Willie Young blows up

The BBC’s ‘Threads’ is a shockingly realistic docudrama from 1984 that tells the story of a nuclear strike on Britain. I remember watching this in my youth and I’m probably still traumatised by it!


willieyoungAt the time of the film, Willie Young was a Norwich City defender who had joined Brighton on loan to stand-on for the suspended Steve Gatting. The start of ‘Threads’ features a young couple on top of a hill with Jimmy Kemp (Reece Dinsdale) turning over the station to hear the half-time football scores. On 3 minutes, you get to hear the Second Division score from Fratton Park – Portsmouth 0 Brighton 1, thanks to Danny Wilson’s penalty:

That’s as good as it got for the Seagulls as Willie gave a quite frankly apocalyptic performance in the second half with Brighton caving in 5-1 by full time. Here’s how John Vinicombe reported it in the Evening Argus:

Out of the shambles may come some good. If Cattlin had been undecided about taking Willie Young on contract this performance may well have made up his mind. Hitherto, Young had not let the side down in his previous three loan appearances, but Mark Hateley, ten years his junior, gave him a terrible runaround.

Brighton had taken the lead in the first half through a Danny Wilson but their defence started to creak:

The last 15 minutes of the first half saw Hateley starting to lose Willie Young with monotonous regularity. He began to look more fallible than ever when required to turn and radiated nothing like the confidence seen at Derby and Leeds. Following a booking at the half-hour for a foul on Hateley, Young was lucky not to be sent off when he bowled Hateley over from behind. Hateley was in a goalscoring position, and at the time, Albion were still in front.

Pompey, and Hateley in particular, started to play on Young’s slowness. A foul eventually led to Webb’s 58th minute equaliser, and when Hutchings’ clearance two minutes later reached Doyle 25 yards out the ball was thundered back past Corrigan.

The third goal saw Hateley turn Young and finish with his 27th goal in all football, which includes the England under-21s side.

In all, Portsmouth blitzed the Seagulls with five goals in a 13 minute spell. It was Willie Young’s last match for Brighton, with namesake Eric Young replacing him for the Grimsby match that followed, the last fixture within Willie’s short spell on the south coast.

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