Palace fans may want to skip this article.
Huge heartfelt congratulations to Brighton and my good mates (Paul and Francey to name but two) who have followed them through their peaks and many, many troughs. 20 years ago Brighton were homeless thanks to the ineptitude and irresponsibility of a club chairman who shamelessly sold their historic Goldstone Ground from under them. They subsequently played 70 miles away at Gillingham’s ground for two years before spending 12 seasons at the Withdean athletics stadium, with portable cabins for changing rooms.
But today at their wonderful Falmer stadium, a legacy to the generous and patient Tony Bloom (photo), the Seagulls returned to the countries top division 34 years after they were last there, and in that time only Steve Gritt and a last-day draw at Hereford stopped them from sinking into the non league, and potentially the abyss.
Brighton have long been ready for the Premier League and they are a proper club, with proper fans and the long friendship with Charlton supporters runs very deep.
Another club where it’s fans have stood by and watched the almost total destruction of it is Portsmouth, and they too were celebrating today as Pompey joined Plymouth and Doncaster in getting promoted from League Two and will be on the Addicks’ fixture list next season. Blackpool and Luton both have it in their own hands to join them. Personally I’m hoping Carlisle make it, because you know what that means….
From the Championship Wigan look doomed with a tough run-in, and one of Birmingham (last in 3rd tier in 1995), Nottingham Forest (2008) and Blackburn Rovers (1980) look like joining them. Burton’s win at Birmingham today finally saw Gianfranco Zola finally slink away after an absolutely disastrous time as manager. The ‘vision’ of these crackpot owners knows no bounds.
Finally a shout out to Aldershot Town, a team that has always held a place in my heart. I saw my first ever live football game at Aldershot’s Recreation Ground and they are a club that actually folded and their story of revival is also one of awe. The Shots beat Dover at home today in front of 3,857 and a play-off chance to make it back into the football league, once a distant dream, is now very much a reality.