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Brighton & Hove Albion owner Tony Bloom has earned great plaudits for his actions on the club's first-ever European away.
The Seagulls were given a fantastic first away fixture in their first appearance in the UEFA Europa League after their excellent performance in last season's Premier League. Brighton fans had the chance to visit the wonderful French city of Marseille and its iconic stadium, the Stade Velodrome, home to Olympique Marseille.
For some Brighton fans, excitement at such a trip was suddenly replaced by anxiety due to a flight delay. Up step the club's owner, Tony Bloom, who is heard in the video below clearly explaining the situation to the supporters.
Watch: Brighton fans cheer owner Tony Bloom
Listen to Brighton chairman Tony Bloom, organising emergency transport and ticket collection for Brighton fans on a flight delayed by three hours for the Europa League game In Marseille. #BHAFC #OMBHA #UEL pic.twitter.com/EmH3pF7nH2
— Andy Naylor (@AndyNaylorBHAFC) October 5, 2023
As Andy Naylor reports in the above post on X, Bloom organised emergency transport with Brighton and UEFA. A bus was arranged to take fans to the ticket collection point and then immediately onwards to the Stade Velodrome to watch Brighton's 6:45pm kick-off (local time) against Olympique Marseille.
“They will direct you onto a bus and that bus will take you to a collection point and from there they will take you to the stadium,” Bloom tells the concerned fans.
“All being well, you will make kick-off. Up The Albion!”
Was Bloom on the flight?
No, he called the plane crew, who put him on over the speaker. He apparently began by saying “This is not your captain speaking, Lewis Dunk is probably at the Stade Velodrome!”
Football fans praise Bloom for actions on European away
Fans of Brighton, but also supporters of football clubs across the country, were full of praise for Bloom's actions, and for his honesty and clarity in communicating.
Some called him “the best in the business,” an “absolute legend” and “the best chairman in football.”
Fans of other clubs commented jealously, with so many supporters in English football feeling alienated by their teams in recent years.
So, credit to Tony Bloom of Brighton & Hove Albion, the club who, under his stewardship, continue to go from strength to strength.
If anyone had any questions as to why we are we we are. Just a football chairman travelling on a delayed normal flight with the fans not a private jet whilst organising and announcing transport to the ground in time for kick off. Simply superb @SkySportsNews #bhafc
— Darren Preston (@dazzacarp) October 5, 2023
We’re so lucky to have him
He’s the best in the business x
— Paul Thompson (@PaulTho20446186) October 5, 2023
Have Brighton ever played in Europe before?
No, this is their first season playing in European competition since the Seagulls were founded in 1901. They were in England's third tier as recently as 2011!