We set off from Nottingham at 8am to make sure we’d get down to Brighton for midday, though early on a Sunday is usually a good time to travel anyway. A punk soundtrack and only three hours direct to the multi-storey car park meant that the journey flew by and we’d have plenty of time for a few sherbets.
Hotel check-in couldn’t take place before 3pm which meant that’d have to wait until after the game, so straight to Wetherspoons and first pint of the day. The pub proved to be a good choice as it seemed to be a meeting point for stacks of Gooners. Plenty of hugging back slapping and ‘how’s it going?’ followed which launched us into the away trip feel very nicely, thank you.
After a couple we moved on for a more traditional taste of Brighton, an Irish pub! The Fiddler’s Elbow had been recommended and happened to be less than 100 yards away. We just caught them opening at 12, so were their first customers and had a choice of any seat in the house. The next two and a half hours flew by and is now a little like a time lapse video in my memory, twelve o’clock pub empty, half past two rammed to the rafters. Shed loads of Gooners again, chatting to Brighton and Arsenal alike, just as it should be. The first sorties into the packed lunch helped to absorb some of the Guinness.
As usual we’d worked out the best way of getting to the ground, the 25 bus from just round the corner in Churchill Square. This was before the main central area where the train station sits, so we had more chance of getting on. The Amex is several miles outside Brighton and transport is problematic (more of this later). We went past Brighton Pavilion which meant we could get the required amount of sightseeing under our belts.
After a couple of stops the bus was full with the driver operating a one off one on policy, so we’d guessed right about where to get on. The 20 minute bus ride took about 45 but after a half dozen beers, proved to be a diverting experience. Arriving at the stadium with a half hour to go to kick off, allowed plenty of time to watch the warm up and for one of the mascots to have his photo taken with a muppet.
The game was very enjoyable after Walcott’s early strike settled nerves. Mine and Ant’s eyesight were severely tested with Arsenal’s second as we both thought that Giroud had scored. Big lad in the area scores with his left foot, what were we to assume? Perhaps this was evidence that Mesut has bulked up somewhat while out with injury, or maybe proof that you always see more of the game if you watch on TV (or that we both need new or replacement glasses). Ant had some knobheads to his right who were abusing Szczesny throughout the game in one form or another. Even after the fans sang ‘ He smokes when he wants’, they seemed to fail to grasp the fact that it was intended to support a player in an Arsenal shirt.
The second half was a little more scary after Brighton’s early reply but Tommy’s crisp volley proved decisive in the end. Sanchez coming on as sub provoked numerous renditions of his (fairly) new song, ‘Alexis Sanchez, baby, Alexis Sanchez, wohhhoooh’ to the tune of ‘Don’t You Want me Baby’. Not sure about that one but it seems popular.
Cue celebrations at the final whistle and Little Mozart throwing his shirt into the Arsenal section.
My previous attempts at coronation chicken have always involved Sunday’s leftovers, so I’m back on familiar ground with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s recipe for cold cooked chicken. The dressing is simplicity itself: 2 tbsp “good spicy fruit chutney” (I use mango, in keeping with the Anglo-Indian theme), mixed with 1 tbsp “good Madras curry powder” and equal parts Greek yoghurt and mayonnaise and tossed through the meat, which is then left to marinate for a couple of hours and finally garnished with toasted almonds and chopped coriander. The sandy colour looks the part to our modern eyes, and the assertively fruity, spicy flavour wins fans too – everyone loves it, although my mum points out quite rightly that the raw curry powder adds a harsh note to the dressing. The yoghurt stops the mayonnaise from taking over the dish, without imparting the slightly buttery flavour of creme fraiche. A solid, crowd-pleasing recipe for anyone in a hurry – and I love the crunch of the nuts.
Getting away from the ground was tricky to say the least with the majority of Brighton’s record attendance heading back towards the town centre. There were a few incidents where frustrated supporters from both teams became a little fractious both with the transport arrangements and with each other. We stayed in the ground for a pint after the game but still had to queue for a fair time to get a train back to the city centre.
Having finally arrived back in Brighton, we checked into our salubrious accommodation at the Travelodge on Brighton Seafront and set off back to the ‘Spoons for a cheap meal and a couple more celebratory beers. Then, back to the room for 10.30 to see MOTD2 and hear some dubious words of wisdom from Phil Snivel.
All in all a great trip.
Up The Arse.
Written by chas