Tag Archives: ken beamish

The great stitch-up of 1972?

In May 1972, Brighton needed just one point against Rochdale to return to the Second Division. Those who complain that Southampton and Spurs stitched up the Albion in 1978 perhaps need to examine the final game of the 1971/72 campaign more closely!

Before a Goldstone crowd of 34,766, Pat Saward’s men got off to a great start against the Dale after four minutes when John Templeman got the opener. As the Daily Mirror reported it at the time:

Ken Beamish, standing on the edge of the Rochdale penalty area, got the ball from skipper Brian Bromley and pushed it back to the unmarked John Templeman. From about twenty-five yards, Templeman unleashed a drive without leaving the ground – and sent the crowd into ecstasies.

Rochdale were under constant pressure but they handed the Goldstone a shock on 59 minutes when Peter Gowans gathered a cross from Malcolm Darling and lashed in a 25 yard special that gave Albion keeper Brian Powney no chance.

And then the drama suddenly petered out. As Ken Beamish recalled in ‘Match of My Life: Brighton & Hove Albion’:


With about 20 minutes to go, the game suddenly died a death. As things stood we had the point we needed and they were safe from relegation. With hand on heart I can say it was never in our plans just to play the game out; it just materialised. Neither side had a shot on goal in those final minutes; nor did either team look to penetrate each other’s defence. It probably wouldn’t happen nowadays because the final matches of the season are all played on the same day, but back then we were playing after the end of the season and so both knew what we had to do.

A similar tale is told by his striking partner Willie Irvine in his autobiography ‘Together Again’:


We’d played this game at 100 miles an hour until the score became 1-1. At this point I’d noticed Saward and the Rochdale manager talking on the touchline. Somehow the game seemed to slow down dramatically except for me putting in an almighty challenge on their centre-half and almost scoring. “Bloody hell”, he said, “don’t you know we’re playing for t’draw now?” No I didn’t, nobody had bloody told me.

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The Second Division proves too much for Saward’s side


In a two-part article by Goal! magazine’s Nick Harling in March 1973, Brighton manager Pat Saward surveyed the wreckage from a disastrous season in the Second Division. Having led the Albion out of the Third Division in 1972, he found his team torn apart. The Sussex side stood 18th on 4th November 1972 as they stretched an unbeaten run to five matches. However, then came that astonishing thirteen match losing streak that stretched to the end of January:

Imagine a runaway lorry careering down a hill without brakes.

Then you’ve put yourself in the position of Brighton manager Pat Saward, whose team are propping up the rest of the Second Division after a catastrophic run of reverses that makes an immediate return to the Third Division almost as big a certainty as the fact that the lorry will eventually crash.

Comparing his team’s current plight to that of a unstoppable truck, Saward, who won an F.A. Cup medal with Aston Villa 16 years ago, says: “It’s a freak thing.

Even the worst sides get a point here and there. A run like this is unnatural. In 20 years’ football I’ve never known anything like it. We have just been praying it will stop.”

Few managers can have experienced such a swift change from glory to utter despair as Saward has over the past few months. It was all so rosy on the night of May 3 last year when, with a capacity 34,766 crowd crammed into the Goldstone Ground and thousands more locked outside, Brighton drew 1-1 with Rochdale to clinch promotion behind Aston Villa.

Refusing two offers to go elsewhere in the summer, Saward stayed at Brighton, saying: “I was very very confident for the future. This club has so much to offer. I could see my ambitions coming to fruition. I was super optimistic.” He was super optimistic because with 82 goals, Brighton were the third highest scorers in the Football League. With forwards such as the tricky ever-present Peter O’Sullivan, Northern Ireland internationals Willie Irvine and Bertie Lutton and the much sought-after Ken Beamish on their staff, Brighton’s attack had shown itself so devastating that there seemed no reason why it need be anything but only slightly less effective in the Second Division. And with the early season purchase of £30,000 Barry Bridges from Millwall there seemed strength in depth in that department at least.

What then has gone wrong? Why has the supply of goals, which came so readily in the Third Division, suddenly dried up? Why did the goalscoring ability of Irvine and Kit Napier diminish to such an extent that Saward found it necessary to transfer both players back to the Third Division Irvine to Halifax, Napier to Blackburn.

Why is the attack, which functioned so powerfully last season, scoring very nearly two goals a game, compared to one a match so far this term, doing so badly? And several questions must be asked about the defence as well. Last season it allowed opposing teams a meagre 47 goals.

Norman Gall, ever present last season has been dropped and John Napier, also a regular, has been allowed to move to Fourth Division Bradford City, because they were incapable of plugging so many gaps. In the places of these two, Saward has given Ian Goodwin a 21-year old 14-stone centre half, whom he has recently appointed captain, and young Steve Piper the opportunities to halt a slide that has astounded soccer.

As two useful defenders, George Ley and Graham Howell, were also added to Brighton’s staff early in the season, Brighton’s slump is one that has confounded their manager. But Saward is nevertheless honest enough to say: “I didn’t forsee the snags and the type of league the Second Division was. But now I know. It’s the hardest division of the four. Everyone is fighting either to stay in or get out.

“It’s a hell of a hard division. It’s a mixture of the First and Third. It’s good and very hard football. They don’t give you an awful lot of time to play. It’s a division governed by fear because to drop out of it is not good, while to get out at the top is fantastic. I didn’t believe the gap would be so different. Teams are so well organised and supplement their lack of ability with tremendous defensive play. It’s very hard to get results.”

He can say that again, although when Brighton drew nine of their first 18 games, and won two of the others, they at least hinted at hopes of consolidation, which have not been fulfilled.

Recalling that start, Saward says: “I’m not suggesting we were going to set the League alight but at least we seemed to be getting somewhere.”

As defeat has followed defeat for Brighton, manager Pat Saward has seen the effect such a run can have on players.

He says: “It starts when you’re missing goals. I’m not making excuses saying it’s all been had luck, but speaking as an explayer I know that when you lose by a freak goal, it can be sickening. When you come to the next match and have the bulk of it but still lose the players start sowing seeds of doubt in their own minds.

“They start to anticipate mistakes before they happen. The longer the sequence goes the worse it becomes. The players’ minds are shackled. They run hard, chase and harrass but have nothing to show for it. Then when they’ve nothing to show for weeks they start to tie up.

A lucky break might stop it or a new player might stop it. Otherwise you carry on with what you’ve got. You take a hell of a mental bashing. It’s very hard to regenerate week after week but you have to hang on to something. It’s no good just thinking hack to last year and promotion.

“To me the most important thing is the attitude of mind. Players should have an arrogant attitude, an attitude that they’re going to do well even when the chips are down. But some types are destroyed. These are the ones who succumb and want to rely on other people.

Here we’ve got some great boys, but I wish to God some of them had more determination.”

It was with that desire in mind that Saward gave part of the huge responsibility of captaining his sinking ship to 21 year-old Ian Goodwin, because: “He’s a hell of a competitor. He’s a bloody bad loser and wants to go places. He reflects the new mood around here.” That “new mood” is mainly being provided by new joint chairmen Mike Bamber and Len Stringer, whose board have just ploughed £70,000 into renovating the place, changing it from what Stringer described as “a real slum,” installing new dressing rooms, players’ facilities and offices.

One of these offices will shortly be used by enthusiastic 41-year-old Bamber, who with his business partner Norman Hyams, also a Brighton director, is forming a property development company which will be based within the football club.

“We will have 51 per cent of the shares, the club 49 per cent,” explains Bamber.

“It’s a unique idea. It must be a good thing for Brighton. It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a long time now.

If Pat Saward wants a player we’ll find the money. He has 100 per cent backing from the board.

“Our new policy is to go in with young players. It’s never been the policy at Brighton before to bring on our own youngsters, but now we’ve got some around like Steve Piper, who is a fabulous player.”

It has been to these youngsters’ considerable misfortune that with their first real taste of League football, they have been saddled with trying to transform such a struggling outfit, but this does not detract from Bamber’s intense optimism for what they can do for Brighton in the future.

Asking “Where else would a team get cheered off the field by their own supporters after losing their tenth game in a row?”, Bamber adds without a sign of tongue in cheek: “There’s no doubting it – First Division here we come.” Although Brighton may well have to climb back again via the Third to give that forecast any chance of materialising, both Bamber and Saward realise that the crowd potential of the area is so vast that the town can support a top club.

And Saward certainly will not be content until such a prospect, unlikely though it seems at the moment, becomes reality.

He took over nearly three years ago and promised then: “Give me ten years and I’ll have Brighton in the First Division.” Now Saward says: “I haven’t lost any enthusiasm. I’ve had my hopes dampened slightly, but one overcomes that.” Unlike many of his contemporaries, who might conceal their deepest fears with idle boasts, Saward says: “We’ve one hell of a hard job to stay up. We are going to need an awful lot of luck, but we deserve some breaks. If we get the breaks then we could just do it.

“Okay we’ve got to face facts. If we go down, thinking that the Third Division is the end of the world, that’s the end of Brighton. This club has got to be built for the future. I want to put Brighton on the map.”

If the miracle that everyone connected with the popular coastal club so desperately wants, does arrive and Brighton do win all their remaining games to stay up, Saward will have more chance of achieving his long-term aim. And he says: “Nothing is lost until we run out of points.”

Having halted the run of defeats with a 2-0 victory over Luton in early February 1973, Albion lost their following two fixtures. However, out of the wreckage, Brighton then began to show some form, winning four and drawing two of the next six League games. But there was to be miracle, and a 3-0 defeat at Easter in April at eventual champions Burnley sealed Albion’s fate.

Ken Beamish - top scorer with nine League goals

Ken Beamish – top scorer with nine League goals

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The Twelve Days of Albion Retro Christmas

On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love sent to me…


Twelve Kens a-beaming


Eleven Pipers piping


Ten Howletts howling


Nine Andys rolling


Eight Smillies smiling


Seven Storers scoring


Six Sayers saying


Five Michael Rings


Four Johnny Byrnes

Three missed pens


Two of Powney’s gloves


And a Wardy looking very merry!

That last image is taken from Scoop Magazine in December 1979. Lovely jumper!

And now, I’d like to wish you a very merry and peaceful Christmas. Thank you for reading this blog. As you may know, it started in February this year. Every day there has been a new post on The Goldstone Wrap, a regularity that has been a challenge and a delight: A challenge, as (believe it or not!) I have a full time job and other things to do. And a delight too, as I am thrilled to have a platform to share articles, photos and videos relating to Brighton & Hove Albion’s past.

The blog is currently jam-packed with 318 posts on past players, matches, magazine articles and football kit design and will continue to grow, day by day. It’s a labour of love to write it and it’s been wonderful to hear from North Stand Chat, Twitter, Facebook and Seagulls Chat, as well as your blog comments, that lots of Albion, and some non-Albion, fans have enjoyed reading it. For some it’s become a part of their early morning routine to check out what’s new on The Goldstone Wrap. I’d also like to thank all of you who I have met through doing this blog, including those who have lent me photos, videos and taken snaps of various memorabilia.

Over the course of the next few days, you can look forward to newspaper coverage of a Boxing Day massacre, a very rare Albion calendar from the glory years, as well as an incredible solo goal by Kieran O’Regan at Hillsborough.

In the meantime, let’s swop Goldstone Wrapping for Christmas (un)wrapping. It’s time to put your feet up and enjoy the festivities!

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Meet the Girl Behind the Man: Lesley Beamish

From Goal Magazine on 4 August 1973:


The wife of Brighton star Ken Beamish has a wide variety of hobbies – needlework, dressmaking, tennis, travelling abroad and watching her husband’s team. Lesley and Ken – and youngster Kirstie – live at Saltdean, Sussex.

What an absolute beauty, showing the elegance, style and warmth that undoubtedly appealed to our goalscoring hero. I am, of course, referring to Ken Beamish’s magnificent tank top!

Beamish had joined Brighton from Tranmere in March 1972. As he told Backpass Magazine (issue 18):

“Pat Saward was the Brighton manager who took me down there and the fee was £30,000 [actually £25,000] plus a player, whose name now escapes me [Alan Duffy]. Brighton were very much on the up and the south coast had great appeal. When you add in the fact that I was also doubling my wages, then it made for a very exciting move for me.”


Beamish quickly found his feet at the Goldstone. Above, he shoots for goal against Aston Villa in the crunch match of the promotion race in March 1972. He totalled six goals in twelve starts for the Albion in 1971/72 and was then joint top scorer with nine goals when Albion’s brief flirtation with the Second Division ended cataclysmically.

In the season that followed the Goal Magazine feature, 1973/74, Saward was sacked in October as Brighton faced falling attendances amid the prospect of a second successive relegation. Enter Brian Clough:

“I recall the first time I met Brian quite clearly. We were staying in a hotel in Lewes ahead of his first game and we had been told to expect the new manager to join us for dinner. We all trooped down to the dining room and finished the meal, but no sign of Cloughie. We were wondering whether he would show up and he suddenly appeared at the top end of the table and asked everyone what they wanted to drink. The first couple of guys said half-a-lager and I joined with the same order. I had never had alcohol from Wednesday onwards during the season.

“By the time the round had been completed I think we all had half-a-lager except for one lad who ordered a coke. I don’t know to this day what Brian made of us – the South Coast drinking gang or what – but he let it pass without comment.

“His managerial methods were unconventional. We trained down at Sussex University playing fields and sometimes he would have us there at 5pm, even in mid-winter when it was getting very dark. He only really joined in on us on Thursdays and Fridays and was a little distant.

“I was never quite sure what he made of me, but I certainly got the message at the end of my third season. I had finished top scorer and was looking forward to a team trip to Spain. The flip flops were out and ready to be packed up when the travelling party was announced my name wasn’t on it. To say I was surprised would not do justice to how I felt. I was gutted – and confused.

“I don’t think Cloughie spoke to me again and the local media down there was full of speculation that I would be leaving. I got most of my information from a next-door neighbour who was forever coming up to me to say what he had read about me in the local paper or heard on the radio.”

It was a sad end for Beamish, who had hit twelve League goals and had done so much to prevent Brighton falling into the Fourth Division. Indeed, it was the striker’s double at Southend in the 2-0 win in April 1974 that saw the Albion home and dry to fight another campaign in Division Three. As hotshot Fred Binney arrived at the Goldstone Ground, Beamish was sold to Blackburn Rovers for £26,000, becoming a favourite at Ewood Park after his two-and-a-half year stint as an Albion striker, and Saltdean resident, was up.

For more in the series visit:
Meet the girl Behind the Man: Rita Irvine

Thanks to Ian Hine from Seagulls Programmes and to Goals and Wickets for tipping me off about this very 1970s magazine feature.

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100 Years of the Albion

A pleasant illustrated history of the Albion, from the Brighton v Bournemouth programme from September 2001:


Click image to expand it.

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Beamish winds up Lawrenson

Here’s Ken Beamish, bought in March 1972, posing in PE shorts before the ill-starred 1972/73 season.


The all-action striker was Albion’s top scorer, with ten goals, as the team slid back into the Third Division.

Fast forward eight seasons to 1980/81 and Beamish was back at Tranmere, the club from which Pat Saward had signed him. Rovers were a Fourth Division side by then but they had the matter of a two-legged 2nd Round League Cup tie with Brighton & Hove Albion, now a top flight club.

In Mark Lawrenson’s ‘The Autobiography,’ he takes up the story on page 152:

“You learn, sometimes the hard way, the steps you need to take to protect yourself physically and psychologically. Opponents will always be testing you to see if you can be conned into losing your temper and, with it, your self-control. Ken Beamish certainly caught me out playing for Tranmere. We won the first leg comfortably, but I fell for the five card trick in the return. I can honestly say he tried to tackle me just below the hip and for the next five minutes I just went crazy. Ken, an old pro who had played for a lot of clubs including Brighton, obviously set out to try and unsettle me. If that tackle did not do any lasting damage it certainly wrecked my concentration and I was eventually sent off for a remark to a linesman. I was still fuming as I headed for the tunnel and looking across at Beamish who gave me a sly wink. Sure, the laugh was on me, but it was a lesson I have never forgotten.”


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