Tony Bloom, the Falmer Stadium and the Amex

falmer-stadiumAnthony Grant “Tony” Bloom did more than what was expected of him ever since he sat as the Brighton and Hove Albion F. C. chairman in May of 2009. A self-professed football aficionado and supporter of the club, he wanted to give something that’s beyond mere support and so he thought: Why not give them a home?

It’s been a rough twelve years of no home for the club. It’s no secret that its original home for decades, almost a century even, was the Goldstone Ground located in Old Shoreham Road, Hove 4. The 26th of April in 1997 was the last game played in which Brighton beat Doncaster Rovers 1-0. From 1902 to 1997, it had admitted 22.9 million fans to 2,174 games.

To try and clear the club’s debts, then chairman, Bill Archer, his chief executive David Bellotti and the rest of the board sold Goldstone Ground in a feeble attempt to avoid bankruptcy. Unfortunately, the sale wasn’t that lucrative or profitable and it even left the Seagulls without a home as no alternative ground was planned and lined up. From 1997 to 1999, the club had to share the Priestfield Stadium in Gillingham which was a good 70 mile drive from Brighton. After which, they played at Withdean Stadium.

Tony was born in 1970 and grew up in a family of football and Albion fans. As he became one of the club’s major investors and stockholders, he saw the need and the thirst of fans for the Brighton and Hove Albion F. C. to finally have a home.

After buying majority share and succeeding Harry Dick Knight in 2009, Tony helped personally finance the construction and development of the Falmer Stadium located in Falmer, Brighton, East Sussex in England.

In December 2008, construction officially began. The KSS Design Group, London-based architects, was delegated to design the new stadium while the Buckingham Group was signed into the contract as the official constructor.

The keys were handed over and the stadium was opened to the public in July of 2011. It was then renamed and is currently known as the American Express Community Stadium or the Amex for short. Total construction was reported to have reached £93 million with a total seating capacity of 30,750. It was because of this that Tony Bloom became a much loved chairman by the club and its fans alike.