In the early eighties another Stephen ‘Steve’ Foster played in defence for, and was captain of, Brighton and Hove Albion. In 1983 Brighton and Hove made it to the FA Cup Final where they were massive underdogs v Manchester United. There was much speculation about Steve Foster’s fitness in the run up to the final. Eventually some injury kept him out. This was a big blow, but nonethless ‘plucky’ Brighton held the Mancunian lowlife to a 2-2 draw. In those days, as is only right, drawn finals went to replays. ‘Inspirational Captain Foster’ was declared fit for the replay! Which Brighton went on to lose 4-0. Gleeful United fans sang, Stephen Foster, Stephen Foster, what a difference you have made, what a diff-er-ence you have made, to the hapless, and famously headbanded, player.
What a difference he has made!
I had at that time an acquaintance who was also lead singer in a seventies relic rock band. He was from New Zealand. So, of course, he supported United. He’d been at the replay, and thereafter, whenever our paths crossed, he sang the what a difference you have made song to me. This was either charming or annoying, depending on the mood, and on the point one was at in the cycle of non-stop dope-smoking to which the rock singer had, in some part, introduced me.
Last night Brighton played Norwich City. They lost 4-1. Whilst at the ground I bought a copy of their fanzine ‘The Seagull Love Review.’ Imagine the sequence of thoughts that went through my mind when I found this on the back cover (not least of which was ‘who the effin hell is that?’ & ‘where the effin hell is his trademark headband?’) :
Fanzines are at their best when a club is crap, or in chaos. Brighton have just appointed Uruguayan Gus Poyet as manager, their third in a year or something. One of the concerns of The Love Review is that, ‘Alison Moyet is the only thing that rhymes with Poyet when singing chants.’ On the plus side, though, ‘Uruguayans are dirty mad bastards,’ so over the next few months fans can look forward to, ‘matches punctuated with shin scraping, hair pulling, bollock pinching and plenty of Christmas red cards.’