In the days before the internet took hold, finding out the up-to-date news about your club was a lot harder. The Seagull Line, Brighton 8049 was set up by the Post Office on 13 April 1979 and was one of the first of its kind in the country.
In the Brighton v Bristol Rovers programme from that month, it said:
The service started this week and 24 hours a day information may be heard on Brighton & Hove Albion, simply by dialling 8049… remember it rhymes… 8049, the Seagull line. Last Monday at the Adur hotel when our weekly lottery draw was held there was a chance to know just what Buzby is all about and to hear about the Seagull line. Our picture shows Paul Clark and Peter Ward happily accompanied by a young lady who is clearly hoping to ‘Make someone happy.’
With his catchphrase ‘And it’s bad news for the Albion’, often heard when reporting on an away fixture, commentator and programme editor Tony Millard is remembered as the mouthpiece of the premium rate service. He’d begin “You’ve called the Seagull Line on Brighton 8049, that’s the number for Albion information every day… 24 hours a day…” After informing fans of the telephone number that they know about because they’ve just dialled it, he would then precede to waffle on about various matters of little interest, such as how the reserves got on, the groundsman’s opinion on the state of the pitch before next Saturday’s game before… FINALLY!… giving supporters the news they wanted at the end. Devious tactics, Tony!
From the memory of Storer 68 from North Stand Chat:
“You’ve called the Seagull Line on Brighton 8049. The line for Albion information everyday, 24 hours a day. Later we’ll have news from Wembley where the Albion were playing Manchester United in the F.A. Cup final, but first, the results of Seagull Lottery number 762 drawn by assistant physio Mike Yaxley at the Swan pub in Falmer…”
With the high calls costs incurred, there are several stories of young Brighton followers getting into trouble with their parents for running up huge phone bills. Some fans even reminisce about their parents suspecting that they were calling premium rate sex lines! The mums and dads were only persuaded otherwise by calling the number themselves, ‘although Millard did breathe quite heavily if I recall,’ adds Easy 10, another Albion supporter.
Even though it was a premium rate service, this rather significant detail did not feature in the adverts in the matchday programme. Neverthless, some wonderful artwork appeared advertising the service. Seagull Line was replaced by a more general, premium rate service called Sussex Sportsline in 1987/88 before making a comeback two seasons later on 0898 and 0891 numbers. Anyway, enjoy this stroll down Seagull Line Memory Lane…
1981/82 – 1982/83
1983/84 – 1984/85
1985/86 – 1986/87