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Everything said about North Stand Chat (A Brighton forum) in this article, can be said about this one. Here here.


Earlier this year a Brighton fan who uses the pseudonym Last Summer posted to the web forum North Stand Chat. It was one of the 50 or so new discussions started on there by a supporter every day and one of hundreds of posts he had contributed over the last decade. “Apologies for the Mumsnet-type thread,” he began as he calmly explained that he and his wife had split up after 14 years together and he was in need of advice from fellow fans. “Hurts like hell at the moment and the thought of now having to live my life without her is destroying me,” he wrote, before adding: “There’s loads of advice and stuff online that I could Google – but they ain’t Brighton.”

And he was right. Over the next few days dozens of men – and it was all men – took the opportunity to publish at length, and in many private messages, about how they had coped after going through a divorce. Some posters shared practical financial advice, tips on maintaining relationships with their children and how to avoid conflict with a former partner. But most, perhaps encouraged by the support that was forthcoming and the friendly environment, were confident enough to share intimate and honest details about how they felt and how their mental health had been affected then and now. The original poster came back online later to thank the contributors to the thread.

Online football forums seemingly had their day a decade ago. The BBC’s now forgotten 6.06, a spin-off from the weekly radio show, was at one point the biggest football website in the UK. It introduced millions of fans to the universal chatroom tropes: text-fuelled delusion, relentless – and often hilarious – baiting of rivals and enemies, and terrible transfer rumours. But over time the firm grip of abuse, legal threats and apathy killed most of them off.

Gradually fans migrated to the more powerful yet sanitised tools of Facebook to organise protests and amplify dissent. Twitter provided a new home for humour and, more often, anger – this time directed personally at naive players. Cheap tech such as smartphones combined with YouTube’s reach meant the swearfests of fan TV and vlogs attracted younger supporters.

Brighton too have a thriving fan-powered media ecosystem of podcasts, blogs and zines. Yet North Stand Chat is still standing. A largely text-based forum, it remains part of the daily online routine for thousands of mostly older Albion fans. Its authenticity helps; it emerged out of the fanzine culture and pre-broadband email lists of the late 1990s, and many of the veteran posters were present throughout the Seagulls’ “war years”.

It’s also well run. Lifelong Albion fan Darren Mckay has been in charge for 15 years. Known to posters as Bozza, he organises a group of volunteer moderators who strive to keep it safe and free from legal interference. Well-trafficked websites are expensive to maintain and the forum racks up thousands per year in hosting costs, which it funds through minimal non-intrusive advertising. Any profits go to a range of Albion charities.

But what makes NSC is the people who use it: lawyers, police officers, teachers, car mechanics, plumbers and even a football finance academic. The Brighton CEO, Paul Barber, cannot quite be persuaded to register on the site, but he is prone to writing numerous 1,000-word emails in response to any manner of issues about ticketing, transport and transfers raised by fans, which then end up being published in full for all to read. Their frequent arrival and patient deconstructing of arguments is met with typical NSC humour – the use of the tag #BarberOut to describe any minor petty issue with the club. But Barber acknowledges the role the forum gives him as a platform to communicate directly with fans.

In short, it’s still there because it has become vital to Albion fans for talking about what affects them. Increasingly these days that involves the worries of middle-age such as diets, depression and, sadly, paying tribute to posters who have died, rather than merely football or the club.

Shoot, Match and the glory days of football magazines for teenagers
Journalist and regular poster Nick Szczepanik sums it up: “It’s the go-to resource for everything. If I want to know what the roads are like before setting off on a journey, I’ll check NSC rather than the AA website, because if there’s a hold-up between Lancing and Worthing, NSC will tell me exactly where, how long it’s been going on, alternative routes, whose fault it is and whether the underlying cause is Corbyn, Brexit or Palace.”

Last summer’s “FAO Divorced of NSC” thread eventually faded off the site’s front page and was replaced by more mundane discussions about buying treadmill machines, what people were drinking on their Friday nights and even the odd row about Chris Hughton’s defensive tactics. One of the last users to post, reflecting on the depth and quality of advice and painful anecdotes shared to help the recently divorced contributor, urged him to stay positive: “You’d be surprised by the love you get from unexpected places.”

• This article was published first in When Saturday Comes
• Follow Jem Stone and WSC on Twitter

When talking about West Brom one of the journalists on the podcast was talking about how untenable Pulis’ position was towards the end of his time here, and that it all began when we downed tools at 40 points the season before (refreshing to hear the media talk this way for once).

He then went on to say that we will likely hear in the summer about a major issue or issues that were happening at the club towards the end of Pulis time.


West Bromwich Albion FC / This seasons unpopular players
« on: April 21, 2018, 09:30:29 PM »
Some are lost causes (Barry, HRK, Myhill).

But others like...

Gibbs (maybe)

These last 2/3 matches have made me rethink my desire for a 'sell the lot' approach in the summer.

Could, under the right head coach, these players that have been liabilities all season become important players for us next season?

West Bromwich Albion FC / Kane Wilson
« on: March 30, 2018, 09:16:02 AM »
Just signed a 1 year extension to his contract and I had a sneaky peak at the Exeter forums and they rate him very highly.

A good few people commenting on how he plays like a player in his mid 20’s rather than an 18 year old.

Also some comments about how they’d expect him to feature in the Championship for us next season.

All very promising. I’d like to see him in the match 18 from next season.

I’m going to admit to being quite excited to see what happens over the summer, next season and beyond.

1. A likely new manager
2. A likely high turnover of players
3. Hopefully a new structure/personnel  from owner downwards and with that and a new manager maybe a new direction and system.
4. The chance to win more football matches
5. Play some big clubs in a great league with great stadiums.

I’m been bored sh1tless over the last 3 years. I’m excited to see what will come.

West Bromwich Albion FC / Who are West Brom?
« on: January 05, 2018, 07:29:44 PM »
This article is highly critical and spot on for me. Although the author goes a bit far towards the end.


Our insistence to only 'exist' leads us to deserve relegation.

I for one am looking forward to it.

West Bromwich Albion FC / Our next long term goalkeeper
« on: December 07, 2016, 02:22:56 PM »
Ben Foster is 33 and we probably have around 3-4 more years of a high standard out of him, if injuries don't take a toll.

Myhill isn't much younger and we can safely assume he will not be Foster's replacement when he retires or tails off.

Alex Palmer has signed a new long term contract today and is the one sitting on the bench at the moment while Myhill is injured. Do the club consider him to be Foster's long term replacement?

We seem to be well stocked with young goalkeepers, Palmer, Rose, Ross and an eastern european lad i don't remember the name of.

Announcements, Feedback & Questions / Topic removed
« on: September 22, 2016, 10:17:54 PM »

I've had a topic removed from the woodman (about sky offers). i checked with Oldbury before posting it and he said it would be fine to do so.


West Bromwich Albion FC / Pride
« on: May 09, 2016, 05:35:26 PM »
After being bamboozled with images of Leicester's amazing league win all over TV and the internet, and for me being surrounded daily and having most of my mates fans of a brilliant Southampton team who are currently 6th, it lead to me thinking what is behind this sheer jealously i am feeling right now.

These clubs are no bigger than us, why am I so jealous of them?

I know that Albion, and no other similar sized football club are going to replicate what Leicester have done, and Southampton have done nothing but win a few matches that have propelled them up the table. Talking to my mates they don't want Europa, and they haven't come close to a cup win.

Last day or so i've realised why my eyes are so green and why i am so jealous of them - because they are filled with pride for their club.

Can we say the same? I certainly can't. Not since our 8th place finish under Clarke can i say i have been proud of the team and season we are having.

Every season since has been filled with disappointment and a wishing for the season to end.

So what needs to change in order for pride to return to being a baggies fan? I would say we need to go back to the club we were under Ashworth. A visionary club with a good ethos and structure- Leicester and Saints have that. We had it then we became the club we specifically didn't want to become. Hopefully Hammond will go a long way to re-establishing pride.

I don't think our 'tactics' have to get better in order for us to become proud of this team, nor do i think we need 'better' players (although we need some new players with some different attributes i.e. pace and directness). We are solid and rigid however with some attacking ability about us we could become a decent counter attacking side like we were under Clarke. We could score some good goals and win some matches - that would bring pride back.

Notice how i've not mentioned Pulis in this post - it isn't anti-Pulis. I don't care who the manager is or what the style of football is. Or even who the players are, yes we need some pace and attacking prowess in the team but Leicester and Saints' squads are not necessarily much better than ours.

Next season my only wish is that i want Albion to be considered a decent team and i want to be proud of the team. I want us to become a good team. Regardless of manager, player or tactic - i just want to be proud of the team I'm watching.

West Bromwich Albion FC / If Tony Pulis leaves us...
« on: February 21, 2016, 12:02:14 PM »
He has hinted as such. Is it disrespectful to have a topic one this now Tony has hinted himself that he could leave us in the summer?

We would have a replacement topic if we were talking about an important player who was leaving.

I've seen some names mentioned and am going to throw them out there...

David Moyes
Gary Rowett
Derek McInnes
Gary Monk
Brendan Rodgers

West Bromwich Albion FC / Is complacency inherent in this squad?
« on: April 09, 2015, 10:10:34 PM »
We saw complacency set in at the end of last season when, after being all but mathematically safe, the team took there foot of the gas.

After that pathetic QPR performance, have they done the same this season? Is it inherent? Who or what is responsible?

West Bromwich Albion FC / Albion are better when its played in behind...
« on: September 30, 2014, 08:59:13 AM »
Go back to Odemwingie's debut vs Sunderland at home under RDM.

Goal came in the 80th minute with a ball played in behind the defence for Pete to latch onto and he scored with lead to us winning the game 1-0.

The rest of that season, when Pete scored 15 goals, he was the loan striker. Pete wash't the type of striker you could lump it forward to, he ran channels, wanted the ball played in behind so he could use his pace, and was a poacher.

Then Shane Long was signed, Pete was shoved on the wing, and we started to lump it forward to Long. Not nearly as effective. This carried on under Hodgson and Clarke, when it wasn't Long it was Anichebe.

Pete got disillusioned and we all know how that ended.

This season has seen us return to a loan striker who you can't lump it forward too. You gotta be cleverer than that. Berahino will run a channel, will latch onto a ball behind, or poach a goal. Similar to Pete did. And its working for us, like it did when we had Pete.

The common factor is the midfielders, Morrison, Dorrans and Brunt where playing in Pete, they are doing the same for Saido, this is obviously what they are good at and this is how we need to play to be successful.

West Bromwich Albion FC / Contract extensions/expirations
« on: May 13, 2014, 09:41:57 PM »
When is it we announce who we are releasing and who we are retaining (activate 1 year clause)?

West Bromwich Albion FC / Same story next season?
« on: April 23, 2014, 05:54:35 PM »
Don't take this as a 'wouldn't it be more fun in the championship' comment, it would be a disaster if we were relegated and i am not advocating relegation.

I just think there are so many fundamental problems with the club, no direction, poor recruitment set up, ageing squad that are we desperately trying to survive just to go through the same frustration next season?

West Bromwich Albion FC / Monday 12th May 2014
« on: April 03, 2014, 12:50:17 PM »
A day we can all look forward to. The day after the last day of the season. Come relegation or survival. We can all exhale and relax, in disappointment or elation.

What do you think needs to happen to stop this rot continuing into next season?

1. Public statement from JP explaining WTF happened last season, a sign of leadership, and install some direction.

2. Mel backed or sacked, straight away. Backed i hope. Bringing in his new coaches.

3. Structural changes. We can all speculate about who is the problem. Kiely/Downing, Garlick, the scouts. We can't be sure, but JP can, any anyone who is the problem needs removing and replaced with a suitable person.

4. Removal of old and inferior players. Reid, Gera, poor loan signings etc.

5. Removal of bad eggs, Berahino etc? Cash in.

Anything else to set us up for a more positive season?

Announcements, Feedback & Questions / Ignore function
« on: January 22, 2014, 08:44:24 PM »
Is there anyway of incorporating an ignore function into the board? On an old forum is used to visit it worked a dream. It gradually caused trolls and WUM's to leave as they were never getting bites, because nobody could see their posts!

West Bromwich Albion FC / Lone striker issue
« on: December 26, 2013, 10:50:36 PM »
We need to accept that playing with a lone striker is the modern way now, and its unlikely we will be seeing 4-4-2 at the hawthorns anytime soon.

But as we saw today, playing a clever playmaker behind the striker can create a successful partnership like the old 4-4-2 days.

The strikers we have today that are traditional lone strikers (Long and Anichebe) don't score much and don't seem to work. If they had goals to their game they certainly wouldn't be playing for Albion.

But as we have seen today, you don't have to be a lump, or have high work rate to play the lone role. Used correctly, smaller, quicker strikers can play that role.

If they have good awareness, control and passing and pace (Berahino and Vydra have all of these) then you can play that type of striker on his own. With a clever midfielder to support them. Balls in behind the defence and balls to feet and we could be on to a winner with these two.

West Bromwich Albion FC / When did we become long ball?
« on: August 19, 2013, 09:17:38 AM »
Now i didn't watch the game on Saturday, nor have i seen highlights. But from what i read it sounds like we were long ball to Long (again).

Led to me thinking, when was it we finally became a 'long ball' team. Under Hodgson? Under SC? Since Long arrived?

It never used to be this way. It doesn't need to be this way as it has been proved (like Mowbray wasn't able to) that you can be a smaller team, play attractive football, and be successful.

SC learned his trade under Mourinho. Who likes fast, direct, counter attacking football. But i don't remember him being long ball as such. Is SC trying to implicate the football he learned under Jose? Because if he is he is doing it wrong.

If you look at our strongest 11 we don't really have any pass-masters in the team except maybe Brunt but he is largely inferior to many other premier league midfielders.

Even now pundits call us a team that play attractive football, i think we still like to believe it. But we better get used to it now that with players like Long, McAuley and Olsson on the pitch, we are a long ball team.

West Bromwich Albion FC / Our winter problem
« on: August 18, 2013, 09:17:30 AM »
Couldn't believe what I was reading with JP's latest interview. Effectively saying that they are investigating why we go on a winter slump, and looking at training pitches etc.

Then going on to justify a 19 man outfield squad. This is too small for 38 games per season plus 2 cups. 2 injuries and we're calling on the kids.

Sorry JP. You are going to have to spend and increase the squad size to get over this winter slump. Not install a new training pitch.

West Bromwich Albion FC / 4-3-3 this season - risky?
« on: July 30, 2013, 11:00:57 AM »
SC toyed with it last season and has used it alot in pre-season. Think we'll line up in this formation next season?

It looks risky but I think it all depends on the midfield 3. It would offer less support to full backs from wingers as they would effectively be strikers. This means Yacob and Mulumbu would need to offer the cover. I thought Brunt did well in the base playmaker type role yesterday so SC could be going for a midfield 3 of Yacob, Mulumbu and Brunt as playmaker and Morrison in the more offensive version of the formation or if we are chasing the game.

Anelka would drop back to link midfield and attack and the 2 other strikers would interchange between winger and striker roles. Coming central when Anelka is deep and wide when Anelka is pushed up.

Also explains our interest in Gardner.

General Football & Sports / European Super League
« on: July 05, 2013, 09:45:28 PM »
Mentioned in another thread and got me thinking...Good idea or not?

Its been banded about for ages but it is surely a matter of time. The money would be huge so i can imagine SKY pushing for it. There is a lot of support out there, from club president and ex-players.

If the top 6 went and formed a european super league, leaving 14 premier league clubs behind, do you think this would be a good for us and other english clubs left behind?

There would still be a hunger for it but the worldwide brand would be gone. The large sums of money would be gone. I think this would be very refreshing personally and look forward to a major shake up of football.

West Bromwich Albion FC / Withdrawing from EPPP
« on: July 05, 2013, 08:21:08 PM »
Do you think we should withdraw from EPPP?

Izzy and Dhanda are gone. Sinclair went last year.

What would the knock on effect be? Would we no longer be able to run an academy. Does it have to be a EPPP academy? We need to do something radical in my opinion, to highlight and force the issue.

West Bromwich Albion FC / Big season for our youngsters?
« on: June 26, 2013, 12:42:51 PM »
Looking at the 'senior' youngsters we have knocking about the u21 squad and the fringes of the senior squad. I think it'll be a make or break season for a lot of them.

Thorne - hopefully recover from his injury and make a contribution to the senior squad. Maybe a month loan to get match fitness.

Berahino - similar to Thorne but i'd be more inclined to give him a loan deal to get over the injury as his way into the first team will be more crowded than Thorne's. Although he has had a good few loan deals i can see this season being make or break. Next summer he'll be 21.

Roofe - Not sure about Roofe. Not had a great amount of loan deals and don't know much about him. We've given him a new contract but at 20 he should be doing well in the lower leagues by now?

Gayle - Played a lot for Shrewsbury last season so can only assume he did well. We've taken up a year's option on him. He'll be 21 in November so this season could determine what is done with him next summer?

O'Neil - Again will be 21 next summer, so this season could be big for him.

Donervon Daniels - Only 19 so i would say a good 2 years left in him to get some loans. I remember Chris L saying that he was so highly thought of at the club that he could go straight into the 1st team although i don't know how he has progressed?

Izzy Brown - Seems to be considered an exceptional talent. Time is well on his side but after last seasons breakthrough hopefully a season of loan deals could lead to him becoming a senior squad player at a really young age.

I was looking at this with the thought that 21 is a make or break age. Being the upper limit to the u21 squad, if they haven't made the breakthrough by then, then they probably won't. Judging that a lot of our youth are 20 and 21 next summer, could be a big season for them!

West Bromwich Albion FC / Ben Davies - Swansea
« on: April 20, 2013, 02:38:37 PM »
19 year old defender. Made 31 appearances for Swansea this season.

Watching a piece about him on Soccer Saturday got me thinking. Do we put enough faith into our youngsters?

They make the bench but rarely make it on the pitch and if they do they disappear for months on end. I think its time to start blooding in these players on the pitch instead of giving them 'match-day experiences'.

Drastic improvement is not going to happen without first team appearances. Take Roofe for example. We are short on wingers and playing centre midfielders out there. Get him on, see how he is. Could take to it like a duck to water.

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