Euro away win thrills Seagulls

Thursday 21st February 2013 17:40

Gus Poyet: Masterminded a win at Cardiff

Gus Poyet: Masterminded a win at Cardiff

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FanZoner Brett Mendoza thanks Championship leaders Cardiff for their hospitality and the three points on Tuesday night.

It is nights like that in Cardiff which make me love football. Brighton achieved what Arsenal were trying to do on the same evening - to win in Europe!

I made a very late decision to go to the game, which resulted in me falling victim to Cardiff's ridiculous dynamic pricing strategy. Whilst Brighton fans who paid in advance paid £19, those 200 or so that paid on the day were charged £30 to sit in exactly the same seats. I find that scandalous! A couple of quid, fair enough, but £11 was just ridiculous.

By the final whistle, the £30 charge was forgotten about. Victory, a clean sheet and three vital points

I honestly thought a point would be a great result, so to come away with three was brilliant. I thought it would be a trip where we got nothing, but at least I would have got to visit some of the locations of one of my favourite comedy shows (Gavin & Stacey) at nearby Barry Island.

It was the ideal Poyet result - a couple of goals and a clean sheet. How we achieved it, however, is likely to be the exact opposite of how Gus prefers to win.

Normally he likes us to be in control of possession and the tempo of a match, score some goals and keep a clean sheet. In reality, we were lucky to be in the game, scored against the run of play whilst Cardiff hit the bar a few times, as well as the post. It was all hands on deck defending attack after attack, whilst barely touching the ball.

I would've called it a smash and grab raid had it not been for Ulloa's injury time second goal. The jubilation that greeted it was as wild as any away goal I have seen. Just brilliant! Maybe it was more relief as it is the end of games when we normally concede!

It was also a good chance to wave the ridiculous red scarves being handed out post-match. A stupid PR stunt being pulled by Cardiff's new owners as they try to rebrand a club steeped in history. I was surprised how many home fans took to it. The ground was a see of red, it was a bit sad to see.

One very complementary thing I would like to say about Cardiff is their approach to away fans. I don't think I've ever been made to feel more welcome at an away ground, a view reciprocated by many other Brighton fans. The stewards were all friendly and chatty, it reminded me of my time as a Games Maker.

I especially liked the nice posters welcoming us, thanking the away fans for celebrating. The TV screens in the concourses even showed the adverts and trailers we see at The Amex. A pleasant experience, one which all clubs should take note of. It was all topped off nicely with a victory that put us right back in the play-off picture.

So to the play-offs, can we do it? I think so. For some reason I keep thinking it will be us versus Palace in final. It would be unbearable, either way. The games are hard enough to take when it's just a league game, so God only knows how I will feel if it did actually happen!

With our current squad and Vicente dishing out the Flairerro Rochers on the pitch, I think we have a great chance of making one of the four places. One more win, also means we should have enough points to not get relegated too, that's the old school inner Seagull in me!

So to Saturday, a rare 3pm kick off at The Amex, a huge game which I feel we should be winning, especially after our glorious adventures in Cardiff this week. It will also be a great chance for everyone to see the return of my friends and favourite cheerleaders, Gullys Girls!

Finally I'd like to personally thank all the Brighton fans who have helped me in my charity fund raising missions over the last five years. Last month on my latest quest, Cancer Research's Dryathlon, the amount I have raised for charity reached the unbelievable barrier of £20,000.

With that total in mind, I decided to hang up my fund raising bucket and call time on what has been a hectic, but brilliant part of my life. Lots of perks came, loads of brilliant new people were met who became friends, but most of all loads of money went to some very worthwhile causes.

So a massive thank you goes to all of you who helped me organise events, donated prizes, helped promote, those who took part, but most of all anyone who donated any money from £1 to £100's. I cannot be grateful enough. It is a part of my life I can now look back on with much pride.



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