Nothing particularly unusual about this photo of Brighton’s match with Cambridge on New Year’s Day 1994, you may think:
However, it was at this match that Brighton became the first League club to abandon a squad numbering system and revert to the original 1-11 shirts. Squad numbers were optional under Football League regulations, with ten clubs utilising the system in the 1993/94 season.
As Ron Pavey, Albion secretary, said to Matchday magazine in March 1994:
‘It was one of the first things that Liam Brady suggested when he came to the Goldstone that we should revert to the traditional system. The squad numbering system was beginning to look very messy, with players’ numbers ranging up to 25, and it also caused chaos in our programme.’
That was the last we saw of squad numbering at the Goldstone. It was only a temporary reprieve for traditionalists, though, as by 1999-2000, it was back for the first season at Withdean.