I have really fond memories of going to the (now sadly demolished) Goldstone Ground in the glory days of the 1970s to watch the Albion progress up the old Third Division all the way to the First.
We regularly got huge crowds – all standing, of course, many smoking and not an item of mobile technology to distract anyone (unless you count the poor man in the white coat who went round the ground at the beginning of the second half with a signboard showing other scores around the country. I suspect it must read ‘Get out the bloody way’ on his tombstone!).
I went with my dad and brother and, at first, with my grandad too. I can’t imagine how we would afford today’s inflated prices – you simply turned up and paid at the turnstile and hoped that no-one over six feet tall stood in front of you just as the match began.
My school was not far from the Goldstone, so I used to go through Hove Park on a Friday afternoon and see the scaffolding going up in the ground, which meant that our team would be on the telly at the weekend. All before hundreds of live matches and corresponding fixture mayhem too.
And lest this sound too dewy-eyed, how I love our beautiful new ground at Falmer. It has a club shop that would have seemed like Aladdin’s Cave back in the day! It also sells food and beer, which was something only nearby pubs ever retailed in the Goldstone days.
Oh yes, and watching Peter Ward turn and score is still one of the finest sights I shall ever witness.
I live in Glasgow now, but still follow the Albion’s fortunes from afar.