Williams going home


From Football Weekly News in March 1980:

Brighton defender Gary Williams is entitled to feel a little tension when he steps out to face Liverpool at Anfield on Saturday.

He was born just outside the great Merseyside city 24 year ago, and this is the first time he has played at the famous stadium.

The nearest he has got to it so far was when Brighton played Everton at Goodison Park in December, and before that he played for Preston North End – 30 miles down the road.

But the real thing is approaching for the Litherland man who appears to be taking it all in his stride.

“It’s certainly going to be something special to be playing there,” he admitted, “but I’ve already played against Everton and they were the team I supported as a lad.

“But Liverpool, on their own pitch, is entirely different and I can tell you the lads are all keyed up for this one.

“It’s just going to be fantastic. I’m really looking forward to it. All my family and friends were at Everton and I suppose I’ll have to find around 30 tickets again from somewhere if I can.

“Liverpool have been so successful that no-one will give us a chance of getting a result and that can work in our favour.

“They have everything to lose while we are the underdogs and that’s how we like it.

“We are all going to enjoy this one, probably more so than at grounds like Norwich where there is more pressure on us to get something.”

Williams’ present Albion partner Mark Lawrenson was also with him at preston, where they used to get gates of 6,000.

“The rest of the fans used to travel to watch Liverpool,” explained Williams who joined Brighton in October 1977 via Preston and, before that, Northern League side Marine.

“I wanted to better myself and get into the First Division but football is such an up and down game that it’s not too wise to look too far ahead.”

Williams’ visit to Anfield coincides with the club’s first match there in Division One.

All of Brighton’s previous four visits to Liverpool were in the Second Division, starting with a 5-0 reverse in the 1959/60 season.

The following term they won a point in a 2-2 draw but in 1960/61 lost 2-0, and in 1961/62 went down 3-1.

Glen Wilson, who captained the first Brighton side to play at Anfield, now looks after the players’ kit at the Goldstone Ground.

Brighton could hold their heads proudly after this match, which was narrowly lost, 1-0. The Seagulls were in 17th position and looked set to keep their top division status. With the home game against European champions Nottingham Forest coming up, Williams’ highlight of the season was still to come.


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