Johnny Cantor: What shouldn’t be seen at a football match?

Albion supporters holding lights aloft
Albion supporters holding lights aloft

Things not to be done or seen at a football match. It’s a debate that emerged on social media after the Brighton & Hove Albion game at home to Rotherham on Tuesday night.

In the second half, fans turned on the lights on their phone right across the stadium. Some say it was like a music gig rather than a football match, others felt it was a nice spectacle at a stage when the game was all but won.

The issue of the atmosphere at the stadium has been a topic of discussion for a fair while now. First up, I must say the noise made by the 25,000-plus crowd was excellent and the manager commented as much in his post-match interview.

So what is acceptable? As a commentator, and not necessarily as a fan, I have to say the drum, yes let’s get it out there, can be exceptionally annoying. However, on the continent in some countries it raises some intensity.

Music after goals? I’m sorry. Not for me. Half and half scarves? Nice memento I guess, but I wouldn’t wear one I’m afraid. Musically, before the match, Ring of Fire won the online poll over the Great Escape and before the action I’m of the opinion that’s fine.

The renditions of Sussex by the Sea are getting stronger and louder to my untrained ears and that local link makes it all the more special. I guess much of the debate shows how, once again, football has changed and is changing. Now there are comfy seats rather than wooden benches and corrugated iron at the back of the stand. Safety is of course the priority.

The growth of ‘tourist’ fans has also been seen in the Premier League and all clubs have to find ways to attract a younger audience to encourage them to be fans of the future. I’ve experienced some tremendous support over the years but atmosphere is organic. It develops as an entity individual to that club, stadium and even a particular game.

I’m looking forward to the trip to St James’ Park a week on Saturday to cover the club’s away game at Newcastle. I once saw a UEFA cup game against Metz there in sub-zero temperatures but the noise was incredible. Nothing was going to stop the supporters. They won 2-0. Some were stripped half-naked shouting on as the snow came down.

Mind you, maybe that was something that shouldn’t be seen at a football match. It’s bad enough when I get up in the morning and see myself in the mirror!

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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