Vital BHA - Behind the scenes with: Gully's Girls
After the game, VitalBHA took time out to catch up with Jo Wilson (2nd from right), Maddy Roff (far right)and Billie Trubridge (far left), three of the girls who help mastermind the Matchday routines. We dig a little deeper to see what goes on behind the scenes, and see what makes the dance troupe tick.
Jo (JW) is in her 4th season with Gully's Girls and is one of the head cheerleaders and choreographers of the group. Billie (BT) is a huge Brighton fan and in her second season with the girls, whilst Maddy (MR) joined the girls after seeing them perform before a game two years ago.
Gully's Girls go by the saying 'Cheerleading = Life' so it is plain to see how seriously they take their work. There is an obvious bond between the girls whether they have been part of the group for years or just days. They train during the week, perform on Saturday's in their own time and on a voluntary basis.
There is another side to the girls which most fans don't get to hear too much about, but it one that deserves a lot more recognition than they actually get.
The girls are regularly promoting the Brighton & Hove Albion brand in the Sussex community throughout the year, promoting the club at numerous events, as well as holding regular cheer leading courses in schools and leisure centres across the County.
Here's what they had to say to VitalBHA.
VBHA: What is Gully's Girls all about, and what does it mean to you?
JW: 'Gully's girls are the official dance and cheerleading group for Brighton and Hove Albion FC. We have a saying in Gully's Girls that 'cheerleading = life!' so its pretty important to us! It`s a great pleasure and honour to dance for the Albion and it's great fun at the same time. We have an awesome team of lovely girls!'
BT: 'Gully's Girls is about supporting our amazing team, entertaining the crowds and most of all it's about having fun! Gully's Girls means a lot to me - Brighton and Hove Albion have played a huge part in my life and I am so proud to stand with my best friends, cheering on my favourite team.'
MR: 'It's all about enjoying yourself, dancing and entertaining the crowd at Withdean - especially when it's pouring with rain! Gully's Girls has been one of the best things I've done, the girls are all so lovely and I've had so many great experiences since I've been a Gully's Girl.'
VBHA: What was your favourite Gully's Girl routine and which song would you like to perform to in the future?
MR: 'The routine where we danced to Everybody (Backstreet's Back) by the Backstreet Boys last Halloween!
I would love to perform to Calvin Harris or Example, or maybe something really cheesey like Busted or Steps!'
JW: 'I think the first game of this season (against Rochdale) went really well. We even managed to get in the local newspaper, The Argus about it! We came out dressed in black capes with the idea of unveiling our new recruits!'
BT: 'That's a tough one! Probably the first game of this season - the black cloaks were so much fun, the stunts were brilliant and I was so excited to make it into The Argus, especially as they printed a picture of me up in the air!'
VBHA: Has a routine ever gone wrong on the pitch?, if so, what happened?
JW: 'It's really hard for us to hear the music from the pitch, so there have been quite a few times where we can't hear it at all. In one of my first routines I forgot what I was doing, so I panicked and ran to the front and started free styling!'
BT: 'We practice really hard, so routines rarely go wrong. The most difficult thing is not being able to hear the music! It's so quiet!'
MR: 'I think we've had a couple of routines go slightly wrong where we all couldn't hear the music. No one knew which part of the dance we were at!'
VBHA: As well as the dancing, Gully's Girls do a lot of work in the Sussex community. What projects have you been involved with?
BT: 'We hold cheerleading workshops as part of the Young Seagulls Club and Albion in the Community. A few of us are trained coaches. We hold courses in schools and leisure centers all over sussex, So get involved!'
JW: 'We do a lot of promotion. Charity events, opening marathons and village fetes. We also run cheerleading coaching clubs where we go into schools and teach cheerleading to under 16`s. This year we have more of the girls trained up as qualified coaches so we can get into more schools and leisure centres to run these courses.'
VBHA: Southend's Shrimper Girls and Sheffield Wednesday's Owlettes have a very different, more adult orientated image as cheerleaders. What do you think of their work?
JW: 'I appreciate what the girls do, I have nothing against it as I do a lot modeling outside of the club. Brighton is great for the family atmosphere it has, so Gully's Girls have to keep things appropriate for that surrounding.'
BT: 'The girls are beautiful and it's great they have such body confidence. Gully's Girls have a slightly more conservative image which we are all comfortable with. We are proud of who we are and what we represent - being role models to young Brighton fans, but we also respect other girls and their image too.'
VBHA: You recently went to the famous Pineapple Dance Studios in London. How was your time there, and was Louis Spence as crazy as he comes across on the TV?
BT: 'A few of us went for my 22nd birthday, which was an amazing day. The cheerleading class was brilliant! We were all so excited to meet Louis. He was nice enough to pose for a picture with us, and wished me a happy birthday, but he definately wasn't as crazy in real life!'
MR: 'The day at Pineapple was amazing, we all had such a good time! We saw Louis Spence when we were there and asked him for a photo, but he wasn't as crazy in real life! We were gutted, ha ha!
JW: 'It was awesome, so much fun. We only saw him briefly, and had a picture with him. He seemed pretty busy so he wasn`t his 'crazy` self that day! Either that or the site of Gullys girls frightened him!'
VBHA: What did you think of the new AMEX Stadium after your recent stadium tour?
MR: 'The stadium looks absolutely amazing and I can't wait to be able to dance there and see Brighton play there next season'
JW: 'Amazing! I get way too excited when I drive past there and it was great to see it up close. It is really worth going to have a look if you haven`t already, although I will miss Withdean - there's my sentimental side coming out!'
BT: 'I went to the Goldstone Ground and experienced the upset when we lost it. Being a huge Brighton supporter, going to the new stadium meant a lot to me. It is absolutely incredible and they have thought about every single detail, including the kind of food they will sell there - which was very important to some of us!'
VBHA: Do you support Brighton and who's your favourite player?
BT: 'I come from a big family of Brighton supporters, I am a huge fan! My favourite player? I would have to say Tommy Elphick. He is a strong and loyal player, and an asset to Brighton.'
JW: 'My favourite player was Michel Kuipers. He got upset because I didn`t mention that when I was on Soccer AM. My favourite current player is Elliott Bennett.'
MR: 'I've always supported Arsenal but I come along to all the Brighton games. My favourite Arsenal player is probably Andrei Arshavin as I saw his first game at the Emirates and he was incredible! Although I have to admit, I have a soft spot for Niklas Bendtner too!'
VBHA: The girls are massive fans of the Sportsman carvery. What's your choice in exchange for £3.59?
JW: 'Beef and turkey all the way! Billie and I can be seen in there most weeks. We love it!'
BT: 'I am a veggie but I still love my trips to the carvery! They give me double stuffing and Yorkshire puddings, then I load up on the veg and gravy! yum!'
MR: 'Gammon with peas, carrots, roast potatoes and Yorkshires, all covered in gravy!'
VBHA: Wayne Rooney has hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons. As a girl involved in football, what do you make of the whole episode?
BT: 'I think it's sad what has happened, but I also think we shouldn't believe every single thing we read in the media. Coleen Rooney is a huge role model to many girls. The public love her and she has her own career, so whatever happens, she will be fine.'
MR: 'I don't think it's exactly setting a good example to young boys who look up to him for being a great footballer, but at the same time it's his business not ours.'
JW: 'What is there to say, apart from 'tut tut'!'
If you are interested in signing up to any of the courses run by Gully's Girls, please contact Jo Wilson by email at firstname.lastname@example.org