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Amex Stadium

The Amex Stadium opened in July 2011 with a capacity of 23,000. Within two years, that had been increased to its current 30,000 such was the demand to watch the Albion in facilities that are an absolute world away from the roofless athletics track that was Withdean.

Every seat inside the stadium is padded which is good news if you like comfort, bad news if you were a season ticket holder when we went six games without a goal in 2014-15 and falling asleep during games became an occupational hazard.

The Amex is made up of four stands, all of which have their own identities and purposes. This is in spite of the fact that it is a bowled stadium. It has also led to some pretty petty discussions since it opened about which stand is the best. We don't have a view on that argument - the weekly meltdown over which stand made the most noise can normally be found by 7pm of a home game on North Stand Chat.

One of the most striking elements of the stadium is the way it fits in with the rolling south downs landscape. There is not one pillar in sight with the roof structure being supported by two giant arches over the West and East Stand and the roof is completely translucent making it one of the brightest grounds in the country on a sunny day.

Remarkably given the fact that the Albion's chairman is Tony Bloom, a multi millionaire professional poker player who made his fortune through gambling, there are no betting facilities inside the Amex.

This is a condition of American Express' sponsorship as they did not want to be associated with an industry as disgusting as the betting one. But a 22.2% interest rate on a credit card is of course totally acceptable.

West Stand
The West Stand is the main stand of the Amex, housing the executive lounges, the press area and the players facilities including the tunnel and dugouts which are located slap bang in the centre. It is also the biggest stand in the stadium, an imposing three tier effort with the middle tier dedicated to the aforementioned 1901 seats. The lower tier is on a low rake, giving a spacious feel with the upper much steeper, affording birds eye views of the action. The stand itself is a mix of supporters from those who enjoy a sing and a swear to those who may be slightly older and want to sit down. For big games when the Amex is rocking, it can be extremely loud and passionate but more often than not there is sporadic noise at best, and that is normally directed at the referee who, without fail, is always rubbish. It is probably the best stand from which to appreciate what is going on on the pitch, as reflected in the fact that a category A game adult ticket in the centre of the West Stand will set you back 65 (SIXTY FIVE POUNDS).
 
North Stand
At the Goldstone, the North Stand was the main singing section behind the goal where the stadiums atmosphere came from. The club have tried to repeat that at the Amex, saying that those who wanted to sing throughout games and - whisper it quietly - have a lenient view taken of their persistent standing should purchase tickets here. That is largely how things have worked out. The only trouble being that the singers seem to have split into two groups. One set under the police box at the west end of the stand sing one set of songs, while at the east end by the big screen is a separate set of singers. The result can be something of a disjointed atmosphere. That is not helped either by the stand being tiny when compared to most 'home' ends behind the goal. Like the West Lower, it is on a low rake. A bigger, more imposing North Stand would definitely have helped the atmosphere but if you want to sing, shout and stand with like minded individuals then this is the place to be on a match day.
 
East Stand
The East Stand was home to the majority of the stadiums expansion. Having started out life with just one small lower tier and a huge "American Express" advertising banner at the top, it saw 4,000 new seats added in a second tier for the start of the 2012-13 season. This upper area is similar in design to the West Upper opposite, a steep stand that provides great views of the action below. The lower section is designated the family area. The club go out of their way to entertain young supporters here with mascots, entertainment and a pick and mix which will keep the kids quiet and can even provide some much needed nutriment if you've embarked on too many pre-game pints. So we've heard.
 
South Stand (Away Supporters)
Away supporters are housed in the South Stand, where just over 3,000 fans be accommodated. There is a spacious concourse situated at the rear which serves all the overpriced stuff you expect at a football ground as well as serving an ale local to the visiting team. It is similar to the North Stand, just not quite as flat a rake for the seating which, coupled with the lower roof, allows away supporters to make quite a racket if they travel in numbers. The best views are once again from towards the back of the area. There are a set of hospitality boxes above this stand and if the away supporters do not take up their full allocation it will often be split with home fans with a small segregation netting put in place.