Peter Sayer interview


Twisting and turning like an eel, Peter Sayer cut through the backtracking Blackburn rearguard as a knife would slice through butter. Then, he floated a inviting ball for Teddy Maybank to head past a smokebomb to put the Seagulls 1-0 up.

This memorable goal from April 1979 is frequently shown on ITV4’s The Big Match Revisited and gives an inkling of how Sayer became a Goldstone favourite. The bubblepermed Welshman relied wholly on his blistering pace at first: “In the early days with Cardiff, I didn’t have a good footballing brain. The more I trained, the better my passing and crossing became.”

Aged 18, Peter became a pro with his home club in July 1973 and soon put the Bluebirds back on the football map. Playing as an emergency centre-forward, his long-range strike knocked Tottenham out of the FA Cup in January 1977. The newspapers’ comparisons with Kevin Keegan were numerous. Two months later, Sayer made his debut for Wales who defeated European champions Czechoslovakia 3-0.

He put in a sparkling display for Cardiff in their 4-0 thumping by Brighton in October 1977. In that match, the Bluebirds’ maverick Robin Friday was sent off for kicking Mark Lawrenson in the face. Legend has it that Friday then threw all the Cardiff players’ clothes in the team bath. Peter says: “I don’t remember it, but he was very much like that! Robin was such a gifted player, so unpredictable. It made him the player he was but as a character he was a potential timebomb.”

Another story that has done the rounds is that Friday also went into the Brighton dressing room and defecated in Mark Lawrenson’s sports bag. However, Peter sheds no light on what is probably a mere urban myth.

In February 1978, the midfield man returned to the Goldstone, this time as the Seagulls’ new £100,000 signing. It took until 1978/79 for Peter to really establish himself at Brighton, with 32 League appearances as Albion finished runners-up in Division Two. As Albion’s club ambassador, Mullery is fond of recalling a story of how in September 1978, Teddy Maybank and Peter were fined two weeks’ wages for being seen in a Worthing nightclub two days before an unexpected 4-1 defeat at Leicester. Does Peter recall this indiscretion? “I don’t remember it at all! Nevertheless, I have regrets about some of our behaviour, usually involving alcohol.  While many players liked their booze, it was still taboo to go out and have a drink on certain nights of the week.”

Reaching Division One was the pinnacle of Peter’s time at the Albion. The Welsh international played the first 18 matches in the next campaign, before losing his place in Brighton’s top flight side. He was sold to Preston in August 1980, before spells with Cardiff (loan), Chorley, Morecambe and Northwich Victoria.  Nowadays, Peter works as a bar manager at a golf club in Preston. Before leaving the Goldstone, Sayer ensured a bit of silverware came the Seagulls’ way: he hit the second goal as Brighton beat Israeli side Maccabi Nathanya 2-0 to lift the ever so prestigious Jewish Chronicle Cup in July 1980. Not many players can say they’ve helped the Albion win an international club competition!


Spurs in the Milk Cup

Here are some photos from the 1-1 draw with Tottenham Hotspur in the Milk Cup 2nd Round 1st Leg in October 1982. The Seagulls came away with an excellent 1-1 result. Steve Gatting challenges Steve Archibald while Tony Grealish closes in:


Below, Gary Stevens tackles substitute Mark Falco:


Transimage Football 79-80

Transimage Ltd, a company based in Ashford, Kent, made their only foray in the football sticker market in 1979/80, just in time to cover the Seagulls’ debut in the First Division:


In a 528-sticker collection, covering the English and Scottish top flight teams, Brighton’s pages looked like this:


It was a pleasing spread. Given the small size of the stickers, there was much more room to develop a fresh design based on round rects.

The album I had was missing Eric Steele, Peter O’Sullivan and Gary Williams. Happily, I had some spares. Impressively, despite the passing of some 36 years, I was able to peel the backs off and they all stuck!



Farah fashion 1983


The Brighton Cup Final squad of 1983, a good thirteen years before Liverpool arrived for Wembley in cream suits.


Brighton v Spurs photos

Trev Smith has kindly allowed me to publish his images from the Brighton v Tottenham match of April 1978:


Peter Wardbrighton-v-spurs-3-wardbrighton-v-spurs-6brighton-v-spurs-7-imagebrighton-v-spurs-8

Tony Townerbrighton-v-spurs-5-towner

Colin Leebrighton-v-spurs-10-colin-lee

Ken Tilerbrighton-v-spurs-2-tiler

Andy Rollingsbrighton-v-spurs-1-rollings

The images have been added to the match report here

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Season’s greetings from 1986

1986 Xmas card


Taken from a Christmas card issued by the club in 1986/87.


Merry Christmas from Bobby Smith


Former international striker Bobby Smith, who hit nineteen goals for Brighton in 1964/65 in Division Four. As goalkeeper Brian Powney said: “Not only was he ex-Tottenham and England, he was a very good player. Having him with us really lifted everyone.” Merry Christmas, everybody. Let’s enjoy ourselves like it’s 1964.

Digweed’s infamous injury

in September 1988, Perry Digweed was involved in one of the most horrific injuries ever sustained at the Goldstone Ground. Steve Gatting’s weak backpass allowed West Bromwich Albion’s John Paskin to fire at goal. The Baggies striker’s shot hit the post but his boot collided with a very vulnerable part of Digweed body, right between the legs.

Kevin Bremner took over in goal but let in a nightmare goal when Robert Isaac deflected a shot tamely into the near post in the 1-0 defeat. Memorably, Bremner redeemed himself with a heroic save at the feet of Robert Hopkins later on.

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The Graduate!


In a season of disaster for Brighton & Hove Albion, Ian Chapman provided one of the few positive stories in the national media From Match Weekly magazine on March 14th 1987:

Ian Chapman has achieved a unique footballing double first … at the tender age of sixteen.

Three months short of his 17th birthday, Ian became the youngest ever player to appear in a Brighton shirt when he filled the ‘Seagulls’ left-back slot in a Second Division encounter with Birmingham.

But perhaps even more significantly, Ian also became the first graduate Of the Lilleshall based GM National Football School to make his senior League debut.

Founded as a nursery for potential England internationals of the future, the school’s first intake of 16 boys completed their two-year education last summer and were subsequently dispatched to the various League clubs who had snapped them up before they embarked on the Lilleshall course.

But while clearly proud to have been the first to make his mark on the big time, Ian could have wished for a kinder baptism – the Goldstone Ground outfit leaving St. Andrews on the wrong end of a 2-0 scoreline.

“Of course I was very happy to be named in the first team so soon, but the result rather took the edge off things,” explains the former England Schoolboy international. Afterwards, instead of thinking how exciting it was to have actually made my debut, I was feeling down aboutthe score.”

Despite the adverse result, Ian’s Black Country outing was the source of considerable pride to his family, former Lilleshall colleagues and tutors alike.

But the level-headed teenager isn’t anticipating too many more rides on the first team bus this term…
“I played only because Chris Hutchings was Injured and I don’t expect to play for the first team much more, if at all this season,” he says.

“I’m quite happy to continue learning the game in the reserves.”

And the fact that Ian’s name is now regularly pencilled in on the ‘Seagulls’ Football Combination side teamsheet is a tribute in itself.

Ian has clocked up around 18 reserve appearances to date.

Football Attic: Number 37 in the Greatest Football Shirts Ever

As a long-term fan of The Football Attic, I was delighted to see Brighton & Hove Albion’s snazzy home kit from the mid-1980s make it into Chris and Richard’s countdown of the the Greatest Football Shirts Ever, as chosen with Jay from Design Football and John Devlin of True Colours.

Screen Shot 2015-07-25 at 18.12.57

There’s a nice write-up by John Devlin, as well as a Football Attic podcast discussing it, complete with some great NOBO gags. Well worth a listen🙂