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Brighton beached

Brighton’s defeat by Watford followed predictable form. We scuffed an early chance, the game became an attritional midfield battle which we might have won if we had a goalscorer. Watford did and broke the deadlock. We had better chances in the second half which we did not convert and Watford scored a very late second. The verdict on a poor season is the necessity to find at least two goalscorers over the summer.

Brighton is a community club in the best sense. My neighbour captained a side of supporters that annually contest, with a supporters team from arch rivals Crystal Palace, the Robert Eaton trophy to raise funds for the Brighton fan of that name who died in 9/11. The team was presented on the pitch and my neighbour had an enormous cup given to him more for his fundraising efforts, though as keeper he did keep a clean sheet.

I always enjoy the historical feature in the programme as it recalls for me games of yore. This match programme had an inset the copy of the programme of 26 April  1965 heralding the promotion side of the old fourth division. It advertised the Imperial Hotel owned by the Bloom family who play such a significant  part in the club’s fortunes, Anna Neagle appearing in the Connaught Theatre Worthing and wrestling, ice hockey and ice skating took place at the sports stadium in West St which is no longer. In the goalscoring columns, Frannie Lee netted 23 for Bolton and Allan Clarke the same number for Walsall. Both had impressive club and international careers. A season ticket cost 5 guineas and commercial activities consisted of a jackpot lottery and match ball sponsorship “a new idea for supporters or business houses”.  Gates were high, then and now, regularly tipping 20,000. On the playing side Bobby Smith had gone from Spurs and representing England v Rest of the World to Brighton for £5000.

After the match I had a long chat with Alan about the 7 goal thriller with Middlesbrough. Alan is bit of  a glass half-empty merchant and was bemoaning the defence which conceded 79 goals all season. I  had to point out that it’s taken the Seagulls 10 matches to score the 4 goals that Fulham achieved and we would not mind one of McCormack, Rodallega, Woodrow, Dembele or Smith.   Alan replied that Kit Symons should take a mile’s walk to Chelsea to ask Jose Mourinho how you close out a game. Many supporters now wish he went bit further and permanently. I retorted with a parachute payment, rich owner and support base they must surely have a better season. Yes said Alan but they want 700 bloody sovs for my season not 5 guineas.

About Ivan Conway

Ivan Conway will be reporting on Sussex sport. He is a member of the 1901 club at Brighton HAFC, Sussex County Cricket Club and an enthusiastic horse race goer. After selling his freight forwarding and conference business he settled in Hove. His other interests are bird watching, brass rubbing and bridge. More Posts