Five points adrift at the bottom of the football league, a groundshare with Gillingham beckoning, the all-time great footballing double act, Archer and Bellotti still tap-dancing their way around the rotting hulk of the slowly sinking Albion, the worst defence this side of Lewes Sunday league's sixth division, Jimmy Case's inexplicable team selections, no prospect of the consortium taking over the club.... all in all I don't think it's been a bad start to the season, do you?
It is now a year and three months since The Argus broke the news that The Goldstone had been sold and the Albion were going to groundshare with Portsmouth. We are now the joke of the country, the club that other supporters console themselves with when they think things cannot get any worse for their own. (See Man City, Hull, Walsall, Blackburn etc.)
Meanwhile here in sunny old Brighton, the stalemate continues. Bassam and Caplin stand firm refusing to have any dealings with Archer and with some justification. Bill Archer is a rampant capitalist of the worst kind. He has lost any chance of respect or faith from anyone connected with the club other than Bellotti, and he has to accept this fact and get out. It is all very well to say in his programme notes from the Hereford game that "Brighton will continue in the league, there is no question of extinction, but where is the proof ?
No one believes you Bill. How can they, when in the same statement he says that the land he initially wanted to purchase at Patcham Court Farm to build retail development on, was "proposed by Brighton Council"? I find this very unlikely when only a few months earlier the controlling Labour group on the Council were defeated in a highly publicised vote on a similar bid for the same plot of land from a supermarket chain. He also says that the club is still pressing on with the Toads Hole application, yet as far as I understand the owners have refused to sell the land if Archer is involved and everyone knows the club have no chance of winning the appeal anyway, because local pressure is firmly against any sort of development. It is inconsistencies such as these in Archers arguments which create such a sense of mistrust.
The fact that the fans have kept up the pressure through all of this is excellent, since so little is offered back. The walkout at the Hereford game was one of the strangest experiences I have ever had at a football match. Besides being a sense of relief to get away from one of the worst games of the season (yes, that bad), to see what seemed like the entire North Stand exit on cue was a stirring sight. (Nice firework display, boys) But of course Bill wasn't there to witness it, just his performing monkey Bellotti.
Maybe the next stage is to get the players involved in some way. Some sort of public affirmation to the North Stand as a team, before or during a game would be something. After all it's their jobs on the line if the club goes down. Meanwhile keep up the chants for the team and against the board, checkout the Seagull server on the internet (a good source of independent information on the club) and boycott Focus DIY ( The company Archer runs).
I caught the end of The Chemicals playing out with The Stone Roses at Big Beat Boutique at the Concorde, looked like a good night, Red Snapper were excellent earlier in the month as well, but isn't about time Brighton had a decent sized gig venue, the Concorde tries its best, but is just to small for these kinds of events.
Blimey it's all moan whinge moan this month, I'm off to The Event to skank to Dreadzone, perhaps I'll meet Archer down the front, big spliff in hand, huge grin on face, telling everyone to chill, that it's all going to be all right...... nope I can't see it myself.
Keep up, the pressure, something has to give soon, honestly......please?
Steve North 25/10/96
Steve's Review of 1995
"Colin" in London's Burning
Steve's "Hyper" column: