Monthly Archives: July 2013

Goodbye Scotland… Hello England for Gordon Smith

From Programme Plus, a piece by Tony Millard, covering the recent move of Gordon Smith from Rangers to Brighton, and the state of the game north of the border:


While he has no regrets at leaving Scotland, and Brighton’s ‘British Caledonian’ sponsorship makes it home for a Scot, Gordon Smith has many happy memories of his career North of the Border. He joined Kilmarnock at 14 as a schoolboy, played for their Reserves at 16 and for the last three seasons has been a key player at Ibrox. If he makes as much impact at the Goldstone Ground his ambitions will be almost completely achieved.

Years later, in his autobiography ‘And Smith Did Score’ (page 118), Smith expresses more about the changes he experienced:

“When I first went to Brighton, I was stunned by the difference and how well the players were treated compared to up in Scotland. When the Brighton players were travelling to away games on the coach, we had stewards serving us food like on an aeroplane. At Rangers, if the bus stopped on the way back from somewhere like Aberdeen, the players would have to buy their own fish suppers. And, if Willie Waddell decided that the bus wasn’t stopping, then we wouldn’t even get a fish supper!”


Obscure Albion Kits: 1974/75 Home

No, this is not a Leeds United shirt!


This is a pimped-out version of the very ‘plain Jane’ Brighton home shirt from Peter Taylor’s first season in sole charge at the Goldstone in 1974/75. As you can see, not only did Albion fans have to put up with their manager Brian Clough defecting to Leeds, but our traditional and beloved blue and white stripes were ditched in favour of a design by Admiral that echoed the kit worn by the Elland Road side.

To add a bit of flourish, the shirts were originally worn with white shorts that had two blue stripes running down the side and with white socks featuring two blue rings.

While controversial, the move to all-white had a precedent at the Goldstone earlier in the decade. Before Brighton boss Freddie Goodwin had left for Birmingham City in the summer of 1970, he had instigated a change to the team’s colours to this aesthetic, perhaps in admiration of Leeds or maybe he thought it would help us play like Real Madrid. Or could it be that he just liked how milky-white kits shone under floodlights during night-time matches? Whatever the reason, that radical change lasted for a single season, however, in the first campaign of the Pat Saward era.

Just as under Pat Saward in 1970/71, Brighton’s season in 1974/75 was one of struggle in Division Three, with the threat of relegation being averted by the end. Under the watch of Peter Taylor, the all-white affair was worn by the likes of Ian Mellor when he scored on his League debut for Brighton in an opening day win against Crystal Palace in August 1974 and by fellow striker Dave Busby who became the first black player to play for the Albion when he came on as a substitute against Reading in the League Cup in September. Humiliatingly, the shirt was also worn with blue shorts for the 1-0 home defeat in the FA Cup by non-league side Leatherhead in January 1975, with Chris Kelly, ‘The Leatherhead Lip,’ here giving the Albion defenders the runaround:

At least the white shirt from the earlier season had the letters ‘B&HAFC.’ This one of 1974/75, with the identical blue round neck and shirt cuffs, had nothing that identified it as belonging to Brighton & Hove Albion. Stingily, it also offered none of the design innovations that Admiral became synonymous with during the decade, such as tramlines down the shirts and shorts …or even sock tags which featured mainly at Elland Road in kits manufactured by Admiral (If you’re going to copy Leeds, at least copy sock tags!) And yet, as if to rub your nose in it, Admiral did manage to get their own logo on.

Strangely, given the plentiful supply before, there’s a paucity of colour photography of Brighton & Hove Albion players during 1974/75, apart from this photo by Crystal Palace fan Paul Wright which understandably is from quite far out, so you can’t see the detail on the shirt. So, from black and white photos, I was unable to ascertain the colour of the Admiral logo until Phil Shelley from Old Football Shirts was helpfully able to confirm it as yellow with a blue outline, having chatted to a few ex-Brighton players at the Alan Mullery special celebration dinner event last year.

1974-75shirt2Powered with this knowledge, I ordered a blue round-necked white shirt from Toffs. Then I proceeded to get a yellow Admiral logo unstitched from another shirt and sewn on to it although, judging from photos, I think the originals had the logo as an ironed on transfer. I even got the Admiral neck label added on to make it look more authentic when it is anything but!

Although it could be easily mistaken for a white polo necked t-shirt with a badge ironed on, I do wonder how much an original Brighton home shirt from 1974/75 is worth. Not that there’s much chance of an original surviving the lifespan of being used in competitive matches, then in reserve matches, then as training kit, then probably discarded due to wear and tear. When I contacted Dave Busby, who made three appearances during that season, he said: “We were never allowed to keep kit. It all had to be accounted for.”

Unless any found their way out, what you are looking at could be the only 1974/75 Brighton home shirt in existence, albeit as a reproduction.


Back row: Brian Daykin (assistant manager), Andy Rollings, Ian Mellor, Peter Grummitt, Graham Winstanley, Jim Walker, Ken Gutteridge (coach)

Front row: Harry Wilson, Ernie Machin, Fred Binney, Peter Taylor (manager), Tommy Mason, Tony Towner, Peter O’Sullivan

Tagged , , ,

‘Peter Ward, the Soccer Prince of Sussex’


An insightful piece by Tony Norman, capturing what it was like being a famous footballer in Brighton in the late 1970s, courtesy of an interview with Peter Ward:

“You should have got here earlier, Wayne,” said the street kid, outside the Goldstone.

A smile creased his grubby face, as he held out a battered autograph album in triumph. “I got Peter Ward. Magic!”

There’s only one star in Brighton. In the bars along the shoreline, they’ll nod approvingly of Gregory, or the skill of O’Sullivan. But there’s only one Peter Ward.

“He signed twice for me,” crowed the street kid. “You should have been here, Wayne.”

Wayne said nothing. He just shuffled awkwardly, trying to hide his disappointment and envy. He felt like a losing captain at Wembley, when the wrong man walks up the stairs and lifts the Cup. Deep inside, Wayne was sick as a parrot!

“Most of the supporters are with me, said Ward later, as we drove back along the south coast to his home. “I know they’re on my side. They expect a little more from me. They want me to turn it on every week, but that’s impossible. Extra pressure? I suppose so, but it doesn’t worry me. I go out there and do my best. It’s as simple as that.”

But, of course, it really isn’t so easy to live with the pressure of being a being a star, in a town where First Division football is still a novelty.

“When I go out, they’s always someone asking for an autograph. If I go to a club for a game of snooker or darts, I can hear people saying: ‘Look over there, it’s Peter Ward’. But if you go to the same places a few times, the novelty wears off and people leave you alone.”

It seems to be Ward’s policy to play down his star status in Brighton. But he lives the kind of goldfish bowl life that drove Best to drink. perhaps the biggest steadying influence on Ward is his happy home life, with his wife, Sue, and their two daughters, Rachael, 3, and Rebekah.

Best lived in a magnificent, empty shell. Ward’s home is his haven.

“I try to forget everything, when I get home. I’ve got my family to think about. Brighton’s a nice place to live. We’re buying a new house and we’ll be even nearer the Downs then. I like going up there and taking our dog, Sumi, for a run. I’ve joined a local fishing club too. I’ve only been out a few times, but that’s another good way to relax.

“I think I’m pretty easy-going. Nothing really bothers me, I enjoy taking it easy at home, doing a crossword, listening to records, or watching TV. I’ve bought one of those video recorders, so I can watch my favourite shows, like Fawlty Towers anytime I like.

“When you’re well-known, things can cut into your private life. You get reporters ringing you at home and that sort of thing, but I don’t mind. The only time it bothered me was when I was on the list, last summer. I took the phone off the hook. I knew I’d be inundated with calls.”



Dean Saunders leaves himself exposed

If you type ‘Dean Saunders’ and ‘willie’ together in a search engine nowadays, you are most likely to see references to the football manager’s dealings with agent Willie McKay. Had Google been around in summer 1986, you would have got a very different outcome!

I imagine that pre-season photo shoots are probably quite an enjoyable time for everyone involved. Unsullied yet by the taste of defeat, there is usually a buzz around and a sense of optimism in the air about the season ahead. Basking in the sunshine, players excitedly get to try on their new kit, pose with new team mates and have a natter with the local media. In the pre-season of 1986/87, while there was no big spending going on, Brighton did have a new boss as a returning Alan Mullery came to the club, along with Dale Jasper and Gerry Armstrong, two ex-First Division players. While the magnificent adidas kit design remained the same, the club did have a new shirt sponsor… yes, NOBO.


Perhaps getting rather too in the spirit of the new sponsor moniker emblazoned on his chest, star striker Dean Saunders made this a photoshoot to remember by not wearing any pants underneath his shorts and, as a consequence, left part of his genitalia showing for all to see…


Could he have argued that in going commando, he was let down by the short shorts of the 1980s? Or was it a deliberately cheeky act to gain cult hero status?

Whatever the (ahem) ins and outs, Deano’s dangling display made it into the centre-spread of the programme from Gerry Ryan’s testimonial match between Brighton and Spurs in August 1986. It also made it into the double page team group in Shoot! magazine before it was discovered.

I hope the club saw the funny side, although the existence of a censored version of the photo suggests not.


Bobby Smith: I’ll prove Spurs wrong

From Charles Buchan’s Football Monthly in July 1964:

In the history of British football there has seldom, if ever, been such a sudden plummet as that of Bobby Smith. Seven months ago he was centre-forward of England (15 caps) and Spurs. He had been Spurs’ leader when they won the League and Cup double in 1960-61. In that season he equalled the 1896-97 record of W.C. Athersmith, of Villa, by winning all honours available. Yet suddenly, last season, he was sold to Brighton for a reported fee of £5,000. This is his story…


People stop me in the street and ask me about it… “if Spurs let you go for only £5,000 there must be something wrong somewhere… you must have had an argument or something.”

I’ve lived in that atmosphere long enough now to be past wondering, but there’s something I want to say right away…

Every time I turn out for Brighton next season I will be determined to show Bill Nicholson how wrong he was to let me go… to show him and Spurs that there is a lot of the old Bobby Smith fire left – and that it is going to be used to help Brighton bid for better things. Brighton and the Fourth Division are a challenge to me. I could have gone to bigger clubs, could have stayed in London, could still be in the First Division with Fulham.

But now I’m an Albion man, and great, new experience lies ahead.

I’ve never played League football outside the First Division, for I have only been with two clubs, Chelsea and Spurs. I gave Tottenham nine years of loyal, all-out service, but come the new season I aim to bang them in with Brighton. I still can!

I’ve been told I’m in for a tough time; that I will suffer plenty of knocks; that the football in the Fourth Division is too crude to suit me… But I can take care of myself in this new sphere. I’ve always been able to do that. As to the standard of play I’ll just have to wait and see, but I know there will be a lot of “football” from Brighton with a manager like Archie Macaulay in charge of us.

Strange how quickly the tide can turn for you in this game. Seven months ago on a crisp November evening I led an England attack which whipped eight goals past Northern Ireland. Jimmy Greaves got four that night, Terry Paine helped himself to three and I got the other.

There can hardly have been such a sudden transition as mine – from England to the Fourth Division. But that’s how the cards have been dealt and that’s the hand you have to take.

When I think of the £5,000 Brighton paid for me, I know I should be glad it was so low because it made it easy for me to move.

I read that Brighton’s “return” for getting me is already beginning to show with increased season-ticket sales. That pleases me: it doesn’t increase the size of my head. It pleases because it shows the interest is being heightened. It is certain that a successful Brighton side would mean gates many Second Division clubs would envy. So I’m really looking forward to having a go with them. I know quite well that what I have been, and what I have done, will not cut any ice next season. To everybody I shall be Bobby Smith, just starting again – for Brighton.

I’m looking forward to it immensely. I want to do well for my new club… I feel sure I can. There’s one thing they can count on – 100% effort. That’s the only way I know how to play this game.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, given his pedigree and positive attitude, Bobby Smith was a phenomenal success in the 1964/65 season. Considering the last home game the previous season had attracted under nine-thousand, the box office value of Smith was incredible. 20,058 packed into the Goldstone to watch Smith score twice in a 3-1 win over Barrow on the opening day of the campaign. In all, he hit twenty goals (including nineteen in the League) in just 33 games and his swashbuckling style and deft touch also helped five other players reach double figures. In the end, Brighton won the Fourth Division Championship in style, scoring 102 League goals.

But how is that a basement league side such as Brighton were able to sign an England international from mighty Tottenham? In an article for Shoreham Herald, Ian Hart sheds some light:

Like most footballers of that time, Bobby enjoyed a fag and a drink. Unfortunately, he also liked a bet, correction, he loved a bet, the only problem was he wasn’t very good at it.

The level of his gambling debts had allegedly reached a point where the then Spurs boss Bill Nicholson felt that with Smith past his best on the pitch, his problems off of it might have a detrimental effect at White Hart Lane.

Legendary local bookmaker George Gunn was aware of this situation and, along with the Brighton board, managed to broker a deal which saw Smith’s extensive gambling debts paid off as part of his transfer to Brighton.

Despite the successful first season, the good times were not to last. Manager Archie Macaulay suspended Smith for two weeks when the centre-forward reported for pre-season training in July 1965 weighing over 15 stone. Then, Smith’s controversial articles for a Sunday newspaper led him to be transfer-listed and, finally, sacked in October 1965. Nevertheless, his presence and magnificent contribution to the Championship season, with a buzzing Goldstone filled to the rafters, is still remembered as one of the highlights of supporting the Albion in the 1960s.



Albion promotion mug, 1971/72

Here’s crockery you don’t see every day….



You can imagine the Pat Saward Appeal Committee drinking their teas and coffees from these as sought to come up with new fundraising ideas for their ‘Buy A Player’ Fund…


Shoot Cover: Brian Horton (15 July 1980)

shoot cover 1

An excellent photo of ‘Nobby’, so-called because of the uncompromising nature of his play when he appeared for Hednesford. Here, he competes for the ball with Crystal Palace’s young midfielder Jerry Murphy in April 1980, during Brighton’s first season in the top flight. The game ended 1-1.

What isn’t known by many Albion fans, however, is how Horton could have signed for Crystal Palace, not Brighton & Hove Albion, in 1976.

In an article in Backpass magazine (issue 26), Horton talks fondly of his time at Port Vale:

We had a fantastic spirit because we were all free-transfer lads brought in by Gordon Lee and, later, Roy Sproson. In 1976, we played at Crystal Palace just before transfer-deadline day. Terry Venables (Palace’s player-coach and soon-to-be manager) got a message to me beforehand saying, ‘Don’t sign for anyone, I’ll sign you in the summer’. We drew 2-2 and afterwards Sproey said, ‘I’m sorry but we’re selling you to Brighton for 30 grand. We need the money.’ The deal was already done and everyone knew but me.

Next day I went to Brighton and met (manager) Peter Taylor in the Metropole hotel. He offered me a deal and my then-wife came down to look around. We watched them play Shrewsbury that night and the next morning I tried it on over wages – there were no agents then – but he called my bluff. He said, ‘Take it or leave it. But if you sign I’ll look after you.’

Horton duly signed.

After a few games for Brighton, Horton was handed the captaincy by Taylor and retained the position when Alan Mullery succeeded Taylor as Albion boss in June 1976. In the season that followed, the tough-tackling skipper was involved in a controversial incident against Palace, the club he almost signed for, in the famous FA Cup 1st Round 2nd Replay at Stamford Bridge.

Horton slotted home a penalty but referee Ron Challis ordered a retake after encroachment by Palace players. Yes, you heard that right, by Palace players. When Horton retook it, Eagles keeper Paul Hammond saved it and Brighton lost 1-0.

Horton did get on the scoresheet in the away match against Crystal Palace in October 1978, but his fine goal proved a consolation goal. Very small consolation, indeed, as Brighton lost painfully, 3-1, as part of a spell where the Albion did not beat Palace in any of Horton’s first nine matches involving the two sides.

It took until that 1979/80 for Brighton to lift the Crystal Palace hoodoo. Horton tucked home a penalty after five minutes to set the Seagulls on the road to a comprehensive 3-0 thrashing of their rivals. After that, Horton never lost again while playing for Brighton against Palace, and played both matches when the Seagulls did the double over the Eagles in 1980/81.

Tagged ,

The pencil-illustrated history of Brighton home shirts

The Football Attic‘s entertaining podcast on football books last week stirred my interest in a book called ‘Club Colours,’ by Bob Bickerton, all about football kits.

As the price was listed as just a penny on Amazon, I decided it was worth a buy. Inside, every club in the Premier League or Football League is given a double-page spread where the history of its kits is covered with a concise article next to a player in action, illustrated with what looks like… yes… coloured pencils! It makes for a rather eye-catching effect, beautiful in some ways, although as the podcast mentioned, it is perhaps not the most accurate way of capturing the finer detail of a design. Nevertheless, here is the first of the pages on Brighton & Hove Albion, and you can see that the 1983 FA Cup shirt is pretty much spot-on, except for the absence of the adidas logo and ‘FA Cup Finalist 1983’ writing underneath the club crest.


On the page that follows, you can see eight of the respective club’s designs down the years are drawn with fine-liner, pencil and crayons within the boundaries of a cigarette card template. Even so, it’s rather questionable whether Brighton did have red, blue and white stripes or wear red socks as part of a home kit. I can find no evidence of this some years ago, having done some research on this for the creators of the Historical Kits website, a website profoundly inspired by Bickerton’s book.

And if I want to be picky, the accuracy of some of the modern kits looks a bit out without the shirt sponsor or manufacturer’s logo. Perhaps this may have been the result of barriers involved in getting commercial clearance. Even so, this doesn’t explain why the blue shirt with white sleeves kit from the 1960s has a V-neck rather than a round collar. The date is somewhat off too, and similarly it’s the case with the 1970-1976 kit which seems to feature a mishmash of shirts, shorts and socks of different seasons in that period. If you have a look at Historical Kits, you will see what I mean!


On other pages, covering some trends and new ideas in football shirts, Brighton’s famous deckchair shorts are given a viewing in double-spread entitled ‘Innovators and Innovations’:


The club also features in a section called ‘Hated Away Strips’. Bickerton comments:

The ultimate in this category is the famous red and white wiggly lines version, a pattern which traversed both shirts and shorts of Brighton outfits in 1992. Certainly, such was the strength of the irregular pattern that it was difficult to focus on the shape of the player in action.

The illustration of this kit most pointedly reveals the limitations of drawing modern kits with coloured pencils as it doesn’t quite capture the detail of the pattern. As a result, it’s clear that the vector-based software illustrated kits of the Historical Kits website, and John Devlin’s magnificent ‘True Colours’ books and site, have somewhat eclipsed what ‘Club Colours’ set out to do. Even so, this is a splendid book that is undoubtedly written with a lot of love and fascination for its subject matter, and it provided a valuable place of reference at a time when there weren’t that many books or websites on football shirt design. Definitely worth a penny of anyone’s money!



Seagulls TV – the 1990s

Look above these words to see the menu of The Goldstone Wrap and you may notice an extra item today…

Today, I am very pleased to let you know of a big website update that I’m putting online.

As you may know, The Goldstone Wrap is a blog that is part of Seagulls TV, a Brighton & Hove Albion retro site that I started off three years ago to archive the video footage I had of the glory years of 1976 to 1983. Since then, the site has expanded to include team photos, action shots, results and player profiles for each season. I then expanded the site to cover the period from 1970/71 to 1975/76.

The Seagulls TV site has received praise from many football fans in tweets, forum posts, Facebook posts and blogs in these last three years. For example, in a piece choosing seven Albion matches from the past, Two Hundred Percent have said:

There is so much archive footage of Brighton & Hove Albion out there, and this seems like as good a time as any to those that have turned YouTube into such a marvellous archive of football. In the case on Brighton & Hove Albion, the quite magnificent is to thank for providing us all with such a magnificent selection of matches from the past. Without the diligence of people such as those behind this site, much of the footage available to us would be sitting in archives, forgotten about by all bar a few.

Kind words, indeed.

Now, though, I’ve pieced together a substantial new section on Seagulls TV that covers the 1990s. In the site, you can find videos of Brighton’s matches against Liverpool, Millwall and Notts County in 1990/91, the win against Portsmouth in 1991/92, the three cup clashes with Manchester United the following season, the Leicester cup shocks of 1994/95, and the famous games vs Doncaster and Hereford in 1996/97. It’s all lovingly organised season-by-season along with team photos and other bits and pieces.


Anyway, have a look, please!

Seagulls TV – the 1990s

In the meantime, I leave you with some of the highlights from that decade. These are my nominations – feel free to share your own views on Twitter or by leaving a comment on the blog:

Cheekiest goal
George Parris against Bristol Rovers (1995/96)

Most surreal sight
Bill Archer on TV facing angry fans while having an eye complaint (1996/97)

Greatest finish to a match
Dean Wilkins’ last minute free-kick (1990/91)

Best goal
Stuart Munday’s amazing shot (1994/95)

Most stomach-turning match
Hereford v Brighton (1996/97)

Tagged , , , ,

Fulham v Brighton, December 1977


Looking for all the world like he’s dressed in a set of pyjamas, here’s a rather startled-looking Perry Digweed, second from left, showing off his Admiral England clobber along with fellow Fulham lads Mark Lovell, Tony Maloney and Tony Gale. While Brighton striker Peter Ward was banging in a famous hat-trick for England Under-21s against their Norwegian counterparts at the Goldstone around this time in late 1977, Digweed had played in the FA Youth team against Norway at Craven Cottage. The young keeper ended up joining the Albion three seasons later in a £150,000 deal, an incredible fee for a teenage reserve goalie. Nevertheless, he repaid the faith, serving twelve years with the club.

The photo above is taken from the Fulham v Brighton match on Wednesday 28th December 1977:


The programme has some nice tidbits, such as what a ‘TV Video-set’ for rental looked like in 1977, some colour photography of recent matches (rare at this time) and a half-time quiz asking which two former Fulham players have managed Brighton (Barry Lloyd and Micky Adams can now be added to the answers of Archie Macaulay and Alan Mullery). Some words and photos also shed some light on the lives of the Lilywhites’ assistant manager Ken Craggs and young apprentice professional Tommy Mason, 17, before they eventually arrived at the Goldstone Ground.

Unsurprisingly, there is a warm welcome offered to the Brighton boss:

The name of Alan Mullery is something of a legend here at Craven Cottage – and it was a sad moment both for Fulham and for English football when he decided to quit the playing side of the game at the end of the 1975-76 season.

It is rather prescient that the piece finishes:

One of Mullery’s biggest assets – and some say his faults – is single-mindedness. But he’s just single-minded enough to get Brighton into the First Division – and good luck to him if he does it.

Indeed he was. The point about being single-minded is particularly apt given that recollections of this quality of Mullery’s that led to his appointment as Albion boss in 1976. Brighton chairman Mike Bamber had been asleep, dreaming of the time the then Fulham midfielder had struck team-mate Jimmy Dunne in a Second Division match with Albion in January 1973. (Yes, because that’s what we all dream about when we go to sleep!) His wife, Jean Bamber, though, was rather startled when he woke her up by announcing Mullery’s name, declaring ‘that’s who we’ll get as the next manager.’ As Mullery wrote in his autobiography in 1985:

Fulham had been winning 2-0 when our centre-half Paul Went was concussed in a collision with Brighton’s centre-forward Ken Beamish. I told Dunne to change his role in the team until we could get Went examined at half-time, but he ignored the instruction and within minutes a ball was played over the head of a wobbly Went and Beamish scored. I argued with Dunne. He told me that Beamish wasn’t his man and so I hit him hard on the chin. Brighton did the same a minute later only this time goalkeeper Peter Mellor made a great save and I had another go at Dunne. The argument continued in the tunnel at half-time and I smacked him a third time, until at last he saw sense and we eventually ran out 5-1 winners.

Hitting a team-mate is something I’m not very proud of, but it was done in the heat of the moment, and that first punch got me the manager’s job at Brighton. Bamber felt that if I could hit a member of my own team, nothing would stand in my way. ‘He must be a winner.’ he added as his startled wife tried to go back to sleep.

Mullery certainly proved a success as manager at the Goldstone Ground and wasn’t afraid to pay big to enhance his squad. Starting his tendency of paying astronomical prices for Fulham players, that continued with Digweed, the Brighton boss had completed the £238,000 signing of Teddy Maybank from Craven Cottage the previous month. With the transfer being too soon to be dismissed as overly expensive, the match programme is optimistic about the striker prospects: ‘Teddy immediately started to repay Alan Mullery’s faith in him by scoring in his first two games.’

He also scored a consolation in this fixture from December 1977 against his former side. Unfortunately for him, though, the Seagulls went down 2-1.


Tagged , ,