This glorious A2 colour poster from the Seagulls Shop would have been stuck proudly upon the bedroom wall of many Brighton fans. It would have helped familiarise them with the re-shaped team. In this very select team group photo with just eleven outfield players and two goalkeepers, new signings Jimmy Case, Don Shanks and Tony Grealish take pride of place in the front row with new boss Mike Bailey. As you can see, these were the good old days when the coaching staff had their initials printed onto their tracksuits. Very cute!
Just like his new buddy in midfield Tony Grealish, it is widely forgotten that Jimmy Case took some time to settle with the Seagulls. Grealish had a job to win over the fans as he had replaced club captain Brian Horton, who joined Grealish’s former club, Luton Town. After a long, successful career at Liverpool, Case’s form was indifferent in his first season at Brighton. Nevertheless, Case did manage to play 33 League matches. He scored just three goals, all in the early part of the season, the last of which was in November 1981.
Right-back Don Shanks (front row, fourth along) was a free transfer from QPR, and proved an instant hit, working his way up and down the line throughout the season in a way that many Brighton supporters remember fondly. This is illustrated by his great work down the right-wing that helped the Seagulls draw 3-3 against Liverpool in October 1981. His First Division know-how also made for a much meaner defence.
With Andy Ritchie and Michael Robinson banging in the goals, this tightly organised team never fell below 14th place and were able to play a whole season in the First Division without any relegation fears.