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Goodbye Gully's Girls

After six years spanning two stadiums, one promotion and five managers, Gully's Girls will dance for the last time on Saturday 15th December 2012 with the visit of Nottingham Forest.

In their time working voluntarily for the club, the girls have improved dramatically, become a key part of Albion in the Community with cheer classes for schools and raised a lot of money through calendars and other initiatives.

All this wasn't enough to save the girls from the axe of Paul Barber however, with the club remaining very quiet on why they had to go - so ahead of their last Amex performance, we caught up with one member of the group who gave us the inside track on the end of Gully's Girls...

Gully's Girls were a popular part of The Amex experience - so why have the club axed them?
The word on the street was that it was down to the Jimmy Saville revelations that the club decided to get rid of the girls. As ridiculous as that sounds, our source states that the reason the club have given the girls for their disbanding is that regarding their age and appearance they wanted to change things up a little bit which was the initial thinking behind the more commercial appearance a few weeks back - the wearing of yellow hoodies and two blokes dancing with the group.

Brighton and Hove Albion FC please note - just because a majority of fans enjoy watching Gully's Girls, it does not make us Jimmy Saville's.


The new "Gully's Group" lasted one dance - against Bolton - before not being seen again. It's doubtful they'll be back dancing at The Amex anytime soon.
Having gone from cheerleaders who did lifts, proper dancing and on occasions even fire eating, the reaction from the crowd to the new group at the Bolton game may already have rendered them done after one performance. There were audible boos from the back of the North Stand for the two blokes performing as they made their way around at half time, and one of them almost certainly didn't help his case by using the "hand cupped on ear" gesture back to the supporters.

Our source said that the new group will be known as the "fan engagement team" - could it sound anymore corporate? - and that there would not be a dance every week. When a performance is needed, a local dance company called Streetfunk will be bought in to perform the sort of poor mans Diversity dance we had for the visit of Bolton.


When the changes to the group were made, the fans were told it was exactly the same dancers but in a new style and with a few blokes to be more inclusive. This wasn't entirely the case.
Our source states that the girls were offered the chance to remain a part of the "fan engagement team" - but that only three of the girls have decided to do so. Instead, they are going their separate ways. Some are seeking out local competitive cheer squads and will be trying out later this month and some are starting new troupes for corporate events. She added that the girls would never join another club so you won’t be catching the remaining members joining The Crystals aka The Hammerettes - except one of course...

Local media billed the Glenn Murray esque-move of Kate Fletcher to The Hammeret....sorry, The Crystals, as being based on the clubs axing of the group. This was again not the case.
We have since been told that when Kate left Gully's Girls, there were no plans to change the group and it was her own decision to leave. Kate is an ambitious singer and had informed the girls of her upcoming record deal to which she would be required to spend all her free time and therefore would not be able to commit to the vigorous training and performance schedule required of Gully's Girls. Everybody in the troupe was in support of her decision and wished her well for the future, so to hear that she had infact joined The Crystals came as something of a shock. FFS Fletcher.

So with this being the end of the road for Gully's Girls, will we ever see cheerleading again at The Amex?
Don't count on it. It's taken Paul Barber less than half of his first season in charge to axe the girls so all the while he remains at the club it is unlikely we will see cheerleaders in the proper sense performing on the pitch again. Our source was slightly more diplomatic about the situation, stating that we should never say never but she wouldn't expect them to be returning as the club will only move forward, consigning Gully's Girls to a place in the Alion's history. She did add that maybe in five years time there could be a follow up - "Whatever happened to Gully's Girls?" - which we are sure a lot of fans would be very supportive of!

What were the highlights of the six years the girls have been performing?
We enjoyed the fire eating performances as it is hard to see any other club in the country that would have cheerleaders doing that. Seeing the girls up-close on the big screen once we moved to The Amex was another big step forward (again, please note, that does not make us Jimmy Saville's) and their parades around the running track at Withdean were at one point the highlight of watching the Albion before Gus arrived.

Indeed, it is the Withdean Years that is highlighted as the most memorable by our contact. She said that the girls enjoyed the sense of community they had when performing there and for most it was the most enjoyable time. She also mentioned that first game at The Amex, before adding that is has been a really honour for everybody to dance in front of the Brighton supporters.

At WeAreBrighton.com, we'd like to thank Gully's Girls for their service to the club over the six years they have been performing. There was a lot of grumbling about the arrival of the girls when it was first announced in 2006 with people complaining about the American-nature of cheerleading and how we didn't need it at English football. It's testament to the girls  that they managed to turn that opinion around to the point where the majority of fans are now extremely upset to see them go.

Good luck for the future girls, and thanks for all your hard work. And if you are missing them already, don't forget to check out our Gully's Girls Gallery

 


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