Tag Archives: ken craggs

Dream signing… children’s TV star Tommy Boyd joins the Seagulls!

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Rescued from Shoot! magazine in 1979/80:

“This is a dream come true,” said Tommy Boyd, as he stood proudly on the Goldstone pitch, wearing the blue and white shirt of his favourite club, Brighton & Hove Albion. “The number of times I’ve stood on those terraces, wondering what it would be like to be out here. Well, now I know. It’s a great feeling!”

Thanks to the hospitality of Alan Mullery and his team, SHOOT was able to give the Magpie TV star a super day with the South Coast Seagulls.

His first call was at Alan Mullery’s office, where he also met assistant-manager, Ken Craggs.

After ‘signing on’ for The Seagulls, Tommy met the rest of the first team squad. Star defenders, John Gregory and Steve Foster, decided to check on Tommy’s fitness with a workout in the gym and afterwards he was happy to enjoy a relaxing cup of tea with skipper, Brian Horton.

“The thing I liked most was the happy atmosphere I found at the club,” Tommy said, later. “I think a lot of that stems from Alan Mullery. He’s a man with an open, friendly personality. He loves to laugh, but more than anything, he loves the game.

“I really enjoyed meeting him. He’s always been a hero of mine. He was a great player. Do you remember the way he marked Pele out of the game in Mexico, in 1970? I defy anyone to name a player who could have done a better job on the day. Mullery was so versatile. He could do the lot.

“Now, it’s great to see he’s carried his two best qualities, that’s skill at the job and a natural enthusiasm, into the world of management. I’m sure he loves every minute of what he’s doing.” Another Goldstone personality Tommy rates very highly is Brian Horton.

“Brian’s always had his critics and he has proved them wrong. I saw him make his debut for the club, when he was bought for peanuts from Port Vale. He impressed me right away. He’s got all the qualities you Io0k for in a captain.

“When Brighton won promotion from the Third, some critics wondared hew Brian would get on in the Second Division. Well, he was a driving force there and it was the same story last season. He’s a fine player.”

Tommy started supporting Brighton when he was just atoddler. During his student days, at Sussex Umversity, he loved to spend his Saturday afternoons relaxing with The Seagulls.

“The funniest aftemoon I’ve ever spent at the Goldstone was during our college Rag Week,” he chuckled. “We did some collecting on the terraces for charity, before a match. My friend was singing and playing the guitar and I was going round with the tin. Most of the fans were happy to give us money … as long as we promised to go away and annoy someone else!”

Like most of us, Tommy dreamed of becoming a professional footballer, when he was at school. “The closest I’ve come was a charity match last summer, when I was marking the great Bobby Charlton. I thought I was fit, but even when he was dribbling the ball, Bobby could leave me standing.

“So, I’ll never make a top player, But SHOOT made one dream come true for me. I’ll really feel at home the next time I go to the Goldstone. When I’m cheering the players from the terraces, I’ll be able to use their first names!”

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Kerslake: in the Seagulls’ shadow

Jackie Chan’s classic kung fu film ‘Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow’ hit the screens in 1978, the same year that up and coming full-back Mick Kerslake joined Brighton & Hove Albion. Now I have no idea whether the young Mick went to watch the action-packed martial arts comedy at, say, ABC Cinema on East Street with his new team mates. Even so, he must have hoped that there was an ‘old master’ at the football club that would help turn him from a raw talent into a champ.

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As a seventeen year old Fulham defender, Kerslake had made his League debut when he played against Orient in October 1975 in a 1-1 home draw. When his four years at Craven Cottage ended, he undoubtedly wished that an Albion club keen to augment its squad with his services would get to see his career blossom. As the promotion race in Division Two was hotting up, there was even a ‘Personality Parade’ profile on him in the Brighton v Charlton programme on 13th April 1979:

In any football club with ambition there needs to be players in the shadows waiting for their chance. History is full of unknowns having sensational debuts and then coming through to make a place their own.

Many current internationals have started in just this way and here at the Goldstone we have a young full-back who has spent this season waiting for his chance.

Mick Kerslake signed for the Albion last May after three seasons on the professional staff at Fulham. He came very close to playing in the first team just before Christmas and would have played against Queens’ Park Rangers in the friendly that was cancelled in January. Supporters though are still awaiting his debut in Albion’s first team.

Mick was born in Bethnal Green 21 years ago, the son of a docker. He has two brothers and a sister, and his younger brother is already showing talent on the soccer field. He’s a regular with Spurs youngsters and plays for his school in Stepney.

The younger brother mentioned in the last two sentences above is almost certainly David Kerslake, the former QPR, Swindon, Tottenham and Leeds right-back of the 1980s and 1990s, who is currently assistant manager at Cardiff City. Thanks to Paul from Cult Zeros for this information. On a visit to Wembley, Paul remembers seeing Mick’s bro as captain of England Schoolboys against West Germany in May 1981.

The article continues:

Mick himself went to St Mary’s and St Michael’s Primary School in Stepney and moved from there up to St John’s Secondary School. He first kicked a football at the tender age of 10 and played for both his school and for East London Schools. He gained representative honours at all ages up to 15 and was captain for his last two seasons.

He spent a short while with Chelsea as a schoolboy but on leaving school he signed apprentice professional forms with Fulham, then managed by Alex Stock. At the time, Alan Mullery was the senior player at Craven Cottage, while Ken Craggs, who originally spotted Mick, was Youth Team Manager.

Craggs and Kerslake, as well as Barry Lloyd, are in this Fulham photo that AZ Gull found yesterday:

Fulham 1876

Fulham 1876: (Back row, l-r) Marcus Ellwood, Brian Greenaway, Tyrone James, Tony Mahoney, Tony Gale, Dennis Byatt, Viv Busby, Terry Bullivant, Michael Kerslake. (Middle row, l-r) Paul Howes, John Dowie, Steve Hatter, John Lacy, Richard Teale, Ron Woolnough (physio) Peter Mellor, Ernie Howe, John Mitchell, Steve Camp, John Margerrison, Steve Scrivens. (Front row, l-r) Ken Craggs (coach), Barry Lloyd, Les Barrett, Jimmy Conway, Alan Slough, Les Strong, John Cutbush, Bobby Campbell

After a year he signed full professional forms but in his time there he only played one full League game and had two more as substitute.

He played twice for England Youth XI against Wales three years ago alongside John Deehan, Glenn Hoddle and Gary Owen among others. In his one game for Fulham he played alongside Alan Mullery and Bobby Moore.

He had little hesitation in coming to the Goldstone when offered the chance and having been here almost a year has lodged with George and Bet Kirby who’ve accommodated so many Albion players over the years.

However, he hopes to get married in the near future to a London girl, Jane Wells, and in preparation he’s bought a flat in Clarendon Villas into which he expects to move shortly.

Away from football Mick plays a fair amount of tennis, weather permitting, and at school he was an outstanding athlete. He attained representative honours in the 100 metres and long jump.

He’s an ambitious young man who hopes to make the grade as a regular First Division player with the Albion.

Very, very sadly, he never got his chance for the Brighton. He was released at the end of the 1979/80 season and his subsequent career details are unknown. Nevertheless, like the nondescript and enigmatic Woody Allen film character ‘Zelig’, Kerslake has the distinction of having featured in numerous Albion team photos of the time, rubbing shoulders with the stars… while not many people looking back at the images really know who he was!

If you knew Mick or know what Mick did next, please get in touch either via the comments, email or on Twitter. It would be great to find out what he’s up to now. Kung-fu, probably!

In between George Aitken and Peter Ward

In between George Aitken and Peter Ward

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Those Albion men in Farah casual tops

It’s been a while since this blog posted a Farah Slacks-related missive. So here’s another one:

Gary Stevens, Ken Craggs, Mark Lawrenson, John Gregory, Alan Mullery and Brian Horton

Gary Stevens, Ken Craggs, Mark Lawrenson, John Gregory, Alan Mullery and Brian Horton

Don’t they look the business? What do you mean – no? As described in the Brighton v Leicester programme of 1981:

Many supporters will know that our first team squad have been fitted out by Farahs, the Gatwick-based supplier of American manufactured clothing.

Our picture shows a recent group of Albion personalities wearing their off-pitch kit of zip-fronted blouson-type casual tops in Farasuede fabric teamed up with versatile, easy care slacks from Farah’s famous hopsack range.

The total Farah men’s and boyswear range now includes casual and more formal trousers, sports slacks, denim jeans, mens’ leisure tops, blazers and informal jackets.

Anyone up for a Farah Slacks revival? If you know where you can buy them in Brighton & Hove nowadays, please let me know…

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