The road to glory?

I have tried to find the exact figure for how much money each member of the premier league will receive next season. It ranges from £40 to £80 million depending on where you read. Whatever – it’s a lot. Money might well be the root of all evil, but as George Bailey says, it comes in pretty handy down here, bub. But what does it mean to football?

We often hear people rattle off cliches like – ‘football is all about the money these days’, ‘fans mean nothing’ etc etc. And to a large extent, or at least for the people with all the money (owners, players etc) that is true. But do the fans really care? Following Brighton has been the epitome of ‘up and down’. We have had no money and now we have more. And if the season goes well, soon we will have lots. We can afford players who cost more (note I don’t say better) and then we may end up spending and spending all this money we’ve got until we spend it all and then we won’t have any again.

And what are we spending for? Premier League safety? A push for a Europa slot? Staying ahead of Palace? All good things, but are they actually any better than fighting for promotion in the Championship, surely one of the most exciting and competitive leagues anywhere in the world?

If anything, the Gus Bus has over-achieved. It’s less than two seasons in our shiny new ground and we are already banging on the door of the ‘promised land’. But we also know that if we don’t make it this year, next year could be a lot, lot tougher, particularly if Gus has his head turned by any number of high profile jobs that might come available. Although on that note, with the academy up and running and a strong team in a good position, I would hope that only the very best of offeres would tempt him. Jog on Reading.

I was there in the late 70s as a young lad loving the rise to the top division. That was also a long hard battle, but surely the most satisfying in our history. If we can get there again and stay for four years again (at least), then our little club can truly be counted amongst the giants of the game (Wigan, Fulham, Stoke!).

I am not going to moan about the PL, because at the end of the day, it’s just another name for Division 1 – where all the big prizes are fought for. I am sure it will be a sideshow of moved fixtures, daft and over the top reporting, and complete disregard for all those poor teams that aren’t invited to the captain’s table. Surely us as a club, more than any other, will not abandon the principles for which we fought for many years. It doesn’t really matter which league we play in – we are still grateful to simply have a team to support. But now that team is a strong one that plays amazing football and may or may not reach the giddy heights of the top of the league ladder.

On Saturday we play a Leicester team in freefall. Two points in 7 games has dropped them from automatic favourites to play-off also-rans in a matter of weeks. If we can continue to pile on their agony with a win on Saturday, a play-off berth is very much on the cards. And then who knows.

A full house is a definite – a wall of noise like nothing we have enjoyed at home for decades and the chance to take a huge step towards what will be a fantastic end of the season.

Jack Gocher

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