SEAGULLS OVER BURWASH ARTICLE JUNE 2022

The Albion 25 Years on from the Goldstone 

On the 25th April 1997 Brighton and Hove Albion played their last game at the Goldstone ground after it was ignominiously sold from “under their boots” by Messrs. Archer and Bellotti!  A ground that had been their home since 1901. Sold purportedly to pay off the clubs debts, with a promise that a new ground was in the offing.

What happened next and the subsequent fortunes of the Albion are well documented up to the day when the club kicked off at its brand new Amex stadium at Falmer on 30th July 2011. As most of you will know Seagulls Over Burwash Supporters Club  was originated in 2010 to coincide with the opening of the new stadium and where to this day we still run two packed coaches full of supporters to every home league game and home cup matches.

SOB  have written many articles for our local magazines in Burwash and Heathfield on the ups and downs of the Albion and on many other issues too affecting our National game..Even during the Pandemic when just about everything came to a stop including football our resident pen Simon Forster managed to conjure up something to write about. Simon is away on business at the moment so I have been asked to fill in for him. What can I write about that has not already been said before?

What we do know is that by the time this article is published the English football season will come to a close for all the four leagues. Teams will be glorifying in the winning of titles and gaining promotion to higher leagues. Some will be sighing with relief that their efforts have saved them from relegation. and some will be facing the ignominy of relegation to lower leagues and all the financial problems that come with it. The success and failure is what makes our game so fascinating.

What we don’t know at time of writing is who these teams will be ( with the exception of Fulham who have already been promoted to the Premiership). We can all guess looking at their respective leagues positions!

For Brighton and Hove Albion, with four games still to play, their Premiership status is confirmed for another year after a superb away win at Arsenal followed by another win away at Tottenham Hotspur. After a Boxing day home win against Brentford they have still yet to win at home this year. Southampton at home after all the recent success away looked to be a mere formality. Yes, we were one up after just a minute from starting, then another halfway through the first half. All was looking good and going to plan for that elusive home win. Then seconds from the interval the Saints hit back 2-1 into halftime. I think every Brighton fan knew what was coming in the second half and true to form they hit us again 2-2. Hopes were now fading for the win until Pascal Gros slammed the ball into the back of the Saints net. The euphoria was short lived when good old VAR came to Southampton’s rescue judging him to be marginally offside. A two all draw at full-time. Alas, that home win is  still eluding the Albion. With home games against Manchester United and West Ham still to come there is still hope that we can finish on a high.

Have you ever wondered how the word Albion was used by the club? The answer is that  nobody actually knows for sure and has been pondered over by Seagulls supporters for over a 100 years. Albion is a 2600 year old Celtic word for “Great Britain”. I quote from the Britannic Encyclopedia that states “Albion translates to “white land” a reference to one of the defining landmarks, the chalk Cliffs of Dover.”

It seems it started with the founding of the club when the Southern League had promised a place in Division Two to Brighton & Hove Rangers for the start off the 1901-02 season.

Brighton & Hove Rangers suddenly went out of business in early June 1901 leaving the town without club, a guaranteed spot in Division Two and no Club to fill it. A certain John Jackson took it upon himself to form a new club to take the available spot.

A new club was formed on Monday 24th June 1901 at the Seven Stars pub in Ship Street with the name Brighton & Hove United. It is said that this caused  a furious reaction with the Town’s other club Hove, a renowned amateur outfit who were the original tenants of the Goldstone Ground. Hove felt that a club with the name Brighton & Hove United gave the impression that the two clubs had amalgamated with this newly formed team. Hove were determined to keep their identity. To appease matters the United was dropped and replaced with Albion.

So there is no definitive answer as to why the word  Albion was used. Jackson was born in Birmingham  where one theory states that he had a soft spot for West Bromwich Albion even down to the blue and white striped shirts. Another story comes from Brighton’s outside right Bert Baker who only played 20 games during the 1901-02 season but made claims that it was he who suggested the name Albion, but there is nothing to substantiate his claim!

So after all this we are still no further forward as to how the word Albion came about. So the mystery goes on to this day! Interestingly though there are only two other clubs who use the word Albion in their name -West Bromwich Albion and Burton Albion. 

In June of this year Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth will celebrate her Platinum Jubilee  Anniversary to celebrate 70 years since her succession to the throne. To mark her anniversary the Country will have a four day “Bank Holiday”from the 2nd -5th June.Many of our towns and villages across the Country have been asked to plant flowers in the National Colours of Red White and Blue in celebration. We all know our illustrious Chairman Teskey is a keen gardener with prominent blue and white flowers in his garden. Will this be the year when “red” is added and we will see a Union Jack flower bed at Rotherview? 

For further information on joining Seagulls Over Burwash and details of forthcoming events, meetings and coach travel, please visit our website at www.seagullsoverburwash.co.uk or email simon.forster@seagullsoverburwash.co.uk Alternatively, please feel free to contact our esteemed Chairman Mr Teskey O’Neil on 01435 884344 or email tesbar80@btinternet.com  

Allan Napier