EXTRA police will be on the streets tonight as Albion take on fierce rivals Crystal Palace.
Sussex Police bosses fear groups of opposing fans may clash in the city centre or outside the Amex in the build-up and after the 7.45pm match.
Plans have been put in place to ensure opposing supporters drink in separate pubs ahead of the match.
Albion fans have been told to drink in the vicinity of Brighton Station while Palace fans have a choice of away-friendly pubs and bars in West Street.
However, some pubs have decided to close for night.
The Battle of Trafalgar, in Guildford Road, tweeted: “After a chat to the police, the Battle of Trafalgar will be shut for a private party (invite only) on Tuesday #footballruinspubnight.”
The Caxton Arms, in North Gardens, tweeted: “On police advice, we will be opening the doors to HOME fans only. Door staff will be in operation. We are not a sports bar, but friendly #bhafc fans are very much welcome.”
Sussex Police said there will be an increased police presence around the Amex, in the city and in neighbouring towns.
For supporters, it is one of the most hotly anticipated games of the season.
Seagulls fan and performance poet John Baine, aka Attila the Stockbroker, said: “It is great to be playing Palace again.
“We just want to make sure we beat them. The rivalry has been going on since the 1970s and it was frustrating that we couldn’t play them for a long time.
“We all relish the rivalry on both sides but obviously when people descend into physical violence that is completely stupid. It is understandable that there is concern but people have to accept that it is what it is. That is the nature of football. I just hope Murray scores a hat-trick.”
A spokesman for Brighton and Hove Albion FC said: “The pubs located within the immediate vicinity of Brighton Station have been designated as home only at the licensees’ discretion. Visiting fans are advised that away friendly pubs and bars are located in West Street and include Yates and Wetherspoons, while the concourses in the away end will be open two hours prior to kick-off.”
Chief inspector Simon Nelson, who is leading the policing operation for tonight’s match, said security within the ground remains the responsibility of the club, with support from officers.
He said: “Sussex Police has been working with partners, including the Albion, British Transport Police and other emergency services and we are looking forward to a safe and enjoyable match for everyone. However, we will take all reasonable steps to avoid disorder and anyone intent on causing trouble risks being arrested or ejected.”
Source: The Argus