Tag Archives: neil martin

When Albion walloped Watford 3-0 at Vicarage Road


Brighton were mostly dreadful away from home under Peter Taylor in the mid-1970s, and Fred Binney usually less than effective. But every dog has its day, as this FA Cup victory on 22nd November 1975 showed. Here’s John Vinicombe’s account that Saturday afternoon:

Albion took Watford apart in the first round of the FA Cup before a 9,283 Vicarage Road crowd this afternoon.

Watford, in the wrong half of Division IV, were outclassed and lucky to escape with a 3-0 hiding.

Albion had it all their own way, taking the lead at 32 minutes through Neil Martin. A brief Watford revival was snuffed out as Albion turned on the power and Fred Binney sewed it up with goals at 55 and 82 minutes, bringing his tally for the season to 13.

Albion were given a great ovation by fully 2,000 fans, many of whom had travelled by charter train.

It was one of Albion’s best Cup performances in recent seasons and their first win at Watford in six visits. This was Albion’s fourth away win and quite the most emphatic.

Mellor put Watford in a state of panic with a fierce cross that caught Rankin out of position but at this early stage there was only one team in it.

Watford had a goal disallowed at 20 minutes when Bond crossed smartly and Horsfield hooked the ball into the net, but was ruled to have handled.

Tiler had three fine runs and each time Watford resorted to desperate measures to check Binney and Martin (twice). Then Lees was glad to turn Fell’s low cross behind and Joslyn was a wee it lucky when he headed clear but only just missing the far post.The pressure ultimately brought a goal at 32 minutes. Fell took Albion’s ninth corner, Mellor ghosted away from his shadow and headed the ball on to the far post where Martin met it at full pelt and blasted Albion into the lead from point blank.

Fred Binney - double delight

Fred Binney – double delight

After 56 minutes Binney scored his 12th goal of the season after Mr Daniels had played the advantage rule when Martin was fouled on the half-way line.

The ball then ran to Mellor with Mr Daniels waving play on and the pass arrowed fully 25 yards to Binney who timed his run to perfection. He accelerated past Garner and as Rankin came out drilled a brilliant goal.

Eight minutes from the end Binney scored a classic goal. Just outside the box he gained possession and with his back to goal did not seem to pose any danger – or at least so Watford thought.

Within a flash he turned like lightning and placed a low left-footer to the far corner, catching Rankin wrong-footed.

Albion: Grummitt, Tiler, Wilson, Machin, Piper, Burnett, Fell, O’Sullivan, Binney, Martin, Mellor. Sub: Kinnear.

Watford: Rankin, Howe, Akers, Joselyn, Lees, Garner, Scullion, Bond, Horsfield, Jenkins, Walsh. Sub: Greenhigh.
Referee: Mr B.H. Daniels (Brentwood).
Attendance: 9,283.

The victory was Albion’s fourth on the trot. It was helped by Fred Binney’s outstanding goal touch. He was in a glorious spell of seven goals in just six matches. Despite Fred being on the scoresheet again on 3rd January 1976, Albion’s interest in the FA Cup was ended at the third round stage, losing 2-1 at the Goldstone to Southend.

Tagged ,

European Sky Blues – the future Albion stars that beat Bayern Munich

The proof-readers must have been on holiday, because the matchday programme for Brighton’s recent pre-season friendly with Norwich City carried this juicy blunder:

Norwich are the only English side to have beaten Bayern Munich in European competition.

Well, apart from Arsenal, Aston Villa, Chelsea, Everton, Manchester United and Tottenham, of course. Three of those were in the final of the European Cup (or Champions League), so it was a sizeable gaffe that deserves to be squelched. And, in an act that might inspire some Jimmy Hill chin-stroking style incredulity, Coventry City have also defeated Bayern Munich. Yes, that’s right. And it was in the decade when Bayern were crowned champions of Europe three times. What is more, the Sky Blues did it with a quite a few players who went on to ply their trade with Brighton & Hove Albion several years later.


Autumn 1970. Ex-Eire international midfielder Pat Saward had recently left the coaching staff at Coventry City, where he had nurtured the youngsters of Highfield Road to the FA Youth Cup Final for the second time in three seasons. However, now a much bigger challenge loomed, as the prospect of relegation threatened to engulf his first campaign as Brighton manager. Having finished fifth in the previous campaign under Freddie Goodwin, Albion had started 1970/71 with a measly two wins in ten matches. So Saward went back to old club to replenish his side in the face of an injury crisis. He emerged with the reserves’ tough centre-half Ian Goodwin on loan. As John Vinicombe wrote of Saward in the Evening Argus:

He well remembered Goodwin, a 6ft central defender, who at 20 was still learning his trade. Goodwin, all 13st of him, had lost his first team place after four appearances when City splashed £100,000 on Wednesday’s Wilf Smith.

The transfer struck a chord with Saward, who during his career at City had tried to sign Goodwin’s younger brother. Ian only turned up at Highfield Road as a driver for the 15-year-old kid. Saward recalled: “We happened to be short of a player and asked Ian to show us what he could do and he turned in such a good performance that he had a month’s trial and stayed.”

Two years later Goodwin answered Saward’s SOS and breezed into the office, declaring: “Have no fear, Goodwin is here.” That self introduction was typical of Goodwin, who became a breath of fresh air to Albion’s dressing room.

“You can relax,” he beamed. “From now on it’s going to be wins all the way.” Now Saward was no mean motivator himself, but with Goodwin having joined the ranks, initially on a short-term arrangement, spirits began to soar.

Goodwin’s boast proved empty as Albion continued to fall, from 17th place in early November to as low as 23rd in late March 1971 before rallying to finish a respectable 14th position.

As for Coventry, the Sky Blues had much, much bigger fish to fry. The Midlanders had finished sixth in the First Division in 1969/70, which opened the way to the first and only European campaign in their history, in the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup. Once they progressed past the first round, having beaten Trakia Plovdiv 4-1 in Bulgaria before a 2-0 win at Highfield Road, Coventry then drew mighty Bayern Munich.

The Sky Blues line-up at the Olympic Stadium in Munich was:
McManus, Coop, Cattlin, Machin, Blockley, Strong, Hunt, Carr, Martin, O’Rourke, Clements.

cov-chriscattlin2So that’s three players there that went on to join Brighton. Left-back on the night was the ever-dependable Chris Cattlin. He had a distinguished career at Highfield Road after signing from Huddersfield for a record fee for a full-back, £80,000, in March 1968. On the Sent From Coventry blog he said recently: “I was a long, lanky lump and I wouldn’t dive in. I’d trap the attackers in the corner then wallop them. I had a great relationship with the fans at Coventry. They knew what they were going to get from me.” He was transferred to Brighton for no fee in summer 1976 as Peter Taylor’s last signing for the Albion, and his stiffening of the defence (when ousting Ken Tiler from right-back mid-way through the season) made such a huge contribution to Brighton clinching promotion to Division One in 1978/79.

cov-machinMidfielder Ernie Machin also played in Germany on that evening. This energetic and skilful player eventually came to the Goldstone Ground via Plymouth in summer 1974. Although he was appointed captain, he never settled on the south coast, and still lived in Coventry and trained in the Midlands. Released at his own request in 1976, he eventually returned to Coventry briefly as youth team coach.

cov_neilmartinCoventry’s lanky striker Neil Martin also didn’t last very long as an Albion player. Signed by Taylor in summer 1975 as a freebie from Nottingham Forest, he left for arch rivals Crystal Palace in March 1976 after losing his place.

In the first leg, Coventry went down 6-1 to Bayern.

For the return leg, Neil Martin kept his place and scored the winner in a famous 2-1 victory. Cattlin and Machin dropped out, and Wilf Smith and Dennis Mortimer were promoted to the side:
Glazier, Coop, Smith, Mortimer, Blockley, Hill, Hunt (Joicey sub), Carr, Martin, O’Rourke, Clements.

cov-Wilf-SmithWilf Smith had been born as Wilfred Schmidt in Neumünster, Germany before his parents decided to Anglicise his name. He had joined Coventry from Sheffield Wednesday for £100,000, a record fee for a full-back, in summer 1970. It was this move that led to unsettled Goodwin joining Pat Saward’s Albion. The classy Smith also came to Albion on loan from Coventry in October 1974, but Albion could not afford the fee to make the deal permanent.

cov-mortimerFinally in this exodus-of-sorts to the Goldstone, Dennis Mortimer. At the time of the Bayern clashes, he was just eighteen years old, eventually playing 193 Division One games for the Sky Blues before a successful move to Aston Villa. He joined Albion much later in 1985, signed by Chris Cattlin, now Brighton manager, on a free transfer. By that time, Mortimer was reaching the end of his career and yet his powerful performances with Brighton made him a firm favourite at the Goldstone Ground. The influential midfielder had already notched up another victory over Bayern Munich, in the 1982 European Cup Final as Villa skipper.

Tagged , , , , , ,