Seagulls soar over BN3 7DE

Yesterday, Brighton won 3-1 against Port Vale in the FA Cup 4th Round. In April 1977, though, they battled in the Third Division in front of 23,446 supporters at the Goldstone, with Gerry Fell getting the only goal.

The jubilation surrounding the goal was captured by photographer Ken Tyhurst of the Brighton Gazette, and used in a magnificent poster for the Post Office:

seagullsoaroverbn37de

As you can see, Peter Ward and Sammy Morgan led the celebration (with a mixture of Bukta and Umbro branding on their kit), plus Ken Tiler in the background.

According to a piece by Tim Carder:

Bill Swallow of the Swallow Company, designers of the current Albion programme, tells me that he was the Post Office’s Press Officer for the South East in 1977 and the poster was his idea. Apparently the ‘bean counters’ wouldn’t allow him to get it printed until promotion was certain, but he wanted to get it on the side of mail vans as soon as possible after the date so it was prepared it in advance.

In the article, Bill said:

“The image was actually a bit of a cheat. Although the Goldstone crowd was over 23,000, the terraces didn’t go back far enough to take the image to the top of the poster. So, in those pre-Photoshop days, we fiddled it by adding a tier or two of faces from elsewhere.”

Tim Carder added:

The poster was a great success. It went on nearly all local vans during May 1977 and, to Bill’s delight, numbers of them were stolen off the sides, probably an unprecedented occurence! Bill later did a Reading FC poster – very similar but obviously not as nice!

albionbookI won my copy of the poster at an auction at Withdean many seasons ago. It is also on display in the BHAFC fan bedroom at the new museum at the Amex stadium, which will hopefully be opening very soon.

Of course, the image from the 1-0 victory over Port Vale was also used on the front cover of ‘Albion – An illustrated history of Brighton & Hove Albion FC’ by John Vinicombe. This rather error-ridden book was published in 1978, covering the story up to the end of the 1977/78 season in Division Two. At the time, the matchday programme described how ‘the sales of the book from our Promotions shop was both brisk and plentiful.’ It was almost certainly helped by having such a striking image on the cover.

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