My Albion memories: Colette Barry

A fan for 30 years, Colette gives us her memories of following the Albion.

By BHAFC • 12 May 2020

Colette Barry with her mum Kay Anderson

My first ever football match. I was ten years old and my father took me.

It was the 1990/91 season and watching players such as Johnny Byrne, Mike Small and Dean Wilkins. It was official, I was hooked. It was an exciting season as we were in the play-off finals at Wembley.

I joined the Junior Seagulls and my bedroom became a shrine to BHAFC with curtains, bedding and team pictures plastered over my walls.

I started playing football and joined a local girls’ team. Football became my life and at 15 I volunteered for Albion in the Community during the holidays and helped coach football. I joined Albion's ladies’ team and felt a million dollars wearing the Albion strip.

I was brought up in Woodingdean and attended Longhill High School. We had to do a work experience placement and I did it at the Albion! I worked in the club shop in a tiny Portakabin at the Goldstone.

We ended up for two seasons ground-sharing with Gillingham and Mum, Dad and I drove up every other week like it was an away game. Next stop was Withdean where I used to compete in athletics competitions for my school and now this was our new ground. As I had links with Albion in the Community, I volunteered to help with the ball boys/girls on match days which was fun.

When the Falmer Stadium was built  we were invited as season ticket holders to see the stadium and sit in our seats which was an amazing experience. I had a tear in my eye – we made it!

I made the big decision to teach in Seville. As I was about to leave Albion announced they were playing Seville in a pre-friendly at the Amex. I knew then it was meant to be! I went to the game against what was to be my new local team.

Whilst I was in Seville, Gus Poyet then joined Real Betis, the other team in the city. I knew Charlie Oatway, who was Gus’s assistant, so I meet up with him and his partner Jane on several occasions. I also went to Marbella where Betis were on a pre-season tour and had a coffee with Gus.

I kept my season ticket at the Albion and flew back every two months to watch the boys play. I came back to England for the 2016/17 season and when we got promoted to the Premier League the seafront promotion celebrations were out of this world.

These are worrying times, but things will get better and like the Albion ethos we need to stick #together. I am currently 20 weeks pregnant and due this August so there is another Albion fan in the making!


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