Tag Archives: mascot

Gully is a girl!

As you can see, Gully looked rather different in its early 1990s form:


In the Seagulls News Autumn Edition 1991/92, the origins of Gully, the Brighton & Hove Albion mascot, was revealed:


Gully has been brought to life at the Albion by Mike Cuerden, the newly-appointed Press and Public Relations Manager.

Last year the character was used for the first time as a cartoon character in leaflets produced by Albion’s Lifeline Club.

Said Mike: “There was a good reaction to the character and I thought the club could benefit if the character
became life-size and was able to appear at various functions.”

He added that it was important that Gully should become a warm and friendly character which would enable the fans to identify with the image which “we at the Albion want to portray”.

“We are a friendly club who care very much for our fans, and if this enables us to get over the message all the better,” explained Mike.

According to the PR Manager, Gully also has an important role to play in ‘warming up’ the crowd before the kickoff. The appearance of Gully by the ‘dug-out’ heralds the arrival of the teams, encouraging enthusiastic support.

And to top it all, the magazine then shattered a million childhood illusions by revealing that Gully was a mere costume worn by a young woman:

Alison Norris

The secret is out! Gully, the Albion’s friendly, feathery mascot, is pretty 24-year-old Alison Norris.

The cheeky Brighton character introduced at the Goldstone Ground at the beginning of the season has become the darling of the fans and an established part of the soccer scene.

Performing different roles is no new activity for Littlehampton-born Alison, who went from her local comprehensive to the Cardiff Drama School six years ago.

“I really enjoy playing the part of Gully and I look forward to the home matches so that I can don the outfit and go out and about around the pitch,” said the slightly-built actress.

Alison, who currently manages a local restaurant, explained that she has appeared in plays ranging from dramas to comedies. She has already written six shows that have been performed for children and young adults.

“When I was asked to do Gully I was delighted,” explained Alison, who added: “I love making children happy and there is no doubt that Gully is a real personality that the fans look forward to seeing at home matches.”

It takes Alison just five minutes to don the outfit that consists of yellow tights, plastic feet, body outfit and head.

She added: “I’m getting to know many of the fans by name now. They even feed Gully. They have found out how to push sweets and crisps through the beak!”

* And just a quick reminder: This blog is coming to an end as a daily blog in 49 days, on 25th June 2014. The entire archive will remain online, and there will be occasional new posts but it won’t be a daily beast any more!

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Avoiding Jimmy Savile, here’s Jason’s big day with his Albion heroes

In the 1970s and 1980s, the Evening Argus newspaper was living in the dark ages compared with the lesser known West Sussex Gazette, which sometimes offered glorious technicolor coverage of Brighton & Hove Albion. I have a wonderful edition that shows the 1979 promotion parade in colour, but I’ll save that for another time.

Rolling on four years, Brighton were still in the First Division, but struggling to maintain its place in such lofty heights. Nevertheless, they were still hero-worshipped by Seagulls fans lucky enough to be growing up in the town at the time. On Thursday 27 January 1983, the West Sussex Gazette reported on a young mascot’s big day, one where he was made highly welcome by towering Albion skipper Steve Foster:


A dream came true for ten-year-old Jason Byrne on Saturday. He changed into football kit and led out the Brighton & Hove Albion team before their match against Luton.

Jason, who lives in Coombes Road, Steyning, regularly watches all the team’s home matches and has longed to meet his hero, player Peter Ward.

His grandfather, Mr Ernest Lidbetter, of Storrington, tried to arrange a meeting with the team by writing to Jimmy Savile. But when that failed he wrote direct to Brighton and Hove Albion themselves.

Yes, you read that right. Just as well!

So, Jason became mascot for the day to the team he avidly supports – and it was a double celebration for his family. His debut before the crowd was on his mother’s birthday.

“It could not have been a better birthday present. When I watched him lead the team out I was overwhelmed and it brought tears to my eyes, says Mrs Sandra Byrne after the match.

Jason’s father, Mr Michael Byrne, was also there to watch his son have a kick around with the Brighton team before the match. He had bought tickets for all of Jason’s grandparents so they could watch.

Jason is a very keen footballer and players for the under-11 team for Steyning Strikers. He is a pupil at Steyning Junior School.

He had his autograph taken with his team, and Peter Ward, and with the referee and now has a referee’s whistle from the match to remind him of his big day.

He kissed the coin for good luck before it was spun to start the game – but the two goals it brought Brighton was not enough: they lost 2-4.


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Double trouble for Mullers

alan mullery seagull

Were these stuffed seagulls available from the Club Shop? A Ron Pavey idea, perhaps?

The smaller one looks a bit cross-eyed.

Still, at least Mullery looks pleased with his catch.

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Brighton’s teddy bear

Alan Mullery is holding Albion’s one-time mascot…

teddy bear with alan mullery

Mark Lawrenson and teddy bear

…and so is Mark Lawrenson.

Why, you may ask, is Mark Lawrenson sitting holding a giant, cuddly teddy bear?

“After all the injuries I’ve had lately, any mascot is welcome,” explains the Brighton star. “I was out for ten weeks at the start of the season with severed ankle ligaments.”

Mullery is one of Mark’s greatest admirers, and Alan’s sure the kid from Preston can go to the very top.

“When I signed him I knew the lad had tremendous potential. Now people can see what I was talking about. I said he could be another Beckenbauer… and I stand by that.”

At 22, Mark is one of Britain’s rising young stars. To reach his full potential, he needs to steer clear of more serious injuries, And that’s why you’ll find him holding that teddy bear mascot down at the Goldstone!”

To read the full article of ‘Mark Lawrenson – Brighton’s Beckenbauer’ from the 1979/80 campaign, just click on the photo.

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