Tag Archives: away kit

Arsenal in disguise

Here’s the Brighton & Hove Albion team photo for 1971/72:


Back row: Ian Goodwin, Willie Irvine, Steve Piper, Terry Stanley, Stewart Henderson, Brian Powney, Alan Dovey, Alan Boorn, Peter O’Sullivan, John Templeman, Alex Sheridan, Kit Napier.

Middle row: Glen Wilson (trainer), Norman Gall, Eddie Spearritt, John Napier, Pat Saward (manager), Dave Turner, Alan Duffy, Bert Muray, Mike Yaxley (coach)

Front row: Ricky Sopp, Kevin Worsfold, Stephen Barrett, Julio Grato, Tony Paris, Tony Towner, Mark Douglas, Billy Wylie, John Rodkin.

The image has been colourised superbly by George Chivers. One of the most striking aspects of this team photo is the red away kit, based on the blue home version that was used for much of the 1960s. When I first saw the black and white original, I assumed it was the home shirt with blue body and white sleeves, but on closer inspection, the tone looks different from the blue on the stripes.

According to North Stand Chat forum user El Punal: “The only time that I can remember the Albion ‘Arsenal’ kit was the 4th round FA cup tie in 1967 against Chelsea. Even though it was a home tie both teams had to change. Chelsea played in white shirts and blue shorts.”

Another NSCer, going by the name Freddie Goodwin, confirms the colour, as seen in an away match with Bristol Rovers in 1971/72, who played in plain blue shirts at the time: “We did play in an ‘Arsenal’ kit and very smart it was too. I was also at that Bristol Rovers game at Eastville. It was a very northern division with no London teams and was one of only three away games I could manage, the others being Bournemouth & Villa. The picture shows John Napier up (or defending) a corner. It was an entertaining game but Willie Irvine had a mare, until scoring in the last min! We scored so many last minute goals that season and won 12 away.”


Sadly, Rothmans Football Yearbook was not always very accurate with its listing of second choice club colours, as Ian Hine (of http://www.seagullsprogrammes.co.uk) has found:
70/71 – All red
71/72 – All red
72/73 – All red
73/74 – All red
74/75 – All red
75/76 – Yellow Shirts, Blue Shorts, Yellow Socks
76/77 – Green Shirts, White Shorts, Green Stockings
77/78 – Red or Blue Shirts with White trim, White Shorts, Red Stockings
78/79 – Red or Blue Shirts with White trim, White Shorts, Red Stockings
79/80 – Yellow


Great Albion Kits: 1980/81 to 1983/84 Away

Strangely, when Adidas took over the contract to supply the Brighton kit from the 1980/81 season onwards, they did not sell replicas of the yellow away kit.

It took until the 21st century for the club to issue a remake of this polyester wonder for the club shop, but understandably it came without the trefoil on the breast and the classic adidas stripes down the sleeves. However, this was addressed in a Thailand factory somewhere as this effort did the rounds on eBay a few years ago:


Although the collar was not as flared as the original, it was a pretty faithful rendition. The most glaring error is that it was ‘British Caledonian Airways’ for the change shirt, not just ‘British Caledonian’. If you want to be extra picky, the type of the sponsors’ logo was also not in bold, which is how it was in the Thai version. A good effort, nevertheless.

The kit was usually combined with yellow shorts and yellow socks, and very smart it looked too, especially on a sunny day. Sometimes, though, blue shorts and socks were worn instead:


At the time of the launch of the kit, Football League clubs were not allowed to wear shirt sponsors on televised matches apart from local news. This led an incident where ITV could not show highlights of Aston Villa’s match with Brighton in October 1980, as the Seagulls sought to protect their sponsorship interests. As the Brighton v Middlesbrough programme said:

There was controversy before the match when ATV, the Midlands ITV company, wanted to film the game, to show highlights the following evening in a two-minute news sequence. The Albion were however clad in the yellow ‘British Caledonian’ shirts and after a ‘phone call between Alan Mullery and Gary Newbon, the TV presenter, it was clear that the game could to be shown. Albion were well within their rights to refuse to change, other than for a featured game and ATV felt that the regulations would not allow the showing.

Minus a shirt sponsor, the all-yellow kit combination made the cover of Rothmans Football League Players Records 1946-1981:


However, it got its best exposure at the FA Cup Semi-Final between Brighton and Sheffield Wednesday. It even outlasted the home version, as it was worn for a few matches in the 1983/84 when the new white away kit did not provide enough contrast at the likes of Bristol Rovers and Blackburn.

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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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Mystery of the white British Caledonian adidas away kit

White British Caledonian shirt
It was a bit of puzzle to find the above photo on the cover of a Birmingham v Arsenal programme from 1981/82. Did Brighton really don a white away shirt in their top flight days? Or had there been some pre-Photoshop hocus-pocus done to remove the yellow from Tony Grealish’s shirt?

The Birmingham v Liverpool programme from the same season featured Gary Stevens, apparently also sporting a white shirt.

White British Caledonian shirtAfter I posted a thread on North Stand Chat, the question was answered by Phil Shelley of www.oldfootballshirts.com who steered everyone in the discussion to the Brighton v Southampton programme from April 1982 with the caption: ‘Gordon Smith in full flight at Birmingham in an unfamiliar white Albion shirt.’

Mystery solved! Although why we ran out in white when the usual away kit of all yellow would have sufficed is something we’ll probably never know.

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