BBOAH’s Alternative End of Season Awards

Ah, season’s end. The point where hope or despair finally crystallise and you realise there’s nothing more you can do about it until August. Where you can strut about the beach at Ayia Napa in your replica shirt like a peacock or stuff it in to the bottom of your suitcase, never to be seen again. And – of course – where one of your players picks up a lovely new Redifusion Television to recognise their efforts. You young people should Google that and then give thanks you were born in the era of 4K and Kodi sticks.

Anyway, we (ok, me) at BBOAH are no different in wanting to hand out some rewards and brickbats though we (ok, me) have no Redifusion Televisions to give out, let alone a Kodi stick. The winners and losers below will just have to make do with the kudos or shame that comes from knowing that a couple of hundred people have read something vaguely humorous about them. So, without any further ado, let’s go.

Player of the Season

See, here’s where I’m different. Everyone else builds up to this award. I start with it. Get me.

The thing is this may be the only sensible award in the whole piece and the jury (me and The Boy) are very much split. You would think it would be a shoe-in for Knockaert having won the award at both club and Championship level and, indeed, he is The Boy’s PotS of choice. I, on the other hand, am an old pub centre back. Players who tried that sort of fast-feet, drag-back, twisting and turning were shown two pairs of studs and kicked all the way back to the Dog and Duck. Our defence has been outstanding all season – well most of it – and its beating heart is Lewis Dunk.

He’s so much more than that though. He’s a major threat from set pieces, his passing is absolutely outstanding (let me tell you, all that flashy beating players to standing ovations doesn’t happen unless some big lump has won the ball back and given it to you) and he formed, with Duffy, the best centre back pairing in the division. I’m not having this Pontus Jansson nonsense. Leeds didn’t even get in the playoffs.

But, ultimately, the award has to be shared with Knockaert. Yes, I know I’m copping out, or at least compromising, but to not recognise the Albion’s player of the season, the Championship’s player of the season and The Boy’s favourite Albion player ever seems wrong. Fifteen goals, eight assists (http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/teams/brighton-and-hove-albion/top-scorers) several full backs dumped on their arses and more heart and soul than a rugby team on steroids singing the national anthem. Plus he led the celebrations down West Street.

Anthony and Lewis, we salute you.

The Sami Hyppia Award for Alternative Tactical Genius

Goes to Colin Wanker of Cardiff for having his centre forward man-mark Lewis Dunk. Outstanding innovation. Shame it didn’t work. Talking of Cardiff………..

The Mike Bailey Award for Dullest Match of the Season

Goes to Cardiff away.

I don’t get to go to many away games so I pick the ones I do go to carefully, or should that be Caerphilly. Honk. I chose Cardiff because a good mate of mine is a proper Cardiff fan and promised to show us the sights. Indeed, leading up to the game it was a proper day out and no mistake. He had a shit on the English side of the bridge and me on the Welsh. We walked it to a pub at 10.50 in the morning and it was rammed, not a table to be had. I got a breakfast and a pint for less than I tip the dustmen at Christmas. We saw some superheros and we survived a bar where everyone had a shaved head and had been in the Soul Crew. Except me – I just had the shaved head.

A huge amount of beer was taken which was just as well as literally nothing happened in the game. It had 0-0 written all over it after 5 minutes. Three pigeons that had taken roost on top of the grandstand died of actual boredom. Substitutes warmed up because it was colder than Theresa May’s heart and because they’d have dozed off otherwise. Stockdale nearly got frostbite. The share price of the company that makes their goalnets dived by fifteen percent.

In those circumstances the only thing you can do is sing and jump around like a looney, and the Brighton fans did for 90 minutes, so much so that Chris Hughton came over to acknowledge us afterwards. Or he might have been apologising.

The thing is, though, that it was another fantastic day in a whole season of them, and much more typically Brighton. A good session ruined by 90 minutes of football is my default setting. Great friendships were also made that day. And that’s what it’s ultimately all about, isn’t it?

The “You’re Not Quite Your Mentor Are You” Award for Getting English Football Wrong

Goes, of course, to David Wagner.

People like Klopp. Hell, I love Klopp. There may even be Man United fans who like him. He’s funny and smart in a slightly scruffy way and has the air that he’s just jumped off the terraces. His teams play attractive football. Journalists dine off his soundbites for weeks. And he GETS English football.

His protegee, David Wagner, on the other hand has held a one man pitch invasion, had a fight with Gary Monk and got the whole “intimidating a team in to bottling promotion” so wrong that his quotes will still be fed back to him with a sliver of German mustard and lashings of schadenfreude in July.

Game of the Season

Here’s where I really struggle. How can I pick ONE? And – it might not even have happened yet!

So here’s my shortlist. Norwich at home, Sheffield Wednesday at home, Fulham away, Wigan at home, Brentford away. What to choose, what to choose. A thrashing, an astonishing, against the odds, victory, an unlikely comeback win, the day we won promotion or a last minute equalizer with Tony Bloom going spare at the front of the terraces?

I honestly can’t pick. If ever there was a collection of games that summed up the perfect season then this is them. Goals galore, totally unreal penalty saves, last minute drama, mental celebration scenes and hilarity levels off the scale. How do you choose? These, quite simply, were the games that framed the season for me. You can stick your easy wins over Derby or Reading or your hard fought three points at Barnsley. Football is all about those fleeting moments where you’re lost in utter rapture or where you’re toying with a supposedly good opponent who are making Mark Farrington and Richard Tiltman look like football geniuses, to the extent that you can’t stop laughing. Those games delivered it in spades.

But, if we win the title with a last minute winner at Villa off Stockdale’s arse as he’s come up for a corner kick? Well, frankly, I might not cope.

The Frank Spencer Award for Comedy Gold

Honourable mentions again to the Norwich games, both for their defence at the Amex and Stockdales total lack of luck, and phlegmatic acceptance of same, at their place but there is only one winner here; Leeds.

Thank you Leeds. Let’s just remind ourselves of that moment at Elland Road where Liam Bridcutt stated, without any irony, that they were on for the automatics. Twitter was full of predictions that they’d do the same, at our expense, because “Brighton bottle it”. At this point the current chairman of the irony club has just sold his gaffe and moved lock, stock and barrel to West Yorkshire.

Not even in the playoffs. Fans across the division joining each other in matey renditions of “Leeds are falling apart”. And, of course, it’s all so damn UNFAIR.

That this MASSIVE club are once again bereft of Premier League football is a crime against everything the game’s about. After all, having huge attendences (four times a season), selling out away ends all over the land (never mind how close your opponents are or that you have a large London supporters club because lots of people love Leeds so much that they left it the second they could), and having every game moved by Sky (oh, wait, no, that’s us) should be enough. Forty Six games of football and keeping your nerve under pressure shouldn’t even enter into it.

I am slightly disappointed though. Only the other day I paid about twelve quid to see Stephen C Grant, Steve North and Atilla make me laugh. I could have spent the night on the #lufc hashtag and got the same amount of hilarity for free.

The Boy’s Award for Referee of the Season

And finally, it’s the one you’ve all been waiting for. This season has seen several rants, a few marks of minus several million and genuine OUTRAGE at the end of Brentford at home, but there has been nothing – so far – to compete with The Shyster (who we may well get next season, who said this promotion lark was good?).

There have – incredibly – been a couple of positive marks. Such things are almost unheard of. So it is, without further ado, that Chris Kavanagh, who reffed the Derby home game, strolls home with an astonishing 7 out of 10. We shall never see the like again.

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Sky To Introduce Inflatable Away Fans

 

In a move that is set to revolutionise the televising of football matches in the United Kingdom, Sky have announced that they have purchased an army of “realistic looking” inflatable fans who will take the place of away supporters at matches where the kickoff time has been changed, in order to present a “more credible experience” to the television viewer.

Roger Cockwomble, Sky’s Head Of Consumer Experience said that the convincing looking fans will be dressed in replica shirts and “tied to seats with a piece of string, in case it’s a bit windy.”

Mr Cockwomble continued “there’s nothing more disappointing for the television viewer to be greeted with than the sight of empty seats just because someone had to change to kickoff time to 10pm on a Thursday. 10pm on Thursdays is currently a ‘free slot’ for our hordes of viewers and we wanted to make their experience as close to the real thing as possible.”

“Of course, this could make it hard to get back for away fans, especially when you choose Newcastle v Bournemouth as we have next week. Out ‘inflatable army’ will maximise the atmosphere potential.”

When asked what sort of noise the inflatable away end would make, Mr Cockwonble replied “we have recently headhunted a new Under Head Of Consumer Experience, Julian Thundertwat, fresh from his work revolutionizing Football League coverage at Channel Five. His suggestion was just to record a choir mumbling something inaudible to the tune of Sloop John B. Except for when it’s Palace. Then we’ll just play three year old St Pauli songs.”

Mr Cockwoble continued “Julian did have another idea, which was to put a sofa in the away end for ‘special’ real fans and get them pizza at half time, just like they were actually at home watching Sky, but we rejected that as too ridiculous.”

 

Charlton Match Preview – Only At Home Goes Away

OMG! I’m super excited! Like totes!

Sorry, I don’t know what’s come over me (except that if I keep writing like that the answer will eventually be Joey Essex). It’s just that I’m going to my first away game for SEVEN AND A HALF YEARS on Saturday. I really wasn’t kidding when I named this blog. Back then The Boy was The Baby. I had just come back from four years living abroad and combined the odd Withdean game with the odd away game. At the end of that season we played Cheltenham away and I went, partly to get away from my Step Father In Law who’d invited himself down. We had cheese and organic cider on the train, got there for opening time and one of my mates sported a particularly daft false mullet and tashe combo to the derision of the rest of us. Standard.

At the time I really didn’t think that would be it for me and away games but the demands of family and work meant that was it for me and footy for a while. Then, after years of campaigning (of which a bit more later), we got our new ground and I did my deal with the devil, a home season ticket in exchange for family duties on away days. Sounded fair enough to me. However, The Boy was no longer a baby. He was becoming increasingly interested in what Daddy was doing at “the football”. Eventually he found out. Though he can’t remember his first game (which was lucky as it was the dreadful 1-3 reverse to Watford in Poyet’s final season) he went a few times under Oscar and practically begged me for a season ticket this year. Well, who was I to refuse?

Incredibly he is yet to see us win this season. We were in France for Bolton. Wigan was an evening game as were the Capital One Cup games. Yet these are the only home games he’s missed. I’m typing this in January. That tells you all you need to know about our car crash of a season. Clearly, though, he is a natural born Brighton fan as, far from put him off, he has become more and more keen with each game, to the point where he was pestering me to go to an away game. One of the other dads at his school takes his son and we go over together and have a drink before and after the game, and his son wanted to go away too. So we chose Charlton. Nice and easy to get to and very little expectation of a result. Should be perfect. Oh, wait.

Thanks to Network Rail it will actually be a complete pain in the backside to get to. It would probably be quicker to drive to somewhere in the south Midlands than get the train to Charlton on Saturday. At least the boys will have plenty of time to get their questions out of the way I suppose. Meanwhile, since we got the tickets the club has a new manager and has played away in London twice, winning each game 2-0. That’s right. Two wins. Two clean sheets. Four goals including a couple from our strikers. This should ensure an excellent turn out at The Valley and PLENTY of noise, but it also means that, where there was once resigned indifference there is now expectation. Chrissy Hughton’s Blue and White Army need to bring home some points.

What are the chances of that? The reverse game was actually my favourite of the Hyypia era. Admittedly that’s like finding the Christmas Quality Street tin in June and having to choose from the final two but still. Last minute equalizers are brilliant, especially when your seven year old has spent the previous five minutes deriding early leavers on the basis that “we could still score, Dad”. Bob Peeters was sufficiently scathing at the end of the game to suggest he thought we’d lucked out but, at the time, there seemed plenty of promise. Particularly in that game in the way Teixeira linked up with Colunga. Both should be fit to start this one. Other changes for us have seen Gary Gardner return to Villa to absolutely no tears whatsoever and Greg Halford come back in to the delight of many Albion fans – not a sentence I ever thought I’d type.

For sure it will not be an easy game as the new boss adapts to a squad that still looks a little thin and leader-less given our injury list. However some of that squad seem to be reborn. COG and Stockdale are notable for the stick they received under Sami but the latter is now showing exactly why we paid what we did for him with some brilliant shot stopping. The former has set up one and scored one in the previous two games despite only coming off the bench. His interview post Brentford is compelling listening. A decent family man who seems to have been messed about by the club and left to the derision of the supporters in an age when it’s the moneyed ex-pros who are attacking the fans. We should re-appraise and accept that we will get a better player if we play to his strengths or a chunk of our money back if he goes back to Sheffield.

I mentioned campaigning earlier. This week we lost a long term campaigner in Sarah Watts who did so much to secure our new ground, fight off the Archerlotti and get homophobia in football on to the mainstream agenda. She was secretary of the Supporters Club when I joined it at the age of seventeen. It’s fair to say that I ended up as not quite a Supporters Club type but not before I had met two very good friends and travelled to a fair few aways on the coaches that she and Liz Costa organised. Her straight talking was legendary and she copped far more stick than she deserved. The Albion have now lost Sarah, Roy Chuter and the Veggie Postie, all contributors in the gory years in different ways, far too young and with the new era only just in full swing. The thoughts of this writer and many Albion fans are with Sarah’s friends and family.

 

 

 

 

Are You a Super Fan a JCL or a Plastic?

As we all know Brighton fans can only possibly fit in to one of three categories. Super Fan, JCL or Plastic. So which are you? Take our simple test now!

1) Johnny Byrne is:

a) A mullet haired striker who had an uncanny rapport with the fans

b) A commentator on Seagulls Player

c) The bloke who sits on the last bar stool in the Rose and Crown and drinks Guinness during televised Chelsea matches

2) Gillingham is:

a) A shit hole with one good pub, terrible stands and an absolute sod to get to by train

b) Where we had to play for a couple of seasons in the nineties

c) Do you mean Gillingham Kent or Gillingham Dorset?

3) Have you ever heard of Kit Napier?

a) Yes

b) I think I’ve read about him

c) Is he the bloke who flogged me this Volvo?

4) The South Stand is

a) The area opposite the North that was never as good as it, started off standing and ended up seated after a fire

b) That awful temporary stand at Withdean that was exposed to the elements, thank God we only went once

c) Cardiff’s singing section I should think. Yes. Definitely.

5) When I say the colours red and blue together what’s the first thing that comes to your mind football wise?

a) The Palace scum

b) Barca

c) That season when Man U had a blue away kit

6) Archer

a) Absolute scum

b) Sounded like a terribly nasty man in those book though his DIY stuff was nice and cheap.

c) Olympic athlete who competes with a bow and arrow

7) Port Vale is:

a) Best reached from Longport station which you can get to for opening time if you leave Brighton before 6 am

b) Mickey Adams’ new club

c) A potential banana skin for Premier League teams in the FA Cup

8) Our special relationship with Doncaster is because of

a) The last game at the Goldstone and their subsequent suffering of a similar fate to us Chairman wise

b) That opening day win at the Amex

c) Having the same burger supplier

9) Complete the song: “he shot, he scored, he must be…..”

a) Peter Ward

b) Stephen Ward

c) Sod off I don’t do singing

10) International football…….

a) Came to the Goldstone with that England Under 21 game and again when Gazza played for England B

b) Is played at Wembley

c) Is the best thing on TV and I like to watch it with my friend Gerald in the Puking Nanny, partly to get away from the wife

Scores!

Score five points for each a.

Three points for each b.

One point for each c.

50 points – you are the ultimate super fan. You are Attila crossed with the GDC. Have a biscuit.

31 – 49 – you seem quiet normal. Have a biscuit

30 points – Hmmm

Under 30 – you are probably reading the wrong blog………..