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:

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

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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

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

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Brighton v Spurs photos

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

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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.

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Merry Christmas from Bobby Smith

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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!

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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…
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“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.

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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:)

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Sean Coleman – a reader meets Brighton’s Peter Ward

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Top Soccer magazine may not have lived long in the memory of many supporters, but the edition from 15th December 1979 certainly gave Seagulls fan Sean Coleman, then 11, one of the best Albion-related childhood stories of the glory years:

If people paint a room in the colours of their favourite soccer team then they must be close to being fanatical fans!

That can certainly be said of young Sean Coleman’s family after their kitchen received a blue and white coat of paint in honour of Brighton F.C.

That fact persuaded us to grant 11 year-old Sean his wish of meeting his idol, Peter Ward.

Sean was so excited at the prospect that he couldn’t sleep the night before and woke up at 6 o’clock in the morning.

He met Peter outside the Goldstone Ground with his kit bag at the ready.

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Within a couple of minutes, he was achieving his greatest goal by running out of the tunnel in his ‘Seagulls’ strip.

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Sean could hardly believe it when Peter gave him a few priceless tips on the game then autographed his football for him.

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Then it was over to the dugout where Peter took it easy for a cup of tea while Sean got on Alan Mullery’s ‘hot line’ to the director’s box… to talk about the colour scheme at the Goldstone, no doubt.

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Marvellous! 36 years on, I wanted to see if Sean was still supporting the Seagulls. After a bit of detective work, via North Stand Chat, I managed to track down Sean to ask him about his great day at the Goldstone all those years ago. Bet it must have been strange to see your name discussed on NSC!

“I got a message from a friend about it and I thought you’re having a laugh,” Sean says. “Didn’t seem quite real to be honest. I had a look at it and so here we are.”

So what is the story behind your appearance in Top Soccer magazine? “My dad used to buy Top Soccer magazine and, unbeknown to me, wrote to them saying I was a fan of Peter Ward and that would like to meet him. One day, he said, ‘Get in the car with your football kit on. We’re going for a drive’ and we ended up at the Goldstone. I met the whole team, including Brian Horton, Mark Lawrenson, Andy Rollings, Gerry Ryan, and went down the tunnel and there was Peter Ward on the pitch. I was blown away, really.”

Sean had been watching the Albion since he was five. He remembers going to see them play Southampton at the Goldstone Ground in his first game, in August 1972, when Saints fans climbed the floodlights. He was hooked. “I also went to Norman Whiteside’s first ever game for Man United. He came on for the last few minutes,” he adds. “I used to go regularly every week, home and away until I was 17 or 18. Then I got married and things changed. However, I did get a season ticket for the first season at the Amex, but now my work stops me going on a Saturday. I go as and when I can.”

And then things turned full circle.

“Funnily, about three years ago, I went to a signing at the club shop and Peter Ward was there. I was with my youngest son. I told him Peter Ward was the man I had idolised. My son’s hero at the time was Mackail-Smith as he was such a big signing at the time.”

Finally, is it true your kitchen was painted in blue and white? The answer is yes, thanks to his father, a man of many Albion-related surprises: “My dad came home with two pots of paint and began to paint the kitchen in Albion colours and my mum never let him live it down. That was quite something.”

And his current place? “My wife would never let me do that!”

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Eric goes back to school

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From Shoot! magazine in 1979:

The morning training session is over. Eric Steele, Watford’s £100,000 goalkeeper sits back in a comfortable chair and enjoys a refreshing cup of tea. But you won’t find him idle for long!

He’s too busy settling in at his new club, getting his own career back into top gear, and planning how best to continue the schoolboy coaching he built up so successfully in Brighton.

But there is time to look back on the move that took him back into the Second Division, in October.

“I didn’t want to leave Brighton,” he says. “That’s the first and most important point. It wasn’t my decision, it was Alan Mullery’s. I think he was wrong and I’ll be proved right in time. Once he’d made up his mind, I had to resolve myself to leaving.

“But it hurt. It took me a long time to get to the First Division and I think that in the ten games I played, I proved I was good enough to keep my place at that level. But once I knew I was on the move, I wanted to get away as quickly as I could.

“I went on the list on a Thursday and Watford came straight in for me the next day. I’d signed for them within a week. I was very happy to join such a progressive club. I would never have come here if I didn’t believe we would be a First Division side in a couple of years.

“Since I arrived at Vicarage Road, I’ve been impressed with the whole set-up. I like the way people look at the game. I’m sure I’ve made the right move. Some people may wonder why I went to a Second Division club. My answer is, I’ve taken one step back to take two forward. I’ll return to Division One, with Watford.”

At Brighton, Eric filled much of his free time by coaching schoolboys and helping handicapped people. He intends to carry on the good work in Watford as well as keeping an interest on the South Coast.

“I’ve been interested in coaching ever since I left school,” he explains. “I was going to train as a teacher, but then I got the chance to join Newcastle United and I took it. But I never lost my interest in coaching.

“The main idea I want to get across to the lads is that they should enjoy their football. Professional players have to live with pressure, but while you’re at school it’s fun. If any of the kids think they’re good enough to earn their living from the game, they should work hard on their skills. But they should try to get some qualifications behind them first.

“If they’re good enough to make the grade at 16, they’ll still be at 18. Football is a very insecure business. You’ve got to have something to fall back on.”

Eric has seen the cruellest face in football. Young apprentices of 17 or 18 who have failed to live up to their early potential. They’re on the list, with nowhere to go. They feel washed up, before their young lives have really begun.

“That’s why I tell the lads to work hard at their school work, as well as their football.”

Eric did just that, when he was a lad, up on Tyneside. He left school with three ‘A’ levels, but still found plenty of time to play football.

“I played three games, every weekend,” he smiles. “I’d finish my school match on Saturday morning, then dash off to play for Wallsend Boys Club. A lot of good players, like Ray Hankin and Chris Waddle, came from there. On Sunday mornings I had another match and every Sunday afternoon… I died!”

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Eric’s enthusiasm for the game always comes across when he coached schoolboys. But would he like to see more stars taking the time to give something back to the game, at grassroots level?

“A lot of people say players are too selfish to give up their free time, but I don’t think that’s the reason so few do it. SHOOT readers might be surprised to hear me say this, but a lot of professional players lack self-confidence. The thought of standing up and talking to a crowd of youngsters brings them out in a cold sweat.

“Every player has his own personality. Some are good at talking to people, some aren’t. But the ones who are shy often enjoy coaching, once they’ve got over the first ten or 20 minutes. I noticed that when Brighton had a sponsored scheme last year. Every week, two players would go out to a local school and talk about the game.

“Some of the players weren’t too keen, but they all relaxed and enjoyed themselves in the end. Now, at Watford, people at the club seem to think along the same lines as me. People are encouraged to work and get involved with the local community. I think that’s the way it should be.”

Watford’s soccer stars of the future will be getting plenty of sound advice from Eric in the months to come. Talented youngsters need help. And who better to give that help than the local soccer stars?

“Professionals do have a fair amount of free time on their hands. I think it should be used to put something back into the game. Coaching can be hard work, but when you see your idea getting across to the players, it’s very satisfying too.”

If more thought like Eric Steele, the future would look brighter for British soccer. And after the controversy and disappointments of recent months, Eric’s future looks rosy again, with Watford.

“The club’s only going one way,” he says, finally, “and that’s up.”

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