Monthly Archives: October 2013

Deano makes a dash

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This ‘Classic Headliner’ piece is from 90 Minutes magazine:

Born the son of a Swansea barber on June 21, 1964, Dean Saunders is fondly remembered locally as the man who they let go for nothing. It was John Bond’s fault, apparently. As manager of the Swans he said something about the area having no local talent, imported a squad of lower-League journeymen and off-loaded Deano to Brighton on a free transfer.

A striker of exceptional finishing and movement, Dean Saunders had a prolific first season at the Goldstone Ground in 1985/86. He powered in nineteen goals as well as scooping the ‘Player of the Season’ award. Here is the Brighton v Peterborough FA Cup Replay where Saunders gets the winner, and looks ever so pleased in the post-match interview:

However, he was a marked man the following season, played out of position on the right wing, and went sixteen matches without a goal. And in a similar vein to what happened at Swansea, new boss Barry Lloyd imported a squad of less than stellar players (inexperienced local lads and non-Leaguers) and off-loaded Deano to Oxford United for just £60,000 in March 1987. The 90 Minutes feature continues:

Saunders was made for better things. After spells at Brighton and Oxford, he joined Derby County in October 1988, scoring 42 goals in 106 League and cup games. His pace was a tremendous asset, as was his eagerness to have a dig from anywhere vaguely in the opposition half. But at Liverpool, Graeme Souness’s side lacked balance and consistency and, for the first time in his career, his goal ratio dipped to only one every four games. As if that wasn’t enough, he was dragged through the courts and mauled by the press over the tackle that ended the career of Chelsea’s Paul Elliot.

By this time, Villa had seen Big Ron and Deano come and go and the latest twist now has Saunders rejoining Graeme Souness at Galatasaray for £1.5million, scoring freely and considerably happier with his lot than Mike Marsh, for one. And a gratis Ford Escort is not the only bonus. Should his latest offspring choose to play the beautiful game, he or she could claim dual nationality and be saved the frustration of playing international football for Wales.

He eventually returned to the UK, to play for Nottingham Forest and Sheffield United, scoring one of the cheekiest goals ever seen:

After spells with Benfica and Bradford City, he embarked on a coaching and managerial career, being in charge at Wrexham, Doncaster and Wolves. His last game as boss was in Wanderers’ 5-1 defeat at the Amex to Gus Poyet’s side in 2012/13, a result that relegated Wolverhampton to the third tier for only the second time. And yes, the first occasion was in 1984/85 thanks to another 5-1 loss against… you’ve guessed it, Brighton at the Goldstone. As a fellow Welsh star Shirley Bassey sang, it was just a case of history repeating…

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‘Saturday Afternoon’ by Fred Yates, 1953

Here is a beautiful painting of the Goldstone Ground by the renowned artist Fred Yates:

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All the idiosyncrasies of the stadium are captured in a larger-than-life fashion, such as the advertising hoardings, the stands that don’t cover all the spectators, down to the corrugated metal walls that survived into the 1990s.

According to Wikipedia:

Fred Yates was born in Urmston, Lancashire, England in 1922. He began his working life as an insurance clerk but this career was cut short by the Second World War.

After the war Yates took up painting on his return to Manchester – initially as a painter and decorator. It was whilst working in Manchester, and training to become a teacher, that Yates began painting – much in the vein of L. S. Lowry; although he strove for recognition in his own right, and achieved this in his later years.

The supremely vivid ‘Saturday Afternoon’ was used on promotional material, and was on display, at ‘Brighton & Hove Albion – 99 Years of Entertainment and Passion’, an exhibition at Hove Museum and Art Gallery from September to November 2000.

It was also on show at Brighton & Hove Museum’s ‘Paintings Unwrapped’ exhibition from December 2008 to April 2009.

Regretfully, Yates died of a heart attack in July 2008. To find out more about his life and work, visit The Fred Yates Society.

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Jimmy Melia has gone!

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Thirty years ago today, on 19 October 1983, Jimmy Melia resigned as Brighton manager. With Cattlin succeeding Melia, in its opinion piece ‘Shoot View!’ in its 12th November issue, the magazine characterised the decision as a ‘Dark deed at Brighton’:

Yet another League club has had its grubby internal affairs aired in public.

And once more, the great game of football is the loser as the fans are given another full-frontal peek at soccer’s sordid side.

This time Brighton have become embroiled in a distasteful episode that would not look out of place in television’s “Dallas” and “dynasty” programmes.

The plot is familiar: Boss, Jimmy Melia, is instructed by the board that his chief coach, Chris Cattlin, is charged with the duty of picking the Brighton team every Saturday.

That arrangement is a little like Margaret Thatcher having to take orders from one of her underlings. Not unnaturally, Jimmy Melia found it hard to take just five months after guiding a modest Brighton team to their first F.A. Cup Final.

And so it was inevitable that 47-year-old Melia, a proud Liverpool-born man with a deep-seated love of the game, would quit only ten Second Division games after dancing for joy across the Wembley grass.

Few episodes of “Dallas” have been more cruel than this real life football drama.

Cup Final manager one moment; having his team picked by a member of his staff the next.

Melia packed his bags and said simply: “The appointment of Cattlin as coach produced a personality clash and I simply found I could not work in the conditions. He has even been picking the team.”

Jimmy Melia might not have been the world’s greatest manager, but he was as good as some and better than others.

We offer our best wishes to Mr Cattlin. He became an unsuspecting pawn in a rather grubby Goldstone game. Let’s hope he’s treated a lot better than his predecessor.

Despite the ‘Melia in, Bamber out!’ chants at the time, thirty years on, you’d struggle to find an Albion fan who still regrets Melia making way for Cattlin. Despite Shoot! magazine arguing that ‘Jimmy Melia might not have been the world’s greatest manager, but he was as good as some and better than others’, it is clear that Melia have a rotten League record as Brighton manager. The FA Cup run should not have camouflaged that to a magazine that still had pretensions of serious analysis. Despite the struggles that Mike Bailey faced in 1982/83, it is worth remembering that his side stood in 18th position, outside the Division One relegation zone, when Bailey and his coaches John Collins and Brian Eastick left on 6th December 1982. By the end of the season, under Melia and George Aitken, the Seagulls had slumped four more places to bottom of the the First Division.

In the summer, with the euphoria of the FA Cup Final still fresh in the memory, it would have taken a very brave Albion board to sack Melia. Perhaps this is why they chose to appoint Cattlin, to provide some much needed discipline and rigour, while stitching up Melia to some extent by putting the new coach in charge of team selection.

With ten Division Two games gone in 1983/84, after a 5-0 pasting at Grimsby Town, the club stood in 14th position and in real danger of a second successive relegation battle. The unhappy arrangement was not to last. Despite Melia making a surprise appearance, being held shoulder-high in the North Terrace by supporters in the next match, a 3-1 home defeat to Sheffield Wednesday, from then on it was most definitely the Chris Cattlin show.

As a young manager who eschewed the razzmatazz of his predecessor, Cattlin put the Brighton team’s affairs back in order with some shrewd signings, such as Steve Penney, Chris Hutchings and Danny Wilson. He was able to turn the Seagulls into serious promotion candidates in the Second Division over the following few seasons before he also came a cropper, sacked in the summer of 1986.

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The lexicon of glove

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As far as retro football magazines go, The Footballer was the forerunner to Backpass magazine, running from July 1989 to May/June 1996. While it was much drier in tone and page layout than its modern day retro equivalent, many of the respectfully penned articles and interviews of players from yesteryear deserve another airing.

This one by Charlie Bamforth, from the March / April 1996 edition, features the spring-heeled Brian Powney, who kept goal for the Albion from 1962 to 1974:

Brian Powney ushered his Staffordshire Bull Terrier out of the room (for which I was thankful) and gestured to the walking stick propped up against his easy chair: “That stick is the legacy of a knee injury I picked up on my debut for Brighton when I was 16!”

Gammy knee or not, Powney went on to play almost 400 games for the Seagulls. The stresses and strains are now telling, as they do from so many ex-professionals. (“The fans don’t see this side of things”). A major operation failed to sort the Powney leg out, so Brian can “look forward” to two more years of surgery. When he is laid up, he’ll doubtless be looking back on a worthy career as one of the lower divisions’ more durable and loyal goalkeepers.

Brian Powney was born on 7th October 1944 in Seaford, the seaside town in which he resides to this day. A seven-a-side tournament in Hailsham served to set his sights on a custodial career.

“It was the usual story. Our goalie was having a torrid time, so I took over. I got into the school first team by the time I was thirteen and I made the East Sussex Under-15’s.”

“I was recommended to Eastbourne United. Those days they were in the Metropolitan League, playing against the likes of Arsenal “A” and Gravesend and Northfleet.

Eastbourne were run very much on professional lines, with a full-time manager in Jack Mansell, an F.A. Staff Coach. I never got into the first team, where the goalkeeping slot was held by Reggie Pope. He was stocky, very much like myself.”

“I had trials with Arsenal and Southampton. They both wanted to put me onto the groundstaff, but that would have meant living in a hostel. So I was pleased when my local club, Brighton, came in with an offer. I reckoned that there would be more opportunities with a smaller club.” At sixteen, Brian Powney joined the Goldstone groundstaff, signing pro forms for manager George Curtis on his seventeenth birthday.

“Charlie Baker was first choice keeper at the time – and very good he was too. But he was a part-timer, so I could never work with him in training. There was not really much goalkecping coaching in those days, but I did go up to the FA youth courses at Lilleshall, where we were coached by the likes of Billy Wright and Phil Woosnam.”

Young Powney was given an early blooding in Seagulls’ senior side on the last day of the 1961-62 season at Derby County. Albion were already relegated, so they took the opportunity to give their raw young goalkeeper a taste of Second Division football in front of 6,739 spectators.

Although the Rams won 2-0 through goals by Barry Hutchinson and John Bowers, Powney had a fine game, even allowing for the injury which has dogged him ever since.

The man in the other goal that day at the Baseball Ground was veteran England international Reg Matthews, who must have been impressed with the capabilities of Brighton’s new netminder.

After eight games in the 1962-63 campaign, Brian became first choice the following season. By the time he played his last game (in the Third Division) in 1973-74, the name Powney had been penciled in first in 342 Football League games.

Brighton's Fourth Division championship side of 1964/65. Back row left to right; Bertolini, Baxter, Hopkins, Turner, Powney, Hennigan. Front row left to right; Gould, Collins, R. Smith, J.Smith, Goodchild.

Brighton’s Fourth Division championship side of 1964/65.
Back row left to right; Bertolini, Baxter, Hopkins, Turner, Powney, Hennigan.
Front row left to right; Gould, Collins, R. Smith, J.Smith, Goodchild.

There had been high spots – a Fourth Division championship in 1964-65, a promotion from the Third in 1971-72 and a place understudying Chelsea’s John Cowan in the England youth squad for the junior World Cup, a squad that included Tommy Smith, Lew Chatterley and John Sissons. But there had been lows, notably a relegation back to the Third Division in 1972-73.

Brian Powney played under five managers for Brighton & Hove Albion: Curtis, Archie Macauley, Fred Goodwin, Pat Saward and Brian Clough.

“I enjoyed playing for Pat Saward most. As a coach he was second to none. His knowledge was immense and he really motivated us by getting us to enjoy the game.”

“Brian Clough tried to motivate by fear. I didn’t like him at all. I am well aware that there are players at other clubs who would give you a different view, but I can only speak as I find. Clough joined us when our morale was at an all-time low. We had no confidence and it just got worse. The media following was mindboggling. But the things that were said, the slagging off of players, shattered our confidence. I just didn’t respect Brian Clough and eventually he brought Peter Grummitt in. I learned that I had been given a “free” by letter.”

“They were, indeed, miserable days for Brighton. Within the space of a few days they were humiliated 0-4 in the FA Cup by Walton & Hersham and went down 2-8 to Bristol Rovers. Even so Brian Powney knew just what it was-like to be at the preferred end on such occasions, for within a two week period in November 1965 his team had beaten Southend United 9-1 in a Division Three fixture and had whipped Wisbech 10-1 in the “I did feel sorry for Southend’s young keeper (Malcolm White) that day. And I found out exactly how he felt when we went down that time to Bristol Rovers!”

Brian Powney had plenty of competition for his place at the Goldstone, such that he never was an ever present in any of his thirteen seasons. Fred Goodwin brought in Geoff Sidebottom as his preferred last line (“I had a tough time when Geoff was there, but I learnt a lot about positional sense from him”).

The former Arsenal keeper Tony Burns was an earlier contender. Powney and Burns were great chums and Brian also recalls as pals Jim Oliver, John Templeman, Bobby Smith (“a very generous man”) and Alex Dawson (“a fabulous character was the ‘Black Prince’, and a good player”). His closest friend, though, was Norman Gall, and the two shared a pair of testimonials against Chelsea and Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Another colleague in Hove was Howard Wilkinson, now Leeds manager. Wilkinson is said to recall Brian Powney as being very quick and brave. Powney himself is clear about the qualities he possessed.

“I was a shot stopper, a line goalkeeper. Not being the tallest, I seldom came for crosses, but I had John Napier and Norman Gall to deal with those”.

On retiring, Powney became player-manager at Sussex Cotmty League side Southwick for two years, taking them to a title and an appointment with Bournemouth in the Cup.

“After that I played stand-off or centre for Seaford Rugby Club for a couple of years! They made me Player of the Season once! I’d probably have played rugby if I hadn’t turned pro for Brighton”.

These days Powney is regional managing director for an automatic beverage machine company and still follows football with interest, although he seldom visits the Goldstone Ground.

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Happy birthday… from Kevin Bremner

Thank you to Stephen Cowdry for scanning this card for us:

birthdaycard

He writes:

Clearing out my son’s room for re-decoration, I came across this birthday card sent to him, as a member of the Junior Seagulls, signed by Kevin Bremner. Must have been 1988 or 1989 – and Rich is now 27!

It’s a lovely design and note that it’s not just the players but the directors wishing young supporters a happy birthday.

Do you have any signed Albion artefacts like this, that you have lovingly preserved since childhood? If so, please get in touch via seagulls@ and then me.com or via the comments section.

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No way back for Jack

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The 32 year-old Jack Eyres was a rare beast in football, a goalscoring inside-left. With Walsall in Division Three (South), Eyres proved he knew where the net was, hitting the target 16 times in his last season with the club, 1930/31. Unsurprisingly, he attracted the attention of Brighton boss Charlie Webb, especially when he hit a hat-trick for the Saddlers against the Albion in a 3-3 draw at the Goldstone. It was the penultimate match of the season, and a fortnight later, Eyres was transferred to Brighton.

He had little chance to make an impression at the Albion, however, as the sparkling form of the incumbent inside-left Potter Smith meant Eyres had to wait until February 1932 to make his League debut for the Albion, scoring in a 4-0 triumph at Bristol Rovers. In the end, he registered three goals in his eleven appearances for his new club by the end of the season.

Unsurprisingly, at the close of the campaign, Eyres did not wish to stay with Brighton, as this illuminating letter by Charlie Webb on club headed paper, in May 1932, indicates:

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Mr J Charnley

Dear Sir

J Eyres
As the above player has not accepted the terms we have offered him for 1932-33, my directors have decided to withdraw each offer.

I am therefore requested to ask you to remove him from our retained list and place him on our transfer list at a fee of £150 (One hundred and fifty pounds).

The terms we offered him were £4 per week summer and £5 per week winter plys 10/1 extra per week when in 1st team.

We paid £180 for his transfer from Walsall last May.

Yours faithfully

C. Webb

Eyres’ exit was swift as he left for Bristol Rovers that month. He joined York City in July 1934 before becoming player-coach of Gainsborough Trinity.

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Mike Yaxley, physio… writer!

A Norwich City supporter in his youth, Mike Yaxley is a fully qualified FA coach. He gained the Diploma of Loughborough Colleges in Physical Education in 1961 and then moved to the Sussex area where he was appointed Sports Master at Brighton, Hove & Sussex Grammar School (now BHASVIC Sixth Form College).

He successfully coached the Sussex Youth team, and joined the Albion staff in 1968/69 before becoming Pat Saward’s new right-hand man in the celebrated 1971/72 campaign:

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Yet, helped by the expertise of the late, great Bert Parker, who treated Albion players from the 1960s to 1990s, it was in his many years of great service as physiotherapist that Mike Yaxley became best known to Albion fans. Here he is resplendent in a snazzy navy and light-blue Adidas tracksuit treating Steve Foster against Wolves on the opening day of the 1980/81 season. Fozzie’s injury led to the introduction of his trademark headband. Equally stylish, I think!

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Outside of his immediate duties for the club, Yaxley carved out a niche as a writer, as this profile in the Brighton v Blackburn programme from 2nd January 1984 explained:

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When you meet Albion’s physiotherapist Mike Yaxley, it soon becomes apparent that he is a man with many interesting ideas and theories. He is, quite simply, a sports fanatic. But his areas of specialist interest are coaching and, of course, the treatment of sporting injuries. So, it comes as no surprise to learn that Mike spends much of his free time committing his ideas to paper.

Away from it all, he’s an author!

‘I started writing for local papers when I was at college at Loughborough,’ says Mike. “We ran nine soccer sides and I was club secretary, so I gave up playing to concentrate on the administration. We got involved in an Amateur Cup run and we wanted as much publicity as we could get, so I started contributing articles about the team to local papers.

‘After that they asked me to do more match reports and then I did some articles on keep fit and so on. I enjoyed it and I carried on doing a little writing for the Argus when I left college and moved down here.’
At that time, Mike was a teacher and he has always had an interest in coaching youngsters. That interest paved the way for his first book.

‘I wrote it about four years ago. A publisher suggested a simple coaching guide for young players and I enjoyed doing it. The book will help anyone who is organising coaching sessions for the first time, but it covers more advanced work too, so it would be useful for coaches preparing for their FA preliminary award.’

Mike has obviously hit the right level with his book, Soccer. It is available in schools and libraries, as well as bookshops throughout the UK. It has been reprinted here and has enjoyed similar success in South-East Asia and Australia.

‘It’s surprising how it all snowballs,’ says Mike.

He is now working on two more books. The first sounds like an excellent idea which will again appeal to a wide audience. ‘It’s a careers guidance book for young people who want to work in professional sport. Just because you’re not good enough to participate as a competitor, it doesn’t mean you can’t work in sport. There are many other openings. This book will cover many different sports, from soccer and tennis, to horse racing and Grand Prix racing. In each section, I will outline the team around the sportsmen and provide information and addresses for the reader. So, whether they want to be a stable boy, a Grand Prix mechanic or a football physiotherapist, we’ll put them on the right path.

‘The other book I’m working on is more specialist, covering the cause and treatment of sporting injuries. If people understand the background to injuries it can help the healing and rehabilitation process. I think there’s a need for a book like this and I hope it will help people when it is published.’

1984 looks like being a busy time for Mike Yaxley the author. ‘My work with the players here at the Goldstone always comes first,’ Mike explains. ‘I write when I can find time. Often on the coach to and from away matches. Finding the time to write is the biggest problem, but when I finish a book, the hard work is always worthwhile. It gives me a great sense of satisfaction.’

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Last-gasp Gary Williams goal rocks Roker

Remember when local newspapers published a sports edition on Saturday evening to cover that day’s football results? Well, this report is from Geoff Storey of Football Echo (from the Echo in Sunderland), on April 25 1981:

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Sunderland 1 Brighton 2

Sunderland’s fight against relegation turned into a nightmare against Brighton at Roker Park this afternoon when an injury time goal gave them everything to do against Liverpool next week.

Brighton who needed maximum points to starve off their relegation threat had gone ahead in the 35th minute through Mick Robinson’s 22nd goal of the season and despite Sunderland having most of the play they were unable to make their advantage count.

Alan Brown set the ground alight in the 61st minute when he equalised with his fifth goal of the season but Gary Williams stunned the Roker fans with an injury time goal for Brighton.

Afterwards, there is a barebones account of the action in the match, which doesn’t actually make very interesting reading, so I’ll spare you it. In any case, I have actual glorious video highlights of this do-or-die game. I didn’t even know was televised! Enjoy…

While Steve Foster’s body-check escaped a caution, which was no surprise in those days, Andy Ritchie was certainly very lucky after his X-rated tackle. Journalist Geoff Strong put it like this:

In the 54th minute Andy Ritchie who had already been booked was amazingly allowed to stay on the field following a disgraceful tackle on Elliott which sent the Sunderland defender flying but there was no sterner action than a talking to.

However, it is for Gary Williams’ stunning late volley from Smith’s floated cross that the match is best remembered by Seagulls’ fans.

The seemingly daunting trip to Roker Park was part three of Albion’s four-match winning streak at the end of the 1980/81 season that preserved the club’s First Division status. Sunderland were crestfallen after the game, but then incredibly went on to beat Liverpool at Anfield the following week to maintain their place as well.

Oh, and in case you were wandering, Gustavo Poyet was 13 years old when this match took place…

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Kerslake: in the Seagulls’ shadow

Jackie Chan’s classic kung fu film ‘Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow’ hit the screens in 1978, the same year that up and coming full-back Mick Kerslake joined Brighton & Hove Albion. Now I have no idea whether the young Mick went to watch the action-packed martial arts comedy at, say, ABC Cinema on East Street with his new team mates. Even so, he must have hoped that there was an ‘old master’ at the football club that would help turn him from a raw talent into a champ.

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As a seventeen year old Fulham defender, Kerslake had made his League debut when he played against Orient in October 1975 in a 1-1 home draw. When his four years at Craven Cottage ended, he undoubtedly wished that an Albion club keen to augment its squad with his services would get to see his career blossom. As the promotion race in Division Two was hotting up, there was even a ‘Personality Parade’ profile on him in the Brighton v Charlton programme on 13th April 1979:

In any football club with ambition there needs to be players in the shadows waiting for their chance. History is full of unknowns having sensational debuts and then coming through to make a place their own.

Many current internationals have started in just this way and here at the Goldstone we have a young full-back who has spent this season waiting for his chance.

Mick Kerslake signed for the Albion last May after three seasons on the professional staff at Fulham. He came very close to playing in the first team just before Christmas and would have played against Queens’ Park Rangers in the friendly that was cancelled in January. Supporters though are still awaiting his debut in Albion’s first team.

Mick was born in Bethnal Green 21 years ago, the son of a docker. He has two brothers and a sister, and his younger brother is already showing talent on the soccer field. He’s a regular with Spurs youngsters and plays for his school in Stepney.

The younger brother mentioned in the last two sentences above is almost certainly David Kerslake, the former QPR, Swindon, Tottenham and Leeds right-back of the 1980s and 1990s, who is currently assistant manager at Cardiff City. Thanks to Paul from Cult Zeros for this information. On a visit to Wembley, Paul remembers seeing Mick’s bro as captain of England Schoolboys against West Germany in May 1981.

The article continues:

Mick himself went to St Mary’s and St Michael’s Primary School in Stepney and moved from there up to St John’s Secondary School. He first kicked a football at the tender age of 10 and played for both his school and for East London Schools. He gained representative honours at all ages up to 15 and was captain for his last two seasons.

He spent a short while with Chelsea as a schoolboy but on leaving school he signed apprentice professional forms with Fulham, then managed by Alex Stock. At the time, Alan Mullery was the senior player at Craven Cottage, while Ken Craggs, who originally spotted Mick, was Youth Team Manager.

Craggs and Kerslake, as well as Barry Lloyd, are in this Fulham photo that AZ Gull found yesterday:

Fulham 1876

Fulham 1876: (Back row, l-r) Marcus Ellwood, Brian Greenaway, Tyrone James, Tony Mahoney, Tony Gale, Dennis Byatt, Viv Busby, Terry Bullivant, Michael Kerslake. (Middle row, l-r) Paul Howes, John Dowie, Steve Hatter, John Lacy, Richard Teale, Ron Woolnough (physio) Peter Mellor, Ernie Howe, John Mitchell, Steve Camp, John Margerrison, Steve Scrivens. (Front row, l-r) Ken Craggs (coach), Barry Lloyd, Les Barrett, Jimmy Conway, Alan Slough, Les Strong, John Cutbush, Bobby Campbell

After a year he signed full professional forms but in his time there he only played one full League game and had two more as substitute.

He played twice for England Youth XI against Wales three years ago alongside John Deehan, Glenn Hoddle and Gary Owen among others. In his one game for Fulham he played alongside Alan Mullery and Bobby Moore.

He had little hesitation in coming to the Goldstone when offered the chance and having been here almost a year has lodged with George and Bet Kirby who’ve accommodated so many Albion players over the years.

However, he hopes to get married in the near future to a London girl, Jane Wells, and in preparation he’s bought a flat in Clarendon Villas into which he expects to move shortly.

Away from football Mick plays a fair amount of tennis, weather permitting, and at school he was an outstanding athlete. He attained representative honours in the 100 metres and long jump.

He’s an ambitious young man who hopes to make the grade as a regular First Division player with the Albion.

Very, very sadly, he never got his chance for the Brighton. He was released at the end of the 1979/80 season and his subsequent career details are unknown. Nevertheless, like the nondescript and enigmatic Woody Allen film character ‘Zelig’, Kerslake has the distinction of having featured in numerous Albion team photos of the time, rubbing shoulders with the stars… while not many people looking back at the images really know who he was!

If you knew Mick or know what Mick did next, please get in touch either via the comments, email or on Twitter. It would be great to find out what he’s up to now. Kung-fu, probably!

In between George Aitken and Peter Ward

In between George Aitken and Peter Ward

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Albion fans say no to John Barnes

It seemed a perennial question for much of the 1980s and 1990s: should John Barnes play for England? Had he been able to regularly reproduce his Liverpool form, the answers would surely have been yes. But by February 1993, when Andros Townsend was just two years old and not quite ready for international duty, visions of Barnes’ sensational solo goal against Brazil in 1984 were quickly receding.

In 90 Minutes’ issue 144 (6 March 1993), the magazine presented the question as this:

Following John Barnes’ performance and subsequent reception by the Wembley crowd at the San Marino game, 90 MINUTES LIVE enjoys a daytrip to the Goldstone Ground and asks Brighton and Exeter fans: Should Graham Taylor ever pick John Barnes for England again?

Below are the Brighton fans’ responses from the match (which incidentally was won 3-0 with goals from Kurt Nogan, Andy Kennedy and Clive Walker):

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Matthew Perfect, Julian Coman & Neil Francis
Support Brighton
Matthew, 20: “No. His corners and crosses weren’t very good. I’d give him one more chance to see if he improves but if he doesn’t, then that’s the end.”
Julian, 21: “He should be dropped now and Chris Waddle should be brought back into the team. We need a flair player, someone who can put a decent cross in. Barnes shouldn’t be given another chance. I’m fed up with him.”
Neil, 20: “I think he’s had all the chances he needs. It’s about time he tried someone else. It’s Taylor’s fault. He’s been picked so many times by so many managers, they should have learned by now.”

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Neil Picknell and Nick White
Support Brighton
Neil, 15: “He’s a good player but he keeps on being picked and not performing for England. Booing him was out of order, though. If he’s English he doesn’t get booed, but there’s too much young talent who would look like they’re trying harder than Barnes. he shouldn’t be picked again.”
Nick, 15: “I didn’t like the booing. It was disrespectful. He does his best but there are people who would do a better job. I’d definitely put Chris Waddle in there.”

90minuteslive6Simon McManus
Supports Brighton
Simon, 15: “No, he’s too old and slow. He was rubbish against San Marino – didn’t put enough crosses in. The booing was justified I think. I blame Taylor more, though, because Barnesy was only trying his hardest. Taylor should look at Paul Merson.”

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Liz Peck and Helen Gibbs
Support Brighton
Liz, 18: “I wouldn’t pick him. He’s never really done anything for England, he’s a waste of space and there’s plenty of young talent that could probably do a lot better.”
Helen, 18: “There are so many young players around who could do a better job, he might as well pick them and give them the experience.”

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Adam Holmes and Rob Townsend
Support Brighton
Adam, 14: “I don’t really like John Barnes much. He played well around the ’86 World Cup but I don’t think he’s got it any more. I’d put Andy Sinton on the wing.”
Rob, 16: “I wouldn’t play him on the wing. I’d play him deeper. It was forced on Taylor through injuries I think, because of Ian Wright not being there upfront. I’d still have him in the squad.”

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Simon Verrall and Colin Curryer
Support Brighton
Simon, 21: “He’s like any other player, he has good days and bad days. If he’s having a bad day then he should be taken off. I’d still pick him though, he does work hard for the ball.”
Colin, 18: “He didn’t have a bad game against San Marino and we’ve tried putting other people in there. Who else is there? I could see Andy Sinton playing there maybe but nobody else really. I think we should stick with Barnes.”

(Click the image below to see the whole vox pops feature in all its glory).

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