Monthly Archives: April 2013

Jimmy Case goes in hard against the Hatters

From Roy of the Rovers magazine:

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Sadly, Brighton are tonked 5-0 by newly promoted Luton Town, powered by Brian Horton. By the end of September 1982, Albion’s away record read:

Played 3 Won 0 Drawn 0 Lost 3 Goals For 0 Goals Against 14 Points 0.

And people still think Mike Bailey left ‘by mutual consent’ in December 1982 because Albion were boring! No, it was because Albion were boring and losing. 20 defeats in Bailey’s last 31 League games suggested that it was time for a change, although it is worth pointing out that Albion weren’t in the relegation zone when Bailey left. Jimmy Melia’s meagre record of two League victories in four months soon changed that.

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North meets South with Nobby Lawton

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From Goal Magazine article ‘North moves in on the South Coast’:

Brighton is one of the most cosmopolitan neighbourhoods in the British Isles, so perhaps it is appropriate that they have a man from the North as captain of their Third Division Football side.

‘Nobby” Lawton is the thoughtful new brain, signed from Preston North End last year, to succeed the industrious Dave Turner, as skipper on Brighton’s sea front. Nobby is the ideal link-man, much appreciated by new manager Freddie Goodwin. Both of douse, are ex-Manchester United stars.

His display for Preston in the 1964 Cup Final brought comparisons with Eddie Colman, one of the victims of the air disaster and Nobby’s own personal hero. His natural wing-half foraging was responsible for many Preston achievements, although he is happier in the scheming position up front. At inside-left, he has settled down into his former position at Brighton with relish and is an ideal link with the attacking probes of Turner and the sharp shooting of Napier or Livesey.

His Brighton form at first was hampered by a knee injury, but it has made him all the more determined to prove his worth before a southern audience. The Brighton fans are not quite so loyal as in Manchester and Preston – or so numerous – but they know a talented worker and schemer when they see one. Nobby Lawton has fitted into the Brighton scheme, especially as more spirit and stamina needs to be installed if they are ever to get into a higher division.

Nobby Lawton is always ready to give one hundred per cent in the interests of the club.

His family are happily settled into a Shoreham bungalow and he is one of the most contented northerners to settle into a southern club.

That 21-day suspension handed out to Nobby last week means he misses the Cup game which is punishment in itself. Nobby will be have to be patient until the weekend before Christmas. It’s a lesson that he will painfully learn.

Anyone know what this 21-day suspension was about?

By the time he joined Brighton, he had little pace, but could still ghost past players. Using his vast experience, Lawton was available to receive a passes, even in the most crowded of midfields.

He is remembered by some Brighton fans for scoring an incredible volley against Shrewsbury from the half-line in February 1969 when future Albion keeper John Phillips’ kick-out was returned with interest. After losing his place under Pat Saward in 1970/71, Nobby requested a transfer. He eventually joined Lincoln in February 1971 before retiring the following year.

He died in April 2006, aged 66.

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Up the Dolphins with Brian Clough’s Aces!

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A quite marvellous piece of Albion tat from the club shop during the 1973/74 season – and the first piece of Brighton merchandise I’ve seen that mentions Brian Clough’s name. The hand graphic features the slogan ‘Up The Dolphins.’

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Eric Steele, the ‘executive’ fashion king!

As Eric Steele made his way to Watford in October 1979, within weeks of his clash with team-mate Gary Williams at Old Trafford, Albion fans were given something to chuckle over when they saw this piece in the women’s page of the Evening Argus:

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Eric Steele models an executive suit in pure wool, with a sophisticated blue-grey hairline stripe.

The goalie’s a proper gent! By Irene Morden

Footballers these days have to be businessmen as well, dealing with six-figure transfers and the world of commerce away from the pitch.

Eric Steele, Albion’s much-discussed goalkeeper now transferred to Watford for £100,000 is one of the new breed of executive players – and he dresses the part.

He has a teaching degree and would like to run a hospital for handicapped children. He has a leisure management diploma and has just completed a business studies course.

It’s this other world of promotions which dictates the business clothes he picks – well-cut, well-groomed classics like the two-piece Jaeger suit he wears here.

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Leisure wear with style: Eric chose one of Jaeger’s new blouson jackets in a brown Donegal tweed (£69), with toning tweed trousers and a plain creamy coloured shirt in a soft mixture of cotton and wool. The car he’s trying for size is the new Rover V8S.

Eric is a Jaegar man and has other suits of theirs, at £125 a go following the same theme: slim-fitting and conventional, straight but not tight-fitting.

‘They’re clothes that are going to last a long time but always look good,’ he says.

Eric selected his suit at Jaeger’s shop in East Street, Brighton, last week, when they showed their autumn collection to regular customers, along with a glass of wine, a film show – and the latest Rover V8S which mysteriously turned up in the ground floor men’s wear department.

How did it get through those glass plated front doors? The doors were taken off and the car squeezed through with an inch to spare either side.

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The article even got a mention in the 1979/80 match programme v Arsenal (League Cup). It said: “There is no truth in the rumour circulating that Eric Steele departed from the Goldstone solely to avoid the snide remarks of his team-mates following his appearance last week as the subject matter of the Women’s page in The Evening Argus.”

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The Book of Football: Part 2 (Norman Gall)

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In the early 1970s, Marshall Cavendish brought out a magnificent partwork called ‘Book of Football’. Covering all aspects of the game, such as club histories, the development of tactics and strategy, and profiles of many players at different levels of the game, writers such as Martin Tyler, Brian Glanville and Phil Soar created an authoritative snapshot of how the game was back then. Accompanied by photo captions, the widespread use of colour photography and diagrams was revolutionary at the time when most magazines were in dull monochrome. This was a point that Phil Shelley, of oldfootballshirts.com was keen to emphasise when he kindly leant me all five volumes a couple of months ago.

The idea with ‘Book of Football’ was that each week, you’d buy one part of a 75-part set of journals that formed a football encyclopaedia, housed in five stylish black binders. Much of the text and photos were later repurposed for the book ‘The Story of Football’ by Soar and Tyler, published in 1986.

Albion fans didn’t have to wait long to see their club featured in ‘Book of Football’. In the second issue, ‘Football star, football satellite’ compared and contrasted the careers of Arsenal striker Ray Kennedy and Brighton’s Norman Gall. There were also this photo of Gall heading away a Bristol Rovers attack at the tail end of the 1970/71 campaign.

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Of the central defender, it says:

In March 1962, when he was 19, he was approached by Brighton and Hove Albion, then also in the Second Division. He went south this time, liked what he saw of the resort town, and signed. “They offered me good money and I just jumped at it,” he explains. He joined a club then on the slide to Division Three. He was not able to do much to help. Gall did not get out of the reserves in his first season nor for much of his second. But on his twentieth birthday he made his League debut. Gall played in three consecutive games in place of Roy Jennings, a ten-year veteran with the club. All the games were lost and Brighton were in trouble at the foot of the table. His memories of his first home game are not happy: “As soon as I went on the pitch they booed and during the kick-about they were on my back. They chanted, ‘We want Jennings.’ I played quite well, but it affected my play a bit and I think it ruined me for the rest of the season. Anyway, I was dropped right after that.”

However, Gall did establish himself and a local newspaper is quoted as singing his praises:

“The complete footballer, quiet on the ground and decisive in the air. Few people get past him. Gall’s strength is in his marvellous timing and crispness of tackling. Mobility is another strong point and he has the legs of most attackers. An intelligent fellow, he reads the game with uncanny precision and is invariably in the right place at the right time. His coolness infuses confidence among his fellow defenders and he seldom wastes the ball in distribution.”

One of the things I didn’t know before reading the article was the fact he was cleared of assault in court after a scuffle with a spectator during a promotion battle at Rochdale in 1968 when he was ‘dragged over the barrier and into the crowd.’

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Gall is portrayed as married to Jackie, a local girl, with a baby daughter Sarah, and living in a modern house in the village of Upper Beeding in the South Downs. He worries a bit about what he will do for a job once he reaches 33 or 34. ‘Still, there’s always non-League football.’ he adds.

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In this highly candid interview, Gall also shares the fact he would not recommend the life of professional football to any son of his, and says he only really enjoyed about 15 of the 40 games he played in the previous year. He also openly describes what it is like being a lower league player:

“A lot of times you feel you want a move because of the attitude of the club, or the manager. If you don’t get the money you ask for, again you want to get out. Then if the club’s not doing too well, you think you can do better and you want to move. Then you get stuck in a rut and you decide to get away to get your game going again. Or, simply, you might get bored. Then one day, a new manager comes and the place is different overnight, so you stay.”

When he said that, I’m pretty sure he must have had Pat Saward in mind.

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The Bukta shirt you never knew of

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?

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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:

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(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.

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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.

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John Gregory says, ‘I know my place at Brighton’

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No doubt it’s rather bittersweet to see these pictures of John Gregory clearly enjoying his time at Brighton, especially as many Albion fans do not forgive him for his acts as Aston Villa boss in 1997 for trying to prise Gareth Barry from the cash-strapped Seagulls without having to pay any compensation. In the end, an acrimonious transfer led to Brighton receiving £1 million plus a sell-on clause.

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Things were a lot different in 1979 when First Division survival was boosted by the summer signing of John Gregory from Aston Villa.

“I wore every shirt at Villa. I never had an established position. I was always in the side, but there was a lot of switching around. When Alan Mullery came in for me, he made it clear he wanted me to play at right-back. Now I’m looking forward to settling down and doing a good job in that position.

“We caught a cold in our first match against Arsenal, when we lost 4-0,” he admits. “It was men against boys that day. A couple of days later, the manager got us together to watch the match on video tape. After 23 minutes, he stopped the recording and asked if anyone had seen Arsenal have a shot. They hadn’t. He switched it on again and Arsenal’s first shot shot was in the corner of the net. They had two more chances before half-time and put them both away. That’s the difference between the First Division and the Second.

“But we’re learning with every match and we’re getting more confident. There’s a more professional attitude about us now. We’ve got the ability to become a good First Division side.”

As everyone knows, Brighton appeared in the FA Cup Final in 1983. You may also recall that Gregory got his chance the year before, playing for QPR against Spurs. It is often forgotten that he even hit the crossbar in the replay with a deliciously delicate volleyed lob.

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Match Cover: Andy Ritchie (3 April 1982)

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Would Andy Ritchie have been your ‘Man of the Year’? Albion supporters voted him their Rediffusion Player of the Season for 1981/82, even though they never quite took him to their hearts like they did with Peter Ward.

Below is a quote from him in Match Weekly the following season:

“Reaching the Cup Final is a real boost for the town of Brighton and the club, and they would probably benefit more from a Wembley victory.

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However, heartbreakingly for him, Ritchie’s departure to Leeds on transfer deadline day in 1983 meant that the young striker missed out an a chance of a Cup Final place against Manchester United. He also missed out in 1979 with Man United when Brian Greenhoff took his place. “I’m just hoping I’ll eventually make it with Leeds.” Unfortunately, he did not achieve this career ambition with Leeds, with them losing an FA Cup Semi-Final against Coventry in 1987.

By way of consolation, the now balding Ritchie did make it to Wembley with Oldham in the League Cup Final against Nottingham Forest in 1990. Much deserved after all those near-misses.

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League of Blogs 2013 – The Goldstone Wrap’s entry

It’s here!

The Football Attic’s ‘League of Blogs 2013’ has kicked off. “What is that?!’, you may be asking.

Well, the Football Attic is a marvellous retro football blog started by Rich J and Chris O in November 2011. They have a podcast and an occasional video blog as well. With a love of retro and a sense of humour, they explore and unpick match programmes, football kit design, stickers and other bits and bobs from yesteryear. I particularly enjoyed their entry on Daily Mirror sticker albums of the 1980s, my gateway drug into football memorabilia as a child. Last year, they created a Subbuteo-style wall chart for football bloggers, encouraging blog writers everywhere to design a kit on a Subbuteo player to represent their site and join forces in a gigantian project of high creativity and fun.

This year, Rich and Chris are asking for submissions in the form of club crests and Subbuteo kits which they’ll turn into Panini-style stickers, with the chance of real foil stickers being produced.

Fast off the mark, The Goldstone Wrap has an entry which looks like this:

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OK, cards on the table time. For the crest, I filched and changed colour of the Union flag-style circle from the Football League’s crest circa 1988 before placing The Goldstone Wrap’s Albion shirt graphic (originally from this lovely Adidas advert from 1984/85) inside.

Then, for the home kit, I went with blue-Ajax as a variation on the Albion kit of the 1960s which had a blue-Arsenal design. The away kit used the same template. I tried red with a white band in the middle, and black shorts, but it was too overwhelmingly ’80s Southampton for me. My eventual choice of red with a black band echoes the red and black stripes that Brighton have worn in the 1970s and 2000s. A third kit (which I’m not allowed!) would probably be needed against teams in red and white stripes. What do you think? Feel free to leave comments.

In the meantime, you can join in the fun. Please have a look at ‘League of Blogs 2013’ to see some of the other designs, discover and read other football sites and, if you write a blog, get cracking with your own submission.

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April Fool’s Joke: David Bellotti says new stadium is in Dieppe

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Ha, bloody ha. Evidence that Bellotti possibly didn’t take fans’ sensitivity about moving home fixtures away from Brighton particularly seriously. This is from the match programme against Swansea in April 1994.

And yet, was he once ‘one of us’?

In the programme against Doncaster in April 1997, the last at the Goldstone, the chief executive regales tales of how he became a fan:

My first visit to the Goldstone was back in 1973. Having moved to Sussex to a new job and being mad on football at the time the first thing I did was buy a season ticket. Sitting in the back row of E block the stadium looked huge. The first game I watched at the Goldstone we lost 2-0 to Bournemouth. Later that season Brian Clough arrived and we were knocked out of the Cup 4-0 by Walton and Hersham and thrashed in the League at home by Bristol Rovers 8-2! The horror of those games remain in my memory. However we did get revenge in 1989 beating Rovers 2-1 to secure promotion to the Second Division. My greatest memory was the very first game in the First Division against Arsenal at the Goldstone. There were tears of joy all around me in the stand. We may have lost 4-0 but we were there.

Ian Hine is doing a wonderful joke scanning Albion programmes from yesteryear at www.seagullsprogrammes.co.uk. He has also started a thread on Bellotti’s missives on North Stand Chat.

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