90 Minutes asks fans: “Should the FA become involved in internal club disputes?” in 1996

The hot topics today concern Hull City’s name change and Cardiff City’s shirt colour and nickname. Back in the 1990s, it was Brighton & Hove Albion’s supporters who felt they were being ignored. As the magazine put it:

Chairmen who don’t seem to give a stuff about their club; ground-sharing with Gillingham; and fans boycotting games. The Football Association have thrown their hat into the ring, urging the club to take the dispute to arbitration, even offering to meet the costs of the CBI. So just what is going on at Brighton? With this in mind, 90 minutes headed for Craven Cottage…

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Matthew Dalton & Ian Fowler support Brighton
Matthew: “Brighton need independent arbitration to sort things out. What’s needed is someone neutral to look at it, with all parties involved agreeing to abide by the outcome. The FA’s move with the CBI is the first positive thing to happen in months.”
Ian: “Football’s a multi-million pound business, and we’ve seen that if a multi-million pound business such as the Post Office or the train drivers have a dispute, it goes to arbitration if it can’t be resolved. This seems to be the logical conclusion to what’s happening at Brighton.”

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Ralph Bunche & Will Bouquet support Fulham
Ralph: “The FA needs to sort this out as clubs need help from time to time. We needed help to get planning permission to save Fulham a few years ago. The trouble at Brighton could go on for ever if someone doesn’t step in.”
Will: “The FA’s intervention should depend on how serious the dispute is. At Brighton they definitely should become involved, but they shouldn’t be jumping in every five minutes. Clubs should try to resolve their problems internally before resorting to outside help.”

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Roy Garington & Steve Evans support Brighton
Roy: “We’re not going to budge and Archer’s not going to give in, so it’s stalemate at the moment with no solution in sight. So I welcome the FA’s move for independent mediation. It’s a good idea.”
Steve: “It’s about time something was done. Someone from outside has got to come in and sort it out. It’s a good move by the FA.”

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Daniel Taylor supports Fulham
Daniel: “I think the FA should become involved in these sorts of disputes. The first thing they should do is send the Brighton chairman on a Public Relations course. That might help.”

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Chris Pearcy & Steve Beds support Brighton
Chris: “The FA are the authority in football, looking after the interests of football. They shouldn’t allow the likes of Archer to come into a club and run it into the ground. The FA’s involvement and CBI suggestions are long overdue.”
Steve: “This is now so serious that it could end in the death of someone. I welcome the FA’s suggestion of independent arbitration, but Archer’s already putting pre-conditions on any inquiry. After the last couple of years I can’t see anything happening to settle this dispute.”

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Alan Hedges & Chris Wright support Fulham
Alan: “The FA should stay out of it. It’s not really their business. Brighton should be sold to people who want to run it for the fans. Supporters should always come first.”
Chris: “The Brighton chairman lives in Blackburn, around 300 miles from the club. It looks as though he’s bought the club and selling the ground to make a profit, with no thought on where the team’s going to play. All he seems to be in it for is the money. The FA should have put a stop to it a long time ago. The directors at Brighton are just making money – I feel sorry for the fans.”

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Simon Wednesday and Graham Campbell support Brighton
Simon: “The state of Brighton is horrendous and nothing’s happening, so the FA’s right to try and find a solution. The FA have surely got the power to intervene when a dispute is ruining a club. I welcome the involvement of the CBI or ACAS to mediate. Archer and Belotti are standing firm, and no one really knows why.”
Graham: “In any industry, if there’s a dispute that can’t be settled, it goes to independent arbitration, with both sides agreeing to abide by the outcome. That should have happened at Brighton months ago.”

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