Monthly Archives: April 2014

Gregory nods Seagulls into safety

Here's a familiar face for Leicester boss Jock Wallace... Gordon Smith, his former Rangers player, in action against Larry May

Here’s a familiar face for Leicester boss Jock Wallace… Gordon Smith, his former Rangers player, in action against Larry May

About a year before joining the Seagulls, Leicester striker Alan Young did much to help Brighton to safety by getting sent-off in the fixture on this day in 1981. Here’s how Nigel Clarke reported it for the Daily Mirror:

Brighton climbed out of the bottom three with this win, edging above Coventry on goal difference.

But Leicester, who had two men sent off in this desperate relegation battle, look to be heading straight back to the Second Division.

They finished with nine men after having Alan Young and scorer Kevin MacDonald dismissed.

Young went in the 40th minute for a foul on Steve Foster after being earlier booked for clattering into goalkeeper Graham Moseley standing for the concussed Perry Dlgweed.

MacDonald, also booked earlier, got his marching orders in the 75th minute for deliberate handball.

But Leicester manager Jock Wallace said defiantly: “There’s no surrender. We’re not dead yet. We’re breathing, walking and talking. The second sending off was the killer. We were doing all right with ten men and Brighton looked very tired.”

Brighton boss Alan Mullery said: “It’s going to be difficult for Leicester now. I just wish the season had ended today.But the pressure la still on us. We needed four points over Easter to give ourselves a chance, but it’s nice to be out of the bottom three. It wasn’t much of a match in terms of quality. but it was always tense and very exciting.”

Against all the odds Leicester took the lead four minutes after Young’s dismissal. MacDonald flicked a back header past Moseley from Steve Lynex’s cross.

But Brighton suddenly produced an inspired spell between the 51st and 57th minute.

It was enough to win the game and earn the kind of support that Mullery had demanded.

Future Albion defender Larry May in a duel with scorer Michael Robinson

That future Albion defender Larry May in a duel with scorer Michael Robinson

First Andy Ritchie checked, turned then lifted a left-foot cross that Michael Robinson took hungrily in the air for his 21st goal of the season.

Four minutes later Albion took the lead with a goal that was good eoough to grace Wembley.

John Gregory began it with a clever back-heel that set free Brian Horton. He picked out Robinson who turned the ball back to-Gary Williams.

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He crossed quickly and there was Gregory, who scored two at Crystal Palace on Saturday, on target again with a magnificent header.

Robinson nearly made it three two minutes later as Albion took control of Leicester’s depleted forces and ran the game as they liked.

This crucial put the Seagulls just above the drop zone with 31 points from 40 matches. One place below, Coventry also had 31 points but one match in hand. The Sky Blues made full use of this, winning against Middlesbrough and Southampton before a draw at Nottingham Forest took them well clear of the relegation zone into 15th spot. Leicester’s response to their defeat by the Seagulls were two wins in two, against Birmingham and fellow relegation-strugglers Norwich, but it was not enough to save them and they finished second from bottom.

As for Brighton, Alan Mullery’s side built on those two wins with a last-gasp victory at Sunderland to set up a grand finish with with Leeds United at the Goldstone. Suddenly, after a campaign of struggle, everything was going right.

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Fitness is the game

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Taken from the Albion programme v Port Vale in September 1991:

When he isn’t providing service from the Goldstone wings – or scoring vital, quality goals! – Mark can often be found on a tennis court. “I play a lot during the summer to help keep me fit. But I like most sports, especially golf and snooker,” he says.

Born on July 12, 1962, Mark arrived at the Goldstone for a trial in December 1989. His performances soon persuaded manager Barry Lloyd to offer him a contract and, since then, he has been a valuable member of the side.

He can play on either wing and already this season has proved he has an eye for goal – scoring a stunner against Barnsley in the last minute, followed by a header in the next game, against Wolves.

He spent nine seasons at Norwich City, was selected for England’s 1982 tour of Australia, but hopes of a run of England appearances were ruined by injury. Previous clubs include Huddersfield, Middlesbrough and West Bromwich Albion.

In all, the tricky winger made 88 appearances for the Albion, scoring 13 times, before being released at the end of the 1991/92 season, following the Seagulls’ relegation. Nevertheless, he played in the pre-season friendlies in 1992, before joining Shrewsbury on a free transfer in September. While at Gay Meadow, injury put an end to his professional career.

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Seagulls lord it at Selhurst Park in 1981

Alan Mullery and two-goal John Gregory

Alan Mullery and two-goal John Gregory

By Easter 1980/81, Brighton were in serious trouble at the foot of the First Division. A dreadful 1-0 defeat at Middlesbrough took the Seagulls to 20th position on 11th April. Albion had won just two of their previous 13 League matches. The remaining fixtures were Crystal Palace, Leicester City, Sunderland and Leeds United. However, even four victories in the last four games did not guaranteed survival.

On the eve of the game at relegated Crystal Palace, Albion boss Alan Mullery blasted his side:

“I know I can get the sack if we are relegated. I have been let down by the players, and if I go I won’t be the only one to leave. A lack of basic commitment is the main reason for our current plight. This situation was totally avoidable. I have done all I can this season, but in the end results depend on players. The players of Brighton have just not produced the goods.”

One of the few positives was that their arch rivals from South London were in an even bigger state of disarray than the Seagulls. Nevertheless, Mullery struck a note of caution:

“Palace will raise their game, because they want to take us down with them. There is a great rivalry between the two clubs, and that situation will never change. A draw will not be enough for us, and if the players don’t battle we have no chance.”

An Albion team meeting before the match had Alan Mullery threatening to run the players over if he saw them in the street if they had the club relegated! That, and sticking John Gregory in midfield seemed to do the trick as the Seagulls lorded it at Selhurst Park in an emphatic 3-0 victory:

In the Daily Express it said:

“Brighton, with Mark Lawrenson, Brian Horton and two-goal John Gregory, made Palace look a Sunday parks team.”

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Topsy-turvy clash with the Terriers

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Just when everything looked like it was coming together, along came the storm clouds to obliterate supporters’ optimism…

Fifth in Division Two in mid-October 1985, promotion hopefuls Brighton endured a miserable spell in the four weeks that followed. After crashing 5-3 at the Goldstone to Charlton Athletic, Chris Cattlin’s injury-hit side were hammered 4-0 at Oldham and then by the same score at Liverpool in the Milk Cup. Suddenly, the season was falling apart. Although hard-won point at the Goldstone against a spritely Norwich kept the Seagulls in eighth position, a sign of poor form was confirmed when second-from-bottom Shrewsbury defeated Brighton 2-1 at Gay Meadow.

Suddenly, the home fixture against Huddersfield Town took on a great level of importance. Town were managed by Mick Buxton, who had guided the side from the Fourth to Second Division following his appointment in October 1978. While Albion’s displays had been dire prior to the match, so it was with the Terriers who had also lost four of their previous five matches and stood in 16th position. Here’s how the Argus described Albion’s 4-3 victory, watched by a gate of 7,952:

According to Cattlin, they [Albion] would not have been flattered if nine had been converted. That’s an understandable exaggeration made after the tumult of a seven-goal thriller, two sendings-off and five bookings, but he has a point.

When Albion had the ball they pushed up constantly, and got more numbers in the opposing box than ever before this term. It was a different story when Huddersfield gained possession, then Albion gave it away rather too easily.

The result was sometimes pandemonium, especially in the closing minutes as Huddersfield strove for a point.

It must have been exciting for the crowd, but managers do not like being put in fear of a cardiac arrest.

Not until the final whistle could you bank on the result, and from Albion’s point of view it was a good one.

Dale Tempest had got the Terriers’ goal in Albion’s 2-1 victory the previous season at Leeds Road. Within three minutes of the kick-off, he was on the scoresheet again, latching onto a long ball to steal between Eric Young and Steve Jacobs. With keeper Moseley coming out, the former Fulham striker finished to put the Yorkshire side ahead.

Goal No.1: Mick Ferguson

Goal No.1: Mick Ferguson

However, the Seagulls stormed back. The maligned Mick Ferguson smashed in Terry Connor’s cross on 20 minutes, before Dean Saunders was fouled in the box by Hudderfield’s Malcolm Brown fourteen minutes later.

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Goal No.2: Alan Biley

Alan Biley confidently stuck home the penalty and so it was Brighton who held the lead at half-time.

When the second-half kicked-off, once more it was the Terriers who were quickest out of the block and striker David Cowling watched his 52nd minute shot take a deflection off Chris Hutchings to give Graham Moseley an unwanted 32nd birthday present.

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Goal No.3: Eric Young

Ten minutes later, Eric restored the Albion lead with an impressive header from Steve Penney’s corner. As John Vinicombe in the Evening Argus commented:

It was his first of the season, and must have felt as sweet as a nut coming off that black headband.

The popular accolade was indeed music to the ears of a man whom Cattlin says – indeed we are all of one accord – is going through a bad patch.

Nobody likes to see a player struggle, and it is a tribute to the sporting nature of the Goldstone crowd that they have not honed their barbs towards Young.

Then the match took another interesting turn when the Seagulls’ Mick Ferguson and the Terriers’ Paul Jones were both sent off for a minor dust-up on 67 minutes.

Dean Saunders

Goal No.4: Dean Saunders

With Brighton 3-2 up, star striker Dean Saunders seemed to seal the three points for the Albion on 73 minutes. He capitalised after the otherwise outstanding keeper Brian Cox found Dennis Mortimer’s shot too hot to handle. However, four minutes later, the game was thrown wide open again, as Huddersfield’s David Cowling got his second deflected goal of the day, as his free-kick clipped off the Brighton defensive wall past a stranded Graham Moseley.

After the match, Chris Cattlin wanted Saunders back on afternoons after training for some shooting practice, as he felt the Welsh striker should have got four in this heart-stopping match. Perhaps, he should have looked at the defence as a matter of urgency first!

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Howlett’s howitzer

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From The Argus in 6th August 2001:

Eighteen years on from his dramatic debut for Albion, Gary Howlett is getting ready for another emotion charged occasion back in Ireland.

It was back in March 1983 that the young Irishman, then coming up 20, thrilled Goldstone fans with a goal on his debut as the Seagulls gave mighty Liverpool a fright.

Within months of that first senior outing, he had played in a cup final, tasted relegation and won his only cap for the Republic of Ireland.

According to Les Scott’s ‘555 Football Facts To Wow Your Mates’, Howlett had quite a journey to gain international hours:

Gary Howlett (Brighton) travelled to the other side of the world to earn his first and only international cap, and played for just 19 minutes. On 3 June 1984, Howlett was named as a substitute for the Republic of Ireland’s game against China, which was taking place in Japan. Nineteen minutes from time Howlette replaced Pat Byrne (Hearts), but was never chosen for the Republic again.

The Argus article continues:

His career never really progressed as many expected, but he gave good service to Bournemouth and York before winning trophies with Shelbourne in his native Dublin.

These days he combines an administration post with Aer Lingus at Dublin airport with raising a young family and working part-time as assistant manager with newly promoted Monaghan United.

Along with former Shelbourne midfield sidekick Bobby Browne, he has just guided Monaghan into the Premier League for the first time.

The fixture computer has given them a game with Shelbourne to kick-off the season next Sunday. It could be quite an occasion, but it will have to go some to beat that Seagulls debut.

Howlett, having been released by Coventry, had done enough in the reserves for Jimmy Melia to throw him into a midweek clash with Liverpool.

Goals from Michael Robinson and Howlett delighted most of the 25,000 in the Goldstone and had fans taunting the visiting goalkeeper with choruses of: “Brucie, what’s the score?”

Grobbelaar replied with the appropriate number of fingers before Ian Rush provided the more eloquent response of two goals as the Reds grabbed a point on their way to the title.

Howlett joked: “There must have been an injury crisis for me to get in.

“It was a great night at the Goldstone and I got probably the only headed goal I ever scored.

“As soon as I went to Brighton I loved the place. I remember getting the train down there the first time and walking to the ground and just feeling like I fitted in straight away.

“I was in digs at Southwick, then I got a place on Hove seafront, near the King Alfred.

“There was a group of us all the same age playing in the reserves and it was just a fabulous place to be when you were 19 or 20.

“I remember playing well and with lots of confidence. It seemed so easy to play and train and have a good time.

“The squad was full of good midfielders like Neil McNab, Jimmy Case and Tony Grealish. That was the competition I was up against.”

Howlett was in midfield when Albion beat Sheffield Wednesday at Highbury to clinch their cup final place.

Indeed, he had an audacious attempt on goal from way out:

As Spencer Vignes’ article in the Brighton v Nottingham Forest programme in December 2012 revealed, Howlett was on the phone to family and friends after the match, talking about his effort. Sadly for him, it didn’t make ITV’s cut of the highlights.

The Argus goes on:

Then the worrying started.

He admitted: “Even though we were facing relegation the place was buzzing.

“After getting to the final the question was, would I be in the side?

“The last league game was against Norwich and the guys who were 50/50 for a place in the final all played brilliantly but I had just done enough and Jimmy decided to stick me in on the left side.”

Howlett went walkabouts to create the opening goal for Gordon Smith with a pinpoint cross.

He said: “It was all United for 20 minutes and Graham Moseley was playing brilliantly.

“I just remember defending and trying to keep it simple when we had the ball and then of course there was the goal.

“For some reason I found myself out on the right. I could do a couple of things well on a football pitch and one of those was passing a ball. It was just a simple pass which found Gordon who put it away well.

“I was on my hands and knees on the halfway line worn out when he had that chance at the end. His touch let home down but at the time we didn’t mind because we were looking forward to another trip to Wembley on the Thursday.”

Howlett’s form dipped the following season as Albion finished in mid-table.

He played just twice in the next campaign before the coaching skills of Harry Redknapp enticed him to Bournemouth, who he helped to promotion while the Seagulls were going down.

There was more success with Shelbourne, who he helped win the league for the first time in 30 years.

He played 128 time for Shels, though injuries ruled him out of three cup finals. When he took Monaghan back to Tolka Park for a cup tie last season, the match programme described him as one of the most popular players ever to appear for the club.

Persistent ankle problems brought his career to an end but he got coaching qualifications and still runs Shelbourne’s successful under-12 team.

He said: “Last year was a great achievement for Monaghan. We train three nights, we play on Sundays and we might go in on Saturday mornings as well, so it is a huge commitment.

“The football is improving over here and so are the facilities. The rewards are there and our aim is to get into Europe.”

Howlett has been married to Annette for three years and has two daughters Kate, 15 months, and Ellen, who was born the day Albion touched down in Ireland for their recent tour.

Fans arriving in Dublin to follow the Seagulls probably did not notice one of their former favourites as they headed through the airport terminal But Howlett certainly remembers his time in Sussex.

He said: “My career was littered with highs and lows. Over a course of a season I lacked the consistency and I didn’t realise that until I came back home.

“I can always relate to Brighton because I made so many friends there who are still friends and I met some great characters. It was special.”

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Life’s a riot as Brighton crush Spurs

Here’s Brighton team photo in August 1977, before a momentous Second Division campaign where Alan Mullery’s attacking side proved themselves serious candidates for a second successive promotion:

Back row: Ken Gutteridge (assistant manager), Ken Tiler, Mark Lawrenson, Ian Mellor, Andy Rollings, Eric Steele, Peter Grummitt, Chris Cattlin, Gary Williams, Sammy Morgan, Graham Winstanley, George Aitken (coach); Front row: Tony Towner, Eric Potts, Peter Ward, Brian Horton, Alan Mullery (manager), Steve Piper, John Ruggiero, Peter O'Sullivan, Glen Wilson (trainer).

Back row: Ken Gutteridge (assistant manager), Ken Tiler, Mark Lawrenson, Ian Mellor, Andy Rollings, Eric Steele, Peter Grummitt, Chris Cattlin, Gary Williams, Sammy Morgan, Graham Winstanley, George Aitken (coach);
Front row: Tony Towner, Eric Potts, Peter Ward, Brian Horton, Alan Mullery (manager), Steve Piper, John Ruggiero, Peter O’Sullivan, Glen Wilson (trainer).

On 15th April 1978, Albion overwhelmed leaders Tottenham Hotspur, but not before Spurs hooligans had tried to bring the game to a premature end. Terry Smith from the Daily Mirror reported on this crucial match:

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Referee Alan Turvey praised Spurs’ skipper, Terry Naylor, for the way he tried to calm his fans after they had rioted twice, the second time to try to save their team from a heavy defeat.

The game was delayed for thirteen minutes after spectators had spilled on to the ground with this crucial Second Division promotion match only twelve minutes old.

Spurs fans who stole sixteen cars and burned one when they got to Brighton, started fights early on and local spectators were forced over the barriers for safety.

Turvey stopped the match and sent the players to the dressing rooms. The game resumed 13 minutes later after he said he would play all night to get the game completed.

League leaders Spurs, on their first visit to Brighton had just gone 1-3 down and had Don McAllister sent-off when their hooligan fans rushed the pitch in the seventy-fourth minute, this time to try to get the game abandoned.

But police stopped the invasion and the game continued after another four-minute delay.

Brighton people who refused to let Millwall play one of their ‘banned’ home games at homely Hove, saw ticket touts selling £2.20 tickets for £50 each and heard a constant wall of ambulance sirens in the town.

There were 91 arrests during the day and 83 people injured.

And ex-Detective Chief Superintendent Jim Marshall, a keen Brighton fan, said: “I’ve never seen such scenes in all my life.

“The time has come to give these thugs custodial sentences in establishments akin to wartime glasshouses, rather than holiday camps.”

Brighton manager Alan Mullery, a former Spurs’ star, accused rioting Spurs supporters of attempting to get this promotion battle abandoned.

He said: “Tottenham are a great club but their fans tried to get the match stopped.” Referee Turvey admitted: “If I was honest I would say I was a bit frightened during the crowd trouble. I thought the police did a good job and I must praise Spurs defender Terry Naylor for the way he tried to calm the fans down.”

A senior police officer said: “The trouble started before the game when Spurs fans got in early and occupied the space behind the goal normally reserved for the home fans.”

Brighton took the lead with a solo goal from midfielder Paul Clark after 16 minutes.

Chris Jones equalised six minutes later after a bad goal kick from Eric Steele.

Brighton defender Graham Winstanley made it 2-1 after 43 minutes.

The third goal which killed off Spurs was surrounded in controversy.

Eric Potts, the Brighton sub, claimed the final touch but Spurs argued bitterly that striker Malcolm Poskett had been offside.

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It was tight at the top. Spurs, Southampton and Bolton were all on 53 points with Brighton four points behind, but (just like Bolton) a game in hand over the top two clubs. With four matches to go for the Seagulls, Mullery’s men were hoping for one of their rivals to slip up in order to capitalise. No doubt about it: Tottenham were beatable. The promotion battle really was going to the wire.

Here are some images that Trev Smith has kindly allowed me to use on this site:

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Albion slogan badges

Measuring 35mm x 35mm, here are some beauties from the late 1970s:

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With their fun, informal typeface, they were perfect to help young Seagulls supporters to declare their love and enthusiasm for their side.

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Bedson blasts ‘stupid’ streamer stunt

It’s not just Manchester United’s David Moyes that has had to deal with messages in the sky undermining his managerial reign. Chris Cattlin faced the same issue in November 1985 during Brighton’s 1-1 draw with Norwich City at the Goldstone when a Cessna flew from Shoreham Airport calling for him to be replaced. Here’s how John Vinicombe from the Evening Argus reported it:

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Albion chairman Bryan Bedson today slammed the West Stand season ticket holders who hired an aircraft to advertise their call for a return of Alan Mullery to the Goldstone.

“It was absolutely stupid – I presume people in our stand are supporters, not knockers.

My directors feel the same way. They all said it was a ludicrous thing to do and a complete waste of money.” The plane, hired from Air South at Shoreham, €circled the ground twice just before the Norwich game trailing a streamer bearing the words: “Come back Mullery all is forgiven.”

It cost £200 to hire and 20 West Stand season ticket holders were responsible and went to extraordinary lengths to keep their identities secret. Staff at Air South said the money was paid by a man who insisted thai no name appear on the invoice,

Manager Chris Cattlin did not see the stunt. The canopy of the stand also prevented many occupants reading the message. Those on the terraces who did, gave it a chilly response.

John Vinicombe was also negative about it:

My first reaction to the couple of circuits of the Goldstone as the players came out was what had Mullery to be forgive for. Anyway, the exhortation fell flat. There were boos from the crowd, an odd handclap here and there, and the kite buzzed off. As a piece of agitation, it was a flop.

I had received a telephone call during the morning saying what was in the air and that the object of the tasteless exercise was to draw attention to the directors that Mullery would be welcome back.

Not for one minute do I think the skywriting coincides with the publication of Mullery’s autobiography. Mullery wouldn’t dream of being party to anything like that. He said as much yesterday and sympathised with Cattlin who was a player in his promotion team.

Cool shades for Mullery

Cool shades for Mullery

“I was going to the game,” he said. “But then we decided to visit friends instead. Then early in the evening, a friend came up from Brighton and told me about this aeroplane. I needed that like a hole in the head. I have been in a similar situation myself the night I got the sack from QPR with people chanting for me to leave, was terrible. It is a difficult time for a manager especially when you are doing your best. I feel very much for Chris in this position.

“Somebody must have money to waste, but everyone is entitled to their opinion. I found it hilarious when I read about it in all the papers.”

Having come so close to promotion back to the top flight the previous season, Albion looked out of sorts in 1985/86. At the time of the draw with Norwich, they stood in eighth position, six points off a promotion spot. In their previous three matches, a leaky defence had shipped thirteen goals, losing to Charlton (3-5), Oldham (0-4) and Liverpool in the Milk Cup (0-4).

Although only one above the Seagulls in Division Two, Norwich looked a cut above the Albion in terms of quality. Future Seagulls Ian Culverhouse and Mark Barham were mere youngsters then. Yet they were showing promise in a City packed with outstanding players, such as Chris Woods, Steve Bruce, Mike Phelan and Dave Watson (the one who eventually played with Everton). Supported by the potent strike force of Kevin Drinkell and Wayne Biggins, the Canaries then powered up the table, starting a sparkling ten match winning run later that month. Ken Brown’s side were crowned Second Division champions by the end of 1985/86, with an impressive seven point margin.

As for Brighton, Cattlin’s men did rediscover their form, and looked outside bets for promotion, before tailing off towards the end of the season. Cattlin was sacked after Brighton lost 2-0 in the penultimate match at relegation-bound Carlisle. In the summer of 1986, Bedson sought Alan Mullery as the successor. Through the power of suggestion, perhaps the banner was not as big a flop as Vinicombe had surmised. Nevertheless, anger at the banner and the departure of Cattlin still exists to this day.

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Perimeter fencing goes up at the Goldstone

In the Hillsborough Independent Panel’s report, it discusses the Harrington Report of 1968 into ‘hooliganism’:

1.40 Noting the tragedy at Burnden Park, the Report instructed ‘appropriate authorities’ to respond ‘before another disaster occurs’. John Harrington warned that perimeter fences ‘could be dangerous in the event of massive crowd disturbances as safety exits to the field would be blocked’. Gangways and tunnels servicing terraces created bottlenecks, rendering them ‘useless’ for evacuation in an emergency.

Ten years on from Harrington, Brighton faced Tottenham on 15th April 1978. As Tim Carder and Roger Harris’ history of the club ‘Seagulls!’ put it:

The all-ticket visit of Spurs was the most glamourous match of the season, but it brought the worst football-related violence the town had ever seen. Mobs from London invaded Brighton on the Friday night, and the ‘aggro’ continued at the Goldstone the following day with 51 arrests and 85 casualties, 20 ending up in hospital. Tottenham supporters, supposed to be confined to the East and North-East Terraces, infiltrated the North Stand in large numbers. The resultant fighting spilled onto the pitch and referee Alan Turvey was forced to take the teams off for fourteen minutes. There were five further minutes of interruption throughout the match…

Despite Harrington’s report, the Football Association ordered Brighton & Hove Albion to erect a perimeter fence around the Goldstone pitch the following season.

Although Albion supporters disliked being caged in, Littlehampton Welding were proud enough of the job they did to advertise themselves as the company behind it in the matchday programme during the 1979/80 season:

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The death of Liverpool supporters in the FA Cup Semi-Final in 1989 led to the removal of the hated fencing at many clubs. However, as the Morning Star reported on 19th April 1989:

Before the Hillsborough disaster Brighton had taken down two thirds of their fences and they only remain in front of the North stand and part of the East Terrace where visit supporters are segregated.

Secretaty Steve Rooke said: “We are satisfied that in the event of a major incident supporters could escape in a matter of minutes through our large fences, which open both ways.”

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Roy of The Rovers – Brighton v Charlton, 1979

On 13th April 1979, Brighton beat relegation-threatened Charlton Athletic 2-0 to cement their place at the top of the Second Division. Five months later, an action shot of Martin Chivers and Peter O’Sullivan even made it onto the cover of Roy of the Rovers magazine:

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Here’s the match report from Jack Steggles of the Daily Express:

The South Coast took on a carnival atmosphere yesterday a Brighton kept bang on course for promotion from the Second Division.

The glorious weather brought a crowd of 30,859 – the second biggest of the season – to see the league leaders.

Brighton added a refreshingly different touch by adding the Ray Shields Big Band at the cost of £600.

They welcomed the Seagulls onto the pitch with ‘In The Mood’ – which is what Brighton were in a blistering opening spell.

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They tore Charlton to pieces with superb football and should have been two up before the impressive Paul Clark – ‘The Tank’ to Brighton fans – achieved the breakthrough with a magnificent 11th minute goal.

A free-kick from Peter O’Sullivan was headed away by Peter Shaw to Clark, who brought it down with his right foot and struck a left foot volley of unbelievable power from 25 yards.

Martin Chivers watches on as Lawrenson gets into the thick of the action

Martin Chivers watches on as Lawrenson gets into the thick of the action

The goal seemed to be the first of many for Brighton, bristling with ideas and aggression, were in absolute control.

But they failed to build on that lead.

They could have brought the band back at the interval to play ‘The Carnival is Over.’

Lawrenson uses his skill to put Gary Churchouse off balance, while Rollings covers the space behind.

Lawrenson uses his skill to put Gary Churchouse off balance, while Rollings covers the space behind.

Poskett celebrates Shaw's own goal past Chalrton keeper (and future Albion boss) Jeff Wood

Poskett celebrates Shaw’s own goal past Chalrton keeper (and future Albion boss) Jeff Wood

But Brighton did finally manage a second in the 76th minute when the unfortunate Shaw turned an O’Sullivan cross into his own goal.

You could see the tension lift from them.

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