Monthly Archives: June 2013

Bukta yellow away shirt now in club shop


I had a lovely surprise while walking past the Seagulls Store on Queen’s Road, Brighton, yesterday when I spied this glorious short-sleeved wonder gleaming in the shop window.

Was it an original 1978-80 Brighton away shirt and therefore a display item (i.e. not for sale)? Although it would have been lovely to see an original in person, thankfully, no. Manufactured by Toffs, it turned out that this beauty was a new reproduction that could be mine (or yours) to wear for £39.99. They definitely kept that quiet! It’s neither currently for sale on the Brighton & Hove Albion Seagulls Direct store website nor on the Toffs site. And, in case you’re wondering, and from a 1970s timewarp, not from David Rose Sports either.

Instinctively (and not suspiciously at all, I promise!), I gave the garment the once-over to compare it to the original (well, what I recall of an original, having seen a photo of one on Phil Shelley’s excellent Old Football Shirts site). Sure, it isn’t made of that nasty scratchy material that Bukta shirts of the late 1970s were made out of. And the badge and manufacturer’s logo could have been closer to the collar. But other than that, it’s a very faithful rendition of the shirt Brighton wore back in the day.

And hallelujah! Toffs have finally sorted out my decades-long complaint with the Brighton badge on their Albion shirts having a superflous white and blue ring around the badge. Above, as you can see, there is no annoying blue stroke around another unnecessary white border around the badge. If you wish to be pedantic, you could point out that it’s not quite the shirt that Brighton wore when they clinched promotion to the First Division with a win at Newcastle in 1978/79. During that season, the Brighton yellow shirt had the Bukta lettering but not the buk graphic above:

But you’d have to be super-picky not to want to pretend to be Brian Horton powering a bullet of a near-post header or Gerry Ryan slamming the ball into the Newcastle goal while wearing this shirt in the park. You may even wish to pretend to be Andy Rollings, who in Match Magazine, chooses as the magic moment of his career: ‘Final whistle at Newcastle, when we won promotion to Division One’:


It’d be getting into dangerous levels of football shirt-spottery to know that it was in 1979/80, the club’s first in the top flight, when the buk appeared above the logotype, just like on the Toffs reproduction. Games when this yellow shirt was worn include the match at Manchester United, when an altercation took place between Seagulls team-mates Eric Steele and Gary Williams. Not really an incident to re-enact in a ‘Phoenix From The Flames’-style, I don’t think. More happily, the shirt was also worn during this 2-0 win at Bolton in January 1980:

As a shirt design, this Toffs / Bukta garment has many things going for it. Just like on the original, the flared collar also added a touch of ’70s panache. The buks down the sleeves always looked great, not least because they resemble a line of seagulls from a distance. In fact, the production quality now is even better than the original sewn-on band where the yellow contrast on the blue buks down the sleeves always seemed too lemony to match the rest of the shirt. Perhaps the overall design would have looked more coherent with a yellow and blue badge, instead of white and blue, although that seemingly slapdash approach (or deliberate retro styling) is now being emulated in the new yellow Brighton shirt for 2013/14.

And, question on supporters’ lips: will the 2014 team emulate the side of the late Seventies and early 1980s? I’m unsure, but if Brighton make it up this time, they may need to exercise caution at times, but not cowardice. And, on the road, they will need to exhibit other positive characteristics associated with the colour yellow, such as hope, optimism and energy, traits the Albion side of 1978-80 had in abundance.

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A greyhound called ‘Seagulls’


From the Brighton v Norwich programme in October 1979:

The greyhound recently adopted by the Albion and renamed ‘Seagulls’ has, since taking the Albion’s colours, been pretty successful. Despite being just about the youngest dog in the Grand Prix field she won her heat, came second in her quarter-final and then third in the semi-final to reach last Saturday’s final at Walthamstow.

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Roy Jennings: The Sole Survivor in 1961

Brighton’s first ever match in Division Two was a disaster. It was at Middlesbrough in August 1958 and the Albion were thumped 9-0 with future Brighton manager Brian Clough grabbing five of the goals. The return game at the Goldstone Ground in December saw the Sussex side treated to a 4-6 home defeat. By 1961, the Brighton line-up was much changed, but the club was still competing in the Second Division.


Roy Jennings was the tough-tackling stalwart of the side. In Charles Buchan’s Football Monthly in December 1961, he looked back at the previous few years:

It doesn’t seem three years since Brighton won the old Third Division South championship and promotion to the Second Division. Yet we are now in our fourth season as a Second Division club – and I am the only survivor of the side which won a championship medal in 1958.

True, Steve Burtenshaw, our regular left-half, was a colleague at that time, but Steve played only occasionally in the League side and did not qualify for a medal.

I made the bare 14 appearances needed to earn a medal. I was mainly a full-back in those days and Brighton were well off in that department. All the other stalwarts of our Third Division days have moved on… Jim Langley, Eric Gill, Glen Wilson, Denis Gordon, Peter Harburn, Frankie Howard and co.

There have been other changes in my time at Goldstone Road. A new stand to replace the rickety old construction which did duty as the main building for too many years; new dressing rooms; floodlighting.

Mr Billy Lane, who steered us to promotion and whose powers of persuasion had so much to do with my joining Brighton, has also gone. The place doesn’t seem the same without him although I feel sure that his successor, George Curtis, from Sunderland, is going to do a great job for us.

When we won promotion some people said we would be out of our depth in the Second Division. When we took two early beatings from Middlesbrough it seemed as though the critics were right.

But we recovered and more than held our place in the higher grade.

The Second Division is the toughest one from which to gain promotion. Each season there seem to be about four top-class sides challenging, with the rest cutting each other’s throats week by week.

For the last three years I have been the regular centre-half and now I am club skipper. At school, in my native Swindon, I was a full-back and won England Youth and Wiltshire county honours at the same time as John Atyeo, of Bristol City.

I had no ambition to become a professional footballer. I was keen on accountancy and studied it. I was working as a clerk in a garage when Ted Nash, a local scout, recommended me to Southampton manager George Roughton.

I signed amateur forms for Southampton and played a few games in their reserves before going into the RAF. Then I had a firm offer from Brighton and, in 1952, I signed for them as a full-time professional – and forgot about a career as an accountant.

I was switched to first team centre-half soon after those Middlesbrough defeats I have mentioned. A good game against Tottenham reserves (I managed to blot out Dave Dunmore) earned me promotion and since then I have held my place. Only twice have I missed a match through injury.

One of my most memorable games in our first season in the Second Division was a Boxing Day meeting with the then League leaders, Fulham, in 1958. Their visit drew a record Goldstone Road crowd of 36,747, with receipts of £4,376.

We beat them 3-0, Johnny Haynes and all, and I shut out centre-forward Maurice Cook out of the game.

A quick thumb through the record books show that on Boxing Day, 1958, Brighton actually lost 3-1 at Craven Cottage. Here is some very ropey footage from the match:

Brighton’s magnificent 3-0 victory over Fulham came on the following day, and was aided by the return of Jimmy Langley. Two Tommy Dixon goals and one by Adrian Thorne beat the eventual Division Two runners-up.

Sadly, after a four-year stay in the Second Division, Brighton finished bottom at the end of 1961/62, the season of this feature in Football Monthly. Albion were relegated, with Jennings’ faith in the managerial ability of George Curtis proving misplaced. Here’s the team photo from the same edition:


In the following season, such was his popularity, that when Jennings was dropped for three games in favour of youngster Norman Gall, Curtis’ decision prompted ‘We Want Jennings’ chants from the Brighton supporters. Roy was then restored.

He was eventually given a free transfer at the end of 1963/64 and joined Crawley Town, where he eventually became player-manager. He had made 297 appearances for Brighton, scoring 22 times (13 of which were from the spot).

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Seagulls Talc


What a product! This was perfect as a Christmas present in 1981 for dads, uncles and grandads. It would also have suited you if you were getting hot and sticky running around in your tight-fitting Brighton ‘British Caledonian’ adidas polyester replica shirt, the type that didn’t allow much air in.


Many thanks to John Mackie for sending it in. He says, “I don’t think they’re trading any more. This specimen was saved from the bin when my granddad died. I bought it for him in the early 80s from the Franklands Village store in Haywards Heath. It smelt quite nice actually.”

If you have any photos of Brighton & Hove Albion memorabilia from pre-1997 that you’d like to share, please send to seagulls@me adding .com at the end. Thanks!


Brighton finish second in five-a-side tournament

From Match Weekly, December 13-19, 1979:


Not sure it would happen these days, but on 28th November 1979, Brighton & Hove Albion sent their first team to take part in a Daily Express national five-a-side tournament at Wembley Arena. The side defeated Rangers 1-0 in the first round, and then sweetly, ended the hopes of arch rivals Crystal Palace, winning 2-1. (It was the first win over Palace in ten attempts under Alan Mullery and provided the impetus for Brighton’s magnificent 3-0 win over the Eagles in the Division One game in December 1979).

In the Semi-Final, Brighton beat Mullery’s old club Tottenham Hotspur 2-1. Sadly, in the final, Sunderland proved too strong, triumphing 2-0 over the Seagulls.


Back with a bump: Barry Bridges and the premature promotion celebrations


From Brighton v Millwall, September 1972:

“I have played in three losing FA Cup semi-finals – two for Chelsea and one for Birmingham – but the most disappointing game of my career was Millwall’s last game of the season against Preston North End on April 29. We were leading 2-0 and with ten minutes to go someone in the crowd heard on the radio that our promotion rivals, Birmingham City, were losing at Sheffield Wednesday.

“The news spread through the crowd and within seconds everyone in the ground, including the players, knew as well. A defeat for Birmingham would have meant promotion to the First Division for Millwall and we naturally thought we were up.

“The side somehow managed to get through the final ten minutes without conceding a goal to Preston. As the final whistle went thousands of spectators streamed onto the pitch chanting ‘We are the champions’.

“We had our shirts stripped off our backs and were chaired around the pitch by excited fans. But then an announcement was made that Birmingham had beaten Sheffield Wednesday. It had all been a dreadful mistake.

“The four supporters, who had been chairing me off on their shoulders, dropped me. Everyone was stunned and we all had to troop off the pitch all bitterly disappointed and choked.

“It’s difficult to describe my feelings at that moment. I desperately wanted to play First Division football again and so did the rest of the lads. We were all sick.

“If Millwall had won promotion I am perfectly convinced that I would not be a Brighton player today. I don’t know how Millwall would have fared in the First Division but I would still have liked to have been part of their team.

“But that’s all in the past. I am now with Brighton and delighted to be so. I have been extremely impressed with their set-up, the marvellous training facilities, the ground and the grand bunch of players.

“Brighton could certainly become a First Division side. But it requires patience and a lot of hard work. The skill factor is a big thing in the Second Division. But the spirit is right within the club and that’s important.”


Why Pat Saward had to go – by Mike Bamber


From the Evening Argus, 23 October 1973, by John Vinicombe:

The dismissal of Albion manager Pat Saward was confirmed today at the Goldstone Ground by chairman Mike Bamber.

Mr Bamber met Mr Saward and after a meeting with the players, he said: “Pat Saward has been sacked. The decision was made after the game with Shrewsbury on Saturday evening. The parting has been on the cards for some weeks but there is no ill-feeling between us,” said Mr Bamber.

“I have seen Pat Saward. He is very upset and very sick. I would also feel very sick. But we have had six home defeats and are down to crowds of 5,000 wonderful people. No club can live on such gates.

“The running of the team is the manager’s responsibility. I feel sorry for managers in a way but if they want to be managers it is up to them.

“Naturally, some of the players are upset at him going. But I have just had a meeting with the players and morale is high.

“We will come to an agreement with Mr Saward over his contract. We have not approached anybody and will be advertising the job and hope to get a really top manager.

“Money will be available for players. It is not easy to get them and we have been after half a dozen this year without success.”

Club captain Eddie Spearritt told me that Mr Saward was backed by the players and they did not want him to leave.

Spearritt himself communicated the same message weeks ago at the same time that joint chairman Len Stringer resigned from the Board.

It was then felt that Mr Saward was in a position of receiving full support from the directors and indeed this was the message conveyed when Mr Bamber took over as head of the club executive.

Mr Saward has three and a half years of his contract to run and today he visited the ground for the last time and told me he wanted to think about his position and whether or not he would comment on his departure.

Confessed Saward: “I still cannot believe it has happened. But I will say nothing to knock the club, nothing at all. Of what happened yesterday, I can remember very little. The reason I have been sacked is that they say I can no longer motivate the players. What I need now is a holiday to get away from it all.”

In the meantime Glen Wilson, the trainer, is responsible for running the playing side of the club, assisted by Ray Crawford, who is now youth coach.

Tomorrow night, Albion are at home to Southport and today the players were training very much down in the dumps.

The atmosphere in the dressing room was solemn, although Spearritt admitted that two players were not unanimous in their support of Mr Saward.

Saward’s departure was on the agenda as Brighton had suffered six successive home defeats at the start of the 1973/74 campaign.

It was a rude re-awakening to Third Division football, after the club had played such pulsating football to finish runners-up in 1971/72. This promotion had led to a calamitous season in Division Two, when the Albion finished bottom of the table. Now back in Division Three, the side’s slump continued. It was relegation, not promotion, that was on the horizon and this ultimately cost Saward his job.

Other bad news was to follow that day when Saward’s club car received a parking ticket outside the Goldstone.


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Glen Wilson, a great man of many guises



Glen Wilson, who died in 2005, became synonymous with the club during Goldstone Ground era, first as a player, then trainer, caretaker manager, physio and kit man. Although he was a Geordie, he was devoted to the Albion. He made his debut as inside-right in September 1949 against Bournemouth but it was as left-half where he clocked the most of his 436 appearances for Brighton. He was captain of the Billy Lane’s side that won the Third Division (South) Championship in 1958.

In North Stand Chat, Brighton fan nobody’s dupe recalls:

At The Dell I called something derogatory out to him as he was going down the tunnel at half time. He stopped and gave me a well-deserved verbal lashing. He saw me a few days later at a training session at The Goldstone and he continued the ‘conversation’. The next time he saw me was a couple of weeks later at Ashton Gate before a game against Bristol City. He got off of the team coach, came straight up to me and gave me a complimentary ticket for the match.

I also remember a game at Swindon. All through the game he and one Swindon player were giving each other physical stick. Glen was seemingly the only one to be punished with a string of free kicks against him. Towards the end of the game he was booked. Just after the final whistle the Swindon player held a hand out to Glen with a broad grin on his face. Glen stepped forward and delivered a beautiful left hook, and left the guy flat on his back. He then walked down the tunnel leaving a hell of a commotion behind him.

Sammy Morgan will tell you that when Glen was the physio he left him on a treatment table for ten minutes wired up to a heat treatment machine. The only thing was that Glen had forgotten to turn it on, but on his return he asked Sammy if he felt better for it. Sammy wholeheartedly agreed and got down from the table and did a little jig to demonstrate.

Apparently during this time his massages were delivered in a very zealous manner. The players nicknamed him after The Boston Strangler. Hence, Billy Boston.

I used to enjoy talking to him at the various dinners he attended. We used to jog each other’s memories about Albion matches. He loved The Albion through and through.

In 1978/79, Glen Wilson switched from being physio to kit man and, in this position, he was interviewed by David Bobin on the eve of the FA Cup Quarter-Final with Norwich City in 1983:


Arsenal Annual 1982


Here’s Graham Rix rising like a salmon while Giles Stille sniffs the visitor’s shorts, as Kenny Sansom watches in the background.

It’s an arresting image, and one that makes for a captivating front cover for the Arsenal Annual released in time for Christmas 1981.

The match was played in April ’81 at the Goldstone Ground, and ended in a 1-0 defeat, leaving Brighton’s First Division survival on a life support machine. It didn’t help that boss Alan Mullery’s managerial record against the Gunners was lousy. Played 7 Won 0 Drawn 1 Lost 6 Goals For 0 Goals Against 16.

Still, Mullery does get a mention in the annual:

We are now used to the idea that the fortunes of a football club depend very largely on the calibre of the man in charge, on his ability to recruit the right players, to make the right team changes, to plan effective tactics, to motivate his players. When Alan Mullery became manager of Brighton, the club entered the soccer elite for the first time in its eighty-year history.

However, although the annual is a fascinating read throughout there isn’t much in the way of Brighton interest, which was the initial motivation for buying it in the first place.

There are photos from Sammy Nelson’s testimonial match for Arsenal v Celtic before his departure to Brighton. Elsewhere, there is a bigging up of the John Hawley-Ray Hankin strike partnership. Hankin vowed forlornly, ‘I’ll make the fans forget Stapleton’. Maybe he could have competed against the 38 year-old veteran version of Frank Stapleton that helped out Brighton boss Liam Brady in November 1994 by playing two games, but not at a time when the Eire centre-forward was one of the most feared strikers in the Football League.

Also turning up at the Goldstone Ground in the 1990s was Raphael Meade, then a rising star at Highbury. In a profile of young Gunners, it says:

Raf got very close to a first-team game last season but finally got his reward this season. He’s got a hell of a lot of pace and is fantastically brave in the box. He’s got all the makings of a top player. However, he’s another one who has got to work on his control like Brian McDermott with tighter controls and lay-offs. But with his type of pace he will always be a threat.

Showing his attacking prowess, here he is getting the better of Gary Stevens to score at Highbury, about a decade before Meade’s two short spells with Brighton:


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Brighton’s Team Photo 1969/70


After getting knocked out of the FA Cup by Walsall in a long-running FA Cup 2nd Round tie that went to three replays in December 1969, Freddie Goodwin’s side embarked on a scintillating run of form of fourteen victories in nineteen league matches. Supported by new striker Alan Duffy, who had a sensational debut against Bradford in January, the team (dressed above in kit that made them look like a blue Arsenal) were sitting pretty at the top of Division Three at the start of the Easter schedule. However, four defeat in five games put paid to the promotion dreams. Goodwin left for Birmingham City in the summer.

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