Tag Archives: peter grummitt

Clough’s wheeling and dealing


After achieving their first Brighton win, a tight 1-0 victory over Walsall in November 1973, Brian Clough and Peter Taylor had to endure two grim 0-0 draws before an atrocious run of five successive defeats including the infamous capitulations against Walton & Hersham (0-4) and Bristol Rovers (2-8). They then watched further defeats to Tranmere (1-4), Watford (0-1) and Aldershot (0-1).

With Albion morale at an all-time low in November and December, Clough and Taylor set about bolstering the squad. After the annihilation by Bristol Rovers, Clough told Brian Moore on The Big Match:

‘No one’s going to panic Peter Taylor and I into doing something we don’t want to do. If we have to sit through 8-2 defeats for the next six weeks before the type of player we requires comes on the market we’ll do just that.’

In the end, they did make signings. The only problem was that the pedigree of their captures was not the kind to set pulses racing. Still, most of them did a sound job as Albion sought to escape the relegation zone.

York keeper Ron Hillyard had already joined the Albion on loan to cover Brian Powney. This was before the accomplished Peter Grummitt, another loanee, arrived to become first choice as keeper after the Rovers debacle, quickly making his debut in a 4-1 pasting at Tranmere.

goodeveThen reserve central defender Ken Gooveve, aged 23 (left), was signed for £20,000 from Luton Town. Not completely unsurprisingly, for player who had only played fifteen times for the Hatters in three years, Goodeve’s form was patchy to say the least. As John Vinicombe commented in the Evening Argus:

The chief disappoint so far has been the failure of Ken Goodeve to recapture his Luton form. Goodeve, who started in the back four with Albion at Tranmere, has subsequently appeared in midfield and so far not made his mark.

With a lack of proven quality on the market, especially for the money that Brighton could afford, Clough and Taylor had little choice but persist with a policy of signing other teams’ reserves. Before the narrow home defeat to Aldershot on Boxing Day, they also made a double swoop for midfielder Ronnie Welch, 21 (below left), and left back Harry Wilson (below, right), 20, from Burnley, for £70,000:


Early signs of both ex-Burnley lads were promising. Wilson acquitted himself well in his debut against Aldershot. After a subdued first-half Welch had a storming second half against the Shots, impressing with his energy.

On 29th December 1973, this reshaped Albion side finally arrested their decline with an encouraging 1-0 victory over Plymouth with Ken Beamish’s second half effort deciding the match. It was a result that kept Brighton in 20th position in Division Three, one place above the drop. Argyle’s side featured a young Paul Mariner. As well as seeing one Mariner effort hit the bar, Peter Grummitt showed his quickfire reflexes in turning another effort away from point blank range. In his report, Wilson and Welch also drew enormous praise from Argus writer John Vinicombe for their play:

After two matches Harry Wilson, the 20 year old left-back from Burnley, is looking something of a fire-eater. He has a rare zest for the game and relishes the close, physical contact that is synonymous with his position.

He knows how to destroy and create, and does both in a manner befitting a five year background at the academy of fine footballing arts. His colleague from Turf Moore, Ronnie Welch, is not so completely extrovert, but is no less involved in midfield, and has a fine turn of speed. He made one mistake through trying to play the ball instead of hoofing it away, but this can only be described as a ‘good’ fault.

Wilson was to make the number three shirt his own for the rest of the season. As for Welch, he continued to impress, so much so that when Norman Gall was absent in February and April later on in the season, the captaincy was passed on to the youngster. Unfortunately, the burden of being skipper at such a young age affected his form for the side. For Goodeve, his fortunes did not recover. Dropped to the bench against Plymouth, he was to play just two more matches for the Albion, two defeats at the end of March 1974, before joining Watford in June.

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Peter and the pelvis

In September 1974, Peter Taylor’s Brighton side lost 1-0 at Ewood Park. Blackburn Rovers had ex-Albion strikers Ken Beamish and Pat Hilton in their side but their performance disappointed the Evening Argus’ correspondent John Vinicombe. It was a match where Roger Jones’ professional foul on Dave Busby prevented the Dolphins’ centre-forward from giving the visitors the lead. Vinicombe saved his praise for Albion’s own number one, Peter Grummitt, who pulled off a sparkling save just before half-time to deny Graham Oates’ header:


Peter Grummitt, rising 32, has well over 470 first-team appearances behind him and is currently one of the best goalkeepers in the League. That view is not only held by Albion manager Peter Taylor but, week by week, by more and more people who should know.

During the course of his career with Nottingham Forest, Sheffield Wednesday and Albion, Grummitt has experienced all the traumatic setbacks of his peculiar calling.

Towards the end of last season his pelvis was cracked by Ricky Marlowe, now a colleague at the Goldstone. And, in pre-season games only a month or two ago, the normally reliable Grummitt looked far from his old self.

Inevitably, there were rumours about the ability of the man over 30 retaining his nerve and reflexes. But, from the start of real business, Grummitt silenced his critics. His most fervent admirers are those who play in front of him and are charged with providing as much cover as possible.

At Ewood Park, amid torrential rain and buffeted by a howling gale, Albion marvelled at Grummitt. He defied Blackburn Rovers, and a point was on the cards until11 minutes from time when one goal was enough to send Albion back empty-handed.

“We battled well, and I am pleased with the way we fought,” said Taylor. “A point was there for the taking and I thought we would do it. But I have no kicks at how the defence played.”

Then Taylor made his assessment of Grummitt: “The way this man is playing he must be one of the best in the country.”

Centre-back Steve Govier echoed that summing up, and added: “They say you have to be daft to be a goalkeeper. The way Peter goes down at feet is crazy. I know I wouldn’t. What a player, though. We owe him a lot. We are starting to pull things together, and all I hope is that we justify the confidence the boss has placed in us.”

Grummitt’s tremendous ability continued to impress for the next few seasons. However, his career was brought to an end in the 1-1 draw at home to Tranmere in March 1977, when he suffered a knee injury. Together with his arthritic hip, he was not able to regain full fitness and retired in December 1977. Nevertheless, he played in his own benefit match in May 1978. It was a match where Brighton beat Alan Mullery’s All-Star XI side 8-7 with Poskett (3), Sayer (2), Ruggiero (2) and Moseley (pen) getting the goals. Certainly not a good game for keepers, even one as good as Peter!

Even with the brilliance of current first choice Tomasz Kuszczak, thirty five years on, Grummitt is still revered by many Albion supporters as the best goalkeeper the club has ever had.

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Smoke bombs in draw with Palace

In October 1976, Brighton drew 1-1 with Crystal Palace in Division Three at the Goldstone. It was the first of Albion’s first five clashes with the Eagles that season. This match report is from John Pyke:


Brighton manager Alan Mullery was far from happy after his high-flying team let a point slip to old rivals Palace.

“We should have won: we had a lot more chances” he said.

And he blamed Albion’s lost impetus on two smoke bombs thrown onto the pitch in the second half.

They held up play for a couple of minutes – “and the game went dead after that,” complained Mullery.

But a crowd of 27,059 obviously enjoyed a duel that was a credit to the Third Division.

Brighton striker Peter Ward, rapidly becoming one of the hottest properties in the lower divisions, was a constant menace to Palace.

This $4,000 bargain from Burton Albion has plenty of skill and is always involved.

Brighton had by far the better half with Ian Mellor, Brian Horton and Ward prominent in their flowing movements. But they missed the contructive skills of the injured Welsh international Peter O’Sullivan.

Palace ‘keeper Paul Hammond made several fine saves and one real sizzler – when he shot rund the post.

It must have been a bit of a shock to Albion when Palace took the lead in the first minute of the second half. Dave Swindlehurst’s pass set up the chance and Jim Cannon shot hard and low past Peter Grummitt in the Brighton goal.

But it brought swift response from Brighton and six minutes later they were level from a move that started with a Dennis Burnett free-kick to Harry Wilson.

Wilson’s centre was flicked on by the busy Ward, and ‘Keeper Hammond could only push the ball into the path of defender Ken Sansom, who put it into his own net.

It was bad luck for Sansom who had defended strongly.

Palace played well as a team, and manager Terry Venables was well satisfied with the point.

Barry Silkman, drafted in to replace the now departed Peter Taylor, did not get much chance to shine. He was injured in the second half and replaced by Phil Holder.

Mullery could not help joking afterwards when he said: “I wonder if those smoke bombs were a move by Venners!”

But the last laugh was nearly on Brighton. In the closing stages Swindlehurst broke through and Grummitt had to produce the save of the day to tip his fierce drive over the bar.

Brighton – Grummitt; Tiler, Wilson, Horton, Rollings, Cross, Fell, Ward, Mellor, Piper, Burnett. Sub: Cattlin.

Palace – Hammond; Wall, Sansom, Connon, Jump, Evans, Chatterton, Hinshelwood, Perrin, Swindlehurst, Silkman. Sub: Holder.

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Storybook start for new-look Albion in 1974

Ian Mellor's left foot flashes and the winner is on its way. Two Palace defenders are left struggling

Ian Mellor’s left foot flashes and the winner is on its way. Two Palace defenders are left struggling

Here’s a classic John Vinicombe match report on the opening day of the season in August 1974. It was Peter Taylor’s first competitive match in charge of the Albion and he saw the Dolphins record a sweet 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace. Back then, the rivalry was hotting up. The bumper attendance giving a good indication of the interest from each set of supporters:

Never in the 74 years history of the club, have Brighton and Hove Albion made such a momentous start to a season. A 26,235 crowd paid £11,000 to see virtually a brand-new team defeat superior Crystal Palace by an Ian Mellor goal in the 69th minute – the first time in ten seasons that Albion have started with a win.

On two counts Albion can feel a high degree of satisfaction: The team displayed sterling character to beat Palace, who were playing in the First Division two seasons ago; and the attendance was bettered by only eight turn-outs in Division One.

The last time Albion kicked-off with a win was season 1964-65 when Barrow were beaten 3-1 before a 20,058 Goldstone gate. Bobby Smith pulled the crowds in and obliged with two corking goals. Albion remained unbeaten at home in going to win the Fourth Divison championship.

The Argus public respond quicker than most to the big occasion, the opportunity to relish flair, and until half-time they were still coming in dribs and drabs to swell the shirt-sleeved throng.

Palace, of course, were attended by a large crowd, despite the misfortunes of the past two seasons, and the inevitable clashes in the North Stand where police did a splendid job in keeping rival factions apart.

This is the ugly side of football, the tedious side of the game that only deters decent spectators from enjoying a match. Given the same set of circumstances 10 years ago, before violence became a way of life for a vicious minority, there would have been 30,000 for the start.

Overall, Football League attendances were down on the corresponding time last season. But Albion, as usual, are very, very far from being an average club. The directors hoped for 25,000, and were not disappointed. They badly need money after massive expenditure of the past few months and happily the public responded by keeping their side of the bargain.

From a playing point of view, one should not expect too much. There will not be many cleverer sides in the Third Division than Palace, nor do I expect to see teams capable of generating industry on the Brighton side.

Peter Taylor and trainer-coach Gerry Clarke have quickly assessed the strengths and weaknesses – hence great emphasis in pre-season training on work rate. It will take time to achieve a blend of skill, and Taylor only knows this too well. But every crowd loves a trier, and Albion had eleven who never knew when they were beaten.

Any doubts about Peter Grummitt after the Ipswich game were dispelled. he kept superbly. Explained Taylor: “Under the amount of pressure to which we were subjected, it was a tremendous show of character on our part. We were outplayed for long spells. But I saw nobody hide. I was waiting for the first one, and he would have been off. Peter Grummitt kept us in the game. He never mishandled, or put a foot wrong, and inspired the back-four. We played, and beat, the best side in the Third Division, make no mistake about that. That’s why we have such good prospects. All we are lacking is know-how. I wish we could have had Ernie Machin on when we scored, somebody to control the game our way.”

Malcolm Allison talking to Taylor in his office afterwards, was remarkably restrained, considering the number of chances wasted by his feeble attack. The bitterness was unmistakable as he recalled the Mel Blyth goal disallowed by referee Robert Perkin. “There was no way that goal could have been offside, no way. Alan Whittle headed on to the bar, and the ball went back out to Mel and he knocked it in. Whittle wasn’t interfering with play.”

From the sidelines Blyth’s shot looked perfectly legal, but Mr Perkin indicated that Whittle was the offender, and after 37 minutes Albion were let off the hook for the umpteenth time. Mick Hill had missed a couple, Whittle and Don Rogers squandered equally good chances, and when Allison was asked the answer, he retorted “Rodney Marsh and Francis Lee.”

The fact that Mellor netted the winner was not lost on Allison: “I remember Spider when I was at Manchester City. I didn’t want to see him leave for Norwich. Directors force you to do that sort of thing, then they sack you. Spider was a late developer, but his timing is so good now.”

It is not surprising that the owner of such long legs and thin frame as Mellor should be dubbed as Spider by his mates. He is a player of deceptive pace, and is at his most dangerous off the ball. The goal was created out of nothing.

Fred Binney flashes a header wide after beating Derek Jeffries.

Fred Binney flashes a header wide after beating Derek Jeffries.

Around him vigorous Ricky Marlowe and busy Fred Binney put in an unselfish 90 minutes, and the transformation promised in Peter O’Sullivan was there for all to see. There is far greater urgency about O’Sullivan, as Taylor has promised.

Elsewhere the theme was work, and not once did a player lose control when confronted by higher skills. Rogers often threatened, but the old hands were not far wrong in saying that he seldom has a good match against Albion. For me, Whittle was the chief danger in a side that badly needed power.

Let Allison have the last word: “I cannot remember Brighton having a chance. The goal wasn’t a chance, but they kept battling away, and I give Brighton’s front players full marks for fighting against the odds.”

Albion: Grummitt, Piper, Wilson, McEwan, Rollings, Govier, Welch, Binney, Marlowe, Mellor, O’Sullivan. Sub: Towner.
Crystal Palace: Hammond, Mulligan, Jump, Johnson, Jeffreys, Blyth, Whittle, Lindsay, Hill, Rogers, Taylor. Sub: Swindlehurst for Hill (58 minutes)
Referee: Mr R. N. Perkin (Stafford)
Bookings: Taylor (foul)
Attendance: 26,235

Crystal Palace goalkeeper Paul Hammond misses his punch and the ball runs down between him and Albion's Andy Rollings as Fred Binney and Ricky Marlowe move in following a corner at the Goldstone.

Crystal Palace goalkeeper Paul Hammond misses his punch and the ball runs down between him and Albion’s Andy Rollings as Fred Binney and Ricky Marlowe move in following a corner at the Goldstone.

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Clough’s bargains boost Brighton

An interesting article from Shoot! in 1974, with some striking cyan and black design work:


Since leaving Derby in November, Brian and his right-hand man Peter Taylor have not enjoyed an overnight success. In fact, they couldn’t have feared a more frightening start in the opening games. A humiliating 4-0 FA Cup defeat at home by amateurs Walton and Hersham was followed three days later by an even more shattering 8-2 home trouncing from Bristol Rovers in the League.

But gradually results picked up, and Clough and Taylor achieved their first aim – to clear away any relegation clods hanging over the club.

“Peter Taylor and I are determined to do well at Brighton, says Clough. “There is plenty of scope and potential here and we can see no reason why this club can’t go places.”

Certainly the club has crowd potential, which brings in useful revenue. Brighton & Hove’s population is even larger than Derby’s.

“We know our resources and we have to spend accordingly,” says Taylor. “I go mainly for youngsters. If they can play a bit they are bound to get better as they build up experience.”

Apart from those early defeats, Clough has been in the limelight for other matters. He stopped his trainer treating players with minor knocks on the field and also gagged his men from giving Press interviews.

But he has not always had things his own way. In April the Football League refused him permission to sign a replacement goalkeeper after the transfer deadly, although both Peter Grummitt and Brian Powney were injured.

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