Tag Archives: gary williams

Happy New Year …with Albion Calendar 1980!

Short of Peter O’Sullivan, Teddy Maybank and Gary Williams turning up at your door tipsily singing ‘Auld Lang Syne’, what finer retro Albion way to see in the New Year than an invitation for you to feast your eyes on a Brighton football calendar from 1980?

In 1979/80, a company called Print For Sport Ltd launched some lavish A2-sized Soccer Action Calendars for each First Division club, some ‘top’ Second Division clubs (West Ham, Leicester, Sunderland, Newcastle and Burnley, Luton and QPR) and the England team. For just £2.49 each, you received one for your favourite team with twelve colour action shots of first-team players.

The item, advertised heavily in the likes of Shoot! Magazine and Match Weekly, also included red ‘You-Fix’ stickers allowing fans to mark match dates and opponents on the calendar itself. I suppose they could have pre-printed the fixtures directly onto the relevant dates themselves but this was what counted as ‘fun’ and ‘interactive’ in those days!

Here is the Brighton & Hove Albion calendar, lovingly scanned by yours truly:

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In a clever, eye-catching design, Malcolm Poskett, Chris Cattlin and Peter Ward are the cover stars.

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Then into January is… ermm, Brian Horton with a full head of hair in the perm? Well, it’s definitely Nobby’s signature on the bottom right but, as Alan Wares (Albion Roar) from North Stand Chat has identified, it’s Andy Rollings blocking the shot from Orient’s Alan Whittle in a memorable 3-3 draw. Peter O’Sullivan and Mark Lawrenson are in the background, along with Clark’s hair!

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Next up is Malcolm Poskett, also in action against Orient, out to prove Alan Mullery was right to prefer him to Wardy in the number eight shirt for this match.

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When Peter Ward does show up in March, it’s on a bad hair day.

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Steve Foster had signed for the Seagulls in pre-season in the summer of 1979. Without a genuine match appearance for Brighton to his name yet, he strikes a pose for the camera instead.

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In the same Blackburn game where he scored a goal in the midst of a smoke bomb going off, here’s Teddy Maybank challenging for the ball.

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Eric Steele shows a safe pair of hands for the camera.

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‘Viking’ Paul Clark on the ball, possibly against Luton in April 1979.

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New signing John Gregory juggles the ball.

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Veteran Chris Cattlin is star of the month for September 1980 even though his Albion playing were over by then.

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Gary Williams carries the ball out against Blackburn.

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Proving his acting skills are no better than his punditry skills, Mark Lawrenson fakes celebrating a goal!

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And finally, Gerry Ryan goes for a dribble.

As you can see, 1st January 1980 fell on a Tuesday, whereas 1st January 2014 is a Wednesday, so you’ll be disappointed if you were hoping to print this out and use it, unamended, as your calendar for the New Year. Significantly, 1980 was also a leap year so you’ll have to wait all the way until 2036 before this calendar fits the bill again. Never mind! I hope that you are patient. In the meantime, Happy New Year!

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Teddy’s hat-trick triumph

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Argus journalist John Vinicombe was in a happy mood, describing Brighton’s 5-0 annihilation of Cardiff City in December 1978. Helped by three goals from Teddy Maybank, the handsome result put the Seagulls in third place in Division Two:

Albion’s form in the two Christmas matches – at Charlton and yesterday against Cardiff City at the Goldstone – was nothing less than superb.

From the 3-0 success at The Valley, where Malcolm Poskett scored a second half hat-trick, Albion carried on where they left off when Cardiff arrived at the Goldstone.

And there to greet them was a numbing goal in the first 23 seconds by Gary Williams and Teddy Maybank bagging his first hat-trick for the club.

But for the courage of goalkeeper Ron Healey, City would have been taken for a cricket score.

The 5-0 victory was easily Albion’s most convincing display so far and helped lift them to third spot in the table as all the results went their way.

Before a ball was kicked, Albion knew that close rivals West Ham had crashed to a shock home defeat at the hands of Orient.

Albion needed six goals to eclipse them on goal difference alone, and the situation now is that Brighton have won more games (12) than any other side. On this form they face the New Year with confidence.

If Charlton were just as comprehensively outclassed as Cardiff, it should be borne in mind that Charlton picked up yesterday to take a point at Stoke.

Other results in Albion’s favour were the 1-0 defeat of Newcastle United at Bramall Lane and Sunderland dropping a point at home to Leicester City.

And while West Ham came tumbling down, there was a similar upset at Selhurst Park, where leaders Crystal Palace suffered a 1-0 defeat by Bristol Rovers.

This is a traditional time for crazy results, but there was no hint of Albion slipping up. I cannot recall them playing so consistently welt for the entire 90 minutes as Cardiff reeled under a succession of tremendous blows.

Never mind Cardiff’s bad away record… they had toppled Fulham in their previous match and are desperate to avoid the drop.

Not once did they remotely look like upsetting Albion’s approach, and it was realty a case of how many goals would finish in City’s net.

The three deposited by Maybank will do wonders for his morale. In a twinkling, a much-maligned player has earned many new admirers, although those who watch the side home and away will testify to his voracious work rate.

Significantly, Mark Lawrenson played a part in all three Maybank goals, and if there is a more gifted player in the division, I have yet to see him.

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When Maybank headed Albion’s second at 23 minutes it was his first at home for nearly a year! He last hit the Go!dstone net on January 21 against Mansfield and it is almost four months since he scored away from home.

The way has been far from easy for Maybank, but now that the spell is broken I look forward to his luck changing.

Although his damaged ankle ligaments are healed, there was no place for Peter Ward. How could Alan Mullery have changed the side that dazzled at Charlton? Now he has what managers like to call a ‘nice problem’. With nearly half the season remaining there will be plenty of chances for Ward to get back, but the good of the club comes first and personal feelings second.

It must be satisfying for Mullery to have found the touch with his players at such an important time. Aibion were long overdue for a good Christmas. but I don’t think even the most devoted fan thought in terms of two wins and eight goals!

The heavy conditions yesterday suited Albion, and skipper Brian Horton showed himself master of the long ball. Peter Sayer and Peter O’Sullivan ran and worked so hard that there was nothing for Cardiff to create. And Lawrenson, always ready to go on runs at Charlton. was equally hungry yesterday. He inspired that much confidence in Andy Rollings to mind the shop with the ever vigilant Chris Catilin to provide additional cover.

Twelve minutes from the end, Lawrenson limped off with a touch of cramp. It was a wise move to pull him out at that stage, as Cardiff’s defence lay in tatters.

Without any buses, the crowd was kept down to 20,172, but surely there must be a good 28,000 for Saturday’s visit of Newcastle.

They should prove a sterner test than Charlton or Cardiff, but in this mood I doubt if Albion care very much who they play.

Shrewd Mullery had the players in on Christmas morning to be weighed. Not one was a pound over – testimony to their professionalism. I lost count of the bails on Cardiff’s goal. Lawrenson hit the post early on, and midway through the first hall Poskett’s shot was deflected on to the bar. Two other Poskett efforts missed by narrow margins, and twice Maybank went very close and so, for good measure, did Cattlin.

When referee Tony Cox sounded the final whistle it was a merciful release for Cardiff, who were reduced to the stature of a park team.

One minute: The stopwatch showed 23 seconds when Williams hit a swerving shot from just inside the box from a pinpointed Poskett centre (1-0).
Twenty three minutes: A long ball from Lawrenson found Sayer and he quickly picked up Sully. When the ball came over to the far post, Maybank was in with his head (2-0).
Forty three minutes: A finely worked move involving five players ended when Ryan flicked across for Maybank. He pitched headlong when he shoved in the back by Roberts, and Horton nearly took the back of the net out from the spot (3-0).
Forty-eight minutes: A run of 20, maybe 25 yards by Lawrenson took him down the right, and the hard, low cross was met by Maybank with a diving header (4-0).

Jubilant Maybank completes his hat-trick

Jubilant Maybank completes his hat-trick

Sixty-two minutes: An almost identical move: Lawrenson raiding yet again, and Maybank getting in to force the ball home (5-0).

Albion: Moseley; Cattlin, Williams, Horton, Rollings, Lawrenson, Ryan. Poskett, Maybank, Sayer, O’Sullivan. Sub: Clark for Lawrenson (withdrawn), 78 minutes.
Cardiff City: Healey; Thomas, Pethard, Campbell, Roberts, Larmour. Attley, Stevens, Evans, Dwyer, Lewis. Sub: Bishop for Stevens (withdrawn), 63 minutes.
Referee: Mr T. Cox (South Croydon).
Bookings: Campbell (foul).
Attendance: 20,172
Albion Jackpot: Pink 88107 – £105; yellow, 1609 – £57.50; pink, 94905 – £34.50; yellow. 3819 – £23.

From his moment of triumph, Teddy Maybank didn’t quite run into a rich vein of goalscoring form. He popped up with the opener against Leicester City in early February at the Goldstone before embarking on another fruitless spell in front of goal. A sending off against Sheffield United in March threatened to curtail his participation in the final run-in as Mullery moved quickly to sign Martin Chivers as a stop-gap.

However, three goals in the last four matches meant Maybank ended the season with a bang. It was ample reward for a forward who unselfishly did the donkey work to create space for his more fleet-footed colleagues.

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Trading places: Gary Williams and Neil Smillie

Before the 1982/83 season, Brighton completed a swop with arch rivals Crystal Palace. With Sammy Nelson and newcomer Graham Pearce competing for the number three shirt, Gary Williams, Albion’s popular left-back for the previous five years, departed for Selhurst Park, having been out in the cold since November 1981:

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In came the speedy, tricky wide man with the curly locks, Neil Smillie:

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Despite being a recent buy, Smillie then found himself dropped by Mike Bailey on two occasions. However, he established himself as a first-choice player once Jimmy Melia took over in December 1982. By the time of the FA Cup Final later on in the season, such was the cutting edge he provided, he could be sure of a starting place:

The buzz went up from the Notts County fans as Brighton’s pacy winger exploded down theJine, beating two defenders en route and whipped over a precise cross that turned the penalty-area into a zone of undisguised panic.

Nell Smillie appreciated the generous applause from the home fans as he pounded back to take up a workmanlike position, letting it seep into his body to fuel his growing confidence as a First Division player of considerable note, and one just a dream away from the FA Cup Final.

Last summer he was packing his bags after a football lifetime with Crystal Palace that fizzled and spluttered, threatening to catch alight only to be extinguished repeatedly by managerial changes.
After a spell in the United States, Smillie discovered that his expired contract at Selhurst Park left him with an offer worth not one penny more than he got before. It was all beginning to depress the 24-year-old Barnsley-born winger… until Brighton stepped in.

“The deal was an exchange between me and Gary Williams, one which went through after talks. That was last July and I was glad because I’d begun to feel in a rut at Palace.

“I played in the first two games: of this season, but we lost the second, 5-0 to West Bromwich Albion, and Mike Bailey dropped me. Then it was the bench followed by the reserves until October 26, the Milk Cup replay against Spurs.

“We lost 1-0 and out I went again until November 20 at Watford where we took a 4-1 drubbing. Bailey went soon after that and I found myself back on the outside looking in when Jimmy Melia took over.

“I was sub when we played Newcastle at home in the Third Round of the F.A. Cup and came on at St James’ Park in the replay, on January 12. I’ve kept myself in the side since then and my confidence has grown with every game,” Smiilie probably needed nothing more than that boost to his confidence; and despite Albion’s tough relegation battles, he has continued to provide Melia with just the type of player his style of football requires, a player capable of playing wide.

“Yes, I give the side width. They know I’m out there and when things get too tight in the middle I can take the ball and take men on. I have the confidence to take on any full-back in the League. I give them their due respect, but that’s all.

“In our situation you have to work hard defensively as well. I agree with Steve Coppell who said that a winger is a barometer of his team. When things are going well the winger will get forward, attack the line, get the ball across and make things happen. But when you are up against it the winger is often working back in his own half, covering, tackling and grafting.

“What excites me is that Jimmy Melia has made it clear to us that there will be no change in his attitude for the Final. We will go out to attack with three men up front, going for the win… and United’s throat.

“I anticipate a tremendous battle with Arthur Aibiston, against whom I’ve played twice before. He does a lot on the ball as well as good work defensively, but he holds no fears for me.

“i’m the winger he has to stop, and if he fails then Mike Robinson and the lads will see as much of that ball as I get supply.”

As for Gary Williams, although delighted to rejoin Alan Mullery, he didn’t enjoy his time at Crystal Palace. When I met him in the pub about a year ago, Gary described his playing career there as ‘just a job’, never developing any great feeling for the club. By contrast, he remembers the camaraderie and team spirit of his Albion days with far greater fondness.

His Palace career did not last long either, as injury meant he retired from the professional game with just ten League appearances for the Eagles in 1982/83. Because of his transfer from the Goldstone Ground, he missed the FA Cup Final of 1983, of course. However, he can be proud of the fact he was never in an Albion relegation season.

He played some games with Saltdean in the summer of 1983 before spending the following season with Whitehawk in the Sussex County League. At that time, he also began to explore business opportunities outside the game, as this snippet from a matchday programme from 1983/84 indicates:

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Last Wednesday several first team players made a special visit to a TV and video shop in George Street in •Brighten, just off St James’ Street.

The lads had a special reason for going along there, as a partner in the firm is former Albion favourite Gary Williams, now playing for Whitehawk. The shop specialises in sales service and rentals of sets, but as Gary points out, they are not a video film library.

Gary is pretty fully occupied these days, because he’s playing regularly for Whitehawk who are involved in Cup games and League matches at the moment at a rate of at least two a week. Our picture shows Steve Foster toasting success to Gary and his partner Pete Renvoize.

In other words, Gary Williams was busy selling TVs enabling football fans to watch Neil Smillie tear Liverpool apart in January 1984.

Nowadays, Gary works for Blakes Wholesale and Catering Butchers. As for Neil Smillie, he left Brighton for Watford in 1985 and later had managerial spells with Gillingham and Wycombe. An article in the Daily Mail in January 2010 suggested that Smillie ‘lives in Reading. Works with Nike on their sponsorship of youngsters.’

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Last-gasp Gary Williams goal rocks Roker

Remember when local newspapers published a sports edition on Saturday evening to cover that day’s football results? Well, this report is from Geoff Storey of Football Echo (from the Echo in Sunderland), on April 25 1981:

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Sunderland 1 Brighton 2

Sunderland’s fight against relegation turned into a nightmare against Brighton at Roker Park this afternoon when an injury time goal gave them everything to do against Liverpool next week.

Brighton who needed maximum points to starve off their relegation threat had gone ahead in the 35th minute through Mick Robinson’s 22nd goal of the season and despite Sunderland having most of the play they were unable to make their advantage count.

Alan Brown set the ground alight in the 61st minute when he equalised with his fifth goal of the season but Gary Williams stunned the Roker fans with an injury time goal for Brighton.

Afterwards, there is a barebones account of the action in the match, which doesn’t actually make very interesting reading, so I’ll spare you it. In any case, I have actual glorious video highlights of this do-or-die game. I didn’t even know was televised! Enjoy…

While Steve Foster’s body-check escaped a caution, which was no surprise in those days, Andy Ritchie was certainly very lucky after his X-rated tackle. Journalist Geoff Strong put it like this:

In the 54th minute Andy Ritchie who had already been booked was amazingly allowed to stay on the field following a disgraceful tackle on Elliott which sent the Sunderland defender flying but there was no sterner action than a talking to.

However, it is for Gary Williams’ stunning late volley from Smith’s floated cross that the match is best remembered by Seagulls’ fans.

The seemingly daunting trip to Roker Park was part three of Albion’s four-match winning streak at the end of the 1980/81 season that preserved the club’s First Division status. Sunderland were crestfallen after the game, but then incredibly went on to beat Liverpool at Anfield the following week to maintain their place as well.

Oh, and in case you were wandering, Gustavo Poyet was 13 years old when this match took place…

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David Rose Sports

On the backpage of the Albion Handbook 1978 was this advert for David Rose Sports, a name that evokes strong memories for many Brighton fans:

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Nowadays, it’s almost unthinkable that you wouldn’t get your Brighton & Hove Albion replica shirt from the club shop. However, it seems the Albion were rather slow to catch onto the burgeoning replica kit market in the 1970s. So if you wanted to get your Bukta shirt, shorts and socks in the style of your heroes at the Goldstone, such as Gary Williams (above) or Peter Ward, and risk Full Kit-ism prejudice, it was better to wander off to Dyke Road to your local sports shop rather than Old Shoreham Road. I think even the yellow one was available as a replica kit.

As Alan Wares, of The Albion Roar radio show, said:

I got my first Albion kit from David Rose Sports when it was in Dyke Road. 1978, Bukta, stretchy knitted blue and white striped shirt, blue shorts with the Bukta stripes, white socks with two blue bands at the top, and a pair of Gola boots.

Not bad for a ninth birthday present. Seemed to recall it came to £32 all in.

David Rose was a lifelong Albion supporter who died in 2005 after a battle with cancer. He is fondly remembered for his expertise, excellent customer service and idiosyncratic discounts.

As The Spanish said on North Stand Chat:

David Rose’s constant 10% Off offer. Everything was always 10% off if you could prove you played for a mini minor league club, your birthday fell on a Tuesday that year, or you had a tortoise called George etc etc.

By the time of his death, business was not good, not because of losses incurred from his own discounts but because the big chains such as Sports Soccer and JJB Sports had muscled in on the market, buying their massive bulk of stock at cheap prices, making it hard for the traditional local sports shop to survive. For this reason, David’s stepson Michael was not keen to continue the business.

On hearing the news of the death, bigtomfu said:

What a great guy, always eager to give people money off even when there was no reason to. if you wanted an honest opinion on sports goods then you always went to him. What a guy and such a shame!

Alan Wares lamented the shift away from the likes of A A Baker, Swift Sports and David Rose Sports in a wider context:

In a city this size, there is only one quality sports shop (Swift Sports) – that’s disgraceful. David Rose Sports is symbolic of a dying trend – a trend that needs to be reversed. Whatever happened to knowledge, service and integrity in your local sport shop?

You go into a shop and see a row of football boots or cricket bats, all at massively different prices, and you ask the assistant what is the difference between each type of bat. Why one is one price, and one is another. In JJB, Sports Soccer etc, you get a monosyllabic grunt. In a REAL sports shop, you get intelligent responses, someone prepared to discuss your needs and requirements, someone who knows what they are on about. It doesn’t take much, and the customer is so much more grateful for it.

But where are these places? You see, it’s all wrong nowadays.

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New arrivals hold the key in 1980/81

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The 1980/81 Albion squad was probably the strongest in the club’s history. At least on paper. With their first season of top flight football behind them, Brighton looked to build on their experience, and were bolstered by Michael Robinson and Gordon Smith, two £400,000 captures. The Robinson-Ward striking partnership appeared to promise an avalanche of goals while Mark Lawrenson and Steve Foster seemed likely to keep things solid at the back.

It certainly didn’t pan out that way, which is perhaps testament to the outstanding contributions that Ray Clarke and Peter Suddaby made to the Brighton side. They both had a profound effect on Albion’s season when they joined mid-way in 1979/80. Their departures certainly coincided with a downturn in Albion fortunes, despite the opening day success, a comfortable 2-0 victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers in the sunshine at the Goldstone in August 1980.

An outstanding article by Dave Spurdens dissects the functioning of the Brighton team at the time:

Last season the First Division induced in Brighton the sort of timorous insecurity common to squatters awaiting removal from their borrowed abode.

No mean appraiser of life’s realities in the big league, Alan Mullery saw clearly that reinforcements would have to be moved up if Brighton was to grow from a rather crotchety tenant to an established mortgagee.

The departures of Ray Clarke, Peter Suddaby and Andy Rollings to pastures new heralded the expected re-jig and after a series of wrangles Mullery forked out a million pounds and came up with Gordon Smith, signed from Rangers, Ray McHale, the generator behind Swindon’s surge, Moshe Gariani, spotted in Israel during a club trip and finally, after much ado, Michael Robinson (below, middle), the Manchester City reject, unloaded by Malcolm Allison in a cut price deal.

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Robinson went to the Goldstone Ground hopefully to prove that Allison had been right to buy him in the first place, but hopefully remiss in sending him packing after one short season.

Apart from those four it’s the same Brighton and at the end of the day success will depend on these players being better than those they have replaced, coupled with the experience of more prolonged First Division status.

Mullery’s prognostications that Brighton will cause a few surprises started off with a bang when Wolves, the team many tip to challenge the leaders, were reminded that the supposed no-hopers from the south would certainly not help them in their aspirations and were duly beaten by them 2-0.

The blend looked good. Smith, everybody in Brighton averred, was another Trevor Brooking. McHale’s industry was commendable and Robinson, if nothing else, confirmed that he was unlikely in the next few years to halve his value again. Robinson, whom nobody apart from Malcolm Allison thought a near million-pound player, now has to prove that he is a near half-million player.

The next game was not so auspicious but nevertheless, despite defeat, demonstrated Brighton’s senior status against another of this year’s tips for the great ‘Nick the title off Liverpool’ campaign, Ipswich.

Taken all round in victory and defeat, this new-look Brighton is a tight outfit with a very solid back four, a midfield that is directed by skipper Brian Horton and a front line that once gets to know itself could produce problems for even the best.

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Horton (above), a ubiquitous character, has an influence in the three lines slotting into the back whenever Mark Lawrenson takes off for advanced territory, running the midfield and going on occasional forays behind his front three whenever the opportunity presents itself.

In four seasons at Brighton, since he arrived from Port Vale, he has matured into an integrating force with a strong sense of how to exploit time and space. His influence gives Brighton a varied tempo and a less predictable pattern of advance.

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Horton (above) plays a complete midfield role and his defensive work is tenacious and very professional.

Unlike his two midfield colleagues, who allow players to steal goalside oblivious of the pressure it puts on the back four players, Horton is an expert tracker and uses his experience to transfer marking responsibilities when he feels he is being pulled too far away from crucial zones.

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McHale (above), though he operated well forward, is an industrious player busily looking for possession from the man with the ball, but he is not so aware of the damage those without the ball can do.

Neil McNab falls into the same trap of being less than attentive to those who ghost behind his area of concentration. On the ball, he has the look of threatening competence as he moves forward with control. The final pass is often less incisive than anticipated, and some of his forward probes are too easily read by those who should be troubled by them.

Brighton’s build-up when started by Horton or full-back John Gregory is patient and constructive, but tends to be a fifteen-yard game which is easily closed down by good defenders or by teams that fall off and vacate the midfield space.

With a build-up like this, one waits frustratingly for the breakthrough from the back or the run into space which has been created by the diagonal drift of their build up.

So often play develops from the right to left, dragging opposition players with it and leaving large spaces into which back or midfield players should be running in order to exploit opportunities on the blind side.

Even when they are developing their game around the midfield, and where the opposition is turned minimally, there is still a great need for play to be switched once the options have closed down on one flank or the other.

If there was a major reason, in their second game, why their opponents could sit reasonably comfortably it was this tendency to attack in straight lines.

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It has been generally accepted by the Seasiders that (above) Lawrenson’s best role is at the centre of the back four.

Certainly with he and Steve Foster at the heart of the defence there is a solidarity that will stand them in good stead whenever they play.

Brighton’s resources probably dictate this policy, lacking the luxury of being able to use players in their perfect role.

I thought Lawrenson playing in front of the two centre-backs last season was more effective because of the strength of his forward runs, and he didn’t have the worry of leaving gaps at the back.

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Foster (above) is playing better than ever alongside Lawrenson, with tireless courage and aggression.

There are those who feel him to be one of the best young centre-backs in the country. Against Ipswich, it was interesting to see him with the two favourite contenders for the spots currently held so securely by Thompson and Watson.

Under far greater pressure, Foster made several early errors – especially when it came to picking up high balls on the edge of the box. But once he settled down, he looked the equal to anybody aspiring to international status.

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At full back, Gregory (above) turn in his usually immaculate performance both defensively and creatively when he plays the ball forward, but his energy in getting forward into good space seems seriously curtailed. Whether through disinclination or orders, only the player and his manager can know.

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On the other flank, young Gary Williams (above) gives the impression that, unless he tightens up on his jockeying to players who run at him withthe ball, he could be in for a skinning before the season gets much older.

The rest of his game seems to be developing well and the way he linked up with the centre-back in the middle when his partner had been pulled out wide suggests he is learning his craft quickly.

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Behind this promising back four Graham Moseley (above) looks quick and agile, enjoying the confidence of those in front of him.

There are times when he could be more positive in his communication but I suspect his diffidence may be prompted by the perpetual dialogue conducted by Foster just in front of him.

The 1980/81 season turned out to be another one of struggle as Brighton’s reshaped side blew hot and cold in the First Division. After the opening day victory over Wolves, it took another six games to record another League victory. Peter Ward left for Nottingham Forest in the middle of a ten match winless spell from late September that saw Brighton vacate the League Cup and marooned at the bottom of Division One by mid-November. Then, a surprise 1-0 win over League leaders Ipswich Town kick-started a brief run of good form. After another slump in the New Year, when Brighton won just twice in fifteen matches, the Seagulls saved themselves with a miraculous spell of four wins in four matches at the end of the season.

This late form showed what Mullery’s most accomplished looking side was capable of. However, it was not without its flaws, as journalist Dave Spurdens capably showed. Although Michael Robinson came good with 22 goals, this did not fully paper over the cracks. When Mike Bailey took over in the summer of 1981, another re-jig of the squad was in the pipeline.

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Double A-Side single: ‘In Brighton’ / ‘The Goldstone Rap’ (1982)

First Division footballers they may have been, but Brighton’s team of ’82 also made an audacious bid for pop fame and hip-hop credibility.

From left to right, here are the rather earnest-looking Gordon Smith, Steve Gatting, Perry Digweed, Andy Ritchie, Jimmy Case, Gary Williams, Gary Stevens, Gerry Ryan, Michael Robinson and Steve Foster seeking to set the world alight with their dulcet tones and Farah slacks, not to mention their previously unrevealed rapping skills:

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In the Brighton v Tottenham match programme from March 1982, it was announced:

Last Wednesday our first team squad had a unique day out when they travelled to recording studios in South London to cut their first record. The record is entitled ‘In Brighton’ and should be available on general sale in early April.

Howard Krugar, who lives in Hove and specialises in organising concerts for some of the world’s biggest stars, is the man behind the idea and he is hopeful of the disc making the charts. In fact it is highly likely that the Albion squad will appear on ‘Top of the Pops’.

Also involved in the record is BBC football commentator Peter Brackley who livens things up with commentary on a memorable Albion goal… which one? Well, for that you’ll have to buy the record.

Thanks to the lads at We Are Brighton, you can hear ‘In Brighton’ here:

Based on the Drifters’ song ‘On Broadway,’ the song received a positive response from John Henty who gave it a spin at Radio Brighton on Sunday 4th April. With dubious lyrics such as ‘Big Fozzie keeps it tight for Brighton’ and the boast of ‘Playin’ at the Goldstone Ground, where good football’s always found’ (sadly, no football of any kind down there now), not to mention even dodgier singing, the song probably did not have much of a fanbase outside of Brighton supporters.

Nevertheless, it was also played by Peter Powell on Radio One. However, as notes that month in the Brighton v Manchester United programme lamented:

Last week Peter Powell played the disc on his Radio One show but allowed his own support of Wolves to colour his comments on the merits of the recording.

The song was also erroneously aired on BBC’s ‘Match of the 80s’ series in the 1990s in its coverage of Brighton’s FA Cup run of 1983, with Danny Baker hesitating about even calling it a ‘song’! And, just in case you are wondering, the Andy Ritchie goal that Brackley acts out a commentary on is almost certainly this swerving free-kick belter from the Brighton v West Bromwich Albion game in February 1982:

The other track on this Double A-side was ‘The Goldstone Rap’, which this very blog you are reading takes its name from. Looking at it now, it’s amazing to think that Brighton & Hove Albion were at the forefront of the UK hip-hop scene in 1982, especially as this was almost certainly the first ever football song to feature rapping.

Unlikely to win any prizes at the MOBO awards, the rap memorably includes such lyrical gems as:
‘When you make that cross you’re gonna cross it fine / Give the ball to the player on the dead ball line.’

Never mind the MOBOs, though. Were you at Busby’s Night Club on Kingswest, Kings Road, in Brighton on the evening of Tuesday 6th April 1982? If you were, you would have been present to the grand launch of the single, as Brighton & Hove Albion’s first team squad belted out their musical masterpieces on stage! Sadly, I have no video footage of this priceless moment.

When released to the general public, the colour sleeve of the 7″ looked splendid, with the players proudly posing in front of the temporary Lego Stand in all its glory:

inbrighton-front

inbrighton-back

The price was a bargain £1.20. Buyers of the single from the club shop were also given a chance to enter a great competition to win two tickets to Dallas, Texas, with British Caledonian Airways.

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So, was the Brighton release a launchpad to instant chart fame and fortune? Unfortunately, the single sank without trace but it gave Steve Foster (whose vocals also featured on the England 1982 World Cup song ‘This Time’), an opportunity to meet up with proper singer David Soul and wing a copy to the ‘Starsky and Hutch’ star:

steve-foster-david-soul

Years later, I was wondering about ‘The Goldstone Rap’ and imagining what it would have sounded like if it adopted the electro sound of 1982’s other great hip-hop release, ‘The Message’ by Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five. Thanks to the power of the internet, and due to a discussion on North Stand Chat, I got to find out.

Major props to Ian, the DJ who created this ‘Goldstone Message’:

A much enhanced version, I hope you’ll agree. In terms of pushing at the limits of what was possible for music and Brighton & Hove Albion footballers, it was certainly close to the edge.

Some MP3 files for your listening pleasure:
(right-click to ‘Save Target As…’ or ‘Download Linked File’)
In Brighton
The Goldstone Rap
The Goldstone Message

Other Wrap posts about Brighton & Hove Albion songs:
Carol Manns – ‘Seagulls’ (1979) – a video!

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Getting to Division One: Alan Mullery’s budget

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The wheeling and dealing side of being a football manager was something that certainly appealed a lot to Alan Mullery. Luckily for him, he had far more cash to play with than, say, Pat Saward, at the start of the 1970s. It’s often commented that Mullery had a massive transfer budget. Trying to get beyond the opinion, I wanted to see to what extent this was true and have (to the best of my ability) tried to collate all the incomings and outcomings from 1976/77 to the end of 1978/79:

In
Steele £19,000
Lawrenson £112,000
Ruggiero £30,000
Potts £14,000
Williams swop
Clark £30,000
Maybank £238,000
Poskett £60,000
Sayer £100,000
Ryan £80,000
Chivers £15,000

Total: £700,000

Out
Beal free
Kinnear free
Morgan £15,000
Cross Swop
Wilson Swop
Binney Free
Towner £65,000
Ruggiero Free
Potts £37,000
Mellor £30,000
Fell Swop

Total 147,000

To my eyes, despite the over-inflated price for Teddy Maybank, a deficit of £553,000 at late 1970s prices seems a reasonable price to pay for a club going from the Third Division into the top flight. Still, it wasn’t me writing the cheques! Undoubtedly, the Albion boss’ best capture of the time was Preston defender Mark Lawrenson. In this article from Shoot! magazine, the Brighton manager explains how he tried to balance the budget in the summer of 1977 after a big outlay:

Brighton caused a bit of a stir in the close-season when they splashed out a club record £112,000 to buy unknown defender Mark Lawrenson from Preston. It was a bold move from a progressive club who are determined to make a big success of life now they have been promoted to the Second Division.

And manager Alan Mullery is the first to admit they had no intention of spending that sort of cash when they first decided to go into the market. Mullery – who capped his first season as a manager by steering Brighton to the Third Division top two – explains:

“At first all we were going was a standby for Graham Cross – someone to play in the reserves and come into the first team when necessary. “But clubs were asking a ridiculous amount for this type of player. They were demanding £40,000 or £50,000 – and there was no way we were going to pay that for reserves. So then we decided to change our tactics and go in and spend big on a player who could come straight into the first team. I called all the staff together to discuss names of likely prospects. And they all came up with the same one – Mark Lawrenson.

“My chairman, Mike Bamber, and my coaching staff had all seen the lad play and were all impressed. And I thought he was tremendous on the three occasions I had seen him last season – twice against us, once at Crystal Palace. With so many people raving about him, it was obvious he was the man we wanted – so we moved in and did the deal. I know a lot of people have not heard to much about him yet. But they all will – believe me, they will.

“He is only 20, is big and strong and will make his mark in a big way. he settled down as soon as he joined us for pre-season training and seemed to be enjoying life on the South Coast. The thought of spending that sort of money on an unknown does not frighten me. A football manager has got to be prepared to back his judgement and I’m sure Mark will turn out to be a huge success.”

Mullery’s only regret is the enforced change of deal brought Cross’s time at the Goldstone Ground to an end. Soon after Lawrenson arrived, Cross and full-back Harry Wilson moved to Preston as part of a deal that brought another defender, Gary Williams, to Brighton from Deepdale. “Graham had an absolutely tremendous 1976-77 season for us and I can’t speak too highly of him,” said Mullery. “When I started planning for the new term I reckoned on having him in the side for our step up into the Second Division. Then events overtook us as I have explained, and things worked out differently. I wish him well at Preston and can assure their supporters they are getting one of the most honest lads in the game in Graham.”

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Brighton’s ‘Preston mob’

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From Shoot! Magazine in 1978/79:

Mark Lawrenson and Gary Williams have always been certain Brighton will win promotion to the First Division this season.

They are both stars in a team which has been in top form in the League since November and neither player regrets moving from Preston nearly two years ago.

“Things are great at Brighton with the club at the top of the Second Division.” says Lawrenson.

“We have no qualms about leaving Preston North End because with Brighton we have joined a club that is just as good and which also has more money.

“We only just missed getting promotion last season when we took 15 points out of the last 16 only to be pipped by Tottenham Hotspur on goal difference.”

“The team had a sticky patch after the 5-1 win over Preston in September, probably because we thought we were better than we were.”

“But Alan Mullery got the Divisional Bell’s Manager of the Month award for December, in a great Christmas when we took six points out of six, and we have not lost many matches since.”

In 1978/79, just like Lawrenson and Williams at Brighton, bustling centre-forward Michael Robinson had hoped to get into the First Division himself with Preston. However, the Lilywhites suffered a terrible start. Nevertheless, he was sure he had nothing to fear. As he said to Football Handbook (Part 31): “I can’t see how we are going to go down. We have only the poor sides to play.” Speaking of the 5-1 score at the Goldstone, he added, “There’s nothing to fear because only Brighton have hammered us.” Preston eventually finished seventh, helped by winning the return match at Deepdale 1-0 in February.

robinsonpreston

The Preston holy trinity was complete when Williams and Lawrenson were eventually joined at the Albion in the summer of 1980 by Robinson who arrived at the Goldstone via an unhappy spell at Manchester City.

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Focus on: Gary Williams

Happy birthday, Gary!

garywilliams

Date of birth: 8 March 1955.
Car: Chrysler Horizon.
Favourite player: Liam Brady.
Favourite TV shows: The Kenny Everett Video Show and Fawlty Towers.
Most difficult opponent: They’re all easy.

From Shoot! Magazine in 1979/80.

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