My little Powney!

You may know him as Brighton’s long-serving goalkeeper of the 1960s and 1970s, who made up for his lack of height through his amazing agility and courage in tight situations. Or even as the keeper who let in eight goals against Bristol Rovers in December 1973 because of the shoddy defence in front of him. But did you know that after he left the club in May 1974, the 29 year-old Sussex man established himself as a midfield player for Southwick?

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As player-manager, he even led the club to the Sussex County title and entry into the First Round of the FA Cup. Unfortunately, it ended miserably for him at Southwick early in 1975/76. He was sent-off for violence of the tongue during his side’s visit to Wigmore. As the Evening Argus reported:

“The threat of a 28-day suspension imposed on Southwick for accumulated disciplinary points does not appear to have calmed the tempers of some of their players judging by this 2-2 draw. Referee Brian Sweetland of Crawley, had to put up with backchat and abuse from players and finally in the 80th minute he sent off former Albion goalkeeper Powney for four and abusive language.”

Matters came to a head a few days later:

Brian Powney and Southwick, the Sussex County League champions, have parted company.

At a committee meeting last night Powney’s two year contract that was due to expire in May 1976 was terminated by “mutual consent.”

Bill Earl, the Southwick chairman, said after the meeting, that was attended by ex-Albion goalkeeper Powney:

“It was decided to have a special meeting after Brian was sent off on Saturday. We though we had to take some positive action as we have been banned by the county for 28 days, and our appeal against that decision has still to be heard by the FA. The position was brought to a head by the sending off, and Brian felt recent circumstances and publicity made his job impossible. He thought this was the best course. It was a very amicable meeting, but somebody had to suffer.”

Gary Brown, Southwick’s senior player and also a former Albion man, was later asked to take over as caretaker and has accepted.

The County FA ban was imposed earlier this month because Southwick had incurred too many points.

No date for the appeal has yet been conveyed to Southwick.

Powney was appointed in 1974. He played in midfield and then in goal. A year ago he decided to stay after settling his differences with the club. On being summoned to meet the committee, he was ready to resign.

The point at issue was committee interference in his methods, but the row was patched up.

After his Southwick sojourn, Powney later went on to play for Bexhill and Eastbourne United before managing Newhaven in 1976. He also managed Seaford Town from 1987 to 1991.

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