On the backpage of the Albion Handbook 1978 was this advert for David Rose Sports, a name that evokes strong memories for many Brighton fans:
Nowadays, it’s almost unthinkable that you wouldn’t get your Brighton & Hove Albion replica shirt from the club shop. However, it seems the Albion were rather slow to catch onto the burgeoning replica kit market in the 1970s. So if you wanted to get your Bukta shirt, shorts and socks in the style of your heroes at the Goldstone, such as Gary Williams (above) or Peter Ward, and risk Full Kit-ism prejudice, it was better to wander off to Dyke Road to your local sports shop rather than Old Shoreham Road. I think even the yellow one was available as a replica kit.
As Alan Wares, of The Albion Roar radio show, said:
I got my first Albion kit from David Rose Sports when it was in Dyke Road. 1978, Bukta, stretchy knitted blue and white striped shirt, blue shorts with the Bukta stripes, white socks with two blue bands at the top, and a pair of Gola boots.
Not bad for a ninth birthday present. Seemed to recall it came to £32 all in.
David Rose was a lifelong Albion supporter who died in 2005 after a battle with cancer. He is fondly remembered for his expertise, excellent customer service and idiosyncratic discounts.
As The Spanish said on North Stand Chat:
David Rose’s constant 10% Off offer. Everything was always 10% off if you could prove you played for a mini minor league club, your birthday fell on a Tuesday that year, or you had a tortoise called George etc etc.
By the time of his death, business was not good, not because of losses incurred from his own discounts but because the big chains such as Sports Soccer and JJB Sports had muscled in on the market, buying their massive bulk of stock at cheap prices, making it hard for the traditional local sports shop to survive. For this reason, David’s stepson Michael was not keen to continue the business.
On hearing the news of the death, bigtomfu said:
What a great guy, always eager to give people money off even when there was no reason to. if you wanted an honest opinion on sports goods then you always went to him. What a guy and such a shame!
Alan Wares lamented the shift away from the likes of A A Baker, Swift Sports and David Rose Sports in a wider context:
In a city this size, there is only one quality sports shop (Swift Sports) – that’s disgraceful. David Rose Sports is symbolic of a dying trend – a trend that needs to be reversed. Whatever happened to knowledge, service and integrity in your local sport shop?
You go into a shop and see a row of football boots or cricket bats, all at massively different prices, and you ask the assistant what is the difference between each type of bat. Why one is one price, and one is another. In JJB, Sports Soccer etc, you get a monosyllabic grunt. In a REAL sports shop, you get intelligent responses, someone prepared to discuss your needs and requirements, someone who knows what they are on about. It doesn’t take much, and the customer is so much more grateful for it.
But where are these places? You see, it’s all wrong nowadays.