Category Archives: Club Colours

Football Attic: Number 37 in the Greatest Football Shirts Ever

As a long-term fan of The Football Attic, I was delighted to see Brighton & Hove Albion’s snazzy home kit from the mid-1980s make it into Chris and Richard’s countdown of the the Greatest Football Shirts Ever, as chosen with Jay from Design Football and John Devlin of True Colours.

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There’s a nice write-up by John Devlin, as well as a Football Attic podcast discussing it, complete with some great NOBO gags. Well worth a listen 🙂


Arsenal in disguise

Here’s the Brighton & Hove Albion team photo for 1971/72:


Back row: Ian Goodwin, Willie Irvine, Steve Piper, Terry Stanley, Stewart Henderson, Brian Powney, Alan Dovey, Alan Boorn, Peter O’Sullivan, John Templeman, Alex Sheridan, Kit Napier.

Middle row: Glen Wilson (trainer), Norman Gall, Eddie Spearritt, John Napier, Pat Saward (manager), Dave Turner, Alan Duffy, Bert Muray, Mike Yaxley (coach)

Front row: Ricky Sopp, Kevin Worsfold, Stephen Barrett, Julio Grato, Tony Paris, Tony Towner, Mark Douglas, Billy Wylie, John Rodkin.

The image has been colourised superbly by George Chivers. One of the most striking aspects of this team photo is the red away kit, based on the blue home version that was used for much of the 1960s. When I first saw the black and white original, I assumed it was the home shirt with blue body and white sleeves, but on closer inspection, the tone looks different from the blue on the stripes.

According to North Stand Chat forum user El Punal: “The only time that I can remember the Albion ‘Arsenal’ kit was the 4th round FA cup tie in 1967 against Chelsea. Even though it was a home tie both teams had to change. Chelsea played in white shirts and blue shorts.”

Another NSCer, going by the name Freddie Goodwin, confirms the colour, as seen in an away match with Bristol Rovers in 1971/72, who played in plain blue shirts at the time: “We did play in an ‘Arsenal’ kit and very smart it was too. I was also at that Bristol Rovers game at Eastville. It was a very northern division with no London teams and was one of only three away games I could manage, the others being Bournemouth & Villa. The picture shows John Napier up (or defending) a corner. It was an entertaining game but Willie Irvine had a mare, until scoring in the last min! We scored so many last minute goals that season and won 12 away.”


Sadly, Rothmans Football Yearbook was not always very accurate with its listing of second choice club colours, as Ian Hine (of has found:
70/71 – All red
71/72 – All red
72/73 – All red
73/74 – All red
74/75 – All red
75/76 – Yellow Shirts, Blue Shorts, Yellow Socks
76/77 – Green Shirts, White Shorts, Green Stockings
77/78 – Red or Blue Shirts with White trim, White Shorts, Red Stockings
78/79 – Red or Blue Shirts with White trim, White Shorts, Red Stockings
79/80 – Yellow


Obscure Albion kits: 1974/75 Brighton away shirt on eBay

There is an interesting jersey on eBay at the moment:


This is the away shirt worn by Peter Taylor’s men in the difficult 1974/75 season. Unlike the rounded collar of the home kit,this one has a flappy collar with a triangle at the bottom. I’m not quite sure of the technical term.

The item was originally listed as a Southampton away shirt but further research suggests it wasn’t worn by the Hampshire side.

Paired with blue shorts, you can see it worn in the Huddersfield v Brighton match in October 1974:


Presumably, the Admiral logo transfer wore off by March 1975:


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Pre-Season 1991-92 photo shoot

rocker959 posted some excellent pre-season snaps on North Stand Chat a few months ago. Austrian Gull sums it up nicely:

Great photos.

Worst shorts worn by a professional football team EVER.

Perry Digweed:

Perry Digweed

John Crumplin:

John Crumplin

John Byrne:

John Byrne

Garry Nelson:

Gary Nelson

Gary O’Reilly:

Gary O'Reilly

Clive Walker:

Clive Walker

Mike Small and Ian Chapman:

Mike Small and Ian Chapman

David Clarkson:

David Clarkson

Dean Wilkins:

Dean Wilkins

Mark Barham:

Mark Barham

Gary Chivers:

Gary Chivers

John Robinson:

John Robinson

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Obscure Albion kits: 1970/71 Home

‘Come on, you chalky whites… say cheese’. So proclaimed the Argus as Pat Saward’s squad posed for the cameras before the 1970/71 season:


Back row: Joe Wilson (chief scout), Howard Wilkinson, John Templeman, John Napier, Keith Watkins, Alan Gilliver, Alex Sheridan, Alex Dawson, Eddie Spearritt, Peter O’Sullivan;

Third row: Stewart Henderson, Terry Stanley, Bobby Smith, Geoff Sidebottom, Brian Powney, Paul Flood, Alan Duffy, Andy Marchant;

Second row: Mike Yaxley (trainer), Kit Napier, Nobby Lawton, Pat Saward (manager), Dave Turner, Norman Gall, Peter Dinsdale (coach);

Front row: Martin Tew, Gary Parsons, Mark Douglas, Mick Stanley.

A second shot, mainly of first-reamers, was also taken:


Back row: Howard Wilkinson, Alan Gilliver, John Napier, Peter O’Sullivan;

Middle row: Stewart Henderson, Bobby Smith, Geoff Sidebottom, Brian Powney, Eddie Spearritt, Alan Duffy;

Front row: Kit Napier, Alex Dawson, Nobby Lawton, Dave Turner, Norman Gall.

As John Vinicombe explained:

Albion’s playing staff are seen here in their new strip for the first time. The outfit is predominantly white, with blue cuff and collar.

Giving a clue as to the location of the photo shoot, he added:

Pre-season training is being carried out at the University of Sussex, and manager Pat Saward said he had never seen such marvellous facilities made available for a professional club.

It is not particularly clear why the club ditched the familiar blue shirts with white sleeves after six years in favour of all-white. Perhaps it was to emulate Real Madrid or Leeds United. Or perhaps it was so the Albion players stood out under floodlights. Some online discussion suggests it was a change that was implemented by outgoing boss Freddie Goodwin rather than one introduced by the new man at the helm Pat Saward.

Here is a close-up of it sported by John Napier in the 1-0 victory over Aston Villa in March 1971:


It was even worn with red socks during the penultimate match of the season, as by substitute Norman Gall against Bristol Rovers in May that season:


Unsurprisingly, the all-white number proved unpopular with Goldstone regulars, so different it was from what they classed as a Brighton and Hove Albion home kit. As part of Pat Saward’s drive to build a stronger bond with supporters, he listened to supporters, and brought back the famous blue and white stripes after a long absence in time for the 1971/72 campaign.

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Ward sets the pulses racing

From the Evening Argus after Peter Ward’s explosive start of six goals in eight matches at the end of the 1975/76 season:

Rare shirt, rare skill

Rare shirt, rare skill

The exciting potential of 20-year-old Peter Ward, whose last-minute goal deprived Sheffield Wednesday of a first away win since December 28, 1974, prompted Albion manager Peter Taylor to declare: “He is the hottest proper in English football. I would not dream of listening to any offer for him. He’s that good he would get into Derby’s side tomorrow.”

Knowing as we do Taylor’s close affinity with Derby County, presumably there can be no higher praise… but it is a massive tribute for one so young to have heaped upon his head.

I seriously doubt whether such fulsome billing is good for young players. Of course, Ward is a very promising player. Why, then, did he not make a League debut earlier than eight games ago? In that time he has scored six goals, and opportunism of the sort displayed in the last month was missing in an attack that had gone off the boil.

Naturally, Taylor is keen to enthuse about something after Albion’s failure to win promotion, and Ward is an obvious choice. He seems too level a lad to be affected by the cliches.

Right now Ward has only one thing on his mind, and that has nothing to do with football. He and his wife Sue expect the arrival of their first child on Cup Final day.

Some players have been known to be affected by offspring on the way. But not Ward whose rattlesnake speed of strike is an asset on which Albion must build next season.

Incredible, isn’t it, that he has been an active participant in League football just one crowded, hectic month?

In that time he has shown touches to send the pulses of most managers racing. His goal against relegation-threatened Wednesday came at a time when Albion looked booked for a first home defeat since September 10. Nobody would have been surprised had Wednesday broken their duck.

Now the 1-1 draw means Wednesday must beat Southend at Hillsborough in the final match this week or crash into the Fourth Division for the first time. The anxiety until then can all be put down to Ward.

Remarkably little is known about him because there is a basic shyness and modesty in his make-up. Interviews are foreign to him. This is as it should be – all the best players play with feet and head, not tongues.

On the pitch, however, he has the right stamp of arrogance and determination, and an ability to turn defenders very quickly. His shot is spectacular because he doesn’t wait to tee the ball up.

Lichfield-born, he played for a local side but was never associated with Derby County. He went straight from playing with his mates to Burton Albion, the Southern League club, and last season scored lots of goals, He cannot remember how many.

Word soon reached Taylor, a former Burton manager, about Ward. He was in with a cheque before any rivals, and £4,000 brought Ward to the Goldstone last summer.

He was duly dispatched to learn his trade in the reserves.

Tuesday night regulars at the Goldstone soon noted his prowess. When Ward debuted at Hereford, it was not before time. His name went on the scoresheet in just 50 seconds. He had arrived.

The next match was at Rotherham and he gave Albion an early lead there. At Chesterfield it was a foul on Ward that led to a Joe Kinnear penalty. By this time the lad was starting to feed off Sammy Morgan. They were looking a good pair together. But at Chesterfield, Morgan was injured.

In the Port Vale game Ward’s name appeared in the score frame. Nothing doing at Millwall, but he nearly broke the net with his equaliser at Aldershot. A lot of running and effort finally paid off against Gillingham with a flashing header.

And so to the final game when his flair meant Albion finishing with 39 points from their home matches. Dropping only seven was a remarkable feat, and should have taken them into the Second Division. The millstone that kept Albion down was the dreadful away record.

The Ward goal apart, and yet another strong display by Brian Horton, and solid performances we have come to expect from Andy Rollings and Steve Piper, the less said about Albion’s performance, the better.

Admitted Taylor: “We didn’t really perform at all. They didn’t allow us to play and must deserve credit for that. Len Ashurst got his lads to do everything right, considering their position.”

Apart from Ward’s equaliser, the most appreciated touch came before the ball was kicked. Skipper Horton led the players round the ground and they applauded the crowd for their support. The spectators acknowledged the gesture warmly and two minutes later stifled groans as Eric Potts scored the softest goal at the Goldstone for many a long year.

While the 11,859 crowd was the lowest since September 27, it was by far an ways the best in the division. Hereford, who have run away with the championship, had only 8,950 as the trophy was handed over.

Two minutes: There seemed to be no danger when POTTS swerved away from Horton’s biting tackle. A low shot from just outside the box looked covered by Grummitt, but he could only get a hand to it, and the ball trickled over the line. 0-1.
Eighty-nine minutes: A long ball from the back was nodded down by Mellor, and WARD slammed it on the volley. 1-1.

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Great Albion Kits: 1980/81 to 1983/84 Away

Strangely, when Adidas took over the contract to supply the Brighton kit from the 1980/81 season onwards, they did not sell replicas of the yellow away kit.

It took until the 21st century for the club to issue a remake of this polyester wonder for the club shop, but understandably it came without the trefoil on the breast and the classic adidas stripes down the sleeves. However, this was addressed in a Thailand factory somewhere as this effort did the rounds on eBay a few years ago:


Although the collar was not as flared as the original, it was a pretty faithful rendition. The most glaring error is that it was ‘British Caledonian Airways’ for the change shirt, not just ‘British Caledonian’. If you want to be extra picky, the type of the sponsors’ logo was also not in bold, which is how it was in the Thai version. A good effort, nevertheless.

The kit was usually combined with yellow shorts and yellow socks, and very smart it looked too, especially on a sunny day. Sometimes, though, blue shorts and socks were worn instead:


At the time of the launch of the kit, Football League clubs were not allowed to wear shirt sponsors on televised matches apart from local news. This led an incident where ITV could not show highlights of Aston Villa’s match with Brighton in October 1980, as the Seagulls sought to protect their sponsorship interests. As the Brighton v Middlesbrough programme said:

There was controversy before the match when ATV, the Midlands ITV company, wanted to film the game, to show highlights the following evening in a two-minute news sequence. The Albion were however clad in the yellow ‘British Caledonian’ shirts and after a ‘phone call between Alan Mullery and Gary Newbon, the TV presenter, it was clear that the game could to be shown. Albion were well within their rights to refuse to change, other than for a featured game and ATV felt that the regulations would not allow the showing.

Minus a shirt sponsor, the all-yellow kit combination made the cover of Rothmans Football League Players Records 1946-1981:


However, it got its best exposure at the FA Cup Semi-Final between Brighton and Sheffield Wednesday. It even outlasted the home version, as it was worn for a few matches in the 1983/84 when the new white away kit did not provide enough contrast at the likes of Bristol Rovers and Blackburn.

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Great Albion Kits: 1975/76 Away

Here is a replica of the striking green Umbro away kit that Peter Taylor’s Brighton side wore for a single season, in 1975/76:


With yellow numbering on the back, it is best known as the kit that Peter Ward wore on his goalscoring debut for Brighton at eventual Division Three champions Hereford United in March 1976:


In that match, it was worn with white shorts and green socks:

It was also the kit when Brighton won 1-0 at Selhurst Park in September 1975, thanks to Barry Butlin’s goal.

However, there were some occasions when it was necessary for the shirt to be coupled with blue shorts, such as the FA Cup 2nd Round match at Gillingham in December 1975, when Albion triumphed 1-0 in a rare away victory for Taylor’s men:

Peter O'Sullivan in action against Gillingham but it is Gerry Fell that gets the only goal.

Peter O’Sullivan in action against Gillingham but it is Gerry Fell that gets the only goal.

I’m not sure if Albion players found it hard to spot each other when playing on a plush grassy field (surely a rarity in the Third Division in those days?), but the green Umbro shirts gave way to some red ones at the start of the following campaign.

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Albion relegation shirt almost tops £900 on eBay

Some headlines were made this week by the news that England ‘match shirts’, identical to the ones the players will wear at the World Cup, will go on sale at the eye-watering price of £90. However, on eBay yesterday, a Brighton & Hove Albion shirt was sold for almost ten times that figure!

Here is the 1986/87 Seagulls shirt in all its long-sleeved glory:


The seller, johnnyaxcell from Scarborough, described the item as:

Very rare Brighton shirt. Number 3 on back. Long sleeves. 1986. From very good source that shirt is match worn. Can’t prove it tho. Although replica shirts in 80s didn’t have numbers on back so no reason to think not match worn. Large size. Shirt in good condition for age. Great memorabilia piece.

He also later added:

Adidas logos are embroided on shirt. I have been told this is a good sign they are match worn originals.

On the back was number 3:


This was the shirt number of Ian Chapman when he made his debut at Birmingham in February 1987. However, it was Chris Hutchings’ shirt number mostly, as he made 36 appearances for the Seagulls in the Second Division that inglorious campaign.

On sale for seven days, the item attracted 38 bids, eventually going for an astonishing £896.99 yesterday at tea-time.

Now, I’ve dabbled in buying retro Albion shirts on eBay from time to time. By far the most I ever spent was £226 on a super-rare Adidas 1983 Brighton FA Cup Final shirt. The NOBO jersey was well beyond me financially. That said, it would have been a good investment as retro football shirts are increasing in value significantly each year.

However, I was interested in finding out whether the 1986/87 shirt was the highest fee for a Brighton shirt. And if not, which one holds that accolade? Phil Shelley of the Old Football Shirts website said this:

“I think the yellow adidas 1984/85 away shirt on my site went for more. If not the yellow one then one of the blue ones. There were two or three that were listed at the same time a couple of years ago. Top one went for more than £900, if I remember correctly.

“Also, Peter Ward’s Bukta shirt, as worn in the Blackpool match in April 1978, went for over £1,000 at an auction at Withdean stadium.

“That said, it was a mighty impressive figure the NOBO one went for.”

Yes. Not a bad price for a relegation season shirt with a dubious sponsor!

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United colours of football

This amazing photograph appeared in Total Football magazine in May 1997, showing fans all over the country uniting behind Brighton supporters on Fans United Day, from 8th February that year:


Click the image for a close up.

The match the fans watched turned into a 5-0 triumph over Hartlepool. As The Argus reported, the players were not slow to show their appreciation to the supporters:

Hat-trick hero Craig Maskell had a ball against Hartlepool, then showed the Albion fans just how much their support meant.

He grabbed hold of the match ball, kissed it and threw it into a packed North Stand after Saturday’s 5-0 victory at the Goldstone.

“I just wanted to give something back to the fans,” he said. “I’ve not had a brilliant time since coming here and it was nice to give them something to cheer about.”

Seagulls boss Steve Gritt declared: “It was a nice gesture by Craig. Perhaps he’s got so many match balls at home that he doesn’t want anymore!”

Maskell made it a perfect day for Albion. The Fans United show of strength organised by supporters produced a bumper gate of 8,412, the biggest of the season, and the players rewarded them with their biggest League win for 12 years.

Maskell gets his first

Maskell gets his first

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