My Albion memories: Rudi Schaarschmidt

Today we feature Rudi Schaarschmidt, 54, from Cologne, who works as a project manager for Borussia Dortmund but saw his first Albion game nearly 40 years ago.

By Bruce Talbot • 25 April 2020

Albion fan Rudi Schaarschmidt at the Amex

When was your first game? What was the score? What can you remember about the game?

When I was 14 years old, my parents placed me with an elderly lady in England for four weeks during the 1980 summer holidays, so that I could learn English. As a football crazy kid, however, I was more concerned with football. On August 11th I walked over three miles to the Goldstone Ground and watched the friendly against Sparta Rotterdam. I don't remember the result. That's why for me my first game was actually much more the season opener in the First Division five days later against Wolverhampton Wanderers.

I didn't know any player from Brighton at that time. I immediately fell in love with the atmosphere in that great stadium. The fans often sung this shrill ‘Seaaaaa-gulls’ and Brighton won 2-0. If I remember correctly, only one substitution was allowed. Anyway, I was impressed when two players, who had collided and had to leave the pitch, came back on the field after a long treatment, one with what looked like a turban, the other with his arm in a sling. Since those days in Brighton I have been a passionate fan and I follow the fortunes of my favourite club intensively from Germany.

Who was your first Albion idol?

John Gregory immediately became my favourite player. I think he scored a goal in that game against Wolverhampton.

By Evening Argus
John Gregory celebrates his goal against Wolves on the opening day of the 1980 season

What is your favourite Albion game and why?

Unfortunately, there aren’t that many because I didn't come to England for many years after my holidays and started to work in the football business in Germany, so I don't have any time on weekends. I can only watch 2-3 games per season at most and for many years I didn’t see any live games at all. I flew to London in the first Premier League season with a mate of mine, whom I also made a Brighton fan, for an away game with West Ham. Expectations were low but I witnessed a commanding 3-0 win, the historic first away win in the Premier League at the sold-out Olympic Stadium - brilliant. Izquierdo scored a dream goal.

Which season stands out as your favourite?

It’s hard to say. Every promotion season is great, of course. But the Premier League is the ultra and belonging in it is the greatest. So, the first Premier League season with the successful ending was especially nice because you could be so proud of the club.

Which are your favourite Albion home and away shirts?

Of course, it is my first Brighton jersey that I bought as a little boy in 1980 with ‘British Caledonian.’ My sister ruined it one day while ironing it. I kept it anyway - until I was able to buy a new edition in my adult size in the fan shop a few years ago. In the meantime, I have bought a lot of things from the fan shop and my wife - although not a football fan at all - always orders something from the shop for my birthday or Christmas.

What is your all-time Albion XI?

Maty Ryan, Bruno, Lewis Dunk, Steve Foster, Kerry Mayo, John Gregory, Pascal Gross, Richard Carpenter, Anthony Knockaert, Glenn Murray, Bobby Zamora.

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