Date: 23rd May 2016 at 2:23pm
Written by:

Inigo Calderon was arguably the most high profile of the five Brighton players released recently wasn’t he?

He was unquestionably the clubs longest serving player.

Calderon might have ‘only’ been with Brighton since 2010, but in a day and age when players lasting a couple, to a few, years is good going to have remained with the club for six-years through good and bad (mostly good in all honesty) over 232 appearances (scoring 19-goals) is an impressive show of loyalty.

In fairness this cuts both ways as Brighton have been loyal to him too.

That was until now (not that a lack of loyalty from Brighton can be claimed) with the 34-year-old joining captain Gordon Greer, Andrew Crofts, Bobby Zamora and Adam Chicksen in being informed he wouldn’t be at the Amex Stadium next season bringing an end to the fans’ favourites Albion spell.

He helped us to the League 1 title and several play-off bid in the Championship, which unfortunately much as this season didn’t prove successful with his work on and off the pitch rightly recognised as he’s done so much community work, which is recognised but perhaps not always to the level deserved.

The Spaniard will be missed for his efforts in all areas with him clearly gutted at his exit but he’s remaining positive and moves on – ordinarily we wouldn’t cover his views in full but on this occasion I think his farewell letter penned to the Brighton fans deserves covering doesn’t it.

An open letter, this open letter, was posted on the Official Website

Simply, thank you all!

Hola, It`s been a difficult month for the BHAFC family, but just in terms of results. I`ll explain that later.

Last Tuesday, after the defeat in the play-offs, I was told that my career as a Brighton & Hove Albion player had reached the end.

Firstly I felt devastated, then sad, followed by a lot emotions, none of them positive. But I am person who always tries to be positive and in this case I had to do the same.

I started to think about the time when I made my debut, fighting to escape relegation from League One, when we trained in a training ground that wasn’t even a training ground and playing games in a stadium that wasn`t a stadium either.

And then, when I was leaving the new ‘proper’ training ground, I said to myself, ‘Wow, I have played 231 games, scored 19 goals, now we play in a beautiful stadium, and we are disappointed because we should be in the Premier League. I thought I ought to be proud of having been part of all this.’

So I stopped crying and I started enjoying all these memories. And then I realised that the most important were all those individuals whom I worked, lived, shared experiences with, and my gratitude to them, so…

Thanks first to my family, without them all this would not have been possible. It`s going to be difficult to explain to my four-year-old son that Daddy is not playing for Brighton & Hove Albion any more, his first English word was Seagulls, fact! My seven-month-old daughter was born in Brighton, we were sure about this decision.

My wife is now checking all the clubs around Brighton, she wants to live here, we love it: it`s not England, it`s just Brighton.

Obviously thanks to every single one working with and for Brighton & Hove Albion, to all the managers and staff I`ve worked with, AITC, people working at the training ground, academy managers and players? from the chefs, to the cleaners, to the chairman.

I cannot name everyone, because there are too many good people involved. But I want to highlight my teammates. I`ve been with some very good players but most importantly, good people, they have made me enjoy so much throughout these seven seasons.

Every single day I’ve enjoyed training and working with them; being so far from home, they have been my family and friends. As I said before I cannot name all of them, because I don’t want to leave anyone out.

Finally, but trust me, is a very, very special part of this letter for the fans. I cannot thank the fans enough for all the support and love you have given me, since the very first day, you have made me feel unbelievably proud of being part of this club, too many times astonished and ashamed because I have never thought I deserved so much appreciation!

Fans are the real blood of football in general, and clubs in particular. Without you, nothing would be possible, and Brighton & Hove Albion has high-quality blood. You are amazing, and you have made me understand that the most important thing is not just winning games, but trying your best to do it.

And you are right, as I said at the beginning of this letter, maybe the results haven`t been the ones we all fairly deserved, but you are extremely proud of being Albion supporters, and that`s it.

For me, seeing fans waiting desperately for Saturday at 3pm, to enjoy with their team, no matter the result, that`s it. Seeing kids in the school or in the parks with Albion shirts instead of the big clubs and easy ones, that`s it. We have done it, and I do feel part of this.

So, just to end, like I said, I will try to remember all those memories, always with a smile in my face, because all of you have created a wonderful fairy tale, but as every tale it has to have an end.

So, many, many thanks and see you soon, because it`s not a goodbye, I know I will come back, I have to.

Thanks, gracias, eskerrik asko!

P.S. If they ask you… Yes, I did score with my face!

We’ll all wish the club legend well until that time does come when Calderon returns to the Amex, as he says he will!

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