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

There is an interesting jersey on eBay at the moment:

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

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

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

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

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Not exactly pulling up any trees

Here’s Garry Birtles in action for Nottingham Forest in his second spell at the club. I don’t know who that Brighton player is!

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The bearded striker first came to the attention of Forest assistant manager Peter Taylor in September 1976, according to the book ‘With Clough By Taylor’:

A friend rang from Burton, saying. ‘There’s a lad from Long Eaton who is going to Manchester United.’ I was thunderstruck: I expect that sort of information from my staff. I phoned my scout for the area who said: ‘Oh, Birtles. Used to be at Clifton as a amateur. Can’t play.’ I fumed, ‘Whether he can play or not, if he goes to Old Trafford and signs, you’ll get the sack.’ Then I phoned back to my contact in Burton and asked him to watch Birtles, who was there that afternoon with Long Eaton. He rang in the evening. The United business is a bum steer. No-one’s in for him but I think the boy has got something; he’s no mug.’

After a month’s trial, Birtles eventually signed for Forest from Gerry Fell’s old club Long Eaton in a £2,000 deal. After a slow start, he eventually forced his way into the first team following Peter Withe’s departure. Memorably, the striker scored the first and created the second in a famous 2-0 victory over holders Liverpool in the European Cup in 1978.

Three months later, Garry tucked home Forest’s third goal against Brighton in a 3-1 victory in the League Cup, after Graham Moseley failed to hold onto Frank Clark’s shot.
Such was Birtles’ progress that forced his way into the England team, making his debut against Australia on 13th May 1980 against Australia – Peter Ward making his international debut against the same opposition later that month.

Such was Birtles’ progress that forced his way into the England team, making his debut against Australia on 13th May 1980 against Australia, just two weeks before Peter Ward’s only full England appearance.

On 22nd October 1980, Clough sold Birtles in a £1.25 million deal to ex-Brighton player Dave Sexton, then boss of Manchester United. It was a fee considerably higher than if he had signed from Long Eaton all those years before. The deal was part of a famous ‘triangular’ transfer that saw Peter Ward join Forest from Brighton for £450,000, and Andy Ritchie arrive at the Goldstone from Manchester United in a £500,000 deal.

All three attackers struggled at their new clubs. Ritchie battled to win over Seagulls’ fans’ disappointment at the departure of Peter Ward. However, Ritchie’s rich vein of form in 1981/82 was such that he was voted Rediffusion’s Albion Player of the Year. Birtles went through a barren spell when he just could not score. It took until the FA Cup 3rd Round Replay against Brighton at the Goldstone Ground in January 1981 for him to register his first goal for the Red Devils:

Brighton also proved lucky for him the following 1981/82 season, and Birtles shook off his Old Trafford despondency to score for Manchester United in a 2-0 victory over the Seagulls in November, with future Albion centre-forward Frank Stapleton the other scorer:

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However, Birtles never truly established himself as a Manchester United player, despite being given a fair chance by new boss Ron Atkinson

In 1982/83, the Nottingham-born striker found his way back to the City Ground at a fraction of the original fee. Another misfit, Peter Ward, also returned to Brighton on loan. As for Ritchie, he finished the season back up north, at Leeds United in a straight swop for Terry Connor. He eventually returned to Old Trafford, in a way, when his newly promoted Oldham Athletic side played Manchester United in August 1991.

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Going great guns …but for how long?

The Arsenal v Leeds programme of April 1981 did not hesitate to rub it in:

Our win at Brighton is discussed on the Terry Neill page elsewhere in this programme, but it surely must be something of a football record. In two seasons we have met them no less than seven times, four League, one FA Cup and two League Cup (one replay) and Brighton have yet to score a goal against us, while in the same time we have scored sixteen. Brighton will still be hoping, despite this, that we meet again next season as they try to avoid relegation.

In Brighton’s first encounter with Arsenal in the 1980/81 season, Alan Mullery’s men lost 2-0 at Highbury in November. Here’s Graham Rix slotting in the opening goal 17 minutes from time:

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Three minutes later, after a bad pass from Lawrenson to Jacob Cohen, Brian McDermott capitalised to go around Graham Moseley to score the second:

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As the Brighton matchday programme noted:

In the eyes of most spectators, and certainly most of the journalists present, the Albion were a shade unfortunate not to get a point.

In the return fixture, in April 1981, at the Goldstone, Brighton lost again, this time to John Hollins’ header:

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There was almost a second for the Gunners when the ball hit the crossbar:

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So another Arsenal game, another defeat. Yet the Seagulls turned things around the following season under Mike Bailey. After a scoreless draw at Highbury, Andy Ritchie scored Brighton’s first ever goal against the Gunners in a very welcome 2-1 triumph in April 1982.

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Reach for the stars

Here are some memorable star badges from the Billy Lane era. Many of your 1950s Albion heroes are here from Roy Jennings, Adrian Thorne, Eric Gill, Bill Curry to Mike Tiddy…

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Sadly, some points of the Glen Wilson and Johnny Dixon stars have broken.

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Eric Gill: Soccer – my business and pleasure

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Did you know that Eric Gill, Brighton’s goalkeeper from 1952 to 1960, is still alive?

Joining the club from Charlton for a £400 fee, he is best remembered as the first choice keeper in Albion’s 1958 promotion side. He also made 247 consecutive appearances for the team, equalling the achievement of fellow shot-stopper Ted Ditchburn of Tottenham, missing the opportunity to beat the record through illness.

In Charles Buchan’s Football Monthly, he talks of his life as a footballer and a businessman:

Football is not only my business, it’s my pleasure. I enjoyed kicking a bah around when I was a kid, and I still get that same thrill now as a paid player.

The game has given me a good standard of living, enabled me to travel, and made me many friends. And it has also taught me many lessons in life.

One is to make provision for the future. I have seen some players (among them top-class men) who have left footbail with nothing. They were too busy enjoying life to give a thought to the day when their legs would no longer carry them around a football pitch.

And I have also seen players who did look ahead and make provision for their wife and family. I began to think of doing the same myself – when I was in the middle of a run of 247 successive matches for Brighton and life looked very secure.

You see, I had no other trade. I started on the Charlton Athletic ground staff at 17, and football is the only profession I know. Fortunately, I have always been the sort of chap who likes to put a bit of money away for a rainy day, and that has proved a sound habit, as things have turned out.

My wife Ida and I decided a short time ago to go into business, and we took the Perrimay Hotel, in Charlotte Street, on Brighton’s famous front. Here is both a home and a business for us and the two boys – Stephen, who is 7, and little Malcolm, who has not yet celebrated his first birthday.

Now I feel as though all doubts about the future have gone. This is the sort of venture I always wanted, and I received every encouragement from my club. They like to see a player settled and happy.

But please don’t think I am about to retire from football because of this plunge into business. Nothing is further from my mind. I hope to play for many seasons yet, and Soccer remains my chief interest. I shall gradually be learning the hotel business, and part of my close-season activities were spent in redecorating the rooms.

Last season – Brighton’s first-ever in the Second Division – provided me with a great experience. It was wonderful to go round the great Second Division grounds, meeting famous players and taking part in a higher standard of play.

For once Brighton were not under a promotion strain. You may remember that in the Third Division they were invariably chasing promotion. Everyone in Sussex expected Brighton to win the League, and there was one narrow miss after another until the job was finally pulled off. All that imposes a great mental as well as physical strain on players.

I’m always being asked what it was like playing week after week, setting up a Brighton record as an ever-preeent. It wasn’t until I was approaching the hundredth appearance that I realised I was near a club record. After that hurdle, I forgot all about the run until No. 2oo loomed up. Next thing I knew was that they were talking of my passing Ted Ditchburn’s record of 247.

Popular Ted kindly sent a telegram addressed to me at Coventry on the day that his record was to have been broken.

But I was at home – ill in bed! So Ditchburn and Gill both fell at the same fence.

My biggest-ever thrill, however, came last season when Brighton made me captain at the Valley when we visited Charlton, my old club. It was the first time I had been on the ground since I signed for Brighton. We gained a fine victory to make it a memorable day for me.

Well, the close season is over and, like all players, I’m already peeping ahead to the new season and more thrills. There’s something about football that really gets you!

An injury sustained in training during 1958/59 hampered Eric’s play, enabling Dave Hollins to have time to shine as first team keeper. He eventually transferred to Guildford City in June 1960, amassing 225 appearances in six years.

As for the hotel industry, after running Perrimay, Eric later moved to run Simpson’s Hotel (now Drake’s) on Marine Parade. He sold the business many years ago and then retired.

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Eighteen seconds of Brighton v York City, 1973

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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:

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Brighton up – with a six goal rush

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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.

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Delightful player badges and discs

Thanks to Nick Spiller for lending me these marvellous items.

A pair of badges from the late 1970s:

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…some discs from 1979/80:

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…and yet more discs, this time from 1980/81:

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Clark at the peak of his powers

Here’s some action from Brighton’s match with Charlton on Good Friday, 13th April 1979:

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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.

Only one of these players has ever scored a goal for Brighton & Hove Albion... and it isn't ex-Seagull Les Berry!

Only one of these players has ever scored a goal for Brighton & Hove Albion… and it isn’t ex-Seagull Les Berry!

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Shoot Cover: Sammy Morgan (30 July 1977)

As promised, there will be occasional posts to The Goldstone Wrap, and here’s one of them…

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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.

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