Category Archives: Seagulls Shop

David Rose Sports

On the backpage of the Albion Handbook 1978 was this advert for David Rose Sports, a name that evokes strong memories for many Brighton fans:

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Nowadays, it’s almost unthinkable that you wouldn’t get your Brighton & Hove Albion replica shirt from the club shop. However, it seems the Albion were rather slow to catch onto the burgeoning replica kit market in the 1970s. So if you wanted to get your Bukta shirt, shorts and socks in the style of your heroes at the Goldstone, such as Gary Williams (above) or Peter Ward, and risk Full Kit-ism prejudice, it was better to wander off to Dyke Road to your local sports shop rather than Old Shoreham Road. I think even the yellow one was available as a replica kit.

As Alan Wares, of The Albion Roar radio show, said:

I got my first Albion kit from David Rose Sports when it was in Dyke Road. 1978, Bukta, stretchy knitted blue and white striped shirt, blue shorts with the Bukta stripes, white socks with two blue bands at the top, and a pair of Gola boots.

Not bad for a ninth birthday present. Seemed to recall it came to £32 all in.

David Rose was a lifelong Albion supporter who died in 2005 after a battle with cancer. He is fondly remembered for his expertise, excellent customer service and idiosyncratic discounts.

As The Spanish said on North Stand Chat:

David Rose’s constant 10% Off offer. Everything was always 10% off if you could prove you played for a mini minor league club, your birthday fell on a Tuesday that year, or you had a tortoise called George etc etc.

By the time of his death, business was not good, not because of losses incurred from his own discounts but because the big chains such as Sports Soccer and JJB Sports had muscled in on the market, buying their massive bulk of stock at cheap prices, making it hard for the traditional local sports shop to survive. For this reason, David’s stepson Michael was not keen to continue the business.

On hearing the news of the death, bigtomfu said:

What a great guy, always eager to give people money off even when there was no reason to. if you wanted an honest opinion on sports goods then you always went to him. What a guy and such a shame!

Alan Wares lamented the shift away from the likes of A A Baker, Swift Sports and David Rose Sports in a wider context:

In a city this size, there is only one quality sports shop (Swift Sports) – that’s disgraceful. David Rose Sports is symbolic of a dying trend – a trend that needs to be reversed. Whatever happened to knowledge, service and integrity in your local sport shop?

You go into a shop and see a row of football boots or cricket bats, all at massively different prices, and you ask the assistant what is the difference between each type of bat. Why one is one price, and one is another. In JJB, Sports Soccer etc, you get a monosyllabic grunt. In a REAL sports shop, you get intelligent responses, someone prepared to discuss your needs and requirements, someone who knows what they are on about. It doesn’t take much, and the customer is so much more grateful for it.

But where are these places? You see, it’s all wrong nowadays.

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An Albion lampshade, the ultimate ’70s accessory

Gordon, a Brighton & Hove Albion fan who I had the pleasure of playing football with on Friday evenings a few years ago, has a wonderful Albion artefact to show. He asks, provocatively:

‘Can someone date my Brighton & Hove Albion lampshade? I don’t mean take it out for a few drinks… I mean hazard a guess as to its era. It’s made of off-white card, with a mid green edging top and bottom, that wraps round the metal wire rings, the top one having the mounting for the bulb holder…

Printed on it is a little football, a larger football, a BHA player challenging a goalkeeper, who is on the floor, four (4) Cups, which I take to be The FA Cup, The League Cup, The 1st. Division Trophy and possibly the European Cup and ‘BRIGHTON & HOVE ALBION FC’ with the old double heraldic symbol above this text…’

Here are some photos of this lavish item:

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So it was a decorative article to commemorate the time when Brighton & Hove Albion had triumphed in four major club competitions… yes, that would certainly narrow it down. Sadly, I believe that the trophies were mere wishful thinking. But that doesn’t mean we can’t get pretty close to when the lampshade went on sale…

As a connoisseur of the typefaces of Albion programmes from the 1970s (no, not really! I promise), I can exclusively reveal the font on the lampshade is Compacta SB-Regular. This font was used on the cover from the early 1970s up to the end of the 1973/74 season, which doesn’t narrow things down by that much. However, matching the graphical style of the illustrations, with its mixture of a blue spot colour and black, with those in vogue on the cover of the programmes, I’d offer an educated guess to suggest the lampshade came from the 1972/73 campaign:

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With that in mind, it was perfect for reading your programme or League Football (formerly Football League Review) in the fading light. But this small pleasure was soon in doubt. The restrictions to electricity consumption caused by the Three Day Working Week made this a luxury during the following season.

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Ancient Albion season tickets – from the 1920s and 1930s!

Eighty year or so years ago, if you had bought a season ticket at the Goldstone Ground, you’d have received a card that would have looked something like these. And what exquisite items they are! They’d have fitted easily into your wallet, purse or even your cigarette case… and probably quite easy to lose as well.

Presented with some classy gold lettering, this is the burgundy and green season ticket for the South Stand and Enclosure from 1928/29.

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With a single horizontal fold, they opened up to list the terms and conditions in blue ink, not to mention the signature of Charlie Webb, Brighton boss from 1919 to 1947.

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By 1930/31, the colour of the card had changed to a suspiciously Crystal Palace-like red-and-white combination. Having said that, although in the same division, Palace were yet to become arch rivals and, anyway, they played in claret and light blue at the time, so it’s the first card that most matched their colours, not this one.

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As you can see, the price for a season ticket for Ladies was £1 7s 6d (I wonder if this was the same price for men) which, using the thoroughly useful Measuring Worth website, suggests it would be the equivalent to somewhere between £71.33 (using the purchasing power calculator) to £449.20 (the economic power value). Interestingly, the latter value is roughly what my current season ticket at the Amex Stadium costs today.

And what joyous football entertainment was Miss Repington able to enjoy in those two seasons in the Football League Division Three (South)? In 1928/29, Brighton dropped eleven places to fall to 15th position but at least she would have enjoyed some formidable performances in the home matches as the Albion won fourteen of their 21 League matches at the Goldstone. By 1930/31, the team had arrested their decline despite losing then record scorer Hugh Vallance in October (for ‘serious misdemenour’) and surged back up to fourth position. Again, the Albion had turned the Goldstone Ground into a fortress, with thirteen victories being recorded there.

Due to the fact you had to be Champions to get promoted, chances of going up were severely limited. It took another twenty-seven years for this to be achieved by Brighton. I hope Miss Repington got to see it!

(Many thanks to southasp for supplying me with the season ticket cards).

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Albion promotion mug, 1971/72

Here’s crockery you don’t see every day….

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You can imagine the Pat Saward Appeal Committee drinking their teas and coffees from these as sought to come up with new fundraising ideas for their ‘Buy A Player’ Fund…

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Double A-Side single: ‘In Brighton’ / ‘The Goldstone Rap’ (1982)

First Division footballers they may have been, but Brighton’s team of ’82 also made an audacious bid for pop fame and hip-hop credibility.

From left to right, here are the rather earnest-looking Gordon Smith, Steve Gatting, Perry Digweed, Andy Ritchie, Jimmy Case, Gary Williams, Gary Stevens, Gerry Ryan, Michael Robinson and Steve Foster seeking to set the world alight with their dulcet tones and Farah slacks, not to mention their previously unrevealed rapping skills:

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In the Brighton v Tottenham match programme from March 1982, it was announced:

Last Wednesday our first team squad had a unique day out when they travelled to recording studios in South London to cut their first record. The record is entitled ‘In Brighton’ and should be available on general sale in early April.

Howard Krugar, who lives in Hove and specialises in organising concerts for some of the world’s biggest stars, is the man behind the idea and he is hopeful of the disc making the charts. In fact it is highly likely that the Albion squad will appear on ‘Top of the Pops’.

Also involved in the record is BBC football commentator Peter Brackley who livens things up with commentary on a memorable Albion goal… which one? Well, for that you’ll have to buy the record.

Thanks to the lads at We Are Brighton, you can hear ‘In Brighton’ here:

Based on the Drifters’ song ‘On Broadway,’ the song received a positive response from John Henty who gave it a spin at Radio Brighton on Sunday 4th April. With dubious lyrics such as ‘Big Fozzie keeps it tight for Brighton’ and the boast of ‘Playin’ at the Goldstone Ground, where good football’s always found’ (sadly, no football of any kind down there now), not to mention even dodgier singing, the song probably did not have much of a fanbase outside of Brighton supporters.

Nevertheless, it was also played by Peter Powell on Radio One. However, as notes that month in the Brighton v Manchester United programme lamented:

Last week Peter Powell played the disc on his Radio One show but allowed his own support of Wolves to colour his comments on the merits of the recording.

The song was also erroneously aired on BBC’s ‘Match of the 80s’ series in the 1990s in its coverage of Brighton’s FA Cup run of 1983, with Danny Baker hesitating about even calling it a ‘song’! And, just in case you are wondering, the Andy Ritchie goal that Brackley acts out a commentary on is almost certainly this swerving free-kick belter from the Brighton v West Bromwich Albion game in February 1982:

The other track on this Double A-side was ‘The Goldstone Rap’, which this very blog you are reading takes its name from. Looking at it now, it’s amazing to think that Brighton & Hove Albion were at the forefront of the UK hip-hop scene in 1982, especially as this was almost certainly the first ever football song to feature rapping.

Unlikely to win any prizes at the MOBO awards, the rap memorably includes such lyrical gems as:
‘When you make that cross you’re gonna cross it fine / Give the ball to the player on the dead ball line.’

Never mind the MOBOs, though. Were you at Busby’s Night Club on Kingswest, Kings Road, in Brighton on the evening of Tuesday 6th April 1982? If you were, you would have been present to the grand launch of the single, as Brighton & Hove Albion’s first team squad belted out their musical masterpieces on stage! Sadly, I have no video footage of this priceless moment.

When released to the general public, the colour sleeve of the 7″ looked splendid, with the players proudly posing in front of the temporary Lego Stand in all its glory:

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The price was a bargain £1.20. Buyers of the single from the club shop were also given a chance to enter a great competition to win two tickets to Dallas, Texas, with British Caledonian Airways.

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So, was the Brighton release a launchpad to instant chart fame and fortune? Unfortunately, the single sank without trace but it gave Steve Foster (whose vocals also featured on the England 1982 World Cup song ‘This Time’), an opportunity to meet up with proper singer David Soul and wing a copy to the ‘Starsky and Hutch’ star:

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Years later, I was wondering about ‘The Goldstone Rap’ and imagining what it would have sounded like if it adopted the electro sound of 1982’s other great hip-hop release, ‘The Message’ by Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five. Thanks to the power of the internet, and due to a discussion on North Stand Chat, I got to find out.

Major props to Ian, the DJ who created this ‘Goldstone Message’:

A much enhanced version, I hope you’ll agree. In terms of pushing at the limits of what was possible for music and Brighton & Hove Albion footballers, it was certainly close to the edge.

Some MP3 files for your listening pleasure:
(right-click to ‘Save Target As…’ or ‘Download Linked File’)
In Brighton
The Goldstone Rap
The Goldstone Message

Other Wrap posts about Brighton & Hove Albion songs:
Carol Manns – ‘Seagulls’ (1979) – a video!

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Alan Biley – a Law unto himself

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From the Brighton v Leeds programme from April 1985:

It won’t take Alan Biley long to make friends in the Goldstone terraces and stands. There is always a sense of excitement and anticipation when the player in question is a man of proven ability who loves to entertain the fans.

Ask Alan Biley about his own heroes and he’ll talk enthusiastically about two men in particular: Denis Law and rock star Rod Stewart. Both men won fame as excellent showmen. Biley’s mind sees Law score a spectacular goal and wheeling away, arm aloft, to salute the Stretford End. Or Stewart, strutting the stage with style and confidence, oozing that indefinable quality, charisma.

‘I take enjoyment very seriously,’ he says. ‘By that I mean that I know how lucky I am to earn my money playing the game I love. When I was 10, my only ambition was to become a professional footballer and that has never changed. It was the only thing I ever wanted to do. I know there are millions of kids who dream of making the grade. I’m one of the lucky ones. Now I’m there, I love to make the most of every day.’

Biley was a small, very mobile striker who made great runs and had a deadly finish. His modelling himself on his idols was not just apparent from his attention-grabbing blonde feather cut hair, but also his Law-like habit of grasping onto the cuffs of his long-sleeved football shirt. A good example is this photo from this Leeds match, as he celebrates triumphantly after scoring in the 1-1 draw (wonderful expression on Terry Connor’s face too!).

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After a prolific spell with Cambridge, Biley had first come to the attention of many Brighton fans when his two goals for relegation-bound Derby County had stuffed the Seagulls 3-0 in the First Division five years previously in April 1980. He had a largely unsuccessful spell with Everton after a big £350,000 move in July 1981. After being loaned to Stoke City, the Leighton Buzzard-born striker rediscovered his goal-scoring touch when he arrived at Portsmouth in August 1982. On the South Coast, he hit 51 goals in 105 League games for Pompey.

When he joined Brighton in March 1985 for £50,000, the hope was that his goals would turbo-charge the Seagulls’ return to Division One. Sadly, it was not to be. Four goals in thirteen appearances in 1984/85 was not enough. Here you can see him back at Fratton Park in action for his new club against Portsmouth, losing his footing before a classy lay-off to set up Chris Hutchings’ chance:

Although not on the scoresheet there, Biley did get the equaliser against Grimsby when Brighton stormed back from 2-0 down late on to win 4-2 in the penultimate match of the campaign. In the end, Brighton missed out on promotion by three measly points.

As the next campaign dawned, Biley proved his goal-scoring credentials with a first half header against Nottingham Forest in a famous 5-1 pre-season win, as part of Warm Up ’85:

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Despite hitting another quite opportunist goal against Grimsby in the League opener in 1985/86, Biley was in and out of the side as Cattlin had Dean Saunders, Mick Ferguson, Terry Connor and Justin Fashanu also competing to play upfront. Biley endured some very rough tackling at times, such as in the Barnsley away defeat in August. In the end, the extrovert with the larger-than-life persona had a goal ratio with the Seagulls that was anything other than larger-than-life. Perhaps he would have scored more with the protection that referees offer attacking players nowadays. Here he is getting chopped down by England defender Mark Wright after coming on as substitute against Southampton in the FA Cup Quarter Final home defeat in March 1986:

Biley amassed just four League goals in 26 League appearances in his second season with the Seagulls, which effectively spelt the end of his Brighton career, and he was loaned to New York Express and Cambridge before going on to play for Twente Enschede (Holland), Brest (France) and Panionios (Greece).

While some spells (such as his first at Cambridge with whom he was recently voted in their Team of the Century) were much more successful than others, Biley is still fondly remembered at most of his clubs, including ours. If you wish to declare your enduring footballing love for the blonde bombshell, you can get an Alan Biley T-shirt from Cult Zeros.

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First Day Cover – 1st Game in Division One, 1979

Paul from Cult Zeros has kindly sent me some scans of a first day cover to commemorate Brighton’s debut match in the top flight, against Arsenal in August 1979. According to British First Day Covers:

First day covers are specially designed envelopes with attractive postage stamps which have been postmarked on the day the stamps were issued by the Post Office.

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How satisfying to see that Eurostile font combined with the round badge and team photo! The crest lends itself rather nicely to being adapted to form the postmark.

The envelope contained an insert that gave a brief history of Brighton & Hove Albion.

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The record attendance still holds and Brighton still haven’t made it beyond the Quarter-Final of the League Cup. However, so much more is now part of our club history.

If anyone else has any Albion first day covers, and able to scan or take a photo, please get in contact.

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Bukta yellow away shirt now in club shop

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I had a lovely surprise while walking past the Seagulls Store on Queen’s Road, Brighton, yesterday when I spied this glorious short-sleeved wonder gleaming in the shop window.

Was it an original 1978-80 Brighton away shirt and therefore a display item (i.e. not for sale)? Although it would have been lovely to see an original in person, thankfully, no. Manufactured by Toffs, it turned out that this beauty was a new reproduction that could be mine (or yours) to wear for £39.99. They definitely kept that quiet! It’s neither currently for sale on the Brighton & Hove Albion Seagulls Direct store website nor on the Toffs site. And, in case you’re wondering, and from a 1970s timewarp, not from David Rose Sports either.

Instinctively (and not suspiciously at all, I promise!), I gave the garment the once-over to compare it to the original (well, what I recall of an original, having seen a photo of one on Phil Shelley’s excellent Old Football Shirts site). Sure, it isn’t made of that nasty scratchy material that Bukta shirts of the late 1970s were made out of. And the badge and manufacturer’s logo could have been closer to the collar. But other than that, it’s a very faithful rendition of the shirt Brighton wore back in the day.

And hallelujah! Toffs have finally sorted out my decades-long complaint with the Brighton badge on their Albion shirts having a superflous white and blue ring around the badge. Above, as you can see, there is no annoying blue stroke around another unnecessary white border around the badge. If you wish to be pedantic, you could point out that it’s not quite the shirt that Brighton wore when they clinched promotion to the First Division with a win at Newcastle in 1978/79. During that season, the Brighton yellow shirt had the Bukta lettering but not the buk graphic above:

But you’d have to be super-picky not to want to pretend to be Brian Horton powering a bullet of a near-post header or Gerry Ryan slamming the ball into the Newcastle goal while wearing this shirt in the park. You may even wish to pretend to be Andy Rollings, who in Match Magazine, chooses as the magic moment of his career: ‘Final whistle at Newcastle, when we won promotion to Division One’:

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It’d be getting into dangerous levels of football shirt-spottery to know that it was in 1979/80, the club’s first in the top flight, when the buk appeared above the logotype, just like on the Toffs reproduction. Games when this yellow shirt was worn include the match at Manchester United, when an altercation took place between Seagulls team-mates Eric Steele and Gary Williams. Not really an incident to re-enact in a ‘Phoenix From The Flames’-style, I don’t think. More happily, the shirt was also worn during this 2-0 win at Bolton in January 1980:

As a shirt design, this Toffs / Bukta garment has many things going for it. Just like on the original, the flared collar also added a touch of ’70s panache. The buks down the sleeves always looked great, not least because they resemble a line of seagulls from a distance. In fact, the production quality now is even better than the original sewn-on band where the yellow contrast on the blue buks down the sleeves always seemed too lemony to match the rest of the shirt. Perhaps the overall design would have looked more coherent with a yellow and blue badge, instead of white and blue, although that seemingly slapdash approach (or deliberate retro styling) is now being emulated in the new yellow Brighton shirt for 2013/14.

And, question on supporters’ lips: will the 2014 team emulate the side of the late Seventies and early 1980s? I’m unsure, but if Brighton make it up this time, they may need to exercise caution at times, but not cowardice. And, on the road, they will need to exhibit other positive characteristics associated with the colour yellow, such as hope, optimism and energy, traits the Albion side of 1978-80 had in abundance.

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Seagulls Talc

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What a product! This was perfect as a Christmas present in 1981 for dads, uncles and grandads. It would also have suited you if you were getting hot and sticky running around in your tight-fitting Brighton ‘British Caledonian’ adidas polyester replica shirt, the type that didn’t allow much air in.

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Many thanks to John Mackie for sending it in. He says, “I don’t think they’re trading any more. This specimen was saved from the bin when my granddad died. I bought it for him in the early 80s from the Franklands Village store in Haywards Heath. It smelt quite nice actually.”

If you have any photos of Brighton & Hove Albion memorabilia from pre-1997 that you’d like to share, please send to seagulls@me adding .com at the end. Thanks!

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Official club team poster 1981/82

1981-82 poster

This glorious A2 colour poster from the Seagulls Shop would have been stuck proudly upon the bedroom wall of many Brighton fans. It would have helped familiarise them with the re-shaped team. In this very select team group photo with just eleven outfield players and two goalkeepers, new signings Jimmy Case, Don Shanks and Tony Grealish take pride of place in the front row with new boss Mike Bailey. As you can see, these were the good old days when the coaching staff had their initials printed onto their tracksuits. Very cute!

Just like his new buddy in midfield Tony Grealish, it is widely forgotten that Jimmy Case took some time to settle with the Seagulls. Grealish had a job to win over the fans as he had replaced club captain Brian Horton, who joined Grealish’s former club, Luton Town. After a long, successful career at Liverpool, Case’s form was indifferent in his first season at Brighton. Nevertheless, Case did manage to play 33 League matches. He scored just three goals, all in the early part of the season, the last of which was in November 1981.

Right-back Don Shanks (front row, fourth along) was a free transfer from QPR, and proved an instant hit, working his way up and down the line throughout the season in a way that many Brighton supporters remember fondly. This is illustrated by his great work down the right-wing that helped the Seagulls draw 3-3 against Liverpool in October 1981. His First Division know-how also made for a much meaner defence.

With Andy Ritchie and Michael Robinson banging in the goals, this tightly organised team never fell below 14th place and were able to play a whole season in the First Division without any relegation fears.

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