Here’s Peter O’Sullivan, brimming with confidence ahead of the 1972/73 season:
Note his professional ambition was to ‘win a full Welsh cap and play in Division One.’ The latter happened much later in his career but getting full international honours was to come his way much earlier, in March 1973, despite the Albion making a pig’s ear of competing in the Second Division.
Shoot! magazine revisited Sully the following season, 1973/74, after Brighton had landed back with a bump in the Third Division. By the time of the interview, Pat Saward had made his exit, Brian Clough had arrived, and the Welsh winger and midfielder was buzzing with optimism about the new appointment:
Towards the end of last season, Peter O’Sullivan was on the verge of asking Brighton for a move. In three seasons with the club he had tasted the headed heights of success.
There was promotion from the Third Division, five Welsh Under-23 caps plus a full international against Scotland. But just as quickly, a dream of further success faded as Brighton surrendered their Second Division status after just one season.
“I was bitterly disappointed at that,” said 22-year-old O’Sullivan.
“It seemed at last I was getting over the depression of being in the Manchester United reserves for four years when life began to turn sour again.”
O’Sullivan, who hails from Colwyn Bay in North Wales, thought hard about his future, and after Brighton’s dismal start to the current campaign, wanted away. In these days when forward talent is so precious there would have been no lack of bidders for the young winger’s talents.
Then Brian Clough arrived.
“Suddenly the whole atmosphere down at Goldstone Road changed,” explained Peter. “And I am sure that under Mr Clough and Peter Taylor, Brighton can really do well again.
“I’ve been impressed with their ideas, and they have completely overhauled the set up down here.
Now I am more than happy to stay – that is if Mr. Clough still wants me and help Brighton back into the big time.
“The potential down here is enormous and I am sure we will realise it under Mr. Clough.”
Peter can have few worries about whether Brian Clough will keep him.
Peter also points to the huge crowds Brighton can draw when they are getting results as a sign that the club have all the ingredients of a top flight side.
“Some of our home games have been watched by 30,000 fans.
That is a marvellous total for the Third Division. It just shows what we can do if we are successful.
“Once that confidence comes flowing back we will give them something to cheer about. I can’t promise goals, but I can promise 100 per cent effort to get them.”
O’Sullivan was ever-present in 1973/74, hitting four goals, including Albion’s first goal in the infamous 8-2 home defeat to Bristol Rovers. His excellent dribble and drive brought the score back to 2-1 to the visitors. Not for the first or last time, Sully’s creativity with giving hope to the Albion.