Tag Archives: jimmy case

Seagulls soar over Anfield

The Daily Mirror’s headline, ‘The Seagulls have landed’, captured the moment that Brighton truly arrived as movers and shakers in the FA Cup by beating Liverpool at Anfield on 20th February 1983:

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By HARRY MILLER:
Liverpool 1, Brighton 2

Jimmy Case, a Scouser by birth, habit and conviction; went back to Merseyside yesterday and destroyed a dream. This morning the talk about Liverpool winning four trophies is silenced because Case and Brighton believed the impossible.

Liverpool manager Bob Paisley muttered “Never again on a Sunday” after Case’s 71st-minute winner had silenced the Kop and sent Jimmy Melia’s men forward to the FA Cup quarter-finals.

But Paisley was one of the first into the Seagulls’ dressing room afterwards to shake the hand of Case, the midfield player he sold to the south coast club for £300,000 18 months ago.

“Good luck to Brighton. I hope they go on to win the Cup,” said Paisley. “This is what happens when you get people saying a team can win four trophies. It just wasn’t on.”

Case, who still goes to watch Liverpool with a red-and-white scarf wrapped around his neck when they play in the European Cup, recalled with a smile: “I said it would be a dream if I got the winner. The dream has come true.”

There has been no bigger sensation in the competition this season than Brighton, bottom of the First Division, going to Anfield and knocking out the runaway leaders.

It was Llverpoors first defeat at home in a Cup tie since Mlddlesbrough best them 64 cup games ago back in 1974.

Just as significant in front of a 44,868 full house, it was Liverpool’s first defeat at Anfield since Brighton won 1-0 there last March.

Brighton hustled, denied Liverpool space, defended superbly, took their chances and deserved to win.

Acting manager Melia, as much a Scouser as Case, said: “We matched Liverpool for work-rate and that pleased me more than anything. I said we would play attacking football and we did.”

Mella particularly praised striker Michael Robinson – for whom any move to Newcastle must now walt – and centre half Steve Foster.

Brighton’s first goal came after 32 minutes from Gerry Ryan. Case sent the magnificent Robinson racing forward for a cross that Ryan side-footed past Brace Grobbelaar.

Alan Kennedy hit a post with a thundering drive and Robinson thumped a header against the bar at tne other end before Liverpool equalised in the 70th minute.

It was unfortunate that young Gary Stevens, who with Foster •and Steve Gatting, performed wonders at the back, should assist Johnston’s shot past his own ‘keeper Perry Digweed follov~ng a Kenny Dalglish free-kick.

The winner came little more than a minute later. Case got it with a 25-yard drive that was helped by a deflection from a Liverpoot defender.

Liverpool’s agony wasn’t over. Phil Neal, on his 32rd birthday, shot wide from the penalty spot after Tony Grealish had pulled down Kennedy.

Grealish protested so heatedly that he was booked by referee All Grey. “I thought I’d won the ball. It was a harsh penalty,” he said.

Afterwards Brighton headed for the south coast with their FA Cup ambitions as high as the British Caledonian flight that took them there.

In case you haven’t seen the 46 minutes of highlights on YouTube, here I have spliced it with commentary from Tony Millard and Stephen Rooke of Radio Brighton:

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It’s a Seaside Knockout – Ryan wrecks Liverpool’s day out

Tomorrow, it’ll be exactly thirty years since Brighton’s tremendous FA Cup 4th Round humbling of mighty Liverpool in January 1984. As a Second Division side, the Seagulls beat the League Champions 2-0 on ‘The Big Match Live’ thanks to two goals in two second half minutes from Gerry Ryan and Terry Connor.

A great image from the game can be found on the Football Association Yearbook 1984-1985, with Tony Grealish in a midfield tussle with Graeme Souness, while Steve Gatting watches on:

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Meanwhile, Match Weekly covered the game in its feature article the following fortnight, via interviews with Gerry Ryan and Jimmy Case:

Gerry Ryan and Terry Connor celebrate after the match

Gerry Ryan and Terry Connor celebrate after the match

Seaside sensations Brighton capped a season of shocks when, for the second year in succession, they sent FA Cup favourites Liverpool spinning out of the competition.

“Match” brings you the inside stories and the best pictures from the Fourth Round stunner.

Seagulls hero Gerry Ryan came down to earth this week to re-live his FA Cup fairy tale.

Gerry set South coast Brighton on their way to yet another sensational Cup victory over Liverpool by scoring the opening – against the League champlons for the second year running.

The Irish international rocked Anfield last year with Brighton’s opener in the Fifth Round… and he repeated the trick in this season’s tie at the Goldstone Ground.

And the scourge of Liverpool admits: “It’s unbelievable. To beat the best team in Europe twice in the FA Cup is magnificent, but to score on both occasions really puts the icing on the cake for me. I*11 never forget it.

“The goal at Liverpool was a simple tap-in after some great work by Michael Robinson but it will always be special because it helped set up a victory at Anfleld •.. and not many teams achieve that•.

“My effort last week was more spectacular, although I thought the referee was going to blow for offside when Tony Grealish lobbed the ball over the heads of Mark Lawrenson and Alan Hansen.

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“Fortunately, Phil Neal had played me on so I raced towards the penalty area and struck the ball past Bruce Grobbelaer.”

And just 60 seconds later, the Second Division club had wrapped up another sensational victory when Terry Connor put Brighton 2-0 ahead.

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“Even though that goal killed them off, the rest of the game was very nerve-racking.”

Gerry admits that the early departure of skipper Graeme Souness with a hamstring injury had a big bearing on the result. He says: “Graeme is a major influence on the side and his loss unsettled them.

“This victory was more satisfying than the one at Anfield because we deserved to win. Last season we were very lucky because we were under the cosh for most of the 90 minutes.

“Liverpool could have been over-anxious. Our win at Anfleld last season hurt their pride and they must have been really keyed up to beat us.

“Even though we’ve beaten them twice in the last year, I still regard them as the best. I thoroughly expect them to finish the season as League Champions and European Cup holders.

“Brighton have done the rest of the teams still left in the FA Cup a big favour by knocking out the favourites and Gerry says: “Anyone can win it now – even us.

The Second Division club’s win has once again got the South coast fans buzzing and dreaming of s dramatic return to Wembley, where they were beaten last season 4-0 by Manchester United in a replay.

‘There aren’t many quality teams left in the Cup now and we must fancy our chances because we’ve got players here who can rise to the big occasion; “But I’m afraid to think about the prospect of returning to Wembley at this early stage,” says Gerry, who joined Brighton from Derby for £80,000.

“Before dreaming of another Wembley visit, we’ve got a few more games to play and Watford are going to be really tough in the next round.”

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‘It’s anyone’s Cup,’ says Jimmy Case
Jimmy Case believes Brighton can take Liverpool’s place in the FA Cup Final … so taking the glorious ride down Wembley Way for the second year in succession.

Explains Jimmy: “Most people would have forecast Liverpool as one of the finalists.

“Having beaten them again, we SHOULD go all the way. No disrespects to our next opponents Watford but that’s the feeling at the club now.

“Looking at the teams left in the competition, it’s anyone’s Cup.” Jimmy was speaking just 24 hours after Brighton’s latest shock victory over the League champions and he told ‘Match’: “It still hasn’t sunk in. I just can’t believe it.

“This has to be an even greater achievement than when we knocked them out of the Cup last season.

“People might have thought us lucky last time but this proved it was no fluke.

“The lads were really keyed-up and it was a really great all-round team performance.

“Against a team like Liverpool, every player has to be on top form and, on this occasion, everyone played their part.

“It was certainly one of our best performances of the season.

“The defence kept Ian Rush and Michael Robinson pretty quiet and, in goal, Joe Corrigan made some vital saves at crucial times.

“The midfield was biting all the time and wide men Neil Smillie and Steve Penney were both on song.

“It seemed to stun Liverpool when we scored our second goal but they slowly started coming back into the game.

“They put on a lot of pressure in the last quarter of an hour but I would say they began the game a little apprehensively.” Jimmy could only watch from the sidelines as he served out a one-match suspension and, as the celebrations died down, he admitted his problem now could be getting back in the team …

“I’m still in the Cup but, after that last performance, who knows if I’ll be selected for the next tie?”

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Extended video highlights – Brighton 4-0 Manchester City (FA Cup, 1983)

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In January 1983, Brighton followed on from their FA Cup replay victory at Newcastle by demolishing Manchester City 4-0 at the Goldstone in the Fourth Round. In his autobiography ‘Big Joe’, Joe Corrigan, the City keeper, revealed unrest within the City camp prior to the tie:

In the previous road we’d seen off Sunderland after a replay but a Sunday morning training session at Maine Road prior to the game showed how badly things had deteriorated at the club and should have made events after the game at Brighton not quite so surprising. As we trained, Nicky Reid and John Bond had an argument that threatened to get out of hand, and that resulted in a nasty half hour of action with some players intent on hurting one another.

Brighton hammered us 4-0 in the cup tie. It was a dreadful day and an awful, disjointed performance by all of us. As we left the pitch Alex Williams walked over to console me and I said, ‘It’s yours now, kid. I won’t be here for much longer.’

‘What do you mean by that?’ he asked. I explained that the cup exit would mean cost-cutting exercises and I’d be one of them. I assured him I would be on my way before long and, within three months, that’s exactly what happened.

It was all smiles from the Brighton perspective, however. Here’s how John Vinicombe reported the match in the Evening Argus at the time:

The 217th FA Cup-tie in Albion’s 82-year-old history will long be remembered for the majestic manner in which Manchester City were despatched.

Thus an equally famous occasion 58 years ago at the Goldstone was averaged. Then, in a third-round tie, Third Division Albion were crushed 5-1 after previously performing the prodigious feat of knocking out Everton.

No doubt the degree of satisfaction warmed the cockles of any old-timer’s heart to see the record put straight, for it ever a side were comprehensively beaten it was Manchester City.

I doubt if John Bond, who departed in utter misery, contemplated for one moment the total destruction of his team.

On the day, i thought, they sold him short and, seeing no way past Albion, an air of surrender was discernible.

There was the misfortune of losing skipper Paul Power with damaged knee ligaments at the half-hour after a tackle with the uncompromising Chris Ramsey, but that alone could not explain City’s astonishing collapse.

Peter Bodak, the sub, caused one or two problems with his crosses, but at no time were Albion in danger after taking such a firm grip.

Had a goal at 57 minutes been allowed, then Mike Robinson would have scored a hat-trick and Albion finished even more convincing than 4-0 winners.

Surprised
The revelation was Steve Gatting, playing only the third game of his League career at left-back.

I think Gatting had two games at No.3 in his first season at Arsenal. Having been omitted lately, and then moved to say that he didn’t fancy staying unless he is in the team, maybe Gatting will have a re-think. Apart from Pearce, and among defenders, Gatting is the only natural left-sided player in the squad, and I must say he surprised me with the quality of his play.

In my book, the star was Jimmy Case on a day when there were so many stellar performances. Since Melia took over and got on the Merseyspeak wavelength with Case, his involvement has become greater with every match.

He ripped the heart out of City’s experienced midfield together with Tony Grealish. At training, Grealish is the first player the five-a-side skippers automatically ask for.

To be so highly esteemed by colleagues has to be earned, and never let it be forgotten that it was Grealish who set such a sterling example by his leadership at Newcastle.

He won ball after ball against City, and exhibited fine control in setting up the third goal for Robinson with just over 20 minutes remaining.

By then City were skint, and Robinson finished them off rather as a matador puts the bull out of its misery.

The eighth-minute opener by Case that deflected off Kevin Reeves was a piece of overdue luck and Neil Smillie’s continuing improvement was signalled by his first goal for the club before the break.

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Worried
Just before, Steve Foster suffered a painful dead leg. At first, there were fears it might be a pulled hamstring, but it was nonetheless worrying. It might have slowed him a pace or two, but his attitude remained unchanged.

City vainly tried to unsettle him: an elbow in the eye was the prime example, but nothing worried Foster, and certainly nothing diverted Gary Stevens from that much admired elegance that made City’s England candidate, Tommy Caton, look so average.

As the physical element was introduced by despairing City, so they derived no change from Ramsey.

Gordon Smith used his incisive eye for an opening to set up a rich assortment of passes, while Andy Ritchie and Robinson created havoc in the box.

The one dodgy moment came early into the second half when Steve Kinsey hit a post. Had it gone in, Albion’s lead would have been cut to 2-1.

When it did not, the white flags were fluttering, and it might have been appropriate had Bond tossed in the towel as well.

Albion: Moseley, Ramsey, Gatting, Grealish, Foster, Stevens, Case, Ritchie, Robinson, Smith, Smillie. Sub: Ryan.

Manchester City: Corgan, Ranson, Bond, Reid, Power, Caton, Tueart, Reeves, Cross, Kinsey. Sub: Bodak for Power (injured, 31 minutes)

Well, John Bond did toss in the towel, resigning after this capitulation by the Seagulls.

And now, for the first time on YouTube, here are 20 minutes of highlights from this match to savour:

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Brighton face FA penalty after new pitch invasion

Here’s The Guardian’s Peter Nichols report on the events of Tuesday 1st October 1996:

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Brighton face the threat of playing behind closed doors and having three points deducted, after supporters invaded the pitch during last night’s Third Division game against Lincoln at the Goldstone Ground. Play was halted for 12 minutes in the first half when Lincoln took the lead.

Shortly after play resumed Brighton equalised but two further goals for Lincoln consigned them to last but one in the league. The second goal prompted another invasion but this time the spectators did not reach the centre circle and they were booed off. Even the faithful had had enough.

The damage, though, may well have been done. Brighton have a Football Association sentence hanging over them after fans rioted and caused the abandonment of a Second Division relegation game against York City at the end of last season. That sentence could now come into effect after the referee Steve Bennett was forced to take the players off the pitch.

Trouble had been anticipated. Fans were angry at the breakdown of talks on Monday between the club chairman Bill Archer and the consortium headed by the advertising millionaire Dick Knight wanting to take over the club. But appeals to stay calm went unheeded. There was already a volatile atmosphere, with cries of “Archer out”. before matters spilled over in the 25th minute.

About 50 supporters from the North Stand invaded the pitch, and the referee immediately took the teams to the safety of the dressing-rooms.

Another 100 or so supporters from other sections of the ground then spilled on to the pitch, and the entire group congregated in the centre circle before leaving en bloc to return to the North Stand. The police adopted a “softly, softly” approach and, as invasions go, by Goldstone standards it was brief and bloodless. There were five public order arrests.

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Archer, the object of the supporters’ disaffection, was not there to witness the protest. He had bought into Brighton and Hove Albion for £56.25 and, through dealings that might be described as Byzantine, sold the ground to Chartwell, a company connected to the Kingfisher Group and with which he is also involved. Chartwell paid £7.4 million, most of which went to pay off the club’s mounting debts.

The club now rent the ground back on a single-year lease which costs £480,000. At the end of the season, after 94 years at the Goldstone Ground, Brighton will be homeless. The ground will be dug up in June for a retail development.

Supporters might have been less alienated if Archer had employed a little PR during his tortuous dealings.

Talking to the supporters would have been a start. Nobody in this seaside town has the faintest idea of his plans.

Archer has attended only a handful of games and yesterday’s was not one of them. David Bellotti, the former Liberal MP, has been the front-man and, though he did visit the ground yesterday, he made his excuses and left before the game.

This particular crisis was precipitated by Monday’s meeting at the Park Court Hotel in London, where the FA attempted to arbitrate between Archer’s group and the Knight consortium.

Liz Costa, vice-chairman of the Brighton and Hove Albion Supporters’ Club, was one of many who predicted the worst for last night’s match.

“It will make York City look a like a Christmas party,” she forecast. “There’s going to be bedlam.” In that match almost 3,000 spectators spilled on to the pitch to demostrate against the board.

If those fears were unfounded, there was no disguising the despondency of the manager Jimmy Case. “Since I’ve been here there’s not been one ounce of good news, written or implemented,” he said. “When Liam Brady was here he said he couldn’t work in an unharmonious atmosphere, and it’s got worse.

“All we want as a manager and a football team, and especially the supporters, is a ground to play in. This situation affects everyone, down to the tea-ladies. I’ve never brought it up before but there comes a time. Any good news would be a breath of fresh air for me, the players and the tea-ladies.”

From ‘Build A Bonfire’:

Bill Swallow: I have to say, and maybe this puts me in a minority of one, I wasn’t terribly happy wit the Lincoln protest. I didn’t think it was wise. If they’d opened fire on David Bellotti I wouldn’t have had a problem with that, no difficulty at all. I thought the strategy went off the rails.

Tim Carder: Everyone supported it – I mean there were about two cries of ‘get off the pitch’ because we were under suspended sentence at that point. We knew that anyone going on the pitch and holding the game up was going to cost us points, but we were in such a desperate state at the time that the vast majority of the crowd applauded them. I clapped them. It was all very orderly and the crowd was in full support. We had to show that, even with the threat of losing points – and we were very near the bottom at this stage.

Significantly, after the Lincoln match, there was a marked change in emphasis in the protests that followed. Out went the kind that were liable to cost the club league points and made it easy to brand the loyal supporters as hooligans, and in came the imaginative kind such as the charm offensive at the village of Mellor, Bill Archer’s home in Lancashire.

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Rare Video: Brighton v Barnet (1981-82) FA Cup Replay

Having drawn at Underhill three days before, Brighton faced non-Leaguers Barnet in a Third Round Replay in the FA Cup at the Goldstone on 5th January 1982.

The match was originally going to play second fiddle on ITV’s Sports Special to the scheduled match between Middlesbrough and QPR. When that was called off in mid-afternoon, an extra two cameras were rushed to the Goldstone and installed at 7.15pm.

In this footage from the early part of the first half, note the playing of the Match of the Day theme tune over the tannoy during this broadcast for TVS!

It was TVS’s first ever visit to the Goldstone, after taking over the contract from Southern TV. In the match programme against Everton a month later, the news section stated:

A reasonable request has been received by your match announcer from ITV’s Brian Moore. Normally at the Goldstone such football favourites as ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ and the theme to BB’c “Match of the Day’ have been among the musical offerings on the PA system.

However, the playing of ‘Match of the Day’ has apparently caused some problems when ITV have been showing line-ups prior to kick-off.

When the ‘Beeb’ come to the Goldstone we also promise not to play the ‘Big Match’ theme, Jubilation.

As for Michael Robinson, his knee injury meant he missed the next six matches, eventually returning as substitute in the 1-0 home defeat to Nottingham Forest in February. Remember the goalscorer? Yes, Peter Ward.

How Albion could have done with a Peter Ward in this first-half. As it was, their main chances came from mix-ups between the Bees defenders and keeper Gary Phillips. Interesting to see the clash between Graham Pearce and Jimmy Case. A year later, Case commented on how difficult Pearce made it for him during this game. He probably won his respect here:

With the 0-0 scoreline at half-time, Barnet must have fancied their chances, but a sloppy clearance gave Mickey Thomas one of his few happy moments in his time at Brighton:

As the match reached its finale, Albion increased their lead:

Unlike the commentator here, Albion’s match announcer Tony Millard harshly called the second goal as an own goal. As Millard later wrote:

Your match announcer received some friendly ribbing concerning the announcement of Albion’s second goal against Barnet. At the time, the announcement was… ‘Albion’s second goal on 67 minutes, a Jimmy Case shot deflected into his own net by Kevin Millet.’

Well, Jimmy was keen that the goal should count as his and it is now accepted in football that a goal is only ‘credited’ to a defender if the original shot would not have gone in if the defender had not been there.

Well, Jimmy’s shot would almost have broken the net if Millet hadn’t been there, so the goal quite definitely goes to Jimmy Case, his fourth of the season.

Best goal of the match, was undoubtedly Gary Sargent’s dribble and sizzling finish that made Foster and Moseley look like fools.

After the match, Barnet boss Barry Fry said: ‘We defended very well but Brighton were different class.’ Mike Bailey was a relieved man, stating: ‘The penalty came just at the right time for us.’

An upshot of the game was that the Bees full-back Graham Pearce, transfer-listed at the time, signed for Brighton. Accompanied by Fry to the Goldstone, he took a little while before deciding to take the plunge into League football. As the programme for the Oxford match in the fourth round put it:

With an income from his full-time job as sprinter and also from part-time football, it needed a little thought for the 21 year old to enter the comparative insecurity of the professional game. Graham couldn’t join our staff immediately as he had to serve out a full week’s notice with his employers first and they couldn’t afford to release him early.

Pearce playing left-back for England? Has a nice ring to it.

Pearce playing left-back for England? Has a nice ring to it.

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‘Smashing’ Brighton suits Jimmy Case

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A nice magazine interview with Jimmy Case at the start of the 1981/82 season:

When a Scouser regretfully shakes the Liverpool dust from his feet, life, at least in the football sense, is never the same again.

Jimmy Case, a Reds favourite since he was s starry-eyed 18-year-old from Wooiton, has, however, made a rapid conversion to Brighton and Hove Albion, which lies snugly in the soft underbelly of the South.

If, say, a year ago Case had been asked where he would be playing at the start of the 1981-82 season, then Brighton would have been the unlikeliest answer.

Little did he know, but his destiny was wrapped-up in the ambitions of Mark Lawrenson, the Brighton and Eire central defender.

When Lawrenson told Brighton he wanted, after four years, to join a club with a realistic chance of winning a major trophy, there was no way the Goldstone could hold him.

At first it was Manchester United who showed a lively interest, then Arsenal and finally Bob Paisley set the wheels in motion that took Lawrenson to Anfield for £900,000. Part of the deal allowing Lawrenson to leave was that Brighton would have Case, 27, for £350,000.

The nearest Case had previously been to Brighton was a holiday in Hastings with his parents. Apart from a couple of visits with Liverpool, Brighton might just have been a vague spot on the map. Yet the welcome he received quickly warmed Case’s heart.

Breezy Brighton also delighted Lana, Case’s wife. Both Jimmy and •Lana were born and bred in Woolton, and they have a daughter, Emma, of five months.

It is a long way from Liverpool where the Case’s look around the smart furnished bungalow that Brighton have made available.

Case didn’t fancy hotel living, and quickly asked his wife to join him. So much for the tearsway image.

“Brighton and the area is ideal for us,” he said. “The place itself is smashing, especially all the antique shops.”

Case, after 186 League games for Liverpool and 23 goals in the Championship, is only too well aware that he has joined a side that has struggled for the first two seasons to stay in the First Division.

“If they look like going down this time, I’m not one to say that I’ll be off. I’ll just keep fighting. I shall commit myself fully to what I am contracted to do.” Mike Bailey has told Case that he wants him to get into the box more than he did at Liverpool.

“Nell McNab makes s lot of runs similar to Terry McDermott, and that will help me. I’ll be looking for a few goals. I had a good season in 1977, and I managed to get some vital goals. It’s high time I did the same again.”

Brighton players were almost total strangers when Case arrived in time to play in three pre-season friendlies. “I remembered Graham Moseley, the goalkeeper, from the England Under-23 squad in Hungary a while ago, end I had spoken to McNeb before and met Mike Robinson briefly at Manchester City,

“I well remember my last appearance at Brighton. That was at right-beck and Liverpool were disorganised at the back around that time.

“My favourite position is wide on the right, and there you can receive the ball easily with your back to the touch-line and then be able to turn. I like to be busy.”

And he admitted: “I thought I would be at Liverpool for my entire career. I had two years as a semi-pro and signed full time at 20. They asked me to sign at 18, but I turned them down because I wanted to finish my apprenticeship. I’ve had six marvellous years at Liverpool with medals every year; three in one year, in fact.

“‘1 suppose in my heart of hearts I knew eventually I would have to move, but I didn’t think it would be so soon.

“If I had gone to a Midlands club, or Manchester, or Leeds, it would have meant commuting by motorway, and being behind the wheel of a car for long periods is the easiest way to pull muscles.

“If you must move, then a long distance is preferable from the point of view of fitness. Travelling kills you up and down the motorways.”

Life at Brighton may lack the bustling pace of Merseyside and there is not such a committed following for the game, but it will suit Jimmy Case, who, when not playing football, likes to shoot and fish. “I reckon this could become my kind of place you know. And all I really care about now is keeping Brighton in the First Division.”

Although Brighton reached thirteenth position in Division One in 1981/82, their highest League position, Case’s form was patchy, rarely hitting the heights of his time at Anfield. For all his flaws as a League manager, it took the reign of Jimmy Melia for Case to truly sparkle, famously scoring in each round of the FA Cup bar one on the round to Wembley in 1983.

After Brighton were relegated, the ex-Liverpool hard man kept his word and continued to battle for the club in the Second Division, helping towards to a tilt at promotion in 1984/85. At a talk I went to last week given by Chris Cattlin, Melia’s successor said there was a specific reason why he felt he had to sell Case in March 1985, but out of respect to Jimmy, he couldn’t disclose it at the meeting…

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Brighton 7-0 Charlton

In the match programme for Brighton v Charlton Athletic in October 1983, Jimmy Melia wrote:

We aim to provide more entertainment and hopefully this will produce the goals we want. We need a bit of adventure, we need to allow players to show their skills and inventiveness, and that is the only way we will bring people back through the turnstiles to watch our matches.

A crowd of 11,517 was rewarded (well, the Albion fans anyway!) with a goal frenzy that lived up to Melia’s emphasis on attacking play and enjoyment. In Match Magazine (22 October 1983), a short article called ‘Case cracker’ waxed lyrical about the Albion, and Case’s, performance:

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Brighton hot-shot Jimmy Case set the Goldstone Ground buzzing with his hat-trick goal in the demolition of Charlton.

His third goal was a spectacular effort straight out of the Case text book and one which has become his trademark over the years. A thundering shot from the edge of the box and the ball was in the back of the net before the ‘keeper had time to move.

Says Jimmy: “They are the sort of goals the fans love to see and players love to score – it certainly gave me a lot of pleasure. I’ve always been aware that long-range efforts like that excite the crowd and that’s probably why I’m prepared to have a go from any distance. Sometimes they don’t come off, but I have always said that if you don’t shoot then you don’t score. And I think more players are adopting that attitude this season, which has got to be a good thing.”

Jimmy’s moment of magic wasn’t the only thing that Brighton fans had to cheer against Charlton as the Seagulls romped away to an emphatic 7-0 win.

He says: “The supporters deserved to see a good performance because we hadn’t played too well at home until that game. All the players were keyed up before the match and determined to turn in a good display… and once we got the first two goals there was no stopping us. Everyone was full of confidence and every time we went forward we looked like scoring, it wasn’t much fun for Charlton, but our fans went home happy.”

Brighton’s seven-goal display was in stark contrast to their performances at the start of the season when they lost their first three games.

Says Jimmy: “We were forced to use three different goalkeepers in as many games, which didn’t help, and we gave away some silly goals. But, since Joe Corrigan arrived, we have had more stability at the back and confidence has spread throughout the team. The turning point was probably the 1-0 win against Derby, which set us back on the right road. We still weren’t 100 per cent happy when we went into the Charlton game, however, and we decided to change our style a little bit. We played with a more attacking formation and it paid off.

“We always try to play entertaining football, especially at home, and that is obviously going to help bring the fans back through the turnstiles. In fact I think that more and more clubs are realising their responsibility to provide the public with open, attacking football and, of course, plenty of goals.”

The performance was all the more impressive as Charlton arrived at the Goldstone far from being lambs to the slaughter. The Addicks were previously undefeated and had only conceded three goals in seven matches. However, the Seagulls made mincemeat of the Athletic defence, with diagonal balls proving especially troublesome. Terry Connor’s speed down the wing caused havoc, with Gerry Ryan taking advantage with the first two goals, before Gordon Smith tucked in another Connor cross to make it 3-0.

Then, Case smashed the fourth in from the edge of the area after efforts by Connor and Kieran O’Regan had been well saved by the busy Charlton keeper Nicky Johns before Connor notched up a well-earned goal through a header before half-time.

In the second half, it was the Jimmy Case show. As Pat Needham in the Sunday Mirror wrote:

Case flicked home Smith’s cross before completing his first League hat-trick with the goal of the match. O’Regan and Ryan broke from deep inside their half and Case nearly burst the net from 20 yards.

After the match, Case was presented with the match ball:

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It was the first Albion hat-trick since Gordon Smith’s at Coventry almost exactly three years before.

And if you wish to celebrate the Charlton match with a Jimmy Case T-shirt, please head here to the ‘Cult Zeros’ site. There is even a design for the unfortunate Charlton keeper on the day, Nicky Johns.

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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.

soccer83-84

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From Alan Young’s autobiography: Jimmy Case goes AWOL

During 1983/84, Brighton & Hove Albion had three Youngs in their squad: Eric Young, Willie Young and Alan Young, none of whom were related! In a seldom seen aligning of the stars in March 1984, all three made the starting line-up in the fixtures against Manchester City, Derby County and Leeds United. It proved a winning combination as Albion drew 1-1 against promotion-chasing City before thrashing both Derby and Leeds 3-0.

Scoring a powerful volley from a Gary Howlett cross in the second half against Derby was Alan Young, a burly striker who was exceptional in the air, yet also had fine technique on the ground. The Scot had been signed by Jimmy Melia in a £150,000 deal for Brighton from Sheffield United in August 1983 as a replacement for Michael Robinson. He announced his arrival at the south coast club in September 1983 with a spectacular overhead kick in his debut against Chelsea.

alan_young

Although he had only one season at the Goldstone Ground, and was in and out of the side with injuries, he was regularly on the scoresheet when playing for Brighton. Thanks to Simon Kimber, who has allowed me to share an extract from Alan Young’s autobiography ‘Youngy’:

I didn’t realise until I looked recently that my goal return at Brighton was pretty decent; I got 12 goals in 26 matches and I really enjoyed my time at Brighton.

The supporters were still recovering from losing the FA Cup Final to Manchester United in 1983 (this was the game when Gordon Smith should have won the Cup for Brighton with a late chance when he was one on one with Gary Bailey) and the whole euphoria of the day and the occasion. I’m not saying that Brighton isn’t a proper football club but in Brighton the football was viewed as part of the entertainment industry. The football they tried to play reflected that and if the fans weren’t being entertained then they got at the players and the manager.

At Brighton we played with a lot of freedom. There were no restrictions. We were allowed to make our own decisions on the pitch. We had the players with the right experience to do that and I’m thinking of international players like Corrigan, Ryan, Grealish and experienced lads like Jimmy Case and Steve Foster. The football was very enjoyable there and never more so than when Jimmy Case and I were playing together; I loved playing with Jimmy. He was very quiet and has a hearing aid because he doesn’t hear too well.

I remember we finished training one day and headed off to Woody’s as usual and then on to the gentlemen’s club for a game of pool. Then everyone starting to drift away and by ten o’clock in the evening there are only about six of us left. (Bear in mind that we didn’t have mobile phones back then so you couldn’t phone up to let anyone know you were going to be late.)

jimmycase9

So I got home and Karen asked me where I had been so I told her and then she asked me if Jimmy had been with us because Lana (Jimmy’s wife) had been on the phone asking if we knew where he was. I told her not to worry because he left same time as me and would probably be home any time soon. The next day Jimmy is nowhere to be seen and nobody knows where he is. So there is a little bit of panic around. Nobody has a clue where he has gone until the following morning at training when Jimmy saunters in, whistling and acting as if nothing is wrong. So I asked him: “Jim, where the f*ck have you been?” and he looks at me and says “What do you mean?.”

I said “Jim, nobody knows where you have been, we’ve been panicking”.

Then he smiles and goes. “Ha! The Avenue” and I’m like “The Avenue? What Avenue?” and he says “The f*cking Avenue de Champs Elysee!.” Then he tells us how, after we all went our separate ways that night he fancied going to Paris! So he went up to Gatwick and jumped on a plane to Paris. He showed us the stamp in his passport to prove it – he had gone to Paris for a day just because he could and he fancied it.

On the pitch he was different class though. I once saw him on the receiving end of a dreadful challenge when a guy (I forget who) tried to get the ball off him and put his studs down the back of his calf and Achilles. That really bloody hurts and Jim just let the ball roll away and turned on this guy and, through gritted teeth, said “Don’t you ever, ever f*cking do that to me again!” and then he turned and went after the ball and got it back before it went out. I watched this going on and the guy was sh*tting himself. That is the only time I have really seen one professional footballer genuinely scared of another. Because Jimmy could be a hard bastard and really knew how to look after himself.

He used to do about two hundred sit ups every days after training. He would wear one of those polystyrene bags that you get from the dry cleaners when he did them. He got me in to it as well!

If you are interested in reading more, you can buy ‘Youngy,’ the Alan Young autobiography here on the accompanying site.

You can also order a rather wonderful Alan Young t-shirt from Cult Zeros.

1984-85v3

Back row: Mark Jones, Steve Penney, Steve Jacobs, Alan Young, Graham Pearce, Kieran O’Regan, Gary Howlett;

Middle row: Sammy Nelson (coach), Hans Kraay, Eric Young, Joe Corrigan, Perry Digweed, Frank Worthington, Terry Connor, George Petchey (youth development officer);

Front row: Neil Smillie, Chris Hutchings, Jimmy Case, Chris Cattlin (manager), Steve Gatting, Gerry Ryan, Danny Wilson.

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Rare video: Summer of ’81- team photo shoot at the Goldstone

summer81photoshoot

A wonderful glimpse of life at the Goldstone in the summer of 1981, with a shot of Moshe Gariani and co getting it together for the pre-season photo shoot, plus interviews with new Albion men Mike Bailey and Tony Grealish.

And, blimey, Michael Robinson signs a ten year contract! Whatever he was doing in pre-season in 1991, it was certainly not at the Goldstone Ground.

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