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Fading Away: How the Brighton v Crystal Palace Derby Has Lost its Spark

​Image the scene: taking part in out is a cup match that embodies a bitter, 40-year-old rivalry over which blood has been spilt and enemies cast within the annals of footballing historical past. A long time of hatred, malicious vitriol and vilification have led to 2 units of loyal followers forming a everlasting bond of contempt for each other; the sort handed down from father or mother to little one earlier than anything has the possibility.

This can be a night time as bitter because the rivalry itself, however the south coast is not braced for chilly; as a substitute, it is prepared for warfare. Having solely performed out as soon as previously 5 years – an inconclusive goalless draw – big quantities relaxation on who wins and who loses on this most private of competitions. A hero steps up: the person who has traversed the divide between these two foes and has lived to inform the story.

Image the scene when that man controversially nets the successful objective to safe bragging rights for his present membership and guarantee disgrace and heartbreak for his former. 

Effectively, no, image it once more.

For all you’ll have anticipated the so-called M23 derby – Brighton and Hove Albion towards Crystal Palace – to have been the rip-roaring battle of honour that we have described above; the night time itself nevertheless was a reasonably tame one. 

Palace followers gathered and drank all through Brighton’s centre and confronted little or no confrontation in any respect. Gamers had been cautious and reserved of their challenges, with just one card brandished. And as soon as Glenn Murray – our aforementioned hero of the hour – had settled it to offer Brighton the 2-1 victory, everybody appeared to get on with their night.

Neutrals ridiculed and mocked this supposedly heated enmity while Falmer Stadium had a crowd of lower than 50% of its potential capability. The night time was aware of the embarrassing sight of Sussex Law enforcement officials outnumbering the inoffensive crowd of Eagles they had been marshalling by the streets of Brighton and, total, issues felt a bit subdued.

So simply what occurred to this as soon as flaming grudge-match?


Earlier than we reply that, we have to look by its wealthy historical past first. 

Brighton/Palace was a rivalry shaped slap bang in the midst of the 1970s. In ’75/76, the 2 southern golf equipment had been battling for promotion to the Second Division. As neither membership succeeded, this battle continued into ’76/77, when the pair confronted off 5 occasions in a single season. None of those quintet of sport had been fairly.

On the shut of 1 FA Cup replay match, Brighton had been compelled to re-take a penalty which they subsequently missed and misplaced the sport in consequence. The Seagulls’ gaffer, Alan Mullery, went berserk: shouting abuse at Palace followers, confronting the ref and making a common idiot of himself in entrance of 1000’s of individuals.

From that day on, the rivalry has been intense and wholeheartedly endorsed by each units of followers.

One thing had modified come Monday’s cup sport. When Palace visited the coast for the primary occasion this season – the primary time the M23 derby had been performed for the reason that Eagles knocked the Seagulls out of the Championship play-offs in 2013 – it was for a league sport which noticed hoards of followers stored from getting into the stadium and an announcement from Sussex Police weeks later admitting to pedalling a number of lies concerning Palace’s behaviour.

The entire affair appeared as if it was stoking the fireplace of this historic rivalry and when Palace drew Brighton from the velvet bag solely days later, issues appeared set for a fierce, heated change. 

For these from the period, reminiscences of the ’76/77 season flooded again. In spite of everything, cup video games had been the reason for their competition within the first place and the 2 sides now had an actual excuse for getting their very own again.

Sadly, the actions of the police on that fated night time had led to many followers feeling postpone from the entire thing fully. Palace had been solely given a measly 2000 tickets and the sport was scheduled for a night kick-off on a Monday night time. Not precisely the recipe for battle.

Brighton & Hove Albion v Crystal Palace - The Emirates FA Cup Third Round

So, when it got here to it, Brighton’s Falmer Stadium appeared very like the kind of sparse and speckled turn-out anticipated at a growth squad’s sport. From afar, the blue plastic of the bottom’s seats stood out greater than the odd black interruption of a loyal fan’s winter coat.

With Palace using a depleted, injury-stricken squad, most south Londoners had been relieved to keep away from any extra pointless matches and concentrate on that all-important objective of staying up. A visit to Middlesbrough, it could appear, was not a visit value bragging rights.

Hopefully, Palace/Brighton is not a rivalry that has burned out fully. Two video games, certainly, cannot be sufficient to make sure that.

However a swap has been flicked and neither set of followers look sport for kicking it again up. The M23 derby is really fizzling out: the coast has extinguished the fireplace.

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