Monthly Archives: February 2014

90 Minutes asks fans: “Should the FA become involved in internal club disputes?” in 1996

The hot topics today concern Hull City’s name change and Cardiff City’s shirt colour and nickname. Back in the 1990s, it was Brighton & Hove Albion’s supporters who felt they were being ignored. As the magazine put it:

Chairmen who don’t seem to give a stuff about their club; ground-sharing with Gillingham; and fans boycotting games. The Football Association have thrown their hat into the ring, urging the club to take the dispute to arbitration, even offering to meet the costs of the CBI. So just what is going on at Brighton? With this in mind, 90 minutes headed for Craven Cottage…


Matthew Dalton & Ian Fowler support Brighton
Matthew: “Brighton need independent arbitration to sort things out. What’s needed is someone neutral to look at it, with all parties involved agreeing to abide by the outcome. The FA’s move with the CBI is the first positive thing to happen in months.”
Ian: “Football’s a multi-million pound business, and we’ve seen that if a multi-million pound business such as the Post Office or the train drivers have a dispute, it goes to arbitration if it can’t be resolved. This seems to be the logical conclusion to what’s happening at Brighton.”


Ralph Bunche & Will Bouquet support Fulham
Ralph: “The FA needs to sort this out as clubs need help from time to time. We needed help to get planning permission to save Fulham a few years ago. The trouble at Brighton could go on for ever if someone doesn’t step in.”
Will: “The FA’s intervention should depend on how serious the dispute is. At Brighton they definitely should become involved, but they shouldn’t be jumping in every five minutes. Clubs should try to resolve their problems internally before resorting to outside help.”


Roy Garington & Steve Evans support Brighton
Roy: “We’re not going to budge and Archer’s not going to give in, so it’s stalemate at the moment with no solution in sight. So I welcome the FA’s move for independent mediation. It’s a good idea.”
Steve: “It’s about time something was done. Someone from outside has got to come in and sort it out. It’s a good move by the FA.”


Daniel Taylor supports Fulham
Daniel: “I think the FA should become involved in these sorts of disputes. The first thing they should do is send the Brighton chairman on a Public Relations course. That might help.”


Chris Pearcy & Steve Beds support Brighton
Chris: “The FA are the authority in football, looking after the interests of football. They shouldn’t allow the likes of Archer to come into a club and run it into the ground. The FA’s involvement and CBI suggestions are long overdue.”
Steve: “This is now so serious that it could end in the death of someone. I welcome the FA’s suggestion of independent arbitration, but Archer’s already putting pre-conditions on any inquiry. After the last couple of years I can’t see anything happening to settle this dispute.”


Alan Hedges & Chris Wright support Fulham
Alan: “The FA should stay out of it. It’s not really their business. Brighton should be sold to people who want to run it for the fans. Supporters should always come first.”
Chris: “The Brighton chairman lives in Blackburn, around 300 miles from the club. It looks as though he’s bought the club and selling the ground to make a profit, with no thought on where the team’s going to play. All he seems to be in it for is the money. The FA should have put a stop to it a long time ago. The directors at Brighton are just making money – I feel sorry for the fans.”


Simon Wednesday and Graham Campbell support Brighton
Simon: “The state of Brighton is horrendous and nothing’s happening, so the FA’s right to try and find a solution. The FA have surely got the power to intervene when a dispute is ruining a club. I welcome the involvement of the CBI or ACAS to mediate. Archer and Belotti are standing firm, and no one really knows why.”
Graham: “In any industry, if there’s a dispute that can’t be settled, it goes to independent arbitration, with both sides agreeing to abide by the outcome. That should have happened at Brighton months ago.”


I wish I hadn’t been with Manchester United


From Shoot! magazine in 1976:

Brighton just failed to win promotion from Division Three last season, and that sad fact plunged almost everyone at The Goldstone Ground and in the South Coast resort into black depression.

The exception was … none other than Albion’s midfield star Peter O’Sullivan!

Not that Peter is in the least disloyal, or he didn’t desperately want the club to go up. It is just he doesn’t believe in letting ANYTHING get him down too much.

In fact, Peter is so philosophical that he was probably using “Que Sera, Sera, Whatever Will Be, Will Be” as a theme song long before the Manchester United fans!

Peter has never allowed himself to worry too much in a career which has seen its fair share of soccer’s ups and downs…

Like being given a free transfer by Manchester United… or being consistently on the fringe of the Welsh international side … or going up into Division Two with Brighton four years ago, only to be relegated the following season.

Don’t worry – nothing is worth getting miserable about. That’s Peter’s philosophy – and he’s proud of it.

“I’m an easy-going sort of bloke and always have been,” he says. “Life is far too short for worrying – and you are a long time dead, after all.

In fact, I think too many players today worry about their game too much. They should relax more and just enjoy their football and take things as they come.”

But Peter, now 25, does have a regret – that he ever left Wrexham to join United when he was 15. Ha could have gone to Liverpool or Leeds instead but like so many youngsters before and since, he chose the glamour of Old Trafford.

“1 have no criticism of United, but I really wish I hadn’t gone them now,” says Peter. “I was just one of the conveyor belt of youngsters they had and didn’t catch anyone’s eye.”

Peter moved to Brighton six years ago and is now the only remaining playor from the side which won promotion in 1971-72 under former manager Pat Saward. And he is established as one of the Brighton crowd’s favourite players – and among the star midfield men in the Division.

“I must admit it was a blow to win promotion only to come straight down again as we did,” he says.

The real trouble was money just wasn’t avaiiable for Mr Saward to buy the players he wanted to strengthen the side – and, also, we became acclimatised to the higher level too late in the season.”

Now, despite last season’s failure, Peter believes there are good times ahead for the club.

He says: “The potential down hare is tremendous and we can attract vast support. And we have some great players now, like Joe Kinnear, Andy Rollings and Sammy Morgan, whose experience will be invaluable to us.

Just missing promotion was s disappointment for everyone, but it is not the end of the world and we must make sure we don’t slip up next season.

“That means we have just got to improve away from home. We slaughtered sides at The Goldstone all last season, but we just could not put our game together on our travels and it cost us very dearly in the end.”

O’Sullivan went on to have an excellent season in the 1976/77 campaign, playing all but one League match and creating numerous chances for Ward and Mellor to turn into goals. When promotion was clinched, the stage was set for O’Sullivan to dazzle the Second Division crowds just like before. Unlike in 1972/73, though, Mullery’s side were suitably equipped with a strong enough squad to not only survive in the upper echelons of the Football League, but to prosper. Suddenly, Old Trafford didn’t seem so far away…


John Ruggiero clarifies and diversifies

Midfielder John Ruggiero made only a handful of appearances for Brighton (eight in the League, and four in the League Cup) in the 1977/78 campaign. However, he managed to get featured in Brighton v Tottenham’s matchday programme in April 1978:


While his time with the Albion was brief, he expressed warmth for those days, on Facebook last week:

Loved my short time in Brighton. Would have liked to have played a few more games but still love the place and the team were buzzing at that time.

And to answer a question that has remained unanswered for many Seagulls fans of the 1970s, this son of Italian parents explained that his surname is pronounced ‘roo jerr oh’. So now you know!

When I read him some of what is said of him from this profile, and wondered whether he was still a fan of Clint Eastwood and Oliver Reed, and the group Yes, he clarified some of the factoids within the profile:

Al Forno was a restaurant in Brighton. We would all go in there on a Friday afternoon after training and have pasta and wine. Yes, that was the secret of Brighton’s success! Carol and Denise were wives of Eric and Brian, who were my best mates.

Interesting that he has short back and sides in the photo here as others of him featured a moustache and bubble perm. He certainly kept people guessing with his look in those days, and quips:

Most footballers are in love with themselves. I suppose it was the same in my day!

Nowadays, John works for Cheshire Police.


High-flying Seagulls come down with a bump

A magnificent cover for Football Today magazine in July 1991:

gary chivers, nicky bissett

High flying action as Nicky Bissett and Gary Chivers battle against Notts County’s Dave Regis in the 1991 Play-Off Final at Wembley.

Inside the magazine, the round-up reports that Mark Lawrenson has started work as a PFA advisor to players on contracts, signing on fees, transfers and pensions ‘proving to players that they don’t need the services of an expensive agent. Their own union will do it for them.’ It also reports that Lawrenson has started playing for Corby in the Beazer Homes League as well as renovating a pub in Oxfordshire.

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Sammy’s double puts Palace on the rocks

After spells with Port Vale and Aston Villa, the Northern Ireland centre-forward Sammy Morgan joined Brighton in December 1975. Although a regular in the Albion side, it took him under the Goldstone clash with Crystal Palace on 24th February 1976 for him to get on the scoresheet. Here’s how Jack Steggles of the Daily Mirror reported the action the following morning:


Irish international Sammy Morgan last night repaid a large chunk of his £35,000 transfer by shooting the goals that brought Brighton’s dream of Second Division football a step nearer.

The goals were Morgan’s first since he joined Brighton from Aston Villa eight games ago. And he could not have chosen a better time to score them.

The victory lifted breezy Brighton into second place and proved another League setback for poor Palace who have now notched just one win in their last 12 matches.

Morgan struck his first blow in the 13th minute to set the full house crowd of 33,300 – Brighton’s biggest for four years – roaring.

A long cross from Ernie Machin was headed on by Ian Mellor and Morgan darted in behind a static Palace defence to apply the killer touch.

And in the 55th minute Morgan did it again.

This time Tony Towner set it up with a probing run deep into the heart of the Palace defence.

His final shot was kicked away by Paul Hammond – and Morgan had the rebound in the net in a flash.

Brighton’s delighted manager Peter Taylor said: “In view of the tremendous tension and atmosphere generated by the crowd I thought we gave a magnificent performance.

Palace are still a skilful side and I have no intention of knocking them.

“I am delighted for Morgan. It must have given him a great boost to get a couple of goals like this.”

Palace boss Malcolm Allison put on a customary bold face, and predicted his faltering side would still win promotion.

He said: “It was an excellent match for the third division and I have no doubt that we will still go up.”

Palace have often claimed, with justification, that they were superior to most of the teams who have beaten them during the deplorable League run that has put their prospects of promotion in grave danger.

They could offer no such argument last night. Brighton were worth their victory – for the basic reason that they were prepared to work much harder.

Palace, in patches, showed some of their smooth skills.

But they seemed to turn their noses when the going got rough – and in the Third Division that is tantamount to signing your own death warrant.

Brighton had the game’s outstanding individual in Welsh international Peter O’Sullivan, who turned in a glittering midfield performance.

By comparison Palace’s England Under-23 star Peter Taylor had a disappointing return from a two-match suspension.

Taylr made little impression as Brighton bustled Palace out of their stride and Palace’s frustrations were shared by an unruly section of their fans.

Louts wearing Palace colours hurled smoke bombs and metal objects onto the pitch after Morgan’s goals.

Referee Ron Challis threatened to abandon the game and police moved in with dogs to restore order.

It was only fair to Brighton that the police did win their battle for it would have been criminal if their hard earned victory march had been checked.

The win completed a league and up double over Crystal Palace, with Albion having won 1-0 at Selhurst Park earlier on in the 1975/76 season.

Growing in confidence and sharpness, Morgan went on to hit five goals in five matches in a prolific spell in March as Albion strode confidently towards promotion. However, the debut and form of Peter Ward put the Northern Ireland striker’s starting place in jeopardy. Never Albion nor Palace gained promotion from Division Three in 1975/76, with Brighton undone by their away record and Palace distracted and overstretched by their impressive FA Cup run that took them to the semi-final.

When the new campaign was in sight, Morgan got off to a bad start in the Alan Mullery era, fracturing a cheekbone in a pre-season friendly with Luton in August 1976. When he recovered, he was unable to break the winning Ward-Mellor partnership and, as a consequence, was a perennial substitute. He was sold to Cambridge in August 1977 for a £15,000 fee.



Thank heaven. Four little goals!

Pint-sized striker Bryan Wade is profiled in the Brighton v Oldham programme from 1990/91:


Legend has it that he scored ‘four goals on his Albion debut’ but ‘was not really used by Barry Lloyd, who preferred the Byrne and Small partnership for the rest of 1990/91’. The reality is rather more complicated.

After playing for his home-town club, Bath City, and a spell with Trowbridge Town, he joined Swindon where he scored ten times when the Robins clinched the Division Four championship in 1985/86. The forward then had a spell with Swansea City before being released at the end of 1989/90. After a stint at Haverfordwest, he was given a trial with the Seagulls at the Goldstone by Barry Lloyd in September 1990. Wade scored a hat-trick in a 5-0 demolition of Southampton in the reserves and was offered a contract the following month.

Wade made it on the first team bench five times in the autumn, eventually coming on for John Crumplin in the 2-3 home defeat to Middlesbrough on 27th October 1990. However, hamstring problems halted his first team involvement but, after a break, he was given a starting place at Wolves on 12th January 1991. He responded with this headed goal:

Sensationally, he then hit all four Brighton goals in a legendary home debut performance against Newcastle four days later, on the day the Gulf War began in earnest:

Unsurprisingly Wade kept his place but his run in the side did not produce any further goals. After a 3-0 win over Watford, he gave this interview:

He appeared in the FA Cup clash at Anfield but was substituted. His contribution in 1990/91 thereafter was mainly from the bench, but he proved to be no supersub. The following season, with Albion battling relegation, Wade started seven League games and scored three goals. Again, this was a pretty impressive goal ratio but following Albion’s relegation, Wade was released. A knee injury marked the end of full-time football for him and he played for Frome Town before returning to Trowbridge.


The Mullery effect

You may remember that Football 78 was Panini’s first sticker album covering all the First Division clubs. Strangely, in the coverage of Division Two, Brighton’s team sticker featured the Third Division squad for 1976/77:


In a piece for Shoot! magazine, Alan Mullery gave some insight into how he re-shaped the Albion in his first season at the Goldstone:

I wasn’t in charge at Brighton when they just missed going up last season. But I could still tell everyone was mighty disappointed from the long faces when I took over.

With eight games left – and I was watching Brighton closely last year without, of course, dreaming I’d be their manager within months – Brighton were second and looked certainties to go up. But then they suddenly lost their form at the vital time and won just one of their last eight games. That decided it and they finished fourth, missing promotion by just three points.

The main thing I wanted to know when I took over was how a side could be so good at home and so terrible away. Three of the teams relegated from Division Three last season had better away records so something was wrong somewhere. Brighton’s home record was the best in the Division so we obviously needed some character instilled into the side.

I suppose I changed six positions.

Peter Ward had only played six games last season but he was a regular right from the start this season.

Ian Mellor only played nine League games while Tony Towner was moved farther forward: Steve Piper moved to midfield from the back and I brought in Graham Cross and Chris Cattlin, two highly experienced professionals, to give us some know-how at the back [both were Taylor signings].

I think it has worked well. We are now averaging about a point a game away which is very acceptable. I’m still looking to make the side a better one – just because we’ve been in the top three all season doesn’t mean we’re world-beaters.

We’re not sitting back and saying everything is fine. And there’s no doubt the best time to bring in new players is when you’re at the top of the table, not struggling at the bottom. I want to improve us all-around as a side but I think we’re well on the way to overcoming some of the problems which cost the club promotion last year.

Players like Cattlin, Cross and Brian Horton have the character and fighting instinct to keep working when things are going against them away from home. That’s what I wanted to get into the side and we have benefited from that. Whether we go up is up to us – no one else. One thing is sure – I feel we have more character and a better set up in those crucial away matches this season. And it’s invariably your away results that decide whether you taste success or disappointment.

Brighton had picked up a meagre 14 points away from home in 1975/76 (W4 D6 L13), but turned things around slightly the following campaign with 20 points (W6 D8 L9). It was still not much to shout about. However, allied to the Albion’s astonishing home record where they attained 41 points (W19 D3 L1), and it was enough to seal promotion. No wonder Mullery (below) was so happy:


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Mike Bamber – jazz drummer

Did you know Mike Bamber, the Brighton chairman of the 1970s and early 1980s, could play the drums?


Me neither, until I saw this video:


Seagulls soar over Anfield

The Daily Mirror’s headline, ‘The Seagulls have landed’, captured the moment that Brighton truly arrived as movers and shakers in the FA Cup by beating Liverpool at Anfield on 20th February 1983:


Liverpool 1, Brighton 2

Jimmy Case, a Scouser by birth, habit and conviction; went back to Merseyside yesterday and destroyed a dream. This morning the talk about Liverpool winning four trophies is silenced because Case and Brighton believed the impossible.

Liverpool manager Bob Paisley muttered “Never again on a Sunday” after Case’s 71st-minute winner had silenced the Kop and sent Jimmy Melia’s men forward to the FA Cup quarter-finals.

But Paisley was one of the first into the Seagulls’ dressing room afterwards to shake the hand of Case, the midfield player he sold to the south coast club for £300,000 18 months ago.

“Good luck to Brighton. I hope they go on to win the Cup,” said Paisley. “This is what happens when you get people saying a team can win four trophies. It just wasn’t on.”

Case, who still goes to watch Liverpool with a red-and-white scarf wrapped around his neck when they play in the European Cup, recalled with a smile: “I said it would be a dream if I got the winner. The dream has come true.”

There has been no bigger sensation in the competition this season than Brighton, bottom of the First Division, going to Anfield and knocking out the runaway leaders.

It was Llverpoors first defeat at home in a Cup tie since Mlddlesbrough best them 64 cup games ago back in 1974.

Just as significant in front of a 44,868 full house, it was Liverpool’s first defeat at Anfield since Brighton won 1-0 there last March.

Brighton hustled, denied Liverpool space, defended superbly, took their chances and deserved to win.

Acting manager Melia, as much a Scouser as Case, said: “We matched Liverpool for work-rate and that pleased me more than anything. I said we would play attacking football and we did.”

Mella particularly praised striker Michael Robinson – for whom any move to Newcastle must now walt – and centre half Steve Foster.

Brighton’s first goal came after 32 minutes from Gerry Ryan. Case sent the magnificent Robinson racing forward for a cross that Ryan side-footed past Brace Grobbelaar.

Alan Kennedy hit a post with a thundering drive and Robinson thumped a header against the bar at tne other end before Liverpool equalised in the 70th minute.

It was unfortunate that young Gary Stevens, who with Foster •and Steve Gatting, performed wonders at the back, should assist Johnston’s shot past his own ‘keeper Perry Digweed follov~ng a Kenny Dalglish free-kick.

The winner came little more than a minute later. Case got it with a 25-yard drive that was helped by a deflection from a Liverpoot defender.

Liverpool’s agony wasn’t over. Phil Neal, on his 32rd birthday, shot wide from the penalty spot after Tony Grealish had pulled down Kennedy.

Grealish protested so heatedly that he was booked by referee All Grey. “I thought I’d won the ball. It was a harsh penalty,” he said.

Afterwards Brighton headed for the south coast with their FA Cup ambitions as high as the British Caledonian flight that took them there.

In case you haven’t seen the 46 minutes of highlights on YouTube, here I have spliced it with commentary from Tony Millard and Stephen Rooke of Radio Brighton:

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Geard for success?

In the 1977/78 season, the Brighton programme featured page profiles of its first team. In the Albion v Burnley edition on 11th February, it spotlighted rising star Glen Geard who had joined Brighton in October 1976 as an apprentice. He turned pro in the same month as this feature, although this bubble perm was to come a little later:

glen geard

Most of the players already featured in this series are regulars in the first team but always at any Football League club there are youngsters waiting in the wings for an opportunity to make their name.

One such young man is Glen Geard who, although not born in Brighton, is very much locally bred. Glen was in fact born in Malta on February 25, 1960, but was educated in Brighton. He spent his junior days at Bevendean School and then went on to Patcham Fawcett, a school very much to the fore in local football.

A single man, Glen lives at home with his parents and sister Julie and he also has a married brother, Damon. At schoolboy level he represented both Brighton and Sussex Boys and went on to trials with the England Boys side although not being lucky enough to receive a cap.

Very much an all-round sportsman, Glen represented his school at rugby, basketball and athletics as well as football. He joined the Albion after a spell with Lewes who at that time were in the Athenian League.

As befits a youngster on the Goldstone staff, his first ambition is to play first team football for the Seagulls and he also hopes that one day he may be good enough to play for England. For a young man not yet 18, he certainly has a promising career in front of him.

Musically, Glen is a fan of Stevie Wonder and the Stylistics and from the world of films Clint Eastwood and Charles Bronson are his favourite stars. Steak and Chicken are his favourite foods and, as yet none too widely travelled, a home loving Glen says England is his pet country.

The next stage in this ambitious young man’s career is first team football and that, says Glen, is a chance he is eagerly awaiting… there are many youngsters in Brighton who would like to have come as far as he has already… here’s one who hopes to go a little further.

Wild hair for a wild child

Wild hair for a wild child

After impressing for the reserves, Geard eventually made his debut, starting in the number 7 shirt in a dreadful 4-0 League Cup 4th Round replay defeat to Arsenal at Highbury on 13th November 1979. He was eventually substituted, with Gerry Ryan coming on.

Seen by many people as a truly gifted midfield player, Geard’s attempt at becoming a hard man proved to be part of his undoing. Alan Mullery once tipped Geard for a full England cap. However, poor discipline led to the wayward pro being handed a free transfer by the Brighton boss in March 1981.
In 1981/82, he joined Horsham, becoming top scorer in the League with nine goals from 40 matches. He also masterminded a famous comeback in the FA Vase, scoring twice as the Hornets came back from 3-0 down against Hastings to force a draw. In the replay, Geard got the winner in a 3-2 victory.

Because of good form, Geard was given a second chance by Albion boss Jimmy Melia in 1983 but he did not make the most of his second chance.

According to
one source on North Stand Chat, Geard’s view of himself is that he ‘wasted his talent.’

As well as Horsham, he hotheaded midfielder played for many local sides in Sussex including Whitehawk, Eastbourne United, Worthing, Southwick, Shoreham, Crawley, Lewes and Littlehampton, before embarking on a managerial career.

When he left as Ringmer boss in 2002, having felt let down by many of the players, he said:

To be honest I’d like to get my boots back on and play against a few of them.