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Work 'kicks off' at Falmer site

17 December 08 15:56 GMT

Work has finally started on the construction of Brighton and Hove Albion Football Club's new stadium.

Fans of the Seagulls attended an official "kick-off" ceremony at the site in Falmer to mark the occasion.

Chief executive Martin Perry and chairman Dick Knight took kicks from the exact location of one of the future stadium's two penalty spots.

The 22,500-seater stadium is due to open in August 2011, a year later than originally planned.

Mr Parry said: "We don't give up. The fact is that the funds are flowing, we've signed the building contract."

He added: "We've got some challenges, yes, any building contract is a major challenge but we're very confident that now we've got this far we can complete it."

Brighton fan DJ Norman Cook - aka Fatboy Slim - was also at the event.

He said: " Obviously it's a very, very special day for all of us. It's been a long, long journey and a round trip for me as I actually went to college here for three years, literally where the corner flag is going to be.

"It's a nice day in the sunshine for us."

'Fighting cause'

Brighton and Hove Albion have been without a stadium since their former home - the Goldstone Ground - closed in 1997 and was then sold off.

Bill Swallow, a fan who kept one of the ground's old turnstiles, said: "The day we left the Goldstone, 11-and-a-half years ago, was the day the football club just stopped being a football club and became a cause, a cause to be fought for."

Archaeological diggers moved onto the site to check there was nothing of historical importance on the farmland in November.

The club is planning to erect a webcam on the site to enable fans to keep up to date with the progress of the construction work.

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