Tag Archives: alan young

From Alan Young’s autobiography: Keegan’s farewell


Writer Simon Kimber was kind enough to send me an extract from Alan Young’s autobiography in collaboration with him. It was the striker’s sat match for the Seagulls, but the game is best remembered for another farewell, not to mention Beardsley’s masterpiece:

One match that sticks in my mind was the final game of the season in May 1984 when Brighton flew up to Newcastle to play at St James Park. It was Kevin Keegan’s last match for them and there was a lot of fuss and attention on Kevin because of this and I think we lost 3-1 but I had a great day.

I know that Chris Waddle chipped big Joe Corrigan and I set up Gerry Ryan up for his goal. I spent a lot of time at right back trying to retrieve the ball and tackling back, doing all the stuff that I shouldn’t have been doing. I know that Jock Wallace would have kicked my arse for it!

After the game we went back to Teeside Airport and we were preparing to fly home. We got to know some of the British Caledonian stewardesses quite well because they all lived in Brighton and all went out to the same wine bars and clubs that the players went to.

Anyway, when we got on the plane there was a crowd of us that always sat near the back. I know we had lost but we had played well and the season was now over so he should have left it alone.

While Brighton supporters are full of praise for Cattlin, it’s interesting to hear another player (along with Joe Corrigan and Gordon Smith) who have been less than complimentary about the Cat’s man management skills in their autobiographies.


Derby delight for the Seagulls

Smith does score!

Smith does score!

It was time to stop the rot. After opening with three successive defeats, Gordon Smith converted a penalty as relieved Brighton under Jimmy Melia picked up a very welcome 1-0 victory against Derby County at the Goldstone in September 1983.

At the time, the Rams had seasoned players of the calibre of Roy McFarland, Archie Gemmill and John Robertson. However, they were all past their best. County were managed by ex-Albion boss Peter Taylor, who had returned to the Baseball Ground in November 1982, having ended his long partnership with Brian Clough by quitting Nottingham Forest six months previously. Together, Clough and Taylor had shocked the world by leading the Midlands side to the League Championship in 1972. However, going it along a decade later, Taylor struggled, although he did put one over Ol’ Big ‘Ead when the Rams beat Forest in the FA Cup in January 1983.

By the return match between Derby and Brighton at the Baseball Ground in March 1984, County were on their way towards Division Three and Taylor heading towards the sack. Helping them on their way was the Rams’ emphatic defeat to Cattlin’s Brighton side. Here’s how John Vinicombe of the Evening Argus reported it at the time:

Chris Cattlin’s rebuilding programme, aimed at promotion next season, continued apace at crisis-ridden Derby.

A wholly satisfying 3-0 victory also stilled any criticism at selling Steve Foster and Tony Grealish. Dissenting voices, always a minority, must now be faint echoes in the light of this latest performance.

Displays like this beat out Cattlin’s promise that the last two and half months of the campaign will not be allowed to peter out.

Amazingly, Peter Taylor axed four key players, including skipper Archie Gemmill and, before Gordon Smith scored the third and best goal of the match after 75 minutes, the Baseball Ground was a scene of bitter rancour.

Peter Taylor, who with Brian Clough, threw Albion a precious lifeline a decade ago, is himself in need of rescue.

Second from bottom, this grad old club, a founder member of the Football League, face relegation to the Third Division for only the second time, in their centenary year as well as today’s Inland Revenue winding-up petition in the High Court.

Perhaps Robert Maxwell will save Derby after all, but the prospect of charing a Third Division club cannot be that attractive. If he were to pay the preferential creditors in full, Derby could be had for under £1m.

Vinicombe blamed Derby’s poor financial affairs on poor housekeeping and contends that Brighton will never suffer such problems under Chris Cattlin, whose financial acumen was being demonstrated by his opposition to long-term contracts and the sale of senior players. Their opponents had the look of a veterans’ side, with Kenny Burns and Dave Watson also recruited to fight Derby’s relegation battle. Of the Rams, Vinicombe wrote:

Derby, this time shorn of not only Gemmill, but Paul Futcher who says he never want to play for Taylor again, John Robertson and Steve Cherry, had only endeavour to offer.

This is really only a polite way of saying their football was nothing but kick and rush, but there was a moment in the first half when the game might have gone their way.

That is did not was entirely due to Perry Digweed rectifying Willie Young’s mistake and preventing a certain goal by Bobby Davison. Digweed smothered the ball at Davison’s feet after Willie’s ill-timed pass back, and a few minutes’ later, when there didn’t appear to be a call, collecting one of Eric Young’s size 11 boots in the face.

For at least ten seconds, Digweed didn’t know what time of day it was. This was his first game for Cattlin, and only re-affirmed the manager’s high opinion of his second-string keeper.

A first ever Albion goal for Steve Penney.

A first ever Albion goal for Steve Penney.

Brighton took the lead on 54 minutes when Alan Young’s header found Steve Penney. The Ballymena-born winger turned Steve Buckle inside out and finished off the far post just as goalie Yakka Banovic tried to close the angle.

Striker Alan Young turned from provider to goalscorer eight minutes later, latching onto Gary Howlett’s pass to fire the ball home off Banovic’s foot.

Finally, Gordon Smith wrapped up the match with his last ever goals for the Seagulls, and it was a good one too. Danny Wilson caught ex-England defender Dave Watson at sixes and sevens and fed the Scotsman who rifled the ball into the roof of the net.

At the end of the season, Brighton finished ninth and Derby in 20th. However, it was a brief stay in the Third Division for the Rams and they returned to the Second Division in 1986 under the canny leadership of Arthur Cox.

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Gregory nods Seagulls into safety

Here's a familiar face for Leicester boss Jock Wallace... Gordon Smith, his former Rangers player, in action against Larry May

Here’s a familiar face for Leicester boss Jock Wallace… Gordon Smith, his former Rangers player, in action against Larry May

About a year before joining the Seagulls, Leicester striker Alan Young did much to help Brighton to safety by getting sent-off in the fixture on this day in 1981. Here’s how Nigel Clarke reported it for the Daily Mirror:

Brighton climbed out of the bottom three with this win, edging above Coventry on goal difference.

But Leicester, who had two men sent off in this desperate relegation battle, look to be heading straight back to the Second Division.

They finished with nine men after having Alan Young and scorer Kevin MacDonald dismissed.

Young went in the 40th minute for a foul on Steve Foster after being earlier booked for clattering into goalkeeper Graham Moseley standing for the concussed Perry Dlgweed.

MacDonald, also booked earlier, got his marching orders in the 75th minute for deliberate handball.

But Leicester manager Jock Wallace said defiantly: “There’s no surrender. We’re not dead yet. We’re breathing, walking and talking. The second sending off was the killer. We were doing all right with ten men and Brighton looked very tired.”

Brighton boss Alan Mullery said: “It’s going to be difficult for Leicester now. I just wish the season had ended today.But the pressure la still on us. We needed four points over Easter to give ourselves a chance, but it’s nice to be out of the bottom three. It wasn’t much of a match in terms of quality. but it was always tense and very exciting.”

Against all the odds Leicester took the lead four minutes after Young’s dismissal. MacDonald flicked a back header past Moseley from Steve Lynex’s cross.

But Brighton suddenly produced an inspired spell between the 51st and 57th minute.

It was enough to win the game and earn the kind of support that Mullery had demanded.

Future Albion defender Larry May in a duel with scorer Michael Robinson

That future Albion defender Larry May in a duel with scorer Michael Robinson

First Andy Ritchie checked, turned then lifted a left-foot cross that Michael Robinson took hungrily in the air for his 21st goal of the season.

Four minutes later Albion took the lead with a goal that was good eoough to grace Wembley.

John Gregory began it with a clever back-heel that set free Brian Horton. He picked out Robinson who turned the ball back to-Gary Williams.


He crossed quickly and there was Gregory, who scored two at Crystal Palace on Saturday, on target again with a magnificent header.

Robinson nearly made it three two minutes later as Albion took control of Leicester’s depleted forces and ran the game as they liked.

This crucial put the Seagulls just above the drop zone with 31 points from 40 matches. One place below, Coventry also had 31 points but one match in hand. The Sky Blues made full use of this, winning against Middlesbrough and Southampton before a draw at Nottingham Forest took them well clear of the relegation zone into 15th spot. Leicester’s response to their defeat by the Seagulls were two wins in two, against Birmingham and fellow relegation-strugglers Norwich, but it was not enough to save them and they finished second from bottom.

As for Brighton, Alan Mullery’s side built on those two wins with a last-gasp victory at Sunderland to set up a grand finish with with Leeds United at the Goldstone. Suddenly, after a campaign of struggle, everything was going right.

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Last hurrah for yellow away kit

Worn by the likes of Steve Foster below, this all-yellow Adidas number was Brighton’s away kit in the First Division from 1980/81 to 1982/83:


Its most famous appearance came in the 1983 FA Cup Semi-Final when Brighton beat Sheffield Wednesday 2-1.

What is forgotten is that it was worn several times for the following season, 1983/84.

By then, though, with Albion in the Second Division, pinstripes and V-necks were all the rage. Here’s young winger Steve Penney showing his trickery while donning Albion’s sublime new white away kit with blue and red pinstripes:


You can also see this adidas shirt in more detail at Phil Shelley’s Old Football Shirts website.

However, there was a sartorially tricky League fixture in the 1983/84 campaign at Blackburn Rovers, and a cup tie at Bristol Rovers (Milk Cup) that meant both the blue home shirt and the white away top could not be used as change kit.

Instead, Albion were forced to reuse the previous season’s yellow shirts, minus reference to the lapsed sponsorship deal with British Caledonian Airways, of course. Despite the flakey picture quality, you can just about make out those flappy blue collars here in the Bristol Rovers second leg in October 1983, where Albion prevailed 5-4 on aggregate:

For a closer look, here’s, ahem, ‘Jerry Connors’ smashing in the vital away goal:


In the next round of the Milk Cup, in November 1983, Brighton travelled to Upton Park, Again they revived their old yellow kit, this time going down 1-0. Here’s Alan Young on the ball:


By the following season, 1984/85, adidas launched a new yellow change shirt for the Seagulls. It was worn in this 2-0 defeat at Blackburn Rovers:

Fast forward three more seasons, to 1987/88, Spall took over the supply of Albion’s playing and replica kit, introducing a snazzy yellow shirt with shadow stripes. It was the first yellow away shirt worn in a promotion season since the Bukta design under Alan Mullery all those years ago.

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Black day at the Goldstone Ground: Brighton v Chelsea 1983


According to Tim Carder and Roger Harris’ ‘Seagulls!’ book, discussing the 1983/84 season:

An anonymous supporter took out a four-page advert in the Evening Argus on 2 September, appealing for more support and, in particular, for more vocal support; he wanted the game the following day to be a fun afternoon for everyone. He should not have wasted his money – it was the Chelsea match!’

Thirty years to the day, it certainly seemed like a match to savour, the first ever Football League encounter between recent FA Cup Finalists Brighton against a resurgent Chelsea, with rising stars such as Kerry Dixon, David Speedie, Pat Nevin, Colin Pates and Nigel Spackman firing all cylinders alongside very experienced players such as John Hollins and Colin Lee (below):


The Blues had trounced Derby County 5-0 on the opening day of the season. However, the spectre of football hooliganism was to mar the Albion v Chelsea game. As authors Carder and Harris went on to say:

Friday night saw running battles between Chelsea followers, police and local youths; and the game was played in a brooding atmosphere before 20,874 people, 8,000 of them from London.

Played out in the sunshine, the highlight of the match for Brighton supporters was Alan Young’s spectacular banana shot after 76 minutes. Reporting in the Sunday Mirror, Pat Garrow wrote:

Chelsea were quickly in their stride and when the hapless Steve Foster handled in the box, Dixon gave the visitors the lead.

…a shaken Brighton stormed back. It started when Jimmy Case took a free kick that Niedzwiecki failed to hold and Young did the rest with a spectacular overhead kick.

Brighton’s joy was short-lived. A minute later Chelsea scored the winner. This time it was the consistent Clive Walker who squared the ball almost from the byeline across goal.

‘Keeper Digweed could only get his left hand to it and he pulled it down for Dixon to volley into the net.


The game was far from rough but referee Ken Baker kept bringing out his notebook.

Indeed, he showed the red card to one of the Chelsea players, which surprisingly drew fierce criticism from Brighton boss Jimmy Melia who said: “The referee was diabolical. The decision to send Canoville off for retaliation was terrible.”

But the drama did not end there. As Carder and Harris explained:

Chelsea supporters infiltrated all parts of the ground, and at the final whistle the hooligans invaded the pitch from all unfenced areas to launch a vicious attack on the hopelessly outnumbered police. By the time a police horse had managed to clear the pitch, seven constables were injured and the north goal was broken. It was the worst outbreak of violence ever seen at the Goldstone.


Chelsea’s left-back Chris Hutchings even got in on the act, and was charged with threatening and abusive behaviour for swearing at police trying to clear the pitch. According to an article by Spencer Vignes in the Brighton v Sheffield Wednesday programme in 2012/13, it started when he applauded the visiting support after the match, an act interpreted by a policeman as inciting further crowd trouble. As Hutchings said:

“All I did was clap them and this copper comes over and says ‘Get off the pitch at me.’ I said ‘No’ so he said ‘get off the pitch’ again and tried to help me on my way, and I told him to ‘Fuck off’ and ran down the tunnel. Next thing I know he’s nicking me!’

By the time the case was heard at Hove Magistrates Court, Chris Hutchings the Chelsea player had become an Albion player, signing for the Seagulls in a £50,000 deal in November 1983. I’m sure his signing on fee covered the £250 fine he received!


With Hutchings a fixture at left-back, Brighton were eager to avenge the defeat in the corresponding fixture at Stamford Bridge on the last day of 1983. It was not to be as the sharpshooting David Speedie grabbed the winner to complete the League double over the Albion.


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From Alan Young’s autobiography: When Brighton played Real Madrid

Three weeks ago, this blog featured an extract from Alan Young’s autobiography, covering the time Jimmy Case went AWOL.


Today we will look at the striker’s £150,000 signing for Brighton from Sheffield United, and the club’s pre-season jaunt to Spain in the summer of 1983, where they even played the mighty Real Madrid:

The following pre-season with Sheffield United we were over at Reg Brearley’s place at Boston Spa. I remember looking around thinking to myself that we were going to have a very good season. I was feeling very happy at the prospect of another season at Sheffield United so I was surprised when Ian Porterfield cornered me at the bar one evening after training and told me that they had received an offer from Brighton for me. He then told me that they were going to accept the offer and asked if I would like to speak to Jimmy Melia.

So I looked Ian in the eye and asked him “Don’t you f*cking want me like?”

And he made all the right noises and assured me that it wasn’t his decision, that it was the chairman. They needed to get some money in and that I was the only player that they could sell right now. So I went down to see Jimmy and his wife Val and met them at Hotel in Brighton where he taught me what the terms were and that my signing on fee would be 20 grand. That was when I got back to Brearley and asked for the extra five grand which of course he honoured. Now Val was quite spiritual individual and when Jimmy and I had finished discussing the terms of the transfer she asked me what star sign I was. When I told her I was Scorpio she clapped her hands together and said, “Jimmy, it’s perfect. We need that tough Scorpio character in the team”. At this point I was thinking, what are you on? But I was far too polite to say anything. I kept it to myself whilst Val was bouncing up and down because she had found a Scorpio.


Anyway, we went to Majorca for the pre-season preparations and had games against Real Madrid, Real Majorca and Ferencvaros; just a little three team tournament at Majorca’s ground.

Quite marvellously, the Seagulls’ players were not without support as some very loyal Albion fans made the journey to enjoy the competition:



(photos kindly supplied by ‘Al Bion’ from North Stand Chat)

Some even got to meet the players as this photo shows:


Alan continues:

When we arrived where is the first place we go? Magaluf. In the bar where the ducks are, Mano’s Bar (it’s a famous bar). So we are all in this bar and I remember there was a song by Malcolm Maclaren going around at the time called Double Dutch and there was a section of the video for the song where there is a skipping routine (Ooh ma ma, ooh ma ma etc, you know the one) in the middle of it and so what are we doing in this bar? The whole team is recreating this video from Double Dutch and the whole place has gone mental and joined in and it was wild – and we had only just arrived!

What I hadn’t realised at the time was that someone was putting vodka in my beer and so I was getting drunk very quickly and at one point I went and sat next to this girl in a polka dot dress and I was thinking that she was right fit but I couldn’t talk, I really couldn’t.

I thought, I’ve got to get out of here before I collapse or something. So I got in to this taxi and I couldn’t remember where the hotel was and I was starting to feel sick and the taxi driver is jabbering away at me in Spanish and I am a right mess.

So I summoned up all of my Spanish and said “Momento. Marina Hotel” and so off we went and the taxi driver found the Marina Hotel and dropped me off so I paid him and got out, thinking that I had finally had a slice of luck. I saw Gordon Smith walking out of the front door of the hotel so I knew I had the right place and I stopped. “Smudge!” and he said, “What are you doing, Big Man?”

I said “Oh Smudge, I just want ma bed” so I went in to the hotel and walked up to reception and told them that I am Mr Young but I can’t remember my room number. But they can’t find me on their records and keep saying “No Meester Young” and I’m going “Yeeesss Mr Young!” and eventually I gave up and ran out after Gordon Smith. I caught him up and said “Smudge, they won’t give me my key” and he looked at me a bit odd and said “I’m not f*ckin’ surprised” and I said “Why?” and he grinned and said “It’s not our f*ckin’ hotel that’s why! Ours is next door.”

Now quite what he was doing in that hotel … I wouldn’t like to say. He later became president of the Scottish Football Association of course. He could also play the piano really well; he would just sit down at a piano, any piano that might be in a hotel foyer or something, and go straight in to Elton John’s ‘Your Song’. I used to think, you bastard. I was so jealous of that kind of talent. That is one my regrets in life, never having piano lessons. So anyway, I made it to my bed and I was up for training on time the next morning. We didn’t have a blast like that every night but my word did we ever go for it on that first night. Later on, the bastards admitted to putting vodka in my drinks.

In the City of Palma Tournament, Brighton lost narrowly, 1-0, to Real Madrid on 18th August 1983. That prestigious match is notable not just because of the opposition, but because of the debut of rookie goalkeeper Simon Steele. Here are some more of ‘Al Bion’s photos, from the Real Madrid match:

Brighton v Real Madrid: Pre-Match

Brighton v Real Madrid: Pre-Match

Brighton v Real Madrid: After the match

Brighton v Real Madrid: After the match

Two days later, Brighton beat Hungarian side Vasas Diosgyori 3-2 with goals from Steve Gatting, Tony Grealish and a Terry Connor penalty to finish third in the tournament. And exactly thirty years ago today, Brighton’s final match of the tour ended on a high on the Balearic Islands. SD Ibiza were hammered 5-2 with Gerry Ryan, Martin Lambert (2) and Michael Ring (2) getting the goals.

Then it was back home to Brighton for Alan to enjoy the sunshine and beach:


Looking back at the tour, Alan reminisces:

The most amazing thing that happened on that trip however was that big Joe Corrigan (all six feet seven inches of him) got mugged in Alessandro’s night club and had his watch stolen! I mean, Joe Corrigan! There must have been about a hundred guys in the gang that mugged him.

If you are interested in reading more, you can buy ‘Youngy,’ the Alan Young autobiography here on the accompanying site.

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From Alan Young’s autobiography: Jimmy Case goes AWOL

During 1983/84, Brighton & Hove Albion had three Youngs in their squad: Eric Young, Willie Young and Alan Young, none of whom were related! In a seldom seen aligning of the stars in March 1984, all three made the starting line-up in the fixtures against Manchester City, Derby County and Leeds United. It proved a winning combination as Albion drew 1-1 against promotion-chasing City before thrashing both Derby and Leeds 3-0.

Scoring a powerful volley from a Gary Howlett cross in the second half against Derby was Alan Young, a burly striker who was exceptional in the air, yet also had fine technique on the ground. The Scot had been signed by Jimmy Melia in a £150,000 deal for Brighton from Sheffield United in August 1983 as a replacement for Michael Robinson. He announced his arrival at the south coast club in September 1983 with a spectacular overhead kick in his debut against Chelsea.


Although he had only one season at the Goldstone Ground, and was in and out of the side with injuries, he was regularly on the scoresheet when playing for Brighton. Thanks to Simon Kimber, who has allowed me to share an extract from Alan Young’s autobiography ‘Youngy’:

I didn’t realise until I looked recently that my goal return at Brighton was pretty decent; I got 12 goals in 26 matches and I really enjoyed my time at Brighton.

The supporters were still recovering from losing the FA Cup Final to Manchester United in 1983 (this was the game when Gordon Smith should have won the Cup for Brighton with a late chance when he was one on one with Gary Bailey) and the whole euphoria of the day and the occasion. I’m not saying that Brighton isn’t a proper football club but in Brighton the football was viewed as part of the entertainment industry. The football they tried to play reflected that and if the fans weren’t being entertained then they got at the players and the manager.

At Brighton we played with a lot of freedom. There were no restrictions. We were allowed to make our own decisions on the pitch. We had the players with the right experience to do that and I’m thinking of international players like Corrigan, Ryan, Grealish and experienced lads like Jimmy Case and Steve Foster. The football was very enjoyable there and never more so than when Jimmy Case and I were playing together; I loved playing with Jimmy. He was very quiet and has a hearing aid because he doesn’t hear too well.

I remember we finished training one day and headed off to Woody’s as usual and then on to the gentlemen’s club for a game of pool. Then everyone starting to drift away and by ten o’clock in the evening there are only about six of us left. (Bear in mind that we didn’t have mobile phones back then so you couldn’t phone up to let anyone know you were going to be late.)


So I got home and Karen asked me where I had been so I told her and then she asked me if Jimmy had been with us because Lana (Jimmy’s wife) had been on the phone asking if we knew where he was. I told her not to worry because he left same time as me and would probably be home any time soon. The next day Jimmy is nowhere to be seen and nobody knows where he is. So there is a little bit of panic around. Nobody has a clue where he has gone until the following morning at training when Jimmy saunters in, whistling and acting as if nothing is wrong. So I asked him: “Jim, where the f*ck have you been?” and he looks at me and says “What do you mean?.”

I said “Jim, nobody knows where you have been, we’ve been panicking”.

Then he smiles and goes. “Ha! The Avenue” and I’m like “The Avenue? What Avenue?” and he says “The f*cking Avenue de Champs Elysee!.” Then he tells us how, after we all went our separate ways that night he fancied going to Paris! So he went up to Gatwick and jumped on a plane to Paris. He showed us the stamp in his passport to prove it – he had gone to Paris for a day just because he could and he fancied it.

On the pitch he was different class though. I once saw him on the receiving end of a dreadful challenge when a guy (I forget who) tried to get the ball off him and put his studs down the back of his calf and Achilles. That really bloody hurts and Jim just let the ball roll away and turned on this guy and, through gritted teeth, said “Don’t you ever, ever f*cking do that to me again!” and then he turned and went after the ball and got it back before it went out. I watched this going on and the guy was sh*tting himself. That is the only time I have really seen one professional footballer genuinely scared of another. Because Jimmy could be a hard bastard and really knew how to look after himself.

He used to do about two hundred sit ups every days after training. He would wear one of those polystyrene bags that you get from the dry cleaners when he did them. He got me in to it as well!

If you are interested in reading more, you can buy ‘Youngy,’ the Alan Young autobiography here on the accompanying site.

You can also order a rather wonderful Alan Young t-shirt from Cult Zeros.


Back row: Mark Jones, Steve Penney, Steve Jacobs, Alan Young, Graham Pearce, Kieran O’Regan, Gary Howlett;

Middle row: Sammy Nelson (coach), Hans Kraay, Eric Young, Joe Corrigan, Perry Digweed, Frank Worthington, Terry Connor, George Petchey (youth development officer);

Front row: Neil Smillie, Chris Hutchings, Jimmy Case, Chris Cattlin (manager), Steve Gatting, Gerry Ryan, Danny Wilson.

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