Grealish out! Cattlin’s Brighton revolution takes shape

Tony Grealish was one of the established stars shown the door in Chris Cattlin’s first season in charge:


It meant that we weren’t going to see that 30 harder against Cyprus (mentioned above) recreated by him at Old Shoreham Road any time soon. With a hint of regret, Shoot! magazine spotlights the dramatic turnover of staff at the Goldstone during 1983/84:

Chris Cattlin’s Brighton revolution has totally changed the face of the 1983 FA Cup Finalists.

Less than a year after taking Manchester United to a Cup Final replay, most of the Cup heroes have either been sold off or left out in the cold.

The facts are startling, Before Jimmy Melia’s departure from the Goldstone Ground, Gary Stevens and Michael Robinson were sold off for almost £600,000.

But if Brighton fans were disappointed to see two big names depart almost as soon as the Cup Final celebrations were over, much more was to occur once Cattiin took control following Melia’s sacking in October, From the Cup Final squad of 13 players who comprised the two teams which faced United … Robinson, Stevens, Steve Foster, Gordon Smith and Tony Grealish have been sold, pushing the earnings from transfers in less than a year to a staggering £1 million.

But other Cup Final heroes have also felt the draught. Graham Moseley, the goalkeeper, defender Gary Pearce and wingers Nell Smillie and Gerry Ryan have been left out of Cattlin’s rebuilding plans while another Cup star, full-back Chris Ramsey, has been given a free transfer.

Case shoots against Swansea in the FA Cup

Case shoots against Swansea in the FA Cup

Of 13 players, that leaves only three with any real involvement in Brighton, 1984, under the Cattlin regime… ex-Liverpool star Jimmy Case who was made captain, centre-back Steve Gatting and midfield kid Gary Howlett.

The new men are everywhere in the team.

Joe Corrigan in goal, full-backs Chris Hutchings and Mark Jones, coloured defender Eric Young, midfielder Danny Wilson, striker Alan Young, and Irish winger Steve Penney.

It looks as though Cattlin has moved to clear out the old stars in a bid to launch the club’s new future, based on organisation and discipline.

Cattlin says: “The club had been organised only for the present, no thought had been given to the future.
Whatever else I do, I intend to build a structure so that youngsters will emerge for first team soccer from our own junior teams.

That is of immense importance and much work has been done already to that end.”

The man Cattlin wants to build his team around is ex-Liverpudlian Jimmy Case. And Case is happy with the job, saying: “Although the club haven’t yet spoken to me, I would like to stay here when my present contract expires.”

Sadly for Seagulls fans, it looks for the moment at least, as though First Division aspirations have gone out of the window.

As departing Eire international Tony Grealish said just after clinching a £75,000 move to West Bromwich Albion: “The club seem to have sold all the players capable of taking them back to the first Division.”

That, unfortunately, has been the price Brighton have had to pay for the post Wembley revolution.

Despite the exodus of star players, Cattlin’s methods seemed to be working, at least in Hove. By late March 1984, the Seagulls stood in a healthy ninth position in the Second Division following a 3-0 demolition of Leeds United at the Goldstone. While the team went on to win their remaining four matches at home, they did not pick up another victory on their travels for the remainder of the campaign. Still, the side looked a good bet to mount a serious promotion bid in 1984/85.

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