What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Brighton? Mods and rockers or toffs in vintage cars? Dirty weekends and nudie beaches or stag and hen dos? Norman Cook or Pete Doherty? Steve Foster or Nicky Forster’s step son? A King St night out or pies, pints and a good read? With Latics heading down to the south coast this weekend we’ve headed over to, erm… Manchester to catch up with Sam, co-editor of Albion’s fanzine “The Seagull Love Review” to talk about some of those things, but, as usual, mostly about the pies.
The Premier League, what do you reckon? Brighton are nicely placed for a run at the pay-offs, but is it the be-all and end-all of your season? Anything you can say about life in the Championship that might sooth the troubled brows of Latics fans worried about spending two years in the Second Division?
The play-offs are fun, they were nuts last year, and ended in misery for us. But that’s part of the fun, that’s what makes it real. We have this massive rivalry with Palace that not so many people know about, so when we get the chance to add to that history it’s all good. They were the first team to beat us at The Amex and they smashed us in the second leg of the play-off semis last year, but hey-ho, it adds colour to our fan culture. I am not sure I speak for everyone, in fact I definitely don’t, but the Championship is a lot of fun, and I just want to go and watch Albion, not go and watch Albion win specifically. Some people are hell bent on promotion but it’s fun down here, it’s a bonkers league. We have the biggest crowds in the league so we’re bobbing along OK. I get why some Latics are concerned about staying down here too long, but you’ll be alright. No-one will die.
How well fixed are you for promotion? Would it be one season of glory or are there plans (and overdrafts) in place to have a tilt at mid-table mediocrity?
Who knows? It could go either way. We could be like Southampton or Swansea, but then we could be like Cardiff too I suppose. I think we’re pretty solid as a club, we have a great Chairman and board, but then you see our fragility when we dealt with the whole Poyet stuff over the summer. Our recruitment post-Poyet has not set the world on fire to be honest but there were changes with the set-up at the club and, thankfully, we’re not offering crazy wages for average players at the moment. We’re building a massive new training centre and that will be open for the new season, which in turn will help attract better players. The infrastructure is there to give it a good go, reach for the stars and finish 15th or something equally fucking depressing.
It might be a bit of the kettle calling the pot brunt arse, but that new stadium is a bit crap int it?
No one has ever said that to me before. Not sure how to answer. What’s crap about it? Most people like it, it wins awards and stuff. It’s a little different, granted, but try it out and let me know what you think first.
You’re a print fanzine, but have a digital version and a website to go with it. How important is print for you in that mix? Is the fanzine making a comeback and what do they need to do to compete with the proliferation of blogs and the like and the immediacy they bring to the art of opinion spouting?
We are a printed fanzine first and foremost. The digital version is just a subsidiary version for people to read the ‘zine on their Kindles or iPhones etc, but I think most people buy a fanzine for a quid at the game and then subscribe to the digital version on top. The blog is an occasional outlet for stories from the co-editor and I, but the majority of our efforts are focussed on the mag. We don’t mind the blogs really, the Albion ones are good quality and the writers also write for us in print. It’s the forums that killed the fanzine. Instant un-edited opinion from people who like the sound of their own (digital) voice. We’re about quality, and we put a lot of effort into it. Fanzines are getting a fair bit of press at the moment but it’s difficult. Mudhutter is maybe my favourite fanzine by the way. I can read it even though I don’t follow Latics and still ‘get it’. Fans should support their fanzine. Sadly for us, Albion fans would rather spend £2 on a Yorkie than a quid for their fanzine. At the Amex a cup of tea costs twice as much as the fanzine.
If you’ve been to Wigan, you’ll know that the average night out is something like Faliraki on HGH. What can our intrepid 20 travelling supporters expect from a Friday or Saturday night out in Brighton? Are the gay bar and hipster hangout stereotypes real or will they be able to settle down for a pie and a pint anywhere?
Yep we have a large gay community and a large hipster community. I love both personally but whatever, you lads go in with an open mind and you’ll have a great night. I live in Manchester and people love to think that we’re all different up and down the country but to be honest, we’re not really. We have our Faliraki area too, but if you head down to the North Laine area, and into The Lanes, you’ll find amazing pubs and great beer. It’s an expensive city, don’t get me wrong, but nowhere in England can match it for its vibe. Just have fun and be happy, you’ll have a great time.
And speaking of pies. What’s the half time snack of choice at Falmer? What are the pies like at the ground, what’s your favourite flavour and how do you go about eating it? (Yes, there’s a ‘right’ answer to that last question).
Our pies will blow your mind. Essentially we serve those ‘artisan’ pies that you’d get from places like Pieminister, but don’t judge them until you’ve eaten one. They are made local with great ingredients and, really, they are a cut above. None of this Pukka Pie or Holland’s rubbish. You’ll probably have a shit one with a dead mouse in it now, but if it goes well this could be an epiphany for Latics fans. I like the steak and ale one personally. In terms of technique, it’s not like a normal football pie, it comes in a box, not a little perforated plastic sheath like normal. They’re quite big, so you have to stab it in the guts, eat its innards and then it’s fingers for the crust. The pastry is dead nice though. I swear I am not bullshitting you. Make sure you get involved with our local ale too, Harvey’s. We’re very proud of that stuff in Sussex, and non-knobheads should head round to the North Stand after the game for a pint with the home fans and buy a fanzine.
And we have a winner with the top, insides, crust combo – the only real way to eat a pie. That time spent in the North-West is proving its worth, eh Sam?
Thanks for your time and hope to see you in the play-offs.
Brighton’s fanzine The Seagull Love Review has been running for five years and is 56 issues old. You should be able to get hold of a copy around the ground tomorrow and if you not then you can get copies via their website. If anyone wants to bring me a copy of the latest issues then it’ll be gratefully received, but not as gratefully as one of those pies, the thought of them has really got my juices flowing.
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