Tag Archives: mark lawrenson

Meridian TV: Goodbye Goldstone

Bill Archer gives the show a touch of the surreal

Bill Archer gives the show a touch of the surreal

Yesterday on North Stand Chat, a user called The Great Gatsbt answered a request by posting the infamous hour-long special on Brighton’s plight, on Sunday 9th February 1997:

It makes for remarkable viewing. As Foster’s Headband remarked:

Bellotti and Archer were on telling the usual lies and a few very irate fans. Tony Millard, John Vinnicombe, Atilla, Paul Samarah, Alan Mullery, Mark Lawrenson, Gerry Ryan all had their say and Ivor Caplin who proved that both Archer and Bellotti to be lying about a supposed planning application they had put in, but Caplin informed the programme this had already been refused.

Here is an extract from Stephen North and Paul Hodson’s ‘Build a Bonfire’ (p.166-167) about the show:

WARREN CHRISMAS: We’d all had such a great time at Fans United and everyone was still buzzing on the coach going over to Meridian to record the programme. We weren’t made to feel very welcome and it was a bad programme. It was bad PR for Albion supporters, it just didn’t go right. At the beginning of the programme Geoff Clarke says there will be plenty of opportunity for Albion’s fans to ask questions, and there never was and before we knew it, it was over and it wasn’t until it was over that everybody started to get really angry.

PAUL SAMRAH: Fans United on the Saturday was a brilliant day – the Sunday, the ‘Goodbye Goldstone’ debate on Meridian TV, was a disaster. We went in there rather naively thinking that all the facts surrounding the furore about the club will be explained in a balanced view and it wasn’t. Dick Knight was not going to attend because Bill Archer wouldn’t attend. Well, to our surprise Bill Archer was there, David Bellotti had the cheek to turn up and also arrived with his wife which was even more galling because in our negotiations with Bellotti he’d asked us to refrain from any verbal or other attacks on his wife and we naturally assumed that, really, she would take a back seat.

Regrettably things got out of hand and we didn’t get our case across in a professional way and it ended up being a shouting match and I was glad the programme ended when it did because I think we could have done our cause an awful lot of harm.

Bellotti is brilliant in front of the cameras, he’s a superb guy in an interview – he can answer a subsidiary question and miss the main question.

Archer came across as a nice guy sitting in a studio in Liverpool.

As soon as I came out of the debate I rang Dick Knight and said, ‘Did you know that Archer was appearing?’ and he told CEDR because it was a CEDR agreement that they wouldn’t go. Driving back the 60 miles from Southampton we felt cheated, we felt hijacked and the most annoying thing was that we knew it was down to us. It wasn’t anybody else really that had let us down, it was ourselves that let ourselves down.

LIz COSTA: The ‘Goodbye Goldstone’ programme was a total triumph for Archer and Bellotti. And this having taken place a week after Bellotti had said to us, ‘Please leave my wife alone’, he brought her into that studio. She had nothing whatsoever to do with that programme – she had no input, was not expected to have any input.
Archer was there with a patch over his eye, we were told, because he had corneal problems. The neutrals, the people who didn’t really know what was going on or had chosen not to take any notice, must have thought, ‘What the hell are the supporters on about? Archer and Bellotti are so totally feasible.’ Well, that’s how they bloody wriggled their way in in the first place, by being feasible.

TONY FOSTER: To some extent we were stitched up on that – as far as I’m concerned so was Dick Knight and the consortium. Things were edited, we had to re-do quite a bit and at the end of the programme re-record certain bits that probably didn’t come across on the programme.

PAUL SAMRAH: I am afraid it was the low point of our campaign.

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High-flying Seagulls come down with a bump

A magnificent cover for Football Today magazine in July 1991:

gary chivers, nicky bissett

High flying action as Nicky Bissett and Gary Chivers battle against Notts County’s Dave Regis in the 1991 Play-Off Final at Wembley.

Inside the magazine, the round-up reports that Mark Lawrenson has started work as a PFA advisor to players on contracts, signing on fees, transfers and pensions ‘proving to players that they don’t need the services of an expensive agent. Their own union will do it for them.’ It also reports that Lawrenson has started playing for Corby in the Beazer Homes League as well as renovating a pub in Oxfordshire.

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Panini Football 81 – a Brighton watershed

Brighton fans may have initially balked at getting a sticker album with Crystal Palace’s Gerry Francis on the cover, but I’m sure they got over it!

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Besides, Palace’s season was a disaster. They even had four different managers during the course of the 1980/81 season, none that could arrest their slump. Even Ray Wilkins’ side, Manchester United, sacked theirs, ex-Albion player Dave Sexton, at the end of their own disappointing campaign.

And Brighton? It was a watershed season for us too. Potentially Albion’s strongest squad had flattered to deceive. Peter Suddaby had played a major role in 1979/80 but injury meant he never did play in the new all-blue Adidas kit. Mullery resigned at the end of the 1980/81 season, and the reliable John Gregory was another departure, to QPR. While he stayed, Graham Moseley was deeply unsettled, rocked by a loss of form, the signing of Perry Digweed as well, as Mullery’s stinging criticism of the erstwhile number one keeper at the Goldstone:

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Interesting to see Mark Lawrenson listed here as a midfielder. He had performed that role admirably in the second half of 1979/80. Would Albion fortunes have been different had he stayed there in 1980/81? He, alongside Ward and Horton, also departed the Goldstone not long after the publication of this album. We are also treated to a rare shot of Peter Sayer in our new fangled Adidas kit. Sayer was an unused sub on the opening day match against Wolves before leaving for Preston North End.

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Notable absences here are Perry Digweed, Gary Stevens and Andy Ritchie, all of whom made a significant number of appearances during the course of the season.

This album is notable for the first appearance of team groups being made up of two stickers rather than one. Looking through the album, there are some alignment issues with some team groups, but happily, the Brighton one looks fine.

Second Division clubs were also given the half and half treatment, and it’s possible to clearly see Ray Clarke at his new club, Newcastle United. Even Third Division clubs were covered by Panini at the time, albeit with a single sticker team photo. 15mm tall in Charlton’s team sticker was Mike Bailey. Little did Albion fans know it in 1980/81, he would be man to bring forth a new era to the Goldstone, and a whole lot of new player stickers to collect!

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Watching Forest at the Town Hall

From Football Handbook (part 25):

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In a scintillating League Cup Quarter-Final, Alan Mullery’s men put on a great performance against the reigning English League champions and League Cup holders on 13th December 1978. The Seagulls succumbed to a 3-1 defeat against Clough’s side that retained the trophy and then also lifted the European Cup that season.

An estimated 5,000 Albion supporters cheered the Seagulls on at the City Ground. However, the support would have been even more if two of the three charter trains had not broken down en route.

In the Brighton v Stoke programme from 1978/79, there is a nice piece on how the club in January that season made it up to the supporters who missed this exciting cup tie:

With all the recent bad weather there has been a lot of work for the Promotions Office with re-arranging trains, etc. But one event that we had to work particularly hard on was the film showing of the Notts Forest Albion League Cup quarter-final. It was, of course, staged for the benefit of our unlucky supporters who were stranded on the two special trains which didn’t reach the City Ground.

Just under 1,000 people attended Hove Town Hall for the evening last Tuesday and several of the players came along to the delight of the supporters. The row shown in the picture shows the lads really enjoying some of their glory moments.

Some of the comments from the players made commentator Hugh Johns’ sound almost an amateur. Naturally everyone hopes we would never again have a similar situation but we hope supporters will agree that we’ve done our very best to make up for the disappointment.

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Each one of the audience at Hove Town Hall was even issued with a black and white copy of the matchday programme:

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Update 26/12/15: Two of the goals (from John McGovern and John Robertson) made it into the recent ‘I Believe in Miracles’ film:

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Panini Football 80 – Brighton’s first double spread

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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!

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1979-80-panini-p2

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:

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

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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!

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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

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

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New signing John Gregory juggles the ball.

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

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Gary Williams carries the ball out against Blackburn.

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

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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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Teddy’s hat-trick triumph

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Argus journalist John Vinicombe was in a happy mood, describing Brighton’s 5-0 annihilation of Cardiff City in December 1978. Helped by three goals from Teddy Maybank, the handsome result put the Seagulls in third place in Division Two:

Albion’s form in the two Christmas matches – at Charlton and yesterday against Cardiff City at the Goldstone – was nothing less than superb.

From the 3-0 success at The Valley, where Malcolm Poskett scored a second half hat-trick, Albion carried on where they left off when Cardiff arrived at the Goldstone.

And there to greet them was a numbing goal in the first 23 seconds by Gary Williams and Teddy Maybank bagging his first hat-trick for the club.

But for the courage of goalkeeper Ron Healey, City would have been taken for a cricket score.

The 5-0 victory was easily Albion’s most convincing display so far and helped lift them to third spot in the table as all the results went their way.

Before a ball was kicked, Albion knew that close rivals West Ham had crashed to a shock home defeat at the hands of Orient.

Albion needed six goals to eclipse them on goal difference alone, and the situation now is that Brighton have won more games (12) than any other side. On this form they face the New Year with confidence.

If Charlton were just as comprehensively outclassed as Cardiff, it should be borne in mind that Charlton picked up yesterday to take a point at Stoke.

Other results in Albion’s favour were the 1-0 defeat of Newcastle United at Bramall Lane and Sunderland dropping a point at home to Leicester City.

And while West Ham came tumbling down, there was a similar upset at Selhurst Park, where leaders Crystal Palace suffered a 1-0 defeat by Bristol Rovers.

This is a traditional time for crazy results, but there was no hint of Albion slipping up. I cannot recall them playing so consistently welt for the entire 90 minutes as Cardiff reeled under a succession of tremendous blows.

Never mind Cardiff’s bad away record… they had toppled Fulham in their previous match and are desperate to avoid the drop.

Not once did they remotely look like upsetting Albion’s approach, and it was realty a case of how many goals would finish in City’s net.

The three deposited by Maybank will do wonders for his morale. In a twinkling, a much-maligned player has earned many new admirers, although those who watch the side home and away will testify to his voracious work rate.

Significantly, Mark Lawrenson played a part in all three Maybank goals, and if there is a more gifted player in the division, I have yet to see him.

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When Maybank headed Albion’s second at 23 minutes it was his first at home for nearly a year! He last hit the Go!dstone net on January 21 against Mansfield and it is almost four months since he scored away from home.

The way has been far from easy for Maybank, but now that the spell is broken I look forward to his luck changing.

Although his damaged ankle ligaments are healed, there was no place for Peter Ward. How could Alan Mullery have changed the side that dazzled at Charlton? Now he has what managers like to call a ‘nice problem’. With nearly half the season remaining there will be plenty of chances for Ward to get back, but the good of the club comes first and personal feelings second.

It must be satisfying for Mullery to have found the touch with his players at such an important time. Aibion were long overdue for a good Christmas. but I don’t think even the most devoted fan thought in terms of two wins and eight goals!

The heavy conditions yesterday suited Albion, and skipper Brian Horton showed himself master of the long ball. Peter Sayer and Peter O’Sullivan ran and worked so hard that there was nothing for Cardiff to create. And Lawrenson, always ready to go on runs at Charlton. was equally hungry yesterday. He inspired that much confidence in Andy Rollings to mind the shop with the ever vigilant Chris Catilin to provide additional cover.

Twelve minutes from the end, Lawrenson limped off with a touch of cramp. It was a wise move to pull him out at that stage, as Cardiff’s defence lay in tatters.

Without any buses, the crowd was kept down to 20,172, but surely there must be a good 28,000 for Saturday’s visit of Newcastle.

They should prove a sterner test than Charlton or Cardiff, but in this mood I doubt if Albion care very much who they play.

Shrewd Mullery had the players in on Christmas morning to be weighed. Not one was a pound over – testimony to their professionalism. I lost count of the bails on Cardiff’s goal. Lawrenson hit the post early on, and midway through the first hall Poskett’s shot was deflected on to the bar. Two other Poskett efforts missed by narrow margins, and twice Maybank went very close and so, for good measure, did Cattlin.

When referee Tony Cox sounded the final whistle it was a merciful release for Cardiff, who were reduced to the stature of a park team.

One minute: The stopwatch showed 23 seconds when Williams hit a swerving shot from just inside the box from a pinpointed Poskett centre (1-0).
Twenty three minutes: A long ball from Lawrenson found Sayer and he quickly picked up Sully. When the ball came over to the far post, Maybank was in with his head (2-0).
Forty three minutes: A finely worked move involving five players ended when Ryan flicked across for Maybank. He pitched headlong when he shoved in the back by Roberts, and Horton nearly took the back of the net out from the spot (3-0).
Forty-eight minutes: A run of 20, maybe 25 yards by Lawrenson took him down the right, and the hard, low cross was met by Maybank with a diving header (4-0).

Jubilant Maybank completes his hat-trick

Jubilant Maybank completes his hat-trick

Sixty-two minutes: An almost identical move: Lawrenson raiding yet again, and Maybank getting in to force the ball home (5-0).

Albion: Moseley; Cattlin, Williams, Horton, Rollings, Lawrenson, Ryan. Poskett, Maybank, Sayer, O’Sullivan. Sub: Clark for Lawrenson (withdrawn), 78 minutes.
Cardiff City: Healey; Thomas, Pethard, Campbell, Roberts, Larmour. Attley, Stevens, Evans, Dwyer, Lewis. Sub: Bishop for Stevens (withdrawn), 63 minutes.
Referee: Mr T. Cox (South Croydon).
Bookings: Campbell (foul).
Attendance: 20,172
Albion Jackpot: Pink 88107 – £105; yellow, 1609 – £57.50; pink, 94905 – £34.50; yellow. 3819 – £23.

From his moment of triumph, Teddy Maybank didn’t quite run into a rich vein of goalscoring form. He popped up with the opener against Leicester City in early February at the Goldstone before embarking on another fruitless spell in front of goal. A sending off against Sheffield United in March threatened to curtail his participation in the final run-in as Mullery moved quickly to sign Martin Chivers as a stop-gap.

However, three goals in the last four matches meant Maybank ended the season with a bang. It was ample reward for a forward who unselfishly did the donkey work to create space for his more fleet-footed colleagues.

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Shoot Cover: Mark Lawrenson (22 December 1979)

Originally scheduled for yesterday’s post for The Goldstone Wrap was this Shoot! magazine cover from the final few days of the 1970s:

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In the current edition of The Seagulls Love Review fanzine, Jem Stone wrote that:

a commanding strong tall young holding player won the ball with ease, stood up and strode away from the penalty box. He picked up speed, looked up, past one player, past two and shook off opponents and still kept going.

Can you guess which of Oscar Garcia’s players this is?

Jem Stone was watching a current Albion star who reminds him of Mark Lawrenson.

Challenging for the ball with Arsenal’s Alan Sunderland in the Shoot! cover above, I wonder if the former Preston man was about to get the better of the Gunners striker and embark on one of those trademark surges.

Going through an archive of vintage Brighton footage, I found several of Lawro’s runs that rather give the wonderful impression of him as an attacking sweeper, in the style of a Beckenbauer. While by no means exhaustive, here are a few of them:

1977/78
Lawrenson’s penetrating dribble at White Hart Lane at the end of the first half looks to have run out of steam but he still salvages a corner:

1978/79
Against Orient, Lawrenson cuts through the midfield like a knife through butter but then meets his match and Ralph Coates scores in the ensuing counter-attack:

1979/80
OK, not so much of a dribble by Lawrenson here, but the winning of the under hit pass shows the advantage of having a recognised defender in an advanced position:

1980/81
An amazing slaloming run that leads the defence of Aston Villa, eventual League champions, a merry dance, only let down by the finish:

The footage I really wanted was of Lawrenson’s famous solo run and goal against Wolves in the FA Cup in 1978/79. John Vinicombe described the ninth minute goal like this:

Vintage Lawrenson. He began a run from deep inside his own half, weaving past defender after defender. From the edge of the box, he shot and the ball bounced once before flying past Bradshaw’s right hand.

Sadly, I don’t think there was ever a video recording of that. Just like Garry Nelson’s glorious goal at Brentford in the 1980s, this one is lost to history.

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Mark Lawrenson expresses his love for Brighton down the years

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One of the myths that has snowballed down the years has been that Mark Lawrenson does not ever acknowledge his time with Brighton & Hove Albion, or that he has only done so in recent times when the club has been on an upward trajectory. However, a read of his autobiography from 1988 suggests a different story:

I loved Brighton as soon as I saw the place, bright, bustling and cosmopolitan, and the football club was on a high. They had just been promoted to the Second Division and everything was looking good.

What I did not realise when I arrived was that I was taking the place of Graham Cross, the former Leicester player, who had enjoyed a tremendous season in Brighton’s promotion run. There were a few mutterings in the dressing room about this unknown teenager from Preston but Alan Mullery soon silenced them and made it very clear that he was backing me to the hilt. It was the first time I had been away from home but it did not seem to matter. Most of the Brighton players had been recruited from different parts of the country and there were very few locals in the team. There were never any problems about settling in because the majority of the players were in the same boat so we tended to stick together.

I defy anyone not to like living in Brighton. I could see myself staying there permanently long after my football career was over, that’s how much I liked the place, and it seemed that the club would be successful for a long time to come. We just missed out on promotion to the First Division in my first year, but it would happen 12 months later. The town was football daft and we were getting gates of 24,000 on a regular basis at the Goldstone Ground.

Into the 1990s, Lawrenson was again happy to talk about his Albion days as some of the happiest of his career. In ‘Soccer in the ’70s’ on TVS and one of Gary Lineker’s first TV presenting jobs, he spoke warmly of his time at the club (from 3 minutes onwards):

Fast forward to the 2000s, and as he explained to Spencer Vignes in ‘A Few Good Men’, his time down south remains firmly in his affection:

‘Brighton was just great. I’m sure everyone you’ve spoken to who went there has said the same thing. In terms of fun and everything it was just the best, apart from big Al occasionally going mental at us after games. It was a great time to be there with a great set of players and fantastic supporters. So many wonderful memories, both on the playing side and the social.’

And if that wasn’t enough, in the 2010s, he helped present the edition of Football Focus live from the Amex, on the day of the match v Doncaster, and posed in front of his ‘Legends’ banner.

It certainly makes for a juicy story to say that one of Brighton’s best ever players pretends he never played for us. It makes a even better one to add that, as Oxford manager, Lawrenson took advantage of his hard-up former club to ‘steal’ Dean Saunders from us for just £60,000 in 1987. Nevertheless, it isn’t actually true. Maurice Evans was the Oxford manager at the time that Saunders left the Goldstone and, as you can see here, there are ample examples to show that Lawrenson has sung the praises of Brighton in terms of the town (as it was then), his playing days and the current successful times.

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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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