John Napier poses for the Jimmy Hill Football Weekly


Strappling centre-half John Napier was Brighton’s record £25,000 signing from Bolton in August 1967. A year earlier he made his full debut for Northern Ireland in Belfast, losing 2-0 to West Germany.

Along with Norman Gall, Napier formed the bedrock of Albion’s defence in the late 1960s, winning the club’s first Player of the Season award in 1968/69.

Two years later, he was still turning it on for the Albion. In particular, his performance at Reading in April 1971 warmed the cockles of the heart of Evening Argus’ John Vinicombe, who wrote: “This was a magnificent display by John Napier. He was absolutely commanding and this rated as his best perfomance of the campaign. Nothing beat him and this mastery inspired confidence all around.”


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