To mark 25 years since Albion’s final day survival from relegation out of the Football League, a special feature film Brighton: Stand Or Fall documents the club’s climb from the bottom of professional football all the way back to the top-tier, with a trailer for the incredible story released today.
Independently produced by Matthew Lorenzo Productions and directed by Ross Clarke, the documentary takes watchers on the journey from that fateful day at Hereford at the end of the 1996/97 season, through the climb up the EFL and eventually into the Premier League, somewhat poetically 20 years after the club had nearly gone out of business.
The documentary features interviews with players past and present, as well as chairman Tony Bloom and former chairman Dick Knight, head coach Graham Potter, superstar Fat Boy Slim and punk poet Attila The Stockbroker – and any number of fans who helped the club stand and not fall.
The tale begins in what were the dark days for the club, when the Albion’s spiritual home, the Goldstone Ground, had been covertly sold, with plans for it to be turned into a retail park.
Two years at Gillingham followed, before the club’s move back to Brighton to play at Withdean – a council-owned athletics stadium – proved to be the foundations of what has proved to be one of the best underdog stories in recent football history.
Fatboy Slim aka Norman Cook said, “Brighton has always had a quite a sort of a free and forward alternative thinking way of addressing things. It's a city full of anarchists, gays, left wingers, muesli eaters, ne'er do wells and nightclubbers. You meld all that together and that's not your traditional football audience. But it kind of works.”
Chief executive and deputy chairman Paul Barber said, “It's really important that we stay humble. And it's really important that we stay connected to the people in the city that actually we represent.”
Matthew Lorenzo, who also produced The United Way with Eric Cantona and Bobby, on the life of England hero Bobby Moore said, “The Brighton story has its highs and lows, heroes and villains, and every facet will be reflected - light and shade being essential to a proper narrative. But we have found the story to be an intensely human one. We have gone for the stories behind the stories, to expose the beating heart of a unique club - above all to tell a story with warmth and passion.
“We hope our film will appeal to football fans everywhere, and to a much wider audience - one that will relate to a great tale, where human endeavour and belief has led to a remarkable rise and a very human triumph against all odds.”
Albion head coach Graham Potter said, ”I suppose all those little challenges that I've had along the way, and the uniqueness of Brighton itself as a place, I think all adds to a sense of difference, a sense of pride in the team, that is fantastic to be part of and I'm very, very happy here.”