From The Stars to The Gutter

Last week being a Brighton fan was brilliant. Last week we were heading for the stars. We had thrashed Blackpool 6-1 in one of the best displays I’ve ever seen from our club. Then we secured 4th place in the Championship, securing both a playoff place and a higher finish in the table than bitter rivals Crystal Palace, by winning at Leeds and overcoming a disappointing Wolves team. After that game the players did a lap of honour with their kids and I drank myself silly and danced to Northern Soul and reggae in the concourse under the North Stand. A celebration too early? Not a bit of it. Last Friday in the first leg of the playoff semi we went to Palace and came away with a creditable 0-0 draw. We could have won. And they lost Glenn Murray, top scorer and former Seagull to an admittedly horrid injury. While that was nothing to gloat over waking up this time last week felt pretty good. Since then it’s been a load of old shit, metaphorically and allegedly literally.

I write a lot but not much about the Albion. When we moved to the Amex my deal with my family was that I would get a season ticket for home games as long as I didn’t go away. Somehow not seeing away games made me feel I would be commenting on half the story. Towards the end of last season I started to think that my twitter was becoming clogged with BHAFC stuff and that actually ONLY going to home games could be a USP. I planned this blog. This week’s events have accelerated its birth.

So to summarise. We lost the return leg 2-0 to bitter rivals Palace who’s goals came from Wilfried Zaha who, in the first half at Selhurst and in the St Patricks Day Massacre had been distinctly average and had been told about it. Some “genius” in the marketing department decided to hand out annoying colour coded clackers (as someone on NSC said, the sort of thing Reading would do). And someone allegedly took a dump on the Palace dressing room floor, reminding everyone of that old Duncan Ferguson joke.

Then Gus Poyet gave a frankly baffling post match interview that was pretty much a ‘come and get me’ appeal to Premier League teams (Hello? Gus? You just lost. To fucking Palace). As we licked our wounds the news suddenly came that Poyet along with assistants Mauricio Tarrico and Charlie Oatway had been suspended with immediate effect and that the ‘retained’ list had been done by others at the club. As I type all sorts of speculation is rife.   One thing that seems certain is that Poyet won’t be managing us next season.

Poyet. I love that man. Loved anyway. It’s like breaking up with an annoying partner you happen to be addicted to. His teams played beautiful football, the emphasis on skill and passing. We were like the Little Girl With The Curl. When we were good we were very, very good and when we were bad we were horrid. No plan B, team selections that were occasionally baffling and the total inability to come from behind (ironic given the gay chants aimed at Brighton). But against that the likes of ex England players Bridge and Upson playing in the stripes along with ex-Spain Vicente. The same Vicente who today stuck the knife in to Gus’ still twitching body in the local paper. He won League 1 at a canter in a crappy old athletics stadium. Then we finished above Palace in the first season back in the Championship (this matters). Then this season there was the St Patricks Day Massacre followed by the Blackpool game and 4th place. Make no mistake Poyet achieved.

So if and when he goes who will go with him? Bridge and Upson’s loans are over and I don’t think Senor Vicente will be getting a call but the player I want to stay more than anyone is Liam Bridcutt. Liam plays football like Heston cooks, like Johnny Marr plays guitar, like Clive James writes. This pretty much guarantees he will be off to Norwich.

As for the next manager who knows? All I know for now is that we are back in the gutter. We have to get back, somehow, to the stars. I hope to document the journey.

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