Tag Archives: fred binney

Memory fades, but the passion still burns in Alan Mullery


I hope you’ve had a chance to hear Alan Mullery, club ambassador, speak so eloquently at the North West Sussex Seagulls (NWSS) meeting last Thursday:

He is, for many supporters including me, by far the greatest manager Brighton have ever had. Certainly the most successful. When he speaks, it is full of passion and candour. For someone known for his fiery temper, he seems to have significantly mellowed. Watching the video is a lovely experience, probably a bit like having Alan Mullery for tea in your living room, so intimate and warm was the atmosphere. Even so, as well as fascinating, I also found it slightly maddening, as some of his account of his career was clearly not factually accurate.

Is it too pedantic to point out that the Fulham v Brighton game from 1972/73 that he mentions ended 5-1 rather than 3-1 to the London club? OK, everyone gets a score wrong every now and then. Crazily, though, he talks about getting angry with team mate Jimmy Dunne for leaving Fred Binney unmarked. Suffice to say, Fred Binney was not a Brighton player at the time. As for the Albion player he meant, both Mullery’s autobiographies name the centre-forward as Ken Beamish. At least that’s clear.

(As for another Ken, it was Ken Gutteridge that was the member of Peter Taylor’s back room staff, which Mullery mentioned later on when his mind went blank).

Other clangers include Mullers saying Peter Ward was signed from Borrowash United. As we probably all know, it was actually Burton Albion. Politeness and respect probably stopped anyone calling this out! Mullery also suggested that Fred Binney was sold a week later from the now famous pre-season training session. In fact, Binney played a few matches at the start of the 1976/77 season and eventually departed a year later, to Plymouth after a summer with St Louis (Exeter was the team that Binney joined Albion from). Furthermore, in the thrashing that followed Maybank and Sayer being seen in a nightclub, Leicester also did not beat Brighton 5-1, but 4-1 in September 1978.

Should we cut Mullery some slack on the events of 30 or 40 years ago? Certainly, yes. Personally, I know I don’t remember the details of everything that long ago. It’s probably the case that when you’re a participant in an event, like players and managers are, living in the moment, your recording of events in your brain works differently from that of supporters, who may be more likely to look up records of past seasons and players of their favourite club, and have accurate facts and figures reinforced that way. A participant is much more likely to record the flavour of their emotions around an experience, though. Indeed, the effortless way Mullery is able to evoke the glory years, so you can almost feel it and see it, is part of what makes events in which he speaks so enthralling.

Nevertheless, I thought Mullery’s account of Ray Clarke, that he ‘never lived up to his reputation’ at Brighton, seemed rather harsh. As well as scoring himself, Clarke’s intelligent play provided such good service for Peter Ward’s only successful season in the top flight, 1979/80. A comparison of Albion’s fortunes in that debut campaign in Division One before and after the ex-Ajax striker was bought demonstrates how significant a contribution he made. To put the record straight, Clarke was sold to Newcastle for £175,000, the same figure he had cost the club from Bruges.

Mullery also got quite angry about his second spell at the club, repeatedly speaking about how he was reduced to picking a reserve goalkeeper, John Phillips, as the substitute for his final match against Grimsby in January 1987 before being sacked. This did not actually happen, as Kieran O’Regan was the sub. Phillips had left Brighton in June 1981. The player Mullery was referring to was probably John Keeley, but he was in goal during the Grimsby match.

In the current Backpass Magazine, a letter talks of Steve Daley:

“I believe Steve Daley is a successful and humorous after-dinner speaker. I suspect, like most speakers, he has embellished a few anecdotes over the years and has eventually believed them to be true.”

Perhaps the same is true of Mullery.

At the risk of being seen as overly picky, I do hope it’s OK to give notice of these errors, just in case some people are learning about the club’s history and may take it all as gospel.

That said, it doesn’t detract from the fact Mullery is a wonderful, passionate speaker who does a great job in capturing people’s imaginations and, occasionally, bringing a tear to the eye. I found it such a moving moment when he remarked:

The best five years I had in football was not for me, it was for people like yourselves, when I was manager at Brighton and Hove Albion. They were the best five years I ever had, and I played in World Cups, played in cup finals, I played all those games and everything else. But that was the best time I ever had.

Factual errors or not, the Albion is so very lucky to be able to call upon Alan Mullery as its club ambassador. Just like 30 or so years ago, he is a doing a wonderful job in the service of the club and its supporters.

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When Albion walloped Watford 3-0 at Vicarage Road


Brighton were mostly dreadful away from home under Peter Taylor in the mid-1970s, and Fred Binney usually less than effective. But every dog has its day, as this FA Cup victory on 22nd November 1975 showed. Here’s John Vinicombe’s account that Saturday afternoon:

Albion took Watford apart in the first round of the FA Cup before a 9,283 Vicarage Road crowd this afternoon.

Watford, in the wrong half of Division IV, were outclassed and lucky to escape with a 3-0 hiding.

Albion had it all their own way, taking the lead at 32 minutes through Neil Martin. A brief Watford revival was snuffed out as Albion turned on the power and Fred Binney sewed it up with goals at 55 and 82 minutes, bringing his tally for the season to 13.

Albion were given a great ovation by fully 2,000 fans, many of whom had travelled by charter train.

It was one of Albion’s best Cup performances in recent seasons and their first win at Watford in six visits. This was Albion’s fourth away win and quite the most emphatic.

Mellor put Watford in a state of panic with a fierce cross that caught Rankin out of position but at this early stage there was only one team in it.

Watford had a goal disallowed at 20 minutes when Bond crossed smartly and Horsfield hooked the ball into the net, but was ruled to have handled.

Tiler had three fine runs and each time Watford resorted to desperate measures to check Binney and Martin (twice). Then Lees was glad to turn Fell’s low cross behind and Joslyn was a wee it lucky when he headed clear but only just missing the far post.The pressure ultimately brought a goal at 32 minutes. Fell took Albion’s ninth corner, Mellor ghosted away from his shadow and headed the ball on to the far post where Martin met it at full pelt and blasted Albion into the lead from point blank.

Fred Binney - double delight

Fred Binney – double delight

After 56 minutes Binney scored his 12th goal of the season after Mr Daniels had played the advantage rule when Martin was fouled on the half-way line.

The ball then ran to Mellor with Mr Daniels waving play on and the pass arrowed fully 25 yards to Binney who timed his run to perfection. He accelerated past Garner and as Rankin came out drilled a brilliant goal.

Eight minutes from the end Binney scored a classic goal. Just outside the box he gained possession and with his back to goal did not seem to pose any danger – or at least so Watford thought.

Within a flash he turned like lightning and placed a low left-footer to the far corner, catching Rankin wrong-footed.

Albion: Grummitt, Tiler, Wilson, Machin, Piper, Burnett, Fell, O’Sullivan, Binney, Martin, Mellor. Sub: Kinnear.

Watford: Rankin, Howe, Akers, Joselyn, Lees, Garner, Scullion, Bond, Horsfield, Jenkins, Walsh. Sub: Greenhigh.
Referee: Mr B.H. Daniels (Brentwood).
Attendance: 9,283.

The victory was Albion’s fourth on the trot. It was helped by Fred Binney’s outstanding goal touch. He was in a glorious spell of seven goals in just six matches. Despite Fred being on the scoresheet again on 3rd January 1976, Albion’s interest in the FA Cup was ended at the third round stage, losing 2-1 at the Goldstone to Southend.

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Port Vale ‘hard man’ Horton signs for Albion


From the Evening Argus on 10th March 1976:

Brian Horton, Port Vale’s midfield general, signed for Albion today. A £30,000 fee was agreed between the clubs after manager Peter Taylor made his approach last night when Horton played in the 2-2 draw at Crystal Palace.

Horton, 27, visited the Goldstone this morning when formalities were completed. He will watch his new club against Shrewsbury Town tonight.

The signing is highly regarded as one of the hardest players in Division 3, and Taylor has never concealed his admiration of the player.

No doubt Taylor wants a harder approach away from home by his promotion-striking squad, and sees Horton as just the man to inject more power.

Captain Brian Horton, third from right in the middle row

Captain Brian Horton, third from right in the middle row

Captain of Port Vale, Horton has played over 250 games for the club, and joins another former Vale player at the Goldstone, striker Sammy Morgan. He cost £30,000 from Aston Villa.

When the transfer was completed 24 hours before the deadline, Taylor said: ‘I have always admired Brian. He has been very loyal to Vale, and he possesses the qualities I want in players.

“His age is right in terms of experience, and I am delighted he has agreed to come to the Albion.”

A final check was made on Horton last Saturday when Vale won 2-1 at Rotherham. He has been under close scrutiny for the past two months.

Port Vale earlier had inquiries about Horton from Hereford and Peterborough, but these were turned down. When Albion came in with their bid, there was no hesitation by Vale’s directors.

The move is the first in Horton’s career, although he began as an apprentice with Walsall. He has been at Port Vale six seasons and captain the last two.

“I knew Brighton were interested only last night. I had no doubts about coming in such a tremendous set-up. The support and potential is wonderful, and this is what attracted me.”

With Vale, Horton played a left-side, midfield role. Injury kept him out of the team when Albion drew 1-1 at Vale Park on September 6, and he has been injured recently.

There was a possibility of a second signing before the deadline, but Taylor said that he was now content to play a waiting game to get the player he wants.

Albion expect a 20,000 plus Goldstone gate tonight for the visit of promotion rivals Shrewsbury Town.

Injured winger Gerry Fell will enter hospital tomorrow for a knee operation.

Victory would give Albion a 15th straight home League win and close the gap between them and leaders Hereford United to two points.

A 15th consecutive home win proved beyond Brighton, as Shrewsbury took a shock 2-0 lead before half-time. However, Albion rallied to secure a 2-2 draw. Horton made his debut for Brighton in the following match, at Preston on 13th March 1976, and played for the remainder of the 1975/76 campaign. Even so, if Taylor had hoped for an immediate upturn in results away from home, he was to be disappointed. Brighton lost 1-0 at Deepdale and would not gain another away victory for the rest of the season. Three points short of Millwall in third place, this ultimately cost the side promotion to Division Two.

As for Port Vale, despite the need to balance the books, their supporters were understandably livid about the sale of their inspirational captain for such a low fee. From being eighth after Horton’s final match for Vale, it was unsurprising that Roy Sproson’s team’s form dipped. It took them until a 3-1 victory over Wrexham on 5th April 1976, with two goals from Terry Bailey and one from Colin Tartt, before they witnessed another win.

 Number 10, Peter Ward, on his home debut, extends a glad hand to Fred Binney who scored Albion's opener

Number 10, Peter Ward, on his home debut, extends a glad hand to Fred Binney who scored Albion’s opener

Five days later, Brighton rubbed salt into the wounds at the Goldstone, decisively winning 3-0 with goals from Binney, Mellor and Ward. By then, Brian Horton was the new Albion skipper, a role he held with great distinction for the next five full seasons.

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Match report: Brighton 7-2 York City, 1976



Well, here’s a treat for you. The match report from the Evening Argus, by Sydney Spicer, after the famous rout in front of the Match of the Day cameras on 18th September 1976. Brighton scored 7 – yes, (seven)!

Alan Mullery must be a past master at giving players a rocket! Brighton were being held to a 2-2 draw by lowly York at half-time – and then manager Mullery went into the Goldstone Ground dressing room to talk to his boys. The result? Albion swept to an impressive triumph with five more goals.

This put them back on top of the Third Division.

Afterwards, Mullery said: “I had a few words to say in the interval! They went out for the second half with an entirely different attitude.

“After we scored the third goal, the floodgates were open. I don’t think we will ever play much better. It was superb.”

Indeed, it was.

Peter Ward beats a defender to get in a shot.

Peter Ward beats a defender to get in a shot.

In a splendid team performance 20 year-old Peter Ward, so quick in turning with the ball, was outstanding. Peter O’Sullivan and the leggy Ian Mellor in his first full game of the season were thoroughly impressive and substitute Gerry Fell who replaced centre forward Fred Binney after 50 minutes led the bemused York defence a merry dance.

Pas de deux in the York City penalty area with goalkeeper Graham Crawford looking on.

Pas de deux in the York City penalty area with goalkeeper Graham Crawford looking on.

This was an inspired substitution by Mullery, who explained: “Fell was eager to get on and run at them and I felt he could pass them on the flanks.” It all went to plan.

Brighton went ahead in 22 minutes with a delightful goal. Ward, seemingly hemmed in, turned smartly and sped past two defenders before lodging the ball in the far corner.

Five minutes later Steve Piper rammed home the second from Brian Horton’s free kick and Brighton looked to be on their way.

Not just yet, though. Dennis Burnett breasted down a Jimmy Seal cross which he could have headed clear and there was Jim Hinch a yard or two out to slam the ball home on the half hour.

To the further embarrassment of Brighton, Piper dallied over a clearance and Brian Pollard nipped in and scored from an acute angle.


After the break we saw a supercharged Brighton. In the 50th minute O’Sullivan took a pass from Ward to score from 30 yards, and Ward would have quickly added a fourth had not Peter Scott run across to kick away for a corner.

But after 60 minutes a sweeping move – so typical of Brighton’s more open play in this half – involving Ward and O’Sullivan, resulted in the simplest of chances for Mellor.


Three minutes later O’Sullivan crossed for Fell to head the fifth and, with Brighton taking the York defence apart with ridiculous ease, Ward scored from an O’Sullivan pass in 71 minutes and, to complete the slaughter, Mellor headed home Fell’s centre five minutes from the end.

Ian Mellor goes through despite being impeded by the York defenders.

Ian Mellor goes through despite being impeded by the York defenders.

York’s Northern Ireland international defender Peter Scott let in the scorers for the last two, and his afternoon’s misery was increased by a booking for upending Fell on one of his deadly runs. James was also booked for dissent.

Wilf McGuinness, York’s manager, put on a brave face on this crashing defeat, admitted: “Every time Brighton attacked in the second half they looked like scoring.”

Brighton: Grummitt, Tiler, Wilson, Horton, Cross, Burnett, Mellor, Ward, Binney, Piper, O’Sullivan. Sub: Fell

York: Crawford, Scott, Woodward, Joy, Topping, James, Pollard, Holmes, Hinch, Cade Seal. Sub: Downing.

Another one in the back of the net for Crawford to pick out.

Another one in the back of the net for Crawford to pick out.

(Thanks to Guy for supplying the match report)

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Your questions for Fred Binney


Through doing The Goldstone Wrap blog, I’ve been contacted by Fred Binney’s son Adam. As many of you know, Fred was the Brighton team’s goal poacher supreme in the mid-1970s, hitting 23 League goals in 1975/76 (all but five at the Goldstone) before losing his place to the Ward-Mellor partnership the following season.

Adam says his dad is “retired now and spends as much time on his narrow boat with my mum as possible. He’s invited to go back to Brighton to walk the pitch every year and loves it when he has the time to get there. Apart from that he stopped coaching Plymouth Uni this season, But I suspect he misses it.”

His son also adds “he is not really interested in being lauded and doesn’t look for any kind of adoration. He doesn’t really like the attention, but he does love Brighton & Hove Albion and remembers his time there fondly.”

I asked if Fred was willing to do an interview with questions from Albion fans, and he was. So, if anyone has any questions for Fred, or thoughts on him as a player, please add them as a comment or email them to seagulls@me before adding .com at the end.



Fred Binney – in Focus

Fred Binney

Shoot! magazine’s famous ‘Focus’ feature sets its sights on goal-poacher Fred Binney. Nothing quite dates this article more than that groovy font for Fred’s name.

Biggest disappointment? ‘The performances of Brighton during 1974/75 and 1975/76.’ Interesting!

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