Tag Archives: john napier

Obscure Albion kits: 1970/71 Home

‘Come on, you chalky whites… say cheese’. So proclaimed the Argus as Pat Saward’s squad posed for the cameras before the 1970/71 season:


Back row: Joe Wilson (chief scout), Howard Wilkinson, John Templeman, John Napier, Keith Watkins, Alan Gilliver, Alex Sheridan, Alex Dawson, Eddie Spearritt, Peter O’Sullivan;

Third row: Stewart Henderson, Terry Stanley, Bobby Smith, Geoff Sidebottom, Brian Powney, Paul Flood, Alan Duffy, Andy Marchant;

Second row: Mike Yaxley (trainer), Kit Napier, Nobby Lawton, Pat Saward (manager), Dave Turner, Norman Gall, Peter Dinsdale (coach);

Front row: Martin Tew, Gary Parsons, Mark Douglas, Mick Stanley.

A second shot, mainly of first-reamers, was also taken:


Back row: Howard Wilkinson, Alan Gilliver, John Napier, Peter O’Sullivan;

Middle row: Stewart Henderson, Bobby Smith, Geoff Sidebottom, Brian Powney, Eddie Spearritt, Alan Duffy;

Front row: Kit Napier, Alex Dawson, Nobby Lawton, Dave Turner, Norman Gall.

As John Vinicombe explained:

Albion’s playing staff are seen here in their new strip for the first time. The outfit is predominantly white, with blue cuff and collar.

Giving a clue as to the location of the photo shoot, he added:

Pre-season training is being carried out at the University of Sussex, and manager Pat Saward said he had never seen such marvellous facilities made available for a professional club.

It is not particularly clear why the club ditched the familiar blue shirts with white sleeves after six years in favour of all-white. Perhaps it was to emulate Real Madrid or Leeds United. Or perhaps it was so the Albion players stood out under floodlights. Some online discussion suggests it was a change that was implemented by outgoing boss Freddie Goodwin rather than one introduced by the new man at the helm Pat Saward.

Here is a close-up of it sported by John Napier in the 1-0 victory over Aston Villa in March 1971:


It was even worn with red socks during the penultimate match of the season, as by substitute Norman Gall against Bristol Rovers in May that season:


Unsurprisingly, the all-white number proved unpopular with Goldstone regulars, so different it was from what they classed as a Brighton and Hove Albion home kit. As part of Pat Saward’s drive to build a stronger bond with supporters, he listened to supporters, and brought back the famous blue and white stripes after a long absence in time for the 1971/72 campaign.

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Sun Soccer Stamps 1971/72


As Nigel’s WebSpace puts it:

Following on from the undoubted success of the Swap cards the Sun followed up in 1971/72 with the ambitious Soccerstamps collection. The Soccerstamps were stamps, rather than cards, and came in a wide variety of sizes, shapes and colours. The tokens for Soccerstamps appeared in the Sun each day. The Sun only accepted tokens in lots of six, plus 5p, to get your 12 Soccerstamps by return post.

The stamps were to be mounted in the spaces for them in the 164-page Football Encyclopaedia and Soccerstamp Album (available from newsagents for 10p). The album suggests that you stick them in with stamp hinges. Collectors of these stamps therefore distinguish between those which were (a) never stuck into an album, (b) stuck in with stamp hinges or (c) stuck in as stamps.

With 504 stamps in the collection, Third Division clubs such as Brighton & Hove Albion were afforded three stamps. Here is the team photo stamp:


Captain John Napier and the old style coat of arms also appeared on two smaller stamps:


Despite getting promoted in 1971/72, I’m pretty sure Brighton don’t feature in the 3D star cards that The Sun ran with the following season.

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Colour photo from 1969: Brighton v Barnsley

Here’s a stunning photo from 5th April 1969 in match with Barnsley at the Goldstone Ground, with an excellent view of the South East corner:

brighton barnsley 1969

The photo is from QueenSpark’s Brighton & Hove Photographic Collection

With a Tykes player on each post, it looks like the Yorkshiremen are defending a corner. Unlike what is common practice nowadays, it seems that back in the 1960s the attacking side did not throw that many players forward for this set-piece. At least from this photo, anyway. From left to right, The Albion players are Dave Armstrong, Alex Dawson and John Napier.

Dawson looks ready to pounce on any indecision. Legend has it that this is a scenario that would often lead to ball and goalkeeper in the back of the net!

The match ended in a 4-1 victory for the Albion in front of 11,410 supporters. Armstrong, Spearritt, Turner and Dawson scored. Having stood in 23rd position on 14th December 1968, the win took Freddie Goodwin’s side to sixth position in Division Three. However, poor form in the last three matches, and other teams having games in hand, meant that Albion eventually finished 12th.

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John Napier poses for the Jimmy Hill Football Weekly


Strappling centre-half John Napier was Brighton’s record £25,000 signing from Bolton in August 1967. A year earlier he made his full debut for Northern Ireland in Belfast, losing 2-0 to West Germany.

Along with Norman Gall, Napier formed the bedrock of Albion’s defence in the late 1960s, winning the club’s first Player of the Season award in 1968/69.

Two years later, he was still turning it on for the Albion. In particular, his performance at Reading in April 1971 warmed the cockles of the heart of Evening Argus’ John Vinicombe, who wrote: “This was a magnificent display by John Napier. He was absolutely commanding and this rated as his best perfomance of the campaign. Nothing beat him and this mastery inspired confidence all around.”