After a last gasp equaliser in their final home game of the season, Brighton & Hove Albion are just one win away from the Premier League.
Their one-all draw today against Derby (the Rams) means they will travel to Middlesbrough on Saturday knowing that victory would see them play in the top tier of English football for the first time in over 30 years.
This afternoon, Brighton and Hove Albion fans of all ages strode up to their home stadium – The Amex – full of excitement about the game ahead of them.
Some of them were even looking hopefully for a last minute ticket sale.
This is a remarkable journey for a club that in the late 1990s were without a ground and on the verge of liquidation.
The long suffering fans witnessed relegation and had to travel to Gillingham to watch their side play, after their Goldstone Ground was sold to cover mounting debts.
Brighton & Hove Albion were on the verge of dropping out of the league altogether in the late 90s but successive promotions at the start of the century brought new optimism and a new stadium was promised by Brighton & Hove City Council on the outskirts of the city, at Falmer.
In 2011, the club received the keys to their brand new 22,000 seat stadium (later increased to 33,000).
More importantly though, Brighton and Hove Albion had a home to call their own for the first time in 12 years.
Understandably, ahead of today’s game, fans appreciated their stadium and its resultant opportunity for the club and the city’s future success.
Luckily for the Seagulls, James Wilson managed to score a 95th-minute equaliser in today’s penultimate match.
However, they also had Lewis Dunk sent off after Andreas Weimann had put Derby in front, which means Dunk will miss the last crucial game of the season.
The Seagulls’ draw today against the Rams means they must win next week to be promoted automatically.
The last time the Seagulls were promoted to football’s top table in 1979, they had to make the long journey to Newcastle on the last day of the season, and win.
They did, by three goals to one.
If Chris Houghton’s team of today can repeat that score-line when they head back to the North East to take on Middlesbrough this Saturday, then this lively seaside town will be celebrating for weeks and months to come.
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