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.”