Tag Archives: danny wilson

Love the Tiger feat

Here’s Chris Cattlin’s formidable Albion squad ahead of the 1984/85 season. Having beaten Liverpool the season before, the Seagulls had cup pedigree and feared no-one in a knockout competition.


When Brighton drew Hull City in the FA Cup in both 1984/85 and 1985/86, they achieved satisfying victories in both encounters. However, it could not paper over the fact that the Tigers, led by player-boss Brian Horton, were set to surpass the Albion in the League.

As Chris Cattlin wrote in his programme notes before the third round clash of 1984/85:

“I would like to welcome Brian Horton and his team. He and I have many happy memories of our days together with the Albion both on and off the field. I know he will be particularly keen to do well against his old club, but he will certainly remember his happy days at the Goldstone.

I am sure he shares my memories and will want his team to win but I hope I don’t see anything of that bristling beard until around 5 o’clock… then I am sure we’ll have a drink together and the years will go rolling back.”

In the match, played in front of 11,681 in the January frost, ex-Albion striker Michael Ring was also re-united with the Goldstone, playing up front for Hull City:


However, it was the Seagulls’ Chris Hutchings who scored the only goal in a second half counter-attack:

By the end of the season, while Albion narrowly missed out on returning to the top flight, Hull City had succeeded in clinching promotion from the Third Division.

When the sides met in the Second Division in 1985/86, goals from Connor, Wilson and Fashanu firmly put the new boys in their place, as Hull crashed 3-1 at the Goldstone in November 1985.

In the FA Cup, in January, in the Fourth Round at Boothferry Park, Albion prevailed again. A Cup Indian sign, perhaps? Or maybe a home jinx, seeing as Hull have not beaten Albion away to this day since 1965. On 25th January 1986, Dean Saunders and Terry Connor (2) scored the goals to take Albion through in a 3-2 victory. The rapidly improving Hull City did get revenge in the League, however, beating Albion on the last day of the season, and pushing up to sixth position, five places above the fading Seagulls, now managed on a temporary basis by assistant George Petchey (below), after Cattlin had been given the sack days before.


Tagged , , , , , , ,

Santa sleighs Crystal Palace

Getting into the festive spirit, these Albion folks featured on the cover to the Brighton v Newcastle matchday programme in December 1983:


Can you work out who they are?

Inside, the identities were revealed… well, two of the trio, anyway:

Our cover photograph on today’s programme was the idea of supporter Stove Blunt, “but very few supporters will know exactly who the Father Christmas is alongside the two clowns. The identity of these are no secret as both Neil Smillie and Steve Foster have been the butt of their colleague’s humour this week.

Steve claims that his diet is responsible for the ill fitting trousers while Nell, who has missed training in recent weeks due to his ankle injury, shows that he has still been keeping fit . . . but what about Father Christmas, who is it?

I don’t know… surely it’s not Chris Cattlin, is it?

The early appearance for our photo of the lads in fancy dress gave no secrets away for the players’ own fancy dress party next Thursday. This party has become an Albion Christmas tradition and some marvellous characters have emerged in recent seasons.

Gary Williams’ depiction of Wurzel Gummidge two years ago was one of the best, but one or two of the players have some ‘secret’ plans lined up for next Thursday and local costume shops have been the ‘odd’ target for some.

One of the biggest, ACE Fancy Dress Hire, in Eastbourne, provided the material for our photo and several of the lads were over there this week lining up their own for the party. Everyone is playing a part but they all claim secrecy is part of the enjoyment.

Two rumours circulating the ground suggest that one player will be dressed as a well known cricketer and another is threatening to go as ‘Boy George’

Despite the seasonal cheer, manager Chris Cattlin was keen to maintain a discipline squad, as he revealed in the Brighton v Fulham programme on 27th December 1983:

“We were due to train on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and every player will be expected to step on the scales each day so that their weight can be checked… too much Foster turkey, Corrigan Christmas pudding or Case cream cakes will show up and the lads know it.”

It seemed to do the trick as Brighton won 2-0 at Crystal Palace on Boxing Day, with goals from Danny Wilson and Neil Smillie.

Tagged , , ,

What Danny Wilson said


Danny Wilson is back today as manager of Championship bottom club Barnsley. Of course, it’s not the first time he’s been in that position in the league, having played for the imploding Second Division Brighton side in 1986/87.

A year before, he was far more optimistic of the Seagulls’ fortunes. In January 1986, with Shoot! Magazine, the talk was on promotion under Chris Cattlin:

Don’t ignore Brighton! That’s the warning from Albion skipper Danny Wilson.

“Everyone is talking about Portsmouth. Brighton don’t seem to attract much publicity these days, yet we are capable of joining our South Coast rivals in the First Division next season,” Danny declares.

“The side is packed with pace and class. We made a strong run last season and just missed. This time, all of Brighton are determined to reclaim the First Division status lost after the 1983 F.A.
Cup Final.”

If they and Pompey go up together they will join Southampton in a three-way South Coast combat in Division One next season.

“I’ve not seen a better equipped Second Division side than us,” says Wilson. “What is more, we believe that we will be im proving steadily right through the season.”

For this battling midfielder, it is a personal challenge.

“When I left Nottingham Forest, it hurt. I had not fulfilled the ambitions I set myself in the First Division,” he reveals.

“Brian Clough insisted on using me as a wide player, virtually a winger, which I am not. I didn’t play welt consistently enough and was low on confidence. When I left Forest for Brighton, I felt as if I had failed. Going back to the First Division with Brighton – this time as a central midfield player – would compensate for all my disappointments first time around.” Danny, who has skippered both Bury and Chesterfield, slotted into the leadership role at Brighton when Jimmy Case left for Southampton.

Manager Chris Cattlin has put together a new strike partnership: Mick Ferguson, who had never been out of the First Division until joining Brighton, and ‘unknown’ free tran sfer signing Dean Saunders.

“Everyone knows what Mick can do from his appearances for Coventry, Everton and Birmingham but Dean has come out of the blue. Frankly, I knew nothing about him until he arrived from Swansea City.”

The son of 1950s Liverpool wing-half Roy Saunders promised briefly with sharply taken goals for The Swans, but became a victim of the South Wales soccer slump. Chris Cattlin moved in swiftly when The Swans needed him off their wages bill.

Now the 20-year-old has a booming new career, playing wide to the experienced Ferguson and prompted by the midfield guile of Danny plus former Villa ace Dennis Mortimer.

“But Dean’s progress is matched by Steve Jacobs who has virtually taken over Jimmy Case’s role in midfield,” says Danny.

“Steve is a real ball-winner and typifies the new spirit down here at the Goldstone ground.”

Despite losing the FA Cup Quarter-Final at the Goldstone to Southampton in March, Brighton rallied to win their next three League matches, against Stoke, Blackburn and Millwall. Wilson hit two goals in those matches as his side, in fifth position, looked a good bet for promotion. However, Albion faltered thereafter and ended the season in a very disappointing 11th position.

Hampered by injury the next season, Wilson still managed 35 League matches although he was not in the best of form. He could not prevent the Seagulls’ slide towards Division Three and joined Luton Town in July 1987 in a £150,000 deal. There, he finally proved himself as industrious and inspiring First Division midfielder.


In happier days: Danny Wilson


Sacked yesterday as manager by Sheffield United, fifth in League One, Danny Wilson has had much better times, not least in his playing days. Joining initially on loan from Nottingham Forest, Brighton fans remember Wilson fondly as a dynamic midfield player in the 1980s with great tackling and wonderful passing, as well as an eye for goal. Indeed, he opened the scoring in a 2-0 win at arch rivals Crystal Palace on Boxing Day 1983 and also hit the net at Selhurst Park the following season to rescue a point for the Albion in a 1-1 draw. All together, the inspirational midfielder played 135 League appearances for Albion, have signed in a bargain £45,000 deal in January 1984.

In Match Magazine, in November 1986, he said:

“We’ve struggled a lot with injuries and Alan Mullery has had to introduce a few young players to the first team. Inevitably it takes time for them to adjust. But we’ve been playing well and I feel we haven’t deserved to lose on some occasions. Promotion is still a possibility with three points for a win and, with the new play-off system in operation at the end of the season, Brighton have everything to play for.

Like every footballer, I want to play in the First Division and hopefully I’ll get back there with Brighton. I certainly see a long-term future on the south coast.”

In other news, Danny Wilson was called up by Billy Bingham for the Northern Ireland squad, with the Wigan-born player qualifying through his mother’s Londonderry birthplace.

“I’ve come across most of the other lads at some point during my football career and of course I know club mate Steve Penney well so settling down has been no problem.”

Wilson made three appearances for Northern Ireland as a Brighton player before his £150,000 move to Luton in July 1987.