If you’re looking for a few activities out and about in Brighton this autumn, a match at Falmer Stadium is certainly worth considering. Following a second place finish in the Championship in 2016-17, Brighton (as you likely know) is now playing in the Premier League, meaning the city is seeing some of its best football in years.
If you haven’t been in some time, or if you’re making your first visit to Brighton, it’s worth mentioning that the stadium is also at its best. Initially opened by the club in 2011 (putting it among the newer venues in the Premier League), Falmer has been gradually improved and now seats just over 30,000 supporters. A couple of different publications ranked Falmer (or Amex Stadium as some now call it) among the top-10 Premier League stadiums, with one site referring to it as an exciting addition to the top flight. Indeed, even after six years it almost feels strange to have this nice, modern stadium in place when the club was without one for so long. Throw in the aforementioned promotion to the EPL and a community of local supporters, and it’s one of the better places in Britain to watch a match these days.
Additionally, the autumn weather can make for a terrific opportunity to get out and enjoy a match. While it can certainly get chilly toward the end of the season, match play more or less cuts off in early December, and between now and then there will be many lukewarm or brisk days on which you couldn’t imagine many things better than being among the supporters at Falmer.
The Seagulls themselves are performing in a somewhat middling fashion as related to the EPL, but have shown quality that suggests they may be able to avoid relegation. We wrote recently that fans wouldn’t be disappointed to finish in 14th, or somewhere in that range, though at the time of this writing Brighton has dropped into the 16th position. It still looks as if the Seagulls have the quality to pick off the necessary wins here and there to hover above the bottom of the league, and that ought to be good enough (for now) for supporters enjoying the club’s promoted status.
Here’s a look at the remaining home matches this autumn, before the brief December-January hiatus and return in 2018.
Newcastle – 24 September
This will be an interesting match, as Newcastle has shown form better than many predicted heading into the season. At the outset of the season, it was said that manager Rafael Benitez may be looking for another job before Christmas given the shaky ground on which he’d placed the club since arriving in 2015. But seemingly out of nowhere, Newcastle is performing like one of the more dangerous teams in the league, having gone 3-0-2 through the first five matches. That said, the three wins have come against West Ham, Stoke, and Swansea City – not exactly powerhouses in 2017-18. It could be an opportunity for a big, surprise win for the Seagulls.
Southampton – 29 October
Southampton is another visitor that looks like a strong opponent but could represent a nice opportunity for Brighton. With narrow, one-goal wins over West Ham and Crystal Palace, Southampton has had its struggles with the bottom half of the league already. Currently at 9th, it’s the kind of club that will likely have some highs and lows, remaining in the middle of the table throughout. Let’s hope the Seagulls can provide one of those lows.
Stoke – 20 November
Stoke City more or less represents where Brighton would like to be by the end of this season. They sit at 13th in the table, safely free of relegation for the time being, if not much of a threat to the bigger and better clubs firmly established in the EPL. A win over Arsenal and a draw with Manchester United have shown that this club has some class, and it will be a difficult match for Brighton – but not one that can’t be competitive.
Crystal Palace – 28 November
This is the rivalry match of the autumn, with Crystal Palace not only representing a close Premier League neighbour, but a club against whom Brighton could be fighting to avoid relegation. Currently, Crystal Palace looks abysmal, at 0-0-5 with a -8 goal differential through the first five matches. That’s not to say the matchup should be taken for granted, however. The atmosphere should be terrific on the 28th of November, and the play on the pitch will be exciting.
Liverpool – 2 December
The first half of the season will close out with this match, which ought to be interesting. Generally speaking, Liverpool is a class above. However, the club hasn’t been at its best for a few seasons, for the most part, and there’s intensifying chatter that it has not improved under Jurgen Klopp. Liverpool will be a justifiable favourite for this contest, but again it’s an opportunity for a statement win for the home side. Liverpool is not, as it has been at times, invulnerable to upsets.
Those are five intriguing matches to consider for your schedule this autumn. It’s really a pleasant time to be in the stadium, and to support a club that looks to have a real shot at maintaining a Premier League position.