Tag Archives: moshe gariani

Moshe a winner!

In Soccer Monthly magazine, Albion fan Alan Hanking from Lewes puts enormous faith in the abilities of Israeli international Moshe Gariani. Maybe he ought to invest in one of these t-shirts?


Perhaps a footballer being ‘blinkered like a racehorse’ may give a reason as to why Moshe did not make it in First Division under Mullery or Bailey!

No matter, Moshe has cult hero status for Albion fans of the 1980s, not to mention this blog. One substitute appearance against Southampton, and that was it for Mr Enigma.

In a ceaseless search for the Israeli midfielder, one online interview for Gariani has been found. Apologies for the broken English:

1981-1982 season and he’s 23 years old, The little playmaker of Maccabi Netanya is taking a plane and lands in Brighton. It’s true, He didn’t see much pitch but 22 years ago it was something great for the Israeli football.

Q: Moshe, You are in cold and buttoned England?
A: You see what it’s like, Yes, me. In England, either you win or you loose – You finish the match day in the Pub, drinking and laughing. The score doesn’t matter. You went off of the pitch and that’s it! After a loose – You will not find a face of Av the 9th (a face of sadness cause Av the 9th is the day the Temple was ruined) like in Israel. In England they make a separation. You could see players, 45 minutes before the game, calling from the club to a gambling agent and put money on Horse Gambling. I also put money once and won 20 pounds.

Q: Hey, Listen. You actually have it.
A: Yes, eh? We were always together. Going to eat, playing Tennis,Golf, Squash, Horse racing and Billiard.

John Gregory was there, who became the manager of Aston Villa and Derby County after. You can be sure that it wasn’t boring, although in the end of the day everyone got back to their families and I was stuck alone, climbing on the walls.

Q: How is the English audience?
A: The audiance was alright. Not to much fanatical. Not once the fans met me on the street and told me that they don’t understand why the coach don’t let me play and that I deserve to play. In the newspaper there – I wasn’t to take an interest in so much cause they had only half a page of Sports and anyway, I didn’t know how to read the language so it didn’t interested me. But the Guys there were wonderfull.

There were couple of tricksters there, like the full back – Steve Foster. He had a very weak forehead. Every game he was getting on the pitch with a bandage on his head. He was also tricked in the runnings of the Cross Country and hiding behind the tree, till everybody came back. Those things remind me the things we used to do in Israel but the poor guy got fine on those things.

There was a great thing in Christmass. There is some kind of night there that everyone is getting masquerade. I was flow with that thing and put a costume of an American Indian and we got to couple of walks in Pubs and Discotheques, the guys went wild, ever place we left – we left chaos but we were forgive cause we were football players.

Q: In the end, You didn’t make it to the second season.
A: It could have been that if I was established I could have stayed but being alone drive me crazy. I was making pre season trainings in the second season and was in the reserves team. I remember we scored 9 goals to Dallas Texas, I scored 6 goals and the Americans offered me a contract of 150,000$ per season. Big money, but I was thinking at that time to go back home so I told them that I thank them for the money but I’m prefering to come back home.

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New arrivals hold the key in 1980/81


The 1980/81 Albion squad was probably the strongest in the club’s history. At least on paper. With their first season of top flight football behind them, Brighton looked to build on their experience, and were bolstered by Michael Robinson and Gordon Smith, two £400,000 captures. The Robinson-Ward striking partnership appeared to promise an avalanche of goals while Mark Lawrenson and Steve Foster seemed likely to keep things solid at the back.

It certainly didn’t pan out that way, which is perhaps testament to the outstanding contributions that Ray Clarke and Peter Suddaby made to the Brighton side. They both had a profound effect on Albion’s season when they joined mid-way in 1979/80. Their departures certainly coincided with a downturn in Albion fortunes, despite the opening day success, a comfortable 2-0 victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers in the sunshine at the Goldstone in August 1980.

An outstanding article by Dave Spurdens dissects the functioning of the Brighton team at the time:

Last season the First Division induced in Brighton the sort of timorous insecurity common to squatters awaiting removal from their borrowed abode.

No mean appraiser of life’s realities in the big league, Alan Mullery saw clearly that reinforcements would have to be moved up if Brighton was to grow from a rather crotchety tenant to an established mortgagee.

The departures of Ray Clarke, Peter Suddaby and Andy Rollings to pastures new heralded the expected re-jig and after a series of wrangles Mullery forked out a million pounds and came up with Gordon Smith, signed from Rangers, Ray McHale, the generator behind Swindon’s surge, Moshe Gariani, spotted in Israel during a club trip and finally, after much ado, Michael Robinson (below, middle), the Manchester City reject, unloaded by Malcolm Allison in a cut price deal.


Robinson went to the Goldstone Ground hopefully to prove that Allison had been right to buy him in the first place, but hopefully remiss in sending him packing after one short season.

Apart from those four it’s the same Brighton and at the end of the day success will depend on these players being better than those they have replaced, coupled with the experience of more prolonged First Division status.

Mullery’s prognostications that Brighton will cause a few surprises started off with a bang when Wolves, the team many tip to challenge the leaders, were reminded that the supposed no-hopers from the south would certainly not help them in their aspirations and were duly beaten by them 2-0.

The blend looked good. Smith, everybody in Brighton averred, was another Trevor Brooking. McHale’s industry was commendable and Robinson, if nothing else, confirmed that he was unlikely in the next few years to halve his value again. Robinson, whom nobody apart from Malcolm Allison thought a near million-pound player, now has to prove that he is a near half-million player.

The next game was not so auspicious but nevertheless, despite defeat, demonstrated Brighton’s senior status against another of this year’s tips for the great ‘Nick the title off Liverpool’ campaign, Ipswich.

Taken all round in victory and defeat, this new-look Brighton is a tight outfit with a very solid back four, a midfield that is directed by skipper Brian Horton and a front line that once gets to know itself could produce problems for even the best.


Horton (above), a ubiquitous character, has an influence in the three lines slotting into the back whenever Mark Lawrenson takes off for advanced territory, running the midfield and going on occasional forays behind his front three whenever the opportunity presents itself.

In four seasons at Brighton, since he arrived from Port Vale, he has matured into an integrating force with a strong sense of how to exploit time and space. His influence gives Brighton a varied tempo and a less predictable pattern of advance.


Horton (above) plays a complete midfield role and his defensive work is tenacious and very professional.

Unlike his two midfield colleagues, who allow players to steal goalside oblivious of the pressure it puts on the back four players, Horton is an expert tracker and uses his experience to transfer marking responsibilities when he feels he is being pulled too far away from crucial zones.


McHale (above), though he operated well forward, is an industrious player busily looking for possession from the man with the ball, but he is not so aware of the damage those without the ball can do.

Neil McNab falls into the same trap of being less than attentive to those who ghost behind his area of concentration. On the ball, he has the look of threatening competence as he moves forward with control. The final pass is often less incisive than anticipated, and some of his forward probes are too easily read by those who should be troubled by them.

Brighton’s build-up when started by Horton or full-back John Gregory is patient and constructive, but tends to be a fifteen-yard game which is easily closed down by good defenders or by teams that fall off and vacate the midfield space.

With a build-up like this, one waits frustratingly for the breakthrough from the back or the run into space which has been created by the diagonal drift of their build up.

So often play develops from the right to left, dragging opposition players with it and leaving large spaces into which back or midfield players should be running in order to exploit opportunities on the blind side.

Even when they are developing their game around the midfield, and where the opposition is turned minimally, there is still a great need for play to be switched once the options have closed down on one flank or the other.

If there was a major reason, in their second game, why their opponents could sit reasonably comfortably it was this tendency to attack in straight lines.


It has been generally accepted by the Seasiders that (above) Lawrenson’s best role is at the centre of the back four.

Certainly with he and Steve Foster at the heart of the defence there is a solidarity that will stand them in good stead whenever they play.

Brighton’s resources probably dictate this policy, lacking the luxury of being able to use players in their perfect role.

I thought Lawrenson playing in front of the two centre-backs last season was more effective because of the strength of his forward runs, and he didn’t have the worry of leaving gaps at the back.


Foster (above) is playing better than ever alongside Lawrenson, with tireless courage and aggression.

There are those who feel him to be one of the best young centre-backs in the country. Against Ipswich, it was interesting to see him with the two favourite contenders for the spots currently held so securely by Thompson and Watson.

Under far greater pressure, Foster made several early errors – especially when it came to picking up high balls on the edge of the box. But once he settled down, he looked the equal to anybody aspiring to international status.


At full back, Gregory (above) turn in his usually immaculate performance both defensively and creatively when he plays the ball forward, but his energy in getting forward into good space seems seriously curtailed. Whether through disinclination or orders, only the player and his manager can know.


On the other flank, young Gary Williams (above) gives the impression that, unless he tightens up on his jockeying to players who run at him withthe ball, he could be in for a skinning before the season gets much older.

The rest of his game seems to be developing well and the way he linked up with the centre-back in the middle when his partner had been pulled out wide suggests he is learning his craft quickly.


Behind this promising back four Graham Moseley (above) looks quick and agile, enjoying the confidence of those in front of him.

There are times when he could be more positive in his communication but I suspect his diffidence may be prompted by the perpetual dialogue conducted by Foster just in front of him.

The 1980/81 season turned out to be another one of struggle as Brighton’s reshaped side blew hot and cold in the First Division. After the opening day victory over Wolves, it took another six games to record another League victory. Peter Ward left for Nottingham Forest in the middle of a ten match winless spell from late September that saw Brighton vacate the League Cup and marooned at the bottom of Division One by mid-November. Then, a surprise 1-0 win over League leaders Ipswich Town kick-started a brief run of good form. After another slump in the New Year, when Brighton won just twice in fifteen matches, the Seagulls saved themselves with a miraculous spell of four wins in four matches at the end of the season.

This late form showed what Mullery’s most accomplished looking side was capable of. However, it was not without its flaws, as journalist Dave Spurdens capably showed. Although Michael Robinson came good with 22 goals, this did not fully paper over the cracks. When Mike Bailey took over in the summer of 1981, another re-jig of the squad was in the pipeline.

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Rare video: Summer of ’81- team photo shoot at the Goldstone


A wonderful glimpse of life at the Goldstone in the summer of 1981, with a shot of Moshe Gariani and co getting it together for the pre-season photo shoot, plus interviews with new Albion men Mike Bailey and Tony Grealish.

And, blimey, Michael Robinson signs a ten year contract! Whatever he was doing in pre-season in 1991, it was certainly not at the Goldstone Ground.

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Stick your Muhren and Thijssen. We’ve got two Israeli internationals!


In the early 1980s, when foreign imports were rare, Tottenham had the duo Osvaldo Ardiles and Ricardo Villa, and Ipswich Town had Arnold Muhren and Frans Thijssen. Despite Brighton making a play for Peruvian World Cup stars Percy Rojas and Juan Carlos Oblitas in February 1979, nothing happened despite both featuring in a match behind closed doors at Hove Greyhound Stadium.

Eventually, though, we had Moshe Gariani and Jacob Cohen. You can see these two gods of Israeli football together in this image above, with Cohen on the right sporting the larger perm. I hope you’re grateful as, to track it down, it required much buying of Israel international football programmes from the 1980s, on the off-chance of a photo of the pair!

It took until May 1980 for Brighton & Hove Albion to join the growing trend of bringing ‘continentals’ into the First Division. The Seagulls had played a friendly match against the Israeli national team, managed by ex-Albion player Jack Mansell, in February 1980, triumphing 2-1 at the Ashkelon Stadium via goals from Mark Lawrenson and Peter Ward. Suitably impressed by the performance of opposition player Moshe Gariani, Mullery bought the 22 year old’s services for £40,000 three months later.

BBC reporter Alan Green (yes, that one) described Gariani as “one of Israel’s big successes. Looks very like Kevin Keegan and runs like him as well! Plays mostly on the left-hand side but always tries to keep in the thick of the action.”

Thanks to Paul from Cult Zeros, I’ve found this impressive footage of Gariani scoring for Maccabi Nathanya in the side’s 1979/80 championship-winning season:

As part of the transfer, Brighton played Maccabi Nethanya for the world-renowned Jewish Chronicle Cup in July 1980.

In 1980/81, Shoot! Magazine reported:

The club’s line-up is unlikely to bear the name of Mullery’s fourth signing in the early stages of this season. The club’s coaches reckon Moshe Gariani will take at least four months to adapt before he is tried in the First Division, but more than one of the experts is confident Gariani, an aggressive midfield player who runs hard at defenders, will be pushing McNab hard if the former Bolton player fails to produce the goods.


Much earlier than expected, Gariani was an unused sub in the 2-2 draw at Tottenham in August 1980 before playing seventeen minutes of First Division football at Southampton the following month, after coming on for Gerry Ryan in a 3-1 defeat. Three matches later, the Israeli was again an unused substitute in the 2-1 League Cup home defeat against chocolate shirted Coventry. And that was that. Gariani had no other opportunities to impress in the first team. Although he featured in some pre-season squad photo shoots for the following campaign, he was sold to Tel Aviv in August 1981.

In between Gariani’s one appearance and his departure, Brighton fans were treated to the similarly brief English football career of his Israeli compatriot Jacob Cohen.

Jacob Cohen (or ‘Yaacov Cohen’ as he was often listed in international match programmes) had already been an Israeli international for four years by the time he arrived at Brighton in August 1980 for a trial. Once more, Jack Mansell played a part, recommending Cohen who was watched by Albion chief scout Jimmy Melia. Eventually, £40,000 was enough to buy him in October 1980. jacobcohen

Having made his debut as substitute in a 0-0 stalemate at Stoke City that month, Cohen (filling in for the injured Gary Williams) followed up with three successive starting appearances in the left-back position, against Manchester City, Arsenal and Middlesbrough. Unfortunately, all three matches were lost but still, that’s quite a lot of minutes more than Gariani managed at the Goldstone.

Having been substituted against Middlebrough, Cohen then lost the number three shirt to Gary Stevens and had to be content with two more substitute appearances, at Leeds in November and then a home win against Sunderland in early December, before his Albion career also petered out. He joined Israeli side Bethsheba FC after the 1980/81 season ended. In the Northern Ireland v Israel programme from November 1981, BBC reporter Alan Green says after his short stay at Brighton, Cohen “went back to Israel a very disappointed man.” He describes Cohen as “very much an attacking back in the Sammy Nelson mould but consequently leaves plenty of space for right-wingers.”

The following season, Brighton made do by signing the real Sammy Nelson, joining in a £30,000 deal from Arsenal.

As for the homeward bound Israel internationals, not much is widely known about what happened to their careers after. Never mind, though. Because Cult Zeros, a company that specialises in custom-made football T-shirts of celebrated and not-so-celebrated players, have launched a range of Moshe Gariani and Jacob Cohen t-shirts. And they look fantastic! I went with this design:


You can buy the Jacob Cohen T-shirt here

And the Moshe Gariani tee here

I had some thoughts about some slogan ideas. How about these?


And if you’re worried about space, you can make room in your wardrobe possibly by throwing your ‘Hola Gus’ T-shirt out.

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A trophy at last – The Jewish Chronicle Cup

jewish chronicle cup

Who says the Albion have not triumphed in international club competitions?

A magnificent Albion performance leads to Brighton triumphing 2-0 against mighty Maccabi Netanya in the Jewish Chronicle Cup at the Goldstone in 1980, thanks to goals by Ray McHale and Peter Sayer.

Mark Lawrenson is presented with the trophy by newspaper editor Geoffrey Paul.

Two seasons on, the Cup maintains pride of place at the Goldstone. Until Fred Dineage breaks it!

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