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View From The Town End: Brighton

When you look at the Championship table it's hard to believe that these two teams were scrapping for a play-off place just over six months ago. Now both Reading and Brighton are in a very different place and ahead of tomorrow's game we spoke to Jason from Brighton But Only At Home to get his views on tomorrow's game.

Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images

How would you sum up Brighton's season so far?

Where do you start without swearing? It's been the worst season, football wise, since the return of Mickey Adams. We've oscillated between absolutely terrible and extremely unlucky. The promise when Sami came was of more of what Oscar delivered with a faster transition but what we've seen is no midfield, no service for our strikers and the flogging to death of our full backs. Every time we take the lead we go in to our shells. Confidence was shot and the fans were losing patience but we may just begin a fresh start now Sami's gone.

On the last day of the season you dramatically pipped us to the play-offs, how have things gone so badly down hill so fast?

Firstly we lost Oscar Garcia or Juan Season as he's been re-christened, which was a shame as we'd just signed Nzuzi Toko because Oscar wanted him. Our second summer of managerial recruitment in a row came up with some interesting names but none of the established managerial figures you would have thought were needed to steady the ship. While that search went off in one direction our genius player recruitment went off in another completely. This resulted in "landing" the truly dreadful Chris O'Grady to replace Leo Ulloa and then adding two more strikers in Baldock and Colunga who wouldn't make a big lad up front if one stood on the other's shoulders. That was ok though because by then we'd secured Sami Hyypia and he initially looked like not bothering with a number 9 at all. We missed out on Adam Clayton and Stephen Ward at the last minutes, Ward could and should have come to us. Then we got in Sammy Lee to help Hyypia only to lose him to Southampton the day after we announced it. We went in to the opening game against Sheffield Wednesday with the worst starting line up I've seen in the Amex era and from there we had to fill the side with desperation signings and loans.

If I was to write a satire about an omnishambles at a modern football club I'd have rejected our summer as too far fetched.

Sami Hyypia lost his job earlier in the week, what went wrong for the former Liverpool man?

In two words tactics and luck. Though our squad is significantly weaker the way he used it was baffling. We had full backs playing as wingers, wingers playing behind the striker and sometimes only two proper midfielders in Jake Forster-Caskey, who can't tackle and Gary Gardner who can't play football. It never really worked but on the odd occasion it did we still didn't get three points, We ripped Cardiff to bits but they got a draw thanks to David Marshall having the best game in goal I've ever seen at the Amex, while Stockdale had a nightmare. Then, on Saturday, we were one up at Wolves with thirty minutes left when Bruno got himself needlessly sent off. Inevitably we conceded an equalizer with just two minutes of regular time left. I think a win up there might have bought Sami the goodwill he craved.

Any fond memories of games between the sides?

Yes, funnily enough the FA Cup game last season. I took my son and his mate, then seven and eight years old. Normally we sit at in the top tier of the West Stand but for that game I got tickets at almost pitch level. We were one up with a minute or so to play when Lua Lua skinned one of your players in the corner about three times before winning a corner of his shin and doing that "stand up" gesture DJs do at raves. This all happened right in front of the boys. They went on about it for about four days afterwards.

Any not so fond ones?

The home game in the season you went up to the Premier League on that brilliant winning run 2011/12. We absolutely took you to bits but couldn't finish and you won 1-0 with an Ian Harte goal early on. Luckily I wasn't at the reverse fixture on the Boxing Day. I also remember the last game of the season at Elm Park in the late 90s when you went up. I had been on the lash in London all night with a mate who was in the army at the time and had a house near Reading. The away end was terraced but I sat down for most of it as my head was feeling like it was being attacked by several small monkeys with claw hammers and I'd had precisely one hour's sleep.

It was a good job I'd had more sleep than that in September 1992 when Shaka had an absolute worldy for you, but all you will notice is the kits. Warning - do not watch without shades.

Who should Reading fans be wary of on Boxing Day?

Darren Bent if he gets the service. If Jones keeps the same baffling tactics, however, he won't. It will be interesting to see what Steve Clarke does with you as he'd have been my choice to come here in the summer.

Anyone you're not looking forward to facing?

It's been one of those seasons where we've been so awful I've concentrated on our problems rather than other teams. I'm going to say Gareth McCleary because you guys gave him man of the match v Watford and his banter seems on form.

Score prediction?

God knows. Under Sami we'd have taken the lead and then lost 2-1. As I said above Nathan Jones will be in charge for the game. He's not universally popular either though he's been first team coach under both Garcia and Hyypia, and their styles and results were pretty different. You may well get a "bounce" under Clarke but I think there will be a big crowd getting behind the team rather than a small one divided, which there would have been under Hyypia. It'll probably be 1-1..

Finally have you got any advice for travelling Reading fans?

If you are driving get there early. There's a shuttle service on the trains from Brighton to Falmer but no services from West or East Sussex so a lot of people will drive and there's not much parking. Mithras House and Racecourse Park and Rides are normally less busy. Buy a Christmas Pie. Don't get disheartened if you go one down.

Thanks again to Jason and you can follow him and the site on Twitter @BHAFConlyathome