Monthly Archives: December 2013

Goodbye to the 1970s! Super Albion smash City


They were heady at the Albion in December 1979. When the decade had started, the side was in the Third Division and now it had rocketed up to the giddy heights of the top flight. When the then current campaign had started, the Seagulls looked like relegation fodder. However, in the Christmas season, a resurgent Brighton played like nothing short of champions. Having trounced Wolves and Crystal Palace, two top-half sides, they proceeded to wipe the floor with Manchester City.

Here is a piece from the Daily Express that perfectly captures the delight in Sussex at the magnificent turnaround at the club:

As the decade draws to a close it is fitting to reflect on the fortunes of Sussex’s only League club whose First Division lifeline has grown progresslvely stronger over Christmas.

When the seventies were new Albion enjoyed a brief flirtation with the Second Division.

Once again they resumed an all too familiar Division Three tag, but as the influence of the incoming chairman, Mike Bamber, began to be felt a fresh picture took shape.• The management team of Clough and Taylor halted a headlong plunge towards the Fourth Division and achieved vital breathing space with a crash programme and Taylor, alone, had a near miss in 1975-76.

The Alan Mullery touchstone brought unprecedented success with two promotion seasons out of three and then, inevitably, came the slump.
Anything less on merely a nodding acquaintance with the best company in the country would be expecting too much.

As Mullery said during the •darkest moments: “Our mistake is in treating famous clubs on reputations, and not as 11 players.”

Albion are no longer overawed in their present suroundings. It has taken them half the season to acclimatise and pick up very much in the same fashion as last Christmas – maximum points from three games, and ten goals.

Last year the spurt sent them towards promotion; this time they have taken a further important step away from the rock bottom strugglers.

The yawning chasm of relegation has receded, but Mullery knows that the fight must continue, and any relaxation at this stage could be fatal.

Nevertheless, these last three games have seen Albion play more like a team better suited among championship contenders than down among the no-hopers.

In nine days they have demolished Wolves, Crystal Palace and now Manchester City, all clubs in the top half of the table.

Once might have been a fluke, but we have seen enough lately to measure Albion’s growing stature. On current form they are in a grossly false position, and while the prevailing mood is with them, they need fear no side.

In a splendid match, particutarly a memorable first half, Albion outclassed City who may yet feel the chill breath of relegation waft through the plush carpeted corridors of Maine Road.

For Mullery, at Albion’s helm, could well come the accolade of Manager of the Month.

He has motivated his players to work out their own salvation and instilled that priceless asset – self-confidence.

Even bearing in mind some of those high scoring Second and Third Division days, I cannot recall seeing Albion play so well as a team-as that opening 45 minutes against City.

Malcolm Allison, declined to grant interviews and preferred to keep his own counsel. Just as well.

There was nothing he could fairly say after his team succumbed to Albion’s fluency. In fact, they could have gone down by a good siX goals such was their lack of method and application.

The impetus of a goal inside half a minute leaves its mark and once Ray Clarke had profited by terribly slack marking to convert Mark Lawrenson’s centre, the crowd and team became as one.

For the first time this season the Goldstone really got behind Albion.

They had been wound-up by the Palace defeat, and suddenly here, was a killing thrust before many had time to settle.

City went to pieces after Clarke’s first goal. Eager to drive forward Sully missed from Brian Horton, and Joe Corrigan saved point blank from Peter Ward.

Then he got down well to the irrepressible Ward on two occasions. Next it was Gerry Ryan opening the way for Ward again, but his finishing let City off the hook.

A player with such a thirst Ward now has for goals eouldn’t keep missing, and at 27 minutes he scored his fifth in three straight outings.

The build-ups were coming from all points of the compass, especially a series of penetrating long passes and centres by John Gregory.

Just past the half hour, Clarke whipped in a third when Ryan, Ward and Sully were involved, and the North Stand chorussed: “You’re worse than Palace.”

There haven’t been many occasions when the fans have been able to rub it in, and they made the most of it this time.

They were momentarily silenced by Stuart Lee pulling one back for City, and just before the break, Graham Moseley made a daring save that prevented the lead being whittled to one.

A rare miscue by the normally composed Steve Foster let Gary Power in, and Moseley raced from his line to make a brave stop on the edge of the box.

Fears that Tommy Caton’s tackle on Lawrenson in the dying seconds of the half would prevent his reappearance were assuaged.


Early in the restart, Ward laid on delightful pass for Lawrenson to surge through the cloying mud and hit Corrigan’s bar.

There were still enough City heads still held high to make a game of it, but the result was put beyond doubt by the best goal of the match.

It was scored by Ryan who ran half the length of the pitch after gathering a throw from Moseley.

Had a Liverpool player scored it, I’ve no doubt it would be hailed as the goal of the century or some such exaggeration.

This was a masterly effort from a player who contributed much by strong running and intelligent passing.

He collected nine in 34 outings as a winger last term, but hasn’t had much luck so far.

When one player, in this case, Ward, starts to buzz, it rubs off.

The positions he reached prompted Sully to spray a series of fan-tailed passes from midfield, and Clarke, after nine games with Ward, now has settled to becoming an intuitive partner.

Ward kept turning the defence at will long after Ryan’s goal had passed Corrigan.

He was after another hat-trick, but I reckon he has done enough to prod England manager Ron Greenwood.

The Hortons of football, don’t gain international honours, but he’s as good a pro as you’ll find anywhere, and better than most.

Albion: Moseley; Gregory, Wiiliams. Horton. Foster Stevens. Ryan, Ward, Clarke, Lawrenson, O’Sullivan. ‘ Sub: Stille for Horton (injured), 76 minutes.
Manchester City: Corrigan; Ranson, Donachie, Bennett, Caton, Booth, Henry, Daley, Power. Reid, Lee. Sub: MacKenzie.

Attendance: 28.093.

Here is the first and last goal from the match:

I hope to get full highlights of this game soon. When I do, I’ll share here!

One accolade that came out of the glorious form was that Peter Ward ended up receiving the Evening Standard player award for December 1979. Here he is with chairman Mike Bamber and two bottles of bubbly:


Well done, Wardy!

In the meantime, I’d like to wish you all a Happy New Year. Roll on the 1980s!

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Kieran shows Wednesday his disco feet

Bit of a hustler on dance floor was that shy, introverted right-back Kieran O’Regan, who looked barely 15 when he broke into the Brighton first team on the last day of the 1982/83 league season. Here he is surrounded by lots of cassettes, proclaiming to love music but being bit of a wallflower when it came to boogieing on down:


When it comes to relaxing, Kieran O’Regan’s got it taped! He’s a great music lover, but one song you’ll never hear when he’s around is the Sound of Silence! ‘I play music all day long, when I’m relaxing,’ he explains. ‘I don’t listen to the radio very much. There’s too much of a mixture. You get good records, then they’ll play something you don’t like. So, I’d rather play cassettes by my favourite groups.

I like a lot of different groups, but most of the tapes I buy are by well-known singers like Bob Marley, Stevie Wonder, Genesis and Fleetwood Mac. I like watching rock shows on TV too, like Top of The Pops and the Tube.’ With his obvious love of pop music, is Kieran keen on dancing? Is he, perhaps, the secret John Travolta of the Albion side?

‘No, definitely not,’ he laughs. ‘I’m not a great one for dancing. I’m happier to sit back and listen to the music. I’ve never wanted to join a group or be up there on the stage singing. I didn’t even join the school choir. I’m happy just to be in the audience.’

Yeah, right. Late on at Hillsborough in February 1984, however, Kieran strutted his funky stuff, showing the kind of fleet-footed magic that could only be learned by dancing in his bedroom in time to his favourite music:

The article, from the Brighton v Swansea programme in February 1984, continues:

Kieran has made tremendous progress during the 18 months he has spent at the Albion. The highlight of his career to date was his International debut for the Republic of Ireland last November. ‘That was just a few days after my 20th birthday, so it was a very nice present.

My debut got a lot of publicity back home in Cork. My mum and dad, and three sisters live there, and I think they were proud of me.’

Kieran comes from a very close family and he admits he was very homesick when he first came to the South Coast. ‘It wasn’t easy at first. I missed my family and friends back in Ireland. But my landlady, Mrs McLeod, did everything she could to help me settle down. I’ve been living at her house since joining Brighton. I feel like one of the family now.’

It always takes time to settle in a new town, but Kieran has plenty of friends in Brighton now. His best mate is another of Albion’s talented young Irish players, Gary Howlett.

‘The other players call us Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, because we’re always together. When the weather’s fine, we beth enjoy a round of golf, but in the winter, we’re more likely to play a game of squash. We both like going to see other teams play too.

‘Gary Stevens is helping me with his promotions company and Gary Howlett and I go up and see him playing for Spurs when we can. We both like their attractive style of play.’

Away from soccer, Kieran is easy-going and a little shy. But he comes to life when he runs out onto the field for a game. ‘I realise how lucky I am,’ he says.

‘Football is my hobby, but I get paid for playing and I’m starting to see the world now too. Life is all about enjoying what you do and there’s nothing I’d rather do than play football.’

At the age of 20 and with an exciting career stretching out in front of him, Kieran’s view of life can be summed up in two words.., sweet music!

Over the next few seasons, O’Regan showed he could also do a good job in midfield. However, he failed to fully establish himself in the Brighton side. When the club was relegated at the end of 1986/87, O’Regan left for Swindon Town, still only 23.



Teddy’s hat-trick triumph


Argus journalist John Vinicombe was in a happy mood, describing Brighton’s 5-0 annihilation of Cardiff City in December 1978. Helped by three goals from Teddy Maybank, the handsome result put the Seagulls in third place in Division Two:

Albion’s form in the two Christmas matches – at Charlton and yesterday against Cardiff City at the Goldstone – was nothing less than superb.

From the 3-0 success at The Valley, where Malcolm Poskett scored a second half hat-trick, Albion carried on where they left off when Cardiff arrived at the Goldstone.

And there to greet them was a numbing goal in the first 23 seconds by Gary Williams and Teddy Maybank bagging his first hat-trick for the club.

But for the courage of goalkeeper Ron Healey, City would have been taken for a cricket score.

The 5-0 victory was easily Albion’s most convincing display so far and helped lift them to third spot in the table as all the results went their way.

Before a ball was kicked, Albion knew that close rivals West Ham had crashed to a shock home defeat at the hands of Orient.

Albion needed six goals to eclipse them on goal difference alone, and the situation now is that Brighton have won more games (12) than any other side. On this form they face the New Year with confidence.

If Charlton were just as comprehensively outclassed as Cardiff, it should be borne in mind that Charlton picked up yesterday to take a point at Stoke.

Other results in Albion’s favour were the 1-0 defeat of Newcastle United at Bramall Lane and Sunderland dropping a point at home to Leicester City.

And while West Ham came tumbling down, there was a similar upset at Selhurst Park, where leaders Crystal Palace suffered a 1-0 defeat by Bristol Rovers.

This is a traditional time for crazy results, but there was no hint of Albion slipping up. I cannot recall them playing so consistently welt for the entire 90 minutes as Cardiff reeled under a succession of tremendous blows.

Never mind Cardiff’s bad away record… they had toppled Fulham in their previous match and are desperate to avoid the drop.

Not once did they remotely look like upsetting Albion’s approach, and it was realty a case of how many goals would finish in City’s net.

The three deposited by Maybank will do wonders for his morale. In a twinkling, a much-maligned player has earned many new admirers, although those who watch the side home and away will testify to his voracious work rate.

Significantly, Mark Lawrenson played a part in all three Maybank goals, and if there is a more gifted player in the division, I have yet to see him.


When Maybank headed Albion’s second at 23 minutes it was his first at home for nearly a year! He last hit the Go!dstone net on January 21 against Mansfield and it is almost four months since he scored away from home.

The way has been far from easy for Maybank, but now that the spell is broken I look forward to his luck changing.

Although his damaged ankle ligaments are healed, there was no place for Peter Ward. How could Alan Mullery have changed the side that dazzled at Charlton? Now he has what managers like to call a ‘nice problem’. With nearly half the season remaining there will be plenty of chances for Ward to get back, but the good of the club comes first and personal feelings second.

It must be satisfying for Mullery to have found the touch with his players at such an important time. Aibion were long overdue for a good Christmas. but I don’t think even the most devoted fan thought in terms of two wins and eight goals!

The heavy conditions yesterday suited Albion, and skipper Brian Horton showed himself master of the long ball. Peter Sayer and Peter O’Sullivan ran and worked so hard that there was nothing for Cardiff to create. And Lawrenson, always ready to go on runs at Charlton. was equally hungry yesterday. He inspired that much confidence in Andy Rollings to mind the shop with the ever vigilant Chris Catilin to provide additional cover.

Twelve minutes from the end, Lawrenson limped off with a touch of cramp. It was a wise move to pull him out at that stage, as Cardiff’s defence lay in tatters.

Without any buses, the crowd was kept down to 20,172, but surely there must be a good 28,000 for Saturday’s visit of Newcastle.

They should prove a sterner test than Charlton or Cardiff, but in this mood I doubt if Albion care very much who they play.

Shrewd Mullery had the players in on Christmas morning to be weighed. Not one was a pound over – testimony to their professionalism. I lost count of the bails on Cardiff’s goal. Lawrenson hit the post early on, and midway through the first hall Poskett’s shot was deflected on to the bar. Two other Poskett efforts missed by narrow margins, and twice Maybank went very close and so, for good measure, did Cattlin.

When referee Tony Cox sounded the final whistle it was a merciful release for Cardiff, who were reduced to the stature of a park team.

One minute: The stopwatch showed 23 seconds when Williams hit a swerving shot from just inside the box from a pinpointed Poskett centre (1-0).
Twenty three minutes: A long ball from Lawrenson found Sayer and he quickly picked up Sully. When the ball came over to the far post, Maybank was in with his head (2-0).
Forty three minutes: A finely worked move involving five players ended when Ryan flicked across for Maybank. He pitched headlong when he shoved in the back by Roberts, and Horton nearly took the back of the net out from the spot (3-0).
Forty-eight minutes: A run of 20, maybe 25 yards by Lawrenson took him down the right, and the hard, low cross was met by Maybank with a diving header (4-0).

Jubilant Maybank completes his hat-trick

Jubilant Maybank completes his hat-trick

Sixty-two minutes: An almost identical move: Lawrenson raiding yet again, and Maybank getting in to force the ball home (5-0).

Albion: Moseley; Cattlin, Williams, Horton, Rollings, Lawrenson, Ryan. Poskett, Maybank, Sayer, O’Sullivan. Sub: Clark for Lawrenson (withdrawn), 78 minutes.
Cardiff City: Healey; Thomas, Pethard, Campbell, Roberts, Larmour. Attley, Stevens, Evans, Dwyer, Lewis. Sub: Bishop for Stevens (withdrawn), 63 minutes.
Referee: Mr T. Cox (South Croydon).
Bookings: Campbell (foul).
Attendance: 20,172
Albion Jackpot: Pink 88107 – £105; yellow, 1609 – £57.50; pink, 94905 – £34.50; yellow. 3819 – £23.

From his moment of triumph, Teddy Maybank didn’t quite run into a rich vein of goalscoring form. He popped up with the opener against Leicester City in early February at the Goldstone before embarking on another fruitless spell in front of goal. A sending off against Sheffield United in March threatened to curtail his participation in the final run-in as Mullery moved quickly to sign Martin Chivers as a stop-gap.

However, three goals in the last four matches meant Maybank ended the season with a bang. It was ample reward for a forward who unselfishly did the donkey work to create space for his more fleet-footed colleagues.

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Zillwood March – oldest winger in town


From the Daily Express on 26th October 1992, I found this piece on George Zillwood March, known as ‘Zach March’ who played for Brighton from 1913 to 1922 as an outside-right.

He was born in Bosham, Sussex, on 25th October 1892, and reached the grand old age of one hundred by the time of this article by Barry Flatman:

England’s oldest living ex-League footballer was getting ready to hang up his boots even before Wembley’s famous white horse had first been shod.

Had he not chosen to work on past his retirement date, he could have drawn his pension before the birth of the Busby Babes.

By the time Gazzamania struck, he was more excited about receiving a telegram from the Queen.

By Zillwood March, ex-Brighton and Hove Albion and Portmsouth, never once resorted to ‘it was better i my days’ for his 100th birthday speech.

Zillwood, or Zach, as he was known at the Goldstone and Fratton Park either side of the First World War, proudly celebrated his century yesterday. As he looked back he said: “I was not a bad player then but I’d like to say I would have been better if I’d played today.

“When I played everyone’s role in the team was very rigid. I was the left winger and you weren’t there for anything else but getting the ball, dribbling it down the wing past the full-back and then crossing for the centre-forward.

“If you went wandering in front of the flank you’d soon get a telling off. And I would have loved to play in those lovely light boots without the big hard toe cap, kicking those nice new balls which don’t get heavy with mud and water.”

Zillwood hails from the seaside Sussex village of Bosham and was snapped up by Brighton when 21. The very next summer Jack Robson, the boss who signed him, moved to Manchester United, and wanted to take his discovery with him.

Zillwood, still working as a builder for the family firm, refused and stayed at Brighton in the South West Combination before enlisting for the Royal Sussex Regiment to fight in the trenches.

Mention of war brings the only trace of anger from this happy old man. “The only people who started wars should have been left to fight them. It’s the most terrible thing I have ever seen because men just become animals.”

A hat-trick against Watford is his proudest memory, alongside being Brighton’s highest paid player at £4 a week.

Zillwood often fell prey to the full-back’s sliding tackle, a tactic he believes should be abolished.

It was the heavy lunge of one Moses Russell from Plymouth Argyle that enede his career. “I was getting a bit slower and he managed to kick me in the mouth and knock me out. I thought, ‘that’s enough'”

zillwood100But Zillwood never lost his enthusiasm for the game and still watches matches on TV. “There are players in the game nowadays who have so much skill, none more than Gazza. He’s an exhibitionist, a real star.”

His theory for long life? “It’s all down to a bit of luck and enjoying yourself. I loved my football career, I loved my building work and I love life.”

March died at the grand old age of 101 in Bognor Regis on 18th September 1994.


Happy Valley for Malcolm Poskett


Well, what a difference thirty years makes. Yesterday, Oscar Garcia’s Brighton were left reeling from a 3-2 defeat at Charlton. On 23rd December 1978, the outcome at Valley Parade was rather different as Athletic were annihilated 3-0 by Mullery’s men with striker Malcolm Poskett blagging a hat-trick. Here it is reported in the matchday programme (against Newcastle):

The trip to the Valley in South East London last Saturday provided a Christmas present for the many loyal Albion supporters who made the trip and it was one even they might not have expected. A display of “total” football from our lads saw Charlton Athletic completely outclassed and although one hesitates to mention the word, it had ‘promotion” written all over it.

Anyone looking at the Second Division table on Christmas Eve and comparing it with last season will see that our record compares more than favourably with the same time last year and from that same table it seems clear that far less than 56 points will take a club into Division One this campaign.

South East London this season has provided us with our two best away wins, the other being against Millwal at the Den.

The game was a personal triumph for Malcolm Poskett who in scoring three, notched his eighth goal of the season and his second hat-trick since signing last season from Hartlepool the aggression of Malcolm can clearly be seen in the picture above as he shoots for goal.

Right from the off the match promised entertainment and a shot from Teddy Maybank and two threatening runs by Peter Sayer gave our supporters an indication of just how Albion were going to play.

Although Albion had been superior in every department they went in still level, but the lads were no less determined coming out for the second-half. Quickly the pattern of play was reestablished with Peter Sayer firing’just wide and then came the moment two train loads of Albion supporters had been waiting for.

Twenty-one minutes into the half Teddy Maybank chipped the ball neatly from the bye-line and Malcolm Poskett nodded home his sixth goal of the season.

Two minutes later the story was even better. A corner was won by Andy Rollings who headed goalwards, the ball was blocked but ran free for Poskett to shoot between keeper and post and it was two.

Charlton were stunned and Albion elated. All out attack had left the Londoners dizzy and bewildered and with nine minutes left Poskett completed his hat-trick with as cool a goal as one could wish.

Teddy Maybank made the space with his head and the confidence was there for Poskett to round Wood and start the celebrations.

poskett1978Those were very real and no team could wish to start the holiday period better than with a 3-0 win away from home. Not only was the result just what the doctor ordered but the manner of the performance was one that would make Albion, yet again, many friends.

Graham Moseley had a welcome quiet day in goal while fullbacks Williams and Cattlin found their colleagues so confident that they too could join the attack. Andy Rollings and Mark Lawrenson were safe and sure at the back and also found time to move forward.

The midfield trio of Horton, O’Sullivan and Sayer were outstanding and in this “engine room” Albion played their best of the season.

Gerry Ryan had probably his best game away from home, his confidence seen right, while Teddy Maybank was his usual tireless, spare no effort, self.

The game, though, will be remembered as “Poskett’s match’.

He made goalscoring look easy and he could hardly have wished for a better Christmas present but one which surely even he won’t mind sharing with the fans.

Yes it was quite a day at “Happy Valley’.

Following on the back of a 2-0 home win against Luton, the previous week, the triumph at Charlton confirmed that Brighton were serious challengers for promotion. It also reinforced the impression that Poskett, a lanky striker from Hartlepool, now in the number eight shirt, was a worthy stand-in for the off-colour Peter Ward who hadn’t hit a League goal since early October. It was Poskett’s second hat-trick for Brighton. The first, also away, came in a 4-0 whipping of Bristol Rovers in April, the previous season.


Boxing Day 1979: Ace Ward shatters that jinx

Gerry Ryan in action on Boxing Day

Gerry Ryan in action on Boxing Day

Here is a splendid match report from John Vinicombe from December 1979 covering the Seagulls’ famous mauling of their arch rivals:

As Albion left the Goldstone after their 3-0 triumph over Crystal Palace yesterday, manager Alan Mullery grinned: “I’ve been waiting three-and-a-half years for that.”

In the time Mullery has been Albion’s manager, his side has failed to beat Palace in nine meetings, and he rejoiced: “They are not our bogey team any more! “What I just saw was our sweetest performance in the First Division, although we have played just as well before. This was something different, and has been coming on for the last seven or eight games.”


While Mullery was delighted with Peter Ward’s continuing good form, he preferred to talk in terms of a complete team performance. But the unerring eye for flair and excitement caused him to dwell on Ward, who scored and played a part in the other goals. Said Mullery: “He was superb. He is back to his old, sparkling self. He is playing like we know he can play and have seen him before. I would say the difference between the teams was a bit more than Ward. For a change we were the underdogs and we didn’t give Palace a kick. At the end, John Gregory turned round to Graham Moseley and asked if he had finished his crossword.”

Before the start, Mullery told Ward to go out and prove that Jim Cannon was not his master. Said Mullery, “I knew how it had been in the past, and last season I had Ward as sub because he just hadn’t been able to do anything against him in previous matches.”

When Ward netted after 33 minutes it was his first League goal against Palace. The display drew generous praise from Terry Venables: “Ward was brilliant… outstanding… the difference between the sides.” The Palace boss said he thought the penalty decision when Cannon brought down Ward, and Brian Horton scored from the spot after five minutes, was harsh. “I didn’t think the passing was very good from either side, but all credit to Brighton, they finished well.”

Albion’s first success against Crystal Palace in ten meetings took them out of the bottom three yesterday. A thoroughly convincing 3-0 Goldstone victory raised even further their hopes of staying in the First Division.

A 28,358 crowd witnessed the win that lifted Albion above Bristol City on goal difference. The manner of such a performance was such that Albion may justifiably entertain high hopes of climbing completely away from the relegation zone as the season enters the half-way stage. Ten points from the last seven games is a pretty broad indication that Albion are starting to turn the corner, and the visit of Manchester City on Saturday is awaited with confidence.

Peter Nicholas tries to stop the immaculate Ward

Peter Nicholas tries to stop the immaculate Ward

There is no more improved player than Peter Ward, who continued yesterday where he left off on the frozen Molineux pitch – scene of a famous hat-trick. He has now scored five goals in five games, and tops the scorers with nine. His appetite is growing notably sharper game by game and he scored Albion’s second after being involved in the early penalty converted by Brian Horton. It was Ward who laid the third goal two-third of the way through for Gerry Ryan. In fact, it was a game that bore Ward’s stamp of class, but in no way was this a one-man show.

The application of the entire team was just too much for Palace, and Horton’s inspiration made for a memorable encounter. There was no visible weak link, and yet Alan Mullery was understandably apprehensive at Peter Suddaby starting a three-match suspension. He needn’t have worried. Gary Stevens slotted in to shackle Mike Flanagan who didn’t have a kick. There were just three Palace shots on target, two from the immensely talented Vince Hilaire, and one near the end from Jerry Murphy. None of them gave Graham Moseley any trouble… now does that sound like a description of Albion and Palace?

The side put out by Terry Venables were never allowed to parade their rich plumage, but, to be fair, he had problems. Kenny Sansom started with a thigh injury, and couldn’t continue after 55 minutes, while Flanagan, returning from injury, looked woefully short of pace. So too did Gerry Francis, while Ward gave Jim Cannon, his old gaoler, the run-around from start to finish. You could tell straight from kick-off that Ward was determined to end Cannon’s domination. His first touch, after Gary Williams and Sully had scissored through, ended with John Burridge holding a low shot wondering how long it would take his skipper to catch up with the wraith-like figure.

Well, Cannon did make contact after only five minutes, but to whip his legs away just inside the box. When Ward bounced straight to his feet, and saw referee John Martin pointing to the spot, his face broke into a broad grin. Instead, Horton’s expression was of grim determination. He had a job to do, and did it perfectly by planting the spot-kick high and to the left of Burridge.

Before the kick was taken, Burridge walked up to the ball and repositioned it – a little piece of gamesmanship, which was entirely lost on Horton, who knew that the next second or two would surely decide the course of the match.

No sooner had Cannon shrugged his shoulders and indicated that he didnt agree with Martin’s decision, than Ward wriggled past him again, this time on a play with Ryan. The shot lacked power, but Burridge was entitled to ask questions of his defence, and it didn’t stop there. As Albion’s confidence grew and grew, Sully and Mark Lawrenson opened Palace down the middle, and Ward skipped in, only to handle before netting. It didn’t count, of course, but no side likes to see players getting through without a challenge.

By way of a change, Ward next appeared on the right, following Horton’s fluent pass. This time poacher turned chance-maker only for Burridge to pluck the ball from the flailing feet.

For a short while, Palace pushed players up, Hilaire threatening to open the floodgates, but, when Dave Swindlehurst tried his luck in the air and on the ground, he found Steve Foster his master. He came off second best in the physical battle that grew more bruising, and with Flanagan muzzled, Palace looked to their midfield, but to no avail.

They were too busy trying to stem Albion’s increasingly powerful attack and, at 33 minutes, Palace found themselves two-down after giving the ball away from their own corner kick. It was a short one involving Sansom and Francis. When Francis’ outswinger ballooned towards Horton, he didn’t hesitate. Away he went with a sustained burst over 40 yards to belie his years. On the right Ward pulled players towards him, and when the pass came across, Palace’s depleted back four were in disarray. Cannon was nowhere, Nicholas grounded, Burridge left with no alternative but to narrow the angle. Ward wrecked his geometry with a low shot that sent the North Stand into a joyful chorus…

“Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way! Oh! What fun it is to see Palace lose away.”

The solid V-shaped wedge of Palace people in the North-End corner was struck dumb.They had no reply as the Goldstone savoured a sweet moment, and the torment began afresh early in the second half. The boot started to go in, quietly at first, but not too sly to escape Martin’s notice. He began to take names, but Palace weren’t even good enough to knock Albion off their game. Albion knew they could be cracked again, and at 59 minutes Ward pushed open the creaking door that passed for Palace’s deface down the right, and laid on a tap-in goal for Ryan.

Now the mood around the ground was reminiscent of the promotion run-in games. Rapid calculations based on half-time scores had super-optimists thinking in terms of a mid-table spot in the next few weeks. The euphoria was understandable. Albion haven’t played so well at home for a long time, athough the handful who saw them at Wolves declared that stay-at-homers missed the best stuff.

The crowd, rather lower than expected, had been won over long before half-time and, for Palace, the rest was silence.

Men of the match
Horton (Albion)
Hilaire (Palace)

Moseley; Gregory, Williams, Horton, Foster, Stevens, Ryan, Ward, Clarke, Lawrenson, O’Sullivan. Sub: Stille.
Crystal Palace: Burridge; Hinshelwood, Sansom, Nicholas, Cannon, Gilbert, Murphy, Francis, Flanagan, Swindlehurst, Hilaire. Sub: Fenwick for Sansom (injured), 55 minutes.

Referee: Mr J. Martin (Alton).

Bookings: Nicholas (foul), Hinshelwood (foul).

Albion Jackpot: White, 43233 (£125); Yellow, 28820 (£62.50); White, 41966 (£37.50), Yellow 26657 (£25)

If anyone has their unclaimed Albion Jackpot ticket from December 1979, I wonder if the club will still fulfil on the prize. Best to head to the Club Shop to find out!

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The Twelve Days of Albion Retro Christmas

On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love sent to me…


Twelve Kens a-beaming


Eleven Pipers piping


Ten Howletts howling


Nine Andys rolling


Eight Smillies smiling


Seven Storers scoring


Six Sayers saying


Five Michael Rings


Four Johnny Byrnes

Three missed pens


Two of Powney’s gloves


And a Wardy looking very merry!

That last image is taken from Scoop Magazine in December 1979. Lovely jumper!

And now, I’d like to wish you a very merry and peaceful Christmas. Thank you for reading this blog. As you may know, it started in February this year. Every day there has been a new post on The Goldstone Wrap, a regularity that has been a challenge and a delight: A challenge, as (believe it or not!) I have a full time job and other things to do. And a delight too, as I am thrilled to have a platform to share articles, photos and videos relating to Brighton & Hove Albion’s past.

The blog is currently jam-packed with 318 posts on past players, matches, magazine articles and football kit design and will continue to grow, day by day. It’s a labour of love to write it and it’s been wonderful to hear from North Stand Chat, Twitter, Facebook and Seagulls Chat, as well as your blog comments, that lots of Albion, and some non-Albion, fans have enjoyed reading it. For some it’s become a part of their early morning routine to check out what’s new on The Goldstone Wrap. I’d also like to thank all of you who I have met through doing this blog, including those who have lent me photos, videos and taken snaps of various memorabilia.

Over the course of the next few days, you can look forward to newspaper coverage of a Boxing Day massacre, a very rare Albion calendar from the glory years, as well as an incredible solo goal by Kieran O’Regan at Hillsborough.

In the meantime, let’s swop Goldstone Wrapping for Christmas (un)wrapping. It’s time to put your feet up and enjoy the festivities!

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Santa sleighs Crystal Palace

Getting into the festive spirit, these Albion folks featured on the cover to the Brighton v Newcastle matchday programme in December 1983:


Can you work out who they are?

Inside, the identities were revealed… well, two of the trio, anyway:

Our cover photograph on today’s programme was the idea of supporter Stove Blunt, “but very few supporters will know exactly who the Father Christmas is alongside the two clowns. The identity of these are no secret as both Neil Smillie and Steve Foster have been the butt of their colleague’s humour this week.

Steve claims that his diet is responsible for the ill fitting trousers while Nell, who has missed training in recent weeks due to his ankle injury, shows that he has still been keeping fit . . . but what about Father Christmas, who is it?

I don’t know… surely it’s not Chris Cattlin, is it?

The early appearance for our photo of the lads in fancy dress gave no secrets away for the players’ own fancy dress party next Thursday. This party has become an Albion Christmas tradition and some marvellous characters have emerged in recent seasons.

Gary Williams’ depiction of Wurzel Gummidge two years ago was one of the best, but one or two of the players have some ‘secret’ plans lined up for next Thursday and local costume shops have been the ‘odd’ target for some.

One of the biggest, ACE Fancy Dress Hire, in Eastbourne, provided the material for our photo and several of the lads were over there this week lining up their own for the party. Everyone is playing a part but they all claim secrecy is part of the enjoyment.

Two rumours circulating the ground suggest that one player will be dressed as a well known cricketer and another is threatening to go as ‘Boy George’

Despite the seasonal cheer, manager Chris Cattlin was keen to maintain a discipline squad, as he revealed in the Brighton v Fulham programme on 27th December 1983:

“We were due to train on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and every player will be expected to step on the scales each day so that their weight can be checked… too much Foster turkey, Corrigan Christmas pudding or Case cream cakes will show up and the lads know it.”

It seemed to do the trick as Brighton won 2-0 at Crystal Palace on Boxing Day, with goals from Danny Wilson and Neil Smillie.

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Shoot Cover: Mark Lawrenson (22 December 1979)

Originally scheduled for yesterday’s post for The Goldstone Wrap was this Shoot! magazine cover from the final few days of the 1970s:


In the current edition of The Seagulls Love Review fanzine, Jem Stone wrote that:

a commanding strong tall young holding player won the ball with ease, stood up and strode away from the penalty box. He picked up speed, looked up, past one player, past two and shook off opponents and still kept going.

Can you guess which of Oscar Garcia’s players this is?

Jem Stone was watching a current Albion star who reminds him of Mark Lawrenson.

Challenging for the ball with Arsenal’s Alan Sunderland in the Shoot! cover above, I wonder if the former Preston man was about to get the better of the Gunners striker and embark on one of those trademark surges.

Going through an archive of vintage Brighton footage, I found several of Lawro’s runs that rather give the wonderful impression of him as an attacking sweeper, in the style of a Beckenbauer. While by no means exhaustive, here are a few of them:

Lawrenson’s penetrating dribble at White Hart Lane at the end of the first half looks to have run out of steam but he still salvages a corner:

Against Orient, Lawrenson cuts through the midfield like a knife through butter but then meets his match and Ralph Coates scores in the ensuing counter-attack:

OK, not so much of a dribble by Lawrenson here, but the winning of the under hit pass shows the advantage of having a recognised defender in an advanced position:

An amazing slaloming run that leads the defence of Aston Villa, eventual League champions, a merry dance, only let down by the finish:

The footage I really wanted was of Lawrenson’s famous solo run and goal against Wolves in the FA Cup in 1978/79. John Vinicombe described the ninth minute goal like this:

Vintage Lawrenson. He began a run from deep inside his own half, weaving past defender after defender. From the edge of the box, he shot and the ball bounced once before flying past Bradshaw’s right hand.

Sadly, I don’t think there was ever a video recording of that. Just like Garry Nelson’s glorious goal at Brentford in the 1980s, this one is lost to history.


RIP David Coleman


As you’ve probably heard yesterday, David Coleman has died at the age of 87.

Had Brighton & Hove Albion’s one FA Cup Final appearance had been between 1973 and 1978, we may have enjoyed hearing the Cheshire-born broadcaster declare ‘One-Nil!’ as Gordon Smith’s opener sneaked past Gary Bailey in the Manchester United goal.

Instead, come May 1983, we were able to enjoy his splendid, bubbly presenting of BBC’s Cup Final Grandstand. Here’s the first nine minutes of the show that ran from the morning into the 3pm kick-off:

As you can see and hear, in the hot seat, he was in his element. Unsurprising, given his vast experience of managing various links and features with supreme aplomb. After all, he began presenting Grandstand in 1958 and continued to be its regular presenter for ten years. In 1983, Cup Final Grandstand featured a special edition of A Question of Sport, a show he regularly hosted for 18 years, plus reports from each finalist’s hotel. Coleman also interviewed Ron Atkinson and Jimmy Melia:

In an excruciating moment, he uses his knowledge to do a decent job at filling silence. This was during the crazy dash to find the Bob Beamon footage in this very inefficient prototype to YouTube:

Coleman also introduced footage of the Brighton’s team’s famous journey to Wembley via helicopter:

Quite remarkable, I’m sure you’ll agree, even if the Cup Final song wasn’t!