Brighton (English version)

I was born in the late 1980s, so didn’t see the heights of the casual movement but it’s certainly influenced me. I’ve always been into football, buying new clothes, trainers and listening to music. Ever since I first started earning money (doing a paper round!), I always spent my money on buying new music, another pair of trainers or more clothes. As I’ve grown older and gone into full time work, my interest and addiction to those things has grown and I’ve been able to fund it. Over the last few years I’ve been fortunate enough to make some great friends (North Stand Kollective) through following Brighton & Hove Albion home and away, which has resulted in trips to Spain (Coruna), to meet Riazor Blues, and more recently Jerez, to meet Kolectivo Sur. Both trips meant a chance to watch a match abroad, meet like minded souls, take in some culture, try and speak a little bit of Spanish (terribly) and mostly get drunk. I’ve also made some good friends through a brand called Casual Connoisseur, if you’re unaware of the brand then check them out. I’ve made friends through this brand all over the UK and the world in fact, we regularly try and meet up in different towns in the UK. I went to Catania, Italy in April with a group of them as one of them lives out there and again got to watch a match, met some great people, took in a bit of culture and partied. Anyway enough about me!
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I’m born and bred Brighton (still talking myself – sorry), some what of a rarity as many people from London, elsewhere in the UK and abroad move here. It’s a great, liberal city and fashion is a big part of it whether you’re a casual or even a goth. Brighton caters for all. I’m sure you’ll all be familiar with the cult film Quadrophenia. Most of it was filmed in Brighton and tells the tale of a weekend in 1964 when two rival youth cultures, the mods and the rockers, clashed on the seafront.

In the 80s Brighton & Hove Albion had a firm known as the West Street Firm. West Street is a main street in Brighton, which is where they used to meet. They’re a bit calmer these days (as most firms probably are) but still turn out time to time. I would say The North Stand at the Albion has more dressers than other parts of our stadium and is our more vocal section of the ground.

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If you’re not aware of the history of Brighton & Hove Albion, I recommend reading Build a Bonfire and the follow up We Want Falmer. I will try to summarise for you.

During the 1990s the club was very badly managed, which spiralled out of control. In 1996 the local newspaper reported that our ground (The Goldstone Ground) had been sold by the chairman. There was no consultation with the fans and an alternate ground had not been built or anything prepared. The atmosphere during the 1996/97 season was very hostile because no one really knew what was going on. At the last game of that season Vs York, what we thought would be our last home game, after 15 minutes thousands of fans invaded the pitch and broke the goals:

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We were relegated to the 4th division but were allowed to stay for one more year at the Goldstone Ground. The next season there more protests and another pitch invasion resulted in us being deducted 2 points. We were also 11 points behind at the bottom of the league.

On the 8th February 1997, the fans had asked for support from fans of other clubs. “Fans United” was a showing of solidarity between rival clubs up and down the country and even the world. We beat Hartlepool United 5-0 that day. Just before the end of the season an agreement was reached with the fans and a new chairman. The football was also improving. We won 10 and draw 2 of our last 11 home games. The last game at The Goldstone was on 26th April 1997, we beat Doncaster 1-0. Our last game of the season was away at Hereford who were one league place above us. As you can imagine tension was unbearable but we drew 1-1 and managed to escape and relegate Hereford.

For 2 years after this, we played our “home” games at Gillingham which is about 70 miles away from Brighton. We moved back home after that and between 1999 and 2011 we played our home games at Withdean, which was primarily used for athletics. After a long struggle and fight of 14 years we moved to our new ground, Falmer.

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If you’re ever in Brighton, here’s a few shops you should check out – Peggs & Son, Thread Menswear, Profile. If you’re into your music and want to see a gig check out what’s on at Concorde 2, Green Door Store or The Haunt. As for pubs, there are far too many good pubs in Brighton to list and I could probably write another article about them! If you do need pub recommendations get in touch.

Mark

Instagram – markholt1

Twitter – holty88

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