Monthly Archives: April 2014

The York rampage



Here is how Paul Morgan of the Daily Express reported it:

Rioting fans forced Brighton’s match with York to be abandoned yesterday as hooliganism returned to blight English soccer – six weeks before the start of Euro 96.

The trouble – which followed a rampage by Dutch and German fans in Rotterdam four days before – was witnessed by the FA’s head of security, Leslie Walker, and will force a major inquiry.

Several supporters were injured and a woman was carried away on a stretcher atter being hit by a missile.

Hundreds of angry Brighton fans ran on to the pitch after 16 minutes’ play to protest at the sale of the Go1dstone Ground and the Second Division club’s plan to groundshare with Portsmouth. Goalposts were pulled down and an attempt made to storm the players’ tunnel, with wooden stakes and corrugated plastic ripped up anti-thrown.

Police reinforcements arrived to restore order but by this time referee Ian Hemley had called the game off. Five fans were later charged with criminal damage.

FA media manager Steve Double said: ‘We had observers at the game and we view the matter extremely seriously.’

Much more sensationalist in the News of the World:

Rampaging fans turned Brighton into a war zone yesterday in sickening scenes that shamed soccer. The Goldstone Ground erupted into violence as thousands of fans stormed across the pitch – smashing both sets of goalposts and forcing the game against York to be abandoned after just 16 minutes.

Riot police battled to control the mob, and one injured fan was stretchered to hospital as advertising hoardings and metal billboards were hurled into the stands.

FA director of communications David Davies last night promised an immediate investigation.

He said: ‘Everybody who cares about football will condemn behaviour like this, whatever the reason. It is obviously unhelpful that this happened so near to Euro ’96.’

After swarming on to the pitch, fans charged up the players’ tunnel and attempted to smash into the dressing rooms.

The dug-out and tunnel were wrecked as fans screamed for the men who run Brighton – David Bellotti, Greg Stanley and Bill Archer – to quit.

Terrified parents rushed crying children to safety and one distraught fan, June Whiston, 45, sobbed: ‘I’ve been a fan since I was at school but now I’m ashamed.’

You can find video coverage of the abandoned match here:

The match was eventually replayed, surprisingly not behind closed doors. It took place on the morning of Thursday 9th May as an all-ticket match with tickets only available on the day before. A gate of 2,106 saw Albion lose 3-1.

Brighton also incurred a suspended three point deduction, two of which were docked after another pitch invasion, on Tuesday 1st October 1996, in the match against Lincoln.


View from The Dell


29th April 1978 is known to many Brighton supporters as the date of the Great Stitch Up. While Albion won 2-1 against Blackpool at a packed Goldstone in front of 33,431 supporters, to give themselves a chance of promotion to Division One, Southampton and Tottenham secured a mutually-beneficial 0-0 draw at the Dell to deny the Seagulls. Rather suspicious, eh?

Over the years, I’ve heard many anecdotes about the day, not all of them consistent with each other: such as how the two managers Keith Burkenshaw and Lawrie McMenemy walked out arm-in-arm out of the tunnel, how Alan Ball hit the bar and never received a pass from his team mates again, how the players spent the match passing the ball around to no great effect around the centre-circle, and how Southampton missed a few sitters via a chap born in Eastbourne.

Playing Devil’s Advocate, one immediate question is how Albion fans seem to have accumulated such detailed knowledge of what was happening at the Dell when chances are they were busy cheering on the Seagulls in Sussex. The answer is that the highlights to Southampton v Spurs were broadcast on Match of the Day that evening. However, with emotions running high, there is the obvious danger of angry Brighton fans amplifying a viewing of any cautious play or missed chances as proof of a cosy deal having been done rather than big match nerves. Due to the effects of what psychologists call confirmation bias, there was a likelihood that many Albion supporters had already decided what they wanted to think about the drawn match at the Dell by 4.45pm, and then watched MOTD to reinforce this perspective, filtering out any contrary information.

Another sticking point is: why would Southampton wish to play out a 0-0 draw? They were virtually up anyway and it would have taken a massive swing in goal difference to deny them promotion. Besides, with Phil Boyer and Ted MacDougall up front, that Saints team had hit 44 League goals at the Dell in 1977/78. It seems incredible that they would play for a 0-0 draw in front of their own fans. Furthermore, a victory would give them a fantastic chance of winning the Second Division championship. When a discussion took place on the ‘He Shot. He Scored. It Must Be Peter Ward’ Facebook page recently, Ian Hine of suggested that a draw benefited Southampton as it would keep Spurs fans sweet. Their fans had smashed up the Goldstone in a 3-1 defeat a few weeks before, after all. Even so, put yourself in Southampton’s players’ boots: would you really give up the chance of a champions’ medal because of what an opposition’s hooligan element might do? I know I wouldn’t.

Certainly it would be great to get hold of the Match of the Day footage after all these years to re-watch and decide once and for all. However, in the absence of this, I can bring you the Daily Express match report. Will it strengthen or weaken the case that Albion were the victims of an underhand deal? Over to you, James Mossop:

It was the day Spurs manager Keith Burkinshaw “died a thousand deaths” – the day his team returned to the First Division with knees buckling, nerve ends smouldering like clawing Marathon men collapsing within sight of the tape. The Dell was alive with the electricity of the occasion as Spurs arrived in search of the vital point they needed.

Behind one goal thousands of Spurs’ fans kicked holes in the £6,000 steel fencing specially erected for the occasion.

The managers Burkinshaw and Lawrie McMenemy came out and shook hands. Alan Ball kissed his Player of the Year trophy, but nothing could quell the fury of the occasion.

When it was all over, after Spurs had survived a series of Southampton attacks, Burkinshaw was full of sighs.

Over the year he had seen his team establish a three-point lead at the head of the Second Division, falter dramatically and arrive with one match to go and the solitary point needed.

He said: “After last Saturday’s home defeat by Sunderland I began to wonder whether it was all worth it. But these players have shown great character and strength.”

Skipper Steve Perryman, a glass of champagne in his hand, said: “It could have been a real travesty if we had not made it. There was a lot of pressure on us. It’s amazing how we have given goals away late in the season. We used to call ourselves the Bank of England.

Bit high and mighty to invoke the word ‘travesty’ there! Had Brighton made it, they would have ended the season showing the quality and form befitting a side ready for the top flight, unlike Spurs who won just two of their final eight Second Division matches.

The report continues:

McMenemy was not so cheerful about his team’s role in the 0-0 draw. He said: “It was disappointing that we did not score. We will not do very well in the First Division if we play like that, although it was no occasion for judging anything.”

But the spotlight was on Spurs. They were the team on the rack. On the terraces hundreds of transistors brought bulletins from Brighton, the late challengers, and Bolton, the new champions, in the most thrilling promotion race for years.

Could Spurs survive as the pressure mounted? Peter Taylor tried to win a penalty with a spectacular dive when Glen Hoddle sent him into the box, but most of the action was at the other end, and Funnell twice lifted the ball over the bar from good positions.

Spurs sent on substitute Gerry Armstrong in place of John Duncan and he may have sent the confirmation that promotion seemed assured because the match became even more of a holding job than ever.

As referee Don Biddle sounded the last whistle of a long, arduous season, the tension finally evaporated. There was delight and celebration all round the ground. The Spurs players did cartwheels. It had all been worthwhile.

Saints’ supporters spilled on to the pitch and danced in front of the stands, waiting for their heroes to emerge and take a bow.

For a moment, as the Spurs fans broke through as well, it seemed there might be a bitter and ugly confrontation. But a line of police and stewards – some of the police with dogs – managed to keep them apart. Bottles flew between the factions and ugliness had taken over what should have been an occasion of mutual joy.


Meanwhile, at the Goldstone, Alan Mullery said: “I feel bitterly disappointed and shattered at getting 56 points only to be foiled at the last minute. But this is a very progressive club. Already we are making plans for next season and the realisation of our ambitions – First Division football.”

In the years that followed, Neil McNab, Gerry Armstrong and Peter Taylor in that Spurs team all joined Brighton & Hove Albion. It seems bit of a missed opportunity that none of them appear to have been asked about whether the sides did go easy on each other in that Dell game. If you ever encounter them, please ask!

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They said he was too small


In Peter Ward’s first ever interview with Shoot! magazine in the summer of 1976, he talks happily about becoming an overnight sensation at the Goldstone Ground:

Peter Ward, Brighton’s scoring bombshell, is still learning to adjust to the fact he has actually made it into the ranks of professional footballers.

You can’t really blame him either – he had grown used to people saying he was far too small ever to make the grade.

He sayS: “l always wanted to be a footheller, but so many people told me I was too small that I began to believe them. I never even got a game for Derby Schoolboys – my home-town – because they reckoned I was too tiny.

“1 agree I was •a little ‘un – I was only just four feet eight inches when I left school. But I always felt I had what it took, even though no one seemed interested.”

•So, with the League clubs definitely not beating a path to his front door, Peter decided to become an apprentice fitter and to simply concentrate on playing for local League sides in Derby.

But the years brought extra inches and pounds – and, finally, his big opportunity.

Neighbouring Southern League club Burton Albion spotted his potential and snapped him up when he was 18. Peter proved them right by grabbing 26 goals in his only season with them.

Then Brighton boss Peter Taylor, no stranger to the area, heard of his skills, went for a look – and promptly signed him for £4,000 last year.

And when Taylor unleashed him on to the startled Third Dlvlsion, Peter repaid his faith in him by scoring six goals in his eight games – enough to bring several First Division scouts to the Goldstone Ground.

Now, at 20 and standing five feet seven inches and weighing 10 stone, Peter is hoping he can establish himself even further next season.

He says: “Everything happened very quickly for me last season and I am still getting used to it. For a start, I found it difficult to settle down at first because I was not used to full-time training – we only trained a couple of nights a week at Burton,

“I got over that problem and scored 20 goals for the reserves – but I never expected my first-team chance to come so quickly, It was a big shock to be asked to take over from Fred Binney.

“But now I have had my taste of first-team action I am hungry for more.

“I feel my main strength is I am quick on the turn and am always looking for goals — and I’m not worried about my height or weight any longer.”


Great Albion Kits: 1975/76 Away

Here is a replica of the striking green Umbro away kit that Peter Taylor’s Brighton side wore for a single season, in 1975/76:


With yellow numbering on the back, it is best known as the kit that Peter Ward wore on his goalscoring debut for Brighton at eventual Division Three champions Hereford United in March 1976:


In that match, it was worn with white shorts and green socks:

It was also the kit when Brighton won 1-0 at Selhurst Park in September 1975, thanks to Barry Butlin’s goal.

However, there were some occasions when it was necessary for the shirt to be coupled with blue shorts, such as the FA Cup 2nd Round match at Gillingham in December 1975, when Albion triumphed 1-0 in a rare away victory for Taylor’s men:

Peter O'Sullivan in action against Gillingham but it is Gerry Fell that gets the only goal.

Peter O’Sullivan in action against Gillingham but it is Gerry Fell that gets the only goal.

I’m not sure if Albion players found it hard to spot each other when playing on a plush grassy field (surely a rarity in the Third Division in those days?), but the green Umbro shirts gave way to some red ones at the start of the following campaign.

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RIP Goldstone 1902-1997

On this day in 1997, Brighton & Hove Albion played their last match at their beloved home ground.

From Total Football magazine – Click the image for a close up. Were you there?


Brighton fans mass in front of the main stand on April 26 after The Seagulls’ last-ever match at the Goldstone Ground – sold from under their get for £7.4 million by ousted chairman Bill Archer. Albion sign off in a fitting way, grinding out a 1-0 victory over Doncaster courtesy of Stuart Storer’s second half strike. The result keeps alive their hopes of League survival, and brings the curtain down on one of the most heartfelt series of demonstrations in the name of a football club even seen.

Another memorable photo from the day came via a banner held by two Doncaster players before the match:


As I write this, Doncaster’s players of 2014 are doing Brighton fans another good deed by beating Reading 1-0 at half-time to help the Seagulls’ play-off bid. Hopefully, they can complete the job. [update: no, they couldn’t]

Finally, if you want to relive it, here’s the highlights from the pulsating match from 1997:

Doncaster from Goldstone Rapper on Vimeo.

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Highbury to heaven!

In 1984, Match Magazine issued its first ever album featuring ’70 super colour picture cards’ focussing on great goals and goalscorers. On the cover of this 28-page publication was Jimmy Case’s blockbuster past Bob Bolder in the 1983 FA Cup Semi-Final at Highbury:


If you look at the crowd closely enough, you may even see some familiar faces. It’s a cracking image and one that doesn’t appear to be given much of an airing these days.

Talking of aspects of that match with Sheffield Wednesday that seem to be rarely seen, I wonder how many supporters remember the old-style film recording of the game:

Makes a change from the Big Match Revisited footage that is frequently shown on the ITV 4!

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Mullery aims for a bigger boom

Alan Mullery (centre) has led the club through three years of success.

Alan Mullery (centre) has led the club through three years of success.

Improvements to the Goldstone Ground were on the agenda in 1979, as Brighton & Hove Albion sought to create a stadium that was more befitting the outstanding progress the team was making on the pitch. Shoot Magazine carried this interesting article outlining the growing ambitions:

Brighton will push on in the summer with improvements to their Goldstone Ground that will almost double the seating capacity.

They plan an extension of their main stand that will make it a double decker and extend it the complete length of the pitch. The South stand will have increased seating and the one open side of the ground will have a roof put over it, providing added comfort for the terrace patrons.

Some might claim these moves are long overdue – for Brighton have not exactly had the best facilities in the country. But the booming South Coast club make no apologies for not doing the work until now. Their priorities have lay in other directions – like putting a good team together.

“We feel we have put the horse before the cart – not the other way round,” claims Brighton boss Alan Mullery – who has led the club through three years of success. We did not see the point of having a magnificent stadium if you did not have a team worth watching. So all the efforts down here over the past few years – including the year or so before I arrived have been geared to signing good players and putting a real team together. Our results and performances prove we have done that. Now we can get on with the business of improving facilities for spectators. Once the work is done we’ll have around 9,000 seats – and they are badly needed here. For at the moment we have only 4,700. These are all taken by season-ticket holders and there is not a seat for sale on match days. Revenue from those seats is around £150,000. When we get the rest in that will shoot up to some £300,000 – and that’s a nice little nest egg to get in before a season starts.

“Things have gone well here in the past three or four years. They are getting better all the time and we intend to make sure things continue that way. No one is sitting back and congratulating themselves on a job well done. As far as everyone connected with the club is concerned the job is only just beginning. To sit back and be satisfied with the set-up is to invite trouble. We are constantly striving to make the club better and better.

“The Board – led by chairman Mike Bamber – are all progressive men and they won’t allow the club to stand still. Mike showed his intentions when he became chairman by getting Brian Clough and Peter Taylor down here to manage the club. Capturing names like these was a sensational coup for a club like Brighton – who, at the time, had never been associated with men of this calibre. The arrival of Clough and Taylor put Brighton firmly on the map. It aroused tremendous interest throughout the game and I always looked for their results from then on. It’s a far cry from the days when a previous manager, Pat Saward, had to practically beg for money to provide the funds to buy players. He was more or less reduced to carrying a bucket along the seafront and sweated blood to raise relatively modest sums to get fresh faces in. That could not happen now.

“I’ve spent half-a-million quid on reshaping the side to meet the challenge presented by a higher grade of football. And there will be more available if I need to spend again. At the moment I’m very happy with the squad I’ve got – and I’m offering new contracts to prove it. In fact two players – Peter Ward and Mark Lawrenson – have been offered contracts for TEN years and that will make them secure for the rest of their lives. But if I need to act to strengthen – to go for someone who can improve the staff even further – I will not hesitate to do it.

“I learned a long time ago that you cannot afford to stand still and Tottenham boss Bill Nicholson was my mentor. During my days as a player at White Hart Lane Spurs won trophies galore. But that never stopped Bill Nick from going out and buying big in his constant search for perfection.

“And Clough and Taylor emphasised the importance of that a few weeks ago, when they spent a staggering million pounds to add Trevor Francis to a squad who had already won the League Championship and seemed strong enough to dominate British football for along time to come. That’s the way you have got to think if you are to make an impression in the game.

“A lot of hard work has gone into making Brighton a club to be respected. We don’t intend to waste it all by sitting back complacently now.”

Mullery was always a winner in a distinguished playing career with Tottenham, Fulham and England.

He readily admits to being the world’s worst loser. Failure is not a thing he has ever been associated with… nor ever intends to be. And that can only be great news for Brighton fans – who seem set to enjoy an even bigger boom in the future.


Shoot Cover: Jimmy Case (23 April 1983)


Some interesting thoughts from Steve Foster, going into the FA Cup Semi-Final match of 1983:

“Even now, with us just 90 minutes away from the Final, I’d swop a place at Wembley for First Division safety. We all want to go to Wembley because it would be the biggest day in the history of our club. But not at the expense of our First Division place. That would be too high a price to pay.”

Many Albion fans, who were at the Notts County game later on April 1983, cast doubt on Foster’s account here. In the County match, Foster was booked and therefore suspended from the Final. However, many supporters believed he jeopardised the club’s survival chances by trying to get himself sent off to avoid missing out on Wembley.


Meanwhile, Graham Moseley talks of being on the verge of quitting the game after being heavily criticised by Alan Mullery.

“My confidence was completely shattered and I was as close to packing it all in as I now am to playing at Wembley. But I stuck with it, and this is my reward.”

Moseley went on to make many outstanding saves in the FA Cup semi-Final against Sheffield Wednesday. However, there was a sting in the tail as when Alan Mullery returned in 1986, one of his first changes to personnel was giving Moseley a free transfer.

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I want to go places with Brighton, says Eric Potts


Despite wanting a long career with Brighton, winger and super-sub Eric Potts only lasted one season with Brighton, in 1977/78. Here is an interview with Shoot! magazine:

One of the close-season’s most astute signings was Alan Mullery,s move for Eric Potts. For just £14,000 the Brighton manager whipped away from Sheffield Wednesday one of the most popular players the Steel City has had.

Potts’ will-of-the-wisp skill has electrified many crowds and will quickly win over the Brighton supporters. An exciting individualist, his darting runs andninety-minute wholeheartedness will undoubtedly set the terraces buzzing at his new club just as he did many times in the seven years he was with Wednesday•

Attacking from midfield, the role given to him last season, did not suit him. “I would rather have midfield opponents worry about me,” said Potts. And although he only scored two League goals, a groin injury plus a change of position limited his appearances to twenty League games last term.

With over 150 games for The Owls behind him there was some sadness at leaving Sheffield. “‘I’ve had some good years with them •.. and got on well with the directors and supporters…you can’t play for them for seven years and not have them in your heart. The supporters made me… they pushed and pushed by letters to the Press and in other ways to get me into the side.

“But I want to go places… not sit on the substitutes’ bench like I did eight times in the Third Division last season. The First is my aim and that’s the reason I’m delighted to be joining Brighton. They want to play there, too.

“When I met Alan Mullery and the chairman and vice-chairman of the club in June their attitude to the-game was impressive enough for me to want to sign for them… they didn’t have to sell the potential of the club to me.

“I have played against Brighton twice and they seem to have the right blend of players. The motivation from Mullery. makes their chances of success that much greater and I know I can do a good job for them.”

Potts is no stranger to the Second Division in which Brighton will be competing next season. Under Sheffield W~dnesday’s previous managers, Derek Dooley and Steve Burtenshaw, he had four seasons in the Second.”

In the close season the 27 year-old, ginger-haired winger spent two weeks holiday in his mother’s house, opposite Everton Football Club, andthen went house-hunting in Shoreham with wife Linda end daughters Jennifer (3) and Deborah (1). They’re likely to enjoy life there for many reasons.


Back on the goal trail with Peter Ward

Issue 13 of Football Handbook proved lucky for Brighton & Hove Albion fans. This partwork featured the Seagulls’ miniature striker, Peter Ward, being hacked down by a ruthless Blackpool defender:

'I get clobbered every game," says Brighton' s star striker Peter Ward. And here's one time it was worth it. Ward wins a penalty from Blackpool last season.

‘I get clobbered every game,” says Brighton’s star striker Peter Ward. And here’s one time it was worth it. Ward wins a penalty from Blackpool last season.

Inside is a superb interview with Wardy, really capturing what it’s like being a renowned goalscorer and the extra attention he received:

‘It doesn’t matter who we’re playing against – I still get clobbered all the time. And they hit you hard. The only way to get back at them is to play well or, even better, just score.’

Now and again ‘Match of the Day’ deserts the First Division for highlights of the action from football’s ‘lower reaches’.
Sometimes it’s dreary but often it’s a delight – and the producer who took his cameras to Hove on 18 September I976 could hardly believe his luck.

Not only did the Third Division match produce the amazing scoreline of 7-2. It also made a star out of an unknown …a lad named Peter Ward.

One goal in Brighton’s crushing of York City made Saturday night viewers take note for the chat in the pub at Sunday lunchtime . …a goal scored by Ward.

Smoothly, effortlessly, Ward cut inside and danced past several defenders before slamming a right-foot shot high into the corner of the net.

It was clear to everyone that here was someone special – his control at speed, his ability to turn defenders and, above all, his precision finishing.

And there was expression in his play that made a mockery of the ‘fear element’ that had spread through every level of the game.

Yet there was a time when Ward himself was in danger of being a victim of the ‘too small’ syndrome.

‘I got no encouragement at all at school,’ says Peter. ‘Just before I left they came round asking everyone what they wanted to be.

‘When I said a footballer they laughingly said, “Oh no, you’re too small”. I believed them and ended up in a factory
as an apprentice fitter.’

His football was played in local parks until Burton Albion took his talent into the Premier Division of the Southern League. Little over a season later Brighton made the offer of full-time football.

‘After knowing what it’s like to clock in and out, I’d have signed for tuppence.’

A quiet start to his pro career might have been expected – certainly not the 36 goals he scored as Brighton scorched into the Second Division.

Almost inevitably the goals dried up a bit the following season and Brighton paid out over £200,000 for Teddy Maybank to take some of the load off Ward.

Success was not immediate.

Brave as well as skilful. . . Ward keeps close control despite the attentions of a defender who dwarfs him.

Brave as well as skilful. . .
Ward keeps close control despite the attentions of a defender who dwarfs him.

Ward says: ‘I’d played alongside Ian Mellor for a season and a half and we’d built up an understanding.

When they bought Ted to replace him we didn’t start off too well. I was going through a bad patch and he was trying to justify his fee.

‘But, all of a sudden, it just clicked, and we played really well together for four or five games. Then he was injured and had to have a cartilage operation.’ Brighton went straight back into the transfer market and Malcolm Poskett became Ward’s next striking partner.

These upheavals did not help Peter’s play and he finished the season with 17 goals – plenty for most players but well below the standard he had set himself.

Peter doesn’t mind the pressure. ‘I’m glad the fans expect more of me. It’s a challenge when they want you to do something out of the ordinary.’

He accepts the stick he takes every week, too.

‘It doesn’t matter who we’re playing. I still get clobbered all the time. They all hit you hard. The only way to get back at them is to play well or score.’ Peter remembers in detail the goals he scores, but he has no set plan for finding the net.

‘I like the ball played to my chest or feet, in and around the box. It’s pointless me trying to turn a defender on the half-way line – I can’t shoot from there!

‘I don’t know what goes through my mind when the ball’s coming to me. I’m just aware of the defence and the goal behind them. All I want to do is beat defenders until the goal is big enough to shoot at.’

Indefinable instinct gets him into scoring positions in crowded areas, but control counts just as much.

‘I’m always working on my close control. You can never be too good. I’m always trying to improve, always sharpening up.’ After training you’ll see him practising shots on the turn with an apprentice marking him.

Last season’s lean spell helped in terms of attitude.

‘It helped me get my head down a bit.’

All the Brighton heads went down a bit when Spurs pipped them for promotion on goal difference last season.

‘When the whistle went at the end of our final match against Blackpool we thought we’d done it.’

But they hadn’t. Disappointment was acute.

‘I’ve never played in the First Division, so it’s something I’ve got to do. It’s no good looking back when I’m 35 and saying, Oh well, I was good, I made a bit of money.’ Amazing to think that Burton Albion got £4,500 for the player that Brighton manager Alan Mullery considers ‘priceless’. Peter himself concedes: ‘They’ll make a profit if they sell me, won’t they?’

In the feature, there is also a stunning sequence of Ward on the rampage, capturing the close-control and inhibited running that made his so exciting to watch in the late 1970s: