Every Albion fan over a certain age knows the famous Brighton home shirt of the late 1970s, with the buks running down the white sleeves and round Seagulls badge. But what about this one?
Well, this shirt design, with blue and white striped sleeves and no buks down t’sleeves (and no badge either!) was also an Albion home shirt of the Mullery years.
In 1976/77, Brighton had crazily inconsistent manufacturers’ branding on their kit. White or black Umbro logos adorned the home shirts. Then, sometimes, there was no branding (maybe some ironed on logos fell off!). At other times, there was an Umbro logo on the shirts and a Bukta logo on the shorts. And sometimes, different Albion players in the same game had different combinations. It was an absolute mess! Certainly wasn’t someone with OCD in charge of the player’s kit.
Around April 1977, though, for the first ever time, some Brighton players had the Bukta logo on their shirts. Why does this matter? It doesn’t other than it means this was the first ever Albion Bukta shirt. For example, here’s Ian Mellor in action against eventual Third Division champions Mansfield:
(Infuriatingly, other players in the same game, such as Peter Ward, did not have this logo on their shirt. His was unbranded).
However, Ward did get to wear this Bukta-stripey-sleeved shirt over a year later in August 1978, in a pre-season friendly against Queen’s Park Rangers at the Goldstone.
By that time, the classic Buk-sleeved Bukta shirt, that we all know and love, had been worn for a good year within its three year lifespan. So it’s a mystery why the first ever Bukta design made a brief revival, now with shorts that didn’t particularly match its aesthetics. Probably to confuse Albion shirt connoisseurs thirty-five years down the line, I expect! Yeah, that’d be it.