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:

santa

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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