Brighton & Hove Albion will be playing Premier League football for the first time in their history next season and like a child with a new toy, they can’t stop telling people about it.
Despite constant claims from Seagulls supporters that they are a “bigger” club than Palace, events such as the one referenced above only serve to highlight the wide-eyed wonder with which they are appraoching their first top flight campaign in 35 years. For other clubs, you know, the sort who concentrate on winning things before holding a backslapping celebration, things like fixture release day are nothing more than a box on the calendar but at The Amex, it’s clearly enough to break out the Bucks Fizz and canapés.
I suppose we shouldn’t be too surprised given the open-top bus parade (complete with club-bought trophy) that Chris Hughton’s men had for finishing second to Newcastle a few weeks ago but even so, their whole approach towards events away from the pitch has the corporate stench all over it.
It should be noted at this point that I personally have a great deal of time for Hughton on an individual level and am in doubt that he will give them an extremely good chance of survival once the football does eventually get underway but you know full well that the weeks between now and August are going to be full of this sort of thing from those at boardroom level. It leaves me feeling almost sorry for their fans, who shouldn’t be forced to defend such odd behaviour so regularly.
Football fans across the country have often expressed bafflement at the level of hatred shared between Palace and Brighton, having never been fully schooled in the reasons for it but next season, I’m sure TV channels and pundits will fully explain the deep-rooted history that the two teams share.
The two games we’ll play against one another next season are massive. I wonder what their board will organise for the occasion?