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Brighton & Hove Albion's road to Falmer: Part Three

Brighton & Hove Albion's Amex Stadium
Brighton & Hove Albion's move to the Amex brings an end to 14 years without a permanent home

Brighton & Hove Albion host their first league game at their new Amex Stadium on Saturday.

The Seagulls have spent most of the last 12 years at Withdean Stadium struggling to stay afloat.

Norman Cook, better known as DJ Fatboy Slim, sponsored the Albion through his record label Skint Records for nine seasons at Withdean.

"The story started with the idea of us sponsoring the shirts," Cook told BBC Sussex.

"Skint Records were on a roll and we were very Brighton-centric. It made sense to us.

"We got lured more into their web. The chairman Dick Knight took me out to lunch and told me 'We need some serious money'.

"I put some money in when we were close to getting wound up. It was a no-brainer for me.

"My accountant called it an affair of the heart rather than the head.

"Every fan was doing what they could to raise money to keep the club afloat."

The DJ heads to Downing Street

As well as sponsoring the club, Cook helped to give a higher profile to their campaigns to the Labour government secure planning permission for the stadium.

Brighton fan Norman Cook, aka Fatboy Slim
Cook started supporting Brighton after moving to the city in the 1980s

"Des Lynam and I went to deliver a petition to Downing Street," Cook continued.

"I probably shouldn't say this, but John Prescott [MP, then secretary of state] wasn't there.

"We did the whole thing of knocking on the door and a policeman let us in.

"We wandered into the entry hall, put the petition down and stood around for a few minutes.

"We said: 'Is anyone going to come down and see us?' They replied: 'No, not really. Prescott's not here'.

"But it was PR thing that made our point. A lot of credit for the campaigns does have to go to Dick.

"He always had an angle and knew how to get newspaper headlines."

'An honour' to support Brighton

Cook is used to performing on the big stage. His Big Beach Boutique gig in 2002 drew 250,000 fans to Brighton beach.

But the DJ feels just as much of a buzz supporting the Albion.

"It's as much fun to be one of many as it is to be one in front of many," he said.

"I love being in the crowd. If anyone feels the same about watching me DJ as I feel about watching Brighton play football, then it's a fantastic feeling.

"It's as much an honour to be in the crowd as it as to be on the stage."

It was a privilege I was able to help the club

Brighton fan Norman Cook

Cook is glad to have played his part in the fight for Falmer.

"It was a long, slow grind just to keep the club afloat and keep the morale high. Everyone got involved to just keep the club alive," he said.

"People were fighting for the existence of the club. It was a privilege that I was in a position to help."

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see also
Brighton: The road to Falmer Pt 2
28 Jul 11 |  Brighton
Brighton: The road to Falmer
25 Jul 11 |  Brighton
Knight stepping down is 'sad day'
19 May 09 |  Brighton
Seagulls chairman to fund stadium
18 May 09 |  Sussex
Work 'kicks off' at Falmer site
17 Dec 08 |  Sussex
Falmer opening put back for year
02 Oct 08 |  Sussex
Falmer objectors abandon battle
15 Aug 07 |  Sussex
Charting the long road to Falmer
24 Jul 07 |  Sussex
Brighton's stadium gets go-ahead
24 Jul 07 |  Sussex
Fans mark 10-year stadium fight
26 Apr 07 |  Sussex
Stadium campaign taken to Labour
27 Sep 04 |  Southern Counties
'Fat' cheque boosts Brighton
14 Jan 04 |  Brighton
Stars back stadium at No 10
01 Dec 03 |  Southern Counties
Inquiry starts on new stadium
18 Feb 03 |  England
Fatboy Slim crowds cause chaos
14 Jul 02 |  Music

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