Remembering the Seagulls’ Great Escape  

Remembering the Seagulls’ Great Escape

As most fans would agree, the 2019/20 season has not been a particularly great one for Brighton and Hove Albion. But, unlike in the previous season, the team has managed to successfully avoid the relegation zone, a great relief to manager, players and fans alike.There have also been some great results with victories over Arsenal, both home and away as well as wins over other top flight names including Spurs and Everton.

So there is a firm foundation to build on going into the next season, even if it does prove to be without Ezequiel Schelotto, as is seeming increasingly likely.

Although rumours are always rife if not always true, there may also be a an invaluable addition to the squad in the form of Liverpool midfielder Alan Lallana with the Seagulls poised to beat Leicester in a bid to sign the 31 year old with 34 England caps to his name.

With this, and other factors, in mind anyone wanting to get in an early wager on the team’s prospects next season would do well to act soon. It’s just a question of searching for a site providing you with a list of all UK betting opportunities including the best welcome bonuses that you can find and even some free bets that would make the winning all the sweeter.

But, as we anticipate what will hopefully be the club’s most successful Premiership season ever, it’s worth taking a look back at a defining moment in its history. One which, if it had gone another way, might even have spelt the end of the name forever.

It was the end of 1996/7 season. The club was languishing at the foot of the then Fourth Division – a far cry from a golden period in the 80s which even included and FA Cup Final clash with Manchester United.

The ownership of the club was also in crisis, with owners Bill Archer and Greg Stanley mainly concerned with the profitable sale of the Goldstone Ground, the Seagulls’ home since 1902.

So with the prospect of relegation to the lower leagues, uncertainty over where they would play next season and a two point deduction for a fans’ pitch invasion, it was all on the final game of the season.

The opponents were Hereford United, the only team lower in the League. So this was more than just a six pointer, it was a matter of life or death. The early signs were ominous: in the 21st minute a Kerry Mayo own-goal saw Albion 0-1 down. But deep into the second half a speculative shot from Craig Maskell hit the post and Robbie Reinelt achieved hero status by forcing the ball home.

Although on equal points, Albion’s better goal difference saved them, consigning Hereford to a sad future that led to their eventual disappearance as a club.

Since then it has been something of a rollercoaster for the Seagulls, but now the outlook is brighter. And here’s hopi