Firstly a brief introduction. My name is Ivan Conway and I live in Hove actually, where I retired after a modicum of success in business. I was thrilled when editor Miles Piper and sports editor Tom Hollingworth invited me to contribute for the National Rust on Brighton games. I have supported the Albion for more years than I care to mention. Suffice to say, I was in the North Stand, when Kit Napier was my boyhood hero. I recall the wilderness years of 1997-99 only too bitterly and am grateful to the Bloom family for the wonderful new stadium at Falmer .
We have reached the play-offs these last two seasons. Goal scoring is our problem. Last season only the 18th team scored less and now we do not have Ulloa, who scored half our goals. We tend to go for the continental manager, which means we play possession football, but the ball does not get in the final third quickly so goal chances are few and far between.
We did not score in our first two games aganst Southampton and Sheffield Wednesday, nor the first hour last night in the Capital Cup against Cheltenham. The laboured build-up was painful, with little movement nor width. The most exciting thing was that my guest from Hove was turned away from the 1901 club where I sit, for wearing shorts. He wore trainers against Sheffield Wedsnesday and they had to find him replacements. This time they turned him away for wearing shorts and – having no replacement trousers – he was denied entrance. As my friend has raised £4000 for the Brighton in the community charity, he was less then impressed and made his feelings clear.
I recently joined the 1901 club, which affords the best seat in the house, but I am pleased to see that it’s not stuffed with corporates but Albion fans as fanatical as I. The universal view is that new boss Sami Hyppia has got to get in some strikers – and quickly – if we are to make the play-offs again. In the longer term, the new academy at Lancing costing £30m, means a flow of younger Seagulls but this takes time.
I showed Alan Tanner around the Amex and neither of us can wait till November 29th, when The Cottagers visit.