Friday, September 24, 2004

SHOULD NEVER HAVE LEFT THE GOLDSTONE: Way back in the past, once a year we'd troop out of our school at lunchtime and dawdle over to Withdean Stadium in Brighton where we'd sit and watch the sportier boys doing their thing in the name of sports day. Withdean was built in a fit of optimism by Brighton Council, who believed that they could create a tennis venue which would steal the crown from Wimbledon. When that failed, they tried to turn it into an athletics hotbed - Steve Ovett trained there - and it enjoyed a brief spell of fame as the home of the Brighton B52s, back when people pretended to like American Football. More recently, though, it has been home to Brighton and Hove Albion, whose own ground was more-or-less stolen from them by an unpleasant regime. The Seagulls have been there for something like five years now, after an unhappy spell sharing Gillingham's ground, and they're really keen to move to a new site. Planning arguments, though, rumble on and on, so they're left with a venue which feels a little like a refugee camp, and is about as well regarded by the rich knobs of Withdean as they would an actual refugee camp on their doorstep.

Still, to cheer everyone up, and to promote his new album of the same name, Fatboy Slim is rechristening Withdean Stadium 'Palookaville' for the game against Sheffield United on October 2nd. They'll also be playing the album to the small knot of supporters - as if being caught in the cold and the rain and having to watch the Albion isn't trial enough.


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