I’m not a great one for outpouring of public, vicarious grief and bereavement. It seemed to start with the death of Princess Diana. Every decade’s anniversary of a tragedy is remembered though I cannot recall Liverpool doing too much on the anniversary of Heysel when 39 Juventus fans did not return. In reacquainting myself with the facts I came across this article that said it all much better than me.
See here – HEYSEL DISASTER
Thus it was yesterday that I was less than enthusiastic when the club notified us to be in the seats by 2-30 for the Shoreham tragedy memorials. We had the ritual clapping, the large shirts signed and paraded for the two youngsters, Matthew Grimstone and Jacob Schilt, who were connected with Brighton, in the directors box. Worthing scarves were worn, an operatic singer sung Abide With Me, the families of the bereaved were pitch-side and placards read “together” as a banner along the East Stand. This seemed over the top to me, the grief too generated rather than personal, and I certainly would never want to share it – had I lost a loved one – with a crowd of 24,000.
I was fearful too that the mood might affect the players. It did not as Brighton once again started brightly. We scored when Tomar Hemed knocked in a parried shot and might have had a couple more. One of the features of the Seagulls this season is how well we perform in the first half. Another is the midfield axis of Dale Stephens and Berem Kayal who so far have won every midfield battle. With Liam Rosenior shoring up the right and Lua Lua in scoring form on the left we have such a proficient midfield that youngsters Rohan Ince, Jake Forster aCskey and Solly March cannot make the starting team.
We top the league by 4 points but I cannot hand on heart say our football is more attractive than last season. In the Argus the point was made in the past 5 seasons not one relegated side from the Premier had been automatically promoted and only 3 – Newcastle that Chris Hughton managed, West Ham and Norwich – made it back via the play offs. Hull looked like that they might struggle to return notwithstanding the parachute payment. They hardly mustered a shot on goal and it’s now 25 years since they have won in Brighton. On the subject of airbrushing what you don’t want to remember , in the car home with 3 Brighton fans nor in any report did I hear or read of a shocking challenge on Okpam of Hull by Dale Stephens . Okpam was down for two minutes and had to be subbed but the referee only gave a yellow card. Had such a foul been committed on Stephens we would never have hear the last of it. The foul came a few minutes after a fat brat next to me shouted much to the amusement of his pals ” break his leg”.
Of course it’s great relief that unlike last season we are looking down – not up – the league but here’s another statistic: Brighton have not won a game in October for 6 years.