(Brighton and Hove Albion)
Address: Village Way,
Capacity: 30,750 (All-Seater)
Some new stadiums are built on the outskirts and it affects how easily you can reach them. This is one of those.
Better known to many as the American Express Community Stadium or the AMEX, the ground has been home to Brighton and Hove Albion Football Club since opening in 2011.
Plans for a new stadium were forced upon Brighton in 1995 when their previous home, the Goldstone Ground, was sold to developers. The Seagulls had been there since 1902 and were evicted at the end of the 1996-97 season.
Brighton would spend the next two seasons groundsharing with Gillingham’s Priestfield Stadium in Kent, and moved to the much more local Withdean Stadium in 1999 which was upgraded to reach Football League standards.
During this period between stadiums, a site on the outskirts of Brighton and Hove was identified. The club gained planning permission in 2002 with the intention of building a stadium in time for the 2005-06 season. Issues were encountered however when it was revealed that a small part of the site fell within Lewes District Council as opposed to Brighton and Hove City Council, and the plans were further complicated by the site being included an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
These complications caused delays to the stadium’s construction schedule, but the project was finally approved without appeal in September 2007, with work officially beginning in December 2008.
Construction took 29 months, with the stadium officially opening on 30th July 2011. Brighton and Hove Albion played a friendly match against Tottenham Hotspur which the visitors won 3-2. The first competitive match came on 6th August 2011, when Brighton and Hove Albion came from behind to beat Doncaster Rovers 2-1.
Alongside domestic football, the Falmer Stadium has hosted International football matches and was also used for two Pool B matches at the 2015 Rugby World Cup. The first saw a famous upset when Japan beat South Africa 34-32, and the second saw Samoa beat the United States 25-16.
The stadium is set to be one of the host venues for the 2022 UEFA Women’s Championship.
Location and Getting There
The Falmer Stadium name comes from the small village the ground is located in, around four miles northeast of Brighton and Hove City Centre. The University of Sussex Campus is based directly to the north of the stadium, the town of Lewes is based roughly four miles to the east, and the Withdean Stadium where Brighton and Hove Albion previously played is around 3.5 miles away to the west.
The stadium’s location well away from the centre of Brighton and Hove has helped aid the development of its transport links.
Located incredibly close to the A27, the stadium has three sets of car parks within its vicinity that can be used, but finding free, legal parking nearby can be difficult.
Brighton encourage visitors to make use of the Park and Ride service which is available from three locations in Brighton and Hove: Mill Road on the northwest outskirts of the city which is closed on a matchday for this purpose, Brighton Racecourse, and the Mithras House next to Brighton University.
Services open at 12:30 on a weekend matchday and 17:30 on an evening matchday and the final buses return from the Falmer Stadium 90 minutes after the final whistle.
The easiest way to get to the Falmer Stadium though is by taking the train. Falmer Station is located right outside the ground’s West Stand and is served by Southern Rail. It runs on the same line as Brighton Station and Lewes Station. It is strongly advised though to get to Falmer Station as early as you can. Long queues can form at Brighton as many thousands of people are forced to use the train to reach the stadium. It is the same case going back as well as thousands of people look to use a relatively small train station in order to head back to central Brighton.
The number 25 bus service also runs from Central Brighton up to the University of Sussex campus near to the Falmer Stadium.
Outside the Stadium
If you are coming from Falmer Station, the first part of the stadium you will reach is its North Stand.
The exterior here has a very nice design, consisting mostly of brickwork with large glass windows in places and a white roof on top. This side of the stadium curves round, and you can find Brighton’s Main Ticket Office close to the centre of this curve with the entrances to Brighton and Hove Albion’s Club Shop, Dick’s Bar and the North Reception also close by.
Turnstiles for the North Stand itself can be found along its exterior.
Continuing round in a clockwise direction brings you to the East Stand.
The exterior here has a brickwork base but is dominated by a large silver panelled building that protrudes out of it. The roof above is semi-circular in shape and has tubular supporting steelwork in place atop it.
The East Stand’s Main Entrance is based in the centre of the large, panelled building, and turnstiles for this stand are along the brickwork base.
The layout of the Falmer Stadium and the surrounding area means that the path outside the stadium’s South Stand is on higher ground than the North Stand opposite.
The exterior here has a nice brickwork design but doesn’t appear to be as tall as the opposite end of the ground.
Turnstiles can be found along this exterior.
The West Stand is the largest of the four at the Falmer Stadium.
Its exterior is similar in design to the East Stand opposite, making use of brickwork base with a large silver panelled building protruding out of it. The stand’s roof is also semi-circular in shape and has tubular supporting steelwork in place atop it.
The West Stand is taller than the East Stand however as the Falmer Stadium is designed to fit in with the rolling South Downs landscape. The panelled building on this side of the stadium has a large glass façade in the centre and it’s here that Brighton and Hove Albion’s Main Reception Entrance can be found.
Turnstiles for the West Stand itself can be found along the brickwork base.
To get round from the West Stand to the North Stand, you will need to either take one of the five sets of staircases next to the ground, or use the winding wheelchair ramp next to the outermost staircase. There is a road ramp a little further out from here that is for use by vehicles.
Brighton and Hove Albion often have small Merchandise and Ticket Office hubs in place down near the bottom of the staircases.
Inside the Stadium
The North Stand consists of a single tier of blue seating with two seagulls made out of white seating on two of the blocks. The stand has flat platforms down at the very front for disabled supporters to use, and there is a large electronic screen hanging on the back wall. The stadium’s control box is in place above the blocks next to the northwest corner.
Because the Falmer Stadium’s West Stand is taller than the East Stand, the North Stand’s roof runs across at an angle. Your view from anywhere inside is perfectly clear however, and the stadium’s enclosed design means that every row is well protected from the sides and from behind.
The East Stand is split into two tiers of similar size, though the upper tier is semi-circular in shape because of the roof up above.
The vast majority of the seats in this stand are coloured blue, though there are three seagulls made out of white seats. Two of them can be found in the lower tier with the third over at one end of the upper tier. The two tiers are separated by a row of club administrative offices, and the seats at the back of the lower tier’s central blocks are for executives.
The lower tier also has flat platforms for disabled supporters in place down by the stadium’s northeast corner, and you can find also flat platforms at either end of the upper tier.
Your view from anywhere inside the East Stand is perfectly clear, and the stadium’s enclosed design means that every row is well protected from the sides and from behind.
The South Stand is similar in design to the North Stand opposite.
It consists of a single tier of blue seating with a seagull made out of white seating in one of the blocks. Up towards the back of the seating area are flat platforms for disabled supporters to use, and there is a large electronic screen hanging on the back wall. The South Stand also has a set of executive boxes based above the seating area and next to this electronic screen.
Because the Falmer Stadium’s West Stand is taller than the East Stand, the South Stand’s roof runs across at an angle. Your view from anywhere inside the South Stand is perfectly clear however, and the stadium’s enclosed design means that every row is well protected from the sides and from behind.
The Falmer Stadium’s West Stand is divided into three tiers.
The bottom tier consists of almost entirely blue seating, though there are two seagulls made out of white seating in the blocks near to the northwest corner. The top tier is mostly blue but has one seagull made out of white seating, and the middle tier has entirely blue seating. Rows of executive boxes separate the three levels from one another.
The bottom tier houses executive seating and the press area up towards the back, has flat platforms for disabled supporters down by the northwest corner, and houses the stadium’s tunnel and dugouts right down the front with the changing rooms located inside. The central blocks of the middle tier are for executives, and the area holding the matchday camera can be found right down the front of the top tier.
Your view from anywhere inside the West Stand is perfectly clear, and the stadium’s enclosed design means that every row is well protected from the sides and from behind.
Away fans are typically housed in the southeast corner of the stadium, separated from supporters in the adjacent East and South Stands by rows of stewards and large sheets. Larger sized away followings can be allocated more blocks in the South Stand behind the goal.
The away section of the Falmer Stadium offers a perfectly clear view of the action from any seat and every row is well protected from the sides and from behind by the stadium’s enclosed design.
The shape of the ground has also been known to help enhance atmospherics on a matchday as well, and you can often find the most vocal Brighton supporters behind either goal.
Pubs available to supporters on a matchday include:
-The mobile bars present around the Falmer Stadium itself
-The Evening Star (55-56 Surrey Street, BN1 3PB) (Typically Home and Away Supporters)
-The Post and Telegraph (155-158 North Street, BN1 1EA) (A JD Wetherspoon Pub, Typically Home and Away Supporters)
-The Swan Inn (Middle Street, BN1 9PDD) (Recommended for Home Supporters Only) (Located in Falmer rather than Brighton)
At first glance, the Falmer Stadium can appear similar in shape and layout to other professional football grounds, but that isn’t the case when you take a closer look. The stadium has been built to fit in with the rolling landscape surrounding it, and that can best be seen inside with its West Stand standing tall above the other three sides.
A very good, modern football ground.