The 1976/77 Brighton promotion squad is one of the most celebrated in the club’s history. Undoubtedly, its most famous names are that of strikers Peter Ward and Ian Mellor, along with captain Brian Horton. Tony Towner, Gerry Fell, Fred Binney and Peter Grummitt are also fondly remembered by many supporters of that vintage. Even the names of those that were not quite its headline-making players still endure in the memory bank: Ken Tiler, Harry Wilson, Graham Cross, Andy Rollings, Graham Winstanley…
But what about Mark Elliott? Who?!
On this day in 1977, Brighton thrashed Shrewsbury 4-0 in front of 17,404 fans at the Goldstone. A teenager with that name made his Albion debut on that Tuesday evening. He was a Welsh winger who played for Ton Pendre before he was recommended to Brighton by his trainer John Stead. After a successful trial, Elliott was snapped up in February 1977. Three days before his 18th birthday, Elliott had his Brighton baptism on 15th March 1977. As the Daily Mirror reported, the young attacker did very well:
Brighton stormed back to the top of the Third Division by shattering Shrewsbury with a four-goal burst at the Goldstone Ground.
What a night for 17-year-old winger Mark Elliott to make his senior debut!
The Swansea youngster, brought in to replace Tony Towner, repaid manager Alan Mullery’s faith with a fine all-round performance.
Shrewsbury, once promotion candidates, but now slumping rapidly, somehow survived until half-time.
Then, just when the home fans were getting a bit edgy, Steve Piper had them cheering. He beat two men and split the defence with a perfect pass for Brian Horton to score.
Peter Ward made it 2-0 with a penalty after Elliott had been toppled by Ian Atkins. Five minutes later, are hit his 27th goal of the season.
And Mellor completed the scoring near the end.
Elliott kept his place for the following two matches, against Bury at home and Peterborough away, but on both occasions he was withdrawn during the game.
Although he was chosen for the Welsh youth squad in September 1977, he never featured in another Brighton first team match and moved to Cardiff on a free transfer in September 1979. He subsequently played for AFC Bournemouth (loan), Ton Pendre, Wimbledon, Walton and Hersham, and Tonyrefail.