Brighton & Hove Albion
The Withdean Stadium




Ground No. 44
Visited - Tuesday 14th September 2004
Result - Brighton & Hove Albion 0-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers
Competition - Coca Cola Championship
Attendance - 6804

When I renewed my away season ticket in the summer, I among many had been questioning whether to do so, and it was this game that had narrowly won the decision for me, as last time we played Brighton, tickets had been impossible to get. In the end though, with the game being scheduled for a weekday, this time around tickets were not impossible at all to get, combined with our appalling form, and the fact that in 16 league games we had beaten Brighton only once (and never away) then this had put off many fans, although we still took our full allocation of 700 down to the south coast.

The journey down there went quite well, other than the M25, which was slow going near Heathrow, but we got into Brighton in plenty of time with about an hour to spare. The person I'd driven down with wasn’t going to the game, so he dropped me off near the ground, arranging to meet up again afterwards. After walking down a huge hill you could immediately see why there was so much fuss about the parking around the ground, as not only is it in a residential area, but a particularly posh one as well, and you could understand why they would perhaps get a bit annoyed by 7000 football fans descending on their neighbourhood when they hadn't before.

I had a walk around the ground first, bumping into and chatting with a couple of people on the way around. It’s hard to realise just how small it is until you actually go there, but from the outside, at the East End is a small yard where the turnstiles for the home end are, and then round the other side is a small building, which is actually the main stand. It's difficult to make out that it even is a stand, never mind supposedly the best one there!

After walking around taking a few pics, I went in and found my seat near the top of the stand. The view wasn’t that bad, even accounting for being around an athletics track, but id certainly had a lot better. Inside the ground itself isn’t that bad, well, OK it is that bad, but for what you expect it isn’t so bad, and its set in really nice surroundings, which take away from it so evidently not being a real football venue. To our right was the main stand, which is very small, and on the opposite side of the ground was some large uncovered temporary seating. We were in some more temporary seating in the corner of the stadium and to our left, behind the goal was a strange affair of various buildings and another, much smaller temporary stand. The opposite end was open, but the large wooded hill that surrounds the ground gives it an enclosed feel, that despite being open to the elements, makes you feel not as bad as at, say Portsmouth or Stockport. The one downside to the hill is that it creates awful lighting conditions, which combined with it getting darker earlier it meant that the pictures I took really didn’t come out that well.

As for the game, it was a scrappy affair, with neither teams showing great potential, and us continuing our run of poor form, looking genuinely like park players. However, on one of our few attacks we managed to put the ball in the net, when Kenny Miller headed home a cross. Brighton threw everything they had at us, but even then, they didn’t really manage to cause any problems, and throughout the rest of the first half, and all the second half, it was mostly them, with us restricted to the odd breakaway every now and again. When the final whistle blew we were especially pleased with ourselves, having just seen the first away win in 18 months, although the nature of the performance didn’t exactly inspire us for the games ahead, but a wins a win, and with the way things are going, we’ll take anything!

After staying to take some more pictures, I left the ground and walked back down the big hill, and to Preston Park station, before finding my mate and setting off on the long drive home.

Overall it was a pretty good trip, for one just to see that win, but it’s a nice location to watch a game at, (as long as the weathers OK!), you certainly wouldn’t want it as your home ground, and it's probably more like a ground you would only expect to visit in pre-season, but for what it is, it isn’t a bad little place, although Brighton very clearly need a new stadium in the long run.





Exit Gates from the Stadium


The Sportsman Pub


Away fans entrance


View from the North West of the Stadium


View from the West End of the Stadium


The South Stand


The Eastern end of the Stadium


The South Stand


The Western end of the Stadium 


The North Stand


View from the Away End




 

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