Tag Archives: andy ritchie

Shoot cover: Andy Ritchie (6 November 1982)

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‘Reject Ritchie has a score to settle’ from 1980/81:

Brighton’s record £500,000 signing, Andy Ritchie, has a few words of warning for his former colleagues, Manchester United, as they prepare themselves for Saturday’s (Nov 22) visit to the Goldstone Ground.

“‘I know they’ve been doing well and we’ve been struggling, but I feel this match could go either way especially if we can put our game together and attack. Forget our position in the League, because we’ve been playing far better than the tables suggest.

“Obviously I’ll be trying to prove they were wrong to let me go,” Ritchie continued, “and I’ll be going all out, although I realise that I’ll have to pace myself so that I won’t run out of steam.”

Ritchie describes his move to the South Coast as the biggest decision of his life and still admits to having a few regrets about leaving Old Trafford:

‘I’d lived in Manchester all my life and I’ve got a lot of friends there,” he said. “! didn’t want to leave but in the end I had choice, because there would have been no future for me if I’d stayed.”

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Before choosing Brighton, Ritchie turned down offers from Aston Villa and Chelsea which he still feels he was right to do.

‘The Villa offer was about 12 months ago and I didn’t really have enough time to think about it. I had a look round, and although I liked Ron Saunders and the club, I was still convinced I had some thing to offer United,” Ritchie commented.

Ritchie also stressed that his decision not to join Chelsea was not influenced by the outburst which resulted in Queens Park Rangers parting company with Tommy Docherty.

“There were a lot of reasons why I didn’t go, and what Mr Docherty said didn’t have anything to do with it. I’d rather just say that I didn’t fancy the move,” Ritchie said.

Before joining Brighton, Ritchie had only made five appearances for Manchester United this season, and although he had failed to score he was satisfied with his form.

“1 thought I’d done quite well, even though I know I could have played better. But at least I had given my best, which is why I was a little disappointed at being dropped,” he reflected.

Despite the bizarre events which involved him, Peter Ward and Garry Birtles in the notorious ‘transfer triangle’ between Brighton, Nottingham Forest and Manchester United, the thought that his move to Brighton could fall through never entered Ritchie’s mind.

“I first came down Alan assured me that I would a Brighton player provided I wanted to sign. I was told that Newcastle were also interested in me but I said ‘no way” until I’d made a decision with Brighton.

“I don’t feel there’s pressure on me. The fans know they must give me time to settle and I’m sure they realise that Peter Ward and I are two different types of player,” Ritchie explained.

Despite The Seagulls” precarious position in the relegation zone, Ritchie remains adamant that Brighton will still be a First Division club next season. “I can’t see any way we’ll go down if we continue playing as we have been. Things must start going right for us eventually as the club’s got tremendous potential, which is why I’m proud to be part of it.”

It did not take long for Ritchie to discover what a friendly club Brighton are, and despite their bad run and speculation about Alan Mullery’s future he quickly settled in.

“We’re certainly not the worst team in the First Division, and that makes it all the more important that we give our fans a treat on Saturday,” Ritchie pointed out.

Here’s, ahem, ‘highlights’ of the match with Manchester United in November 1980. Ritchie scores a consolation in a defensive horror show, and is involved in a dust up with former colleague Joe Jordan:

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Happiness in the bath at Newcastle, 1983

Neil Smillie, Peter Ward, Steve Gatting, Chris Ramsey, and especially that japester Andy Ritchie (!), are all smiles following the surprise replay victory at St James’ Park on 6th January 1983. The result sets Albion’s historic FA Cup run on its way…

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Topps Footballer Card Collector’s Album, 1981/82

Just like FKS by the early 1980s, Topps was on the decline. The chewing gum firm’s garish bubblegum cards were a big part of many childhood memories from the 1970s, but its position was now under increasing threat. It was certainly slow get in on the sticker market that Panini was sewing up. In addition, perhaps Topps had also over-stretched itself trying to cover the whole of the Football League rather than focus on the more lucrative First Division. For instance, in 1978/79, it had rather delightfully issued eight playing card-sized ones for Brighton & Hove Albion, who were still a Second Division side. Although, for that, I will always retain a soft spot for Topps!

Fast-forward three seasons, and perhaps to counter the threat from Panini, Topps issued an actual album that you could glue on your cards. Here is the eye-catching cover:

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As you can see, all cards were now shrunk to cigarette card size. If you were a supporter of Arsenal, champions Aston Villa, Ipswich, Liverpool or Manchester United, you were given a full page of eleven player cards of your favourite side to stick in.

Disappointingly, as Brighton who were one of the smaller fish in the top flight, the Seagulls were only allocated three cards, and had to share their page with the ‘other Albion’, West Brom:

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But spare a thought for Norwich City, who were only issued with one card, of Justin Fashanu! (Actually, they were issued with another, on a 1980/81 top scorers page of all the top flight clubs. And yes, that was also Justin Fashanu!)

As for the actual cards, themselves, the cardboard quality was quite poor (think cereal box card) and the borders often uneven. Here are the Brighton ones. Gregory and Lawrenson both left the Albion before the season, but here they are along with Michael Robinson’s from the aforementioned 1980-81 top scorer page:

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Ritchie’s got a Brighton future

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Until Brighton & Hove Albion signed winger Will Buckley from Watford for £1 million in June 2011, Andy Ritchie was still the Seagulls’ record signing. Astonishingly, and as indication of the club’s financial health, it took over two decades of football to smash the £500,000 deal that took Ritchie from Old Trafford to the Goldstone Ground in 1980.

Albion fans never fully warmed to Ritchie, even though he was voted Rediffusion Albion player of the season in 1981/82.

His twelve League goals made him the club’s top scorer and it was hoped that he could continue his form to establish Brighton as a top club in the First Division. In Shoot Annual 1983, it charts his progress from teenage prodigy to a leading goalscorer:

Local-born Andy Ritchie always dreamt that one day he would pull on the light blue shirt of Manchester City. Instead, the talented striker was eventually signed by arch rivals United.

“I was a regular visitor to Maine Road as a kid,” remembers Ritchie. “I went along with friends who were City fans.”

While playing junior football, Ritchie started to impress as a striker and it was not long before the scouts started to watch him with more than a passing interest.

“It was while I was playing for Stockport Boys that I first realised I had a chance of a career as a professional footballer,” he says. “I was selected for the England Under-15 side and played at Wembley Stadium.

“The first was against Wales. We won 4-2 and I scored a couple of goals. I then scored another when England beat France 6-1. They were great moments for me and my family.

“Appearing for England was definitely the highlight of my young career but I also enjoyed playing for Stockport and in local Sunday football.

“I played for a team called Whitehill, who were sponsored by Manchester City. It was then that I realised I could play for the Maine Road club.

“I had trials with Leeds United, Burnley and Aston Villa, but I only wanted to play for City.

“Then Manchester United approached me and my dad, Jim, advised me to listen to them.

“I wasn’t interested but agreed to follow my dad’s advice and go for a trial period. However, it didn’t take me very long to soak in the atmosphere and appreciate the tradition and name of Manchester United and in the end I was quite happy to sign for the Old Trafford club.”

Ritchie was 15 years-old when he put pen to paper. Three years later he pulled on the red shirt of United in a senior game.

Recalls Ritchie: “It was in a friendly against St Etienne of France during the 1977/78 season.

“Stuart Pearson, a £200,000 signing from Hull City, was out injured and I replaced him and played in the next four League games.”

When Pearson recovered, however, Ritchie found himself back in the reserves.

“I was naturally disappointed. I believed because I was a local lad, and the club had paid a late fee for Pearson, that as soon as he was fit he would automatically be recalled.”

Although Ritchie did well in his first team appearances, he failed to establish himself in the First Division with United.

The time had come for him to seek a future elsewhere.

“I didn’t want to leave Old Trafford,” says Ritchie. “It was certainly a wrench to leave but I needed regular first team football.

”Although the manager Dave Sexton assured me I had a future at Old Trafford, I decided a move was right because I needed to further my career.

“Both Newcastle and Chelsea made good offers for me but with respect to both clubs I was confident that I could still perform regularly in the First Division.” Brighton then stepped in and after talks with manager Alan Mullery, Andy signed for the Seagulls.

“Alan Mullery certainly sold Brighton to me,” recalls Ritchie. “He loved the club and made a big impression on me.

“Even when Alan left and moved to Charlton, his replacement Mike Bailey didn’t take long before he felt the same way.

“I believe the club is on the right lines and are ambitious enough to compete with the Liverpools of this world.

“I think we proved that point when we travelled to Anfield during the 1981/82 season and beat the famous Reds 1-0.

“Although Alan Hansen deflected my shot, I was credited with the goal and it was one of my highlights as a professional footballer.

“It was also the first time in the history of Brighton that we had won at Anfield.

“After struggling for a couple of seasons after promotion, Brighton have now established themselves and could be one of the leading clubs in the Football League.”

And looking at their results last season when they took points off leading clubs like West Ham, Tottenham, Southampton, Arsenal and Liverpool it is easy to realise why Andy is enjoying life on the South Coast.

If the former Manchester United striker can continue his run as a top goal-getter he may even force his way into the full international reckoning.

Things didn’t go to plan, and despite the fact he could take a mean, curling free-kick, he hit just five goals in 24 League appearances for relegation-bound Albion in 1982/83 before moving to Second Division Leeds in March 1983 in an exchange for Terry Connor.

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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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Match Cover: Andy Ritchie (3 April 1982)

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Would Andy Ritchie have been your ‘Man of the Year’? Albion supporters voted him their Rediffusion Player of the Season for 1981/82, even though they never quite took him to their hearts like they did with Peter Ward.

Below is a quote from him in Match Weekly the following season:

“Reaching the Cup Final is a real boost for the town of Brighton and the club, and they would probably benefit more from a Wembley victory.

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However, heartbreakingly for him, Ritchie’s departure to Leeds on transfer deadline day in 1983 meant that the young striker missed out an a chance of a Cup Final place against Manchester United. He also missed out in 1979 with Man United when Brian Greenhoff took his place. “I’m just hoping I’ll eventually make it with Leeds.” Unfortunately, he did not achieve this career ambition with Leeds, with them losing an FA Cup Semi-Final against Coventry in 1987.

By way of consolation, the now balding Ritchie did make it to Wembley with Oldham in the League Cup Final against Nottingham Forest in 1990. Much deserved after all those near-misses.

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