Underdogs show the only way is Sussex

County's two sides plotting upsets against Stoke and Liverpool

Sussex has more clubs in this weekend's FA Cup fifth round than the traditional football hotbeds of Manchester and the North-East put together.

The odds may be against either Brighton & Hove Albion or Crawley Town progressing any further against Premier League opposition tomorrow, but their presence indicates that they are moving forward in other ways.

Both are eyeing second successive promotions. Crawley, near the top of League Two, welcome Stoke City to the Broadfield Stadium, having lost only 1-0 to Manchester United at Old Trafford in last year's fifth round. Brighton, who play Liverpool at Anfield, fill their new 22,500-seater Amex Stadium most weeks as Gus Poyet's passing side, unbeaten in 2012, hover just below the Championship play-off places.

"It is a great opportunity for us, a great moment for the players," Poyet said. "We're going to be ourselves, trying to play our football, and see what happens."

The man who appointed Poyet, Brighton chairman Tony Bloom, has shown a sure touch since taking over in May 2009 in return for financing the building of the new ground. The 41-year-old maths graduate, whose fortune was made in property and private investments, was first taken to see Brighton by his late grandfather Harry, the club's vice-chairman when they entered the top flight back in 1979.

"The draw brings back great memories from 1983, when we won at Anfield on the way to the final," he said. "A few people around the country will remember that we were in the old first division, but not the younger generation. People in Brighton and Sussex have been waiting for those days to come back, so we are slowly getting there."

Brighton broke their transfer record twice last summer, on Will Buckley and Craig Mackail-Smith, but Bloom will not sanction potentially ruinous speculation. "While I'm at the club it will be run within our means," he said.

"When you come from where we have, nearly losing our league status, losing our ground, being homeless for two years, having a temporary ground at Withdean, our fans really appreciate the good times so much more."

According to the office for national statistics, the Brighton urban area is the 10th most populous in England, ahead of Stoke, Sunderland or Swansea. The same source shows that Crawley is bigger than Wigan or Blackburn, although its origins as a London overspill town means that the club is competing with established allegiances in the capital. "We've come from a low base, but we've tripled our attendances and we're looking to increase them," Susan Carter, the joint major shareholder with her husband Ian, said.

Crawley's rise from non-league began in summer 2010 when Bruce Winfield, a long-time fan, was persuaded to join the board. He and Carter paid off debts of £400,000 and made employees account for every penny, and although he succumbed to cancer soon after the match at Old Trafford, the club is still run along the lines he imposed.

Winfield brought in investors from Hong Kong, but although their desire to remain anonymous has led to mutterings from rivals about Crawley's mysterious benefactors, Carter said: "They are still there, but we have made almost £2m from the FA Cup, so we haven't needed them. We put money in 18 months ago to earn promotion but we have bought only one player this season."

That was Tyrone Barnett, "the best striker outside the Premier League", Steve Evans, the manager, said, "and we sold our top scorer [Matt Tubbs, to Bournemouth for £800,000] because the bid met the club's valuation. But it's not about money on Sunday, it's about us trying to win an FA Cup tie."

News
people
Sport
FootballGerman sparks three goals in four minutes at favourite No 10 role
News
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Sport
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
athletics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Radamel Falcao was forced to withdraw from the World Cup after undergoing surgery
premier leagueExclusive: Reds have agreement with Monaco
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Life and Style
Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
Arts and Entertainment
Gregory Porter learnt about his father’s voice at his funeral
music
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Life and Style
Children at the Leytonstone branch of the Homeless Children's Aid and Adoption Society tuck into their harvest festival gifts, in October 1936
food + drinkThe harvest festival is back, but forget cans of tuna and packets of instant mash
Sport
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
New Articles
i100
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam