All week the city of Brighton has been agog with the opening game of our Premier campaign against Manchester City. It’s the hottest ticket in town and not even T20 skipper and Kiwi international Ross Taylor could get one. In the end Brighton were well but not decisively beaten. We held City for 70 minutes but the key difference between a side aspiring to being a survivor and one that aspires to win the Premier is the substitutes bench. Manchester City introduced almost £100m’s worth of forwards in Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling. The Albion were visibly tiring with 20 minutes left and the last thing they wanted to defend against were 2 speedy forwards.
Football fans are great moaners. In our lounge there were distinct rumblings that we could no longer cross the concourse through the doors of our lounge to our seats but had to circumnavigate the director lounge to reach our seats. I can cope with a further 100 yards as our tickets barely rose in price for the Premier but I cannot tolerate the closing off of our row at one end resulting in a stream of fans taking up their seats leave to block my view. The kid next to me timed his run as well as Aguerro to block my vision of the first goal.
One aspect of Premier football I will enjoy – possibly the only one – is the quality of players one can see. I have always been a great fan of City defender Vincent Kompany who survives every managerial change. He reads the game so well, is hard to pass and strong in the air, in brief a complete defender. In other respects City seemed much weaker than last Sunday’s visitors Atletico Madrid whose holding game and individual skills were in a different class.
The previous night I was at Hove County Ground to see the Sussex Sharks get their T20 campaign back on track by beating Gloucestershire. The away side normally stays at the Hilton and so, I learned, did Manchester City. Raheem Sterling is reportedly on £240,000 a week which I reckon is more than the total weekly salary bill of Gloucestershire. Of course the money is quite different, global rights to T20s don’t sell for the squilllions of the Premiership and our Tymal Mills has done very nicely thank you in the IPL.
My request to the Club that I might be collected by car in the stadium fell on deaf ears as apparently this contravenes the transport policy of the council which is basically to tell all cars to eff off so I was forced literally onto the train again. I broke the habit of lifetime by leaving early, queued for 30 minutes and was forced onto a train in conditions which cattle would not be transported but at least was home for the final of the 5000 metres. It was a race too far for Sir Mo – and Usain Bolt in the relay – but sipping my giant Hendricks gin and tonic, I was becoming recruiting sergeant for the stay at homers in the Rust Debate.