It seems long forgotten that Robbie Reinelt scored a brilliant goal for Colchester against Brighton in his then side’s 2-0 win in September 1997. However, after mixed fortunes at Layer Road during the season, the young striker was signed by the Seagulls in February 1997, and promptly wrote his name in Albion history. From the Argus, 5 May 1997:
It was Robbie’s boots that did it!
Reinelt, the goal hero of Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Hereford, saved Albion from relegation wearing a pair of blue Valsport boots his wife, Lisa, bought him for his 23rd birthday eight weeks ago.
He had only worn them twice before, against Northampton and Cambridge, and he hit the target in both of those games as well.
And he had the whole army of Albion fans jumping for joy when his magic boots, bearing his initials R.R, kicked the crucial second-half equaliser at Edgar Street.
He said: “Lisa said they would be my lucky boots.
“I’ve worn them three times and scored three times, so she was right. Women always are, aren’t they?
“I was a bit wary of weaing them. I’ve looked at people before and thought what fairies they were for wearing flash boots.
“But Lisa told me off for not wearing them and said she would take them back.
At the end of the nail-biting match, Robbie presented the mud-splattered footwear to a delighted fan who waved them proudly aloft.
Albion’s hero ha only been on the pitch in place of Paul McDonald when he scored and earned his place in football history.
He said: “I was one of Gritt’s inspired substations.
“His actual words were: ‘This is the one, this is the time to prove yourself. Go out and do it.’ I think I did that by scoring.”
After his moment of triumph, Reinelt joined Leyton Orient midway through the following season in 1998 before winding down his career with Stevenage Borough, St Albans City, Braintree Town and Ford United.
(Many thanks to Jim for supplying me with this and other newspaper articles, and to Pete for lending me the second photo and some Albion cuttings from the 1970s).