Category Archives: Photo Opportunities

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:

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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:

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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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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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The walking wounded

Gerry Ryan, Chris Hutchings, Justin Fashanu and Terry Connor posed before Brighton’s match with Blackburn at the Goldstone in September 1985:

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Making up a ‘plaster cast’, the photo illustrated how Chris Cattlin was down almost to a bare minimum of players from which to choose his team. Ryan’s injury was caused by the terrible challenge by Crystal Palace’s Henry Hughton in the previous season. He never played for the Seagulls again and eventually had to retire, receiving a benefit match in August 1986.

By contrast, Hutchings recovered by October, eventually making 29 League appearances, mainly as right-back. Even so, he was surprisingly dropped for the FA Cup Quarter-Final against Southampton in March, a decision that Cattlin readily admitted was a mistake, before being restored for the rest of the campaign.

Fashanu also enjoyed an extended run after the controversial striker made his return in the 4-0 defeat by Liverpool in the Milk Cup at the end of October 1985. While never quite hitting the heights of form, he was ever-present in the number 9 shirt in December and January. His last game for the Seagulls was in the memorable FA Cup tie at Peterborough in February 1985 before he fell foul of recurrent knee injury problems.

It was Connor, though, who made the biggest impact upon his return. He had limped off against his former side Leeds in the 1-0 home defeat at the start of September. It took two months to recover and yet the centre-forward plundered a very creditable 14 goals in the rest of the season, one short of top scorer Dean Saunders.

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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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Wisdom in the dressing room

Actor, comedian and singer-songwriter Norman Wisdom was a Brighton & Hove Albion director from 1964 to 1970. With ball in hand, here he is posing with the players in the dressing room, via a photo from Roger Collins:

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In a newsletter from BHACHS, John Wells says:

The blue-and-white kit is that worn from 1964/65 to 1967/68 and again in 1969/70, the shirts adorned by a badge featuring the arms of the then twin towns that give the club its name. The players are, from top left: John Templeman, Paul Flood (looking down), Norman Gall and Barrie Wright. Middle row: John Napier, Bobby Smith, Norman Wisdom, Dave Armstrong, (sitting) Brian Tawse and Kit Napier. Squatting from left are Geoff Sidebottom and Eddie Spearritt. The track-suited figure on the right, just out of picture, is probably physio Mike Yaxley.

But when was the photo taken? What was the game? This line-up – leaving aside Norman Wisdom – was never fielded in a regular Albion match.

Meanwhile, a magazine at the time picked up on the fact that while Wisdom was an Albion director, he also had a soft spot for Manchester United:

Interviewed in his dressing room at the new £100,000 Golden Garter showbar restaurant at Wythenshawe, Manchester, Norman said: “I’ve played three times at the Manchester Palace theatre and once at the Opera House and I’ve got to know the United players over the years. In fact, I saw their opening game this season at Everton and I go to watch them whenever I can.”

Norman was actually appearing in the pantomime “Robinson Crusoe” at the Palace Theatre, Manchester, that fateful February day in 1958 when half the United team perished in the• Munich air disaster. “Everyone was really choked for them,” he said.

“I’ll never forget it.”

En route for their tour of Australia 18 months ago, United players once again caught up with Norman in San Francisco.

The star of 17 films and a host of West End and Broadway successes, Norman – remember his fancy footwork in the football “shot” in the film “Up In The World”? — is also an enthusiastic boxing fan.

“After all, I was known to pack a few punches• in the fly and bantam weight divisions during my Army service in India with the 10th Hussars in 1944,” he recalled.

Today, 24 years later, Norman at 9 st. 4lb. is still less than a stone heavier than in his fisticuff days. “And I’m still 5ft. 4¾in,” he cracked.

London-horn but now domiciled at Pulborough, near Brighton, Norman may well be off to South Africa early in the New Year when his latest film ;What’s Good For The Goose’ (shot in Southport) is also due for release.

“By then, Brighton may be on top of the league,” added an optimistic director.

Norman’s No. 1 player, incidentallyl is John Napier, the club’s Irish international centre half. But there’s still no getting away from the’ Manchester United influence. Brighton’s newly-•appointed team manager is Freddie Goodwin… the former United wing half!

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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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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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Bertolini’s boots

What a magnificent shot!

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Here is a profile of the Albion’s Alloa-born half-back with the Italian surname. Taken from Soccer Star on 12th August 1961:

Brighton & Hove Albion’s right-half Jack Bertolini completes ten years [sic] of top-flight soccer this year. A Scot, he began his senior career with Stirring Albion before accepting terms from the then Third Division (North) club Workington Town.

During his six years with the Reds, Bertolini became a favourite with the Borough Park crowd and it was not long before his style of play attracted the attention of scouts from • other League clubs.

Workington successfully resisted all approaches for him though they naturally did not wish to stand in the player’s way if he had wished to move on. Accordingly when Brighton came along with an offer for him in July 1958, and •he• agreed to move, he• was transferred to the Sussex town for a substantial fee. During the negotiations on this deal, Brighton transferred their South African Roy Tennant to Workington.

In his initial term with the Albion, Bertolini played in thirty games for the club’s League league side: a splendid achievement in this upgrade of soccer. The following term he was an ever-present in the side as, indeed, he proved to be last season.

Still only in his middle twenties, Bertolini will be one of the club’s key players.

Signed by Billy Lane, Bertolini ended up with a run of 193 consecutive appearances in the Albion side, before this outfield player record was finally broken by Peter O’Sullivan in 1974. He eventually made 279 appearances before losing his place in the 1965/66 season. A knee-ligament injury while turning out for the reserves ended his career in October 1965.

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The Apprentices ’86

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A splendid piece by Tony Norman that made it into the Brighton v Oldham programme of April 1986:

Doing an interview with Albion’s squad of young apprentices is anything but dull! With their youth, humour and obvious love of life, they are a very likeable team. Even after a tough training session, they are eager to talk about life at their new home… the Goldstone.

Apprentices have two years to prove themselves and managers always say that the most heartbreaking part of their job is having to tell a youngster that he simply does not have the skill to make the grade. But Albion’s AP take the rules of the game with a cheery acceptance.

‘It is important to keep a positive attitude,’ says young Barry Smith. “You do think about what will happen at the end of your apprenticeship, but the best thing is just to work hard and do your best to improve as a player.’

Professional football is an exciting career, but there is very little glamour in an apprentice’s everyday routine. This involves arriving at the ground at nine in the morning and cleaning the boots, and preparing for training. The lads are coached by George Aitken, who has helped Chris Cattlin to develop the strength of this club in many areas of youth football.

After the training, the AP’s return to the Goldstone, where they clean the boots and footballs, and do any necessary work around the dressing room area, before leaving at approximately 1.30pm. On home match days, all the boys come to the game and four of them work to hep the backroom team in any way they can.

The youngsters play in the South East Counties League, where they are guided by John Shepherd and Mick Fogden. The next step is a place in the Reserves and then comes the big step into first team football. Albion have nine apprentices and although they will not all make the grade with the club, it is obvious that they are thoroughly enjoying their time with the Seagulls. All the lads pay tribute to the help their families have given them in getting to this point, As for the future, our best wishes go with them all.

Here is a little information on those names to watch for the future…

David Gipp is 16 and comes from London He plays upfront and likes to relax by watching television. David is a fan ofthe soaps with Dallas and EastEnders rating a special mention.

Paul Dobinson is another Londoner. He joined the club a year ago and likes to play in midfield, Like most of the APs, Paul enjoys listening to soul music by artists like Luther Vandross.

Full-back Terry Spinks is another soul fan. Terry 17 is also half-way through his apprenticeship.

Danny Carter and Phil Lovell are the ether two Londoners. Danny 16, enjoys eating out and Phil, 17, is known as The Pie Man because he’s so fond of steak and kidney pie! AI the London lads have been found digs locally by the club and they say they are very happy with their respective host families.

Barry Smith, 17, Franco Massimo, 17, and Daren Newman, 17, are all from Sussex. Barry lives in Brighton and in the summer is a very useful all-rounder for Portslade Cricket Club. Daren hails from Newhaven and he loves heavy metal music, an interest he shares with his brother Paul. Franco Massimo is a Sussex sprint champion and he says his ambition is to make his hometown of Horsham famous!

Unfortunately, when I met the AP’s, Trevor Wood, 17, from Jersey, was out with a broken arm. But when the talented young ‘keeper is fit and well, he enjoys a round of golf. Quieter moments are spent listening to his collection of Dire Straits albums.

So that’s the Albion’s apprentice team. Let’s hope we see some of those names in our first team programme in the years to come.

After a few outings as an unused substitute, Daren Newman eventually made his debut in the number 5 shirt in the 2-0 home defeat to lowly Shrewsbury later that month. Coming off the bench was Franco Massimo, another debutant. While Newman made no more Albion appearances, Massimo made another substitute appearance the following season. And that was it for his Brighton career.

Perhaps the biggest hopes lay with striker David Gipp, who was finding goals easy to come by in the reserves. Surprisingly, it took until the tail end of 1986/87 for the Essex-born man to make his Seagulls debut, away at Blackburn as a sub. He almost scored with his first touch. However, after just three appearances in 1987/88 and was released in July 1989, dashing the dreams of another young Albion player.

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