By Fraser Ward
It has been an eventful first six months since the American Express Community Stadium was initially handed over from the developers to the club back in May.
Photo used under creative commons by Warren
Since Brighton and Hove Albion F.C. played their first competitive game in July, it’s hosted not only international and club football matches but corporate events, weddings and fairs and planned even more for the future.
In July it was among the winners of the Structural Steel Design Awards 2011, with the judging panel saying the building provides “a long-awaited home for Brighton & Hove F.C. with community facilities”.
Speaking of the stadium’s structure, they added: “With a curving roof it sits comfortably into the rolling South Downs, while the blue translucent roof shows off the well-executed steelwork.”
The stadium capacity is around 22,000 but there is room for expansion to an estimated 35,000 seats if the club ever needed it.
Aside from football, Norman Cook (better known as DJ Fatboy Slim) will become the first music artist to play at the ground in June next year in what he said would be ‘the biggest event of his life’.
The Amex Stadium boasts several other facilities which have attracted attention from business groups in the area.
The Sussex Food and Drink awards banquet will be held there in January 2012 and after the Amex obtained a wedding licence they have started holding weddings at the ground.
The first couple, Kevin Attwood and Sue King from Shoreham, were married there in July last summer.
Mr Attwood said: “We were over the moon to find out we would be the first ones there.”
Brighton have settled well in the Championship this season, enjoying a brief spell on top of the league under the leadership of Gus Poyet.
The manager recently celebrated two years in charge of the club and signed a new five-year contract in September meaning he will remain at the Amex Stadium until the end of the 2016 season.
He said: “It is very exciting, we have made a lot of progress and everyone at the club should be proud.”
Fans have had to wait several years for this new home as disputes between councils and local residents delayed the start of construction.
Now it is full speed ahead as the impressive stadium is attracting not only fans but people from across the country and the future couldn’t be brighter for the Amex.