Tag Archives: gary howlett

And Smith did score!

From Gordon Smith’s autobiography:


There were 100,000 cheering fans in Wembley that day and we certainly silenced the Red Army when I scored in fourteen minutes.

Gary Howlett fired a diagonal cross towards the far post and I drifted in behind their defence to head the ball back across goal, beating Gary Bailey at his left-hand post to score the opener. Yes, folks, Gordon Smith did score at Wembley in the FA Cup final! We were well organised that day and, at half-time, we were still one up. As we trooped off the park, I looked at the giant Wembley scoreboard, saw my name as the scorer and thought that maybe, just maybe, we could pull off a shock result and I would be a hero for scoring.


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The Boys in the Old Brighton Blue

Here are the the 12″ and 7″ versions of Brighton’s 1983 FA Cup Final song, with ‘The Goldstone Rap’ as the B-Side, released on Energy Records:


With superb attention to detail, the front and back covers had lavish designs that helped to soften the blow to club sponsors British Caledonian Airways, whose name would not feature on the players’ shirts on Cup Final day, due to TV regulations at the time:



Back row: Michael Robinson, Steve Gatting, Gordon Smith, Graham Moseley, Perry Digweed, Gary Stevens, Steve Foster, Jimmy Case;

Middle row: Sammy Nelson, Giles Stille, Neil Smillie, Tony Grealish, Graham Pearce, Gary Howlett, Gerry Ryan;

Front row: Terry Connor, Chris Ramsey.

I originally bought the 12″ from one of the second hand record shops on Trafalgar Road, Brighton. Not sure how much it cost me, but it was considerably less than the £50 forked out by one of The Seagulls Love Review fanzine lads, Stefan, at a BHACHS auction at Withdean about five years ago!

You can see a dance performance to this song here:

The song can be heard in its entirety below:

In case you want to have a sing-a-long, the rather corny lyrics are:

come on you seagulls, we’ll follow you
come on you seagulls, we’ll see you through
come on you seagulls, we’ll follow you
the boys in the old Brighton blue

verse 1
we are the boys in the white and the blue
football’s our game, Brighton’s our name
we are the team who’ll be out there for you
the boys in the old brighton blue

verse 2
here we are on the road to wembley way
fighting hard for our place on that day
for the pride of our town down by the sea
we’ll do our best to bring them victory

verse 3
cause we are the boys in the white and the blue
football’s our game, Brighton’s our name
follow the flag we’ll be flying for you
the boys in the old Brighton blue

reprise chorus

verse 4
as we go on our way to meet the best
once again we’ll be put to the test
but we’ll play like we always try to do
we won’t give up until the game is through

verse 5
we are the boys in the white and the blue
football’s our game, Brighton’s our name
follow the flag we’ll be flying for you
the boys in the old brighton blue

verse 6
follow the boys in the white and the blue
football’s our game, Brighton’s our name
follow the flag we’ll be flying for you
the boys in the old Brighton blue (twice)

reprise chorus with last line sang twice

I have been told that the lyrics of Albion’s FA Cup final song were reproduced on an A4 sheet which was distributed over the counter at the Seagulls Shop.

In the end, the song reached number 65 in the UK singles chart. Not a bad achievement considering the song wasn’t all that good!

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Howlett’s howitzer


From The Argus in 6th August 2001:

Eighteen years on from his dramatic debut for Albion, Gary Howlett is getting ready for another emotion charged occasion back in Ireland.

It was back in March 1983 that the young Irishman, then coming up 20, thrilled Goldstone fans with a goal on his debut as the Seagulls gave mighty Liverpool a fright.

Within months of that first senior outing, he had played in a cup final, tasted relegation and won his only cap for the Republic of Ireland.

According to Les Scott’s ‘555 Football Facts To Wow Your Mates’, Howlett had quite a journey to gain international hours:

Gary Howlett (Brighton) travelled to the other side of the world to earn his first and only international cap, and played for just 19 minutes. On 3 June 1984, Howlett was named as a substitute for the Republic of Ireland’s game against China, which was taking place in Japan. Nineteen minutes from time Howlette replaced Pat Byrne (Hearts), but was never chosen for the Republic again.

The Argus article continues:

His career never really progressed as many expected, but he gave good service to Bournemouth and York before winning trophies with Shelbourne in his native Dublin.

These days he combines an administration post with Aer Lingus at Dublin airport with raising a young family and working part-time as assistant manager with newly promoted Monaghan United.

Along with former Shelbourne midfield sidekick Bobby Browne, he has just guided Monaghan into the Premier League for the first time.

The fixture computer has given them a game with Shelbourne to kick-off the season next Sunday. It could be quite an occasion, but it will have to go some to beat that Seagulls debut.

Howlett, having been released by Coventry, had done enough in the reserves for Jimmy Melia to throw him into a midweek clash with Liverpool.

Goals from Michael Robinson and Howlett delighted most of the 25,000 in the Goldstone and had fans taunting the visiting goalkeeper with choruses of: “Brucie, what’s the score?”

Grobbelaar replied with the appropriate number of fingers before Ian Rush provided the more eloquent response of two goals as the Reds grabbed a point on their way to the title.

Howlett joked: “There must have been an injury crisis for me to get in.

“It was a great night at the Goldstone and I got probably the only headed goal I ever scored.

“As soon as I went to Brighton I loved the place. I remember getting the train down there the first time and walking to the ground and just feeling like I fitted in straight away.

“I was in digs at Southwick, then I got a place on Hove seafront, near the King Alfred.

“There was a group of us all the same age playing in the reserves and it was just a fabulous place to be when you were 19 or 20.

“I remember playing well and with lots of confidence. It seemed so easy to play and train and have a good time.

“The squad was full of good midfielders like Neil McNab, Jimmy Case and Tony Grealish. That was the competition I was up against.”

Howlett was in midfield when Albion beat Sheffield Wednesday at Highbury to clinch their cup final place.

Indeed, he had an audacious attempt on goal from way out:

As Spencer Vignes’ article in the Brighton v Nottingham Forest programme in December 2012 revealed, Howlett was on the phone to family and friends after the match, talking about his effort. Sadly for him, it didn’t make ITV’s cut of the highlights.

The Argus goes on:

Then the worrying started.

He admitted: “Even though we were facing relegation the place was buzzing.

“After getting to the final the question was, would I be in the side?

“The last league game was against Norwich and the guys who were 50/50 for a place in the final all played brilliantly but I had just done enough and Jimmy decided to stick me in on the left side.”

Howlett went walkabouts to create the opening goal for Gordon Smith with a pinpoint cross.

He said: “It was all United for 20 minutes and Graham Moseley was playing brilliantly.

“I just remember defending and trying to keep it simple when we had the ball and then of course there was the goal.

“For some reason I found myself out on the right. I could do a couple of things well on a football pitch and one of those was passing a ball. It was just a simple pass which found Gordon who put it away well.

“I was on my hands and knees on the halfway line worn out when he had that chance at the end. His touch let home down but at the time we didn’t mind because we were looking forward to another trip to Wembley on the Thursday.”

Howlett’s form dipped the following season as Albion finished in mid-table.

He played just twice in the next campaign before the coaching skills of Harry Redknapp enticed him to Bournemouth, who he helped to promotion while the Seagulls were going down.

There was more success with Shelbourne, who he helped win the league for the first time in 30 years.

He played 128 time for Shels, though injuries ruled him out of three cup finals. When he took Monaghan back to Tolka Park for a cup tie last season, the match programme described him as one of the most popular players ever to appear for the club.

Persistent ankle problems brought his career to an end but he got coaching qualifications and still runs Shelbourne’s successful under-12 team.

He said: “Last year was a great achievement for Monaghan. We train three nights, we play on Sundays and we might go in on Saturday mornings as well, so it is a huge commitment.

“The football is improving over here and so are the facilities. The rewards are there and our aim is to get into Europe.”

Howlett has been married to Annette for three years and has two daughters Kate, 15 months, and Ellen, who was born the day Albion touched down in Ireland for their recent tour.

Fans arriving in Dublin to follow the Seagulls probably did not notice one of their former favourites as they headed through the airport terminal But Howlett certainly remembers his time in Sussex.

He said: “My career was littered with highs and lows. Over a course of a season I lacked the consistency and I didn’t realise that until I came back home.

“I can always relate to Brighton because I made so many friends there who are still friends and I met some great characters. It was special.”



The Twelve Days of Albion Retro Christmas

On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love sent to me…


Twelve Kens a-beaming


Eleven Pipers piping


Ten Howletts howling


Nine Andys rolling


Eight Smillies smiling


Seven Storers scoring


Six Sayers saying


Five Michael Rings


Four Johnny Byrnes

Three missed pens


Two of Powney’s gloves


And a Wardy looking very merry!

That last image is taken from Scoop Magazine in December 1979. Lovely jumper!

And now, I’d like to wish you a very merry and peaceful Christmas. Thank you for reading this blog. As you may know, it started in February this year. Every day there has been a new post on The Goldstone Wrap, a regularity that has been a challenge and a delight: A challenge, as (believe it or not!) I have a full time job and other things to do. And a delight too, as I am thrilled to have a platform to share articles, photos and videos relating to Brighton & Hove Albion’s past.

The blog is currently jam-packed with 318 posts on past players, matches, magazine articles and football kit design and will continue to grow, day by day. It’s a labour of love to write it and it’s been wonderful to hear from North Stand Chat, Twitter, Facebook and Seagulls Chat, as well as your blog comments, that lots of Albion, and some non-Albion, fans have enjoyed reading it. For some it’s become a part of their early morning routine to check out what’s new on The Goldstone Wrap. I’d also like to thank all of you who I have met through doing this blog, including those who have lent me photos, videos and taken snaps of various memorabilia.

Over the course of the next few days, you can look forward to newspaper coverage of a Boxing Day massacre, a very rare Albion calendar from the glory years, as well as an incredible solo goal by Kieran O’Regan at Hillsborough.

In the meantime, let’s swop Goldstone Wrapping for Christmas (un)wrapping. It’s time to put your feet up and enjoy the festivities!

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FKS’ last hurrah: Soccer 83-84 stickers

Poor FKS. They once dominated the ’70s football sticker scene with fabulously grandiose album titles such as ‘The Wonderful World of Soccer Stars Gala Collection.’ Which suitably sideburned and flared young kid wouldn’t want to be in on that? By 1983/84, probably due to the intense competition from Panini, FKS had reached the end of the line with the rather dubious ‘Soccer 83-84’ series. Following on from their ‘Soccer 82′, it appears that they were trying to cover two seasons’ worth of top flight soccer with this inept collection. Here are the Brighton players:

Graham Moseley

Graham Moseley

Chris Ramsey

Chris Ramsey

Graham Pearce

Graham Pearce

A stray ball seems to be trying its darnedest to try to muscle in on the limelight behind Moseley’s shoulder. But is this really true? As you can see, the grass behind Moseley and Ramsey looks suspiciously unnatural in its greenness, especially as the unaltered green on the side of Ramsey’s arm rather gives the game away. The mixture of the head and shoulders shots of these players and the zoom-in on Graham Pearce’s head bestow an untidy look for this collection. No wonder Chris Ramsey looks uncomfortable.

Steve Gatting

Steve Gatting

Tony Grealish

Tony Grealish

Steve Foster

Steve Foster

Similar gripes with Messrs Gatting, Grealish and Foster here. Given where FKS had appeared to have swiped their photo shot of Tony Grealish from, you can understand why they had to put on a faux-grass background.

Gary Stevens

Gary Stevens

Jimmy Case

Jimmy Case

Gary Howlett

Gary Howlett

A nice, genuine photo of Jimmy Case, fresh from the barbers, follows another manipulated one of Gary Stevens. And whoa! An intensely dim shot of a young and rather frail-looking Gary Howlett. Suffice to say, if you met him in a dark alleyway, I don’t think you’d be that scared.

Michael Robinson

Michael Robinson

Gordon Smith

Gordon Smith

Gerry Ryan

Gerry Ryan

Some more bog-standard and doctored head and shoulders shots of some of Albion’s attackers follow. It’s like FKS were trying very hard to emulate Panini here, whereas some of the action shots that the company had previously used would probably have been more interesting to the young collector.

Neil Smillie

Neil Smillie

And then the final insult! Sticking in a shot of a player in a Crystal Palace kit on a Brighton page. Yeah, thanks, FKS! A bit like putting a sticker of Mo Johnston in a Celtic shirt within a Rangers sticker double-spread, I don’t think that would have gone down too well on the south coast at the time.

No need to be too resentful to FKS, though, after a stay that had lasted since the late 1960s. The company had introduced new ideas such as actual albums for affixing your stickers, something we take for granted today. Now, though, the game was up.


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Brighton players training at Hove Park, 1983


Minus a proper training ground, Brighton players used to practise their skills at the nearby park in Hove. Still, they seem in pretty good spirits here. Neil McNab, Gerry Ryan, Jimmy Case, Gary Stevens, Gary Howlett, Chris Ramsey and Terry Connor all smile for the camera in their classic adidas apparel.

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My Football Heroes Annual 1984


This relatively unknown publication was billed as an annual, but I’m pretty sure that there was never a sequel.

‘My Football Heroes’ was published by Opal Quill Limited in 1983, and includes articles about a selection of First Division teams and players of the time such as Simon Stainrod (QPR), Gordon Cowans (Aston Villa) and Ian Rush (Liverpool). As well as profiling the career of future Albion winger Mark Chamberlain (Stoke), some Brighton interest comes in the form of a piece on ex-boss Peter Taylor that asked:

‘Who was the real boss… Brian Clough or Peter Taylor? Thats been the biggest riddle in football as the rest of the game’s pundits watched first Derby then Nottingham Forest reach the heights under this very idiosyncratic managerial partnership.’

Peter Taylor had recently saved Derby from relegation into the Third Division as well as putting Clough’s Nottingham Forest out of the FA Cup. So it must have seemed a pertinent question at the time. Even so, that article disappointingly overlooks Clough and Taylor’s spells down on the South Coast. And, just like the other pieces in this annual, it also suffers from the drawback that ‘My Football Heroes’ didn’t have direct access to the players and managers, unlike the interviews that appeared in ‘Shoot!’ Annual.

Nevertheless, this rather obscure publication does rather eulogise the Manchester United team and players of the time, with pieces on Alan Davies, Bryan Robson, Norman Whiteside and Ray Wilkins. Through this, we get to enjoy some colour action shots from the 1983 FA Cup Final, ones that I have not seen any where else.

Steve Gatting and Michael Robinson combine to clear the danger:


Norman Whiteside made himself very unpopular with Brighton fans during the final when he deliberately handled the ball twice in goalscoring positions (would have been cautioned twice to be sent-off nowadays) as well as his X-rated tackle on Chris Ramsey that led to Manchester United’s equaliser. Do I still sound bitter after all these years? Yes, you’re right. Cheating Norman Whiteside is all elbows here against Steve Gatting:


Next up is Frank Stapleton showing his aerial prowess before joining Brighton some eleven years later:


The amazing shrinking midfielder Gary Howlett is the filling in a United sandwich of the ill-fated Alan Davies, who committed suicide in February 1992, and Norman Whiteside:


And finally, Ray Wilkins scores one of Wembley’s finest goals before wheeling away.



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Cover star Gary Howlett fronts Panini Football ’84

I’m sure it was at the forefront of the players’ minds that when they were relegated from the First Division at the end of the 1982/83 season, that they were also going down in the Panini sticker coverage for the following season.

From the luxury of a double-page spread with individual stickers and profiles to having to share their crest on a halved sticker with another team (Cambridge United, in this case, who went a record 31 League games that season without a win!), it certainly was a come-down.

panini 84 crest and team group

Still, at least the blow was softened by having Gary Howlett in action on the cover from the FA Cup semi-Final in April 1983.

panini 84 cover

Also, in the Second Division All-Stars Team, Graham Moseley is selected as the best keeper of the second tier. He actually only played one League game for Brighton during 1983/84, losing his place to veteran Joe Corrigan for most of it.

panini 84 moseley

Notable inclusions in this album are Tony Towner (Wolves) who finally made it into Division One, as well as Dennis Mortimer, Steve Jacobs, Mick Ferguson, Russell Osman, Mark Lawrenson, Michael Robinson, Brian Horton, Frank Stapleton, Willie Young, Mark Barham, Danny Wilson, Justin Fashanu, John Gregory, Frank Worthington, Ian Baird, Mark Chamberlain, Mickey Thomas, Gary Rowell, Gary O’Reilly, Gary Stevens and John Humphrey.

Brighton striker Chris Rodon even manages to get into the Second Division Cardiff City team photo despite only being there on loan for six games.

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