Brighton & Hove Albion FC vs. NUFC – The Premier League.

Date: Saturday 6 November 2021 KO 5:30pm at the American Express Community Stadium / Falmer Stadium – a short train ride outside of Brighton.

Media: Live on BT Sport.

Football Trivia:  The Seagulls kicked Hereford United out of the Football League (ask your great uncle about why that is a good thing, or watch any greatest FA Cup upsets/goals video).  In their last season (1996/7, after 95 years there) at the Goldstone Ground (NB: one of the coldest grounds I have ever visited, and I’ve done Hartlepool and Roker as well), Brighton were also in danger of relegation from the Football League.  The Seagulls won their final home game against Doncaster, setting up a winner-takes-all relegation game at Hereford United’s Edgar Street, who were level on points with them.  Brighton drew 1–1, and Hereford were relegated to the Football Conference on goals scored, in their own back yard: ha, ha, ha!  Even better: Hereford United no longer exist – being dissolved in 2014 (albeit reformed as a supporters phoenix club named just: Hereford FC); so THAT goal should never ever again be replayed.

Preview ramblings:  

I wrote a preview for BHA away less than 8 months ago, a behind closed doors battering on 20 March 2021, as this Covid drama clicked past its first year and NUFC looked doomed for the drop: plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose, as ASM might, or might not, say.

The world seemed like a different place then, for starters BHA were sixteenth and we were seventeenth – if only we were at such giddy heights now.  The Seagulls and Magpies have flown in somewhat different directions since then.

BHAFC have pulled themselves together, and started to score the goals their positive, precise and pretty play over the last couple of seasons deserved.

With The Seagulls flying high in the top half of the table, Head Honcho Graham ‘dull Geography Teacher’ Potter is now a media darling, who can playfully hug and laugh for the cameras at Anfield, with his new beardy bessie, Der Kloppy, – a place where BHA won 0-1 last season (during that hilariously crap run Liverpool went on) and also came from 0-2 down to earn a very credible draw last time out, on Saturday just gone.

Even 12yo, bug-eyed, ‘I couldn’t look more like a little baby frog, but actually I’m almost 27 and Belgian’ Leandro Trossard managed a very composed finish, after returning a rather meagre five goals in each of his previous full seasons (playing 31 and 35 league games respectively in each).  To me, he has looked utterly lightweight and weak, but perhaps with some solid performers, and performances, behind him, and the experience of a couple of years in the Greed League, he might be starting to play that key role in helping BHA leapfrog up the league.

But – What do I know, I’m no big fan of The Seagulls, this is all cobbled together from what I can remember struggling through Match of the Day on a Sunday afternoon, usually while fighting a tragic hangover from the night before.

What I can tell you through bleary eyes is that The Seagulls have a bright young manager, an attractive way of playing which has become more potent over the last few months, and they like to batter NUFC by 3 goals when we play them (doing that twice last season).  Furthermore, the Blue & Whites now play with more confidence, and even that Poundland Craig Bellamy – Neil Maupay – is notching regularly, as opposed to squaring up to massive Gooner centre-backs and swearing at officials in his native French.

The Seagulls, however, have not won in five league games, but that is four draws and a defeat to Man City, so it’s not exactly anything to be too concerned about.

Turning to The Magpies, we play like we can’t buy a goal, let alone a win; even though we have plenty of money to spend.  The gloom-mongers have us down as relegation certainties and the play on the pitch is doing nothing to rebut that.  However, it all depends on how quickly we get a new manager, AND if he can shore things up in defence, as well as trying to make us more potent up front.

NUFC are already 6 points behind fourth bottom – which is a fortnight of results at the very least.  October has just ended, but already it looks like we are running out of games, and yet, conversely and perversely, January (and the prospect of transfers and new players) is so far away.  Dark times indeed.

If we haven’t grabbed a new manager, we’ll get beat, again.  A new manager might give us that lift – BUT, the best you can ask for is a hard-fought 0-0.  Surely it cannot be 3-0 to them again – so perhaps bet on under 2.5 goals.

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