When the fixtures were published for 1980/81, this vivid and confident fixture card design must have seemed apt:
Entering their second season in the First Division, Brighton had spent big on Rangers’ scheming attacker Gordon Smith and Manchester City’s hard-working Michael Robinson, both £400,000 purchases. The expectation was that a top half finish really was on the cards, with a rise in attendances to follow helping to pay for Mike Bamber’s spending bonanza.
Little did the club know, but the novelty of the top flight fixtures had worn off after one season. Made worse by the recession, fears of hooliganism and high ticket prices, this caused a financial meltdown of sorts, as Goldstone gate receipts in 1980/81 fell dramatically:
The season started as it would end, with victory at the Goldstone, but 1980/81 was to prove a traumatic struggle for the Seagulls, as form dipped and another relegation battle ensued.
I remember them well – still have one or two kicking around!