Match Review – Huddersfield Town 2-0 Brighton


Any opposition managers out there looking to work out the best way to set up to face Brighton and Hove Albion will have learnt plenty from the last two weeks.

We couldn’t live with Liverpool’s pressing game as they sauntered to a 5-1 win at the Amex and now Huddersfield have also knocked off the Albion with a 2-0 victory at the John Smiths Stadium. Add that to last seasons 3-1 defeat up there and it becomes pretty clear that whenever an opponent presses us, we are in trouble.
If a side don’t have the fitness levels to harry and chase like Liverpool and Huddersfield, then you’ve now got corners as well to add to the list. Huddersfield took the lead through Steve Mounie who was unmarked at the far post from a corner. Liverpool went ahead last week from a corner, Manchester United’s winner at Old Trafford came from a corner, Stoke City scored their second from a corner. See the theme?

When you are a team like Brighton who aren’t going to score many goals with a manager like Chris Hughton who prioritises defence over attack, you can’t afford to gift teams a goal from set pieces as we’ve done in recent weeks. With Gareth Southgate in attendance, it was pretty poor timing for Lewis Dunk to have his worst game of the season.

The second was another poor goal to give away, this time on the part of Maty Ryan. Another corner came in, Ryan slapped the ball away to his fellow convict Aaron Mooy who put in a ball that was eventually headed in by Mounie. Ryan really should have done better with both the punch and the final effort which looked like it should’ve been a routine save.

And that was that. We created only two shots on goal all afternoon and David Wagner, twat though he may be, was spot on when he said that in the second half one team was far more likely to score than the other, and it certainly wasn’t us.

Something looks seriously amiss at the minute, the spirit that saw us through last year and fostered that overused #Together seems to be missing. That won’t have been helped by the rumours pregame that Solly March, José Izquierdo and Anthony Knockaert were all going to be dropped due to a disciplinary issue.

March and Izquierdo missing out would hardly have been a surprise given that they’ve been in and out of the team all season. But that rumour gained some crediblity when Knockaert didn’t even make the bench. Hughton suggested afterwards this was because he wanted to rest them, but if that was the case and the decision pre planned, why not have Jamie Murphy and Jiri Skalak available rather than playing for the under 23s? Neither Ezequiel Schelotto or Izzy Brown are what you would call traditional wingers and looked very much like square pegs in round holes – Brown couldn’t cross a ball of his life depended on it and Schelotto was in Alastair John out of his depth territory.

Knockaert not even being on the bench coupled with two players who aren’t wingers on the wing smacked of a late decision. Why wouldn’t you want your most creative player on the bench just in case you need him to come on and unlock a defence? It only adds fuel to the fire to those rumours that all is not well somewhere in the camp.

Whatever the problem is, it needs fixing and soon. December always looked like a bloody difficult month and that’s the way it’s panning out. January and the opportunity to bring in reinforcements can’t come soon enough. Top of that list has to be a striker seeing as we have no goals in open play now for four games. Back up is required in central midfielder as Dale Stephens and Davy Propper have started every match and it Hughton truly thinks that Schelotto and Brown are back up wingers, we could remarkably need to sign a wide player as well despite having 73 of them already at the club.

Its damage limitation between now and the transfer window; try and pick up some points in the next five games before it opens and make sure we aren’t in the relegation zone by the time that new faces have arrived. This season was always going to be tough, but January now looks vital to our hopes of staying up. You’ve got to get this one right, Albion.

Match Preview – Huddersfield Town v Brighton


Huddersfield – the team
Huddersfield surprised everyone by winning promotion to the Premier League last season, despite having one of the smallest budgets in the Championship and a squad made up largely of loaned players. That was testament to the work of David Wagner, who’s Liverpool-lite pressing style of football proved to be enough to see off Sheffield Wednesday and Reading in the play offs to secure top flight football for the Terriers for the first time since 1972. Huddersfield were the only side to outclass us in a game last season when they won 3-1 at the John Smiths Stadium and the Albion’s performance against Liverpool did nothing to dispell the notion that we struggle against teams that press. Might want to have that sorted by 3pm Saturday, Mr Hughton…

Huddersfield – the place
Huddersfield has a mixed record in terms of what it has given the world. It played a key role in the Industrial Revolution after the murder of mill-owner William Horsfall, which kicked the government into crushing the Luddite Rebellion, ensuring we could all stop living as peasants. For every positive there is a negative however, and it was also the birthplace of the ghastly sport of Rugby League, that much inferior version of the egg shaped ball game where you can’t even tackle. What’s the point?

Huddersfield – the people
Former Prime Minister Harold Wilson used to live in Huddersfield and is honoured with a statue outside of the station. The Terriers most famous fan is X Men leader Professor Charles Xavier, or at least the older version of him. Quite when he decided to become a Huddersfield fan remains unclear, but it must have been sometime between his change from James McAvoy to Sir Patrick Stewart. Bloody JCL’s.

A good memory of Huddersfield away
The John Smiths Stadium hasn’t been a good place to visit for the Albion, with only two victories in our last 10 games there. The last of those came in the 2006-07 season, when Jake Robinson hit a hat-trick to give Dean Wilkins side a 3-0 victory with a largely home grown side. It seems like madness to think that Wilkins and Dick Knight were proclaiming it as the start of a journey that would lead to an all home grown side playing in the first game at the new stadium at Falmer.

A bad memory of Huddersfield away
Huddersfield Town 7-1 Brighton (SEVEN). On a Tuesday night. So bad it ended up being comical as the entire away end – about 200 of us – took it in turns to have a photo with the scoreboard.

Played for both
Alarm bells should’ve been ringing regarding Micky Adam’s sanity after he decided Colin Hawkins was better than Joel Lynch, and shipped Lynch out to Nottingham Forest. Huddersfield are one of the clubs that he has subsequently played for, while Izzy Brown spent the second half of last season on loan with the Terriers.

Australian central midfielder Aaron Mooy signed permanently from Manchester City in the summer after a successful loan spell and he has continued to impress in this campaign. One of Wagner’s first signings who has come in and made a real difference was German defender Christopher Schindler and for that reason he has to make the list.

You have to go back to the aforementioned Huddersfield 0-3 Jake Robinson game to find the last time a side managed a clean sheet at the John Smiths when we’ve met and both teams to score at 11/10 therefore looks pretty good value.

Its a game neither side can afford to lose and for that reason we’re plumping for the 1-1 score draw.

Brighton v Palace FA Cup game set for Monday night


Brighton and Hove Albion’s FA Cup Third Round tie with Crystal Palace at the Amex looks set to take place on the evening of Monday 8th January.

The Daily Telegraph are reporting that the game will be shown live on BT Sport and will be the first competitive game in England to stage a trial of video assistant referees.

The technology has already been used in England friendly internationals, where it resulted in France’s Raphael Varane being sent off in the Three Lions 3-2 friendly defeat at Stade de France in May. Harry Kane scored the resulting penalty for England.

It will be the first domestic game in the country to use the technology, making it an historic occasion worthy of being beamed into the homes of the nation. Let’s just hope the game is of better quality than our last league meeting, otherwise the VAR might be in for a very redundant night.

The Monday evening kick off will come as a surprise to many, given the trouble that took place on November 28th. Palace fans arrived in the city early on the Tuesday, defaced a mural of Bruno in the city centre and then ticketless fans apparently carrying knifes and knuckle dusters broke into the stadium and let off fireworks and bangers.

All of that palava led many to believe that the game would be a Sunday lunchtime kick off on police advice. Another evening encounter, especially with an enlarged Palace contingent owing to FA rules stipulating that away fans can take up to 15% of the capacity, could be seen as a risk of the same sort of scenes occuring.

The spotlight will be firmly on the Albion and Sussex Police for this one, even without the game being shown live. On a personal note, it being played on a Monday is absolutely excellent as there is racing at Fontwell in the afternoon before hand which offers an excellent sporting double.

No ticket details have been released yet, but keep your eyes peeled on both our blog and social media feeds as we can’t wait to completely lose the plot at the thought of paying £45 to watch Jayson Molumby and Dessie Hutchinson against Palace’s stiffs.

Brighton to host Crystal Palace in FA Cup Third Round


You wait four years to play Crystal Palace, and then you host them twice in two months. Cheers FA Cup draw.

Yes, Brighton and Hove Albion will host Crystal Palace in the third round of the FA Cup in the first weekend of January, with the dust barely settled on the last league meeting between the two.

You don’t need reminding of that one; virgins from Croydon in black hoodies smashing open a fire exit to the Amex and then letting bangers off in the stadium. Taking seats that belonged to genuine ticket holding supporters. Not to mention injuring stewards and their fellow Palace fans, turning up with knives and knuckle dusters and then trying to blame it all on the Albion and police. Oh, and the football was spectacularly shit as well.

Well, we get to go through it all again now. And this time because it’s a cup game, the stadium will have 15% of the attendance as Palace supporters.

Think that’s bad? If it’s a draw – highly likely given both clubs will probably field reserve sides with Premier League safety the priority – we will have the joy of a replay at Selhurst.

A cynic might suggest the draw was fixed as, with a lack of non league sides to add spice to it this year, there are a conveniently large number of local derbies including our game, Liverpool v Everton and Sunderland v Middlesbrough.

There were mixed reactions to the draw at the Albion. Our insider said, “At first, Paul Barber was delighted. He danced around the office singing ‘Money, money, money’ by ABBA and typing figures manically into a calculator.”

“Someone then pointed out the PR disaster that was the last one and he began smacking his head on his desk”

Sussex Police were said to be far less happy with the news than Barber’s initial reaction, with Darren Balkham reported to have last been seen curled up in a dark corner crying to himself,despite the great opportunity it presents to get some more arrests onto the board.

There is no date for the tie yet but we’d suspect all parties involved would want it to be an 8am kick off on a Monday morning. We aren’t sure they are allowed to do that, so expect midday on either Saturday 6th or Sunday 7th January.

Match Review – Brighton 1-5 Liverpool

Well, it was always going to happen at some point. Eventually, one of the top six was going to hand out a hammering to Brighton this season, such is the gulf in class between those pushing for European football and the rest of us. Having negotiated Manchester City, Arsenal and Manchester United without being on the end of a hiding, Liverpool came to the Amex and completely outclassed the Albion to win 5-1.

There have been plenty of tactical geniuses slating Chris Hughton and the players, as if they should be beating multi million pound internationals and one of the best managers in the world. To beat a Champions League side, you need them to have an off day, us to play at 100% and a bit of luck. We didn’t get any of those things.

Some people blamed our ball retention for the defeat. True, we gave it away with alarming regularity but it’s quite difficult to pick out a blue shirt when before you’ve even had a first touch, three red shirts are swarming around you. That was the cause of the first goal, possession surrendered, corner conceded, free header converted.

From the restart the same thing happened again, the ball was lost and 79 seconds later it was in the back of the net. The fact that the Albion players like time on the ball and don’t deal well when pressed isn’t exactly a revelation – the only time we were outclassed in the Championship last season was when Huddersfield did the same thing at the Galpharm.

Some people reckon Hughton being so defensive was a mistake and that we should’ve gone after Liverpool’s makeshift defence. Well, we tried that at the start of the second half when Glenn Murray was brilliantly denied by Simon Mignolet from point blank range. Five passes later and Liverpool had countered to stick the ball in at the other end through Roberto Firmino.

Some people reckon that Tomer Hemed should’ve played instead of Murray. True, Murray missed a couple of gilt edged opportunities but would Hemed really have put them away? The striker-we-should-have-signed-in-the-summer might have done and against such a makeshift defence, the chances we missed going in might have made it a different game.

The goal we did get did come from Murray but it was a fortutiotis penalty that, had it been given against us, the Amex would’ve been livid with. There was little defence of the fourth and fifth goals we conceded, the fourth being a free kick in which the wall all jumped in the air Sunday League style, allowing Phillipe Coutinho to roll the ball underneath and into the bottom corner.

The fifth was another Lewis Dunk own goal, his third of the season leaving him just one short of equaling Martin Skrtel’s record of four in one Premier League campaign. It was also the third time Dunk has scored for Liverpool in three games. Bearing in mind Dominic Solanke made his England debut last month without having scored for Liverpool, Dunk’s call up can’t be far away seeing as he has three more goals for the Reds than the striker.

Certain individuals looked jaded, none more so than Dale Stephens who has been off the boil for the last few weeks. It’s obviously not just the away end where thorough searches aren’t being carried out – Liverpool supporters got a flare in just as Palace did four days previously – but the sponsors lounge. What else could explain Stephens being awarded man of the match other than a significant amount of crack being smuggled in and smoked by those making that decision?

With a packed schedule through until Christmas, Hughton needs to start looking at squad rotation a little more urgently. It’s not only an intense schedule, but a difficult one – Burnley and Watford at home who are both flying, Spurs and Chelsea and away who really don’t need any introduction other than to say they both finished above Liverpool last season.

Before that, we get to Huddersfield on Saturday. Let’s hope Hughton and the players have worked out a way to deal with teams who press by then, otherwise it could be a long, hard run into the depths of winter.

For all the excellence Liverpool showed – and some of the stuff from Coutinho and Firmino was breathtaking – we need to be better. Otherwise it could be another wrist slitting evening on social media.

Match Preview – Brighton v Liverpool

Liverpool – the club
European champions on no less than five occasions, Liverpool are Britain’s most successful ever club in continental competitions. They won the majority of their titles through the 1970s and 80s until English clubs were banned from Europe because of an incident in Belgium which nobody is allowed to mention in case it ruins a certain set of supporters position as always being the victims. Under the enigmatic Jurgen Klopp, the Reds have become the most entertaining team in the Premier League, banging in goals for fun at one end but looking about as stable at the other as a one legged giraffe. Expect goals and plenty of them.

Liverpool – the place
Residents of a Liverpool have shunned the English language in favour of speaking Scouse. Just like Canadians who have their own set phrases such as “aboot” and Australian’s “strike me roan”, popular phrases in the Scouse language include “aight, aight, carm down, carm down” and “aight mate got a fiver fer 10 Bee and haitch.” The Liver Building and anything to do with the second greatest boy band in history after One Direction are popular sights in Liverpool.

Liverpool – the people
Yes, that’s right – The Beatles are the city’s most famous export and rightly so. Other famous faces include Cilla Black and from the world of sport, Steven Gerrard, Craig Noone – who, in case you hadn’t heard, once worked on Gerrard’s roof – and Alan Navarro.

A good memory of Liverpool at home
The FA Cup loved to throw us up against Liverpool in the 1980s and early 90s but that’s a bit before our time. The Reds traveled south for Jimmy Case’s Testimonial at the Godstone in 1994 with Matt Le Tissier turning out for the Albion, the only time he ever played for a professional team other than Southampton. (This may not be true but we can’t be bothered to Google it).

A bad memory of Liverpool at home
Steven Gerrard getting applauded onto the pitch as a substitute in our League Cup tie at the Amex in 2011. Clearly, a large number of our new season ticket holders were Sussex based Liverpool fans. Six years on, let’s hope they’ve switched their allegiance and made Brighton their number one team now.

Played for both
Case was one of a number of players who represented both clubs in the 1980s, along with Mark Lawrenson and Michael Robinson. Albion’s 1983 FA Cup Final manager Jimmy Melia was also a former Red.

Klopp is obviously extremely worried about the prospect of facing us, given that he rested both Philippe Coutinho and Mohamed Salah for Liverpool’s game at Stoke on Wednesday. Salah came off the bench to score twice in six minutes; we might have to face the Premier League’s top scorer for 90. Gulp.

Given how porous Liverpool are at the back, we fancy the Albion’s chances of scoring. With that in mind, both teams to score and Liverpool to win looks like value.

For our full OLBG betting preview of Brighton v Liverpool, click here

This will be the toughest defensive test we will have faced so far this season. An entertaining game ends 3-1 to Liverpool.

Match Review – Brighton 0-0 Crystal Palace


Don’t worry those Palace fans out there who had tickets but couldn’t get into the Amex due to their own fans stupidity, you didn’t miss much.

Derby games can be cagey affairs with neither side wanting to lose to their rivals and that is exactly what we got, a game that won’t live long in the memory, other than for the atmosphere and what happened off the pitch. A draw was the right result.

Palace were exactly what you expect from a Roy Hodgson side – defensively solid and well organised. It’s not hard to see why they haven’t scored a goal away from home, but in a division where being hard to beat can get you a long way, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Hodgson keep them up. Unfortunately.

They had the best chance of the game, Christian Benteke and then Wilfried Zaha drawing a brilliant double save from Maty Ryan after that rarest of sights, Shane Duffy losing a header.

Brighton’s chances were limited; Pascal Gross should have done better when he was set up by Knockaert but the German playmakers placed shot was so gentle it could have been mistaken for an effort from a Granny who has just had her hip replaced, and Glenn Murray had a header cleared off the line by Andros Townsend.

And that was about it. No fireworks at all on the pitch. They were reserved for the stands.

Things started when some pricks with paintbrushes painted red over the mural of Bruno in the city. It was a pointless act given the paint was washed off before the perpetrators would have been back in line in the Croydon dole queue, and if a couple of virgins want to spend a Monday night vandalising stuff, then we’d advice them to have a look on Ebay to see if there are any lives for sale.

Then came the scenes at the ground. Predictably, Southern Rail made a complete cock up out of things, canceling at least one train and reducing others down to three and four carriages between Brighton and Falmer. Hey, not like large queues at the station could lead to tensions boiling over, is it?

This obviously meant people rocking up to the Amex late, which is a problem if your own fans without tickets decide to break in. We’re told that Palace supporters smashed open a fire escape, allowing those gathered outside to gain entry to the away stand. In the midst of all that, there were smoke bombs and bangers going off and utter confusion. That of course led to two stewards – one from each club – getting hospitalised.

With the away end now overcrowded, someone took the decision to stop letting people in, even those with tickets. The FSF have said they are going to look into this and have complained at the outrage, when it surely would have been more outrageous to let people into an already overcrowded stand and risk a crush. You know, the sort of thing that happened at Hillsborough.

Palace supporters looking for someone to blame can point the finger at their own ticket less fans who denied those with tickets the chance to see the game. If we’d have gone all the way to Selhurst Park, only to not get in because a load of twats in black hoodies without tickets had smashed their way in, we’d be livid with our own supporters. Thankfully, we don’t have wannabe members of Blazing Squad amongst our fanbase like the Holmsdale Fanatics who seem to only be fanatical about acting like a bunch of wankers. We won’t even start on knifes and knuckle dusters being taken to a football game.

That isn’t to say the club and police are entirely blameless. When we last went to Palace, we had to show tickets before we’d even be allowed onto the road from which you access the away end. At West Ham and Manchester United this season, it’s been the same thing, a pre turnstile ticket check. Given the high importance of this game, it shouldn’t take Albert Einstein to work out that cordoning off the away end and making Palace fans show tickets before they could approach the turnstiles might have been a good idea. Those Palace fans without tickets who did get in probably couldn’t believe their luck at how easy it was.

As for the security checks, well the fact that there were at least four loud explosions in the away end plus all manner of flares and stuff going off suggest they were non existent. We’re constantly told to get to the Amex early these days for thorough searches. Clearly these don’t exist in certain sections and our requirement to arrive early is so customers are in the ground for longer spending more on food and drink. Profit Paul Barber likes this.

If there had have been proper searches and proper policing then the away end wouldn’t have resembled a mini ISIS erotic dream. The fact that the Palace Guy Fawkes’ ended up injuring their own supporters with their bangers shouldn’t go unnoticed either.

Palace’s ultras, the Albion and the police all need to look at themselves after last night but ultimately we all know who will pay the price, and that will be genuine supporters. They’ll draft Heinrich Himmler in to advise on security for the return game at Selhurst in April and make it as draconian as possible for away fans. Names on tickets, getting searched 20 times, travel on certain trains and get marched to the ground by the SS. That sort of thing.

Can’t wait. Let’s just hope the football is worth it.

Match Preview – Brighton v Crystal Palace


Crystal Palace – the team
Whisper it quietly, but Palace have been the superior side of the two over the last 30 odd years. Only twice in that time have we finished above them, and even then they managed to secure bragging rights – in 2011/12, they became the first visiting team to win a league game at the Amex, and then in 2012/13 they knocked us out of the play offs on their way to winning promotion to the top flight. It’s therefore been very enjoyable to see them endure the worst start any team has made to a Premier League season while we currently sit in the top half of the table. Times they are a changing and with Palace having an expensively assembled squad of mercenaries and a stadium that someone from the middle ages would consider dated, now is the time for Brighton to become the dominant side in the rivalry for the first time in a generation.

Crystal Palace – the place
Palace come from Selhurst which is in the Borough of Croydon. The locals of love their town so much that they famously decided to set fire to it during the London Riots of 2011. Stupid bastards.

Crystal Palace – the people
Famous Palace supporters include Eddie Izzard and Jay from The Inbetweeneers. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle used to live in the Selhurst area. Presumably the high crime levels gave him inspiration to become one of the best writers of that genre of books around.

A good memory of Crystal Palace at home
Gus Poyet was at his knobbish best when he tried to tell anyone who would listen that the Albion’s real rivalry should be with Southampton. Despite that, he did give us one of our best days against Palace in the 3-0 St a Patrick’s Day Massacre at the Amex, including a stunning free kick from David Lopez which remains one of the best goals the ground has seen.

A bad memory of Crystal Palace at home
Having hammered Palace with two out and out wingers less two months previously, Poyet displayed more knobbish behaviour by ripping up the game plan with the result being a 2-0 play off semi final second leg defeat. Palace went on to win promotion at Wembley and Poyet took to the airwaves to complain about a lack of money, claiming finishing fourth in the Championship represented our glass ceiling. How’s that glass ceiling looking now, by the way?

Played for both
A certain Glenn Murray fired the Albion to promotion from League One. He then went to Palace to fire them to promotion from the Championship. And then he came back to Brighton to fire us to promotion from the Championship. There can’t be a man who enjoys the affection of both sets of fans as much as him.

Wilfried Zaha was the difference between the two sides back in that play off meetings and he remains Palace’s most dangerous player. When you look at their squad on paper, the likes of Andros Townsend, Christian Benteke and Yohan Cabaye should not be in a relegation battle. Which makes their current situation all the more pleasing.

Murray has a remarkable record of scoring against his former clubs – he has four goals against us, three of which came for Palace after all – and he is good value to net anytime tonight.

Form and league positions tend to go out of the window in derby games. We’re sitting on the fence and going 1-1 as a result.

Match Review – Manchester United 1-0 Brighton


There was a special one in the dugout at Old Trafford, but it wasn’t José Mourinho. Chris Hughton continues to defy all expectations as Brighton should have had at least a point from their trip to Manchester United and probably all three.

The only goal of the game was officially recorded as an own goal after an Ashley Young shot hit Lewis Dunk and looped in over the head of Maty Ryan. Bar that unfortunate moment and a brilliant double save from Ryan from a Romelu Lukaku header and Paul Pogba’s follow up, United rarely threatened thanks to the excellence again of Dunk and Shane Duffy.

In fact, it was us who had the better chances and we could have been 3-0 up at the break. Glenn Murray came within inches of turning crosses home and Duffy headed a Pascal Gross cross off target when well placed.

The second half is a bit of a blut, given United’s brilliant policy of giving away any unpurchased pints of beer at the end of half time for free. In this age of Premier League greed and customers not fans, it seemed very rude not to take advantage of such a generous offer and so the team got through two each in five minutes.

Perhaps that policy also extends to free beer in the officials changing room,as there was plenty of controversy about the United goal. Firstly, it didn’t appear as if it was a corner anyway. Then, while the players awaited Marcus Rashford’s delivery, Lukaku took two off the ball kicks at Gaetan Bong, the second of which appeared to connect with Bong’s groinal region.

Either Mr Swarbick missed them or he chose to ignore the incident. Either way, it could have been a foul against Bong, a free kick to the Albion, a card for Lukaku and the ball not being delivered and finding its way to Young for the goal.

Mourinho said afterwards that we were the toughest team they’ve faced at Old Trafford this season, praise indeed. Three of the big six are out of the way now and we haven’t been disgraced in any of those games although the fact we haven’t scored in any either might be a concern.

But nobody could fault the players efforts on Saturday. For all the hatred United garner, Old Trafford is a fantastic venue for football and the Albion didn’t look out of place playing in such spectacular surroundings.

Now comes the small matter of following it up on Tuesday night…

Match Preview – Manchester United v Brighton


Manchester United – the club
Manchester United are the most successful club in English football history, although they have fallen on ‘hard times’ recently since Sir Alex Fergusson unplugged his hairdryer, with just the one FA Cup, one League Cup and one Europa League going into the Old Trafford trophy cabinet since 2013. José Mourinho is the man charged with bigging the glory days back and United are probably going to end up the nearest challengers to their neighbours in the blue half of Manchester who appear to already have the title sewn up barring a spectacular cock up. And if you don’t recognised United for footballing reasons, then you should recognise the name from half of your mates at school supporting them despite never having set foot in Old Trafford.

Manchester – the place
Manchester began to grow at a rapid rate around the turn of the 19th century, thanks in part to a boom in the textile industry which led it to become the world’s first industrialised city. It suffered a steep decline through the second half of the last century until the IRA decided to blow part of it up in 1996, which resulted in significant investment and regeneration. Manchester is now the third most visited city in Britain after London and Edinburgh.

Manchester – the people
People from Manchester are known as Mancunians and by and large will be found at the Etihad Stadium rather than Old Trafford. Celebrity fans include Usain Bolt (from Jamaica), Rory McLroy (Northern Ireland) and Miley Cyrus (America) who all support United due their close geographical links to the city rather than the glory.

A good memory of Manchester United away

This is the Albion’s first visit to Old Trafford since 1993, although the team did visit to watch Team GB in the Olympics in 2012. This was a spectacular success as not only did Team GB win, but we also went to the best club in the world after. Drinks were £2 a Red Stripe and £1.50 a Vodka Red Bull and we were so much older than the student crowd that one member of the party was able to go around asking to see ID from people while posing as an undercover policeman and for it to be totally believable.

A bad memory of Manchester United away
Needless to say at £2.00 a Red Stripe and £1.50 a Vodka Red Bull, both the toilet and the sink in the hotel room were blocked with a significant amount of sick the following morning.

Played for both
Jesse Lingard was one of the more successful of the 176 forwards we’ve signed on loan in the Amex Era and has since gone into establish himself as a United and England squad regular. Alongside Lingard in Oscar Garcia’s squad that reached the Championship play offs in 2014 was Tomasz Kuszczak who moved to the Albion in the summer of 2012 after being released by United, presumably not for the same reasons we let him go two seasons later.

Where to start? Two of the five most important expensive players in the world in Romelu Lukaku and Paul Pogba play for United, as do Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Juan Mata and Marcus Rashford. Given the gulf in quality between the two squads, Mourinho probably won’t need to call upon his favourite player, Parked Bus.

The bookies have us priced at 22/1 to win which seems about right if we are being brutally honest. Given that our only two meetings so far this season with teams from the big six have ended 2-0, total goals under 2.5 at 6/5 seems a good price. To receive free bet codes, click here

See above – 2-0 to United but the Albion will be far from disgraced.

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