Colin Pates in Chewits wrapper circa 1991

colinpatesOne of the worst kit designs in Albion history. Its unveiling at the 1991 Play-Off Final at Wembley to Notts County ensured the Brighton team waved goodbye to their chances of top division football.

On the day, despite hitting the woodwork through Clive Walker, the Brighton side flattered to deceive. Perhaps it was because they were snookered by the five-man midfield that County boss Neil Warnock employed. Or maybe Notts County simply had a psychological edge from facing an embarrassed Albion team dressed up as sweet wrappers. Say what you like about the intricate patterns and unusual hues – it was hardly going to strike fear into the opposition to be dressed like that!

Central-defender Colin Pates had joined Brighton on loan from Arsenal. After finding it hard to crack into the Arsenal side with competition from the likes of Tony Adams, David O’Leary and Steve Bould, he arrived at the Goldstone Ground and was ever-present from his debut in March 1991 to the Wembley final. However, even with Pates’ first division experience and the knowhow of Stefan Iovan, European Cup winning captain of Steaua Bucharest in 1986, they couldn’t stop the Seagulls from tasting defeat.

The trend that continued into the following season with Albion turning into relegation candidates. This shirt – with TSB replacing NOBO as sponsors – was worn on Brighton’s travels during wins at Millwall, Newcastle and Grimsby. However, it wasn’t enough. The Seagulls went down to the Third Division where they at least managed this win at Wigan, courtesy of a cock-up by the Latics keeper.

Nigel Adkins, look away now…

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