From Match Weekly in February 1980:
A 5-1 defeat at Southampton doesn’t make for the best of debuts for your new club, but ex-Bolton midfield man Neil McNab is delighted with his £200,000 move to Brighton.
“Yes, it was a big disappointment, but the lads never gave up and I was delighted with the spirit in the team,” McNab said after the game. “Southampton played extremely well on the day.”
Speaking of Alan Mullery, McNab said:
“As soon as I met the manager, I decided to make the move,” says Neil. “He was a great player and now he can relate to players. He understands them. His record, since taking over at Brighton, has been unbelievable. So I was very happy when he came in for me.”
After playing for Spurs in the infamous promotion game with Southampton in April 1978 (which Brighton fans deem a ‘fix’), McNab had found himself frozen out of the side by the signings of Osvaldo Ardiles and Ricardo Villa. He joined Bolton Wanderers in November 1978, Second Division Champions in 1977/78, but by 1980, they looked certain for the drop from the First Division.
McNab’s personal life had been clouded by the death of his father at the age of 43. Mike Bamber, Brighton chairman, promised to be a ‘second father.’
On the pitch, McNab brought some much needed class to the Goldstone. His busy, methodical play, with an excellent range of passing, did much to help the club secure top flight status comfortably.