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CARDER ON 10-YEAR ANNIVERSARY

24 July 2017

Brighton & Hove Albion club historian Tim Carder says the 24th July 2007 is arguably the most significant date in the club's modern history.

It was the day the club finally received planning permission for the American Express Community Stadium, and Carder provided an insight into the heartache and joy of years of relentless activism to give Albion a permanent home in the city.

He said, "The granting of planning permission was the culmination of a decade of campaigning. We started in 1997/98 when we were at Gillingham, then the priority was to get us back to Brighton, which we did at Withdean Stadium.

"All the time we were trying to get the team back to Brighton via Withdean, we were trying to get permission for a permanent home at Falmer too. It went on for years, and there were so many ups and downs along a really long road.

"We had already being granted position once, only to see it taken away, so to finally get that permission was a real landmark for those involved in the campaign.

"Even when we got the permission for the stadium it still wasn’t straightforward, as further planning permission was needed and find funding, which Tony Bloom generously provided. Then Martin Perry and his team had to get the stadium built.

"It was another four years wait before the club could move into the stadium and fans saw that historic first game, which was the Sussex Senior Cup Final. It was quite fitting that Gillingham and Withdean stalwart Gary Hart scored the first goal in what was his last-ever appearance for the club."

Life-long Albion fan Carder explained why that final permission was even sweeter, after fans saw a similar decision two years earlier vetoed on a technicality.

"In 2005 we were granted permission by John Prescott and it turned out that the permission was flawed. Lewes District Council raised their objections, merely on a technicality to do with the paperwork.

"We were so shocked and it was a real kick in the teeth, and we had to start again, but the fans were not prepared to see our club destroyed.

"We were not prepared to see all that hard work - in helping to wrestle the ownership of the club away from those who'd sold the Goldstone - go to waste and see the club denied a new stadium.

"The drive was there from 1995 onwards and we did not rest until the club achieved that goal of a permanent new home in 2007.”

Carder will toast today’s landmark with a few celebratory drinks and food and at a well-known Brighton establishment, were many will pay tribute to a few hardened campaigners who led the fight for the club's very existence.

"Ten years on sadly one or two won't be there, because they’ve now passed on - but it will be good to see everyone again because we worked so well as a team together: supporters, Dick Knight and Martin Perry.

"It will be great to get together and see some old friends, and reflect on that historic day for Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club."


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