Monthly Archives: November 2013

AFC Bournemouth v Brighton, 1972

Here’s Ted MacDougall of AFC Bournemouth, a scorer of nine goals against Margate in the FA Cup during the season, closely watched by Albion’s Ian Goodwin on 1st April 1972:


The 1971/72 season had begun well for the side previously known as Bournemouth and Boscombe FC. Newly promoted from the Fourth Division, it was a case of ‘Cherries on top’ as John Bond’s men headed Division Three after eleven matches, with 17 points. Notts County and Aston Villa both had 15 while Brighton were well down the table with 12 points.


Pat Saward’s Brighton closed the gap when they defeated Bournemouth 2-0 at the Goldstone Ground on 27th December 1971 aided by goals from Kit Napier and Peter O’Sullivan before a bumper 30,600 crowd. Thanks to this score, Notts County, Fourth Division champions the previous season, looked like they might make it two league titles in two when they took over the leadership in the New Year. In a triumph for the new boys, could they and Bournemouth both gain successive promotions come May? The answer was no. County suffered an injury jinx that put David Needham, Willie Carlin and star striker Tony Hateley out of action, and their results suffered. From the middle of February they drew six and lost two matches in an eight-match winless streak. It cost County dearly.

As for Bournemouth, Ted MacDougall, buddied up front with Phil Boyer, was attracting a great deal of interest, and not just for this advert, found on the back of the Bournemouth v Brighton programme!


As Tommy Lawton said:

“This fellow keeps scoring goals and if you can hit goals consistently whether it is in the First or Fourth Division you have to be good.”

However, even with such a phenomenal strike force, the Cherries suffered a downturn. In the Official Football League Book 1972-73, it says:

Bournemouth started to quake when the final crunch came. Whatever the reason, Bond’s side could not recapture the consistency and winning form of those heady early days. One of the key games was when Brighton went to Dean Court on Easter Sunday. A Bournemouth win could have changed many things, but Brighton drew 1-1.

Bertie Lutton: A crucial equaliser at Bournemouth

Bertie Lutton: A crucial equaliser at Bournemouth

The draw was part of Bournemouth’s poor spell when they drew four and lost two out of six matches from the middle of March, just as the season was hotting up. The Official Football League Book continues:

And what of Brighton, the team from the South Coast holiday playground that had laboured too long in the soccer backwaters? Pat Saward agrees that their biggest asset all season was that no one was tipping them for promotion until the final stages: “So we had none of the pressures Bournemouth, Villa and Notts had. We crept up unnoticed and this was our trump card.” But Saward freely admitted: “We had an awful lapse when we lost two games on the trot to Oldham and Bradford City. It came at a bad time and it was make or break from then. Our next game was against Villa and I made drastic changes.” The television watching millions saw the result… a fine stylish win for Brighton in what must have been one of the games of the season in any Division.

Saward played another trump card hours before the transfer deadline. ‘The fans were crying out for new faces but everyone must have thought I had decided to try for promotion with the 14 players I already had.” Agatha Christie could not have come up with a better final and Saward swooped and signed Irish international Bertie Lutton from Wolverhampton Wanderers and a player who must have been an unknown quantity to the Goldstone Road fans… Tranmere Rovers’ Ken Beamish.

Beamish is a forward very much in the modern mould. Not big, but stocky and packed full of explosive sprinting power, a terrific shot and great appetite for the game. “They were both last ditch signings and Ken made an astonishing difference,” says Saward. “I spent only £41,000 in getting my promotion side together so we were very much Villa’s poor relations in that sense.

“Notts County were the team that surprised me. I just don’t know why they fell away so badly in the end for they had all-important matches in hand. Bournemonth were the most skilful side we faced.”

Saward puts down his team’s success to: “Dogged determination to succeed from all the players. We stamped out inconsistency. I got rid of ten of the players I inherited and got together a team built on character. That’s the key quality, apart from skill of course, as far as I’m concerned.”


With just two clubs going up, here is the final table for one of the greatest promotion races in Division Three, one that pulled huge crowds:


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1973: Brighton 0-4 Walton & Hersham – Albion’s worst FA Cup defeat

Here is the team photo of amateurs Walton and Hersham, with ex-Albion players Colin Woffinden and Dave Sargent, plus future football manager Dave Bassett in the back row. And, in the front row, if Brighton supporters were not familiar with Clive Foskett at the start of the FA Cup 1st Round replay at the Goldstone, his name would be on everyone’s lips by the end.

Back row: Colin Woffinden, Dave Sargent, Russell Perkins, Dave Bassett, Gary Bloom, David Donaldson, Chris Lambert. Front row: Billy Edwards, Dave Morris, Bob Wingate, Clive Foskett, Willie Smith.

Back row: Colin Woffinden, Dave Sargent, Russell Perkins, Dave Bassett, Gary Bloom, David Donaldson, Chris Lambert.
Front row: Billy Edwards, Dave Morris, Bob Wingate, Clive Foskett, Willie Smith.

Forty years today, the Argus carried its match report of one of the most shameful displays in the club’s history. Having got lucky in scraping a 0-0 draw in Walton, Brian Clough’s Brighton & Hove Albion contrived to lose 4-0 at home to the Isthmian League side who had won the FA Amateur Cup in 1972/73. The match was played at 1.45pm on Wednesday afternoon as the country’s power crisis meant floodlight use could not be guaranteed.

In a piece titled ‘Albion’s worst in 75 years of cup history’, John Vinicombe described the nightmare performance. Read it and weep!

Ronnie Howell challenges for a high ball in the Walton goalmouth, with Lammie Robertson in attendance

Ronnie Howell challenges for a high ball in the Walton goalmouth, with Lammie Robertson in attendance

Albion’s total humiliation by amateurs Walton and Hersham was the worst defeat suffered by the club since they entered the FA Cup as Brighton United in season 1898-99 [sic].

The manner in which they were swept aside and plunged to a 4-0 First Round replay defeat stunned the 9.857 Goldstone crowd. For Walton’s jubilant fans, who had come prepared for the worst, it turned into a storybook occasion.

There was always a feeling of anxiety about this momentous second meeting that began at the unusual hour of 1.45. Albion’s supporters were strangely muted from the start, and the sparsely populated North Stand, without its youthful choir, hardly made themselves heard.

A sense of foreboding gripped the fans when schoolmaster Russell Perkins stooped to conquer after 20 minutes, and the tie turned into nightmarish proportions for Albion when Clive Foskett, a 28 year-old joiner who works at the British Natural History Museum, hammered a hat-trick in the last eight minutes.

Perkins heads the opener

Perkins heads the opener

The result gives Walton a place in the record-books as sensation makers of the first order. But where does that leave Albion?

The club have entered into an exciting new era with one of the best managers in the game. Yesterday’s display was too bad to be true. Some players gave everything; others did not.

Afterwards Clough betrayed no emotion. He is too well disciplined for that. When he spoke of his ‘poor lads’ it was his way of expressing the deep-felt understanding he has for the position of the professional who is always expected to win such confrontations.

The Clough honeymoon is over as he watches the 4-0 defeat with Glen Wilson.

The Clough honeymoon is over as he watches the 4-0 defeat with Glen Wilson.

What he says privately to his players can only be imagined; the point is that with such a small staff there is not a lot he can do right now.

Until Clough and assistant Peter Taylor move permanently to Brighton, the full impact of their presence will not be felt by the players. The side have yet to score at home under Clough. When Albion were without a manager for a short time, they hammered Southport 4-0. That was just over a month ago.

Is there some sort of moral here? Has the arrival of a man so steeped in success, and possessing such a reputation, suddenly caused the players to seize up?

A goal blight of 270 minutes at the Goldstone is a curious state of affairs, and in the context of this debacle pinpoint the structural weaknesses of the side.

Albion lost to Walton primarily because the midfield was wanting, while up front only Tony Towner, the substitute, provided the sort of service that wins matches.

Pat Hilton did all that could reasonably be expected of him, but elsewhere were performances that must have brought an angry blush to Clough’s cheeks.

The dramatic Foskett hat-trick came at a time when Albion were pushing numbers up in a frantic attempt to equalise. They had more of the game territorially than Walton, but failed to use the ball as well.

In midfield they were outsmarted. Only in terms of fitness were Albion superior, and they relied too much on running Walton off their feet.

Walton absorbed the pressure like a sponge, had men of heart and character, and not a few players who showed a greater desire for the ball when it was obvious somebody was going to be hurt…

The turning point came early in the second half when Barry Bridges just failed to divert a loose ball past the heroic Gary Bloom. Albion never went so close to scoring again, despite a stream of flag kicks.

Walton and Hersham goalkeeper Gary Bloom misses a cross, as Barry Bridges just fails to score at the near post.

Walton and Hersham goalkeeper Gary Bloom misses a cross, as Barry Bridges just fails to score at the near post.

Yet only minutes before hand Foskett had missed an open goal. He blamed himself afterwards and seemed more concerned about that mistake than basking in the glory of a hat-trick.

Foskett has not enjoyed much of Walton’s limelight. He was on the substitute’s bench at Wembley at the end of a strange season that saw him score 23 goals before Christmas and then lose his edge completely.

Foskett said: “This is the highlight of my career, although nothing can make up for not playing in a final at Wembley. I was left so much space at the back by Brighton, and I had all the time to think about all three goals.”

His goals, demonstrated perfect versatility, two with the right foot, the last one from the left foot.

Albion were hit by a thigh injury to Stephen Piper ten minutes from the interval. There is little doubt Towner would have come on anyway, but Piper’s loss weakened the defence.

Eddie Spearritt switched to partner Norman Gall, Peter O’Sullivan moved to the left-wing, and Bridges slotted into the midfield.

Walton prospered as a result, and seldom can such an experienced international player like Bridges have cause to be so dissatisfied with his contribution to a game. In my book it was nil…

The grim message for Albion is that Clough has a monumental task ahead. Realist as he is, there can be no illusions on yesterday’s score. Perhaps it is a blessing in disguise.

There is time to prevent the rot spreading further. But I’ll wager Clough never expected it to be like this…

Twenty minutes:
Smith’s corner was flicked on by Lambert. Powney failed to make contact and Gall was the wrong side of Perkins who got down like an old man with lumbago to head the simplest of goals. 0-1.

Eighty-two minutes: A long ball out of defence caught Albion upfield. Walton had Foskett and Perkins haring through the middle, and with Powney unprotected, Foskett scored from a precise Perkins pass. 0-2.

Eighty-four minutes: The same long ball caught Albion napping again, this time it was Smith who put Foskett away to crack a beauty. 0-3.

Eighty-nine minutes: Just to show it was no fluke, Foskett broke away again. The long ball came from Morris, and away went Foskett to drill in his best goal. 0-4.

Albion: Powney; Templeman, Ley, Spearritt, Gall, Piper, Bridges, Howell (R), Hilton, Robertson, O’Sullivan. Sub: Towner for Piper (injured) 35 minutes.

Walton and Hersham: G Bloom, D Sargent, C Lambert, D Donalson, W Edwards, D Bassett, C Woffinden, W Smith, R Perkins, C Foskett, D Morris. Sub R Wingate.

Referee: Mr GC Kew (Amersham).

Bookings: Ley (foul).

Walton and Hersham players raise a cheer to their 4-0 win in the dressing room

Walton and Hersham players raise a cheer to their 4-0 win in the dressing room

Years later, in Brian Clough’s ‘Autobiography’ (1994), he recalled comedian Eric Sykes’ lucky escape after the match:

‘I was involved in a first round FA Cup tie against mighty Walton and Hersham! A bunch of bloody amateurs, and they beat us 4-0. I’ve had some bad days in football but that must have been one of the worst. He won’t know it until he reads this, or until a pal reads it and tells him, but comedian Eric Sykes had never been in greater danger of a smack in the mouth than he was that day. I think he was president of the Walton club, or at least held some position there. Anyway, he was perfectly entitled to feel chuffed, having seen the little team of nobodies produce possibly the greatest result in their history and one of the big Cup upsets of the day.

As I walked through a passage after the match I could hear his raised voice as he stood with a phone in his hand, obviously giving me some right stick. I heard him gloating about something about ‘Cloughie… ha, ha, ha.’ I had never met him in my life but I’d laughed my socks off whenever I saw him on TV – and still do when they play the old clips. But that afternoon I would have taken great delight in punching him. If only I had shown similar self-control, years later, on that infamous night when supporters invaded the pitch at Nottingham Forest!’

Oh, and have I mentioned that video footage of this cup replay does exist? It clearly should be banned, though! It’s only sixteen seconds and there is no sound. I’ll leave you to decide whether to be regretful or thankful that it doesn’t feature any of the goals:


Shoot Cover: Steve Foster (28 November 1981)


In the season of this front cover, 1981/82, Shoot! published an article claiming ‘Captain Foster loves to nag!’:

Steve Foster has welcomed the job of Brighton captain as a major boost to his own form. Whether his team-mates wholeheartedly agree with the choice is open to rather more doubt.

Foster says, tongue slightly in cheek: “The lads reckon I nag them just a bit more than I used to.
They say I’m getting on their nerves these days, but that doesn’t matter, if we do the business and my shouting has helped in any way, it will have been worthwhile.”

Foster’s team-mates are, of course, joking. They recognise the immense contribution of the big central defender. And “Fozzie’, as he is known to the Brighton players, believes the captaincy will help him become an even greater asset to Brighton’s cause this season.

“A lot of players wouldn’t want the captaincy. I’ve heard them say they don’t produce their best form when they’re worried about what the other lads are doing. But it works the other way for me. I feel a greater sense of responsibility. I feel that if I want the other lads to try s bit harder during a match, they have to see me doing just that. So I’ve found it has helped me improve,” says Foster.

“I used to shout all the time anyway, to encourage the lads. The only difference now, is that I’m the official skipper and I have to do it. I find I have concentrated more since I took over as captain.”

Brighton have introduced a new, tighter defensive system under new manager Mike Bailey. Foster believes it will help the Sussex club establish themselves in the First Division without the fear of relegation which has dogged them for the past couple of seasons.

“We have to keep our discipline at the back much more under Mike Bailey,” says Foster. “Defenders can still go forward, but there has to be plenty of cover at the back before we can move up.” Foster recognises the immense task he faces to succeed as skipper to the extent Brian Horton managed. Foster says: “Brian was a great leader.

“He had such respect from other players that I can only hope to gain half as much. The lads reckon I’ve always been a moaner on the field, but I won’t complain if the results go for us, So it’s up to the lads – if they don’t want me to nag them, they’ll have to produce the form which means plenty of points!”

“I think our bigger squad and greater experience will be vital this season. We feel confident and have more players available. You must have strength in depth in this Division, and we are now getting that. It could make a big difference to us.”



Brighton score six at Highbury


In ‘The Arsenal Story’ from 1972, a year after the Gunners had famously won the League and cup double, football journalist and author Deryk Brown wrote:

‘The Highbury of today is the best possible tribute to Herbert Chapman and the Arsenal of yesterday. Even today it is a temple of football. The present West Stand was opened by the Prince of Wales (later Edward VIII) in December 1932. The East Stand, the one the players come out of, was quietly opened before a match with Grimsby Town in October 1936. Even today it is a temple of football… It is hard to imagine how any young player who visits Highbury can avoid coming away with the impression that Arsenal is the club.

Hardly surprising for a club steeped in tradition and success that Arsenal’s playing record at Highbury was formidable. A home defeat sometimes happened, but a thrashing was rare. At the time, Arsenal’s record home defeat was 0-5 by Huddersfield Town in February 1925. It was a scoreline to be emulated by Chelsea against a young Gunners side in the League Cup in November 1999. Given this, Arsenal apart, it is hard to find in the record books which other club has scored six goals at Highbury… apart from Brighton!

Ten years before Arsenal began their ‘double’ season, Brighton drew Rotherham at Millmoor in the FA Cup fourth round in 1960, having won at Bath in the previous round. While the Millers and Albion were both in Division Two, promotion candidates Rotherham were the undoubted favourites. Indeed, in the previous round the Millers had sensationally knocked out Arsenal after three matches, drawing 1-1 at Milmoor and 2-2 at Highbury before triumphing 2-0 at Hillsbrough.

However, Albion were not going to be overawed. As Roy Jennings said in Charles Buchan’s Football Monthly in December 1961:


‘We had been in three tremendous games against Rotherham. We had two gruelling drawn games of 1-1 against the tough Yorkshiremen at Millmoor and Goldstone Road [sic], and the second replay was at Highbury.’

On Monday evening on 8th February 1960, a bumper crowd of 32,864 travelled to Arsenal Stadium, where the Rotherham already had the advantage of experience, having held the Gunners there in the previous round. Under floodlights, the Brighton v Rotherham match was played in an incredible atmosphere. Jennings quipped:

‘To everyone’s surprise, we thrashed Rotherham 6-0 in that game. They must have been more tired than we were!’

Albion's fourth goal, scored by Adrian Thorne

Albion’s fourth goal, scored by Adrian Thorne

Oh, how the floodgates opened! Adrian Thorne, who got both Albion goals in the first two matches, opened the scoring again. Brighton led 2-0 at half-time before a glorious spell of three goals in seven minutes early on in the second half turned the match into a famous triumph. Not least for Bill Curry, who hit a hat-trick or, indeed, outside-left Freddie Jones, who had joined Brighton from Arsenal in 1958 and scored on the night.

Rotherham's Ironside gets caught up in Brighton's celebrations. Here he is with Curry and a delighted Brighton supporter.

Rotherham’s Ironside gets caught up in Brighton’s celebrations. Here he is with Curry and a delighted Brighton supporter.

Brighton went down 2-1 at Preston in the next round, but nothing can take away from their feat of scoring six goals at Highbury, home of the Marbled Halls. It was better than anything that Arsenal managed that season.


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‘Brighton – a big challenge’ says Mickey Thomas


Mickey Thomas is a prime candidate for Albion’s biggest waste of money. After a brief four month spell at Everton, the impish Welsh international midfielder joined Brighton for £350,000 in November 1981. With hindsight, Thomas’ petulant behaviour at Goodison ought to have alerted Seagulls boss Mike Bailey that this spot of business was going to end in tears. Thomas’ enthusiastic words about Brighton at the end of this article from Shoot! Magazine sound rather hollow now:

Mickey Thomas’ love-affair at Goodison Park lasted less than four months.

He signed for Everton from Manchester United in July, and in early November was sent packing by Howard Kendall for refusing to play in a reserve team game.

The Everton boss was quick to defend his actions, “Thomas let me down, the players and the supporters,” he said. “I was not going to be told by anyone who played in my team.”

Thomas goes close against Brighton earlier on in the 1981/82 season

Thomas goes close against Brighton earlier on in the 1981/82 season

Thomas is now settling to life at Brighton following a £400,000 move.

“I didn’t want to leave Everton,” he told SHOOT, “But Howard Kendall didn’t leave me with much choice.”

The row that saw Thomas make a controversial exit from Goodison Park erupted when Kendall asked the Welsh international to play for the reserves.

Thomas had missed two games with a hamstring injury and Kendall wanted him to prove his fitness before putting him back in the senior team.

“I told the manager that I had never done that before and I wasn’t about to start,” says Thomas.

“At the time I believed my stand was right. But looking back on the decision, I suppose I was too hasty.”

Thomas did not play for the reserves, and Kendall, with a no-nonsense approach, showed him the door.

“He made it plain that I had no future at the club,” says Thomas.

“That disappointed me and when Brighton showed an interest I jumped at the chance of a fresh start.”

A lot of harsh things were said by both parties after the two had gone their separate ways. Thomas was reported to have muttered that forgetting Everton would not be too difficult because he had not enjoyed himself at the club.

“I didn’t say that,” storms Thomas. “I love Everton. I stood on the terraces as a boy and watched them. It was like a dream come true when I signed for them from Manchester United in the summer.

“What I said was that Everton were a part of my past, and I had to get on with the job at Brighton now.

“I didn’t get on with Howard Kendall, but that’s a different thing.

“I never knew where I stood with him and I don’t think I was alone. I think he wanted to sell somebody around the time that I was pushed out and I gave him the excuse he needed. I’m sorry about that.

“But I still love Everton and their supporters, who were very good to me. I wish them well.”

The Kendall/Thomas row could not have come at a better time for Mike Bailey. He wanted to balance the left-side of the midfield at Brighton and Thomas fitted the bill perfectly.

“He’s building a team quite capable of living with the best.

‘My problem now is settling again. I had just bought a house on Merseyside which we hadn’t moved into.

“I was looking forward to getting out of the hotel that my wife, son and I had been living |n. Now I’ve got all that again, it takes its toll you know.”

Thomas is determined to knuckle down and prove that Everton were wrong to let him go.

“It’s a big challenge. The set-up at Brighton is nothing like it was at Goodison, but it’s a friendly little club and the South Coast is a lovely place to live,” he says.

“I’ve signed a four-year contract and have every intention of seeing it out. I want success and Brighton can provide it.”

One of the few bright spots of Thomas’ brief stay on the South Coast was his diving header against Barnet in the FA Cup 3rd Round replay in January 1982:

However, his wife failed to settle in the area and Thomas failed to appear for the match with Notts County in April. He also went AWOL on at least three other occasions. Regarding the County game, Mike Bailey expressed his annoyance via his programme notes against Manchester United, later in the month:

The absence of Mike Thomas from our side last Saturday may have surprised many of our supporters. I can appreciate that it must have been difficult for our fans to follow the Thomas affair in recent weeks, so perhaps a few words of explanation about events of last week might not go amiss.

In truth, since we agreed to put Mike on the transfer list he ahas been training regularly with everyone else and things seemed to be going quite OK.

Indeed, Mike’s performances on the field had been very encouraging. However after the Easter games the lads were given two days off and told to report back on the Thursday.

We received a phone call from Thomas’ wife a day later to say that he was ill. If the call had been received on the Thursday I might have understood but he should have been at the Goldstone on that day and wasn’t here.

Prior to that, after the Arsenal match, he had asked permission to return to North Wales for his son’s birthday with permission to report direct to Aston Villa on the Monday. This he did and after the match he again returned to North Wales.

We feel that we have gone out of our way to help the player and allow him to settle his domestic affairs but now I feel we have been completely let down and for me… enough is enough.

This interpretation is challenged by Thomas in his autobiography ‘Kick-ups, Hiccups, Lock-Ups’. He blamed Brighton for plying him with drinks to get him to sign for a club he didn’t wish to join and, rather than domestic strife, suggested that going AWOL was merely a tactic to force the club’s hand into releasing him.

Unsurprisingly, Thomas left Brighton for Stoke in a £200,000 deal in the summer. To rub salt into the wounds, when the Albion played City in the early stages of the following season, Thomas turned in an outstanding performance and scored a goal in an emphatic 3-0 victory for the Potters:

The only upside to this story if that when Thomas left the Goldstone, he showed some semblance of a conscience. In his autobiography, he said:

“I was off. But not before one final unexpected act on my part. When the contract was finally sorted and I was released, I refused to take the signing-on fee, which was due to me. I told them to keep the money. I was entitled to £25,000 but I didn’t take a penny from them. It was a rash gesture on my part for all the trouble I had caused Brighton. I wasn’t going to take the piss entirely and pocket a hefty cheque I didn’t believe I warranted. That was one hell of an expensive way to say sorry.”

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Great Albion kits: 1977-80 away (blue)

It seems slightly absurd that a team that plays in blue and white would choose an away kit that was …blue and white. However, that’s how things were in 1977 when Bukta won the contract for supplying Brighton & Hove Albion’s kit:


The advantage was that the Seagulls could maintain their home colours (albeit not their home kit) on away trips to Southampton, Sunderland, Stoke and Crystal Palace in the Second Division in 1977/78. The downside was that it necessitated that Bukta supplied Albion with the extravagance of a third kit, with red shirts, for matches at the likes of Oldham and Millwall.

This blue number was very smart indeed, with the white Buks down the sleeves looking rather like the white seagull on the new round crest. It made its debut on the opening of the league campaign, at the Dell, for Brighton’s well-earned 1-1 draw with Southampton. By the time of Albion’s match at Sunderland on 1st October 1977, Peter Ward had hit a rich vein of goalscoring form, with four goals in three matches.


At Roker Park, this exquisite first half goal was testament to Wardy’s close control, speed on the turn and deadly finishing:

The strike made the score 2-0 and put Albion on top of Division Two, at the time the highest Football League placing in the club’s history.

By the following month, the blue away kit was worn, strangely, with white shorts and red socks for the famous 0-0 draw with Tottenham Hotspur in November 1978, in front of 48,613 fans, still Albion’s highest ever league attendance. Hate to say it, it made us look like Portsmouth, although we were far, far better than the Pompey side of that time!

Two seasons later, in September 1979, the Spurs v Albion match at White Hart Lane was a First Division fixture, which the Seagulls lost 2-1 despite Horton’s goal. Here’s some images from the game:






In the summer of 1980, Adidas had taken over the deal for supplying Brighton’s kits. After three seasons, the blue Bukta away shirt was no more but the spirit of it lived on: the new Albion home shirt was a plain royal blue jersey.

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Video at Walton & Hersham – They might be giantkillers!

Oops! Powney misses a cross but Gall and O'Sullivan are on hand at the far post to clear.

Oops! Powney misses a cross but Gall and O’Sullivan are on hand at the far post to clear.

Amazing to recall that Brian Clough’s previous away Cup tie, as Derby boss, was in the European Cup Semi-Final against Juventus. From Turin to Walton-on-Thames in the space of a few months. Here is John Vinicombe’s match report of the first match of the notorious cup tie with Walton and Hersham, from 24th November 1973, 40 years today:

Albion are indeed fortunate to be meeting Walton and Hersham a second time in the FA Cup. The Amateur Cup holders very nearly succeeded at the first time of asking in knocking them out, but Albion should decide the issue in Wednesday’s Goldstone replay.

However, one says ‘should’ in the assumption that they will not fail again to master elementary facets of the game. It is a familiar, but no less valid theme of manager Brian Clough that sides which do not get shots on target do not win matches.

Saturday’s shot-shy display played right into the hands of Walton, who harried and chased with commendable spirit until referee Gordon Kew’s whistle called a temporary halt to the proceedings in semi-darkness when neither side had scored.

Albion had given Gary Bloom remarkably little to do and Brian Powney was by far the busiest goalkeeper. He was the man who kept Albion in the Cup. Yet, after only seven seconds Powney lay flat on his face, watching in dismay as the ball snuggled into the back of the net.

It was the almost classic, storybook start for the underdogs. Straight from the kick-off the ball was knocked back to Dave Bassett and he struck it firm and high towards Albion’s goal. Russell Perkins jerked his heavy limbs into a gallop and down came the ball, bounced and, in cricketing parlance, “did a bit off the seam.”

Powney was on the edge of the six-yard box when it bounced over his head, and Perkins went by joyously to find the net and salute an unbelieving crowd.

Albion were goggle-eyed as Mr Kew pointed towards the centre-spot. In the Press accommodation and overspill, with reporters still trying to find seats, 50 pairs of eyes glued to 50 watches and the timings ranged from seven to 30 seconds. Down went eyes to books, and pens moved swiftly to record the event.

But, alas for Walton, it was not a goal. Mr Kew’s right arm indicated a foul. He explained afterwards: ‘I did not allow a goal because the centre-forward jumped at the goalkeeper.’

Mr Kew is a stickler for detail and Albion can thank their lucky stars he is. Perkins could only reach the bounching ball by jumping and it looked a good goal to most of the 6,500 crowd.

When it was clear that Walton had not scored the crowd felt cheated. They turned on Clough and screamed abuse at him for coaching from the line.

The rest of the game was rent with most ungenteel tones from a district where there are more stockbrokers to the acre than you can shake a stick at.

Afterwards the disappointment showed in the faces. The lugubrious countenance of Eric Sykes reflected Walton’s feelings. He played the straight man’s role on cue and said Walton should have won. And for once Clough devilled judgment without causing a furore.

He said: ‘I am very pleased to be still in the Cup. Walton had enough football to keep us occupied. They did a very good job. Brian Powney earned his cash today.’ Then he asked for Scotch and water and retired to the dressing room.

So the big match has come and gone from Walton-on-Thames. It will not be remembered although Walton summoned all their resources and Perkins went close to winning it four minutes into the restart with a half-volley that flew narrowly past the post.

While Albion were fighting for their reputations at Walton, the marchers were parading in Derby – 1,000 still bent on restoring Clough to the throne he abdicated a month ago.

As the skies darkened over this trim council-owned ground with such a beautiful playing surface, Clough must have felt the pulses surge briefly again. George Ley outstripped a host of red shirts to rifle an ankle-high 20 harder only a foot wide. Then Walton stood stock still, accusers and accused pointing to what might have been.

There was precious little they had to fear from the recognised strikers, and Peter O’Sullivan the most skilful player afield, wasted his midfield talents to a distressing degree. Overlaps from John Templeman and Ley were what really worried Walton who alone possessed the traditional cup-tie spirit on the day.

Walton and Hersham: G Bloom, D Sargent, C Lambert, W Edwards, D Bassett, C Woffinden, W Smith, R Perkins, C Foskett, D Morris. Sub: R Wingate.

Albion: Powney, Templeman, Ley, Spearritt, Gall, Piper, Bridges, Howell (R), Hilton, Robertson, O’Sullivan. Sub: Howell (G)

Attendance: 6,300

And, for the first time on YouTube, I can now show you some super-rare footage from this match. There’s not much of it, there’s no sound, and it doesn’t include the disallowed goal:

Nevertheless, please don’t have nightmares!

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Gordon Smith turns set-back into a comeback

Before the home match with Everton in October 1980, Gordon Smith received The Sun’s Golden Ball award for his hat-trick at Coventry City three days before. Making the presentation was a man who knew all about finding the net, Jimmy Greaves, who hit 44 goals in just 57 matches for England:


It was the second hat-trick of Smith’s career, having scored three of Rangers’ six against Aberdeen two years previously. It was also Albion’s second ever hat-trick in the top flight, following Peter Ward’s three at Molineux in 1979/80.

The result at Highfield Road, in front of just 11,462 supporters, seemed rather unpromising when Coventry raced to a rather flattering 2-0 half-time lead. At the far post, the unmarked Paul Dyson had nodded in Tommy Hutchison’s drive to give the Sky Blues the lead. Then, just before the interval, a lay-off by Mark Hateley set Garry Thompson up to curl a beautiful 20 harder past Albion keeper Graham Moseley. In the second half, Steve Hunt capitalised on a Mark Lawrenson mistake to set up Hutchison for Coventry’s third. Game over… or was it?

As Jack Welling of the Sunday People reported:

Coventry, in front of their smallest crowd in the First Division reckoned without Brighton skipper Horton. He drove his men and fashioned things for the mighty Smith to finish off. The first goal came when Horton slid the ball to Smith to score with Coventry’s defence in a mess.

Then Dyson was beaten by Ward and there was Smith to finish the move with goal number two. With the match almost over, Williams floated a free-kick over to the far post and Smith went up amid a clutch of Brighton players to score.

The equaliser! And Smith does score.

The equaliser! And Smith does score.

The three goals in 19 minutes rocked a Coventry crowd that had been chanting ‘We want five’. Alan Mullery summed up his never-say-die approach when he said:

‘All the way through I didn’t think we would lose. Even at half-time when we were two down, I told the lads they could still win it.’

Smith, a £400,000 signing in the summer, even had a chance to win the match late on, something he regrets to this day. He beat Coventry keeper Les Sealey with a fine header but a defender cleared it off the line. Neverthless, he is proud of his goals that afternoon. After the match, he said:

‘We never deserved to be three goals behind, although I admit I was surprised that we got them back. It was a matter of persevering and that’s what we did. Now I’ve got seven goals for Brighton and when the manager bought me he said he expected me to get 12 goals this season so I haven’t got far to go.’

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Future journalist writes to Mike Bamber

Over the years, Nick Szczepanik has established himself as a respected sports writer for The Guardian, The Times and Sunday Times. He now mainly contributes to The Independent. However in November 1980, before he had made his name as a journalist, this Brighton & Hove Albion supporter was out of work. It gave him time to write this passionate piece to Mike Bamber, the Albion chairman, about the sharp drop in attendances at the Goldstone during the 1980/81 campaign. The letter later appeared in the Brighton v Sunderland programme on 6th December:

Dear Mr Bamber,
The people of this area have been accused in the past of being negative – but now it seems to me that people are making ridiculous excuses to justify their own apathy and defeatism; thankfully, not everyone feels the same way, but having read today’s Evening Argus, I felt I had to let you know that SOME people remain, and intend to remain, loyal Albion supporters.

I have followed the club since the late 60s – even then, in my early teens and with the value of money as it was, if anyone had promised me Division One soccer at the Goldstone for £2.00 per match, I (and others no doubt) would have considered it cheap at the price – but how some people can forget how far we have come so soon baffles me as I’m sure it baffles you.

Although currently unemployed, I managed to afford a Terrace Season Ticket this year, and have no difficulties or worries about taking my eight-year-old godson along when he wants to come. Those people who are full of excuses about inflation, hooliganism and other largely mythical evils, are in my opinion, beneath the contempt of genuine supporters -and there are 12,000 of us at least. Obviously we’ll have a moan sometimes (unlike many of the team’s and manager’s stay-away critics, we’ll have earned the right with our £2.00) but we’ll BE THERE and probably as frustrated as you at all the people who aren’t.


While I am writing, perhaps you could convey the best wishes and appreciation of my friends and myself to John Gregory. His decision to stay with the Albion was a great thing for the club and we hope he will play for us for many seasons to come; unlike some so-called supporters on the SW Terraces we think we recognise a player of First Division class and quality when we see one! (And the next Captain, perhaps?) Keep up the good work.

Yours sincerely,
Nick Szczepanik

The novelty of First Division football had appeared to wear off for many Albion supporters in 1980/81 as they faced up to the reality that Brighton were no longer almost invincible at home.

The drop in attendances at the Goldstone was sharp. For example, in 1979/80, when Brighton played Middlesbrough, Ipswich and Manchester United at home, the gates were 20,427, 23,608 and 29,670. When they played the same opponents in 1980/81, in November, home attendances fell to 12,112, 17,055 and 23,277 respectively.

As if to add credence to the issue, just 13,903 supporters watched Michael Robinson score the opener in Brighton’s 2-1 victory over Sunderland in early December:

With such a massive decline in gate receipts, it was no surprise that Albion could not hold on to players of the calibre of John Gregory for much longer. This was especially after the substantial outlay at the start of the season. The financial bubble was about to burst, and Albion would need all the loyal and resilient supporters it could get.

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The Goldstone gets ready for Division Two in 1972

With its rather jolly looking Tamplin’s brewery advert and clear view of many people’s homes and gardens, the Goldstone Ground in 1972 may not look like an intimidating sight. However, it is where Brighton & Hove Albion showed sufficient form to clinch promotion from the Third Division in 1971/72. Pat Saward’s men won an impressive fifteen home league matches out of 23, with the Goldstone roaring the side on in the decisive 1-1 draw with Rochdale in May.


An Evening Argus supplement was issued to celebrate the newly won Division Two status. Its centre-spread featured a magnificent image of three stands of the Goldstone. I’m not sure if this image below does it justice. Click on it to get an enlarged version to see a lot more detail:


If you look closely, you can see that the club kept supporters up-to-date with the alphabetised half-time scores on the side of the pitch.

Promotion in 1971/72 was a shock to many at the Albion. Considerable money was spent and much building work was done in the summer to ensure that the spartan facilities were not an embarrassment in the Second Division:

Reception and general office

Reception and general office

Board room

Board room

Treatment room

Treatment room

Players' boot room

Players’ boot room

I don’t know about you, but these renovations don’t look that impressive!

Still, it was probably the best that could be done. There was a lot less money to play about with at the club compared to later on in the decade.