West Ham face Brighton this weekend, below are 10 facts about the Hammers’ opponents this weekend:
1. Brighton were the only professional team in Sussex for 91 years between 1920 and 2011 until Crawley Town promotion to the League in 2011.
2. The club was founded in 1901 at the Seven Stars Public House in Brighton. One of the pub’s former attractions was a 26 stone pianist named Fingers Calders who apparently had a nine-inch moustache – not sure what to do with that information? Me neither!!!
3. Celebrity fans include Olympic javelin thrower Fatima Whitbread, Jamie Theakston and football commentator Peter Brackley. Perhaps the most well known was celebrity DJ Norman “Fatboy Slim” Cook. Cook’s record label Skint Records sponsored Brighton in the late 90’s.
4. Brighton’s former ground the Goldstone hosted Olympic Football at the 1948 Games, one of only two grounds outside London to do so, the other being Fratton Park. It was also the site of David Beckham’s first-team debut for Manchester United in September 1992.
5. Brighton’s manager Chris Hughton played for West Ham in the early 90’s. He has taken the club from only two places above the relegation places in the Championship to securing the club’s return to the top flight after 34 years.
6. Former Goalkeeper Perry Digweed almost bled to death after suffering a ruptured urethra in a game against Birmingham City in 1988. Digweed missed an entire season but returned to win the Player of the Season award in 1991.
7. Brighton’s main rivals are Crystal Palace, with whom they contest the M23 derby, despite a distance of over 40 miles between the club’s, Palace were the nearest professional club to the Seagulls. Brighton and Palace will contest the first top-flight M23 derby in 36 years.
8. Having saved themselves from relegation to the Conference in 1997, Brighton narrowly survived being expelled from the Football League following an EGM. Former chairman Bill Archer failed to provide a £500,000 performance bond required as a deposit to ensure that Albion would fulfil their fixtures while being homeless following the controversial sale of the Goldstone Ground. When this bond was not lodged in time, the Football League looked to expel Brighton and put the other members of the Football League to the vote. 47 clubs voted for Brighton to remain, 17 voted for them to leave and 7 abstained with Oldham Athletic strangely being the most vocal. What an amazing comparison to where the club finds itself today.
9. Current chairman Tony Bloom is a professional sports bettor and property investor. He invested £93 million in the club’s new ground. Bloom is a lifelong Brighton fan and his family have a long association with the club. His Uncle Ray is a Director, and his Grandfather was Vice Chairman in the 70’s.
10. West Ham have played Brighton 60 times, winning 29, drawing 15 and losing 16. They have played each other 9 times over the last 17 years. The last game between the club’s ended in a 3-0 victory for Brighton.