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Amex Stadium
Brighton & Hove Albion v Middlesbrough
Championship League
 Saturday October 20th 2012, 3pm
By Blain Allinson
(Middlesbrough fan)

1. Why you were looking forward to going to the ground (or not as the case may be):

The Amex stadium was now one year old and I had heard from friends who had been to the previous season’s game at the stadium that it was very impressive and was a must to visit. Also at a time where we were getting the very last of the great British summer the Brighton game seemed a great game to go.

2. How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?   
The journey wasn’t great at all to be honest and full of incident. It started with the alarm clock set for 5AM in the morning to give me a chance to get ready and have something to eat before we left. We travelled via the Middlesbrough club coach which was due to leave the Riverside Stadium at 6:30am however a group managed to be 40 minutes late meaning we didn’t actually leave Middlesbrough until after seven o'clock. After about three hours of a relatively innocuous journey we finally managed to stop at Leicester Forest service’s however due to the earlier delay where only given 20 minutes for a loo break and in my case grab a coffee from Starbucks. On arriving back on the coach it was discovered that something had been spilt it the toilet of the coach some kind of de-icer and had begun to seep through the overhead lockers this meant yet another unwanted delay. We eventually arrived at the Amex stadium (which isn’t actually in Brighton for the record its located in Falmer about 15 minutes outside Brighton?) at around 1:45pm and parking was very easy as we were on a registered club coach however I felt for anyone making their way to the stadium by their own means as the location and lack of car park space within stadium grounds was virtually none existent

3. What you did before the game pub/chippy.... home fans friendly?

The stadiums location ruled out a trip to a pub or chippy as such however we found home fans to be great one even stopped to change a £10 note for us so we could get a match day programme which was a lifesaver at the time as the programme kiosks where quite unorganised and weren’t prepared for any walk-ups who had anything over a £5 note. We had a walk around the stadium and went into the club shop with all of our colours on display and had some good friendly banter with the home fans and even the club mascot gully the seagull got involved which was quite funny at the time. Even after the game had finished it was very refreshing to have fans coming up to us and commenting on how well we defended one even said that we deserved to win the game which was a nice compliment. 

4. What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the ground?

The stadium located in between two hills and is it not at ground level which means that it is not something that you can spot from a mile away in fact we didn’t spot it until we were about one minute away. On first impression the stadium looked like another new build however actually arriving the stadium seemed to have character and charisma about it. The outside of the stadium was built up with trees and green which is a change to some of the concrete wastelands I have visited. Another unusual thing was as I said the stadium was not at ground level and had steps and a lift to actually get down to the stadium level when stood at the top of the stairs you could actually see inside the stadium. Once at stadium level we walked around the outside of the stadium and it was very interesting. They had a brick road similar to Middlesbrough’s, made up of bricks bought by fans with various messages on them and also giant signs as tribute to former players. We then discovered a rather big club shop easily the biggest I have ever been in by some distance however despite this there was still a pretty long queue to get in which we didn’t mind as it eat up some time until kick off.

On entering the stadium there was a mandatory search which is unfortunately a fixture in every stadium now due to some non-fans. The tickets where scanned by stewards and was straight through into the stadium. By now the concourse was heavily populated with fans watching the live sky game Spurs v Chelsea. The concourse was very spacious with plenty of bars and very hygienic toilet facilities. One feature I did notice was that the concourse was dimmed and lit in a red light this I am told is done in accordance with the visiting teams colours Middlesbrough obviously being red. On entering the stadium I was very, very impressed the stadium was very good however the magnificent two tier Main Stand was magnificent. The opposite East Stand was also a 2 tier stand and in another stadium would have been the stand out however the West Stand was amazing. The opposite home end the North Stand was very disappointing however it just seemed to be a very small square stand that in comparison to the rest of the stadium wasn’t worthy at all. However I am led to believe the corners at the North end are going to be filled just as they are at the South visitors end where we were actually sat and will surely make that end a lot better than it currently is and a lot more atmospheric. 

West Stand

West Stand

5. Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc..

As the stadium began to fill after 2:30pm the stadiums atmosphere began to crank up. There was an attendance of around 26,000 at the Amex that day and it began to tell with the very loud Albion, Albion and seagull’s chants as kick off approached the 1300 that came the long trip from Middlesbrough contributed and responded with 'You are my Boro..' chants. The stadium PA system was also very loud which contributed and soon before kick-off they showed videos on the stadiums two screens showing the clubs best moments including their FA cup run in the 1980s. When the teams emerged from the tunnel they played Sussex by the sea which again cranked up the noise from the home end but I have to say the PA announcer got very excited when announcing the Albion team screaming and shouting especially when coming to announce the return of top scorer Craig Mckail-Smith.

View from the away section

View from the away section

The game started very cagey with both teams passing the ball around midfield well without really looking to go forward much however Brighton soon got on top winning a series of corner that where well defended by Boro however soon came a great chance for the home team when Dean Hammond headed over a great chance from about 8 yards. It was looking a great game for the neutrals with both sets off full backs bombing on into attack in particular Boro’s George Friend and Brighton’s Wayne Bridge making it an end to end game. However a massive stroke of luck came Boro’s way in the 21st minute when Boro’s Marvin Emnes picked the ball up in an innocuous position out by the near touchline however he was allowed to come inside and work the ball into a shooting position and via a massive deflection from Brighton centre half Gordan Greer wrong footed Thomas Kuschack in the Brighton goal and trickled into the net for 1-0 to the Boro.

The home team came roaring back looking for a response without really creating a decent chance however that chance came when Wayne Bridge broke beyond and played a ball across the area for top scorer Craig Mckail Smith who’s effort seemed destined for the top corner but for a magnificent flying save from Boro keeper Jason Steele. After that the first half petered out and the Boro went in 1-0 up. In the second half the home team came out flying from the off looking for the equaliser and began to push Boro back and back. The home had another great chance to level when Ashley Barnes got free in the area and brought a great save from Steele and Mckail-Smith somehow headed the rebound over the top Ashley Barnes forced a save from Steele and Buckley curled wide for the home team who had a host of nonsense penalty shouts waved away. Despite the pressure it was Boro who should have made it 2-0 two minutes from time when sub Ishmael Miller broke free and went one on one with Kuschack. Miller beat the keeper but also beat the far post. After four minutes of stoppage time agony for Boro fans the referee blew the whistle on a 1-0 Middlesbrough victory to a massive cheer from the away support             

6. Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

As I said we travelled on the club coach so getting away wasn’t so bad to be fair but looking out of the window you had to feel for what looked hundreds of disappointed Brighton fans stood fighting to get onto a shuttle bus that ran from places around Brighton to the Amex stadium it looked like organised chaos and sorter answered a question that I had earlier in the match that around the 80th minute the home team where 1-0 down and pilling on the pressure and yet the stadium was beginning to empty almost like it was full time this scene explained it to me. Once away we soon got back onto the A27 on our long 7 hours commute back to Middlesbrough 

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

It was a great if very tiring day out to the South Coast that was made all the while by a great win over a team that at the time where above us in the league at the time. It was a very long day that started at 5AM in the morning and finished back at the riverside stadium at 12:30AM but it was worth it to see the Boro get 3 points with a very good defensive display. The Brighton fans and everyone connected with the club such as stewards where very welcoming and where great throughout the game as well. The stadium was very nice and was everything that I was told was and to be honest you couldn’t have asked for much more from the day. We are hoping to push for promotion this season however when and if the chance arises I would have no hesitations in re-visiting the Amex stadium.

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