WE’LL FIGHT THEM ON THE BEACHES!
BRIGHTON have been lambasted by their Non-League neighbours after admitting they tried to prevent them changing their name.
National League South Whitehawk, who took Dagenham & Redbridge to a replay in the FA Cup second round last month, have played in the south coast city for 70 years.
The Hawks have again announced they intend to play under the name of Brighton City next term, more than three years after suddenly pulling the plug on a similar idea.
Albion chief executive Paul Barber has confirmed to The FLP that the Championship club are attempting to stop them from doing it.
Whitehawk, in response, say the Seagulls reasoning is not because the new name would be too similar and could cause confusion but because they refuse to accept another side with Brighton in their name.
The Football League club will continue to put pressure on the Football Association to stop them re-branding.
Whitehawk, however, have told Brighton to prepare for a fight, and chairman John Summers said: “We will keep plugging away with this until people listen.
“We tried a few years ago but the FA said no. We have now done what’s required to make it happen but another club still has a problem.
“Brighton & Hove Albion, it seems, believe they own the name of the city and brand, which is frustrating, but we’re not going away.
“They don’t own the city and they can’t tell us what we can and cannot do.
“It’s our city, too, and we’re not going to let them tell us any different. We wish them every success, but as an ex-fan of theirs I have seen they have tried to block every proposal we put forward.
“We’ve got a job on our hands, but we have played in Brighton for 70 years. This is our city as well as theirs.
“There is Manchester United and Manchester City, Bristol City and Bristol Rovers – even Oxford United and Oxford City. Nobody can tell me this isn’t acceptable.
“Are we trying to rival Brighton? Of course we’re not. We have actually spent more time in the city than they have, if you add up the years they were in exile. We won’t be dictated to.”
Brighton chief executive Paul Barber confirmed: “We are happy for the matter to remain private and to be dealt with by the FA.”
The Hawks must battle their own fans, too, after they reacted with anger at the name change proposal.
“We would have expected an amount of common decency towards those who support the club week in, week out,” a statement from fans’ group, the Whitehawk Ultras, read. “Despite sticking up for our chairmen year after year, when we receive torrents of abuse for the way our club is being run, we have been left in the cold.”
BATTLE FORBRIGHTON: A Whitehawk fan with the club mascot while, inset, Danny Mills celebrates his FA Cup strike against Dagenham and Brighton chief executive Paul Barber