Category Archives: Around The Goldstone

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.

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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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Peter Ward’s England Under-21s hat-trick

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On 31 August 1977, new England boss (and Hove resident) Ron Greenwood chose 22 year-old Albion striker Peter Ward as one of two over-age players for the England Under-21 squad to face Norway in a European Championship qualifier. As Alan Mullery explained in the ‘He Shot. He Scored. It Must Be Peter Ward’ biography by Matthew Horner:

He spoke about putting on an England Under-21 game at the Goldstone and asked what sort of crowd I thought he’d get. I told him an Under-21 game would probably get a crowd of between 8,000 and 10,000 but if Peter Ward played you’d probably get nearer to 20,000. He said ‘Are you sure?’ and I told him how much everybody loved Peter in Brighton.

Ron did pick him and played him, and it was a sell-out. Ron was delighted – the night was a great success.

In Horner’s book, the author mentions how matchday staff were falsely under the impression that the stadium had swelled to its 33,500 capacity, and turned many fans away. This led to the rather more modest, but still impressive, 18,500 actual attendance. The club also invested £40,000 in new floodlights that enabled television coverage of evening matches. However, after the main fuses were blown when they were switched on, an ad-hoc solution was found by Seeboard. Because of the success of this, you can enjoy Wardy’s goals here:

In the euphoria following this match, there was immediate media clamour for Ward to make his full England debut. Hardly surprising as the national team needed to score a hatful against Luxembourg in an ill-fated attempt to qualify for the World Cup in Argentina.

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Armstrong’s answer

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As a retrospective article from a Brighton v Rotherham programme from 1994/95 put it:

Few Albion fans believed it when, in July 1986, Alan Mullery starting his second stint as manager, announced that he would have two World Cup players in his Second Division side about to start the new season.

Just in case you thought he was going all out to revive the mothballed Juan Carlos Oblitas and Percy Rojas deal from 1979, the result was less exotic. Northern Ireland winger Steve Penney was already a Brighton player, of course. Then, Mullery’s next move was to sign Gerry Armstrong, Penney’s compatriot, who had famously scored the winner against hosts Spain in the 1982 World Cup:

By summer 1986, Armstrong was aged 32, having played for Bangor, Tottenham, Watford, Real Mallorca, West Bromwich Albion and Chesterfield. That he was in the twilight of his career was underlined by the fact that the Belfast-born centre-forward hardly set the Goldstone alight. He took until December to get on the scoresheet for the Seagulls. He broke his duck following in Darren Hughes’ blocked shot from close range against Leeds in a 3-1 defeat. Although he scored again in the next match, a 3-0 thumping of Shrewsbury, a writer for the Grimsby Town matchday programme was moved to state:

Rumbustrious Gerry Armstrong, the Northern Ireland World Cup hero, has failed to make an impression following his summer move from Chesterfield. Despite his international exploits, Gerry has never delivered the good consistently in the Football League. Earlier in his career he commanded a £250,000 price rage when moving to Watford, but arrived at the Goldstone on a ‘free.’

I don’t know whether Armstrong read this comment before the Brighton team left the dressing room for their match with the Mariners on Saturday 3rd January 1987. If he did, it might have fired him up. His winner at Blundell Park showed his ability to tidily convert a loose ball was still alive. After pressure from Dean Saunders, Armstrong capitalised after the ball had hit the woodwork. The sweet 2-1 result put clear blue water between 15th place Brighton and the relegation battlers. However, two days later, the man who had brought Armstrong to the Goldstone, Alan Mullery, was sacked.

Armstrong was then loaned to Millwall before returning to the Goldstone to coach the youth team, as well as taking the number nine shirt in a highly depleted Barry Lloyd-led Brighton side towards the end of 1986/87.

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Those Cambridge copycats

With former Brighton favourite Bill Cassidy in superb goalscoring form, Cambridge United entered the Football League in 1970 after struggling Bradford Park Avenue were voted out. Helped by the versatile Scot’s experience, the new boys quickly established themselves in that debut season. Even after he left in 1971, they eventually progressed to third in the Fourth Division in 1972/73 to win promotion.

During the following season in Division Three, Brighton’s first ever visit to the Abbey Stadium ended 1-1 in January 1974. Mick Brown’s only ever goal for the Albion helped gain a valuable point for Brian Clough’s side against their fellow strugglers. Then, in April, a handsome 4-1 victory for the Sussex side, with goals from Bridges, Welch, McEwan and Ron Howell (pen), at the Goldstone took Albion as high as 14th, and Cambridge closer to the abyss.

The U’s were relegated later that month while Brighton survived. However, it wasn’t long before the two locked horns again. Indeed, games involving both clubs curiously became a highly frequent affair towards the end of the decade, particularly at the start of a campaign.

Take August 1977 when Brighton and Cambridge played out two 0-0 draws in the League Cup 1st Round legs before two goals from Horton (1 pen) and Ward settled the matter in the replay at the Goldstone at the end of the month. Future Albion striker Alan Biley responded on the scoresheet for Cambridge in that replay. In that August, Biley was also joined up front by centre-forward Sammy Morgan. Morgan, who left Brighton for the U’s, and eventually made 37 League appearances, playing his part in the club’s second successive promotion season.

During the following August, in 1978, with Cambridge now a Second Division side for the first ever time, they humbled promotion-chasing Brighton 2-0 at the Goldstone in front of 21,548 fans. This upset came thanks to a couple of soft goals, one to Floyd Streete and then a Graham Winstanley own goal after confusion with Eric Steele. It was the Brighton’s first home league defeat since October 1977 and left some pessimistic supporters scratching their heads as to whether the Seagulls really could make it to Division One after a shaky start.

Here is the matchday programme cover:

ward-brighton-cambridge

Not only did Cambridge steal the win, they seemingly got hold of our lovely matchday programme, and traced the Peter Ward image with blotchy felt tips to use on their own publication cover for the following season. Here is the end product for 1979/80, a sight that Albion fans saw when Brighton drew the U’s in the first round of the League Cup once more:

ward-cambridge-brighton

In August 1979, Brighton won the 1st leg 2-0 thanks to a Horton wonder goal and a last minute Ward effort at the Goldstone. A month later, they then beat Cambridge and their programme cover copycats 2-1 in the away leg. It proved that cheats don’t always prosper, at least not ones armed with felt tip pens and a high level of temerity.

* Cambridge weren’t the only programme copycats at the time. Notts County’s illustration for their cover in the early part of 1982/83 was based on a photo of players of rivals Nottingham Forest celebrating John Robertson’s goal in the European Cup Final in May 1980. With the Forest influence becoming widely known, by the time Brighton visited Notts County in April 1983, the illustration had been replaced by an action photo.

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Mark’s fire and skill

Brighton striker Mark Gall was a guest tipster in Shoot! magazine for one week in 1991/92, vying with readers to accurately guess the scores of the forthcoming fixtures:

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With the Seagulls struggling, defeat was probably a ‘safe’ prediction for Brighton during most weeks. But with Gall fighting fit, there was always the chance that his influence could turn some matches in Albion’s favour.

While ultimately, Gall was unable to stop the Albion from suffering relegation, his strength, trickery and goal touch ensured the club had a fighting chance right up to and including the last day of the season. Signed from Maidstone for £45,000 in October 1991, he immediately lifted the Goldstone crowds that were still mourning the departure of John Byrne and Mike Small. Gall’s 13 goals from 30 League appearances for the struggling south coast side was an excellent return for a mid-season signing.

Emphatically, he also scored the opener in the FA Cup match with Crawley in January 1992:

Two months later, he notched the only goal at St James’ Park in a victory over Kevin Keegan’s Newcastle United. Strangely, it was the only League fixture where Gall’s scoring contributed to an Albion victory. Indeed, when the Londoner hit a goal in each of the first four games in April 1992, Brighton only secured a single point.

One of his most telling performances came in the 2-1 victory over FA Cup Semi-Finalists Portsmouth later that month:

Although he did not score, Gall repeatedly gave the Portsmouth defence the runaround.

Unsurprisingly, he was voted Albion Player of the Season at the end of 1991/92. A knee injury from early on in his career then sadly caused problems that forced him to retire, aged 29.

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Clough’s wheeling and dealing

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After achieving their first Brighton win, a tight 1-0 victory over Walsall in November 1973, Brian Clough and Peter Taylor had to endure two grim 0-0 draws before an atrocious run of five successive defeats including the infamous capitulations against Walton & Hersham (0-4) and Bristol Rovers (2-8). They then watched further defeats to Tranmere (1-4), Watford (0-1) and Aldershot (0-1).

With Albion morale at an all-time low in November and December, Clough and Taylor set about bolstering the squad. After the annihilation by Bristol Rovers, Clough told Brian Moore on The Big Match:

‘No one’s going to panic Peter Taylor and I into doing something we don’t want to do. If we have to sit through 8-2 defeats for the next six weeks before the type of player we requires comes on the market we’ll do just that.’

In the end, they did make signings. The only problem was that the pedigree of their captures was not the kind to set pulses racing. Still, most of them did a sound job as Albion sought to escape the relegation zone.

York keeper Ron Hillyard had already joined the Albion on loan to cover Brian Powney. This was before the accomplished Peter Grummitt, another loanee, arrived to become first choice as keeper after the Rovers debacle, quickly making his debut in a 4-1 pasting at Tranmere.

goodeveThen reserve central defender Ken Gooveve, aged 23 (left), was signed for £20,000 from Luton Town. Not completely unsurprisingly, for player who had only played fifteen times for the Hatters in three years, Goodeve’s form was patchy to say the least. As John Vinicombe commented in the Evening Argus:

The chief disappoint so far has been the failure of Ken Goodeve to recapture his Luton form. Goodeve, who started in the back four with Albion at Tranmere, has subsequently appeared in midfield and so far not made his mark.

With a lack of proven quality on the market, especially for the money that Brighton could afford, Clough and Taylor had little choice but persist with a policy of signing other teams’ reserves. Before the narrow home defeat to Aldershot on Boxing Day, they also made a double swoop for midfielder Ronnie Welch, 21 (below left), and left back Harry Wilson (below, right), 20, from Burnley, for £70,000:

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Early signs of both ex-Burnley lads were promising. Wilson acquitted himself well in his debut against Aldershot. After a subdued first-half Welch had a storming second half against the Shots, impressing with his energy.

On 29th December 1973, this reshaped Albion side finally arrested their decline with an encouraging 1-0 victory over Plymouth with Ken Beamish’s second half effort deciding the match. It was a result that kept Brighton in 20th position in Division Three, one place above the drop. Argyle’s side featured a young Paul Mariner. As well as seeing one Mariner effort hit the bar, Peter Grummitt showed his quickfire reflexes in turning another effort away from point blank range. In his report, Wilson and Welch also drew enormous praise from Argus writer John Vinicombe for their play:

After two matches Harry Wilson, the 20 year old left-back from Burnley, is looking something of a fire-eater. He has a rare zest for the game and relishes the close, physical contact that is synonymous with his position.

He knows how to destroy and create, and does both in a manner befitting a five year background at the academy of fine footballing arts. His colleague from Turf Moore, Ronnie Welch, is not so completely extrovert, but is no less involved in midfield, and has a fine turn of speed. He made one mistake through trying to play the ball instead of hoofing it away, but this can only be described as a ‘good’ fault.

Wilson was to make the number three shirt his own for the rest of the season. As for Welch, he continued to impress, so much so that when Norman Gall was absent in February and April later on in the season, the captaincy was passed on to the youngster. Unfortunately, the burden of being skipper at such a young age affected his form for the side. For Goodeve, his fortunes did not recover. Dropped to the bench against Plymouth, he was to play just two more matches for the Albion, two defeats at the end of March 1974, before joining Watford in June.

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Love the Tiger feat

Here’s Chris Cattlin’s formidable Albion squad ahead of the 1984/85 season. Having beaten Liverpool the season before, the Seagulls had cup pedigree and feared no-one in a knockout competition.

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When Brighton drew Hull City in the FA Cup in both 1984/85 and 1985/86, they achieved satisfying victories in both encounters. However, it could not paper over the fact that the Tigers, led by player-boss Brian Horton, were set to surpass the Albion in the League.

As Chris Cattlin wrote in his programme notes before the third round clash of 1984/85:

“I would like to welcome Brian Horton and his team. He and I have many happy memories of our days together with the Albion both on and off the field. I know he will be particularly keen to do well against his old club, but he will certainly remember his happy days at the Goldstone.

I am sure he shares my memories and will want his team to win but I hope I don’t see anything of that bristling beard until around 5 o’clock… then I am sure we’ll have a drink together and the years will go rolling back.”

In the match, played in front of 11,681 in the January frost, ex-Albion striker Michael Ring was also re-united with the Goldstone, playing up front for Hull City:

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However, it was the Seagulls’ Chris Hutchings who scored the only goal in a second half counter-attack:

By the end of the season, while Albion narrowly missed out on returning to the top flight, Hull City had succeeded in clinching promotion from the Third Division.

When the sides met in the Second Division in 1985/86, goals from Connor, Wilson and Fashanu firmly put the new boys in their place, as Hull crashed 3-1 at the Goldstone in November 1985.

In the FA Cup, in January, in the Fourth Round at Boothferry Park, Albion prevailed again. A Cup Indian sign, perhaps? Or maybe a home jinx, seeing as Hull have not beaten Albion away to this day since 1965. On 25th January 1986, Dean Saunders and Terry Connor (2) scored the goals to take Albion through in a 3-2 victory. The rapidly improving Hull City did get revenge in the League, however, beating Albion on the last day of the season, and pushing up to sixth position, five places above the fading Seagulls, now managed on a temporary basis by assistant George Petchey (below), after Cattlin had been given the sack days before.

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