FOREST AWAY: Brighton & Hove Albion, Sunday 10th March – Fan Guide

As I write, somewhere in what I assume is a big room in London, the Premier League status of Nottingham Forest is being debated. A much-publicised hearing designed to decide upon what punishment is to be handed down for our breach of PSR rules. As I understand it, we have admitted our guilt, so this is more about presenting mitigating circumstances and attempts to keep the sanctions as harmless as possible, although I freely admit to not really being up to speed with all of this. Rooting for my club in a court case is not something I ever envisaged happening.

It’s a real shame that our position at the top-flight could effectively be decided by lawyers and officials rather than on the pitch. That’s not to say we haven’t got the ability to play our way to safety, but I’m wondering more and more if this purgatory of not knowing is harmful enough on its own. We don’t know exactly what our target is, what we need to finish above three other clubs. If a decision does not land until April, as was suggested, we then have so little time to galvanise ourselves to overcome any significant points deduction. If we take our partners in crime, Everton; their initial deduction came at a point early into the season where they knew what they had to do (until the second charge came along) and had ample time to react.

I’ve not seen it mentioned anywhere but there is some unfortunate irony in all of this – we were among a clutch of clubs last season suggesting Everton’s deduction should be applied last season and enhancing our own chances of surviving. Rules were then, I believe, amended to ensure that point deduction would be considered in the same season and now it’s us on the other end of it. To use a line from Only Fools & Horses: ‘We feel like a turkey that has just caught Bernard Matthews grinning at it.’ Knowing towards the end of last season that we were edging beyond FFP limits, it seems a little mad that we pursued such a course of action. Now it’s us with a knife at our throats.

There is something deeply unfortunate and troubling about all of this. Both from our perspective of going over the threshold, but also from the fact that the financial rules are leaning against those outside the top six, especially newly promoted teams. That clubs such as Aston Villa and Newcastle are reportedly struggling to make ends meet does show that this is a system that isn’t having the results it was designed to have. A planned overhaul of the PSR rules this summer not only demonstrates this, but also might (we can hope) lead to some relaxing of the punishment handed down in the coming weeks.

Even if the news isn’t what we want, a swift resolution to this is going to be a positive outcome. We desperately need to know where we stand, what we need, and we can then go into all of our remaining games swinging some punches. As we have seen, a defiant and galvanised fanbase will be important in our bid to retain our Premier League status. Whatever the verdict handed down, we must use it as the touch paper being lit.


TRAINS: This looks like a nightmare so I’m not going to spend too long on it. The only suggested route which arrives into Brighton in good time involves a bus to Grantham and a train into Kings Cross, with a final service from London Victoria to Brighton. There doesn’t seem to be a bus leg on the way back, but the same route applies. Presumably there may be an issue on the main line from Nottingham to London.

There is always the option to drive down some of the route and get the train in from London or somewhere like Luton Parkway, but you’d probably be better off just driving the whole way.

Be advised that Brighton operate a free Travel Zone for stations around the city which includes Brighton and Falmer. Your match ticket will act as your train ticket and allow you to travel for free on the permitted routes.

ROAD: It’s a real bloody pain getting parked around the stadium, unless you want to rely on the official car parks. These are nice and spacious, but they take an absolute age to escape from after the game. And walking in from further out is complicated by the ground mainly being accessed by a dual carriageway. That’s not to say that there isn’t any street parking but most of the areas I’ve seen on past visits have been heavily restricted.

An alternative is to look at using the train from Falmer (right next to the Amex) and make your way in that way. The line south connects directly to Brighton and will get busy after the game. Coming in from the north might therefore be a better option, although it’s still likely to be a bit of a wait.

The next stop up the line is Lewes which apparently is a decent town and is a regular stop for away fans. There should hopefully be some parking either around Lewes (especially with it being a Sunday) or at the station itself which costs £2.50 per car, plus some pubs that will welcome Forest fans. The Royal Oak pub is a few minutes’ walk from Lewes Station and has been advertising itself as a venue for Forest fans before the game. It suggests an 11am opening. It takes 7-8 minutes on a train from Lewes to Falmer and this is included in the free Travel Zone mentioned previously, so it will be free of travel. This may be the best solution for those coming in the car.

The Brighton website contains a useful guide on matchday travel:

Brighton & Hove Albion (


The obvious place to go looking for a pre-match drink is in Brighton, but time may not allow with the 2pm kick-off. Fortunately, the transport links to the ground are pretty good and you can jump on a train from the stadium and into the city pretty quickly, with some decent bars clustered around Brighton Station.

There are, from memory, a couple of pubs on the main route in towards Brighton / the stadium but stopping off at one of these and then heading on towards the ground looking for parking later on may not be wise.

The idea of heading to Lewes as mentioned above is probably the best idea, although I recall the away end is better than most other grounds for a pre-match drink.


Q&A with Brighton fan, Byron

I’m not sure how to describe Brighton’s season. It’s certainly not been poor, especially with progress in Europe, but how would you describe it?

We started like a steam train, but then our league form became very sketchy. We had some good wins in the FA cup until the disappointment at Wolves.

Europe of course has been fantastic so far. But the reality is we have an extra competition, sold our 2 best midfielders, have picked up a number of injuries and introduced a lot of teenagers into the 1st team. This and constant speculation about the managers future.

The fact we are in March and still in the mix for the European places means I really can’t complain. Especially as I’m on my way to the Eternal City as I write this.


I saw it said recently that Brighton are the club that almost every other English club could aspire to be. What do you make of that and how would you briefly surmise your recent rise towards the top of the Premier League?

It’s great to hear this said. A real testament to all the work behind the scenes for well over a decade. The recruitment strategy has been phenomenal. Thanks to Tony Bloom who must be on the world’s most popular chairman shortlist.

The up and downside for the fans is that we get to  watch some fantastic talent its often only for a short time before they move on to the big six.


You, along with many other Brighton fans, are off to Rome this week. How have you been finding these European excursions and did you ever see them as something you might one day experience?

Dreamt of it since we nearly beat Man Utd in the 1983 cup final. Expected it. Never.

The draw have been amazing. South of France, Amsterdam,  Athens and Rome. We really have been given the best of European trips. The atmosphere at Marseille was astonishing.  I now understand what the saying Wall of Sound really means. It did seem odd seeing the draw on TV.

The likes of Benfica, Milan, Liverpool,  Roma, Lisbon. Then seeing Brighton and Hove Albion amongst them. Still feels surreal.


Is there any chance Forest might be able to capitalise on some iffy league form and our match coming in between the Roma games?

Perfect time for Forest to play us. Our home form has been pretty good all year. But I believe the Europa League is the main focus. You definitely have an opportunity to get something.


VAR has been a heavier discussion point than ever just lately and just about every football fan will have a point of view on it. What’s your opinion and how have Brighton fared this season?

VAR obviously does get a lot of decisions right. But it’s far too involved and disrupting. I’d want its use reigned back and to stop looking for the minutiae. It’s this I believe is spoiling the fan experience on match days.

And please stop awarding soft penalties.

As nice as the Amex is, it’s a real pain for parking. Do you have any suggestions on how Forest fans travelling in the car can get parked up and not have to spend an age waiting to get away after the game?

It’s a payoff I’m afraid for having our own decent stadium. Park as close to the exits as possible and hope for the best.

Whether you’re leaving by bus, car or train you’re going to have a wait unless you leave the game early.


What about away pubs or places that will welcome away fans? Brighton isn’t too far away on the train but given the slightly earlier Sunday KO is there anywhere a little closer to the ground?

 Nowhere near the ground. There is Lewes which has a few away fan friendly pubs and a good atmosphere. Otherwise Wetherspoons 10 minutes down the hill from Brighton Station near the seafront is good for away fans. There is a decent choice of places for well-behaved fans.


Finally – let’s have your predictions…

How will this game finish?
Where will Brighton finish in the league?
Where will Forest finish in the league?

I’m predicting a 1-1 draw. Maybe some VAR controversy.

I think we’ll both finish where we are.

Brighton 9th

Forest 17th.

Slightly under expectation from when the season started, I expect.

Here’s to a great game.


Thanks to Byron for his insight.

See you in Brighton.

Up the Reds.