Tag Archives: glen wilson

Brighton up – with a six goal rush


George Harley of the Daily Mirror reported on Brighton’s 6-0 thumping of Watford at the Goldstone in April 1958. The result ensured Brighton’s promotion:

The hour produces the man – and last night Adrian Thorne, 20, a RESERVE forward, was the man of Brighton’s hour of glory.

The stocky, local boy scored FIVE of the six goals that rocketed Brighton into the Second Division for the first time, after thirty-eight years in the Third Division wilderness.

He got three of them in four sensational minutes early in the game.

The 31,038 crowd – thousands more were locked out – went wild with joy when Thorne scored the first after five minutes with his RIGHT foot.

They went even wilder when he got the second after eight minutes from a perfect Howard centre with his HEAD.

They were absolutely delirious with delight when he crashed in the third a minute later with his LEFT FOOT.

By the most fantastic of coincidences, it is just twenty-five years ago that Billy Lane, now Brighton manager, also scored a hat-trick in four minutes – for Watford!

Lane was then an experienced centre-forward, Thorne, a former Brighton Grammar School boy, played his first League game only three month ago – and was at inside right for last night’s vital game only as a deputy for injured Dave Sexton.

Thorne’s normal position is centre-forward. Lane chose him last night to try out a double centre-forward plan with Peter Harburn.

It was incredibly successful – with Harburn decoying Watford defenders out of position, and Thorne punching home the goals through the gaps.

Thorne’s amazing performance inspired Brighton to a display of such controlled and sustained pressure that Watford were overwhelmed in the first half.

Skipper Glen Wilson scored from a penalty for handling by right-back Bobby Bell in the thirty-fifth minute.

Almost direct from the kick-off, Thorne swept through a 30-yard-run to swerve past Harrop and drive home the fifth goal.

The scene at half-time was incredible. Hats, coats, newspapers and programmes were flung in the air all round the ground.

Hundreds of spectators poured across the pitch to mob Thorne. Police had to rescue him.

Brighton’s five-goal lead was all the more remarkable because they only had ten fit men from the twelfth minute. Outside right Dennis Gordon injured a knee and limped for the rest of the game.

With the prize of promotion assured – a draw was all they needed to pip Brentford – they were content in the second half to hold Watford’s orthodox and predictable attacks.

But a minute from the end Thorne completed a night he will never forget by hooking home a Wilson free-kick for his fifth goal.

The crowd engulfed the layers, carrying them shoulder-high back to the dressing room.


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Dave Hollins – ‘I’m glad my father didn’t see me let in 9 goals’

On August 23rd 1958, Albion captain Glen Wilson led the side out at Ayresome Park as Brighton made their Second Division debut:


Unfortunately, the newly promoted side were pulverised 9-0 with future Albion manager Brian helping himself to five goals on the day. Here he is celebrating after netting his fifth:


At the receiving end of these nine goals was Brighton keeper Dave Hollins, the older brother to John who eventually became a renowned midfield player with Chelsea, Arsenal, QPR and England. After being an understudy to the long-serving Eric Gill, the Bangor-born Dave Hollins was making his fifth appearance for the Albion. In Charles Buchan’s Football Monthly, he told his story:

Soccer has been getting a lot of knocks from critics in the past few years, but I know there is a lot of sentiment in the game, and plenty of sportsmen ready to give a youngster a helping hand.

When I joined Brighton from Merrow, a little club near Guildford, the first-team goalkeeping job was held by Eric Gill. He carried on to play a record number of 247 consecutive matches.

He always had a word of encouragement for me. And, when his long run was ended because of injury and I went into the League side. Eric was always ready with friendly advice or congratulation.

Why, he even invited me to stay at the Brighton hotel he had taken over. There, I had every comfort and our friendship grew even closer when I eventually took over his job in the Brighton goal.

He never resented it.

Eric Gill is just one of the many fine sportsmen I have met in professional football.

When Brighton played their first match in the Second Division I was in goal, The result is one no Brighton follower will forget. We were trounced 9–0 by Middlesbrough! I felt like hiding …. would have welcomed an underground tunnel to escape from Ayresome Park. And, when I got back to Sussex, 1 was half inclined to wear dark glasses! But Gill steadied me. “You have a long way to go in this game, Dave,” he said. “This sort of thing can happen to anyone, Fight back!”

Near the end of that Middlesbrough match I had heard a shout which didn’t amuse me at the time, but which seems funny now. A chap with powerful lungs yelled: “‘Don’t worry, Brighton. If Boro get ten they’ll declare!” At Brighton I was also lucky to have the backing of our manager, Mr. Billy Lane. He had faith in me, and that means a lot to a youngster i was only 17 when I joined the club.

I think my good run of luck in football started on the day 1 was born, My father. Bill Hollins, was a Wolves goalkeeper, and he always helped me with my game.

My early memories are of him showing me the way to keep goal. and then standing behind my net, offering advice and criticism.

Dad always emphasised my bad points and was a little sparing with his praise. Looking back, I can see just how right he was to be like that.

“Concentrate always concentrate.” he would say. “Keep your eye on the ball. always keep your eye on the ball.” I was glad dad wasn’t at that Middlesbrough match!

One of dad’s clubs was Bangor City and when he was with them I was born a Welshman.

A few months later the family moved on and I admit here that for many years it meant nothing to me to have been born in Wales.

I didn’t even appreciate that I was a Welshman until the day – the most exciting day of my life when I was picked to play for the Welsh Under-23 team against Scotland at Wrexham.

I don’t speak a word of Welsh and I was scared that my team-mates might start shouting instructions in that language.

But all was well, and I will never forget the way in which Jimmy Murphy, our team manager, inspired as in the dressing room in English! “You are playing for Wales now,” he said and his pre-match talk was terrific.

Now I understand why little Wales has so many great performances to her credit. And I learned something more of the Welsh fervour when we lined up in the pouring rain while the crowd sang “Land of my Fathers.” If I had not felt like a Welshman before then I do now and am proud of it.

Perhaps I am too young to give advice. but I feel that boys must be really keen on the game to succeed. And they require plenty of determination to fight against the bad times when they come.

Luck can play a big part, too. I have had my share even to catching a manager’s eye when I was only 12.
Mr. Lane was signing my big brother, Roy, for Brighton when I said: ‘What about me?'”

He replied: “Play hard and maybe I’ll be back for you as well.” The day came when he sent for me.

Yes, there’s plenty to be said in favour of the game. Take it from me – Soccer’s all right!


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Glen Wilson, a great man of many guises



Glen Wilson, who died in 2005, became synonymous with the club during Goldstone Ground era, first as a player, then trainer, caretaker manager, physio and kit man. Although he was a Geordie, he was devoted to the Albion. He made his debut as inside-right in September 1949 against Bournemouth but it was as left-half where he clocked the most of his 436 appearances for Brighton. He was captain of the Billy Lane’s side that won the Third Division (South) Championship in 1958.

In North Stand Chat, Brighton fan nobody’s dupe recalls:

At The Dell I called something derogatory out to him as he was going down the tunnel at half time. He stopped and gave me a well-deserved verbal lashing. He saw me a few days later at a training session at The Goldstone and he continued the ‘conversation’. The next time he saw me was a couple of weeks later at Ashton Gate before a game against Bristol City. He got off of the team coach, came straight up to me and gave me a complimentary ticket for the match.

I also remember a game at Swindon. All through the game he and one Swindon player were giving each other physical stick. Glen was seemingly the only one to be punished with a string of free kicks against him. Towards the end of the game he was booked. Just after the final whistle the Swindon player held a hand out to Glen with a broad grin on his face. Glen stepped forward and delivered a beautiful left hook, and left the guy flat on his back. He then walked down the tunnel leaving a hell of a commotion behind him.

Sammy Morgan will tell you that when Glen was the physio he left him on a treatment table for ten minutes wired up to a heat treatment machine. The only thing was that Glen had forgotten to turn it on, but on his return he asked Sammy if he felt better for it. Sammy wholeheartedly agreed and got down from the table and did a little jig to demonstrate.

Apparently during this time his massages were delivered in a very zealous manner. The players nicknamed him after The Boston Strangler. Hence, Billy Boston.

I used to enjoy talking to him at the various dinners he attended. We used to jog each other’s memories about Albion matches. He loved The Albion through and through.

In 1978/79, Glen Wilson switched from being physio to kit man and, in this position, he was interviewed by David Bobin on the eve of the FA Cup Quarter-Final with Norwich City in 1983: