue to move in, the right direction. The speed at which we move may be too slow for a certain Gus Poyet, but rest assured there will be no shortage of takers when it comes to filling his role. Hopefully the new man will be willing to stick around for the ride. Hopefully we all will.

Keep the faith, up the Albion.

By Mark Nickols @mark_nickols


Mike Hall said...

This needed saying,well done. There have been some very ill informed and negative comments over the past week.
When you cut away all the BS the result of all this is that we will have a change of manager which would have happened sooner than later anyway.

Swerv said...

"Was" moving in the right direction.

loveleedshatebates said...

That line " a certain Gus Poyet" shows the writer is agenda written. That "certain" manager took you from nowhere to the cusp of the PL, frankly you should be ashamed to be so critical. Remind yourself that in August 2009 you were getting tonked 7-1 by Huddersfield in L1! Your rela issue is Barber and he won't get you promoted.

Anonymous said...

The BHAFC that turned up at The Galpharm in 2009 is incomparable to what we have today, the club is incomparable. We were a caterpillar then, now we are a butterfly.

With beauty comes fragility however.

philip pemberton said...
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Anonymous said...

Philip - as you don't even know Paul Barbers name I feel it's a tad unlikely that you have the slightest clue about what has or hasn't gone on behind the scenes!!

Anonymous said...

Philip (again) - when has Poyet 'used money as an excuse for failure'?! More importantly - what failure FFS?!

10th last season - 4th this season! You may think it's failure - I see it as an improvement!!!

Poyet is right and to move forward we need investment in the squad, in players that can hold their own in the PL - an Upson or an El-Abd?! A Bridge or a Painter?! It really is that simple!

All within the requirements of Financial Fair Play, of course!

philip pemberton said...
This comment has been removed by the author.