Johnny Cantor: From adversity to the Premier League, Cherries versus Albion is some story!

Brighton celebrate their second goal against West Brom on Saturday. Picture by Phil Westlake (PW Sporting Photography)
Brighton celebrate their second goal against West Brom on Saturday. Picture by Phil Westlake (PW Sporting Photography)

Can you remember your first job? Newspaper deliveries? Saturday Store? It’s a topic that came under discussion the other day in the newsroom and I had to think twice about revealing mine.

I did it then so I’ll do it now. I spent five days strapped into a six foot solid washing up bottle at a conference centre. Yes, the joy of sweating away for eight hours with kids kicking the backs of my legs and then scarpering, and all for a few quid.

Character building stuff, my dad said. I won’t go on about the others, a bell boy, a worker in an irrigation factory and countless others but we all have history!

After my time at ITV and Channel 5, I worked at the BBC covering all sorts of stories. I seem to remember my first TV piece was on sewers. No jokes!

I was also lucky enough to express my passion covering lots of sports including many football clubs. In total I think I have commentated on six south coast clubs!

My time covering AFC Bournemouth was in a time of need for the club, points deductions, players not being paid and a revolving door of managers. That final aspect stopped as Eddie Howe was appointed. I actually conducted his first ever interview as the Cherries’ manager and couldn’t fail to be impressed by his considered and concise manner.

The job the club has done is phenomenal, from chairman Jeff Mostyn to the youth team set up. There is a fair amount of people, Sky included, who are impressing upon us a ‘rivalry’ between the two clubs.

There is no doubt the game is crucial to both teams but, I’m sorry, I don’t see any rivalry at all. In terms of history there has been the odd ‘big incident’ such as the award of a penalty at Withdean but I see many similarities between them.

The battle against adversity at both clubs has now been well reported after their recent success but one of the biggest similarities has been the role of the fans in Dorset and Sussex.

The collection of coins at Dean Court and the push for Falmer both symbolise the passion, drive and loyalty of supporters. You cannot deny that huge investment has been made from very different owners but I think one thing has remained consistent in that the fans play an integral role.

I know some Seagulls’ supporters feel disenfranchised nowadays but there are inevitable consequences of promotion to the global cash point that is the Premier League.

I still like to believe though that the supporters are still at the heart of both clubs and I cherish my time covering them. I think it will be a cracking game.

AFC Bournemouth versus Brighton and Hove Albion in the Premier League. Just let it sink in. AFC Bournemouth versus Brighton and Hove Albion in the Premier League. Yes. Some story that is.

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