Tag Archives: pat saward

Obscure Albion kits: 1970/71 Home

‘Come on, you chalky whites… say cheese’. So proclaimed the Argus as Pat Saward’s squad posed for the cameras before the 1970/71 season:


Back row: Joe Wilson (chief scout), Howard Wilkinson, John Templeman, John Napier, Keith Watkins, Alan Gilliver, Alex Sheridan, Alex Dawson, Eddie Spearritt, Peter O’Sullivan;

Third row: Stewart Henderson, Terry Stanley, Bobby Smith, Geoff Sidebottom, Brian Powney, Paul Flood, Alan Duffy, Andy Marchant;

Second row: Mike Yaxley (trainer), Kit Napier, Nobby Lawton, Pat Saward (manager), Dave Turner, Norman Gall, Peter Dinsdale (coach);

Front row: Martin Tew, Gary Parsons, Mark Douglas, Mick Stanley.

A second shot, mainly of first-reamers, was also taken:


Back row: Howard Wilkinson, Alan Gilliver, John Napier, Peter O’Sullivan;

Middle row: Stewart Henderson, Bobby Smith, Geoff Sidebottom, Brian Powney, Eddie Spearritt, Alan Duffy;

Front row: Kit Napier, Alex Dawson, Nobby Lawton, Dave Turner, Norman Gall.

As John Vinicombe explained:

Albion’s playing staff are seen here in their new strip for the first time. The outfit is predominantly white, with blue cuff and collar.

Giving a clue as to the location of the photo shoot, he added:

Pre-season training is being carried out at the University of Sussex, and manager Pat Saward said he had never seen such marvellous facilities made available for a professional club.

It is not particularly clear why the club ditched the familiar blue shirts with white sleeves after six years in favour of all-white. Perhaps it was to emulate Real Madrid or Leeds United. Or perhaps it was so the Albion players stood out under floodlights. Some online discussion suggests it was a change that was implemented by outgoing boss Freddie Goodwin rather than one introduced by the new man at the helm Pat Saward.

Here is a close-up of it sported by John Napier in the 1-0 victory over Aston Villa in March 1971:


It was even worn with red socks during the penultimate match of the season, as by substitute Norman Gall against Bristol Rovers in May that season:


Unsurprisingly, the all-white number proved unpopular with Goldstone regulars, so different it was from what they classed as a Brighton and Hove Albion home kit. As part of Pat Saward’s drive to build a stronger bond with supporters, he listened to supporters, and brought back the famous blue and white stripes after a long absence in time for the 1971/72 campaign.

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Albion have never had it so hard

From the Evening Argus on Friday 24th July 1970:

Dave Armstrong (now with Dover) leading Howard Wilkinson up 'The Hill'

Dave Armstrong (now with Dover) leading Howard Wilkinson up ‘The Hill’

Albion players were unanimous: “We’ve never trained like it before… never.’ That was all they had breath for, and it was back to the start line for another race up a 90-yard one-in-four gradient at Stanmer Park, writes John Vinicombe.

This is what they call ‘The Hill.’ When manager Pat Saward first set them pounding up, many collapsed afterwards, several were physically ill.

This has been part of the training for several days now, and the times are getting faster. Some, like young Martin Tew and John Templeman, can make it in 12 seconds. Others take 15 – and several minutes to recover.

A session on ‘The Hill’ means six or seven dashes, and results are carefully noted and times posted for all the players to see.

Said Saward: “The lads are giving me 120 per cent. They’re putting everything into it, and training is going very well indeed.”

Geoff Sidebottom has collapsed, while Dave Turner (right) and Kit Napier sink to their knees.

Geoff Sidebottom has collapsed, while Dave Turner (right) and Kit Napier sink to their knees.

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The great stitch-up of 1972?

In May 1972, Brighton needed just one point against Rochdale to return to the Second Division. Those who complain that Southampton and Spurs stitched up the Albion in 1978 perhaps need to examine the final game of the 1971/72 campaign more closely!

Before a Goldstone crowd of 34,766, Pat Saward’s men got off to a great start against the Dale after four minutes when John Templeman got the opener. As the Daily Mirror reported it at the time:

Ken Beamish, standing on the edge of the Rochdale penalty area, got the ball from skipper Brian Bromley and pushed it back to the unmarked John Templeman. From about twenty-five yards, Templeman unleashed a drive without leaving the ground – and sent the crowd into ecstasies.

Rochdale were under constant pressure but they handed the Goldstone a shock on 59 minutes when Peter Gowans gathered a cross from Malcolm Darling and lashed in a 25 yard special that gave Albion keeper Brian Powney no chance.

And then the drama suddenly petered out. As Ken Beamish recalled in ‘Match of My Life: Brighton & Hove Albion’:


With about 20 minutes to go, the game suddenly died a death. As things stood we had the point we needed and they were safe from relegation. With hand on heart I can say it was never in our plans just to play the game out; it just materialised. Neither side had a shot on goal in those final minutes; nor did either team look to penetrate each other’s defence. It probably wouldn’t happen nowadays because the final matches of the season are all played on the same day, but back then we were playing after the end of the season and so both knew what we had to do.

A similar tale is told by his striking partner Willie Irvine in his autobiography ‘Together Again’:


We’d played this game at 100 miles an hour until the score became 1-1. At this point I’d noticed Saward and the Rochdale manager talking on the touchline. Somehow the game seemed to slow down dramatically except for me putting in an almighty challenge on their centre-half and almost scoring. “Bloody hell”, he said, “don’t you know we’re playing for t’draw now?” No I didn’t, nobody had bloody told me.

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The Second Division proves too much for Saward’s side


In a two-part article by Goal! magazine’s Nick Harling in March 1973, Brighton manager Pat Saward surveyed the wreckage from a disastrous season in the Second Division. Having led the Albion out of the Third Division in 1972, he found his team torn apart. The Sussex side stood 18th on 4th November 1972 as they stretched an unbeaten run to five matches. However, then came that astonishing thirteen match losing streak that stretched to the end of January:

Imagine a runaway lorry careering down a hill without brakes.

Then you’ve put yourself in the position of Brighton manager Pat Saward, whose team are propping up the rest of the Second Division after a catastrophic run of reverses that makes an immediate return to the Third Division almost as big a certainty as the fact that the lorry will eventually crash.

Comparing his team’s current plight to that of a unstoppable truck, Saward, who won an F.A. Cup medal with Aston Villa 16 years ago, says: “It’s a freak thing.

Even the worst sides get a point here and there. A run like this is unnatural. In 20 years’ football I’ve never known anything like it. We have just been praying it will stop.”

Few managers can have experienced such a swift change from glory to utter despair as Saward has over the past few months. It was all so rosy on the night of May 3 last year when, with a capacity 34,766 crowd crammed into the Goldstone Ground and thousands more locked outside, Brighton drew 1-1 with Rochdale to clinch promotion behind Aston Villa.

Refusing two offers to go elsewhere in the summer, Saward stayed at Brighton, saying: “I was very very confident for the future. This club has so much to offer. I could see my ambitions coming to fruition. I was super optimistic.” He was super optimistic because with 82 goals, Brighton were the third highest scorers in the Football League. With forwards such as the tricky ever-present Peter O’Sullivan, Northern Ireland internationals Willie Irvine and Bertie Lutton and the much sought-after Ken Beamish on their staff, Brighton’s attack had shown itself so devastating that there seemed no reason why it need be anything but only slightly less effective in the Second Division. And with the early season purchase of £30,000 Barry Bridges from Millwall there seemed strength in depth in that department at least.

What then has gone wrong? Why has the supply of goals, which came so readily in the Third Division, suddenly dried up? Why did the goalscoring ability of Irvine and Kit Napier diminish to such an extent that Saward found it necessary to transfer both players back to the Third Division Irvine to Halifax, Napier to Blackburn.

Why is the attack, which functioned so powerfully last season, scoring very nearly two goals a game, compared to one a match so far this term, doing so badly? And several questions must be asked about the defence as well. Last season it allowed opposing teams a meagre 47 goals.

Norman Gall, ever present last season has been dropped and John Napier, also a regular, has been allowed to move to Fourth Division Bradford City, because they were incapable of plugging so many gaps. In the places of these two, Saward has given Ian Goodwin a 21-year old 14-stone centre half, whom he has recently appointed captain, and young Steve Piper the opportunities to halt a slide that has astounded soccer.

As two useful defenders, George Ley and Graham Howell, were also added to Brighton’s staff early in the season, Brighton’s slump is one that has confounded their manager. But Saward is nevertheless honest enough to say: “I didn’t forsee the snags and the type of league the Second Division was. But now I know. It’s the hardest division of the four. Everyone is fighting either to stay in or get out.

“It’s a hell of a hard division. It’s a mixture of the First and Third. It’s good and very hard football. They don’t give you an awful lot of time to play. It’s a division governed by fear because to drop out of it is not good, while to get out at the top is fantastic. I didn’t believe the gap would be so different. Teams are so well organised and supplement their lack of ability with tremendous defensive play. It’s very hard to get results.”

He can say that again, although when Brighton drew nine of their first 18 games, and won two of the others, they at least hinted at hopes of consolidation, which have not been fulfilled.

Recalling that start, Saward says: “I’m not suggesting we were going to set the League alight but at least we seemed to be getting somewhere.”

As defeat has followed defeat for Brighton, manager Pat Saward has seen the effect such a run can have on players.

He says: “It starts when you’re missing goals. I’m not making excuses saying it’s all been had luck, but speaking as an explayer I know that when you lose by a freak goal, it can be sickening. When you come to the next match and have the bulk of it but still lose the players start sowing seeds of doubt in their own minds.

“They start to anticipate mistakes before they happen. The longer the sequence goes the worse it becomes. The players’ minds are shackled. They run hard, chase and harrass but have nothing to show for it. Then when they’ve nothing to show for weeks they start to tie up.

A lucky break might stop it or a new player might stop it. Otherwise you carry on with what you’ve got. You take a hell of a mental bashing. It’s very hard to regenerate week after week but you have to hang on to something. It’s no good just thinking hack to last year and promotion.

“To me the most important thing is the attitude of mind. Players should have an arrogant attitude, an attitude that they’re going to do well even when the chips are down. But some types are destroyed. These are the ones who succumb and want to rely on other people.

Here we’ve got some great boys, but I wish to God some of them had more determination.”

It was with that desire in mind that Saward gave part of the huge responsibility of captaining his sinking ship to 21 year-old Ian Goodwin, because: “He’s a hell of a competitor. He’s a bloody bad loser and wants to go places. He reflects the new mood around here.” That “new mood” is mainly being provided by new joint chairmen Mike Bamber and Len Stringer, whose board have just ploughed £70,000 into renovating the place, changing it from what Stringer described as “a real slum,” installing new dressing rooms, players’ facilities and offices.

One of these offices will shortly be used by enthusiastic 41-year-old Bamber, who with his business partner Norman Hyams, also a Brighton director, is forming a property development company which will be based within the football club.

“We will have 51 per cent of the shares, the club 49 per cent,” explains Bamber.

“It’s a unique idea. It must be a good thing for Brighton. It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a long time now.

If Pat Saward wants a player we’ll find the money. He has 100 per cent backing from the board.

“Our new policy is to go in with young players. It’s never been the policy at Brighton before to bring on our own youngsters, but now we’ve got some around like Steve Piper, who is a fabulous player.”

It has been to these youngsters’ considerable misfortune that with their first real taste of League football, they have been saddled with trying to transform such a struggling outfit, but this does not detract from Bamber’s intense optimism for what they can do for Brighton in the future.

Asking “Where else would a team get cheered off the field by their own supporters after losing their tenth game in a row?”, Bamber adds without a sign of tongue in cheek: “There’s no doubting it – First Division here we come.” Although Brighton may well have to climb back again via the Third to give that forecast any chance of materialising, both Bamber and Saward realise that the crowd potential of the area is so vast that the town can support a top club.

And Saward certainly will not be content until such a prospect, unlikely though it seems at the moment, becomes reality.

He took over nearly three years ago and promised then: “Give me ten years and I’ll have Brighton in the First Division.” Now Saward says: “I haven’t lost any enthusiasm. I’ve had my hopes dampened slightly, but one overcomes that.” Unlike many of his contemporaries, who might conceal their deepest fears with idle boasts, Saward says: “We’ve one hell of a hard job to stay up. We are going to need an awful lot of luck, but we deserve some breaks. If we get the breaks then we could just do it.

“Okay we’ve got to face facts. If we go down, thinking that the Third Division is the end of the world, that’s the end of Brighton. This club has got to be built for the future. I want to put Brighton on the map.”

If the miracle that everyone connected with the popular coastal club so desperately wants, does arrive and Brighton do win all their remaining games to stay up, Saward will have more chance of achieving his long-term aim. And he says: “Nothing is lost until we run out of points.”

Having halted the run of defeats with a 2-0 victory over Luton in early February 1973, Albion lost their following two fixtures. However, out of the wreckage, Brighton then began to show some form, winning four and drawing two of the next six League games. But there was to be miracle, and a 3-0 defeat at Easter in April at eventual champions Burnley sealed Albion’s fate.

Ken Beamish - top scorer with nine League goals

Ken Beamish – top scorer with nine League goals

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The loner who dared to speak his mind

Pat Saward in relaxed mood at the Goldstone with sons Leonard and Sean

Pat Saward in relaxed mood at the Goldstone with sons Leonard and Sean

In the Evening Argus souvenir pull-out from May 6th 1972, John Vinicombe put together this portrayal of manager Pat Saward in his hour of triumph, with his low-budget Brighton side having clinched promotion to Division Two:

Pat Saward has been Albion’s manager for a year and ten months. In what seems, an astonishingly short time, he has not only achieved promotion, but created an entirely new image for the club.

He has torn down the old, and shown a refreshing boldness in tackling the many problems that existed at the Goldstone on his arrival in June, 1970.

He succeeded Freddie Goodwin, a deep-thinking and widely respected manager who went on to make his mark with Birmingham City. At the time Albion’s board were utterly deflated.

They could not see another filling Goodwin’s shoes so capably and, indeed, the outlook was grim. When eventually the short list was whittled down to two, the final choice lay between Seward and Tony Waiters, the former Blackpool and England goalkeeper.

The board were deeply impressed With Saward’s tremendous enthusiasm, although he had not had previous managerial experience, Nor had Waiters.

They decided to give Saward the job.

He turned out a complete contrast to his predecessor. Goodwin’s phlegmatic approach was one thiing; the flamboyance of the new man quite another. In short. Saward took some getting used to… there were those who thought him brash, and far too outspoken. Every day, it seemed, he stuck his neck out. Albion had always been used to managers with the velvet glove touch, and suddenly they had a man whose ideas and statements seemed outrageous.

But Saward was noticed, and gradually people listened. And, most valuable of all, he proved a fast learner, and a good listener. He realised straight away that he had to make people think. As he said at the time: “I speak my mind, always. Too many people fear ridicule, and making a wrong decision.”

Saward was then 39, but looking young enough to be mistaken for one of his own players. He was still thinking in terms of the Division One setup he had left at Coventry. It took time to get the Goldstone in his sights, but once he did, the show got on the road.

The firs€t season saw the team skirt dangerously close to relegation only to pull clear with a brave late burst. Saward, with practically no money, made loan coups in the shape of Bert Murray and Wiliie Irvine.

He went to the public for money, cap in hand. They were cautious at first, and then warmed to the man who told them: “This is your club as much as mine. Help make it great.”

Saward’s fundamental five points upon which he bases his philosophy is: projection, appeal, experience, dedication, and an elemem of the unconventional. He certainly has the personality to win friends and influence people. There was no doubt about his experience; having captained Astan Villa and Eire, and played for Millwall and Huddersfield. He was a skilful wing half, as they called them in those days. There is no brogue in his speech; elocution lessons long ago saw to that.

As for public appearances, a stint as a male fashion model taught him how to make an entrance. His chief task was to win over the players, and this he did by making them feel important. Nothing was too much for them.

Soon they had their own car park, and a room where they could meet and relax. He spoke earnestly to them about pride of profession. All the time it was lift, lift, lift – players were encouraged to believe more and more in themselves, and discard the Third Division tag.

Above all, Saward wanted his team acting like real professionals. He listened attentively to their ideas on appearance and pre-match build-up. Everything was geared to getting thor minds right.

Since Saward took over, he has written a weekly article in the Evening Argus. At first we received letters from supporters who violently disagreed With his views. Then the criticisms tailed off, and now the column is widely acclaimed. It is one way the manager can reach the public, and of course now, in his hour of triumph, there is no more popular figure in Brighton and Hove.

Throughout, Saward has stressed the need for his players to display strength of charaoter. But he never talks about the stress and strain that his job imposes.

While this activity or that interest might be good for motivating players Saward will not let on about the driving force that keeps him cool, calm and collected in the hot seat.

He loves fresh air, particularly the ozone that gushes into his bungalow window every morning on Shoreham Beach. Fitness means so much to him.

He plays squash and golf, but is seldom so happy as being on or close to the Sea.

Like most men who must make vital decisions, Saward is a loner… and he wouldn’t have it any other way.


Love comes in Berts

From Goal Magazine:


A happy foursome. That’s the Murray family, whose healthy looks are obviously due to the Sussex sea air, the 25-year-old wife of Brighton utility player Bert, thoroughly enjoying the outdoor life. When she’s not looking after her young family, two-year-old Sue and four-year-old Bert junior, she spends her time gardening, swimming or knitting. Eileen also likes watching football – there’s no need to say which team!

Domestic bliss, indeed. However, it was love of the Albion on St Valentine’s Day 1971 that helped to bring Bert Murray to Brighton in the first place. More than 3,000 school children and other supporters from all over Sussex took part in a sponsored walk along Madeira Drive to raise money for Pat Saward’s Buy-a-Player Fund:


According to the book Seagulls! by Tim Carder and Roger Harris, the two top fundraising schools even contested the Pat Saward Cup at the Goldstone at Easter.

And now, from Football League Review in April 1971, some background on manager Pat Saward’s grand visions. Incredible to hear a professional football manager talking about autograph collecting competitions, fishing contests and international bowling competitions!

When Bert Murray moved from Birmingham City to Brighton last month, he became football’s number one fans’ player •- the first signing to be completed with the help of a unique scheme introduced by the Third Division club, a buy-a-player fund.

It has given Brighton’s supporters a special interest in the new player at the Goldstone Ground. He’s their player and to prove it they wear ‘I bought Bert’ badges.

But the buy-a-player appeal is only part of an ambitious scheme launched by the club five months ago to raise money and involve the Brighton public in the affairs of their League club.

Manager Pat Saward who, with the seven-man appeal fund committee, is the driving force behind the scheme says: “The fund involves the public with the club. We have no specific target. If we can raise a million pounds we will.”

Saward has little sympathy for clubs who continually moan about their financial plight and do little about it. “Too many people spend too much time shouting about how hard up their club is, and too little time fighting to improve the situation”, he says.

“You never get success if you sit around. You must have courage, even audacity and work hard for survival”.

Already Brighton’s appeal fund has raised £1,000 from a sponsored walk and held numerous big-prize draws. Future projects include an international bowling competition, a fishing contest and a variety night when the Pat Saward appeal fund take over the first night of the summer show on Brighton’s Palace Pier.

“It is like a motor car”, says Mr. Saward.

“It will quicken up as it goes along. Each project will be bigger and more ambitious”.

At monthly meetings, those who have donated to the appeal fund are invited to talk to the Brighton manager, discuss club policy and meet officials and players.

“The whole business is aimed at involving the supporters with the club, building up a club-supporter relationship”, says the manager.

“But I must stress the support we have had from the club’s directors who have sanctioned everything the appeal fund have asked for.

“Subject to their approval, we hope that when the appeal fund reaches £15,000, a member of the committee will join the club board”.

The appeal fund’s committee meet weekly to discuss future projects and money-making ideas, “They are eminent people in the town with enthusiasm and concern for the club”, says the Brighton boss.

Pat Saward bubbles with enthusiasm when he talks about the overall project. “When we stage the variety night, we hope to produce a brochure which will certain a competition to find the top autograph hunter in the area.

“The brochure will include 12 pictures of some of the game’s leading players with room for their autographs. The first person to submit the sheet filled in with the pleyers’ signatures will earn that top collector title and to ensure there are no forgeries, I will have the authentic signatures to check with”.

Manager Saward believes that other clubs could and should follow Brighton’s example to boost interest in their club and raise funds. “We are perhaps fortunate in our location”, he admits, “it would not be so easy if we were situated in an area near to a First Division club. Here there is tremendous potential, but you must have the backing of a progressive board to succeed”.

Those I bought Bert badges are only the start of a ‘back Brighton’ campaign.

“Once you have got the initial impetus, who knows how far you can go…” says the manager whose ambition matches his enthusiasm.

Club officials and players lead the sponsored walk: Kit Napier, Terry Williams, Mr Tom Whiting (Chairman), Peter Dinsdale, Pat Saward (Manager), Norman Gall, Alex Sheridan, Mr Len Stringer (Director).

Club officials and players lead the sponsored walk: Kit napier, Terry Williams, Mr Tom Whiting (Chairman), Peter Dinsdale, Pat Saward (Manager), Norman Gall, Alex Sheridan, Mr Len Stringer (Director).

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AFC Bournemouth v Brighton, 1972

Here’s Ted MacDougall of AFC Bournemouth, a scorer of nine goals against Margate in the FA Cup during the season, closely watched by Albion’s Ian Goodwin on 1st April 1972:


The 1971/72 season had begun well for the side previously known as Bournemouth and Boscombe FC. Newly promoted from the Fourth Division, it was a case of ‘Cherries on top’ as John Bond’s men headed Division Three after eleven matches, with 17 points. Notts County and Aston Villa both had 15 while Brighton were well down the table with 12 points.


Pat Saward’s Brighton closed the gap when they defeated Bournemouth 2-0 at the Goldstone Ground on 27th December 1971 aided by goals from Kit Napier and Peter O’Sullivan before a bumper 30,600 crowd. Thanks to this score, Notts County, Fourth Division champions the previous season, looked like they might make it two league titles in two when they took over the leadership in the New Year. In a triumph for the new boys, could they and Bournemouth both gain successive promotions come May? The answer was no. County suffered an injury jinx that put David Needham, Willie Carlin and star striker Tony Hateley out of action, and their results suffered. From the middle of February they drew six and lost two matches in an eight-match winless streak. It cost County dearly.

As for Bournemouth, Ted MacDougall, buddied up front with Phil Boyer, was attracting a great deal of interest, and not just for this advert, found on the back of the Bournemouth v Brighton programme!


As Tommy Lawton said:

“This fellow keeps scoring goals and if you can hit goals consistently whether it is in the First or Fourth Division you have to be good.”

However, even with such a phenomenal strike force, the Cherries suffered a downturn. In the Official Football League Book 1972-73, it says:

Bournemouth started to quake when the final crunch came. Whatever the reason, Bond’s side could not recapture the consistency and winning form of those heady early days. One of the key games was when Brighton went to Dean Court on Easter Sunday. A Bournemouth win could have changed many things, but Brighton drew 1-1.

Bertie Lutton: A crucial equaliser at Bournemouth

Bertie Lutton: A crucial equaliser at Bournemouth

The draw was part of Bournemouth’s poor spell when they drew four and lost two out of six matches from the middle of March, just as the season was hotting up. The Official Football League Book continues:

And what of Brighton, the team from the South Coast holiday playground that had laboured too long in the soccer backwaters? Pat Saward agrees that their biggest asset all season was that no one was tipping them for promotion until the final stages: “So we had none of the pressures Bournemouth, Villa and Notts had. We crept up unnoticed and this was our trump card.” But Saward freely admitted: “We had an awful lapse when we lost two games on the trot to Oldham and Bradford City. It came at a bad time and it was make or break from then. Our next game was against Villa and I made drastic changes.” The television watching millions saw the result… a fine stylish win for Brighton in what must have been one of the games of the season in any Division.

Saward played another trump card hours before the transfer deadline. ‘The fans were crying out for new faces but everyone must have thought I had decided to try for promotion with the 14 players I already had.” Agatha Christie could not have come up with a better final and Saward swooped and signed Irish international Bertie Lutton from Wolverhampton Wanderers and a player who must have been an unknown quantity to the Goldstone Road fans… Tranmere Rovers’ Ken Beamish.

Beamish is a forward very much in the modern mould. Not big, but stocky and packed full of explosive sprinting power, a terrific shot and great appetite for the game. “They were both last ditch signings and Ken made an astonishing difference,” says Saward. “I spent only £41,000 in getting my promotion side together so we were very much Villa’s poor relations in that sense.

“Notts County were the team that surprised me. I just don’t know why they fell away so badly in the end for they had all-important matches in hand. Bournemonth were the most skilful side we faced.”

Saward puts down his team’s success to: “Dogged determination to succeed from all the players. We stamped out inconsistency. I got rid of ten of the players I inherited and got together a team built on character. That’s the key quality, apart from skill of course, as far as I’m concerned.”


With just two clubs going up, here is the final table for one of the greatest promotion races in Division Three, one that pulled huge crowds:


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Saward sacked: The ‘loan ranger’ leaves a big gap

Saward, in his first season as Albion boss, 1970/71, with Norman Gall as substitute.

Saward, in his first season as Albion boss, 1970/71, with Norman Gall as substitute.

It is forty years to the day that Pat Saward was sacked as Brighton manager, on 22nd October 1973.

Three days later, John Vinicombe wrote an outstanding piece in the Evening Argus, lucidly summing up the situation and Saward’s rollercoaster reign at the club:

The world that Pat made came crashing down about his ears this week. Saward’s career as Albion’s manager is in ruins. The club is struggling for Third Division survival and inside the plush, new offices that Pat helped build, stands a big, black empty swivel chair.

It is the Goldstone hot seat, vacant at the moment, but for how long? Until Albion appoint a new manager, the playing side of the club will be run by trainer Glen Wilson with chairman Mike Bamber very close to his elbow.

Rumours about Saward’s successor buzz… will it be Steve Burtenshaw.. could the club afford Brian You-Know-Who?

The insatiable seekers for an answer to the burning question are unlikely to be satisfied in the near future. Having sacked one manager, who must be compensated for three-and-a-half years unexpired contract, the board won’t be in rush into a snap decision.

Those who might agree with the board’s decision in parting company with the manager must be somewhat puzzled at the timing of the act.

Barely a fortnight before the directors made their minds up to dismiss Saward because they felt he could no longer motivate the players there had been every appearance of a happy family atmosphere at the Goldstone.

At the beginning of this month, joint chairman Len Stringer resigned. He had made no secret of his opposition to Saward. Mr Stringer simply disagreed with the manager on more or less everything, and when he left Saward heaved a sigh of relief.

Mr Bamber was in complete control, and it was to him that club captain Eddie Spearritt went with a message from the players pledging their solidarity behind the manager.

This was received by a delighted board, and within a few hours of the meeting Albion shook off their worries to win impressively at Oldham.

Nevertheless, the chairman made a meaningful remark at the time. “All that has been lacking is confidence at home. We must find a way to spark it, but this will come. It must.”

But it didn’t… Albion went to Blackburn and lost 3-1, dropping their heads after scoring first. Then came the shuddering home defeat against Halifax.

Afterwards Mr Saward confessed: “I haven’t any more answers. I am in a fog.”

Directors interpreted this as loss of confidence. They believed the manager was losing his grip, and so last Saturday while Saward was catching a cold in more ways than one at Crewe they decided to sack him.

As the board sat in sombre session Mr Saward was homeward bound in a wet suit. He had watched Bryan Parker, Crewe’s 18-year-old goalkeeper, from behind the goals in each half, scorning the pouring rain.

By Monday morning he had a sore throat. Come lunchtime he was choking… news of his sacking had been delivered straight from the chairman.

They had been golfing partners for quite a while, discussing club business over 18 holes at The Dyke on Monday afternoons. When Saward got the final message from Bamber he went home to Shoreham Beach. The chairman proceeded to Willingdon for a golfing appointment.

He saw no good reason to change his routine. The deed was done. There could be no turning back.

Saward will bounce back in the game. He is a compulsive and persuasive influence, and life with him was never, never dull at the Goldstone. His regular column in the Evening Argus attracted a love-hate readership.

He used to say: “I don’t mind my backside being kicked. That’s what I’m there for. Management is a vocation.”

There are some who might say the timing of the whole operation was off-key, and the board should have taken such a step during the close season.

Then the ashes of defeat were still bitter in the mouths. Thrust back into the Third Division after one season in the Second… the frustration was almost too much to bear for some directors.

And one can readily see their point of view… suddenly, and quite by chance, Albion found themselves reaching out towards First Division football with the arrival of season 1972-73.

Then the image of the crock of gold crumbled, and Saward stood indicted among the shattered remains of the dreams he had cherished.

Big money has been in short supply since he was appointed in June 1970, and my estimate of fees spent come to around £150,000. This is based on the following transactions:

Barry Bridges (£29,000)
Ken Beamish (£25,000)
George Ley (£25,000)
Graham Howell (£17,500)
Lammie Robertson (£17,000)
Brian Bromley (£14,000)
Bert Murray (£14,000)
Willie Irvine (£7,000)
Bertie Lutton (£5,000)
Alan Dovey (£1,000)

During his term of office Saward transferred:
Kit Napier (£15,000)
John Napier (£10,000)
Bertie Lutton (£12,000)
Brian Bromley (£8,000)
Willie Irvine, Bert Murray and Dave Turner for undisclosed fees that are thought to have been nominal.

That Albion were promoted was a piece of pure luck, plus a good deal of hard work. That has always been the inside view. The club never expected to go up, and consequently the necessary preparation was not there.

Then one day Albion woke up and found themselves in the Second Division. The players Saward bought, however, did not set the Goldstone on fire.

Instead, Albion got a bad name for borrowing and Saward was dubbed the ‘Loan Ranger.’

The total reached nearly 20, and of that number only seven became contracted players. The list is imposing, and includes no fewer than five goalkeepers:

Ian Seymour (Fulham)
Alan Dovey (Chelsea)
Peter Downsborough (Swindon)
Tommy Hughes (Aston Villa)
Steve Sherwood (Chelsea)

The others:
Ian Goodwin (Coventry)
Wilie Irvine (Preston)
Bert Murray (Birmingham)
Stan Brown (Fulham)
Hohn Moore (Luton)
Brian Bromley (Portmsouth)
John Boyle (Chelsea)
Colin Dobson (Huddersfield)
John McGrath (Southampton)
Henning Boel (Aberdeen)
Bertie Lutton (Wolves)
Ray Crawford (Colchester)

Much happened during Saward’s reign to improve the ground and, after all, he is only the second manager in the history of the club to take the club into the Second Division.

When Pat arrived the awful collection of old builders’ huts that served as offices were still under the West Stand, and the urinals were positively prehistoric. There was woodworm in the dressing rooms, and the boiler must have been designed by Stephenson!

Promotion made ground improvements possible, and Saward leaves a vastly improved scene. Now Albion have facilities to compare with most grounds. The Goldstone is no longer a footballing slum.

But the big black chair is empty. It will take a big, big man to fill it.

Hmmm… any guesses?

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The lexicon of glove


As far as retro football magazines go, The Footballer was the forerunner to Backpass magazine, running from July 1989 to May/June 1996. While it was much drier in tone and page layout than its modern day retro equivalent, many of the respectfully penned articles and interviews of players from yesteryear deserve another airing.

This one by Charlie Bamforth, from the March / April 1996 edition, features the spring-heeled Brian Powney, who kept goal for the Albion from 1962 to 1974:

Brian Powney ushered his Staffordshire Bull Terrier out of the room (for which I was thankful) and gestured to the walking stick propped up against his easy chair: “That stick is the legacy of a knee injury I picked up on my debut for Brighton when I was 16!”

Gammy knee or not, Powney went on to play almost 400 games for the Seagulls. The stresses and strains are now telling, as they do from so many ex-professionals. (“The fans don’t see this side of things”). A major operation failed to sort the Powney leg out, so Brian can “look forward” to two more years of surgery. When he is laid up, he’ll doubtless be looking back on a worthy career as one of the lower divisions’ more durable and loyal goalkeepers.

Brian Powney was born on 7th October 1944 in Seaford, the seaside town in which he resides to this day. A seven-a-side tournament in Hailsham served to set his sights on a custodial career.

“It was the usual story. Our goalie was having a torrid time, so I took over. I got into the school first team by the time I was thirteen and I made the East Sussex Under-15’s.”

“I was recommended to Eastbourne United. Those days they were in the Metropolitan League, playing against the likes of Arsenal “A” and Gravesend and Northfleet.

Eastbourne were run very much on professional lines, with a full-time manager in Jack Mansell, an F.A. Staff Coach. I never got into the first team, where the goalkeeping slot was held by Reggie Pope. He was stocky, very much like myself.”

“I had trials with Arsenal and Southampton. They both wanted to put me onto the groundstaff, but that would have meant living in a hostel. So I was pleased when my local club, Brighton, came in with an offer. I reckoned that there would be more opportunities with a smaller club.” At sixteen, Brian Powney joined the Goldstone groundstaff, signing pro forms for manager George Curtis on his seventeenth birthday.

“Charlie Baker was first choice keeper at the time – and very good he was too. But he was a part-timer, so I could never work with him in training. There was not really much goalkecping coaching in those days, but I did go up to the FA youth courses at Lilleshall, where we were coached by the likes of Billy Wright and Phil Woosnam.”

Young Powney was given an early blooding in Seagulls’ senior side on the last day of the 1961-62 season at Derby County. Albion were already relegated, so they took the opportunity to give their raw young goalkeeper a taste of Second Division football in front of 6,739 spectators.

Although the Rams won 2-0 through goals by Barry Hutchinson and John Bowers, Powney had a fine game, even allowing for the injury which has dogged him ever since.

The man in the other goal that day at the Baseball Ground was veteran England international Reg Matthews, who must have been impressed with the capabilities of Brighton’s new netminder.

After eight games in the 1962-63 campaign, Brian became first choice the following season. By the time he played his last game (in the Third Division) in 1973-74, the name Powney had been penciled in first in 342 Football League games.

Brighton's Fourth Division championship side of 1964/65. Back row left to right; Bertolini, Baxter, Hopkins, Turner, Powney, Hennigan. Front row left to right; Gould, Collins, R. Smith, J.Smith, Goodchild.

Brighton’s Fourth Division championship side of 1964/65.
Back row left to right; Bertolini, Baxter, Hopkins, Turner, Powney, Hennigan.
Front row left to right; Gould, Collins, R. Smith, J.Smith, Goodchild.

There had been high spots – a Fourth Division championship in 1964-65, a promotion from the Third in 1971-72 and a place understudying Chelsea’s John Cowan in the England youth squad for the junior World Cup, a squad that included Tommy Smith, Lew Chatterley and John Sissons. But there had been lows, notably a relegation back to the Third Division in 1972-73.

Brian Powney played under five managers for Brighton & Hove Albion: Curtis, Archie Macauley, Fred Goodwin, Pat Saward and Brian Clough.

“I enjoyed playing for Pat Saward most. As a coach he was second to none. His knowledge was immense and he really motivated us by getting us to enjoy the game.”

“Brian Clough tried to motivate by fear. I didn’t like him at all. I am well aware that there are players at other clubs who would give you a different view, but I can only speak as I find. Clough joined us when our morale was at an all-time low. We had no confidence and it just got worse. The media following was mindboggling. But the things that were said, the slagging off of players, shattered our confidence. I just didn’t respect Brian Clough and eventually he brought Peter Grummitt in. I learned that I had been given a “free” by letter.”

“They were, indeed, miserable days for Brighton. Within the space of a few days they were humiliated 0-4 in the FA Cup by Walton & Hersham and went down 2-8 to Bristol Rovers. Even so Brian Powney knew just what it was-like to be at the preferred end on such occasions, for within a two week period in November 1965 his team had beaten Southend United 9-1 in a Division Three fixture and had whipped Wisbech 10-1 in the “I did feel sorry for Southend’s young keeper (Malcolm White) that day. And I found out exactly how he felt when we went down that time to Bristol Rovers!”

Brian Powney had plenty of competition for his place at the Goldstone, such that he never was an ever present in any of his thirteen seasons. Fred Goodwin brought in Geoff Sidebottom as his preferred last line (“I had a tough time when Geoff was there, but I learnt a lot about positional sense from him”).

The former Arsenal keeper Tony Burns was an earlier contender. Powney and Burns were great chums and Brian also recalls as pals Jim Oliver, John Templeman, Bobby Smith (“a very generous man”) and Alex Dawson (“a fabulous character was the ‘Black Prince’, and a good player”). His closest friend, though, was Norman Gall, and the two shared a pair of testimonials against Chelsea and Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Another colleague in Hove was Howard Wilkinson, now Leeds manager. Wilkinson is said to recall Brian Powney as being very quick and brave. Powney himself is clear about the qualities he possessed.

“I was a shot stopper, a line goalkeeper. Not being the tallest, I seldom came for crosses, but I had John Napier and Norman Gall to deal with those”.

On retiring, Powney became player-manager at Sussex Cotmty League side Southwick for two years, taking them to a title and an appointment with Bournemouth in the Cup.

“After that I played stand-off or centre for Seaford Rugby Club for a couple of years! They made me Player of the Season once! I’d probably have played rugby if I hadn’t turned pro for Brighton”.

These days Powney is regional managing director for an automatic beverage machine company and still follows football with interest, although he seldom visits the Goldstone Ground.

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Pat Saward: ‘I am in a fog’

In 1971/72, a confident, enterprising Brighton side slaughtered Halifax 5-0 at The Shay in the Third Division on their way to runners-up spot. Such was their attacking might, they mustered 43 League goals away from home in a glorious march up the table.

However, the heart of the Albion side was broken apart the following season, with the likes of Kit Napier, John Napier and Willie Irvine departing, and Brian Bromley losing the captaincy, as the club lasted a single campaign in Division Two. With the frequency of the hammerings they suffered, a return to the lower reaches of the Football League seemed almost a merciful act.

Time to regroup and refresh in the less choppy waters of Division Three. And go for promotion once more, with this motley crew:


At least that was the plan. Yet by October 1973, hopes of a revival by Pat Saward’s men were dismantled by another atrocious start, with just two wins in eleven matches. Indeed, the Goldstone Ground proved a victory-free zone on the eve of the clash with Halifax Town on Saturday 13th. Again, disaster befell the side, as the Argus’ John Vinicombe reported:

With the halifax goalkeeper on the ground, Beamish loses the ball to Pickering.

With the halifax goalkeeper on the ground, Beamish loses the ball to Pickering.

The Goldstone nightmare continues: 540 minutes of sheer agony and six defeats in a row with just three goals scored and ten against. And defeat by a makeshift Halifax side was watched by the lowest crowd of the season – 6,228.

Towards the end many of the rain-or-shine fans had had enough. Their patience was so exhausted that they didn’t bother to barrack. By turning backs en masse on the match the faithful hundreds slipped away, too fed up to fling a last parting shot.

Surprise, surprise! An Albion attack by Beamish and Hilton is thwarted by the Halfiax defence.

Surprise, surprise! An Albion attack by Beamish and Hilton is thwarted by the Halfiax defence.

Albion were dreadful. There is no point in searching for stronger adjectives. At home there is no semblance of confidence.

It is difficult to see what course now lies open to the club. The board, with Mike Bamber at the head, following Len Stringer’s resignation, back the manager. So do the players.

The worst start in living memory is grievously damaging to morale, and Mr Saward himself confessed that he was left speechless by this latest debacle. ‘I am in a fog. I just don’t know why they played as they did,’ he said afterwards.

He is brutally honest. Here we have a situation where the man who should be supplying the answers and remedies has actually admitted to being stumped.

In the 1-0 defeat, the Halifax winner was scored by striker David Gwyther six minutes before half-time, making sure after Wilkie had steered the ball past Powney, when there was an absence of an Albion challenge for the ball from Shanahan’s cross. Afterwards, Vinicombe contended that new players were needed at the Goldstone, but permanent ones rather than loans:

‘Too much reliance has been placed on temporary transfers and Albion have a bad name in the game as a result.’

He also drew parallels with 1962/63 when the club, having dropped out of Division Two, fell straight through to the Fourth Division. Flashing the cheque book did not save Albion then, and with an overdraft of over £150,000 in 1973/74, and falling attendances, the club could not afford to be too wild now.

In the end, a desperate Pat Saward did register a first home win a week later, with goals from Ron Howell and Ken Beamish securing a 2-0 Brighton victory over fellow strugglers Shrewsbury Town. Not that the manager saw it. Extraordinary as it seems now, he missed the game as he was on a scouting mission. However, the win was not enough to save Saward. He was sacked two days later, with three years of his contract remaining.