Brian Clough’s first match in charge of Brighton, against York City in a 0-0 draw at the Goldstone, on 3rd November 1973, has already been well documented on this blog.
Amazingly, footage of this match has been uncovered. Well, 18 seconds of it:
George Harley of the Daily Mirror reported on Brighton’s 6-0 thumping of Watford at the Goldstone in April 1958. The result ensured Brighton’s promotion:
The hour produces the man – and last night Adrian Thorne, 20, a RESERVE forward, was the man of Brighton’s hour of glory.
The stocky, local boy scored FIVE of the six goals that rocketed Brighton into the Second Division for the first time, after thirty-eight years in the Third Division wilderness.
He got three of them in four sensational minutes early in the game.
The 31,038 crowd – thousands more were locked out – went wild with joy when Thorne scored the first after five minutes with his RIGHT foot.
They went even wilder when he got the second after eight minutes from a perfect Howard centre with his HEAD.
They were absolutely delirious with delight when he crashed in the third a minute later with his LEFT FOOT.
By the most fantastic of coincidences, it is just twenty-five years ago that Billy Lane, now Brighton manager, also scored a hat-trick in four minutes – for Watford!
Lane was then an experienced centre-forward, Thorne, a former Brighton Grammar School boy, played his first League game only three month ago – and was at inside right for last night’s vital game only as a deputy for injured Dave Sexton.
Thorne’s normal position is centre-forward. Lane chose him last night to try out a double centre-forward plan with Peter Harburn.
It was incredibly successful – with Harburn decoying Watford defenders out of position, and Thorne punching home the goals through the gaps.
Thorne’s amazing performance inspired Brighton to a display of such controlled and sustained pressure that Watford were overwhelmed in the first half.
Skipper Glen Wilson scored from a penalty for handling by right-back Bobby Bell in the thirty-fifth minute.
Almost direct from the kick-off, Thorne swept through a 30-yard-run to swerve past Harrop and drive home the fifth goal.
The scene at half-time was incredible. Hats, coats, newspapers and programmes were flung in the air all round the ground.
Hundreds of spectators poured across the pitch to mob Thorne. Police had to rescue him.
Brighton’s five-goal lead was all the more remarkable because they only had ten fit men from the twelfth minute. Outside right Dennis Gordon injured a knee and limped for the rest of the game.
With the prize of promotion assured – a draw was all they needed to pip Brentford – they were content in the second half to hold Watford’s orthodox and predictable attacks.
But a minute from the end Thorne completed a night he will never forget by hooking home a Wilson free-kick for his fifth goal.
The crowd engulfed the layers, carrying them shoulder-high back to the dressing room.
Here’s some action from Brighton’s match with Charlton on Good Friday, 13th April 1979:
Andy Rollings closes down the Valiants’ Derek Hales while Paul Clark provides some reinforcement.
In this memorable fixture, Clark opened the scoring with a scorching 25 yard left foot volley in the 11th minute, having brought down a Peter Shaw clearance with his right.
Things got worse for Shaw in the 76th minute, when he turned in Peter O’Sullivan’s cross past Jeff Wood to seal a 2-0 victory as the Brighton promotion push marched on.
As promised, there will be occasional posts to The Goldstone Wrap, and here’s one of them…
It would be unthinkable for the leading football magazine in Britain nowadays to feature League One action on its front cover. However, in the 1970s, with more even coverage of all the different tiers, we were treated to this shot of Crystal Palace v Brighton from the Third Division in 1976/77. The caption reads:
Promotion action… Brighton striker Sammy Morgan clashes with Crystal Palace’s George Graham (left) and Jim Cannon in this aerial battle. Next season the two clubs will meet again… in Division Two.
Hard as nails, Morgan was a Northern Ireland striker in his time with Port Vale and Aston Villa, and joining Brighton in December 1975 for £30,000, where he added two further caps. Memorably, his two goals in February 1976 helped Albion to a splendid 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace at the Goldstone.
The following season, with the blossoming of the Ward and Mellor show, Morgan’s outings were strictly limited to the bench on all but two occasions. Nevertheless, as Tim Carder and Roger Harris’ ‘Albion A-Z’ book recounts:
Perhaps his most memorable performance was at Crystal Palace in an FA Cup replay when he came on for the injured Andy Rollings and gave a heroic display at centre-half.
The photo above is probably taken from Albion’s 3-1 defeat at Selhurst Park in March 1977, a game when Morgan came off the bench to replace Steve Piper.
The month after the publication of this edition of Shoot! magazine, Morgan departed for Cambridge United, making 37 appearances in his only season to help the ‘U’s gain promotion into the Second Division for the first time. He then had spells in the Netherlands and the USA before becoming a school teacher in Great Yarmouth in 1980.
The Mike Bailey era was known for its tight, defensive football. However, when the Southern TV cameras arrived for their last ever two broadcasts from the Goldstone Ground, before TVS took over broadcasting in the region, they were treated to two goal-fests in the shape of Brighton’s matches with Manchester City and Liverpool in October 1981.
Here’s Michael Robinson in action against his former team mates from Manchester:
Brighton had beaten Manchester City, Robinson et al, 4-1 over Christmas in 1979/80. They repeated the scoreline on 3rd October 1981, with the help of the former Preston centre-forward.
After a drab, scoreless first half, Michael Robinson opened the scoring, before Andy Ritchie (2) and Gary Williams put the game out of reach of City:
A fortnight later, the Goldstone crowd was treated to another classic in the rain, this time a 3-3 draw with Liverpool, with another Seagull – Jimmy Case – scoring against his former side.
Note: Just a quick reminder – this blog is finishing in two days time as a daily blog…
In Part 60 of Marshall Cavendish’s ‘Football Handbook’ in the late 1970s, there is a superb account of Brighton’s First Division debut against Arsenal on the opening day of the 1979/80 season:
From the Fourth Division to the First in 14 years – that’s the Brighton & Hove Albion success story. Handbook went behind the scenes for Brighton’s baptism of fire against FA Cup holders Arsenal, and discovered how nerves and lack of experience played a big part in the Seagulls’ day-one disaster…
August 18, 1979 should have been the greatest day in Brighton & Hove Albion’s history–their first match ever in Division One. Unfortunately, Arsenal were to spoil the celebrations…
Before the match the team meets in the usual hotel. The old brigade who clinched promotion for Brighton chat noisily, while the new boys – like John Gregory, bought in the summer from Villa – smile nervously on the edge of it all.
Peter Ward sits alone and bleary-eyed. He has been up all night while his wife gave birth to their second daughter.
There’s a studied air of calm about the Brighton squad, but the prospect of making their First Division debuts has several of them inwardly buckling with nerves.
This, and the fact that FA Cup holders Arsenal are the visitors, has given everyone the flutters. All the Gunners’ players are familiar to the Brighton lads. Arsenal receive enough press exposure and TV coverage for a team-talk to be almost unnecessary. Alan Mullery concentrates on morale.
‘They’ve only got two feet, same as you. They might pass the ball better than Second Division sides, but they also let teams play which Second Division teams don’t do. We’re not going to respect anyone in this League – we’re going to chase, fight and tackle.’
Mullery to Maybank: ‘Ted, I want you back in our area for corners. I don’t care how tired you are, you’ve got to get back to knock that ball away with your head.’
Before they board the coach that will take them to the Goldstone Ground, Mullery tries one last piece of basic psychology. ‘Now listen. We know them, but I’ve just been talking to their physio, Fred Street, and they haven’t a clue what to expect from us.
‘You beat Arsenal today and you’ll believe in yourselves for the rest of the season.’
As the coach nears the ground, the jitters begin to surface again. Maybank senses the mood and tries to defuse it with a joke. ‘Don’t panic, don’t panic,’ comes his Corporal Jones impersonation from the back of the bus.
Inside the ground, the atmosphere is electric: a pipe and drum band march past the brand new stand, and then the Albion players emerge in their ‘civvies’ to walk around the pitch and acknowledge the fans’ tumultuous applause.
Ten minutes later they re-emerge. This time it’s for real – and within minutes Brighton’s First Division career has begun. After 60 seconds Talbot and Horton tangle and the free-kick to Albion bobbles tantalisingly around the Arsenal box. Ryan latches on to it, wriggles through and swivels to send in a left-footer which the shovel-sized hands of Jennings tip away at full stretch.
Three minutes later it’s Ryan again. This time the toe-end of Willie Young’s despairing lunge relieves the pressure. The Brighton crowd scream their support. Although Ryan yet again comes close, Arsenal are starting to settle. Their offside trap is beginning to frustrate Mullery’s men and, ominously, the Rix-Brady shuttle service is starting to roll down the left.
Then, inside the space often bewildering minutes, Brighton’s dreams come crashing down around them. First Stapleton receives from Sunderland to crash a 20-yarder past Eric Steele; before Brighton have time to reflect on the seeming injustice of it all, Arsenal make it two – from Brady’s freekick, Young’s header drops to Sunderland, who nods in from a yard out.
By half-time Brighton are dead. Rix lofts a pass through the middle. Sunderland delays his run and then sprints past Rollings and scoops the ball over Steele. The keeper gets a palm to it but the ball still drops into the net; 0-3.
As Albion troop in disconsolately at the break, Mullery tells them, ‘You’ve lost the game. Now get out there and start again with a clean slate…’
But it’s all gone flat. Only the jigging of the Arsenal contingent breaks the silence as they mimic the ‘Sea-gulls’ chant with one of ‘Three goals, three goals’. And then a Brady penalty makes it four in the second half to really rub Brighton’s noses in it.
As Brighton file sadly into the dressing-room at the end, their big day ruined, Terry Neill comments, ‘We posed them a few more problems than they’re used to. But I’m sure Alan Mullery is not the type of individual to get discouraged.’
Though bitterly disappointed, Mullery still finds time to praise Arsenal and pinpoint the difference between the sides. ‘They taught us a lesson in cold, clinical finishing,’ he says.
‘It was like a Clint Eastwood movie. Out came the guns, and bang bang – we were dead…’
Under the title ‘Frank’s zapper’, Football Handbook then turned its attention to Frank Stapleton’s goal:
The most meaningful lessons are usually the most painful to learn – in life, in football.
For Brighton and Hove Albion the moment of truth came on the opening day of the season, their first-ever First Division contest.
FA Cup winners Arsenal were the visitors.., and the teachers.
All the exuberance that took Brighton to promotion hardly dented the composure of silky Arsenal, to whom First Division pressure was nothing new.
Manager Mullery’s ‘treat it like a cup tie’ approach – ‘we’re going to chase, fight and tackle’ – lost all significance once Arsenal took the lead approaching half-time.
Brighton had had most of the play and, like an underdog boxer, must have fancied their chances of an upset.
And, like many a ‘softener’ for the knock-out blows to follow, the goal that put them firmly in their place had an almost dream-like essence to it.
Inertia ruled among the Brighton players as Sammy Nelson played the ball down the left to Alan Sunderland.
He was given space to cross where he liked and almost certainly aimed deep for Brian Talbot, who had made a typical run behind the home defence.
His mishit went straight to Stapleton instead. Stapleton stumbled. The crowd laughed. Stapleton recovered but his shot from 20 yards was hardly a hammer blow.
Nevertheless, it went in, the ball looping over the despairing Eric Steele.
If that was a dream-like moment, it soon became a nightmare as Arsenal added two more quick goals before half-time.
In the end it was a humiliating 0-4 scoreline, a result that Mullery rightly saw as a lesson in cold, clinical finishing.
Former Brighton & Hove Albion secretary and local radio broadcaster Stephen Rooke has lost his courageous fight against cancer this week. He was aged just 57.
Stephen became well known to Seagulls supporters in the 1980s as a regular contributor to BBC Radio Brighton sports programmes, including coverage of the Albion:
He was also a chief reporter of a local newspaper and a qualified and active referee on Sundays.
As part of his role as the Albion’s club secretary, by then known as ‘Steve Rooke’, he also edited the matchday programme for a time in the latter part of the decade.
Commentating alongside Tony Millard, here is the cassette of the 1983 FA Cup Semi-Final featuring Radio Brighton’s excellent coverage of the match between Brighton and Sheffield Wednesday:
You can hear the broadcast here after a few seconds of silence:
Howard Griggs of the Argus has put together an immensely fascinating series of interviews relating to Brighton & Hove Albion and the World Cup.
The chances are he would have made a better effort at chasing back than the half-fit Peter Reid.
As Stevens told Spencer Vignes in ‘A Few Good Men’:
I came on as a substitute for Peter Reid in that Paraquay match. We won it comfortably and after the game were having our debrief when Peter Shilton started going on about how we had lost our shape when ‘Reidy’ went off, careering forward and what have you. I looked at him and said “Shilts, what you’re saying is that when I came on we lost our shape.” And he was going “No, no, when ready came off.” I said, “Yeah, but I came on. You’re having a pop at me.” That was the old pals act. It was done to some extent to guarantee that Peter Reid played in the next match against Argentina, which he did.
Then, on Friday, the Argus published Griggs’ piece about how Steve Penney’s participation in the tournament in 1986 with Northern Ireland was ended by Spain’s Emilio Butragueno’s challenge..
Finally, Gerry Armstrong’s World Cup exploits also get an airing. Like Stevens and Penney, he also figured in Mexico ’86 but, of course, his moment of triumph came in 1982.
Here are Brighton’s skipper Steve Foster and the Seagulls’ future striker Justin Fashanu in action:
In 1982, both players also turned their talents in the recording studio. With the Albion, Foster had a stab at singing on ‘In Brighton’ / ‘The Goldstone Rap’.
Fozzie also featured in the official England World Cup Squad song: ‘This Time (We’ll Get It Right)’:
Believe it or not, a whole album of songs was released:
As noted by Derek Hammond and Gary Silke in ‘Got Not Got’:
The FA’s resolute refusal to acknowledge disco, punk or even New Romanticism was partly tempered on the ‘This time We’ll Get It Right’ LP, where Justin Fashanu’s frankly astonishing ‘Do It Cos You Like It’ predated the thrust of Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s ‘Relax’ by at least a year.
Please note: This blog is coming to an end as a daily blog in 10 days time…
For a lad who only made 23 appearances for the Seagulls, Hans Kraay seems to have made an indelible mark in the memory of many Brighton supporters during the mid-1980s:
With young supporters brought up and influence by punk, he gained instant cult status for his off-putting goal-line ‘pogo’ dance. It was designed to cause chaos at corners as he stood in front of the opposition keeper, and copied by many in the North Stand.
He arrived for a trial in November 1983 having had spells with AZ ’67 Alkmaar and Exclesior Rotterdam in the Netherlands, as well as San Jose Earthquakes and Edmonton Drillers in the USA. Then, while with NAC Breda, he pushed a referee over at the end of a game and received a lengthy ban.
Brighton boss Chris Cattlin was not put off by Kraay’s misdemeanour. Instead, he was impressed by wholehearted play. As a result, the Dutchman made his debut at home to Fulham on 27th December 1983. After a handful of substitute appearances, he made a second starting appearance in the convincing 3-0 victory over Middlesbrough in May 1984.
The hallmarks of the Dutchman’s play were enthusiasm and commitment, as well a recklessness that meant he was never far away from being cautioned by the referee.
The following season was marred by an amazing incident when Kraay played for Brighton’s reserves against their Portsmouth counterparts in October 1984. He injured future Seagull John Crumplin in a tackle for which he was sent-off. Then, as the 17-year-old was receiving treatment, Kraay kicked him as he walked off the pitch!
Even so, it was not enough to curtail his Albion career just yet. He made his first appearance of the 1984/85 season against Grimsby two months later. He also flung his shirt to the ground on being substituted against Cardiff in February that season. From March onwards, he became a fixture in the side as Brighton nearly gained promotion back to Division One. They were helped by Kraay’s three goals in the last six matches, including the winner at Notts County in April when he crashed home Frank Worthington’s corner after Alan Biley had set him up in the goalmouth scramble. After the goal, he ran the length of the pitch to try to jump in amongst all the Brighton supporters! In May, Kraay also got the team’s opener as Albion stormed from 2-0 down at Grimsby to triumph 4-2.
All this was not enough to save Kraay’s career at the Goldstone and disciplinary problems eventually had a factor in him being released in September 1985. He subsequently played for Molenbeek, RKC Wallwijk, De Graafschap and Telstar in the Dutch league. However, memories of the ‘Hans is evil, Hans is evil’ chant at the Goldstone live on.