Johnny Cantor: Support coming from all over the world as Albion bid to reach Premier League
As the international break continues, it is certainly a time for everyone involved in the race for promotion to rest, re-group and revitalise ahead of the run-in.
When does the run-in start? Well, for me, this is it. Eight games to go. Seven in one month. Three matches in seven days, then another three in another seven days. It’s crunch time.
For some players, there is no respite as they represent their country travelling a fair few miles. Leeds’ hero last weekend and ex Seagull Chris Wood is off around the world with New Zealand.
The Albion squad who aren’t on international duty have been in Spain (oh, for some warm weather!) and then it is back to Lancing for the final preparations.
Of course, the media also have a chance to re-assess and plan for the rest of the season into May (hopefully not past the 7th!).
The supporters also will be gathering their emotions as the team bid for glory. As the years go by, I have got to know many fans and I am still astounded by the lengths they go to backing their team.
This week on social media we began posting some messages from Albion fans around the world. I’m sure they have always been there but in recent years the breadth of support in other countries has appeared to grow.
On Saturdays, we regularly get texts, tweets and emails from the Canaries, New Zealand, France, Australia to mention just a few. It has been great seeing the fans’ short 45 second videos as there has been the full gambit of emotions. I’m sure there is still a few more to come.
After the agony of last season, they will be hoping for the ecstacy of promotion. I think there is an element of nerves but also feel that the fans at home and abroad have confidence in their squad.
The club have been dealt a few blows with injuries to Shane Duffy and the absence of Connor Goldson but the message from the players after matches in their interviews is unwavering focus. No path to the Premier League is easy but you certainly feel the group is using last season’s experiences and ultimate disappointment to good effect.
Who knows what will happen but I’m sure the Seagulls fans across the world in the bars of Laos, the pubs of Sydney or the cafes of the Dordogne, will live and breathe every second.
Everyone hopes it will be a happy ending but wherever you are, you feel it will be dramatic. The fans have been speaking from the heart and the players have been playing with heart. The finale awaits.
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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