Mark Brailsford checks out the young guns
England Vs Denmark U-19 international at The Amex
The falsetto voices chanting “Ing-ger-lund” gave the game away, this was an Under-19 England International. The choice of venue being The Amex meant an excellent attendance of over 17,000 which delighted the FA and was considerably more than for the U21 Qualifier played at Colchester the same evening. The pricing was a vindication of both BHAFC’s and The FA’s approach to attract young fans, not only to the stadium but to the concept of hosting internationals.
Young England acquitted themselves well with a team made up of very promising youngsters from Premier League clubs such as Arsenal, Liverpool, Everton and inevitably, Manchester Utd. A handful had played quite a few games at the top level and the watching Gus Poyet may have been taking note of the performances of the likes of Tottenham’s Harry Kane who stood out and could perhaps be a useful loan signing. The hard fought 1-0 victory, that came from a goal by West Ham teenager Rob Hall against a strapping Danish U19 team, did credit to manager Noel Blake’s pass and move tactics.
It was also refreshing to see an England team receiving the ball in marked positions and playing off a pass to a teammate rather than the ‘hoofball’ the seniors often fall into. England manager, Noel Blake remarked after the match: “Around the final third I thought we rushed things a bit and that was the key message from me; we need to be more patient around the final third”. In fact, it was a bit like watching the Albion.
The Albion Roar is a radio show on Brighton’s Radio Reverb 97.2 FM, hosted by Adey Packham and Alan Wares. The hour long shows goes out live and can be downloaded as a podcast. It’s rapidly gaining in credibility as a forum for the club to explain at length, issues it wishes to communicate to the Albion supporters, with high profile guests such as Tony Bloom, Dick Knight and Ken Brown while also providing an irreverent and entertaining saloon bar discourse on all matters Albion.
The irreverence is also reflected in their choice of guest, ranging from the aforementioned club representatives, to aged superfans or if they’re really desperate, yours truly. To give you a flavour of the tone, I shall pass on a gag cracked by host Adey Packham at the England U19 game. As the youngsters in the ground grew bored of the early skirmishing in the match the dreaded Mexican wave started up around the 15-minute mark. Mr Packham then called out from his press box perch, “Oooh, look, it’s the first AMEXican wave”. (I guess you had to be there).
Amex pitch to replace Pavilion Ice Rink
There are more concerns about the overwatering of the Amex pitch prior to matches, which seemed to affect the footing of the England and Denmark teams. Some observers have noted the number of Albion players who seem to lose their footing rather too easily during matches. At one point even the referee took a tumble as he too found the going uneasy.
Is there something up with The Amex pitch? It could be down to the moisture levels being high in the vicinity as it is situated more or less on the border of the Downs. It could of course be the footwear, so perhaps we’ll see Gus and Tanno taking the players to the fabulous Pavilion Ice Rink to try a more old fashioned version of the infamous football boots with blades.