COUNTY NEWS: Match day chaos sees Albion boss intervene in Southern dispute

Chief executive of Brighton and Hove Albion Paul Barber
Chief executive of Brighton and Hove Albion Paul Barber

The chief executive of Brighton and Hove Albion has urged Govia Thameslink and the RMT union to end their dispute after fans were hit by travel chaos on Tuesday night (September 13).

Paul Barber said a host of train services from Falmer were cancelled following Albion’s 1-0 win against Huddersfield, causing a ‘significant logistical headache’ for the football club.

Mr Barber praised fans for their patience, and his own staff for their contingency plans, which enabled the club to have everybody home in a safe and timely fashion.

He also thanked Brighton and Hove Buses and Seagull Travel for their ‘swift intervention’ that prevented hundreds of fans from being stranded at the Amex stadium.

He said: “After being initially advised by Southern Rail that a full match day service would be in place for the game, several services were cancelled during the day, and then the post-match eastbound services were cut severely during the match.

“That made for another planning headache for our operations team, but once again, with the assistance of Brighton and Hove Buses and Seagull Travel and at incredibly short notice, we were able to lay on buses to assist fans in getting back to Lewes and beyond.

“I would like to thank Brighton and Hove Buses and Seagull Travel for their assistance in getting all fans home safely after the match - and also our fans for once again showing patience and understanding of the situation; thankfully it didn’t have too big an impact on them.”

The club’s boss has again called for an end to the rail dispute, which he said is causing many businesses and individuals ongoing travel problems.

Mr Barber said: “As one of Southern Rail’s largest customers, I urge both sides to consider the severe damage this is doing to their business - and ours - as well as many others. The longer the dispute goes on, the more Southern’s customers are losing confidence and patience.”

A Southern spokesman said: “We would like to apologise to any fans who were inconvenienced last night. Due to a combination of train crew availability and earlier disruption during the day, we informed the club that we would not be able to provide the full matchday train service. However, we were, at the eleventh hour able to reinstate some of the additional services. This, combined with the alternative travel arrangements made by the club meant that we were able to get everyone home.”

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