Friday, 7 November 2014

The Blue & White 'Un - November 7 2014


Albion lose 3-2 to Bourneo on telly, an unsurprising result tempered by the thrillingly unexpected emergence of strikers who actually score (nice) goals.

The defence, as usual, resembles a punctured dinghy manned by mice in a monsoon. GG scores a classic own-goal, stooping to conquer past Wigan watchman Ali Al-Habsi, signed on loan after David Stockdale breaks his finger in a furiously-typed Twitter meltdown after his shot-stopping ability is compared unfavourably to Peter Schmeichel at his peak.

Adrian Colunga and Sam Baldock produce two cool finishes – the latter ending a move straight down the Route One highway – either side of a Marc Pugh goal which takes a deflection off Dunk, whose ridiculous lunge gives the hosts the 76th minute penalty which sends them to the Championship summit. Still, Sami finally gets to change tack from the standard post-match stuff.

“Helpless is a very dangerous word to use,” he laments. “I can’t do anything more than my best.” His opposite number, Eddie Howe, becomes the latest manager to effectively tap Hyypia on the shiner and tuck him up in bed with a warm bottle of patronage.

“It is the toughest game we have had for some time,” he says, presenting his Man of the Match award to Dunk before handing Greer a handwritten note of thanks.


Oh yes! Elliott Bennett signed on loan yesterday! You’re probably better off reading the official site if you want to know all the latest £8 a pint offers at the Amex news. Apologies.

“You can see that he has settled well into the group and has had banter with the rest of the squad,” serenades Sami, denying rumours that the Telford titillator’s opening song was a rendition of Are You Lonesome Tonight to Paddy McCourt.

“If we manage to win and get six points out of the two games, then that will definitely calm things down outside the club,” adds Sami, who’s clearly familiar with the legendary level-headedness of North Stand Chat, where six points will probably ensure talk of Champions League finals and Finnish statues at the Clock Tower.


The long wait is over: Kemy Agustien is back, firing the under-21s to a 0-0 draw against Bolton.

The supposition that he had an ankle injury hides the typically dramatic truth: “I've been fit for a longtime so don't get it twisted,” tweets the Dutch dynamo. “Want to play games so that's why with the 21's now.”

One man who definitely does have a dodgy ankle is Aaron Hughes, who went off at Bourneo after barely touching the ball. It’s not broken, but the physios need to wait for his swelling to go down (fnarr fnarr).

Ex-Pole in Goal Tommy Kush ends the dreams of Sussex Sunday League managers the county over by signing for Wolves.


It’s the big one, and Albion v Wigan turns out to be every bit as good as the reputed 7,000 stayaway season ticket holders anticipated. A win is a win, though: Gazza Gardner scores after a minute, then Albion whoosh the woodwork, then a fairly dire game gets Sami’s stuttering Seagulls their first win since Saturday games didn’t need floodlights.

“Everyone did their job quite concentrated on the pitch and we came out as winners,” reflects a thankful Finn. El Bennett and El Calde send supporters’ hearts aquiver by embracing at the end.


Late news again. Albion signed centre-back Greg Halford on loan yesterday. “I’ve come here because I’ve never been top goalscorer anywhere before,” says the fearsome Forest reserve.

Another loanee, Gazza Gardner, calls Sami “top-class”. “We will kick on up that table, I know we will,” he says, echoing the mutterances of the average Albion fan trudging home after several whiskies and a narrow victory against pretty much the only team who could rival our (lack of) form.

Blackpool draw at Fulham to keep Albion 20th in the table.


The much-heralded Financial Fair Play regulations – the most common acronym on Albion directors’ lips for the past few years, with the possible exception of FFS – are relaxed following a league vote.

Clubs will now be able to lose up to £15 million down the sofa between 2016 and 2019, with those flitting between the Promised Land and the Champ permitted to cast £61 million into the Supermassive Black Hole where broken dreams and plucky relegations lie.

“This all sounds very fair,” says no-one ever, although Paul Barber reveals that Albion voted for the changes.

“We’ll also be making all beers £3.50 and soft drinks £1 at Falmer while our full-backs are in their own half,” he says, rubbing his hands and cackling.


Aaron Hughes has shed his swelling. “Yesterday he was running already,” says Sami. “I’m happy that he gave me the excuse to sign another loan player, though. Hey, Aaron! Get further up that pitch! Bruno! What the hell are you doing in our half? That’s it, you’re dropped forever injured, get out of my…”

Albion now have six loan signings in contention for the visit of Blackburn, a mere five of whom are allowed to be named – yer ever-loving Blue and White ‘Un reckons Al-Habsi could make way, as Christian Walton belied his tender years in goal t’other night (he got called up for England under-21s this week).

Some clubs in our division might not have the luxury of imbalancing their squad with loads of stitch-the-itch loan players. “We were very determined to see the sanctions stay in place for the existing rules,” says Barber of the FFS regulations. “We are expecting maybe as many as eight or nine clubs are going to break those rules and therefore, come January, they could find themselves in a transfer embargo which is serious, a massive penalty.”

It’s unclear how Kemy feels about the agreement, apparently reached during the early hours of Thursday morning. “How can people live and think today im gonna try to fck up Kemy's life,” he tweets, issuing four emoticons.

Quote of the Week

“I am a very relieved man now. Thank you so much to the Brighton people for helping me find the ring – my wife would not be happy if I lost it. It was not a good result for us but I could leave the stadium with a little smile.” - Oriol Riera after stadium staff and the Wigan backroom team join forces to help find his wedding ring, which the Spanish striker accidentally wore when he came on as a late substitute. The headline on the Wigan website, Lord of the Ring, is perhaps not strictly accurate (“Amex Gold”, on the other hand, deserves a doffed hat).

Honourable Mention

Former referee confuser Jimmy Case will be signing copies of his long-prepared book at Falmer on Monday. “There’s Joe Corrigan dressed as a 6ft 5ins fairy at Christmas, for example, and the time I was arrested in North Wales, which effectively brought to an end my Liverpool career,” he reveals, as well as promising to discuss the Cup Final and the Dark Ages. "You’ll soon discover I’m not bitter like Roy Keane. I played football with a smile on my face.”

Friday, 24 October 2014

The Blue & White 'Un - Friday October 24 2014


Hyppia is baffled by Albion’s ineptness against the ‘boro.

“When we had a chance we couldn’t score,” he says, imagining the impossible as Chris O’Grady, clad in a grim reaper outfit, skulks in the background of the press area, missing badly upon attempting to sever Hyppia’s neck with a plastic scythe.

In an attempt to help, Liverpool’s media team provide a rolling video of Ian Rush, Robbie Fowler and Kenny Dalglish’s greatest goals, from tap-ins to 25-yard rockets or simply fine approach play.

“It puzzles me a little bit that you change something, it is almost like going down the toilet in a few minutes’ time,” adds a none-the-wiser Sami, ensuring that everyone, ultimately, leaves the Theatre of Nightmares baffled.


“They didn’t really have any chances,” beams Albert Adomah, one of Middlesboogie’s goalscorers, whose powers of observation are clearly without bounds.

He does, however, point out that Albion lost 2-0 to ‘boro at Falmer last season, which is about as close to a bright side as…no, it’s a Sunday to listen to that Blur song on repeat and wish the working week would erase what memories remain of the game.

David Stockdale announces an enforced break from Twitter following the most ill-judged exchange since we traded an MP3 player for a MiniDisc at Cash Convertors.

“ok just blame me no problems with that to take the pressure off everyone else no problem”, he’d frantically tweeted the previous evening.

He can’t resist one final, even more worrying, salvo for now: “1 last thing,” blusters despairing Dave. “Kemy works harder than a lot of footballers I've come across and as you can see looks out4 team mates.” If only he could ever spot them on the pitch.


Shamir Fenelon returns from a prolif…loan spell at Rochdale to play for the under-21s at Toon, scoring in a 3-1 defeat which sees two Albion players sent off. At least the reserves are keeping their discipline.

While the Argus subbing team awaits the two defeats that will allow them to dispense the inevitable FINNISHED? headline, Andy Naylor supports the Beleaguered Battling Brighton Boss, wisely electing not to call for the unemployment of a man he has to interview daily.

“I think we are going to stick together,” murmurs Calde reassuringly, while Sami says we “need to see why we are losing games”, interrupted halfway through by a 550-page picture annual, The Bumper Book of Attacking Midfielders and Wingers, crashing on his head from the sky.

Still, at least we’ll have Joao Teixeira available…or possibly not, as the Spanish Scouse is under observation after getting groggy against ‘boro. Bruno, who would have played right-back on the edge of Huddersfield’s penalty area, and CMS, who would have spent most of the game howling at the moon, are both out of tomorrow night’s blockbuster encounter.


Albion draw 1-1 at Huddersfield. The hosts score early, then mercurial marksman Lewis Dunk equalises before LuaLua is sent off – the second yellow looks a ridiculously petty booking from the vantage point of the pre-midnight sofa.

“I don’t know why we couldn’t get our game going,” says Sami, discussing the second half in typically certain terms.

Nobody on North Stand Chat starts a thread about the nine-game winless run, nor about the chances of recruiting David Moyes, Tony Pulis or the ghost of Graham Kelly.


“We need to be more concentrated and stop conceding first,” says Sami, making Albion sound a bit like a porous orange juice carton. Bookies shorten the odds on Rotherham scoring early on Saturday to a best-priced 4/1 on.

Former capable custodian Tommy Kuszczak is linked with a move to Bayern Munich. David Stockdale is linked with a move to Facebook.


That word concentration is back. “They need to concentrate more in the final third, to be more dangerous in the final third,” says Sami, as senators in the US announce plans to name a new state, The Bleeding Obvious, after Albion’s Beleaguered Battling Boss.

Best mate of Clarke Carlisle and any Albion fan who goes to the pub regularly in Hove, Adam Virgo, says sticking Lewis Dunk up front would “send out the wrong message”.

A franchise t-shirt operation, I Saw Albion Score, goes into overdrive and sets up a kiosk outside the North Stand ahead of the Rotherham rollercoaster.


Another c-word emerges. “We just need to correct little things,” says Sami, before reverting back to the old one. “A little bit more concentration at our end and a little bit more at the other end.”

ADHD pills are dispensed to all Albion players before the final training session of the week, which is missed by a whole load of injured players.

LuaLua’s suspended for the Millers meeting, and GG, Dunk and Gary Gardner are all one booking away from bans. “Our outstanding discipline makes me extremely confident, not to mention the fact that Chris O’Grady’s still available,” says Sami, as canned laughter echoes around a morgue-like training ground.

Quote of the Week

“Last Saturday, their first 20 minutes was as good as I’ve seen a team play in the Championship. Sami was a fantastic player. He was a superstar footballer and has personal aspirations to be a superstar manager. At the start of the season if you looked at the squad that was there, and who they added to the squad, everyone expected Sami Hyypia to have his players challenging for automatic promotion. When you look at the squad on paper, it’s certainly a squad capable of finishing in the top three or four.” - Rotherham Manager Steve 'Trousers' Evans

Honourable Mention

Former Albion hotshot Jake Robinson, who turned 28 this week. "Someone defo called Steve Evans a fat benidorm extra in the tunnel once," he tweets. "Was lols."

Monday, 12 May 2014

TSLR - April 2014

If Oscar's arrival last summer had all the style of an Armada sailing in on a sea of old pictures of a swarthy Spaniard in his Barca shirt, it's fair to say we've all been left feeling a tad short-changed. Installing Nathan Jones as his assistant was like finding out your double date would be Mrs Brady from Viz, and even Oscar's much-lauded dress sense was swiftly drowned out by a succession of numbing catchphrases such as “we are pleased”, “we must do better” and the eternally enlightening “we will try to win the next game”.

Football fans, being as we are the types to throw wads of our meagre cash at an essentially nonsensical drama, seek out clear narratives, goodies and baddies. The board might have yearned for an easy life from a faceless coaching staff, but their apparent desire to get into the top six has seemed as far off as the front of the beer queues when the pie ovens are full.

Perhaps that's been the most frustrating aspect of Oscar's debut attempt to direct our complicated marionettes: he's got a list of extenuating circumstances which would have seen most managers hulking their egos out of Falmer quicker than Max Clifford at a cock-measuring orgy, making it hard to measure our malaise. The loss of Bridders, Crofts and angry Ashley has left the rest of the midfield working harder than Marilyn Manson's make-up artist.

We desperately needed a Vicente type to unlock defences, but as it turned out we got Keith Andrews throwing pebbles at the windows, with Buckley doing his Timothy Cratchit impression, LuaLua grumbling faux-provocatively on Twitter and Orlandi increasingly becoming a mythical figure. With the possible exception of Stephen Ward, whose form might be encouraging if we hadn't lost Bridge down the other side, the signings have been as inspiring as a Tory MP on a council estate: even Obika's bicycle kick, which should have taken its rightful place as one of the highlights of the season in front of goal, will be forgotten once Big Leo's penalty returns from orbit.

The board can't really pin this litany of poorly-deployed recruits on a man they were keen to appoint as coach rather than transfer policy-decider, and given the season ticket sales figures you have to assume the Os-car won't be sent to the scrapyard yet.

So what can we look forward to? The suspense is guaranteed to last until at least the pre-season fans' forum, when Garcia will reveal his masterplan to win games, score goals and make the fans happy. Who's to say he hasn't had tips from Tony in keeping his cards close to his chest? A man who wears brogues, high-fives ballboys and learnt from Cruyff could be ready to unleash his personality at any moment. Everyone thought Nigel Pearson was a dreary old trout at the end of last year, and look what Leicester have done. Enjoy the World Cup, enjoy the summer and roll on next season.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Albion 1-0 Leeds United, Championship, February 11 2014

A bus to the ground and bemused texts from those without blue and white veins trying to negotiate the station can only mean Leeds are visiting. Our original swashbuckling Spaniard (in place of the injured Bruno) is the only change from the Donny game, so it’s unsurprising to see the first half head much the same way as Saturday, with Orlandi and March among those to lump shots into the away end.

The second half, as an ITV commentator might have it, proves more industrial – we seem to re-emerge intent on matching their physicality.

Maybe it’s designed as a trick, because a few minutes later Oscar slings LuaLua down the left in place of Rodney. Kaz promptly leaves a couple of hapless markers with double-knotted blood and, in an unexpected twist, manages to find Ulloa with a cross, who appears to half-shank it into the far corner with the outside of his foot.

Buckley returns (and almost scores) and the defence seems to have self-healed since the Watford game, although during the final few minutes we revert to type and offer them a succession of attacks and corners.

The result stops Leeds, who bring 2,000 angels with them, from leapfrogging us and puts us to within a point of the play-offs – bad news for their manager, Brian McDermott, whose crazed Italian would-be chairman didn’t stick to his threat to turn up at the ground but presumably will try to sack him if he takes hold of the world’s angriest club. Ince also looks increasingly like our best arrival from Chelsea since little Leon and little Liam.

Monday, 10 February 2014

Albion 1-0 Doncaster Rovers, Championship, February 8 2014

Donny at home with its enormous emotional cache – full of pockets in between memories, where the last game at the Goldstone and the first game at Falmer are circled in red the colour of their home shirt, whereas for the nerds (maybe) there are now-amusing, then-horrendous thoughts of their chairman setting fire to their ground and the appalling, practically unattended attempt at a sequel to Fans United, when we played them at Gillingham in one of the worst games ever witnessed, touted as a relegation battle but never really in danger of being one because they were so far behind at the bottom of Div Three.

Anyway, no room for sentiment – Spanish Rodney started upfront, Solly March played in a kind of strange flux between the wing and defensive midfield, and Kemy was left to draft his latest fork-tongued tweet on the bench.

There isn't much to be said for the game that can't be expressed with the reflection that we had 17 shots to their five: the first half contained more crosses than a bakery at Easter, but Orlandi's similarities to Beckham are purely aesthetic.

Rodney has that CMS hyperactivity which makes him look like he's running four steps to every one from a defender, which is traditionally a precursor to being a terrible finisher, but Kaz and Buckley's fragility meant he spent most of the game haring off towards the corner flags.

Donny had intermittent chances – including a couple of sitters – although it would have been more dispiriting than the horror of the Barnsley defeat had we not won, which we did, inevitably given the number of times the ball circumnavigated their six-yard box, when Leo scored one of those glancing headers he could find the net with blindfolded after a crate of Corona.

Billy Sharp got sent off for a tangle with GG which, on another day, might have seen old Braveheart get his knuckle dusters out and disappear for a few games. Paul Dickov managed to keep a straight face while claiming Donny were “outstanding” - hopefully Leeds and Hull will fall equally short of that description.

Monday, 27 January 2014

Port Vale 1-3 Albion, FA Cup 4th Round, January 25 2014

The magic of the cup, then – or, in our case, the miracle of a run not yet impeded by an impossible kick-off time at the behest of our broadcasting overlords.

The sky went black, hailstones hammered down and Brez was named in goal but, on paper, even on a pitch cutting up worse than Edward Scissorhands at a teenage emo papier-mâché club, we were favourites. Sure enough, Rohan Ince – who will surely be playing alone in midfield soon, purely to prove a point to the still-AWOL Bridders – put us ahead from what The Argus neatly called a “flag kick”.

The other two goals also came from flag kicks: they equalised just after the monsoon (the weather, not a ‎reference to Jon Obika being a damp squib with The Cyclone on the bench), and then Solly March scored from one of those overhit crosses you immediately claim as a curled stroke of genius on a Sunday league pitch once in a while.

Kemy hit the post and, in the improved conditions, we kept the ball at will in the second half. Obika’s goal was a surprise given that he’d bungled a one-on-one and generally resembled the sort of striker someone like Spurs would routinely describe as needing experience, but he took it round the Vale keeper and, as time fell still for those of us behind the goal conditioned to feel despair when anyone except Zamora or Big Leo goes through in the same sort of scenario, sent us on our merry way.

He seemed quite pleased, although love was already in the air at this point thanks to a succession of chants for Micky – “Micky’s a Seagull”, “one Micky Adams” etc – which our former beloved responded to in kind (he’s also a legend to their fans, we were assured in just about the only pub in Burslem welcoming away fans afterwards – there’s definitely been a happier ending than a Little Chef with Dick Knight’s proverbial shotgun for MA).

Man of the Match, as Micky insinuated, was probably Upson, who exuded a gazelle-like grace alongside the rarely-spotted Dunk, who played well, Calde and Chicksen, whose pace caught the eye in the way it probably won’t against teams in the league.

Still, we’ll need all these players by the end of the transfer window flog-off (plus Crofts’ combustion), and Oscar and Jones stomped on looking highly satisfied, which is more than can be said for the poor sod who took a thump to the cheek on the way back through Burslem despite not wearing colours.