Shoot! magazine lifted the lid on the transfer swop between Brighton and Leeds United in March 1983:
Andy Ritchie believes he has gone up in the world, despite stepping down into the Second Division to join Leeds United from Brighton.
That’s why he had no hesitation leaving the South Coast club, despite the fact that Brighton had reached the F.A. Cup Semi-Final.
“Sure there was a chance of a Wembley appearance but nothing is certain in football,” he said after succumbing to Leeds manager Eddie Gray’s persuasive tongue.
“Missing out on Wembley is a bit of a blow. but as I see it it’s only a matter of time before I’m back in the First Division – with Leeds.” The former England Under-21 striker explains: “Let’s face it – Eddie is a player I’ve always admired. He’s proving a first-class manager and I’m certain he will lead United to promotion next season.
“Ive only played a handful of games with them but I’ve seen enough to realise that there are some highly-promising youngsters in the side – midfielders John Sheridan and recent Scottish signing John Donnelly, for instance.” Gray, who says Ritchie has the potential to become a top-class striker, commented: “I have a high regard for the boy’s ability. I have played against him several times so I know what he is capable of.
“I remember him scoring a hat-trick against us when he was only 18 when he was with Manchester United. He was brilliant that day.
“I only hope he can reproduce that sort of form for us!”
Twenty-two-year-old Ritchie, who was soon among the goals at Elland Road, cost Brighton £500,000 when they signed him from Manchester United and was their top scorer with 14 goals last season.
But this campaign hasn’t seen him at his best, perhaps because he was in and out of the side and managerial upsets did not help.
So he was delighted when Leeds moved for him just before Easter. And the man who played a key role in persuading the Manchester-born striker to move back North was Brighton team-mate Nell McNab, who spent a month on loan with Leeds in mid-season.
“Nell was very impressed and happy during his stay at Elland Road and I think he would have been happy to stay there, had the financial aspect been sorted out satisfactorily,” says Ritchie.
“After I’d flown up to see Eddie Gray I could see why. He has a marvellous knack of getting on with people and he communicates with players. That’s half the battle of being a successful manager.'” So Ritchie has committed himself to Leeds United’s promotion cause!
But the man involved in the no cash exchange deal, coloured striker Terry Connor, was immediately plunged into a desperate relegation battle with Brighton.
After making his debut at 17, when his early burst of goals helped to keep Leeds in the First Division, Connor went on to make 107 first team appearances, scoring 22 goals.
Always a favourite with the fans, who love a local lad, Connor’s ambition was to.help the club back into the First Division.
“‘I’d never imagined myself playing for anyone else but Leeds,” he said. “I was born and bred in the city. My parents and friends live there, and really Elland Road was a second home to me.
“So it was a bit of a shock when I was told to fly to Brighton to discuss terms with their manager, Jimmy Melia.
“But once the fact had sunk in that Leeds were willing to sell me I decided to throw in my lot with the Seasiders.
“1 knew I wouldn’t be able to play in the F.A. Cup because I am Cup-tied, but I was encouraged by their faith in me and their belief that I could act as a foil for big Mick Robinson.
“Together we ought to be able to get quite a few goals.”