OK, so I’ve only been following Premier League football for ten years, and I wasted several of those pinning my hopes to Aston Villa. (What’s the policy on old scarves, by the way? Donate them to charity? Use them to wash your car?)
Now that I’ve become a Brighton supporter (and rocking my awesome Seagulls scarf, acquired as a birthday gift) I am thrilled to see the guys in the middle of the table (at the time of writing). After the sluggish start I was fully prepared for a season of gritting my teeth and saying “oh well” a lot when asked about their fortunes.
My only (selfish) complaint is the Seagulls have managed to cobble together the most inconvenient home fixture schedule possible as I plot a way to come see the lads in person at the Amex. Once the UCLA’s football season ends, their basketball season is well underway (you may have heard something about some of the UCLA student-athletes causing an international incident while in China. If you haven’t, feel free not to Google, it’s OK.)
So, here’s how the Seagulls’ home fixtures and the universe conspired against me and my frequent flier air miles:
Nov 28 v Crystal Palace (UCLA had a game that same night)
Dec 2 v Liverpool (UCLA had a game the next afternoon)
Dec 16 v Burnley (UCLA had a game that same afternoon)
Dec 23 v Newcastle (UCLA was in a tournament in New Orleans)
Jan 1 v Bournemouth (UCLA had a game the night before, no way to get from LA to London to Brighton in time)
Feb 3 v West Ham (UCLA had a game that same night against its biggest rival)
Feb 24 v Swansea (Mets baseball spring training began in Florida)
Mar 3 v Arsenal (UCLA has its rematch game that night against its biggest rival)
Mar 31 v Leicester City (Mets have a home game vs St Louis)
Apr 7 v Huddersfield…
Maybe we have something here. A good friend is getting married in London that weekend and I am allowed two days off between March and the beginning of September. Hmmm. Fly in? Make an appearance at the rehearsal dinner and/or bachelor party, take a train to Brighton to see the match then speed back to London and fly back to the States in time for the Sunday baseball game? My body and brain say: “that’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.”
My heart says: “when else will I get the occasion this year to wear my scarf and have people not look at me all funny?”
I admit I know literally nothing about Huddersfield. What is it? Where is it? I know they have a player at midfield whose last name appears to be made up (Mooy) and another that sounds like something you’d say after winning the lottery (Kachunga!) So I guess I need to think this trip through thoroughly, but my gut tells me I will indeed take those two days off, I will indeed pack my scarf, I will indeed cash in my free airline miles, and I will see all of you at the Amex.
If indeed that’s the case, feel free to shoot me some ideas about how to get back and forth between London and your wonderful city… where to walk around in Brighton the morning before the game… and how to get on back to London after the gripping victory vs those chaps from Huddersfield.
(Seriously, if you gave me five guesses, I couldn’t come within 100 kilometres of identifying that place on a map. Although, in fairness, who among you could correctly point to Boise, Idaho here in the USA? )
Any ideas are appreciated, and in the meantime, I will keep the faith that we stay firmly in that upper half of the table.
Feel free to reach out via Twitter — @joshlewinstuff.
Maybe it’s a midlife crisis. Maybe it’s the fact announcing 160 baseball games/year here in New York has curdled my brain. Whatever it is, it comes with a surge of energy — I am loyal to the Albion, having started following English soccer just a few years back. It started with a trip to London, announcing an NFL game from Wembley. The path has wound from there to Birmingham to Brighton. I have found my side and have ordered my scarf!