‘I lost my shoes because of Peter Ward’

The pulsating atmosphere of the home match against Blackpool at the end of the 1977/78 season will live long in the memory. High-flying Brighton needed to win at the Goldstone Ground to stand a chance of eclipsing Southampton or Tottenham. Although they won 2-1 it was not enough to give the side promotion to Division One.

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Teenager Dave Jenkins, in an extract from ‘He Shot, He Scored’ by Matthew Horner, page 78:

During the Blackpool game, a few of my 17-year old mates and I were once again worshipping Wardy in the North Stand.

Yet again, in a desperate tense game, Wardy came to the rescue with a piece of typical fleet-footed magic. As the ball sped into the net, the North Stand erupted with even more thunder than had been usual in those fabulous years under Taylor and then Mullers. The surge from the back of the stand lifted us fully 10 steps down that crumbling terrace.

As I was being carried down towards the pitch in a state of delirium, I remember the feeling of my new and very expensive Ravel of Western Road moccasins being ripped from my feet by thousands of equally out-of-control Brightonians.

Needless to say, I never saw those shoes again: I had to walk back to central Brighton barefoot.

Not really feeling up to much, we decided to have a beer of commiseration in Shades (now the Pavilion Tavern). Unlike today, a bloke taking to the pubs and clubs without any shoes was a bit unusual in 1978.

It turned out to be a hugely successful evening with some of the town’s best-looking girls, and even the bouncers in the Queen Anne pub let me in shoeless in Wranglers (very unusual) – all because of my response to the obvious question ‘What happened to your shoes?’ My answer was, ‘I lost my shoes because of Peter Ward.’

moccasins

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