Tag Archives: malcolm poskett

Brighton’s baptism of fire


In Part 60 of Marshall Cavendish’s ‘Football Handbook’ in the late 1970s, there is a superb account of Brighton’s First Division debut against Arsenal on the opening day of the 1979/80 season:

From the Fourth Division to the First in 14 years – that’s the Brighton & Hove Albion success story. Handbook went behind the scenes for Brighton’s baptism of fire against FA Cup holders Arsenal, and discovered how nerves and lack of experience played a big part in the Seagulls’ day-one disaster…

August 18, 1979 should have been the greatest day in Brighton & Hove Albion’s history–their first match ever in Division One. Unfortunately, Arsenal were to spoil the celebrations…

Before the match the team meets in the usual hotel. The old brigade who clinched promotion for Brighton chat noisily, while the new boys – like John Gregory, bought in the summer from Villa – smile nervously on the edge of it all.

Peter Ward sits alone and bleary-eyed. He has been up all night while his wife gave birth to their second daughter.

There’s a studied air of calm about the Brighton squad, but the prospect of making their First Division debuts has several of them inwardly buckling with nerves.

This, and the fact that FA Cup holders Arsenal are the visitors, has given everyone the flutters. All the Gunners’ players are familiar to the Brighton lads. Arsenal receive enough press exposure and TV coverage for a team-talk to be almost unnecessary. Alan Mullery concentrates on morale.

‘They’ve only got two feet, same as you. They might pass the ball better than Second Division sides, but they also let teams play which Second Division teams don’t do. We’re not going to respect anyone in this League – we’re going to chase, fight and tackle.’

Mullery to Maybank: ‘Ted, I want you back in our area for corners. I don’t care how tired you are, you’ve got to get back to knock that ball away with your head.’

Before they board the coach that will take them to the Goldstone Ground, Mullery tries one last piece of basic psychology. ‘Now listen. We know them, but I’ve just been talking to their physio, Fred Street, and they haven’t a clue what to expect from us.

‘You beat Arsenal today and you’ll believe in yourselves for the rest of the season.’

As the coach nears the ground, the jitters begin to surface again. Maybank senses the mood and tries to defuse it with a joke. ‘Don’t panic, don’t panic,’ comes his Corporal Jones impersonation from the back of the bus.

"Hello, hello, grannie aggro'? The arrival of First Division football in the Sussex town captures the imagination of everyone - young and old

“Hello, hello, grannie aggro’? The arrival of First Division football in the Sussex town captures the imagination of everyone – young and old

Inside the ground, the atmosphere is electric: a pipe and drum band march past the brand new stand, and then the Albion players emerge in their ‘civvies’ to walk around the pitch and acknowledge the fans’ tumultuous applause.

Striking up the band... Alan Mullery salutes the Goldstone crowd before the match. Despite their vociferous support, Albion failed to deliver any points on their big day.

Striking up the band… Alan Mullery salutes the Goldstone crowd before the match. Despite their vociferous support, Albion failed to deliver any points on their big day.

Ten minutes later they re-emerge. This time it’s for real – and within minutes Brighton’s First Division career has begun. After 60 seconds Talbot and Horton tangle and the free-kick to Albion bobbles tantalisingly around the Arsenal box. Ryan latches on to it, wriggles through and swivels to send in a left-footer which the shovel-sized hands of Jennings tip away at full stretch.

Three minutes later it’s Ryan again. This time the toe-end of Willie Young’s despairing lunge relieves the pressure. The Brighton crowd scream their support. Although Ryan yet again comes close, Arsenal are starting to settle. Their offside trap is beginning to frustrate Mullery’s men and, ominously, the Rix-Brady shuttle service is starting to roll down the left.

Malcolm Poskett, who came on for the injured Teddy Maybank, finds out what it's like to trail a world-class player - Liam Brady. It's all afar cry from Brighton' s Second and Third Division days...

Malcolm Poskett, who came on for the injured Teddy Maybank, finds out what it’s like to trail a world-class player – Liam Brady. It’s all afar cry from Brighton’ s Second and Third Division days…

Brian Horton clatters into Teddy Maybank

Brian Horton clatters into Teddy Maybank

Then, inside the space often bewildering minutes, Brighton’s dreams come crashing down around them. First Stapleton receives from Sunderland to crash a 20-yarder past Eric Steele; before Brighton have time to reflect on the seeming injustice of it all, Arsenal make it two – from Brady’s freekick, Young’s header drops to Sunderland, who nods in from a yard out.

Albion skipper Brian Horton goes into the book after a clash with Talbot, who was also involved in several incidents.

Albion skipper Brian Horton goes into the book after a clash with Talbot, who was also involved in several incidents.

Mark Lawrdnson has just fouled Liam Brady... and nervous Brighton form the inevitable wall.

Mark Lawrdnson has just fouled Liam Brady… and nervous Brighton form the inevitable wall.

By half-time Brighton are dead. Rix lofts a pass through the middle. Sunderland delays his run and then sprints past Rollings and scoops the ball over Steele. The keeper gets a palm to it but the ball still drops into the net; 0-3.

As Albion troop in disconsolately at the break, Mullery tells them, ‘You’ve lost the game. Now get out there and start again with a clean slate…’

But it’s all gone flat. Only the jigging of the Arsenal contingent breaks the silence as they mimic the ‘Sea-gulls’ chant with one of ‘Three goals, three goals’. And then a Brady penalty makes it four in the second half to really rub Brighton’s noses in it.

As Brighton file sadly into the dressing-room at the end, their big day ruined, Terry Neill comments, ‘We posed them a few more problems than they’re used to. But I’m sure Alan Mullery is not the type of individual to get discouraged.’

Though bitterly disappointed, Mullery still finds time to praise Arsenal and pinpoint the difference between the sides. ‘They taught us a lesson in cold, clinical finishing,’ he says.

‘It was like a Clint Eastwood movie. Out came the guns, and bang bang – we were dead…’

Under the title ‘Frank’s zapper’, Football Handbook then turned its attention to Frank Stapleton’s goal:



The most meaningful lessons are usually the most painful to learn – in life, in football.

For Brighton and Hove Albion the moment of truth came on the opening day of the season, their first-ever First Division contest.

FA Cup winners Arsenal were the visitors.., and the teachers.

All the exuberance that took Brighton to promotion hardly dented the composure of silky Arsenal, to whom First Division pressure was nothing new.

Manager Mullery’s ‘treat it like a cup tie’ approach – ‘we’re going to chase, fight and tackle’ – lost all significance once Arsenal took the lead approaching half-time.

Brighton had had most of the play and, like an underdog boxer, must have fancied their chances of an upset.

And, like many a ‘softener’ for the knock-out blows to follow, the goal that put them firmly in their place had an almost dream-like essence to it.

Inertia ruled among the Brighton players as Sammy Nelson played the ball down the left to Alan Sunderland.

He was given space to cross where he liked and almost certainly aimed deep for Brian Talbot, who had made a typical run behind the home defence.

His mishit went straight to Stapleton instead. Stapleton stumbled. The crowd laughed. Stapleton recovered but his shot from 20 yards was hardly a hammer blow.

Nevertheless, it went in, the ball looping over the despairing Eric Steele.

If that was a dream-like moment, it soon became a nightmare as Arsenal added two more quick goals before half-time.

In the end it was a humiliating 0-4 scoreline, a result that Mullery rightly saw as a lesson in cold, clinical finishing.


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Almost there!


John Vinicombe’s report from the Evening Argus on Brighton’s 2-1 victory over Blackburn Rovers, in their last home match of the 1978/79 season:

The crock of gold that is the First Division is shimmering up there at St James’ Park, Newcastle.

It is there to be taken by Albion, who must not only win the battle on the pitch but prevail in a war of nerves that took a heavy toll of their rivals while they overcame Blackburn Rovers.

The last match at the Goldstone of this marvellously exhilarating campaign set Albion up to snatch the prize of prizes – a place among the coveted elite.

Brian Horton led his players in a lap of honour. Blackburn most sportingly clapped their conquerors from the pitch. These were memorable moments. Now Albion prepare for the final hurdle. At St James’ Park, they will be cheered by an army of admirers travelling by air, rail, and road. A win will take them into the First Division without any arguments: anything less must depend on other results.

In their present mood, Albion are perfectly capable of winning in the grand manner. The championship could be theirs by twenty-to-five on Saturday.

They have shrewdly taken matches one by one, and were well aware that beating Blackburn was absolutely vital.

This was the game that could have gone horribly wrong (shades of Blackburn’s recent wins at Stoke and Sunderland), but Albion never looked like losing although I wouldn’t care to relive the last ten minutes.

Great credit must go to Albion for keeping their heads after the Easter Saturday defeat at Cardiff City. Subsequently, Cardiff spoiled a few cards, culminating in the sensational win at Sunderland that dispelled City’s relegation fears.

Newcastle will not yield without a fight, and I cannot take seriously the story going the rounds that they might be a pushover because Sunderland in the First Division would affect their gates.

Of course, there is no love lost between the traditional rivals of the North – East but can you imagine a manager like Bill McGarry demanding anything less of his players than 100 per cent?


There has been stress on Albion, who have been in the top three since the 3-0 win at Charlton on December 23. Manager Alan Mullery has proved an inspirational motivator and Brian Horton quite the most outstanding captain the club has had, certainly since the war.

These redoubtable qualities were fully tested when Blackburn arrived no longer tortured over doubts of staying up. They came knowing full well that Division 3 is their scene next season. It ever a team stood to upset the favourites, it was Rovers.

Fears of a slip-up were partially justified as Albion were without Peter O’Sullivan, and had to re-jig with a new formation on the left. It didn’t quite come off, but in terms of chances created Albion outclassed Rovers.

Instead of being consumed by their own fears, Albion took early command, and the work rate of Teddy Maybank, who chased everything and won most of the balls in the air, typified the spirit. Tiring players found that extra half yard, and rovers were unable to stage a third sensation of the season.


The 18th minute opener by Maybank that bulleted through a cloud of smoke was grabbed with tigerish tenacity. Whoever hurled the canister from the South Stand may have distracted goalkeeper John Butcher but it would have taken a wonderful save to have prevented Maybank scoring.


From that point on, Rovers thrashed about in a fog of they own making. They hadn’t a clue about picking up Peter Ward, who had a splendid match, while their star man, Duncan McKenzie, seldom shook off the shackles imposed by Paul Clark.

Watching Andy Rollings it was difficult to believe that here was the player who needed assistance in boarding the train from Cardiff a fortnight ago. Then the head was temporarily down! Rollings feared a break, and in the next match Mark Lawrenson snapped an arm in two places.

The rapid return of Rollings to fitness has been an important factor. He not only read the game well but scored the all-important clincher early into the second half beyond Rover’s reach.

The foraging of John Bailey, one of the best left-backs we have seen at the Goldstone, and Noel Brotherstone’s fondness for varying the point of attack often spelled danger, but in all honesty the 2-1 scoreline let Rovers off rather lightly.

Quite early on, Ward was unlucky to hit the bar, and he might have scored at the half-hour, only Butcher blocked bravely. Malcolm Poskett on the left wing for the first time got into many good positions, but just couldn’t finish. But he never gave up, and on effort alone was worth his place.

And for sheer brilliance of reflexes Eric Steele once again proved why he is first choice goalkeeper at the Goldstone. There had been one nail-biting moment when a pass back from Rollings bobbled just past the post. And another two-thirds of the way through when Mike Rathbone’s shot deflected off Horton and against the far post where Peter Sayer pounced to clear.

Steele’s moment of brilliance came at 78 minutes when Martin Fowler’s shot clipped off Maybank’s backside. In a split second he changed direction to turn it round.

He hadn’t much chance four minutes from time with John Aston’s beautifully curled free-kick.

For ITV’s footage of the match, watch this:


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Life’s a riot as Brighton crush Spurs

Here’s Brighton team photo in August 1977, before a momentous Second Division campaign where Alan Mullery’s attacking side proved themselves serious candidates for a second successive promotion:

Back row: Ken Gutteridge (assistant manager), Ken Tiler, Mark Lawrenson, Ian Mellor, Andy Rollings, Eric Steele, Peter Grummitt, Chris Cattlin, Gary Williams, Sammy Morgan, Graham Winstanley, George Aitken (coach); Front row: Tony Towner, Eric Potts, Peter Ward, Brian Horton, Alan Mullery (manager), Steve Piper, John Ruggiero, Peter O'Sullivan, Glen Wilson (trainer).

Back row: Ken Gutteridge (assistant manager), Ken Tiler, Mark Lawrenson, Ian Mellor, Andy Rollings, Eric Steele, Peter Grummitt, Chris Cattlin, Gary Williams, Sammy Morgan, Graham Winstanley, George Aitken (coach);
Front row: Tony Towner, Eric Potts, Peter Ward, Brian Horton, Alan Mullery (manager), Steve Piper, John Ruggiero, Peter O’Sullivan, Glen Wilson (trainer).

On 15th April 1978, Albion overwhelmed leaders Tottenham Hotspur, but not before Spurs hooligans had tried to bring the game to a premature end. Terry Smith from the Daily Mirror reported on this crucial match:


Referee Alan Turvey praised Spurs’ skipper, Terry Naylor, for the way he tried to calm his fans after they had rioted twice, the second time to try to save their team from a heavy defeat.

The game was delayed for thirteen minutes after spectators had spilled on to the ground with this crucial Second Division promotion match only twelve minutes old.

Spurs fans who stole sixteen cars and burned one when they got to Brighton, started fights early on and local spectators were forced over the barriers for safety.

Turvey stopped the match and sent the players to the dressing rooms. The game resumed 13 minutes later after he said he would play all night to get the game completed.

League leaders Spurs, on their first visit to Brighton had just gone 1-3 down and had Don McAllister sent-off when their hooligan fans rushed the pitch in the seventy-fourth minute, this time to try to get the game abandoned.

But police stopped the invasion and the game continued after another four-minute delay.

Brighton people who refused to let Millwall play one of their ‘banned’ home games at homely Hove, saw ticket touts selling £2.20 tickets for £50 each and heard a constant wall of ambulance sirens in the town.

There were 91 arrests during the day and 83 people injured.

And ex-Detective Chief Superintendent Jim Marshall, a keen Brighton fan, said: “I’ve never seen such scenes in all my life.

“The time has come to give these thugs custodial sentences in establishments akin to wartime glasshouses, rather than holiday camps.”

Brighton manager Alan Mullery, a former Spurs’ star, accused rioting Spurs supporters of attempting to get this promotion battle abandoned.

He said: “Tottenham are a great club but their fans tried to get the match stopped.” Referee Turvey admitted: “If I was honest I would say I was a bit frightened during the crowd trouble. I thought the police did a good job and I must praise Spurs defender Terry Naylor for the way he tried to calm the fans down.”

A senior police officer said: “The trouble started before the game when Spurs fans got in early and occupied the space behind the goal normally reserved for the home fans.”

Brighton took the lead with a solo goal from midfielder Paul Clark after 16 minutes.

Chris Jones equalised six minutes later after a bad goal kick from Eric Steele.

Brighton defender Graham Winstanley made it 2-1 after 43 minutes.

The third goal which killed off Spurs was surrounded in controversy.

Eric Potts, the Brighton sub, claimed the final touch but Spurs argued bitterly that striker Malcolm Poskett had been offside.


It was tight at the top. Spurs, Southampton and Bolton were all on 53 points with Brighton four points behind, but (just like Bolton) a game in hand over the top two clubs. With four matches to go for the Seagulls, Mullery’s men were hoping for one of their rivals to slip up in order to capitalise. No doubt about it: Tottenham were beatable. The promotion battle really was going to the wire.

Here are some images that Trev Smith has kindly allowed me to use on this site:


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‘Evil’ Paul Clark plays ketchup

Malcolm Poskett was criticised for not following a poor Birchenall back pass into the net

Malcolm Poskett was criticised for not following a poor Birchenall back pass into the net

It was not just any other spring Saturday morning on 21st April 1979. Brighton were within sight of promotion. Three games, including the day’s match at Luton, separated them for Division One, as reported in Football Handbook in ‘One Stop from Division One’:

At Brighton station there’s a blue and white queue filing on to the ‘Seagull Special’. There are no beer cans, no early morning drunks. These are, they claim, ‘the best behaved supporters in the land’.

Suddenly a murmur of excitement disturbs the quiet. Cat, Whizzo, Sully, Nobby, Tot, Leo… are all walking alongside them on the platform. To anyone outside the close confines of the club, these men are Chris Cattlin, Peter Ward, Peter O’Sullivan, Brian Horton, Graham Winstanley, Peter Sayer and the rest of the Brighton first team.

On board the train, some play cards, some read, some just listen to the radio and look out of the window. They’re keyed up, but confldent. At East Croydon a cluster of fans tdisplays a flurry of derisory gestures. But then this is Crystal Palace country…

At Clapham Junction Alan Mullery and assistant manager Ken Craggs come on board to ironic cheers from the team. ‘Oh no, he’s not still wearing his Marks and Spencer shoes is he?’ It’s a standing joke. Mullery wears the same suit and shoes for every match, home and away.

Outside Luton station the team stands to one side while the police escort the line of Brighton supporters which snakes its way past us. As they disappear down the road a chant of ‘Clark is E-vii’ goes up. Paul Clark is the young Brighton ball winner. When Albion played Luton earlier in the season Paul Fucillo’s leg was broken in a challenge with Clark.


If Clarky is wondering how the Luton fans are going to react to that incident he soon finds out. As the teams are announced over the tannoy at the ground there is mass booing at the mention of his name, and when the Brighton team emerges from the tunnel a Luton fan tips tomato sauce over his head. Just what you need before a vital promotion match.

Brighton’s nerve ends are showing in the first five minutes of the game and Maybank and Sully have a shout at each other. Gary Williams hits a simple pass into touch and his captain, Horton, gives him the palms down, ‘calm down’ sign. Two old sweats, Alan Birchenall and Bob Hatton, organise the Luton side.into some promising moves.

Clark ‘the tank’ is playing in low gear, his usual aggressiveness blunted by the crowd’s reaction to the Fucillo incident. Their hysterical shrieking every time he touches the ball seems to have subdued him. There are none of his usual earth-removing runs through the middle as he looks to play safe, obvious, square passes.

Brian Horton bellows at his team and claps his hands for more effort all round. Clark slips the ball to Maybank, takes the return and almost before the boos are out of the home supporters’ mouths tonks a left-foot drive just wide of the post with the keeper struggling. Donaghy, the Luton number four, panics on finding himself directly up against Ward. He yells ‘Kirk, Kirk’ – and right-back Kirk Stephens scuttles back to help him out.

But the momentum dies. Ricky Hill shrugs off a challenge from Sully and crosses the ball from the right. Alan West shoots tamely but as goalkeeper Eric Steele bends to gather the ball Gary Williams sticks out a toe and deflects it past him for an own goal.

Gary Williams had  disappointing game - an own goal and subbed in the second half.

Gary Williams had disappointing game – an own goal and subbed in the second half.

Brighton are on the rack. At the end of 45 minutes those two promotion points look a long way away.

After three minutes of the second half the ball falls to Ward in the box. He takes his time, tees up and right foots it past the keeper, but Brighton’s first shot on target is booted off the line. Within a minute Luton are clean through at the other end. For a split second it looks all over, but Steele rushes out to get an arm to the shot and the ball loops wide of the goal for a corner. Brighton are still alive – but they’re living dangerously.

On the hour a Luton defender appears to handle in the box. Brighton players swarm round referee Clive Thomas but he ignores their appeals for a penalty. Horton stands, hands on head, unable to believe it.

Striker Poskett was brought on in the second half

Striker Poskett was brought on in the second half

Mullery throws on striker Poskett for full-back Williams. All or nothing now. Birchenall tries to calm the Luton side with a back pass towards his own goal, but it slides under the advancing keeper. Poskett follows the ball but stops running when it looks certain to dribble into the net. The Brighton players’ arms are in the air saluting the ‘goal’ as the ball drifts against the inside of an upright.

‘You’re staying down with us’
Poskett realises to his dismay that it’s not going to go in but Donaghy is fractionally quicker off the mark to beat him to the ball and knock it to safety.

Horton is booked. Nobody knows why. ‘You’re staying down with us…’ The Luton fans revel in Brighton’s despair.

Five minutes to go and the First Division is a million miles away. Brighton get a free-kick. Maybank has a word with Horton and wanders away. Horton’s pass finds him on the left side of the penalty area. He checks, holds, picks his spot and drives it into the right-hand corner of the net.

The crowd sang 'Good Old Sussex by the Sea' when Teddy Maybank equalised.

The crowd sang ‘Good Old Sussex by the Sea’ when Teddy Maybank equalised.

Horton clenches his fists and the veins stand out on his neck as he screams for that last little bit from his team. Gerry Ryan risks the back of his legs by taking the ball to the corner flag for a classic piece of time wasting, but as Luton boot the ball out of the ground for the third time it’s clear that they’ll settle for the draw.

At the final whistle the players scurry down the tunnel. Relief floods through the dressing-room.

‘Well done, Teddy boy. The King.’ Chris Cattlin applauds Maybank’s goal. ‘I told you never to fluster, my son,’ Maybank is nonchalant. Then: ‘I caught it really sweet. I haven’t hit one of them since I was 17.’

Suddenly the hollering dies and a hush descends as the other results come out of the tranny. Mullery stands arms folded and straight-faced. Hoots and jeers greet the results of their promotion rivals, but Sunderland and Stoke have done well. The pressure hasn’t eased.

Now for the post mortems. Poskett’s miss: ‘He should’ve followed that ball in.’ Mullery is critical. The turned-down penalty: ‘Definite penalty. The ref was looking at it.’ Horton is certain.

‘What did he book you for Nob?’ Lawrenson asks him.

‘Facial expression.’


‘Yeah. Facial expression,’ Horton assures him.

‘Was it one of your special looks Nob?’ ‘Yeah, show us.’ The rest of the side request a Horton grimace. He obliges.

‘Good job it wasn’t Tot, he’d have been sent off.’

‘Tot’ Winstanley smiles a toothless smile.

Not a pretty sight…

Silent reflection
As the train draws away from Luton the blinds are pulled down so that if stones are thrown at the windows by rival fans the glass will not spray all over the place. The mood is quiet on the journey back. Not the abject gloom which would have accompanied a defeat but silent reflection on the fact that in a 42-match season the dividing line between success and failure can be almost nonexistent. Last year they missed promotion by goal difference. Will today’s draw be enough at the final reckon up? Surely fate would not be so cruel a second time round.

It wasn’t.

Back on track... manager Mullery and skipper Horton share a joke on the way home.

Back on track… manager Mullery and skipper Horton share a joke on the way home.

With this result, Brighton dropped down to second place, one point behind Stoke City on 53 points. Quite remarkably, the Albion had amassed the same points total, after forty matches in 1977/78. What an amazing level of consistency displayed by Mullery’s men. Their next fixtures were Blackburn at home and then Newcastle away. No one knew it at the time but a win and a draw would see them through…

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Panini Football 80 – Brighton’s first double spread


I originally bought this second hand at the Sunday market outside Brighton train station in the early 1990s. I thanked my lucky stars that all the Albion stickers were there. This was years before eBay, so finding someone with a spare Peter Sayer sticker lying around would have been tricky, whereas now it would only take a few seconds…

Looking at the Arsenal pages now, it’s striking that out of the 14 Gunners on display, five would eventually join Brighton (Steve Gatting, Willie Young, Sammy Nelson, Liam Brady and Frank Stapleton). Neil McNab lined up as a Bolton player sticker for the last time, while future Seagull favourite Michael Robinson smiled for his Manchester City photo shoot with a joviality that was not reflected in his unhappy year at Maine Road.

However, it’s the Albion double-spread that really catches the eye!



In these head and shoulder shots, we get to see the bubble perms of Sayer and Ward, but even these are outnumbered by the popularity of moustaches within the Brighton first team, through Lawrenson, Horton, Clark, O’Sullivan, Poskett and Ryan. Curiously, our players here are wearing flared collars with a triangular panel at the bottom, whereas during the season (I’m addressing fellow shirt anoraks, here!) it was open flared collars that were on display, at least for the home kit.

As the season unfolded, keeper Eric Steele gave way to Graham Moseley. Gary Stevens and Steve Foster also played much stronger roles in defence than either Chris Cattlin or Andy Rollings. Sayer, Maybank and Clark would be further casualties as Mullery moved his Panini stickers around his imaginary album to try to find a winning formula. Then, from nowhere (OK, Blackpool in the Third Division) Peter Suddaby took Lawrenson’s spot in defence while the Republic of Ireland international was pushed further forward. He would have taken one of the midfielder stickers, while Neil McNab and Ray Clarke would have been the new arrivals bringing high quality passing and forward play to the Goldstone. Good swopping, Mullers!

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Happy New Year …with Albion Calendar 1980!

Short of Peter O’Sullivan, Teddy Maybank and Gary Williams turning up at your door tipsily singing ‘Auld Lang Syne’, what finer retro Albion way to see in the New Year than an invitation for you to feast your eyes on a Brighton football calendar from 1980?

In 1979/80, a company called Print For Sport Ltd launched some lavish A2-sized Soccer Action Calendars for each First Division club, some ‘top’ Second Division clubs (West Ham, Leicester, Sunderland, Newcastle and Burnley, Luton and QPR) and the England team. For just £2.49 each, you received one for your favourite team with twelve colour action shots of first-team players.

The item, advertised heavily in the likes of Shoot! Magazine and Match Weekly, also included red ‘You-Fix’ stickers allowing fans to mark match dates and opponents on the calendar itself. I suppose they could have pre-printed the fixtures directly onto the relevant dates themselves but this was what counted as ‘fun’ and ‘interactive’ in those days!

Here is the Brighton & Hove Albion calendar, lovingly scanned by yours truly:


In a clever, eye-catching design, Malcolm Poskett, Chris Cattlin and Peter Ward are the cover stars.


Then into January is… ermm, Brian Horton with a full head of hair in the perm? Well, it’s definitely Nobby’s signature on the bottom right but, as Alan Wares (Albion Roar) from North Stand Chat has identified, it’s Andy Rollings blocking the shot from Orient’s Alan Whittle in a memorable 3-3 draw. Peter O’Sullivan and Mark Lawrenson are in the background, along with Clark’s hair!


Next up is Malcolm Poskett, also in action against Orient, out to prove Alan Mullery was right to prefer him to Wardy in the number eight shirt for this match.


When Peter Ward does show up in March, it’s on a bad hair day.


Steve Foster had signed for the Seagulls in pre-season in the summer of 1979. Without a genuine match appearance for Brighton to his name yet, he strikes a pose for the camera instead.


In the same Blackburn game where he scored a goal in the midst of a smoke bomb going off, here’s Teddy Maybank challenging for the ball.


Eric Steele shows a safe pair of hands for the camera.


‘Viking’ Paul Clark on the ball, possibly against Luton in April 1979.


New signing John Gregory juggles the ball.


Veteran Chris Cattlin is star of the month for September 1980 even though his Albion playing were over by then.


Gary Williams carries the ball out against Blackburn.


Proving his acting skills are no better than his punditry skills, Mark Lawrenson fakes celebrating a goal!


And finally, Gerry Ryan goes for a dribble.

As you can see, 1st January 1980 fell on a Tuesday, whereas 1st January 2014 is a Wednesday, so you’ll be disappointed if you were hoping to print this out and use it, unamended, as your calendar for the New Year. Significantly, 1980 was also a leap year so you’ll have to wait all the way until 2036 before this calendar fits the bill again. Never mind! I hope that you are patient. In the meantime, Happy New Year!

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Happy Valley for Malcolm Poskett


Well, what a difference thirty years makes. Yesterday, Oscar Garcia’s Brighton were left reeling from a 3-2 defeat at Charlton. On 23rd December 1978, the outcome at Valley Parade was rather different as Athletic were annihilated 3-0 by Mullery’s men with striker Malcolm Poskett blagging a hat-trick. Here it is reported in the matchday programme (against Newcastle):

The trip to the Valley in South East London last Saturday provided a Christmas present for the many loyal Albion supporters who made the trip and it was one even they might not have expected. A display of “total” football from our lads saw Charlton Athletic completely outclassed and although one hesitates to mention the word, it had ‘promotion” written all over it.

Anyone looking at the Second Division table on Christmas Eve and comparing it with last season will see that our record compares more than favourably with the same time last year and from that same table it seems clear that far less than 56 points will take a club into Division One this campaign.

South East London this season has provided us with our two best away wins, the other being against Millwal at the Den.

The game was a personal triumph for Malcolm Poskett who in scoring three, notched his eighth goal of the season and his second hat-trick since signing last season from Hartlepool the aggression of Malcolm can clearly be seen in the picture above as he shoots for goal.

Right from the off the match promised entertainment and a shot from Teddy Maybank and two threatening runs by Peter Sayer gave our supporters an indication of just how Albion were going to play.

Although Albion had been superior in every department they went in still level, but the lads were no less determined coming out for the second-half. Quickly the pattern of play was reestablished with Peter Sayer firing’just wide and then came the moment two train loads of Albion supporters had been waiting for.

Twenty-one minutes into the half Teddy Maybank chipped the ball neatly from the bye-line and Malcolm Poskett nodded home his sixth goal of the season.

Two minutes later the story was even better. A corner was won by Andy Rollings who headed goalwards, the ball was blocked but ran free for Poskett to shoot between keeper and post and it was two.

Charlton were stunned and Albion elated. All out attack had left the Londoners dizzy and bewildered and with nine minutes left Poskett completed his hat-trick with as cool a goal as one could wish.

Teddy Maybank made the space with his head and the confidence was there for Poskett to round Wood and start the celebrations.

poskett1978Those were very real and no team could wish to start the holiday period better than with a 3-0 win away from home. Not only was the result just what the doctor ordered but the manner of the performance was one that would make Albion, yet again, many friends.

Graham Moseley had a welcome quiet day in goal while fullbacks Williams and Cattlin found their colleagues so confident that they too could join the attack. Andy Rollings and Mark Lawrenson were safe and sure at the back and also found time to move forward.

The midfield trio of Horton, O’Sullivan and Sayer were outstanding and in this “engine room” Albion played their best of the season.

Gerry Ryan had probably his best game away from home, his confidence seen right, while Teddy Maybank was his usual tireless, spare no effort, self.

The game, though, will be remembered as “Poskett’s match’.

He made goalscoring look easy and he could hardly have wished for a better Christmas present but one which surely even he won’t mind sharing with the fans.

Yes it was quite a day at “Happy Valley’.

Following on the back of a 2-0 home win against Luton, the previous week, the triumph at Charlton confirmed that Brighton were serious challengers for promotion. It also reinforced the impression that Poskett, a lanky striker from Hartlepool, now in the number eight shirt, was a worthy stand-in for the off-colour Peter Ward who hadn’t hit a League goal since early October. It was Poskett’s second hat-trick for Brighton. The first, also away, came in a 4-0 whipping of Bristol Rovers in April, the previous season.


Maybank: ‘Peter… one of the reasons I went to Brighton’


As the 1978/79 season approached, Teddy Maybank had high hopes of forming a deadly strike force with Peter Ward:

A partnership that has got fantastic potential ~ but hasn’t really fulfilled any of it as yet. That’s how I’d sum up our partnership at the end of last season.

I can’t deny it’s been a bad time for me since I went to Brighton. I cost them £238,000 from Fulham and I suppose people expected miracles for that sort of cash. But it took me longer to settle than I anticipated and then I got a bad knee injury, which put me back even further.

About the same time, Peter was going through a rare lean spell and •even dropped into the reserves for a couple of games to try and find his goal-touch once again.

It all meant our partnership, which had looked so promising, wasn’t getting off the ground. But I can promise the Brighton fans – we’ll get It together next season.

What we can do together is unlimited and I’m vary excited about the potential.

I will play as the Brighton target man with Peter feeding off me. But I’ll try and use my skill on the ground, too, so I take a bit of attention sway from Peter and give him some room to score goals.

I can’t waIt to start fresh next season. Peter has got tremendous skill and is a natural goalscorer; you can see that the way he nips in to score goals all the time. His ability, and the desire to play alongside him, was one of the main reasons why I went to Brighton in the first place.

I’d always fancied playing upfront wIth him after seeing him score so often earlier in the season. I jumped at the chance to join but I’ve had to put up with a lot of frustrations and disappointments, mainly through injury and my poor form. But I still believe in my own ability ~ make no mistake about that.

Peter Ward can be a world beater. He’s got great skill on the floor and we were Just beginning to show what we could do together, when I got my knee injury. That wrecked it but I’ll be back.

My strength and his skill, speed and ability to snap up any half chances can really do things for Brighton next season.

After Albion fired two blanks in their opening two fixtures, against Wrexham and Cambridge, a purple patch of ten goals in the eight matches between Maybank and Ward suggested the partnership was finally beginning to gel.


With Maybank bearing the brunt of the physical battle and Ward feeding off the scraps, the duo were able to find the way to goal, despite the former Fulham man not being blessed with the same touch and technique and ‘Magic’ not always being as selfless in the partnership. After a wonderful team performance against Burnley at Turf Moor in the League Cup, when Maybank got one and Ward grabbed two, including a rare one with his head, the goals suddenly dried up.

While Ward showed his goal touch against Nottingham Forest in mid-December, it took until a Boxing Day hat-trick for Maybank to hit the net again. By that point, it appeared to Mullery that a Maybank-Poskett (below) partnership was a better bet during the winter months.


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Why Malcolm Poskett asked Brighton for a transfer

With his gold chain, classic moustache and impressive goalscoring ability, the lanky marksman Malcolm Poskett became a favourite at the Goldstone in the late 1970s, following a £60,000 transfer from lowly Hartlepool in February 1978. All this despite competition from Peter Ward and Teddy Maybank.


With Maybank facing a cartilage operation, Poskett scored on each of his first two matches for the Seagulls, against Hull and Burnley before a cherished hat-trick at Bristol Rovers in April 1978.

This article is from Shoot! magazine in 1978/79, when Maybank had a firmer grip of the number nine shirt:


Malcolm Poskett’s brilliant goalscoring has been one of the most important reasons for Brighton’s rise up the Second Division table after a poor start to the season.

Yet earlier this term, the £60,000 striker had wanted to leave the Goldstone Ground.

He explains: “I felt I was playing well enough to be in the first team, but I wasn’t getting a chance. Peter Ward and Teddy Maybank had the two striking roles and I couldn’t see how I was going to get into the team. The boss, you see, doesn’t think it works for all three of us to play in the same side. And I couldn’t see either of the other two being dropped. I asked for a transfer and I was actually on the list for a few weeks.”

But then Alan Mullery asked me to withdraw my request and a short time afterwards, I was in the first team,

“I don’t really mind who I play alongside in the forward line, but I do seem to get on particularly well with Teddy Maybank. I prefer playing with a big target man up-front. It’s the way I used to play at Hartlepool.”

“My strengths are my control on the deck, going past people to get into shooting positions.” Incredibly, Poskett is in only his second full season of League football. Having been turned down by Jack Charlton at Middlesbrough as a youngster, he got a job as a plater and played part-time for Whitby.

But he didn’t hesitate when he got another chance of League football in the 1976-77 season even though the club after him were struggling Hartlepool.

Poskett decided to give himself two years to make the grade.

His career was made, he says, by Hartlepool manager Billy Horner. “When I first went there I was a lazy player. At Whitby I just used to hang around goal and wait for the ball to come to me. But Billy made me work hard – almost to the point of exhaustion sometimes. And he told me I’d play in the First Division one day.”

If Brighton’s goal record had been a little better, Poskett would be there now, But they missed out last season because Tottenham had a slightly better margin, though the teams finished level on points.

Even so, Poskett thinks it will turn out to be only a temporary setback. He thinks this season, Brighton will prove good enough for promotion.

“I think we’re as good as anybody in the Second Division, although it’s so close, any of ten teams could go up. There’s been no outstanding side so far, but I reckon Palace will make it: “I just want to keep banging the goals in, so that I stay in the Brighton side. With three of us: competing for the two places, I never believe I’m in the side until I pull the shirt over my head on Saturday afternoon.

“I’ve set myself a target of 20 goals this season. I got 16 in the League last season — ten at Hartlepool and six in 11 full games at Brighton.

“So I don’t think 20 should be beyond me. And if the other front lads get the same, we’ll be pretty sure of a place in Division One.”

In the end, Ward, Maybank and Poskett each hit the target in the League ten times in the 1978/79 season, with Poskett’s hat-trick at Charlton in December showing him at his most prolific. Helped by Brian Horton’s magnificent tally of eleven strikes in Division Two, Albion’s goalscorers provided the perfect platform for Albion to build a successful promotion campaign to Division One.

Poskett did not experience much First Division football with the Seagulls, however. A substitute in the first two matches of 1979/80, he lost his place only to return in a League Cup clash with Northampton, where he hit the winner. Spurred on by this, and Maybank failing a fitness test, Poskett was recalled for the away Division One fixture at West Bromwich Albion, where (below) he nodded in Peter Ward’s cross after 83 minutes. One First Division start, one goal. This was a very impressive ratio.


With no more appearances due to the blossoming Peter Ward-Ray Clarke partnership, Poskett was sold to Watford for £120,000 in January 1980. According to John Vinicombe, ‘Poskett went like a shot to Vicarage Road.’ There, he played his part in the Hornets’ eventual promotion to the top flight in 1982, hitting seventeen goals in 63 League games.

Poskett later had spells with Carlisle, Darlington, Stockport, and Carlisle and Hartlepool again before hanging up his boots. For a man who took a pay cut of £50 a week to play for Hartlepool in his first spell at the club, the striker had certainly grabbed his chance to play professional football.

(And if you wish to relive your days as a, erm, Posketteer, a Malcolm T-shirt could be yours from Cult Zeros).

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A greyhound called ‘Seagulls’


From the Brighton v Norwich programme in October 1979:

The greyhound recently adopted by the Albion and renamed ‘Seagulls’ has, since taking the Albion’s colours, been pretty successful. Despite being just about the youngest dog in the Grand Prix field she won her heat, came second in her quarter-final and then third in the semi-final to reach last Saturday’s final at Walthamstow.

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