In just over five months time, Brighton and Hove Albion will have a home ground for the first time since 1997 as The Amex nears completion.
I’ve always quite liked Brighton and Hove Albion, possibly because they reached the FA Cup Final in the year I was born although this fact has annoyed me in recent years when commentators say “Albion reached the FA Cup Final a long time ago” during FA Cup matches, which makes me feel old.
I remembered the departure from The Goldstone Ground mostly for how messy it was, with endless protests against the clubs board and vigilante behaviour from supporters.
I remember the protest that forced the abandonment of a match against York City in 1996, which was actually on of the lead stories on the main BBC news that night.
Youtube has news clips from this era and is well worth checking out, a fascinating look at a club’s struggle to keep up with their peers off the pitch.
The first clip, from Saint and Greavsie in 1991 is almost prophetic, as it states that a future of lower league football awaits Brighton if they are unable to find a new stadium within the next couple of years.
In 1991, Brighton were challenging for promotion to what was then the First Division, but lost in the Play-Off Final to Notts County.
The following year, they were relegated to the third tier, before relegation to the bottom division of the Football League in 1996.
In 1997, Brighton were one defeat away from Non-League football. The club recovered, and made it back to The Championship in 2002, but were immediately relegated, then promoted back, before being relegated again in 2006 to League One, where they have been since, but currently lead.
Unless there is a major collapse, the new Amex Stadium will host Championship football when it opens in August 2011.
Brighton is a city I have on places I hope to visit within the next couple of years, so I might even get to visit this stadium in the next couple of years.
So sit back, and look at the evolution of a stadium that has taken 20 years to be realised.
Hopefully one day Ards, in a similar situation to Brighton, will have something similar.
Amex Picture Gallery