This is rapidly turning into farce. In the face of all opinion, from fans, to councillors, to MPs, Bill Archer has decided, in his wisdom, to press on with the Toads Hole planning application as the new sight for the Albion. In an unbelievable open letter to all councillors in Brighton and Hove reprinted in the Argus, Archer puts forward his arguments and in doing so completely contradicts himself.
He argues his case for selling the Goldstone by saying that he had to sell it to pay off "huge debts", what he fails to mention is that many of those "debts" were loans secured on the Goldstone, the club's one asset, thereby calling them in if the ground was sold.
He goes on to say "that various consortiums have desired to take the club over but none have them have been able to demonstrate where they would build a site or how it would be funded." The Argus on September 9th reported that the consortium headed by Dick Knight had provided documentary evidence that they had the necessary funds to pay off the loans, and that they had identified a sight for a new stadium.
He then says that as a club he has always wanted to work in partnership with the local authorities, well then why was the libel writ (later withdrawn) served on Ivor Caplin (leader of Hove Council) earlier this year. He uses Kirklees Council's partnership with Huddersfield town to build a new stadium as a role-model whilst failing to mention that this was a municipal venture with little or no private investment and certainly no retail development.
Everyone bar Archer seems to know that the Toads Hole application has no chance of succeeding and it is pointless carrying on with the appeal. The consortium are the only people to have any chance of saving the Albion and moving forward from this desperate situation. Archer has never showed them the club's accounts as requested and this has made his position as chairman untenable. If he has any faith in the future of the Albion he should take his £56.25 stake in the club and get out.
Due to luvvie commitments I've only made one game so far this season, a 2-0 defeat at Colchester, who also had some of the most racist fans I've heard in years. The whole night was one of those "what am I doing here" experiences, the Albion were appalling but seasoned fans assured me it wasn't as bad as the 3-0 defeat at Barnet a few weeks before. I suppose playing at Fratton Park in the Conference is not a possibility next season.....Surely not? No, I'm not that depressed really, it's too early to tell what Case's abilities as a manager are like, as with Brady last year events off the pitch tend to dwarf those on them. Apparently we were brilliant against Scarborough, so who knows?
Returning to the town of mournful drummers playing under rotting piers is a heartening experience after a while away. The Edinburgh festival can be hard for the mind and the body. Whilst playing punk songs in a converted barn to thirty people a night might not seem like everyone's ideal vocation, most people I talked to this year felt Edinburgh had lost its soul. It can seem at times that it is just becoming a comedy festival geared towards TV executives hunting round for the latest young talent to be given their own series only to burn out never to be heard of again. However amongst all the bland stand-up, some shows stood out. "Albert Camus what's the score" with Nick Whitfield, a lovely look at a Wisbech Town's fan obsession with life, love, philosophy and the art of goalkeeping, "Headstate" by Irvine Welsh, E'd up trainspotting for the acid house generation, coming to the Ministry Of Sound very soon, Beergut One hundred, Bill Baileys punk tribute band, anyone who does a cover of "I wanna be sedated" has got to be worth a look, and "Jesus My Boy" by Brighton's own John Dowie, one of the best pieces of simple storytelling I have ever seen.
Forget Britpop, Skint Record's Fatboy Slim album is the best Brighton record of the year, I'm off to The Bloomsbury to sing about Stalin....."We've got no home, we've got no home, Brighton's got no home", altogether now........
Steve North. 20.9.96.
Steve's Review of 1995
"Colin" in London's Burning
Steve's (Uncensored) "Hyper" (May 1996)
Steve's (Uncensored) "Hyper" (June 1996)
Steve's (Uncensored) "Hyper" (July 1996)