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02/03: Preview: Brighton and Hove Albion
Opposition opinion
by Brighton fan Warren Christmas

What happened last season?
After picking-up the Third Division title in 2000/2001 (our first championship in 36 years), we signed just one player of note before the new season - central defender Simon Morgan from Fulham. We had a good start, but manager Micky Adams left for Leicester City after a couple of months, with Peter Taylor moving the other way. We were worried that our winning streak would end but Taylor brought in midfielder Junior Lewis on-loan from The Foxes and, amazingly, we romped to a second successive title. Our "one man team" even survived a couple of spells without goal king Bobby Zamora (you might have heard of him). Two days after a Town Hall championship parade Peter Taylor left us. The twat.

What's going to happen next season?
Simon Morgan has retired, Junior Lewis has returned to Leicester City and, at the time of writing, we haven't signed a single new player so. we literally have a Third Division squad playing in the First Division! We also have an inexperienced new manager in Martin Hinshelwood (previously Director of Youth). But... we still have England Under-21 international Bobby Zamora (for now), several other key players (Kuipers, Cullip, Watson) and an undeniable team spirit. So what's going to happen? We don't really know, but there are definitely teams in the First Division much worse off than us.

Can you recommend a pub for away fans?
The only pub close to Withdean Stadium (in fact, it overlooks the ground) is The Sportsman, but it can get very crowded on matchdays and they often ban away fans. Given that you're due to play us in the summer (well, late April), you might want to make a proper day/weekend of it and go into town. There are several pubs and bars near the main Brighton station, and you shouldn't get any hassle.

What's the nearest railway station?
Preston Park (one stop before Brighton) is about 15 minutes walk from the ground. Most London trains stop there (change at East Croydon or Haywards Heath if necessary), although it can be quicker to get a fast train to Brighton and then come back one stop. One thing to note: match tickets include a 2 travel voucher, so you only have to get a train ticket to Haywards Heath (if travelling from the north), Shoreham (west) or Seaford/Lewes (east). Oh, one other thing: Railtrack usually carry out "essential track work" on matchdays.

Where is the best place to park?
Parking near the stadium is prohibited (the stadium is in an expensive residential area), but there's a free park and ride scheme which operates from Mill Road (off A23/27) and Mithras House on Lewes Road.

From official site:
From the north...
Leave the M25 at junction eight, the M23 turn off, and head for Brighton. The M23 becomes the A23 just past Gatwick, but it's dual carriageway all the way to the ground. At the first roundabout you come to, on the outskirts of Brighton, turn right, and go under the small railway bridge for the football park and ride.

From the west...
Take the M27, which becomes the A27.
Stay on the A27, until you reach the A23 turn off, and follow the signs for Brighton. Go back over the A27, and down the approach road. In front of you'll see a Q8 filling station, go straight across this roundabout and under the small railway bridge for the football park and ride.

Soundbites (from assorted Census correspondents)

"If you get Peter Taylor Good luck i think you will need it and ill take ramon vega because we could do with anyone we can get at the mo"

"Watford has an infestation of Orient fans"

"Zamora IS good enough for the Premiership"