The lengths we go to when it comes to listening or watching the Albion! It was mid afternoon in Madeira and with Brighton set to take on Swansea City in the League Cup, I had to start planning how I was going to keep up to date with the game. The problem? I was having to tow the line and go out to dinner with my wife and two friends.
This meant that a stable MyAlbion TV connection and tuning into Johnny Cantor and Warren Aspinall to hear all the action as it happened live was not on the cards.
Of course, on Sunday afternoon it had not been on the cards for the 2-1 win over Leicester City either. You may remember that I lost connection after 39 minutes and never got it back, causing a frantic second half spent trying to keep up on a live blog.
Presuming there were no such technology issues this time, I found myself coming up with a way to covertly listen. I made sure that the Norton App on my phone allowed me to have the VPN activated here in Madeira.
I then tuned into MyAlbion TV, which was working okay. So far, so good. Could I get away with listening at the table? This was the big question. It was booked for 7.30pm, the exact same time that the game would be kicking off at the Amex.
I tuned in just after 7pm and Johnny and Warren came through loud and clear using a very stable signal from the Hotel Wifi. I really enjoyed the Glenn Murray piece and will be listening to the full podcast later.
As I walked through the hotel, still all good, the signal was loud and clear. I then moved across the road to the restaurant and switched to 4G. The signal remained strong.
To ensure I was able to get away with my plan, I had to ensure that nobody knew I was listening. Part of this involved carrying on conversation as normal with my wife and friends, something which I was surprisingly adept at.
One of our friends said to me: “I didn’t realise you had to wear a hearing aid now?!” They had mistaken the Samsung Galaxy Pod in my left ear for a hearing aid. This was perfect. “Only on occasions,” I replied whilst chucking to myself.
The undercover operation was going well at this point. Being a bit of a gadget freak, I also wear a Samsung Galaxy watch. I felt myself in the first few minutes feeling a little tense as the play did not sound as if it was going the Albion’s way.
Johnny and Warren’s commentary was excellent as normal, even though there did not seem much to get excited about. I must have grunted or winced a few times when Swansea got close to Jason Steele’s goal as my friends asked me if I was okay. “Bad indigestion” was my answer.
What I was not ready for was an alert from my watch, bleeping very loudly. It was a notification from BBC Sport saying that Aaron Connolly had just scored the first Brighton goal.
Strange, as Johnny was telling me that Steve Alzate had the ball in a harmless position. Eventually, the delayed MyAlbion TV signal caught up and Alzate and Alexis Mac Allister had worked the ball out to Connolly on the left. He shot, it took a slight deflection off a Swansea defender and ended up in the back of the net.
A combination of the watch notification and my loud amazement at Brighton taking the lead suddenly alerted my wife and our two friends to the fact that I was listening to Brighton v Swansea and not wearing a new hearing aid. I was over the moon with the 1-0 lead and remonstrated that fact to my table and the rest of the restaurant.
Aaron Connolly’s second goal five minutes later was once again announced by my watch. This time, I had a little punch of the air which narrowly missed a passing waiter, as I was later informed by my wife.
Who cared though? Brighton were 2-0 ahead before half time against a good Championship side. I kept the commentary going right up to the end of the game and was so happy as a fan that I could follow all the way through.
I was proud of the young team for working so hard and having the true determination and confidence that they can win and also perform well.
With a final score of Brighton 2-0 Swansea, a place in the fourth round and a great sirloin steak, who could ask for a better evening out?
Unlike Tony Noble, WAB editor Scott McCarthy has never listened to a League Cup game from a restaurant before. He has though fallen asleep on the toilet at Carlisle away, one of several Brighton supporting stories discussed on the Sporticos Football Stories Podcast. You can listen here.