Tag Archives: ian mellor

The Mullery effect

You may remember that Football 78 was Panini’s first sticker album covering all the First Division clubs. Strangely, in the coverage of Division Two, Brighton’s team sticker featured the Third Division squad for 1976/77:


In a piece for Shoot! magazine, Alan Mullery gave some insight into how he re-shaped the Albion in his first season at the Goldstone:

I wasn’t in charge at Brighton when they just missed going up last season. But I could still tell everyone was mighty disappointed from the long faces when I took over.

With eight games left – and I was watching Brighton closely last year without, of course, dreaming I’d be their manager within months – Brighton were second and looked certainties to go up. But then they suddenly lost their form at the vital time and won just one of their last eight games. That decided it and they finished fourth, missing promotion by just three points.

The main thing I wanted to know when I took over was how a side could be so good at home and so terrible away. Three of the teams relegated from Division Three last season had better away records so something was wrong somewhere. Brighton’s home record was the best in the Division so we obviously needed some character instilled into the side.

I suppose I changed six positions.

Peter Ward had only played six games last season but he was a regular right from the start this season.

Ian Mellor only played nine League games while Tony Towner was moved farther forward: Steve Piper moved to midfield from the back and I brought in Graham Cross and Chris Cattlin, two highly experienced professionals, to give us some know-how at the back [both were Taylor signings].

I think it has worked well. We are now averaging about a point a game away which is very acceptable. I’m still looking to make the side a better one – just because we’ve been in the top three all season doesn’t mean we’re world-beaters.

We’re not sitting back and saying everything is fine. And there’s no doubt the best time to bring in new players is when you’re at the top of the table, not struggling at the bottom. I want to improve us all-around as a side but I think we’re well on the way to overcoming some of the problems which cost the club promotion last year.

Players like Cattlin, Cross and Brian Horton have the character and fighting instinct to keep working when things are going against them away from home. That’s what I wanted to get into the side and we have benefited from that. Whether we go up is up to us – no one else. One thing is sure – I feel we have more character and a better set up in those crucial away matches this season. And it’s invariably your away results that decide whether you taste success or disappointment.

Brighton had picked up a meagre 14 points away from home in 1975/76 (W4 D6 L13), but turned things around slightly the following campaign with 20 points (W6 D8 L9). It was still not much to shout about. However, allied to the Albion’s astonishing home record where they attained 41 points (W19 D3 L1), and it was enough to seal promotion. No wonder Mullery (below) was so happy:


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Mellor 3 Ward 4

One of Brighton’s most memorable games of the 1976/77 season was the 7-0 slaughtering of Walsall. Here’s the match programme:


The sensational result was all the sweeter as the Saddlers had become bit of bogey side. In 1974/75, Brighton suffered a 6-0 drubbing at Fellows Park before Walsall did the league double over Peter Taylor’s men the following season.

Things did not look promising at the Goldstone on 5th October 1976 when the players left for the interval with the match scoreless. However, as Nigel Clarke of the Daily Mirror reported, lethal Brighton looked a different side after Alan Mullery’s half-time team talk:

The 'boy wonder' Ward

The ‘boy wonder’ Ward

Peter Ward grabbed four goals last night and lan Mellor three as Brighton blitzed their way back to the top of the Third Division.

All the goals came in a sensational second half as Brighton turned on their second seven-goaI romp in three weeks – York were their other victims.

Ward, 21, is rapidly emerging as a £250,000 transfer target. A professional, for just four months, he has now scored fifteen times in seventeen League games.

He began his League career last March and scored with his first kick in his first match.

Now with eleven goals already this season, Ward has the sprinkle of stardust all over him.

Watched by West Ham manager Ron Greenwood, he and Mellor were superb.

Said Brighton manager Alan Mullery: “I have never seen finishing quite like that. Both lads were tremendous. It was the most magnificent second half of football I’ve ever seen.”

In the fifty-first minute the flood of goals began. Ward cleverly juggled an opening for Peter O’Sullivan whose fierce shot was pushed out by keeper Mick Kearns. But there was Mellor to knock the rebound from close range.

Ian 'Spider' Mellor

Ian ‘Spider’ Mellor

Five minutes later Brian Horton robbed Alun Evans, ran 40 yards and slipped the ball to Ward, who scored with a fierce rising drive.

In the 61st minute it was Ward again, finishing brilliantly, and two minutes later Mellor headed home Harry Wilson’s cross.

In the 70th minute Gerry Fell set up Mellor for his hat-trick, and Ward completed the rout with two in two minutes.

First, he took a long clearance from Grummitt in his stride to get a superb solo goal, then he put home the rebound after Mellor’s shot had been blocked.

In Match Weekly many years later Peter Ward commented:

“I can’t remember in what order the goals came but I know it was 6-0 and both Ian and I had scored three when the ball came over and ian volleyed it against the Walsall post. I knocked it in from the rebound. As for the other goals, two came from through balls, I believe when I ran on and beat the keeper. And the other came after a mazy dribble where I beat a couple of defenders before slotting ball in.”

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A jolly good Mellor


As a rising star in the media, the ever so smooth Des Lynam was getting lots of gigs. Not only did he commentate for the BBC on the Brighton v West Bromwich Albion match in August 1980, the ubiquitous Albion fan and Grandstand presenter also penned an article for the match day programme as a guest writer. In it, he recalled striker Ian Mellor, whose interplay with Peter Ward played such a pivotal part of the 1976/77 promotion season:

One of the most pleasant aspects of working with the ‘Match of the Day’ team, is the chance it gives one, to meet old friends.

A fortnight ago, while reporting the Second Division match between Sheffield Wednesday and Newcastle United, I bumped into a very old friend of Brighton & Hove Albion, a man who I feel had a remarkable bearing on the club’s current unprecedented successful run, Ian Mellor – ‘Spider’ to his mates, now playing for Wednesday.

Except for the very newest Brighton supporters among you, I am sure that nearly all will have a great regard for Ian. it was in Brighton’s promotion season from Division Three that Peter Ward broke the club’s scoring record, very much aided and abetted by Mellor who also found the time and skill to notch 12 League goals for himself.

It was the beginning of the best spell in the club’s history and Mellor’s part in ‘assisting’ Peter, who, after all, was playing in his first full season, should never be underestimated.

Ian Mellor turned professional in December 1969, when he was 19, with Manchester City. Malcolm Allison had not so long before, taken City to the League title – and Mellor joined one of the most elite groups of players in the country. Lee, Summerbee, Bell, Marsh and Young were just some of the star names there at the time. In fact Ian feels it was the success of the elegant Young, scorer of the winning goal in the 1969 Cup Final against Leicester, that influenced him joining City. Ian, like Nell, is over six feet tall, but slight and wiry, not the archetype football build at all. City, however were prepared to give Ian a chance, when other clubs were thinking that he didn’t quite look the part. As Ian put it, ‘One tall skinny lad had done the trick for them, and they felt I could do the same.’

Here is Mellor scoring for Manchester City against Arsenal in 1971/72:

Lynam continues:

Ian had a good run in the City first team, but subsequently joined Norwich City. There, after Ron Saunders departed however, things didn’t work out so well and he was delighted when Brian Clough and Peter Taylor brought him to Brighton, then of course in Division Three, and not so very far away, at one stage, from Division Four.

He remembers his first match for the club avidly. Old rivals Crystal Palace, whose success in recent years has matched Albion’s, were the opponents at the Goldstone, 25,000 fans were there, and as Ian relates it: ‘Palace were running all over us. It was remarkable that they weren’t about three goals up. Then in the second-half I got the ball some 35 yards out, went on a run, beat a couple of players and scored probably the most memorable goal of my life.’

Albion won 1-0, and if justice wasn’t exactly served by the scoreline, Mellor himself could not have had a better introduction to the south coast fans.

Well, the promotion season from Division Three was a ‘heady’ one and Ian recalls that he has never known a team spirit like it anywhere, although he feels that Sheffield Wednesday are getting close to it. ‘The Goldstone fans were so good to us,’ he remembers, ‘and that year was the happiest in my playing career.’


Subsequently came the disappointment of being left out of Brighton’s Division Two team, following the signing of Teddy Maybank. “I honestly felt that Teddy was not a better player than me and I was hurt’. But magnaminously, Ian also admits that the manager lives or dies by his decisions and team selection and he bears absolutely no grudge at all against either Alan Mullery (‘His record is second to none’), or Mike Bamber (‘You won’t find a more direct, honest, or knowledgeable club chairman in the game’).

In fact Ian could have stayed at Brighton and who knows, may well have worked his way back into the first team.

However, he decided to take up the offer of first team football with Chester. ‘The other reason I went back North was because I felt that if there were only a couple of playing years left, then both myself and my wife Sue would like to spend them near to our families and it would also give our parents a chance to get to know our children, Simon (now five and born at the Sussex County Hospital) and Louise (now three and born at Southlands).’

It seems to me to be no coincidence at all, that while Mellor played at Chester, a young forward called Ian Edwards, now with Wrexham and a full Welsh International began to light fires in Division Three. And nowadays, he’s at it again. Last season, Terry Curran knocked home 25 goals for Sheffield Wednesday with Ian playing alongside him as they won promotion to Division Two, and Ian also found time to slot in 11 for himself.

While Ian Mellor may not be one of the outstanding stars of League football, he’ll perhaps be recalled by the fans of those clubs with whom he’s played as more of a star-maker.

I know the Goldstone fans will remember with affection – The Spider touch.

Mellor subsequently joined Bradford City on a free transfer in May 1982, before winding down his career with Tsun Wan (Hong Kong), Worksop, Matlock Town and Gainsborough.

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Smoke bombs in draw with Palace

In October 1976, Brighton drew 1-1 with Crystal Palace in Division Three at the Goldstone. It was the first of Albion’s first five clashes with the Eagles that season. This match report is from John Pyke:


Brighton manager Alan Mullery was far from happy after his high-flying team let a point slip to old rivals Palace.

“We should have won: we had a lot more chances” he said.

And he blamed Albion’s lost impetus on two smoke bombs thrown onto the pitch in the second half.

They held up play for a couple of minutes – “and the game went dead after that,” complained Mullery.

But a crowd of 27,059 obviously enjoyed a duel that was a credit to the Third Division.

Brighton striker Peter Ward, rapidly becoming one of the hottest properties in the lower divisions, was a constant menace to Palace.

This $4,000 bargain from Burton Albion has plenty of skill and is always involved.

Brighton had by far the better half with Ian Mellor, Brian Horton and Ward prominent in their flowing movements. But they missed the contructive skills of the injured Welsh international Peter O’Sullivan.

Palace ‘keeper Paul Hammond made several fine saves and one real sizzler – when he shot rund the post.

It must have been a bit of a shock to Albion when Palace took the lead in the first minute of the second half. Dave Swindlehurst’s pass set up the chance and Jim Cannon shot hard and low past Peter Grummitt in the Brighton goal.

But it brought swift response from Brighton and six minutes later they were level from a move that started with a Dennis Burnett free-kick to Harry Wilson.

Wilson’s centre was flicked on by the busy Ward, and ‘Keeper Hammond could only push the ball into the path of defender Ken Sansom, who put it into his own net.

It was bad luck for Sansom who had defended strongly.

Palace played well as a team, and manager Terry Venables was well satisfied with the point.

Barry Silkman, drafted in to replace the now departed Peter Taylor, did not get much chance to shine. He was injured in the second half and replaced by Phil Holder.

Mullery could not help joking afterwards when he said: “I wonder if those smoke bombs were a move by Venners!”

But the last laugh was nearly on Brighton. In the closing stages Swindlehurst broke through and Grummitt had to produce the save of the day to tip his fierce drive over the bar.

Brighton – Grummitt; Tiler, Wilson, Horton, Rollings, Cross, Fell, Ward, Mellor, Piper, Burnett. Sub: Cattlin.

Palace – Hammond; Wall, Sansom, Connon, Jump, Evans, Chatterton, Hinshelwood, Perrin, Swindlehurst, Silkman. Sub: Holder.

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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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Storybook start for new-look Albion in 1974

Ian Mellor's left foot flashes and the winner is on its way. Two Palace defenders are left struggling

Ian Mellor’s left foot flashes and the winner is on its way. Two Palace defenders are left struggling

Here’s a classic John Vinicombe match report on the opening day of the season in August 1974. It was Peter Taylor’s first competitive match in charge of the Albion and he saw the Dolphins record a sweet 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace. Back then, the rivalry was hotting up. The bumper attendance giving a good indication of the interest from each set of supporters:

Never in the 74 years history of the club, have Brighton and Hove Albion made such a momentous start to a season. A 26,235 crowd paid £11,000 to see virtually a brand-new team defeat superior Crystal Palace by an Ian Mellor goal in the 69th minute – the first time in ten seasons that Albion have started with a win.

On two counts Albion can feel a high degree of satisfaction: The team displayed sterling character to beat Palace, who were playing in the First Division two seasons ago; and the attendance was bettered by only eight turn-outs in Division One.

The last time Albion kicked-off with a win was season 1964-65 when Barrow were beaten 3-1 before a 20,058 Goldstone gate. Bobby Smith pulled the crowds in and obliged with two corking goals. Albion remained unbeaten at home in going to win the Fourth Divison championship.

The Argus public respond quicker than most to the big occasion, the opportunity to relish flair, and until half-time they were still coming in dribs and drabs to swell the shirt-sleeved throng.

Palace, of course, were attended by a large crowd, despite the misfortunes of the past two seasons, and the inevitable clashes in the North Stand where police did a splendid job in keeping rival factions apart.

This is the ugly side of football, the tedious side of the game that only deters decent spectators from enjoying a match. Given the same set of circumstances 10 years ago, before violence became a way of life for a vicious minority, there would have been 30,000 for the start.

Overall, Football League attendances were down on the corresponding time last season. But Albion, as usual, are very, very far from being an average club. The directors hoped for 25,000, and were not disappointed. They badly need money after massive expenditure of the past few months and happily the public responded by keeping their side of the bargain.

From a playing point of view, one should not expect too much. There will not be many cleverer sides in the Third Division than Palace, nor do I expect to see teams capable of generating industry on the Brighton side.

Peter Taylor and trainer-coach Gerry Clarke have quickly assessed the strengths and weaknesses – hence great emphasis in pre-season training on work rate. It will take time to achieve a blend of skill, and Taylor only knows this too well. But every crowd loves a trier, and Albion had eleven who never knew when they were beaten.

Any doubts about Peter Grummitt after the Ipswich game were dispelled. he kept superbly. Explained Taylor: “Under the amount of pressure to which we were subjected, it was a tremendous show of character on our part. We were outplayed for long spells. But I saw nobody hide. I was waiting for the first one, and he would have been off. Peter Grummitt kept us in the game. He never mishandled, or put a foot wrong, and inspired the back-four. We played, and beat, the best side in the Third Division, make no mistake about that. That’s why we have such good prospects. All we are lacking is know-how. I wish we could have had Ernie Machin on when we scored, somebody to control the game our way.”

Malcolm Allison talking to Taylor in his office afterwards, was remarkably restrained, considering the number of chances wasted by his feeble attack. The bitterness was unmistakable as he recalled the Mel Blyth goal disallowed by referee Robert Perkin. “There was no way that goal could have been offside, no way. Alan Whittle headed on to the bar, and the ball went back out to Mel and he knocked it in. Whittle wasn’t interfering with play.”

From the sidelines Blyth’s shot looked perfectly legal, but Mr Perkin indicated that Whittle was the offender, and after 37 minutes Albion were let off the hook for the umpteenth time. Mick Hill had missed a couple, Whittle and Don Rogers squandered equally good chances, and when Allison was asked the answer, he retorted “Rodney Marsh and Francis Lee.”

The fact that Mellor netted the winner was not lost on Allison: “I remember Spider when I was at Manchester City. I didn’t want to see him leave for Norwich. Directors force you to do that sort of thing, then they sack you. Spider was a late developer, but his timing is so good now.”

It is not surprising that the owner of such long legs and thin frame as Mellor should be dubbed as Spider by his mates. He is a player of deceptive pace, and is at his most dangerous off the ball. The goal was created out of nothing.

Fred Binney flashes a header wide after beating Derek Jeffries.

Fred Binney flashes a header wide after beating Derek Jeffries.

Around him vigorous Ricky Marlowe and busy Fred Binney put in an unselfish 90 minutes, and the transformation promised in Peter O’Sullivan was there for all to see. There is far greater urgency about O’Sullivan, as Taylor has promised.

Elsewhere the theme was work, and not once did a player lose control when confronted by higher skills. Rogers often threatened, but the old hands were not far wrong in saying that he seldom has a good match against Albion. For me, Whittle was the chief danger in a side that badly needed power.

Let Allison have the last word: “I cannot remember Brighton having a chance. The goal wasn’t a chance, but they kept battling away, and I give Brighton’s front players full marks for fighting against the odds.”

Albion: Grummitt, Piper, Wilson, McEwan, Rollings, Govier, Welch, Binney, Marlowe, Mellor, O’Sullivan. Sub: Towner.
Crystal Palace: Hammond, Mulligan, Jump, Johnson, Jeffreys, Blyth, Whittle, Lindsay, Hill, Rogers, Taylor. Sub: Swindlehurst for Hill (58 minutes)
Referee: Mr R. N. Perkin (Stafford)
Bookings: Taylor (foul)
Attendance: 26,235

Crystal Palace goalkeeper Paul Hammond misses his punch and the ball runs down between him and Albion's Andy Rollings as Fred Binney and Ricky Marlowe move in following a corner at the Goldstone.

Crystal Palace goalkeeper Paul Hammond misses his punch and the ball runs down between him and Albion’s Andy Rollings as Fred Binney and Ricky Marlowe move in following a corner at the Goldstone.

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Obscure Albion Kits: 1974/75 Home

No, this is not a Leeds United shirt!


This is a pimped-out version of the very ‘plain Jane’ Brighton home shirt from Peter Taylor’s first season in sole charge at the Goldstone in 1974/75. As you can see, not only did Albion fans have to put up with their manager Brian Clough defecting to Leeds, but our traditional and beloved blue and white stripes were ditched in favour of a design by Admiral that echoed the kit worn by the Elland Road side.

To add a bit of flourish, the shirts were originally worn with white shorts that had two blue stripes running down the side and with white socks featuring two blue rings.

While controversial, the move to all-white had a precedent at the Goldstone earlier in the decade. Before Brighton boss Freddie Goodwin had left for Birmingham City in the summer of 1970, he had instigated a change to the team’s colours to this aesthetic, perhaps in admiration of Leeds or maybe he thought it would help us play like Real Madrid. Or could it be that he just liked how milky-white kits shone under floodlights during night-time matches? Whatever the reason, that radical change lasted for a single season, however, in the first campaign of the Pat Saward era.

Just as under Pat Saward in 1970/71, Brighton’s season in 1974/75 was one of struggle in Division Three, with the threat of relegation being averted by the end. Under the watch of Peter Taylor, the all-white affair was worn by the likes of Ian Mellor when he scored on his League debut for Brighton in an opening day win against Crystal Palace in August 1974 and by fellow striker Dave Busby who became the first black player to play for the Albion when he came on as a substitute against Reading in the League Cup in September. Humiliatingly, the shirt was also worn with blue shorts for the 1-0 home defeat in the FA Cup by non-league side Leatherhead in January 1975, with Chris Kelly, ‘The Leatherhead Lip,’ here giving the Albion defenders the runaround:

At least the white shirt from the earlier season had the letters ‘B&HAFC.’ This one of 1974/75, with the identical blue round neck and shirt cuffs, had nothing that identified it as belonging to Brighton & Hove Albion. Stingily, it also offered none of the design innovations that Admiral became synonymous with during the decade, such as tramlines down the shirts and shorts …or even sock tags which featured mainly at Elland Road in kits manufactured by Admiral (If you’re going to copy Leeds, at least copy sock tags!) And yet, as if to rub your nose in it, Admiral did manage to get their own logo on.

Strangely, given the plentiful supply before, there’s a paucity of colour photography of Brighton & Hove Albion players during 1974/75, apart from this photo by Crystal Palace fan Paul Wright which understandably is from quite far out, so you can’t see the detail on the shirt. So, from black and white photos, I was unable to ascertain the colour of the Admiral logo until Phil Shelley from Old Football Shirts was helpfully able to confirm it as yellow with a blue outline, having chatted to a few ex-Brighton players at the Alan Mullery special celebration dinner event last year.

1974-75shirt2Powered with this knowledge, I ordered a blue round-necked white shirt from Toffs. Then I proceeded to get a yellow Admiral logo unstitched from another shirt and sewn on to it although, judging from photos, I think the originals had the logo as an ironed on transfer. I even got the Admiral neck label added on to make it look more authentic when it is anything but!

Although it could be easily mistaken for a white polo necked t-shirt with a badge ironed on, I do wonder how much an original Brighton home shirt from 1974/75 is worth. Not that there’s much chance of an original surviving the lifespan of being used in competitive matches, then in reserve matches, then as training kit, then probably discarded due to wear and tear. When I contacted Dave Busby, who made three appearances during that season, he said: “We were never allowed to keep kit. It all had to be accounted for.”

Unless any found their way out, what you are looking at could be the only 1974/75 Brighton home shirt in existence, albeit as a reproduction.


Back row: Brian Daykin (assistant manager), Andy Rollings, Ian Mellor, Peter Grummitt, Graham Winstanley, Jim Walker, Ken Gutteridge (coach)

Front row: Harry Wilson, Ernie Machin, Fred Binney, Peter Taylor (manager), Tommy Mason, Tony Towner, Peter O’Sullivan

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The Bukta shirt you never knew of

Every Albion fan over a certain age knows the famous Brighton home shirt of the late 1970s, with the buks running down the white sleeves and round Seagulls badge. But what about this one?


Well, this shirt design, with blue and white striped sleeves and no buks down t’sleeves (and no badge either!) was also an Albion home shirt of the Mullery years.

In 1976/77, Brighton had crazily inconsistent manufacturers’ branding on their kit. White or black Umbro logos adorned the home shirts. Then, sometimes, there was no branding (maybe some ironed on logos fell off!). At other times, there was an Umbro logo on the shirts and a Bukta logo on the shorts. And sometimes, different Albion players in the same game had different combinations. It was an absolute mess! Certainly wasn’t someone with OCD in charge of the player’s kit.

Around April 1977, though, for the first ever time, some Brighton players had the Bukta logo on their shirts. Why does this matter? It doesn’t other than it means this was the first ever Albion Bukta shirt. For example, here’s Ian Mellor in action against eventual Third Division champions Mansfield:


(Infuriatingly, other players in the same game, such as Peter Ward, did not have this logo on their shirt. His was unbranded).

However, Ward did get to wear this Bukta-stripey-sleeved shirt over a year later in August 1978, in a pre-season friendly against Queen’s Park Rangers at the Goldstone.


By that time, the classic Buk-sleeved Bukta shirt, that we all know and love, had been worn for a good year within its three year lifespan. So it’s a mystery why the first ever Bukta design made a brief revival, now with shorts that didn’t particularly match its aesthetics. Probably to confuse Albion shirt connoisseurs thirty-five years down the line, I expect! Yeah, that’d be it.

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