Tag Archives: neil smillie

The Boys in the Old Brighton Blue

Here are the the 12″ and 7″ versions of Brighton’s 1983 FA Cup Final song, with ‘The Goldstone Rap’ as the B-Side, released on Energy Records:


With superb attention to detail, the front and back covers had lavish designs that helped to soften the blow to club sponsors British Caledonian Airways, whose name would not feature on the players’ shirts on Cup Final day, due to TV regulations at the time:



Back row: Michael Robinson, Steve Gatting, Gordon Smith, Graham Moseley, Perry Digweed, Gary Stevens, Steve Foster, Jimmy Case;

Middle row: Sammy Nelson, Giles Stille, Neil Smillie, Tony Grealish, Graham Pearce, Gary Howlett, Gerry Ryan;

Front row: Terry Connor, Chris Ramsey.

I originally bought the 12″ from one of the second hand record shops on Trafalgar Road, Brighton. Not sure how much it cost me, but it was considerably less than the £50 forked out by one of The Seagulls Love Review fanzine lads, Stefan, at a BHACHS auction at Withdean about five years ago!

You can see a dance performance to this song here:

The song can be heard in its entirety below:

In case you want to have a sing-a-long, the rather corny lyrics are:

come on you seagulls, we’ll follow you
come on you seagulls, we’ll see you through
come on you seagulls, we’ll follow you
the boys in the old Brighton blue

verse 1
we are the boys in the white and the blue
football’s our game, Brighton’s our name
we are the team who’ll be out there for you
the boys in the old brighton blue

verse 2
here we are on the road to wembley way
fighting hard for our place on that day
for the pride of our town down by the sea
we’ll do our best to bring them victory

verse 3
cause we are the boys in the white and the blue
football’s our game, Brighton’s our name
follow the flag we’ll be flying for you
the boys in the old Brighton blue

reprise chorus

verse 4
as we go on our way to meet the best
once again we’ll be put to the test
but we’ll play like we always try to do
we won’t give up until the game is through

verse 5
we are the boys in the white and the blue
football’s our game, Brighton’s our name
follow the flag we’ll be flying for you
the boys in the old brighton blue

verse 6
follow the boys in the white and the blue
football’s our game, Brighton’s our name
follow the flag we’ll be flying for you
the boys in the old Brighton blue (twice)

reprise chorus with last line sang twice

I have been told that the lyrics of Albion’s FA Cup final song were reproduced on an A4 sheet which was distributed over the counter at the Seagulls Shop.

In the end, the song reached number 65 in the UK singles chart. Not a bad achievement considering the song wasn’t all that good!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Brighton rock ‘n’ roll

Here are Neil Smillie and Gordon Smith at the start of the 1983/84 season:


Before his Albion days, Smillie (known as ‘Specky’ to his team mates as he wore spectacles) spent eight seasons with Crystal Palace. He also had a loan period with Brentford as well as enjoying a spell in the United States. As he says in the Brighton v Manchester City programme in January 1983:

‘I played over in Memphis and we had a great time there. We lived just around the corner from Elvis Presley’s house, Gracelands. They call that road Elvis Presley Boulevard and across the street from the house you can see camper trucks and trailers from all over the States and Canada.’

Speaking of his partner Penny and himself he adds:

‘It’s strange to think that if Elvis had still been alive, we would probably have met him. He was always keen on sport and supported all the local teams. We’re not really Elvis fans, but you couldn’t help wishing you’d met him. Elvis is one of the biggest stars that ever lived.’

That’s not to say that Smillie didn’t enjoy listening to music. However, it was Dire Straits, Elton John, Christopher Cross and ‘some American West Coast bands’ that were more his bag.

As for Gordon Smith, he is described in the Brighton v Carlisle programme in September 1983 as ‘the music man!’:

“I’ve loved pop music since I was a little lad, back home in Scotland. I can remember hearing ‘Please please me’ by The Beatles on the radio and liking it a lot. When I got my first record player, I bought ‘She loves You’ and played it so many times I nearly wore the grooves.”

Apart from his cup final infamy, Smith also found fame through a friendship with Paul McCartney who he met at a Wings concert in Glasgow. Through this link, the Brighton player got a chance to play acoustic guitar to ‘Blackbird’ while at McCartney’s house near Rye.

With such music credentials, perhaps it is unsurprising that Gordon Smith had rock tastes that were respected by his peers. In his autobiography ‘And Smith Did Score,’ he recounts the time when his Albion days were reaching their end in November 1983:

I had made up my mind. Manchester City was a team I wanted to play for at that stage and I wanted them on my CV. The manager said, if that was the way I felt about it, I’d better go home.

For the bus journey to Derby [sic] for the game the previous Saturday I had brought a cassette tape I had recorded of different songs and the boys had asked me to play it over the bus sound system. As I was going out the door of Chris Cattlin’s office, he said a strange thing to me. ‘See that compilation tape you played on the bus on Saturday? It was good. Any chance you would make one up for me?’ I told him I would give him the tape I had with me on the bus and he said, ‘That would be great.’ Later on that day I got a call at home to go back in to the club.

In Chris Cattlin’s office he told me, ‘The deal’s done. You can go to Manchester City.’

‘What about the £5,000 Brighton owe me in signing-on fees?’ I asked.

‘No, you won’t get that,’ he said.

‘I’m owed that money and I want it before I leave.’ I replied.

He left the room to talk to the chairman about my demand and when he came back he said, ‘We’ll give you £3,000.’ I said, ‘No, I’m owed £5,000 and that’s what I want.’

‘Go away and think about it,’ he said. ‘That’s the most I can offer you.’

As I was going out the door, he asked if I’d brought the compilation cassette tape he had asked me for. I said I had and was about to hand it to him when I pulled it back from his outstretched hand.

‘I’ll give you the tape if I can get the full £5,000 you owe me,’ I said.

‘Alright then,’ he said. ‘You can have your money.’ So I got the other £2,000 they owed me for making up a compilation cassette tape. That must have beenthe dearest piece of music Brighton ever paid for. I suppose you could call it Brighton Rock ‘n’ Roll!

Tagged , ,

Extended video highlights – Brighton 4-0 Manchester City (FA Cup, 1983)


In January 1983, Brighton followed on from their FA Cup replay victory at Newcastle by demolishing Manchester City 4-0 at the Goldstone in the Fourth Round. In his autobiography ‘Big Joe’, Joe Corrigan, the City keeper, revealed unrest within the City camp prior to the tie:

In the previous road we’d seen off Sunderland after a replay but a Sunday morning training session at Maine Road prior to the game showed how badly things had deteriorated at the club and should have made events after the game at Brighton not quite so surprising. As we trained, Nicky Reid and John Bond had an argument that threatened to get out of hand, and that resulted in a nasty half hour of action with some players intent on hurting one another.

Brighton hammered us 4-0 in the cup tie. It was a dreadful day and an awful, disjointed performance by all of us. As we left the pitch Alex Williams walked over to console me and I said, ‘It’s yours now, kid. I won’t be here for much longer.’

‘What do you mean by that?’ he asked. I explained that the cup exit would mean cost-cutting exercises and I’d be one of them. I assured him I would be on my way before long and, within three months, that’s exactly what happened.

It was all smiles from the Brighton perspective, however. Here’s how John Vinicombe reported the match in the Evening Argus at the time:

The 217th FA Cup-tie in Albion’s 82-year-old history will long be remembered for the majestic manner in which Manchester City were despatched.

Thus an equally famous occasion 58 years ago at the Goldstone was averaged. Then, in a third-round tie, Third Division Albion were crushed 5-1 after previously performing the prodigious feat of knocking out Everton.

No doubt the degree of satisfaction warmed the cockles of any old-timer’s heart to see the record put straight, for it ever a side were comprehensively beaten it was Manchester City.

I doubt if John Bond, who departed in utter misery, contemplated for one moment the total destruction of his team.

On the day, i thought, they sold him short and, seeing no way past Albion, an air of surrender was discernible.

There was the misfortune of losing skipper Paul Power with damaged knee ligaments at the half-hour after a tackle with the uncompromising Chris Ramsey, but that alone could not explain City’s astonishing collapse.

Peter Bodak, the sub, caused one or two problems with his crosses, but at no time were Albion in danger after taking such a firm grip.

Had a goal at 57 minutes been allowed, then Mike Robinson would have scored a hat-trick and Albion finished even more convincing than 4-0 winners.

The revelation was Steve Gatting, playing only the third game of his League career at left-back.

I think Gatting had two games at No.3 in his first season at Arsenal. Having been omitted lately, and then moved to say that he didn’t fancy staying unless he is in the team, maybe Gatting will have a re-think. Apart from Pearce, and among defenders, Gatting is the only natural left-sided player in the squad, and I must say he surprised me with the quality of his play.

In my book, the star was Jimmy Case on a day when there were so many stellar performances. Since Melia took over and got on the Merseyspeak wavelength with Case, his involvement has become greater with every match.

He ripped the heart out of City’s experienced midfield together with Tony Grealish. At training, Grealish is the first player the five-a-side skippers automatically ask for.

To be so highly esteemed by colleagues has to be earned, and never let it be forgotten that it was Grealish who set such a sterling example by his leadership at Newcastle.

He won ball after ball against City, and exhibited fine control in setting up the third goal for Robinson with just over 20 minutes remaining.

By then City were skint, and Robinson finished them off rather as a matador puts the bull out of its misery.

The eighth-minute opener by Case that deflected off Kevin Reeves was a piece of overdue luck and Neil Smillie’s continuing improvement was signalled by his first goal for the club before the break.


Just before, Steve Foster suffered a painful dead leg. At first, there were fears it might be a pulled hamstring, but it was nonetheless worrying. It might have slowed him a pace or two, but his attitude remained unchanged.

City vainly tried to unsettle him: an elbow in the eye was the prime example, but nothing worried Foster, and certainly nothing diverted Gary Stevens from that much admired elegance that made City’s England candidate, Tommy Caton, look so average.

As the physical element was introduced by despairing City, so they derived no change from Ramsey.

Gordon Smith used his incisive eye for an opening to set up a rich assortment of passes, while Andy Ritchie and Robinson created havoc in the box.

The one dodgy moment came early into the second half when Steve Kinsey hit a post. Had it gone in, Albion’s lead would have been cut to 2-1.

When it did not, the white flags were fluttering, and it might have been appropriate had Bond tossed in the towel as well.

Albion: Moseley, Ramsey, Gatting, Grealish, Foster, Stevens, Case, Ritchie, Robinson, Smith, Smillie. Sub: Ryan.

Manchester City: Corgan, Ranson, Bond, Reid, Power, Caton, Tueart, Reeves, Cross, Kinsey. Sub: Bodak for Power (injured, 31 minutes)

Well, John Bond did toss in the towel, resigning after this capitulation by the Seagulls.

And now, for the first time on YouTube, here are 20 minutes of highlights from this match to savour:

Tagged , , , , ,

The Twelve Days of Albion Retro Christmas

On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love sent to me…


Twelve Kens a-beaming


Eleven Pipers piping


Ten Howletts howling


Nine Andys rolling


Eight Smillies smiling


Seven Storers scoring


Six Sayers saying


Five Michael Rings


Four Johnny Byrnes

Three missed pens


Two of Powney’s gloves


And a Wardy looking very merry!

That last image is taken from Scoop Magazine in December 1979. Lovely jumper!

And now, I’d like to wish you a very merry and peaceful Christmas. Thank you for reading this blog. As you may know, it started in February this year. Every day there has been a new post on The Goldstone Wrap, a regularity that has been a challenge and a delight: A challenge, as (believe it or not!) I have a full time job and other things to do. And a delight too, as I am thrilled to have a platform to share articles, photos and videos relating to Brighton & Hove Albion’s past.

The blog is currently jam-packed with 318 posts on past players, matches, magazine articles and football kit design and will continue to grow, day by day. It’s a labour of love to write it and it’s been wonderful to hear from North Stand Chat, Twitter, Facebook and Seagulls Chat, as well as your blog comments, that lots of Albion, and some non-Albion, fans have enjoyed reading it. For some it’s become a part of their early morning routine to check out what’s new on The Goldstone Wrap. I’d also like to thank all of you who I have met through doing this blog, including those who have lent me photos, videos and taken snaps of various memorabilia.

Over the course of the next few days, you can look forward to newspaper coverage of a Boxing Day massacre, a very rare Albion calendar from the glory years, as well as an incredible solo goal by Kieran O’Regan at Hillsborough.

In the meantime, let’s swop Goldstone Wrapping for Christmas (un)wrapping. It’s time to put your feet up and enjoy the festivities!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Santa sleighs Crystal Palace

Getting into the festive spirit, these Albion folks featured on the cover to the Brighton v Newcastle matchday programme in December 1983:


Can you work out who they are?

Inside, the identities were revealed… well, two of the trio, anyway:

Our cover photograph on today’s programme was the idea of supporter Stove Blunt, “but very few supporters will know exactly who the Father Christmas is alongside the two clowns. The identity of these are no secret as both Neil Smillie and Steve Foster have been the butt of their colleague’s humour this week.

Steve claims that his diet is responsible for the ill fitting trousers while Nell, who has missed training in recent weeks due to his ankle injury, shows that he has still been keeping fit . . . but what about Father Christmas, who is it?

I don’t know… surely it’s not Chris Cattlin, is it?

The early appearance for our photo of the lads in fancy dress gave no secrets away for the players’ own fancy dress party next Thursday. This party has become an Albion Christmas tradition and some marvellous characters have emerged in recent seasons.

Gary Williams’ depiction of Wurzel Gummidge two years ago was one of the best, but one or two of the players have some ‘secret’ plans lined up for next Thursday and local costume shops have been the ‘odd’ target for some.

One of the biggest, ACE Fancy Dress Hire, in Eastbourne, provided the material for our photo and several of the lads were over there this week lining up their own for the party. Everyone is playing a part but they all claim secrecy is part of the enjoyment.

Two rumours circulating the ground suggest that one player will be dressed as a well known cricketer and another is threatening to go as ‘Boy George’

Despite the seasonal cheer, manager Chris Cattlin was keen to maintain a discipline squad, as he revealed in the Brighton v Fulham programme on 27th December 1983:

“We were due to train on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and every player will be expected to step on the scales each day so that their weight can be checked… too much Foster turkey, Corrigan Christmas pudding or Case cream cakes will show up and the lads know it.”

It seemed to do the trick as Brighton won 2-0 at Crystal Palace on Boxing Day, with goals from Danny Wilson and Neil Smillie.

Tagged , , ,

Trading places: Gary Williams and Neil Smillie

Before the 1982/83 season, Brighton completed a swop with arch rivals Crystal Palace. With Sammy Nelson and newcomer Graham Pearce competing for the number three shirt, Gary Williams, Albion’s popular left-back for the previous five years, departed for Selhurst Park, having been out in the cold since November 1981:


In came the speedy, tricky wide man with the curly locks, Neil Smillie:


Despite being a recent buy, Smillie then found himself dropped by Mike Bailey on two occasions. However, he established himself as a first-choice player once Jimmy Melia took over in December 1982. By the time of the FA Cup Final later on in the season, such was the cutting edge he provided, he could be sure of a starting place:

The buzz went up from the Notts County fans as Brighton’s pacy winger exploded down theJine, beating two defenders en route and whipped over a precise cross that turned the penalty-area into a zone of undisguised panic.

Nell Smillie appreciated the generous applause from the home fans as he pounded back to take up a workmanlike position, letting it seep into his body to fuel his growing confidence as a First Division player of considerable note, and one just a dream away from the FA Cup Final.

Last summer he was packing his bags after a football lifetime with Crystal Palace that fizzled and spluttered, threatening to catch alight only to be extinguished repeatedly by managerial changes.
After a spell in the United States, Smillie discovered that his expired contract at Selhurst Park left him with an offer worth not one penny more than he got before. It was all beginning to depress the 24-year-old Barnsley-born winger… until Brighton stepped in.

“The deal was an exchange between me and Gary Williams, one which went through after talks. That was last July and I was glad because I’d begun to feel in a rut at Palace.

“I played in the first two games: of this season, but we lost the second, 5-0 to West Bromwich Albion, and Mike Bailey dropped me. Then it was the bench followed by the reserves until October 26, the Milk Cup replay against Spurs.

“We lost 1-0 and out I went again until November 20 at Watford where we took a 4-1 drubbing. Bailey went soon after that and I found myself back on the outside looking in when Jimmy Melia took over.

“I was sub when we played Newcastle at home in the Third Round of the F.A. Cup and came on at St James’ Park in the replay, on January 12. I’ve kept myself in the side since then and my confidence has grown with every game,” Smiilie probably needed nothing more than that boost to his confidence; and despite Albion’s tough relegation battles, he has continued to provide Melia with just the type of player his style of football requires, a player capable of playing wide.

“Yes, I give the side width. They know I’m out there and when things get too tight in the middle I can take the ball and take men on. I have the confidence to take on any full-back in the League. I give them their due respect, but that’s all.

“In our situation you have to work hard defensively as well. I agree with Steve Coppell who said that a winger is a barometer of his team. When things are going well the winger will get forward, attack the line, get the ball across and make things happen. But when you are up against it the winger is often working back in his own half, covering, tackling and grafting.

“What excites me is that Jimmy Melia has made it clear to us that there will be no change in his attitude for the Final. We will go out to attack with three men up front, going for the win… and United’s throat.

“I anticipate a tremendous battle with Arthur Aibiston, against whom I’ve played twice before. He does a lot on the ball as well as good work defensively, but he holds no fears for me.

“i’m the winger he has to stop, and if he fails then Mike Robinson and the lads will see as much of that ball as I get supply.”

As for Gary Williams, although delighted to rejoin Alan Mullery, he didn’t enjoy his time at Crystal Palace. When I met him in the pub about a year ago, Gary described his playing career there as ‘just a job’, never developing any great feeling for the club. By contrast, he remembers the camaraderie and team spirit of his Albion days with far greater fondness.

His Palace career did not last long either, as injury meant he retired from the professional game with just ten League appearances for the Eagles in 1982/83. Because of his transfer from the Goldstone Ground, he missed the FA Cup Final of 1983, of course. However, he can be proud of the fact he was never in an Albion relegation season.

He played some games with Saltdean in the summer of 1983 before spending the following season with Whitehawk in the Sussex County League. At that time, he also began to explore business opportunities outside the game, as this snippet from a matchday programme from 1983/84 indicates:


Last Wednesday several first team players made a special visit to a TV and video shop in George Street in •Brighten, just off St James’ Street.

The lads had a special reason for going along there, as a partner in the firm is former Albion favourite Gary Williams, now playing for Whitehawk. The shop specialises in sales service and rentals of sets, but as Gary points out, they are not a video film library.

Gary is pretty fully occupied these days, because he’s playing regularly for Whitehawk who are involved in Cup games and League matches at the moment at a rate of at least two a week. Our picture shows Steve Foster toasting success to Gary and his partner Pete Renvoize.

In other words, Gary Williams was busy selling TVs enabling football fans to watch Neil Smillie tear Liverpool apart in January 1984.

Nowadays, Gary works for Blakes Wholesale and Catering Butchers. As for Neil Smillie, he left Brighton for Watford in 1985 and later had managerial spells with Gillingham and Wycombe. An article in the Daily Mail in January 2010 suggested that Smillie ‘lives in Reading. Works with Nike on their sponsorship of youngsters.’

Tagged ,

Happiness in the bath at Newcastle, 1983

Neil Smillie, Peter Ward, Steve Gatting, Chris Ramsey, and especially that japester Andy Ritchie (!), are all smiles following the surprise replay victory at St James’ Park on 6th January 1983. The result sets Albion’s historic FA Cup run on its way…


Tagged , , , ,

FKS’ last hurrah: Soccer 83-84 stickers

Poor FKS. They once dominated the ’70s football sticker scene with fabulously grandiose album titles such as ‘The Wonderful World of Soccer Stars Gala Collection.’ Which suitably sideburned and flared young kid wouldn’t want to be in on that? By 1983/84, probably due to the intense competition from Panini, FKS had reached the end of the line with the rather dubious ‘Soccer 83-84’ series. Following on from their ‘Soccer 82′, it appears that they were trying to cover two seasons’ worth of top flight soccer with this inept collection. Here are the Brighton players:

Graham Moseley

Graham Moseley

Chris Ramsey

Chris Ramsey

Graham Pearce

Graham Pearce

A stray ball seems to be trying its darnedest to try to muscle in on the limelight behind Moseley’s shoulder. But is this really true? As you can see, the grass behind Moseley and Ramsey looks suspiciously unnatural in its greenness, especially as the unaltered green on the side of Ramsey’s arm rather gives the game away. The mixture of the head and shoulders shots of these players and the zoom-in on Graham Pearce’s head bestow an untidy look for this collection. No wonder Chris Ramsey looks uncomfortable.

Steve Gatting

Steve Gatting

Tony Grealish

Tony Grealish

Steve Foster

Steve Foster

Similar gripes with Messrs Gatting, Grealish and Foster here. Given where FKS had appeared to have swiped their photo shot of Tony Grealish from, you can understand why they had to put on a faux-grass background.

Gary Stevens

Gary Stevens

Jimmy Case

Jimmy Case

Gary Howlett

Gary Howlett

A nice, genuine photo of Jimmy Case, fresh from the barbers, follows another manipulated one of Gary Stevens. And whoa! An intensely dim shot of a young and rather frail-looking Gary Howlett. Suffice to say, if you met him in a dark alleyway, I don’t think you’d be that scared.

Michael Robinson

Michael Robinson

Gordon Smith

Gordon Smith

Gerry Ryan

Gerry Ryan

Some more bog-standard and doctored head and shoulders shots of some of Albion’s attackers follow. It’s like FKS were trying very hard to emulate Panini here, whereas some of the action shots that the company had previously used would probably have been more interesting to the young collector.

Neil Smillie

Neil Smillie

And then the final insult! Sticking in a shot of a player in a Crystal Palace kit on a Brighton page. Yeah, thanks, FKS! A bit like putting a sticker of Mo Johnston in a Celtic shirt within a Rangers sticker double-spread, I don’t think that would have gone down too well on the south coast at the time.

No need to be too resentful to FKS, though, after a stay that had lasted since the late 1960s. The company had introduced new ideas such as actual albums for affixing your stickers, something we take for granted today. Now, though, the game was up.


Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Shoot Cover: Neil Smillie (25 February 1984)

shoot cover 3

Unlike his other photos, winger Neil Smillie doesn’t quite look like the doppelgänger for Just Good Friends‘ actor Paul Nicholas in this front cover.

Inside this edition, there is a preview of the Watford v Brighton FA Cup tie. John Barnes says:

‘I watched Brighton beat Liverpool in the Fourth Round and I was very impressed. They’ve lost none of the snap and sparkle that carried them to Wembley last season. But I for one am delighted we’ve drawn them. Brighton are an attacking team and an attractive team.’


Fancy dress party

Fancy dress party

There was certainly an air of fun and excitement around the Goldstone over the festive period, and everyone entered into the spirit of things. The players’ traditional fancy dress party took place, and most of the lads started the evening at the Lottery Draw at Brighton’s Lewes Road Inn.

Among the classic outfits were those of Steve Foster, in traditonal Tyrolean costume, Neil Smillie as an American footballer, and former Goldstone favourite, Gary Williams, who arrived dressed as a nun.

Also look out for the garb of Gary Stevens, Steve Foster, Gerry Ryan, Peter Ward and Chris Ramsey. Photo from the Brighton v Newcastle FA Cup programme of January 1983.

Tagged , , , , ,