I am often asked by friends and family: why Brighton?
Well, for me that is an easy question to answer. Moving to Sussex was a life changer for me and my family and the best decision I have ever made. When I started coming to watch the Albion around 2008 that feeling increased exponentially.
I have been going to football matches as a Newcastle fan (long story) for about 40 years and as a woman I got a few looks. Back in the 1970s and 1980s some were curious, many hostile, and none were friendly. The insults we received relating to our skin colour was relentless, boring and to be honest not very original. Going to grounds like Chelsea and West Ham was at times terrifying and I was in no doubt that they wanted to do us harm.
I have to say this put me off following many of the local teams to me in London. The fans were not just racist, they were criminal, even jeering their own players; I could never follow a team where the fans behaved like that. My experience at Brighton has been the complete opposite. I felt welcome in and around the ground. In all the pubs in Brighton I was welcomed with friendly banter and genuine friendship. Going away has been even better and our fans are the most vocal wherever we go. The banter is second to none and my partner and I have experienced the best times on the road with the Albion.
One of the most memorable games I have experienced was my first Albion away match – a day that will forever stick in my memory: Saturday, 15th August, 2015, Fulham versus Brighton.
We nicked a 2-1 win, with an injury-time penalty by the glorious Hemed. The fans went wild. Me, I nearly had a stroke! There are only a couple of times in my life when I have felt joy to this level, they are:
- Giving birth
- Meeting my partner
To be fair I have had a few more since that day and I feel that I (we) will certainly have more. I have been around for a long time, attended a lot of games and been around grass-roots football and I can honestly say my experiences supporting Brighton & Hove Albion has changed me and made an avid fan for life – and I have you lot to thank for that.