& Hove Albion v Leeds United
September 23rd 2011, 7.45pm Trevor Pickles (Leeds United fan)
1. Why you were looking
forward to going to the ground (or not as the case
I had followed the Brighton fans struggle for a
new ground for many years and from the pictures I
had seen of the new stadium it looked a bit
different to the norm.
2. How easy was your journey/finding the
The fixture had been changed by the 'Sky God' to a
Friday evening which made the journey from
Shropshire slightly longer than was anticipated.
We had applied in advance for travel tickets for
the Mill Road park and ride and a nice gentleman
at the Brighton ticket office duly obliged free of
charge! The Mill Road site is very easy to find
and extremely well organised. The buses are
frequent so we weren't stood around too long, The
journey to the ground took about 20-25 minutes
mainly due to the sheer volume of traffic.
3. What you did before the game pub/chippy....
home fans friendly?
We had planned to grab something to eat outside
the ground, however they don't seem to allow
vendors anywhere near the stadium so we had little
choice but to go inside.
4. What you thought on seeing the ground, first
impressions of away end then other sides of the
From the outside the ground looks very modern and
very impressive. Inside the West stand is quite
imposing but you can't help but notice the large
empty areas in the corners of the North stand, it
makes everything look a little disjointed. Talking
to Brighton fans after the game I believe they
have plans to add another 8,000 seats at some
point. The away end is a good layout with plenty
of leg room and the added delight of padded seats.
5. Comment on the game itself, atmosphere,
stewards, pies, toilets etc..
We had the usual pat down body search on the way
into the ground by the stewards, but once inside
it was very relaxed. There is a good selection of
food available with the standard pie and pint deal
for £6.50 which may seem a tad expensive to some
but we do have Ken Bates as a chairman!
The game itself was a belter. The Brighton fans
were noisy until we raced into a 2-0 lead. They
needn't have worried, in the second half we did
our best to throw it all away by giving away a
penalty and two goals from Makail Smith. We did
manage to salvage a point in the 2nd minute of
added time when McCormack stepped up to grab his
second of the night, making it 3-3, much to the
relief of the travelling Whites.
6. Comment on getting away from the ground after
This is where the problems start. We left the
ground and made our way to the park and ride
buses. We joined a large queue that snaked its way
along the road and up a set of steps. As there are
3 destinations for the buses the stewards were
trying to separate us into lines. This was
hilarious as the steward involved didn't know his
right from his left. Eventually after 35 mins we
arrived at the top of the steps. The sight was
utter chaos, there were no segregation barriers
between buses and fans. The buses were trying to
manoeuvre and turn around in between the lines of
fans waiting to board, its an accident waiting to
happen. We finally made our way onto a bus and
left the ground 65 mins after exiting the stadium.
I would estimate that there were around 400 fans
behind us in the queue at that point. The one
saving grace was it wasn't raining.
7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:
Having arrived back in the Midlands in the early
hours of Saturday morning we enjoyed our Brighton
experience, however the bus situation after the
game put a bit of a dampener on the whole day.
Tempers were getting a little frayed towards the
end and that includes the locals. I have used park
and ride many times before at Southampton and
Reading and never seen such a degree of organised
chaos or had to wait so long for transport. Sort
it out Brighton your fans don't deserve this!