Johnny Cantor: Albion’s respect and togetherness shown across the country

Steve Sidwell (right) dedicated his goal at Bristol City to Anthony Knockaert. Picture by Phil Westlake (PW Sporting Photography)
Steve Sidwell (right) dedicated his goal at Bristol City to Anthony Knockaert. Picture by Phil Westlake (PW Sporting Photography)

It’s certainly been a tumultuous 2016 already on this planet and this week was no different.

Events in the US have certainly shaken the globe. With Brexit in this country, there has also been a pattern of pollsters being proved wrong. The world of sport has also seen the odd upset in the past 18 months, with Leicester taking the biscuit and the Premier League title.

Last weekend’s trip to Bristol City, on November 5, was certainly emotional if not explosive for Brighton. As I began to describe the respectful applause from supporters in the 11th minute for missing Albion winger Anthony Knockaert, who had lost his father in the days preceding, Steve Sidwell not only delivered one of the goals of the season but a perfectly-timed celebration in the 11th minute for The Seagulls’ No 11.

The scenes of respect and togetherness have been captured across the country on network TV channels, as well as by those of us who were there.

Then this week the manager Chris Hughton and the players made the effort to travel to France for the funeral to pay their respects and support their friend.

As anyone who experienced the events at Shoreham last year will remember, the club has much to be proud of and once again Brighton & Hove Albion have shown what many have described as ‘class’.

In the build-up to the game, opposition manager Lee Johnson said the Sussex side were the one for his team and club to emulate on and off the pitch.

He felt City were a few years behind but with a new extended stadium they are hoping to follow in the Seagulls’ footsteps. He is not alone. You might argue that the mid-table clubs in the Championship are historically ‘bigger’ clubs (yes, I hate that description; what does it mean?).

However, fans of Leeds, Derby and Nottingham Forest may feel they have more history at the top level. They may be right. However, they too would like to be where Albion are (second) in the table.

Also this week, League One Rochdale named five-year-old Joshua McCormack on the bench for their 2-1 win at Hartlepool. The youngster was diagnosed with a brain tumour last year and was told it was terminal in September.

After the opening goal, Dale players ran over to the bench to get a shirt with ‘McCormack 55’ printed on it and held it aloft, just as the Seagulls players did. Whatever the level you play at, there is a right way of doing things and this week we have seen two examples of just that.

As we stand and pay our respects on Remembrance weekend, it’s heartening to see the touching gestures. ‘Let’s do this’? No, ‘Let’s do this right’. Have a great weekend everyone.

Johnny Cantor covers Brighton & Hove Albion as a commentator and reporter for BBC Sussex Sport.

Follow all the action, home or away, on BBC Sussex Sport or Twitter: @BBCSussexSport or @johnnycburger

To read more by Johnny Cantor, visit www.johnnycantor.com

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