Thursday, 9 April 2015

Rival Lines: Will The Albion Roar cry penalty before a ball is kicked?

Rival Lines
Match Preview: Brighton v AFCB
Blogger and Podcaster Interview - The Albion Roar

Follow on Twitter @Albionroar

We nearly did not have a Brighton Rival Lines and my usual contact did not come through but I had a mad dash to try and find a Seagull site that I could talk to before Friday's match and I was really pleased to come across The Albion Roar podcast and Blog. Who did I find there? Well I threw my questions over to Alan Wares who is just full of information on all things Seagulls and if you have not visited The Albion Roar I suggest you do so immediately after you hear how he got on with my questions on the Blue and White shirts from down the road.

CC: Where do you think the season turned round for Brighton - is there a particular game when you thought that has sparked something?

AR: It was probably Nathan Jones’ second and final game in temporary charge - away at Fulham in December. The fans were down, the team seemed shot of confidence and yet managed to pluck an excellent result of somewhere that no one really expected. It got us to realise that the team could get out of the mess it had got itself into if it stopped feeling so sorry for itself.

CC: What has Chris Hughton done so well to get more out of the team?

AR: Hard to say. Under Sami Hyypia, no-one could work out what it was he was trying to do - unlike Gus Poyet and Oscar Garcia. It’s not evident the players knew either. Chris has brought some stability to the side - and the ludicrous policy of squad rotation has largely stopped. Hughton is fulfilling his one key objective this season - survival in this division.

CC: Which player has been the strongest for you during the run-in so far?

AR: During the run-in, probably Rohan Ince. He is a young, though enormous holding midfielder who is pretty agile for someone topping out at 6’3”. He played poorly under Hyypia (but then, everyone did) after impressing in his first season last season. He has regained some of his form, though as a youngster is still prone to the odd howler. If he plays, expect to see some telescopic-legged challenges.

CC: Brighton still have to play Watford and Middlesbrough so you could have a big say in who goes up. Do you think that is good for the Brighton players that none of the games will be meaningless - I imagine you think Brighton are safe now?

AR: As professionals, I’d expect the players to be up for every game anyway. We actually have a not unreasonable record against the top six this season. We’re still looking over our shoulders. We believe another five or six points ought to be enough. As much as other team are in the mire, it ain’t over til it’s over.

CC: Does it say it all this season in what has gone wrong for Brighton when Lewis Dunk is your top scorer and do you expect new strikers in the summer?

AR: It doesn’t say it all. I would expect the likes of Dunk to weigh in with half a dozen goals a season. But you’re right - our forward line has been pathetic all season. During the early part of the season there was little or no creativity in midfield. Now, the forward is exceptionally wasteful. Chris O’Grady aside, we would be expecting a wholesale clear-out of what are supposed to be our goalscorers during the summer.

CC: Do you think Brighton are very far off the pace to being a top six side again next season?

AR: Yes. I will be astonished (though delighted) if we can find - in one summer - the calibre of players required to be as good as those who have left over the past 18 months, and therefore return us to the top six.

CC: I was most impressed with Joao Carlos Teixeira at Dean Court has he started to control games more often for you this season?

AR: Tex is infuriating and brilliant in equal measure. He can run through many defences at will, but he still must find the right to torment and the right time to pass. Can go missing for periods too.

CC: Brighton played well against Bournemouth at Dean Court earlier in the season in what was one of the Cherries hardest games. So do you feel the TV cameras and ‘derby- nature’ of these games brings the best out in Brighton?

AR: Not necessarily. We were on TV v Millwall at Christmas - one of our most inept performances in a long time. I thought the game at Bournemouth ebbed and flowed, and though we did well in patches, we were always playing catch-up. I love the attitude of the players for the most part, but the quality as a team - and individual choices at a given moment - can be maddening, whether on TV or not.

CC: With AFCB strong forward players coming at Brighton, what do you think Brighton’s best way is to stop Bournemouth in this game?

AR: Nothing, You always get a very moody penalty at Brighton (well, two in the past three visits). There is a sweepstake on the Brighton forums as to when (not if) you get one this time.

CC: Can we have a score prediction for the game please?

AR: Nope. I’m not Tim Lovejoy.

CC: I see that Alan is keeping his prediction close to his chest but he is not shy when wanting to let you all know where you can find some more of his work and views. So I think he has earned this plug - Alan Wares is a co-presenter on The Albion Roar, an independent Brighton fans’ radio show on Radio Reverb 97.2FM in Brighton & Hove, on and on podcast at

Remember to send your score predictions in to @peterbell19 to get your tweet up on Cherry Chimes.

As for the penalty call, I do think AFCB are getting a reputation for going down a bit easy as I have said before. It is not something I like as I am not a fan of diving. I think referees have said no to a lot of AFCB's penalty shouts that may be should have been pens, but equally the Cherries style of play is going to draw penalties from many defences which simply have not been able to cope with the forward runs and pace of players like Wilson and Pugh. I can't say that AFCB fans wouldn't mind a few more penalties though!

There is a Match Highlights summary of the Birmingham game now up on the Key Match Highlights page with video of the goals.

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