At the start of the 1986/87, Ashdown Garage offered the players a new BMW if they could score 70 goals during the course of the campaign. With goalscoring aces Dean Saunders and Terry Connor, backed by World Cup wing wizard Steve Penney and the motivational powers of Alan Mullery, back at the helm, surely this was going to be a possibility?
Unfortunately, cost-cutting at the Goldstone Ground led to many experienced players such as Graham Moseley, Steve Jacobs and Dennis Mortimer leaving before the campaign started, considerably weakening the spine of the side. And equally sadly, it was not an offer of one car each, but one for the team, with the individual driving off with the car being selected by lots if the team was successful.
By January 3rd, the team under Alan Mullery was on a meagre 25 goals following a 2-1 win at Grimsby. Not an amazing season, but acceptable and forgivable given the dire finances of the club. Then, Mullery was harshly sacked even though the side were 15th in the League and comfortably away from the relegation zone.
And you probably know the nightmare under Barry Lloyd that happened next. From early January to the end of the season, Brighton scored a pathetic 13 more goals. Indeed, it took Lloyd over three and a half months to record his first victory as manager, but at least it was a 2-0 win over Crystal Palace. Those three points gained by Brighton in April were enough to deny Palace a play-off place at the end of the season. However, it couldn’t save our campaign. Unsurprisingly, Brighton crashed to the Third Division. This was not how life on the fast lane was meant to be.