Over the past two seasons I have not always savoured the thought of our habitual post-match chat with Alan Tanner essentially for two reasons. I don’t like football supporters who gloat and Seagulls have fared better than the Cottagers and secondly, and linked to this, the reason for this dominance is a manager that could and should have joined Fulham, Chris Hughton. So I was delighted that Brighton having scored 5 against Norwich, Fulham did the same also against a high flying side, Huddersfield.
It was a proper test for Brighton against Norwich relegated from the Premier last season’s and well fancied for automatic promotion. We got off to a good start when Canary keeper McGivern allowed himself to be jostled off the ball by Murray who slid the ball into the empty net. Norwich did mount some pressure at the start of the second half. This was relieved by a strong run from Bruno who at 34 is having an Indian Summer and whose cross found Glenn Murray for his second. Murray added a third after a skewed clearance by McGovern, Lewis Dunk headed home firmly from a corner and Anthony Knockaert clipped the ball over the keeper to complete the rout.
Alan was similarly elated. He often observes that the reason Brighton are second and Fulham mid-table is that Chris Hughton fields a settled side whilst Slavisia Joktonic changes his every game. Our defensive unit is the meanest in all 4 divisions (Stockdale, Bruno, Dunk, Duffy, Bong) is the same, week in week out. Young Connor Goldston came into the side last season, did well in central defence and Huhnmeier was a good acquisition so it was a bit of a surprise that Chris bought in Shane Duffy from Reading but he and Dunk have been a formidable pairing. Alan was delighted his boys only conceded 1 goal in the last two games which he attributes to the recall of Tomas Kalas. He said Oloko had a sensational game and I look forward to see him set his dribbling skills against Anthony Knockaert at the Amex in late November. Interestingly enough Scott Parker did not feature but Johansen from Celtic seems to have established in midfield. The head coach has clearly listened to Alan by playing Tom Cairney in central midfield.
Alan and I often speak of the many connections between our two clubs. One is Alan Mullery who Alan would have in his best ever Fulham side and skippered the 75 Cup Final team. His column as Brighton’s official ambassador is as combative as his erstwhile midfield play. Yesterday he managed in one column to recall altercations with referee Ron Challis, the Crystal Palace crowd, Terry Venables and John Bond! The sad thing is that such a wonderful Fulham player has no connection with the club. Mullers often refers to not being made a manager as promised after Alec Stock left but I heard that when Eric Miller, an Arsenal man, joined the board he preferred the Gunners coach Bobby Campbell. I don’t suppose he was as happy as I was for Fulham who I still think will make the play-offs.