Tag Archives: eric young

Willie Young blows up

The BBC’s ‘Threads’ is a shockingly realistic docudrama from 1984 that tells the story of a nuclear strike on Britain. I remember watching this in my youth and I’m probably still traumatised by it!


willieyoungAt the time of the film, Willie Young was a Norwich City defender who had joined Brighton on loan to stand-on for the suspended Steve Gatting. The start of ‘Threads’ features a young couple on top of a hill with Jimmy Kemp (Reece Dinsdale) turning over the station to hear the half-time football scores. On 3 minutes, you get to hear the Second Division score from Fratton Park – Portsmouth 0 Brighton 1, thanks to Danny Wilson’s penalty:

That’s as good as it got for the Seagulls as Willie gave a quite frankly apocalyptic performance in the second half with Brighton caving in 5-1 by full time. Here’s how John Vinicombe reported it in the Evening Argus:

Out of the shambles may come some good. If Cattlin had been undecided about taking Willie Young on contract this performance may well have made up his mind. Hitherto, Young had not let the side down in his previous three loan appearances, but Mark Hateley, ten years his junior, gave him a terrible runaround.

Brighton had taken the lead in the first half through a Danny Wilson but their defence started to creak:

The last 15 minutes of the first half saw Hateley starting to lose Willie Young with monotonous regularity. He began to look more fallible than ever when required to turn and radiated nothing like the confidence seen at Derby and Leeds. Following a booking at the half-hour for a foul on Hateley, Young was lucky not to be sent off when he bowled Hateley over from behind. Hateley was in a goalscoring position, and at the time, Albion were still in front.

Pompey, and Hateley in particular, started to play on Young’s slowness. A foul eventually led to Webb’s 58th minute equaliser, and when Hutchings’ clearance two minutes later reached Doyle 25 yards out the ball was thundered back past Corrigan.

The third goal saw Hateley turn Young and finish with his 27th goal in all football, which includes the England under-21s side.

In all, Portsmouth blitzed the Seagulls with five goals in a 13 minute spell. It was Willie Young’s last match for Brighton, with namesake Eric Young replacing him for the Grimsby match that followed, the last fixture within Willie’s short spell on the south coast.

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Topsy-turvy clash with the Terriers


Just when everything looked like it was coming together, along came the storm clouds to obliterate supporters’ optimism…

Fifth in Division Two in mid-October 1985, promotion hopefuls Brighton endured a miserable spell in the four weeks that followed. After crashing 5-3 at the Goldstone to Charlton Athletic, Chris Cattlin’s injury-hit side were hammered 4-0 at Oldham and then by the same score at Liverpool in the Milk Cup. Suddenly, the season was falling apart. Although hard-won point at the Goldstone against a spritely Norwich kept the Seagulls in eighth position, a sign of poor form was confirmed when second-from-bottom Shrewsbury defeated Brighton 2-1 at Gay Meadow.

Suddenly, the home fixture against Huddersfield Town took on a great level of importance. Town were managed by Mick Buxton, who had guided the side from the Fourth to Second Division following his appointment in October 1978. While Albion’s displays had been dire prior to the match, so it was with the Terriers who had also lost four of their previous five matches and stood in 16th position. Here’s how the Argus described Albion’s 4-3 victory, watched by a gate of 7,952:

According to Cattlin, they [Albion] would not have been flattered if nine had been converted. That’s an understandable exaggeration made after the tumult of a seven-goal thriller, two sendings-off and five bookings, but he has a point.

When Albion had the ball they pushed up constantly, and got more numbers in the opposing box than ever before this term. It was a different story when Huddersfield gained possession, then Albion gave it away rather too easily.

The result was sometimes pandemonium, especially in the closing minutes as Huddersfield strove for a point.

It must have been exciting for the crowd, but managers do not like being put in fear of a cardiac arrest.

Not until the final whistle could you bank on the result, and from Albion’s point of view it was a good one.

Dale Tempest had got the Terriers’ goal in Albion’s 2-1 victory the previous season at Leeds Road. Within three minutes of the kick-off, he was on the scoresheet again, latching onto a long ball to steal between Eric Young and Steve Jacobs. With keeper Moseley coming out, the former Fulham striker finished to put the Yorkshire side ahead.

Goal No.1: Mick Ferguson

Goal No.1: Mick Ferguson

However, the Seagulls stormed back. The maligned Mick Ferguson smashed in Terry Connor’s cross on 20 minutes, before Dean Saunders was fouled in the box by Hudderfield’s Malcolm Brown fourteen minutes later.

Alan Biley

Goal No.2: Alan Biley

Alan Biley confidently stuck home the penalty and so it was Brighton who held the lead at half-time.

When the second-half kicked-off, once more it was the Terriers who were quickest out of the block and striker David Cowling watched his 52nd minute shot take a deflection off Chris Hutchings to give Graham Moseley an unwanted 32nd birthday present.

Eric Young

Goal No.3: Eric Young

Ten minutes later, Eric restored the Albion lead with an impressive header from Steve Penney’s corner. As John Vinicombe in the Evening Argus commented:

It was his first of the season, and must have felt as sweet as a nut coming off that black headband.

The popular accolade was indeed music to the ears of a man whom Cattlin says – indeed we are all of one accord – is going through a bad patch.

Nobody likes to see a player struggle, and it is a tribute to the sporting nature of the Goldstone crowd that they have not honed their barbs towards Young.

Then the match took another interesting turn when the Seagulls’ Mick Ferguson and the Terriers’ Paul Jones were both sent off for a minor dust-up on 67 minutes.

Dean Saunders

Goal No.4: Dean Saunders

With Brighton 3-2 up, star striker Dean Saunders seemed to seal the three points for the Albion on 73 minutes. He capitalised after the otherwise outstanding keeper Brian Cox found Dennis Mortimer’s shot too hot to handle. However, four minutes later, the game was thrown wide open again, as Huddersfield’s David Cowling got his second deflected goal of the day, as his free-kick clipped off the Brighton defensive wall past a stranded Graham Moseley.

After the match, Chris Cattlin wanted Saunders back on afternoons after training for some shooting practice, as he felt the Welsh striker should have got four in this heart-stopping match. Perhaps, he should have looked at the defence as a matter of urgency first!

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Mullery at the Palace


In the summer of 1981, Alan Mullery resigned as manager of Brighton. He was appointed boss of Charlton and led the cash-strapped club to a brief flirtation with promotion from the Second Division before it fizzled out with the Addicks finishing 13th. In July 1982, in a highly controversial move, Ron Noades appointed Mullery as the new manager at the even more cash-strapped Crystal Palace, following the sacking of Steve Kember.

Unsurprisingly, Mullery attracted enormous hostility from Eagles supporters, due to his association with arch rivals Brighton, not to mention his rather impolite gestures at their fans following the FA Cup match at Stamford Bridge in 1976.


Palace’s new gaffer struck a more diplomatic tone once appointed, however:

I sympathise with the fans who not so long ago saw their team perched proudly at the top of the League and have since followed the club’s decline in fortune. We approach the season with new faces and new optimism. Palace have had more than their share of bad publicity over the last two years. That is inevitable when a club reaches the top. People are all too ready to knock you down.

Mullery even put one over Brighton, and his replacement at the club Mike Bailey, with Crystal Palace prevailing 1-0 in the friendly at Selhurst Park on 7th August 1982:

Andy Ritchie in action against Palace in a pre-season friendly.

Andy Ritchie in action against Palace in a pre-season friendly.

The new boss also made an excellent start to the 1982/83 campaign, with Crystal Palace drawing with Barnsley and Rotherham before beating Shrewsbury and Blackburn, taking the Eagles unexpectedly to sixth in Division Two. In the Barnsley match programme on the opening day, here was the centre-spread:


As you can see, seventh from the left in the back row is Gary Williams, previously a favourite at the Goldstone. Mullery said:

Gary Williams is an experienced pro who, while at Brighton, travelled with me from the Third [sic] to the First Division. I have every confidence that his value will lie in his experience as well as his ability.

Also, in relation to the player who would later end Gerry Ryan’s career with a horrific tackle in April 1985, Mullery said this:

Henry Hughton was Steve Kember’s last signing for the club and he is a player who is never satisfied with giving less than his best effort.

At the end of the 1982/83 season, Brighton were relegated from Division One and financially-stricken Crystal Palace did well to hold on to their Second Division status, meaning that in 1983/84, the rivalry between the clubs would be renewed once more.

However, Brighton proved Palace’s masters in both league matches, winning 2-0 at Selhurst Park on Boxing Day 1983 before the Seagulls’ 3-1 victory at the Goldstone Ground in April 1984. As a match report at the time said:

Mullery Misery

By Michael Eaton
Brighton 3 Palace 1

Palace boss Alan Mullery suffered agonies on his return to the club he twice led to promotion.

Rival manager Chris Cattlin had plenty to be pleased about – especially the performance of leading scorer Terry Connor, who was dropped last week.

Connor responded with three goals in two reserve games and crowned an eventful week with his 16th goal of the season.

Alan Young put Brighton ahead after nine minutes and Brighton were only threatened when Peter Nicholas scored early in the second half.

But Eric Young’s 89th minute goal, when Palace’s defence was pulled apart at a corner, settled the match.

Brighton: Corrigan 7, O’Regan 6, Hutchings 7, CASE 8, Young (E) 7, Garring 7, Wilson 7, Penney 7, Sub: Ryan 6.

Palace: Wood 6, Locke 6, Hughton 6, Stebbling (inj) 6, Cannon 7, Gilbert 6, Cummins 6, Lacy 6, McCulloch 6, Nicholas 8, Hilare 6. Sub: Giles 6.

Future Palace defender Eric Young sealed Brighton's win

Future Palace defender Eric Young sealed Brighton’s win

Despite the defeat, Palace survived at the end of the season, finishing in 18th while Brighton stood in 9th spot. Given the crisis at Selhurst Park, Mullery probably deserves a lot more credit for the job he did there than he has been given. When he was sacked at the end of 1983/84, the players rallied behind him. In a newspaper piece by Tony Stenson, defender Billy Gilbert angrily said:

“I’m not happy with the way the club is being run. Alan wasn’t a yes man and shouldn’t get the sack for that. He deserved a fair chance after all the injuries we’ve had this season.”

Keeper George Wood added: “I’m sick. He’s a good manager who, I feel, has been let down.”

And only last week star winger Vince Hilaire said: “If Alan goes – so do I.”

The 42-year-old Mullery, who took Palace to Brighton for a testimonial last night, said: “I’ve been in football long enough not to be surprised by anything, but it did come out of the blue.

Two years later Alan Mullery would return to the club where his management career began – Brighton. By that point he may have believed he had seen almost everything in football management, especially as far as ailing clubs go. Perhaps he thought he was beyond surprise. He was in for another shock.

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