“When it’s spring again, we’ll bring again, three points from Amsterdam!”
and live on Freeview channel 276
There is a slight caveat that to that in that if England also had a vital game that was also shown live.
Little over a month after I’d first visited the Goldstone in April 1973, I watched Ajax defeat Juventus 1-0 on ITV (it was half term, so I was allowed to stay up) to win the European Cup for the third consecutive time (and therefore keep the trophy) playing a style which went down in the history of the game as ‘Total Football’.
With the likes of Johan Cryuff (who the Ajax stadium is named after), Johan Neeskens, Rudi Krol, Johnny Rep and Arie Haan, they were basically the best team on the planet – by a country mile. Many observers still think the Dutch national side from the 1974 World Cup remain the best team to never win the trophy.
So could I have ever dreamed half a century ago that in 2023 Brighton would be playing Ajax in a European fixture?
Well, they are, and with or without tickets a large chunk of the Albion support are migrating over the Channel to the Dutch capital for the Thursday teatime fixture.
The hosts have endured some horrendous form which has seen them plummet to the bottom of the Dutch First Division for the first time in the club’s history, and this has prompted the obligatory change of manager, and while results have improved slightly, on what we saw of Ajax at the Amex a fortnight ago, an ‘on form’ Albion should still be too much for the Dutch, despite being the away team.
I know I did allude to this in last week’s column, along with saying that I thought Albion would overcome Everton on their last league visit to Goodison.
And frankly they should have but VAR intervened, like it did with Arsenal at Newcastle and at Tottenham on Monday night.
Never mind my view as a columnist, as a fan, it’s becoming a huge concern, but I actually think we are not far away from the tipping point.
At some point both the EPL and the clubs themselves will have to look at the whole process.
Top-flight football in this country is a billion pound global product, but VAR is effectively shooting the EPL in the foot with a machine gun.
With that much money involved, that simply cannot continue.