My Team & I: Brighton & Hove Albion



By Danny Last

Twitter: @DannyLast


Why Brighton?
I’m born and bred in the area. Fans around here are divided into two categories; fans that follow Brighton and go to the games, or fans that support Chelsea, Manchester United, Spurs or Arsenal and don’t go because they pretend they can’t get tickets. I’ve always been one for going to matches rather than watching them on telly. My Dad took me to the Goldstone Ground where I fell in love with football; thousands of fans flocking down the Old Shoreham Road, hulking great floodlights that looked exactly like my Subbuteo ones at home, rows of Doc Martin boots lined up along the back of the terracing, because police wouldn’t allow fans to wear them on the North Stand. What was not to like? Apart from the football. Pah! The actual football has always been of secondary importance to me. It’s all about the day out. Isn’t it?

Favourite Player ?

I don’t worship footballers anymore. The last one I did was Bobby Zamora. Bobby was brilliant for Brighton. We had a deal at free kicks: Centre back Danny Cullip would pretend he wasn’t interested in proceedings; scratching his nose, readjusting his kit and tying his boot laces so defenders wouldn’t pick him up. Paul Watson would swing the ball in, the unmarked Cullip would dash unannounced into the box at the last second, and flick the ball onto Bobby who would simply pop it into the net. That trick was good for two successive promotions. He also scored incredible goals from outside of the box (outside of the box!). He made me talk about the game long after it had finished – unheard of previously – and the thought of his brilliance would see me through to 2am when the nightclubs kicked us out onto the pavements, whereby we would sing songs about him.

Favourite Game?

Beating Millwall 4-1 at home in the play-offs in the 1990/91 season. For years, whenever I moved, I would make sure my VHS video of that game came with me in a taxi to my next dingy basement flat in Brighton. The home leg was played on a Sunday morning, and I hadn’t slept at all after partying all night. I received dogs abuse for still sporting my beer stained, long-sleeved Carter USM t-shirt. Anyway, we humped Millwall and after each goal we did a little pitch invasion, which I’m not proud of, but they were all the rage at the time. The away leg at the old Den was the noisiest, most intimidating atmosphere I’d ever witnessed, and you could have heard a pin drop in the away end as we beat them again to reach Wembley. They tried to attack us from every angle after the game. But we made it home, celebrated like beer was going out of fashion, and then lost to Notts County in the final. Tsk.

Favourite strip?

The Bukta kit of the late 70s. My first ever football top as well. It was itchy on the skin. Really, really itchy. A long-sleeved number with about 25 Bukta logos running down the length of the arm. The Phoenix Brewery kit of the early 80s was also pretty, pretty good, but it didn’t have blue and white vertical stripes and is thus disqualified. I should also give a nod to the pink NOBO away kit we had. Wearing that to Selhurst Park was a one act of madness too many for some.

Worst thing about being a Brighton fan?

30 years of homophobic abuse at every single game? Nah, we laugh at that. Being on the verge of going out of business was much worse. Not having a proper football stadium after the Goldstone Ground was sold by a complete fuck-wit was the worst thing to happen to me as fan. Years of going to sodding Gillingham before returning home to play in an athletics stadium devoid of any meaningful atmosphere, hurt. If only we had a shiny new stadium with a roof which sold local beers and stuff to move into for next season….

Funniest moment?

Being first item on the 9 o’clock news as Moira Stewart described the “riot” that had occurred at our home game with York City. It wasn’t a riot at all of course, it was a protest without any actual violence. I was on the pitch looking at a broken set of goalposts whilst one of my pals, ‘Big Deaks’ remained on the terrace, and yet it was his face that was plastered all over the News of the World back page the next day.

Favourite moment?

Any victory against Crystal Palace. It’s a rivalry that baffles football, but it’s a fierce one. I’m a lot more mellow as fan now than I used to be, hell, I even talk to Palace fans now and again, but I tell you know, if we beat them home or away next season, I shall be bloody unbearable for weeks.

That and making (chief executive) Martin Perry unlock the Albion trophy cabinet to hand me the League One and Two trophies to hold aloft after I’d have a few pints of course. Up the Albion.

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