Trev Smith has kindly allowed me to publish his images from the Brighton v Tottenham match of April 1978:
The images have been added to the match report here
Here’s some action from Brighton’s match with Charlton on Good Friday, 13th April 1979:
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.
John Vinicombe’s report from the Evening Argus on Brighton’s 2-1 victory over Blackburn Rovers, in their last home match of the 1978/79 season:
The crock of gold that is the First Division is shimmering up there at St James’ Park, Newcastle.
It is there to be taken by Albion, who must not only win the battle on the pitch but prevail in a war of nerves that took a heavy toll of their rivals while they overcame Blackburn Rovers.
The last match at the Goldstone of this marvellously exhilarating campaign set Albion up to snatch the prize of prizes – a place among the coveted elite.
Brian Horton led his players in a lap of honour. Blackburn most sportingly clapped their conquerors from the pitch. These were memorable moments. Now Albion prepare for the final hurdle. At St James’ Park, they will be cheered by an army of admirers travelling by air, rail, and road. A win will take them into the First Division without any arguments: anything less must depend on other results.
In their present mood, Albion are perfectly capable of winning in the grand manner. The championship could be theirs by twenty-to-five on Saturday.
They have shrewdly taken matches one by one, and were well aware that beating Blackburn was absolutely vital.
This was the game that could have gone horribly wrong (shades of Blackburn’s recent wins at Stoke and Sunderland), but Albion never looked like losing although I wouldn’t care to relive the last ten minutes.
Great credit must go to Albion for keeping their heads after the Easter Saturday defeat at Cardiff City. Subsequently, Cardiff spoiled a few cards, culminating in the sensational win at Sunderland that dispelled City’s relegation fears.
Newcastle will not yield without a fight, and I cannot take seriously the story going the rounds that they might be a pushover because Sunderland in the First Division would affect their gates.
Of course, there is no love lost between the traditional rivals of the North – East but can you imagine a manager like Bill McGarry demanding anything less of his players than 100 per cent?
There has been stress on Albion, who have been in the top three since the 3-0 win at Charlton on December 23. Manager Alan Mullery has proved an inspirational motivator and Brian Horton quite the most outstanding captain the club has had, certainly since the war.
These redoubtable qualities were fully tested when Blackburn arrived no longer tortured over doubts of staying up. They came knowing full well that Division 3 is their scene next season. It ever a team stood to upset the favourites, it was Rovers.
Fears of a slip-up were partially justified as Albion were without Peter O’Sullivan, and had to re-jig with a new formation on the left. It didn’t quite come off, but in terms of chances created Albion outclassed Rovers.
Instead of being consumed by their own fears, Albion took early command, and the work rate of Teddy Maybank, who chased everything and won most of the balls in the air, typified the spirit. Tiring players found that extra half yard, and rovers were unable to stage a third sensation of the season.
The 18th minute opener by Maybank that bulleted through a cloud of smoke was grabbed with tigerish tenacity. Whoever hurled the canister from the South Stand may have distracted goalkeeper John Butcher but it would have taken a wonderful save to have prevented Maybank scoring.
From that point on, Rovers thrashed about in a fog of they own making. They hadn’t a clue about picking up Peter Ward, who had a splendid match, while their star man, Duncan McKenzie, seldom shook off the shackles imposed by Paul Clark.
Watching Andy Rollings it was difficult to believe that here was the player who needed assistance in boarding the train from Cardiff a fortnight ago. Then the head was temporarily down! Rollings feared a break, and in the next match Mark Lawrenson snapped an arm in two places.
The rapid return of Rollings to fitness has been an important factor. He not only read the game well but scored the all-important clincher early into the second half beyond Rover’s reach.
The foraging of John Bailey, one of the best left-backs we have seen at the Goldstone, and Noel Brotherstone’s fondness for varying the point of attack often spelled danger, but in all honesty the 2-1 scoreline let Rovers off rather lightly.
Quite early on, Ward was unlucky to hit the bar, and he might have scored at the half-hour, only Butcher blocked bravely. Malcolm Poskett on the left wing for the first time got into many good positions, but just couldn’t finish. But he never gave up, and on effort alone was worth his place.
And for sheer brilliance of reflexes Eric Steele once again proved why he is first choice goalkeeper at the Goldstone. There had been one nail-biting moment when a pass back from Rollings bobbled just past the post. And another two-thirds of the way through when Mike Rathbone’s shot deflected off Horton and against the far post where Peter Sayer pounced to clear.
Steele’s moment of brilliance came at 78 minutes when Martin Fowler’s shot clipped off Maybank’s backside. In a split second he changed direction to turn it round.
He hadn’t much chance four minutes from time with John Aston’s beautifully curled free-kick.
For ITV’s footage of the match, watch this:
On 13th April 1979, Brighton beat relegation-threatened Charlton Athletic 2-0 to cement their place at the top of the Second Division. Five months later, an action shot of Martin Chivers and Peter O’Sullivan even made it onto the cover of Roy of the Rovers magazine:
Here’s the match report from Jack Steggles of the Daily Express:
The South Coast took on a carnival atmosphere yesterday a Brighton kept bang on course for promotion from the Second Division.
The glorious weather brought a crowd of 30,859 – the second biggest of the season – to see the league leaders.
Brighton added a refreshingly different touch by adding the Ray Shields Big Band at the cost of £600.
They welcomed the Seagulls onto the pitch with ‘In The Mood’ – which is what Brighton were in a blistering opening spell.
They tore Charlton to pieces with superb football and should have been two up before the impressive Paul Clark – ‘The Tank’ to Brighton fans – achieved the breakthrough with a magnificent 11th minute goal.
A free-kick from Peter O’Sullivan was headed away by Peter Shaw to Clark, who brought it down with his right foot and struck a left foot volley of unbelievable power from 25 yards.
The goal seemed to be the first of many for Brighton, bristling with ideas and aggression, were in absolute control.
But they failed to build on that lead.
They could have brought the band back at the interval to play ‘The Carnival is Over.’
But Brighton did finally manage a second in the 76th minute when the unfortunate Shaw turned an O’Sullivan cross into his own goal.
You could see the tension lift from them.
A trip to the home of Nick from Fishergate led me to scanning these rather lovely 65mm x 65mm badges from the late 1970s:
Apparently, according to Nick, there were shops along Sackville Road, Hove, that used to sell badges such as these on Saturdays, to make a bit of money as supporters made their way to the Goldstone Ground on Old Shoreham Road.
I was actually given a set of these when I was about five or six in the mid-1980s, as I decided that making badges was a very fine hobby. So, yes, I took off the head and shoulder images of the various Brighton players and replaced them with my own designs. Silly me.
Suffice to say that I won’t be doing that with these!
From Football Handbook (part 25):
In a scintillating League Cup Quarter-Final, Alan Mullery’s men put on a great performance against the reigning English League champions and League Cup holders on 13th December 1978. The Seagulls succumbed to a 3-1 defeat against Clough’s side that retained the trophy and then also lifted the European Cup that season.
An estimated 5,000 Albion supporters cheered the Seagulls on at the City Ground. However, the support would have been even more if two of the three charter trains had not broken down en route.
In the Brighton v Stoke programme from 1978/79, there is a nice piece on how the club in January that season made it up to the supporters who missed this exciting cup tie:
With all the recent bad weather there has been a lot of work for the Promotions Office with re-arranging trains, etc. But one event that we had to work particularly hard on was the film showing of the Notts Forest Albion League Cup quarter-final. It was, of course, staged for the benefit of our unlucky supporters who were stranded on the two special trains which didn’t reach the City Ground.
Just under 1,000 people attended Hove Town Hall for the evening last Tuesday and several of the players came along to the delight of the supporters. The row shown in the picture shows the lads really enjoying some of their glory moments.
Some of the comments from the players made commentator Hugh Johns’ sound almost an amateur. Naturally everyone hopes we would never again have a similar situation but we hope supporters will agree that we’ve done our very best to make up for the disappointment.
Each one of the audience at Hove Town Hall was even issued with a black and white copy of the matchday programme:
Update 26/12/15: Two of the goals (from John McGovern and John Robertson) made it into the recent ‘I Believe in Miracles’ film:
I originally bought this second hand at the Sunday market outside Brighton train station in the early 1990s. I thanked my lucky stars that all the Albion stickers were there. This was years before eBay, so finding someone with a spare Peter Sayer sticker lying around would have been tricky, whereas now it would only take a few seconds…
Looking at the Arsenal pages now, it’s striking that out of the 14 Gunners on display, five would eventually join Brighton (Steve Gatting, Willie Young, Sammy Nelson, Liam Brady and Frank Stapleton). Neil McNab lined up as a Bolton player sticker for the last time, while future Seagull favourite Michael Robinson smiled for his Manchester City photo shoot with a joviality that was not reflected in his unhappy year at Maine Road.
However, it’s the Albion double-spread that really catches the eye!
In these head and shoulder shots, we get to see the bubble perms of Sayer and Ward, but even these are outnumbered by the popularity of moustaches within the Brighton first team, through Lawrenson, Horton, Clark, O’Sullivan, Poskett and Ryan. Curiously, our players here are wearing flared collars with a triangular panel at the bottom, whereas during the season (I’m addressing fellow shirt anoraks, here!) it was open flared collars that were on display, at least for the home kit.
As the season unfolded, keeper Eric Steele gave way to Graham Moseley. Gary Stevens and Steve Foster also played much stronger roles in defence than either Chris Cattlin or Andy Rollings. Sayer, Maybank and Clark would be further casualties as Mullery moved his Panini stickers around his imaginary album to try to find a winning formula. Then, from nowhere (OK, Blackpool in the Third Division) Peter Suddaby took Lawrenson’s spot in defence while the Republic of Ireland international was pushed further forward. He would have taken one of the midfielder stickers, while Neil McNab and Ray Clarke would have been the new arrivals bringing high quality passing and forward play to the Goldstone. Good swopping, Mullers!
You may be interested in reading an interview of Andy Rollings by me in the current Viva Brighton magazine (January / February 2014).
When I spoke to ‘Rollo’ last month, I was eager to ask him about his notorious clash with Justin Fashanu in October 1979 in Andy’s penultimate match for the Seagulls. You can see the no holds barred battle below:
In his match report at the time, John Vinicombe drew attention to something underhand that may have contributed to the injuries sustained:
Nobody in authority seemed to have a clear view. Suddenly, Rollings was lying on the ground and then taken off holding his nose. A clue was spotted by Albion’s club doctor, Herzl Sless. He later asked (referee) Daniels if he had spotted a large signet ring Fashanu was wearing.
In Sless’s opinion, the ring should have been taken off before the start or covered by a protective tape. Daniels said it had gone unnoticed and thanked Sless for his observation. The piece worn by Fashanu was likened to a knuckleduster and could easily have accounted for the injury to Rollings’ nose.
However, when I met Andy, he wasn’t able to confirm it either way:
“I couldnt tell you to this day. I always used wear a ring but always had it taped up. With Justin Fashanu it wasn’t a big nugget. It could have been an elbow. I didn’t have too many issues. Football then was that type of game, about winning your battle. Sometimes people will overstep the mark. That was their choice. It was a bit sad for that to be my last Goldstone game, but what a way to go!”
Rollings left for Swindon at the end of the 1979/80 season before turning out for Portsmouth, Torquay, Brentford and Maidstone.
Unexpectedly, Andy rejoined Brighton as a non-contract player under Alan Mullery in 1986/87. I wonder if he encountered Justin Fashanu again, who was in the process of retiring through injury from the game in July 1986. Awkward moments in the dressing room? Stand-offs in the canteen? Andy says no:
“The only time I did encounter him was when I was with Portsmouth. We won the Third Division Championship. and they took us all to Marbella with girlfriends and wives. Funnily enough, he was over there. We shook hands. We didn’t hold any grudges and both accepted that what happened was all part of the game.”
Likewise with Chris Ramsey, currently U21s coach at Tottenham Hotspur who helped in a caretaker team once Andre Villas-Boas was sacked. As you’ll recall, Whiteside’s awful foul on Ramsey in the 1983 FA Cup Final caused Brighton’s right-back to be substituted. Some say that it resulted in Manchester United’s equaliser. I certainly feel that Ramsey would not have been outmuscled by the waif-like Arnold Muhren, the way that Gerry Ryan was, before the Dutchman’s diagonal ball for Ray Wilkins’s goal to put united ahead. In Brighton’s matchday programme v Oldham on 24th October 2009, Ramsey said:
I saw Norman Whiteside about 12 years after (the Final) at a PFA do and we had a good laugh about it (Whiteside’s foul). We exchanged autographs and he wrote on my card ‘You went in high but I went in higher!’ To be fair he says in his book that he never intentionally went out to hurt anyone in his career, and that the only person he actually ended up hurting was me.
At the end of the day neither of us were angels, were we? I had my moments- I had a lot of moments come to think of it (Chris was sent off five times during his Albion career)! They were different times and the game was a lot more physical then, so those things used to happen unfortunately.
I suppose it’s not that surprising Ramsey was so relaxed about it. Off the field, he certainly knew how to chill out. Here he is listening to reggae music on his Sony Walkman!
On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love sent to me…
Twelve Kens a-beaming
Eleven Pipers piping
Ten Howletts howling
Nine Andys rolling
Eight Smillies smiling
Seven Storers scoring
Six Sayers saying
Five Michael Rings
Four Johnny Byrnes
Three missed pens
Two of Powney’s gloves
And a Wardy looking very merry!
That last image is taken from Scoop Magazine in December 1979. Lovely jumper!
And now, I’d like to wish you a very merry and peaceful Christmas. Thank you for reading this blog. As you may know, it started in February this year. Every day there has been a new post on The Goldstone Wrap, a regularity that has been a challenge and a delight: A challenge, as (believe it or not!) I have a full time job and other things to do. And a delight too, as I am thrilled to have a platform to share articles, photos and videos relating to Brighton & Hove Albion’s past.
The blog is currently jam-packed with 318 posts on past players, matches, magazine articles and football kit design and will continue to grow, day by day. It’s a labour of love to write it and it’s been wonderful to hear from North Stand Chat, Twitter, Facebook and Seagulls Chat, as well as your blog comments, that lots of Albion, and some non-Albion, fans have enjoyed reading it. For some it’s become a part of their early morning routine to check out what’s new on The Goldstone Wrap. I’d also like to thank all of you who I have met through doing this blog, including those who have lent me photos, videos and taken snaps of various memorabilia.
Over the course of the next few days, you can look forward to newspaper coverage of a Boxing Day massacre, a very rare Albion calendar from the glory years, as well as an incredible solo goal by Kieran O’Regan at Hillsborough.
In the meantime, let’s swop Goldstone Wrapping for Christmas (un)wrapping. It’s time to put your feet up and enjoy the festivities!