Energy drinks, Albion’s secret weapon in 1969!

Skipper Nobby Lawton has his energy drink poured by manager Freddie Goodwin

Skipper Nobby Lawton has his energy drink poured by manager Freddie Goodwin

An Argus piece in September 1969, by John Vinicombe and Alan Jones. It was published in the week before Brighton’s much anticipated League Cup tie against First Division giants Wolverhampton Wanderers:

How come they’re unbeaten in the first eight matches? What’s so special about the Goldstone outfit that Brighton’s start is a talking point all over the country?

The fact that Albion have drawn Wolves in the League Cup has set everybody talking. People who wouldn’t ordinarily go outside the back door to see Albion now want tickets. Residents half a mile from the ground have been offered money for use of their drives o the night of the match.

No doubt tickets will go at inflated prices on a mini black market. Suddenly it is the in thing to watch a side who were in danger of finishing Third Division chumps in the middle of last season.
Come Wednesday, September 24, and a 35,000 capacity crowd will see Albion battle with Wolves for the right to enter the fourth round of the competition. The fervour building-up is more on par with an FA Cup semi-final. That’s football for you, up one day, down the next.

The fundamental answer to all the questions about Albion’s current high-riding spot is, of course, that the club is jus beginning to benefit from the systematic preparation begun by manager Freddie Goodwin and his staff way back in the summer.

Goodwin believes in thorough, painstaking attention to detail. He’s not one for the instant method. But that isn’t to say Freddie scorns everything trendy, or that he is one of those ivory tower figures who conduct affairs from a remote office. He’s a players’ manager through and through, and one innovation may partly explain Albion’s fitness.

In America, Freddie discovered a product developed by the University of Florida for the Gemini space programme that has a sporting application. It is a powder form drink called Gatorade. A 2oz packet makes two pints of a delicious drink tasting something like sherbet. But it is the effect on footballers that impressed Goodwin.

“Quick replacement of salt has been a problem for ages, but Gatorade overcomes this. The salt lost in the first half is replaced almost immediately, and I think our players are all the better for drinking this during the interval. It is used at Wimbledon, and I believe Liverpool are trying it.”

The powder contains glucose, citric acid, sodium chloride, sodium citrate, gum acacia, sodium orthophosphate, potassium orthophosphate, chloride, flavourings, and colour. One swig and the players take on the aspect of cartoon characters in a speeded-up film…

The old ritual of a steak three hours before an away game has been replaced by Freddie introducing the players to a pre-match cup of tea, slice of toast, and honey.

“I have always felt that there is a tendency to eat too much, particularly when travelling. I changed our eating habits on the summer tour or Ireland, and the players say they feel better for it. I think sometimes there has been a little lethargy on the field as a result of eating steak. The lads seem to go much better on honey.”

And left over from the Ireland trip, appropriately from the land of superstition, is the story of Freddie’s lightweight tan suit. Freddie didn’t wear it for the last match of the tour at Limerick, and Albion lost. He started the season wearing it, and now each match day will touch no other. “I don’t believe in these sort of things, lucky charms and all that, but the players feel more comfortable going out there to see me wearing it. Mind you, I’ll freeze to death in winter…”

To see how Goodwin’s side, aided by Gastorade and a tan suit, fared against Wolves, tune in to The Goldstone Wrap tomorrow…


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