Geoffrey Theobald: It's goodbye from me, but hello Premier League

Geoffrey Theobald
Geoffrey Theobald

This week will be my last column as I welcome Cllr Tony Janio to take on the role as the newly appointed Conservative Group Leader.

It has been a privilege to be able to share my thoughts with readers over the last few years, and I very much wish to thank the Brighton & Hove Independent for giving me this opportunity.

Tony’s friendly and approachable yet no-nonsense style has always gained him respect amongst residents, councillors and council officers alike. I therefore have no doubt that as my successor will do great things as leader and take the Conservative Group forward to the next election where I am confident that we will form the next Conservative Administration.

On a separate note, I had the good fortune to be part of Brighton and Hove Albion’s celebration parade on Sunday as it travelled along the seafront amongst an estimated 60,000 cheering fans who turned out to celebrate the club’s promotion to the Premier League. The atmosphere around the city during the event was absolutely electric and it made me feel immensely proud of our club as well as the loyal supporters who came to honour and celebrate with their sporting heroes in such a positive way.

What a wonderful achievement for the Albion and a fantastic opportunity for Brighton and Hove that will put our city even more in the global spotlight, encouraging many visitors to come and stay here and providing a big boost to our tourist economy.

The Amex, the home of Brighton and Hove Albion has been used for some exceptional events and the Rugby World Cup springs to mind. This had a worldwide audience viewing Brighton and Hove in all its glory and in particular, Japanese fans regard the city as a bit of a pilgrimage site after their stunning 80/1 odds victory over two-time world champions South Africa!

I was very pleased in one of my last roles as leader of the Conservative Group to support the granting of the Freedom of the City to Brighton andHove Albion’s Chairman Tony Bloom and Manager Chris Hughton on Thursday. As I said to Tony and Chris - well done, congratulations again and bring on the Premiership!

Geoffrey Theobald is the outgoing leader of the Conservatives on Brighton & Hove City Council.