Category Archives: Media Coverage

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:

1970-71

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:

1970-71squad

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:

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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:

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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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How we won the cup

Here’s the Albion team after triumphing in the Oxfordshire Benevolent Cup in summer 1985:

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As reported by Tony Millard in the Brighton v Grimsby programme from 1985/86:

A performance full of commitment and for most of the game of high quality, saw the Albion bring home the biggest trophy they’ve ever seen, never mind won, from Oxford on Wednesday, August 7.

The match at the Manor Ground was for the Oxfordshire Benevolent Cup. There was certainly nothing benevolent about the approach of both sides, and the game was a thriller.

An early injury to Eric Young, when the elbow of Jeremy Charles caught him in the face, upset Albion’s rhythm for a while. Jacobs moved back into the defence, and Penney came on to play on the right of midfield.

Once they settled again Albion started to play well, and a great goal from Dennis Mortimer just before half-time put them in front.

Midway through the second-half a scuffle between John Aldridge of Oxford and Albion’s Steve Jacobs, saw both players sent off by referee Hedges, and there could be little argument about the decision, although it was clear that Aldridge’s kick on Jacobs started the trouble.

Seconds from time Gary Briggs netted the equaliser.

Albion protested that Briggs, Charles and Shotton had all bundled into the unfortunate Perry Digweed, but the goal stood.

It had been decided to use penalties as a tie break.

Albion took the first kick through Danny Wilson. Alan Biley and Justin Fashanu had little difficulty in beating Hardwick with theirs, but it took Steve Penney two efforts to make his count when the ‘keeper moved to save. Dennis Mortimer completed a ‘five out of five’.

Oxford’s first four all counted, but a marvellous save by Perry Digweed from Andy Thomas gave Albion the trophy.

The winning penalty

A goal and the winning penalty from Mortimer

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Demon Dean

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A bright, optimistic article from the Shoot! magazine archive in the summer of 1986:

Dean Saunders is the odd man out in the Welsh forward line.

lan Rush cost Juventus £3.2 million… Mark Hughes has gone to Barcelona for £2.5 million… Saunders joined Brighton on a free transfer!

Yet although the 22-year-old Saunders doesn’t match his illustrious Welsh team-mates in monetary terms, national manager Mike England believes he can be just as valuable to his country’s uropean Championship hopes.

“He was the star of our recent tour of Canada,” says England.

And with Hughes suspended for the opening two European Championship matches against Finland next season, he looks set to name a Rush-Saunders spearhead.
Saunders took both man of the match awards as he won his first two full caps on the Canada tour.

In the second game, he scored two of the three Welsh goals.

He recalls. “Swansea just gave me away – despite the fact that I was top scorer in a team coming apart. Cardiff City gave me a few games but always seemed to have reasons for not playing me consistently when I was on loan there.

“So I had every incentive to make the break from Welsh football and I joined Brighton.” “Brighton can go places. I was disappointed that we didn’t make the First Division first time around.

But all the lads are convinced that we will get there next season. I’ve been given a three-year contract so there are tremendous incentives to do better.”

Saunders was hardly a slouch last season. 19 first team goals and a breakthrough into the Wales team. “Now I’m looking for at least 20 goals in the League alone; a regular place in the Wales squad and at least a couple more caps before Mark Hughes is available again,” he stresses.

Mike England is convinced that this son of former Liverpool midfielder Roy Saunders cannot go wrong. “He goes past defenders with his tremendous pace and his finishing against Canada was a revelation,” says the Wales manager.

“The experience he gained at Brighton has done him the world of good. To finish top scorer in his first full season of Second Division football tells its own story.”

Dean adds: “The past 12 months have taught me so much about positioning and tactics.

“I had both cartilages out of my left knee at 18 and had both Swansea and Cardiff turn me down. I’ve had my share of the downs. From the moment I joined Brighton, my career has turned for the better.”

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Andy Ritchie and Terry Connor are… men with a mission!

Shoot! magazine lifted the lid on the transfer swop between Brighton and Leeds United in March 1983:

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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!

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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.”

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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.

Goalchart:
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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Fire in the Valley

On Saturday 11th May 1985, on the last day of the season, some Brighton & Hove Albion fans fought the police in skirmishes at the Goldstone Ground at the match with Sheffield United.

Some 265 miles away, in Yorkshire, supporters and police were working frantically together to save lives. The Bradford City stadium fire remains the worst ever fire disaster in the history of British football, killing 56 supporters and injuring at least 265 at Valley Parade. While next year will mark the 30th anniversary, time has not dimmed the sense of horror and tragedy as the fire engulfed the whole of the main stand in under five minutes.

Here is the original TV broadcast at the time, with commentary by John Helm:

At Valley Parade, the afternoon had actually begun in celebratory mood, with Bradford-born captain Peter Jackson being presented with the Division Three championship trophy before the match with Lincoln City. However, joy turned to despair and desperation at around 3.44pm after a match or cigarette had fallen through a hole in the wooden stand and caused an inferno.

When the 1985/86 season began, the mood was distinctly sombre rather than jubilant, as Bradford embarked on their first campaign in the Second Division since 1937. The mourning and heartbreak was balanced with a determination to show resilience in the face of the disaster. It helped that the club had a fine side, including the likes of Stuart McCall, Arthur Graham, John Hendrie and club record scorer Bobby Campbell. The new season gave Brighton supporters an early opportunity to pay their respects, as the Bantams visited the Goldstone for a Division Two match on Saturday 24th August 1985, with Brighton Supporters’ Club donating £419 beforehand to the Bradford Appeal. As the match programme notes stated:

This afternoon we extend a very warm and sincere welcome to the players, officials, directors and supporters of Bradford City. Our visitors are promoted last season in style, but as the whole football world knows, their season ended in tragedy. However, the game must go on, and Trevor Cherry and his team started the new campaign in style at Carlisle last Saturday. Their redoubtable managerial duo is completed by another former Leeds player, and Terry Yorath was at Barnsley on Tuesday evening to watch our lads in action.

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Although Adrian Thorpe gave the visitors the lead at the Goldstone, Albion secured their first victory of the season with a Danny Wilson penalty before the interval, before Terry Connor’s second half header sealed the three points.

The teams were also drawn against each other in the second round of the Milk Cup. In the home leg, a Danny Wilson hat-trick along with efforts from Martin Keown and Steve Penney propelled the Seagulls into a commanding 5-2 lead on 25th September before Alan Biley and Mick Ferguson completed the job in a 2-0 win in the away leg on 8th October. That October match was an historic occasion, as it was the first ever senior association football game to be played at Odsal Stadium, home of Bradford Northern Rugby League FC. The match took place there as Valley Parade was out of action for 19 months and being redeveloped. In 1985/86, the Bantams also played home fixtures at Elland Road, Leeds, and Leeds Road, Huddersfield.

Despite playing on unfamiliar grounds, a spirited Bradford side won five of their first six ‘home’ matches in Division Two that campaign. In the wind and the rain at the Odsal on Friday 20th December, the Bantams got another win by beating the Seagulls for their first time that season. An unlikely Greg Abbott hat-trick, including two penalties by the defender, secured the 3-2 win despite second-half goals from Danny Wilson and Dean Saunders.

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Only one player left on the winning side of both league fixtures between Brighton and Bradford that season: defender Gavin Oliver was a loanee from Sheffield Wednesday and played as the Seagulls’ right back in the 2-1 win in August:

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However, Chris Cattlin could not afford to make the deal permanent and in November, Oliver signed for Bradford from the Owls in a £25,000 deal. In the fixture at the Odsal in December, Oliver’s floated ball for the Bantams led to the penalty from which Abbott got the winner.

At the end of the 1985/86, Brighton finished 11th with 56 points while Bradford were two positions (and just two points) behind.

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Albion have never had it so hard

From the Evening Argus on Friday 24th July 1970:

Dave Armstrong (now with Dover) leading Howard Wilkinson up 'The Hill'

Dave Armstrong (now with Dover) leading Howard Wilkinson up ‘The Hill’

Albion players were unanimous: “We’ve never trained like it before… never.’ That was all they had breath for, and it was back to the start line for another race up a 90-yard one-in-four gradient at Stanmer Park, writes John Vinicombe.

This is what they call ‘The Hill.’ When manager Pat Saward first set them pounding up, many collapsed afterwards, several were physically ill.

This has been part of the training for several days now, and the times are getting faster. Some, like young Martin Tew and John Templeman, can make it in 12 seconds. Others take 15 – and several minutes to recover.

A session on ‘The Hill’ means six or seven dashes, and results are carefully noted and times posted for all the players to see.

Said Saward: “The lads are giving me 120 per cent. They’re putting everything into it, and training is going very well indeed.”

Geoff Sidebottom has collapsed, while Dave Turner (right) and Kit Napier sink to their knees.

Geoff Sidebottom has collapsed, while Dave Turner (right) and Kit Napier sink to their knees.

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Sayer it ain’t so

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The Welsh attacker Peter Sayer had helped to create an electric atmosphere at the Goldstone in the 1978/79 season with some of his exciting runs. But, as discussed in Shoot! magazine, with the Brighton side now in the heights of the top flight, he found the competition for places even tougher than ever:

Brighton’s young star, Peter Sayer, hopes that promotion to the First Division will mean more international recognition for him.

Sayer left Cardiff, his home town club, in February, 1978, four months after he had gained his seventh cap for Wales in a World Cup qualifying match with Scotland at Anfield. And since then, life hasn’t always gone as smoothly as the youngster would have liked.

“Competition for places is very tight at Brighton and no one is certain of a first team spot,” he says. “I lost mine when I was injured early in the New Year and I couldn’t get it back. But that sort of competition for places is very healthy and I’m sure that it will help Brighton remain a top club.

“I’m convinced I need to play in a top side like this and do well, to get back into the Welsh side. I haven’t played for Wales since that Scotland match and I’m sure that’s because there are now more players available to Mike Smith. You need to be in top class football with a good side to catch the eye and I’m sure my Welsh prospects will be considerably enhanced if l keep playing well for Brighton and they continue to be successful.

“I’m a true, proud Welshman and I want to win more caps for my country. I’m determined to do well for Brighton in the First Division and getback my Welsh shirt.”

After playing the first 18 matches of the 1979/80 season, Sayer never got his place back. He was sold to Preston North End in August 1980. Click here for an interview I did with the Welshman recently for Viva Brighton magazine.

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Charlie’s away day in Brighton…

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Total Football magazine launched in September 1995 as a laddish competitor to FourFourTwo. In May 1997, in its ‘away days’ feature, Charlie Hirst revisited the doomed Goldstone Ground, where he had seen his first ever match in 1982.

The match was a 2-0 victory over Cardiff City, but for anyone who was pubbing and clubbing in Brighton in the 1990s, the mention of the nightspots afterwards will probably stir even bigger memories:

The classy seaside town of Brighton has been hit by deepening despair over the running of its football club. It’s well documented, but they’ve been dealt football’s roughest hand and there’s still a chance that The Seagulls might go out of business due to crass mismanagement, lack of interest from the local council and an apparent disregard by the FA for one of its members’ fortunes.

Total Football sped down to the crisis club with a couple of exiled Seagulls fans to join over 9,000 other supporters – the biggest gate in Divisions Two and Three – to lend its support to Brighton’s cause. And, of course, to sample the town’s hospitality. The first game I saw as a kid was at the Goldstone Ground, Forest beat Brighton 1-0 in the old First Division. Dizzy days indeed.

So it was with fond memories that I journeyed back to the South Coast.

With just three games left at the condemned Goldstone Ground, passions were running high at the match with Cardiff.

We arrived early, looking to mix in with a pint or two outside the ground. The obvious stop-off point was the Hove Park Tavern, on the corner of the Old Shoreham Road.

It was heaving with Brighton fans and before long we were enjoying a bit of banter with the locals. Several jars later and the atmosphere was warming up. The cry of ‘Give us an S’ went up and the letters to ‘Seagulls’ were bellowed out. The Cardiff corner responded, but seemed to lose their way by the time they reached ‘D’. Hopefully more to do with alcohol consumption than falling educational standards in Wales.

As 3pm approached, we downed our drinks, made our way to the ground and sat among the families and gentle folk in the South Stand. The massed ranks of fans on the North terrace looked mightily impressive.

Bdgriton started the game looking eager, lifted by the terrific home support. Pressing the Cardiff defence back, they won a penalty for a blatant push. “Hit in the onion bag,’ was the helpful advice of a chap sat in the row behind – who proceeded to give us a running commentary on the game. Paul McDonald duly despatched the spot-kick and Brighton led. The game then deteriorated into a midfieid scramble, but as my bruv reminded me, this was a real “battle at the bottom,” so style had to be compromised.

However, in the 44th minute a well worked move down the right culminated in a neat cross which was cracked in by lan Baird – 2-0 to Brighton! The home fans managed a rousing chorus of: ‘There’s only one Stuart Storer,’ and we weren’t about to argue.

Half-time brought on a feast of entertainment. The public announcer excelled himself by delivering the interval scores from around the country, went on to announce the birthdays and introduced the Under-12s penalty competition. This was the cream of Brighton’s youth production line and it wasn’t until the seventh strike that anyone hit the target. Finally the deadlock was broken by young Harry Birmingham, who neatly slotted away his spot-kick much to the approval of the North Stand.

Bobby ‘The Fish’ Bish excelled himself in goal, denying many a young lad their dream of scoring at the Goldstone.

The second half never really got going like the first, with the kiddies in the South Stand often out-singing their deeper-voiced comrades in the North. There were a few shaky moments in the Brighton defence, but Steve Gritt’s boys locked out the pride of South Wales, earning three valuable points in the process. The inanely grinning linesman on the nearside caused a few moments of humour to distract us from the mind-numbing action on the pitch, but with Cardiff looking utterly impotent, the points were safe.

The Hove Park Tavern wasn’t open for business after the game, so we strolled off to Hove station and took the five-minute ride into Brighton. And now we made the only, but major, mistake of our trip. Eager for beer and the sights and sounds of the town, we ignored our need for a night’s lodging and set off with a carefree strut in our quest for entertainment. Fish and chips were consumed on the Palace Pier, more for their romantic value than any palatable purpose, and a rendezvous was set for the Smuggler’s pub on Ship Street, where we shot some pool and basked in Brighton’s win.

It must have been 8pm before there was any mention of finding a B&B and, confident in my local knowledge, I volunteered to guide the party to safety.

One-and-a-half hours later, we were still roaming the outer streets of Hove, like Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem, banging on inn keepers’ doors only to be told ‘no room’. A sprightly Cockney taxi driver (who supported Man Utd) offered to drive us to the heart of the B&B area – directly opposite to the way we had walked. By the time we found the veritable jungle of B&Bs they were all fitted with ‘No Vacancy’ signs.

Left in a quandary, we slipped into The Lion to mull it over with a drink.

Buoyed after a whisky or five, we decided that the best course of action was not to think about
lodgings and turn our attention back to hitting the town. Without a thought for our future well-being, we meandered into the centre.

Ship Street was our destination again, although we didn’t know it at the time. We wandered through thefamous Lanes, all posh jewellery and lingerie boutiques, only to come out opposite the Black Lion. We were welcomed by the stench of cheap aftershave and a series of elbows to the ribs as we squeezed in through the crowds. This was not the sort of place where you could spill someone’s pint and get away with it. We found a corner and tried convincing ourselves that we were comfortable – but forever in the knowledge that the clock was ticking, we decided to press on in true adventurian spirit.

Pushing our way back through the sweaty punters, who were dribbling on about John Hartson’s brace for the Happy Hammers against Coventry, we stumbled out into the sunny streets, wobbled back through the Lanes and arrived at the Clock Tower. A public house called The Quadrant took our fancy, so we slipped in for one. Cosy, comfortable and friendly we settled in for the evening.

Purveyors of the distinctly fine Hoegarden Belgian White Beer and playing top tunes on the jukey, this was indeed a cracking pub.

They finally chucked us out at about 11.45pm with instructions to head for the nearest club, The Gloucester. We boogied and bopped the night away and rounded it off with a slap-up fried concoction in the famous all-night cafe – the Market Diner – down the road and round the corner from the Royal Pavilion.

Over our Mixed Grills and Veggie MegaBusters we gassed to Simon and Matt, a pair of drunken munters who reckoned they were mates with Neil Heaney and Paul Dickov.

Suitably unimpressed, we headed back to sleep in the car, the Hotel Laguna, which boasted shower facilities if you opened the sunroof when it rained.

It was a cracking day out, with a fantastic set of fans in a beautiful seaside town. Long live Brighton And Hove Albion.

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Happy birthday, Mark Lawrenson!

Some quick mental arithmetics suggests that Mark is 57 today!

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And here are some other rarely seen photos:

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