Tag Archives: peter sayer

Peter Sayer interview


Twisting and turning like an eel, Peter Sayer cut through the backtracking Blackburn rearguard as a knife would slice through butter. Then, he floated a inviting ball for Teddy Maybank to head past a smokebomb to put the Seagulls 1-0 up.

This memorable goal from April 1979 is frequently shown on ITV4’s The Big Match Revisited and gives an inkling of how Sayer became a Goldstone favourite. The bubblepermed Welshman relied wholly on his blistering pace at first: “In the early days with Cardiff, I didn’t have a good footballing brain. The more I trained, the better my passing and crossing became.”

Aged 18, Peter became a pro with his home club in July 1973 and soon put the Bluebirds back on the football map. Playing as an emergency centre-forward, his long-range strike knocked Tottenham out of the FA Cup in January 1977. The newspapers’ comparisons with Kevin Keegan were numerous. Two months later, Sayer made his debut for Wales who defeated European champions Czechoslovakia 3-0.

He put in a sparkling display for Cardiff in their 4-0 thumping by Brighton in October 1977. In that match, the Bluebirds’ maverick Robin Friday was sent off for kicking Mark Lawrenson in the face. Legend has it that Friday then threw all the Cardiff players’ clothes in the team bath. Peter says: “I don’t remember it, but he was very much like that! Robin was such a gifted player, so unpredictable. It made him the player he was but as a character he was a potential timebomb.”

Another story that has done the rounds is that Friday also went into the Brighton dressing room and defecated in Mark Lawrenson’s sports bag. However, Peter sheds no light on what is probably a mere urban myth.

In February 1978, the midfield man returned to the Goldstone, this time as the Seagulls’ new £100,000 signing. It took until 1978/79 for Peter to really establish himself at Brighton, with 32 League appearances as Albion finished runners-up in Division Two. As Albion’s club ambassador, Mullery is fond of recalling a story of how in September 1978, Teddy Maybank and Peter were fined two weeks’ wages for being seen in a Worthing nightclub two days before an unexpected 4-1 defeat at Leicester. Does Peter recall this indiscretion? “I don’t remember it at all! Nevertheless, I have regrets about some of our behaviour, usually involving alcohol.  While many players liked their booze, it was still taboo to go out and have a drink on certain nights of the week.”

Reaching Division One was the pinnacle of Peter’s time at the Albion. The Welsh international played the first 18 matches in the next campaign, before losing his place in Brighton’s top flight side. He was sold to Preston in August 1980, before spells with Cardiff (loan), Chorley, Morecambe and Northwich Victoria.  Nowadays, Peter works as a bar manager at a golf club in Preston. Before leaving the Goldstone, Sayer ensured a bit of silverware came the Seagulls’ way: he hit the second goal as Brighton beat Israeli side Maccabi Nathanya 2-0 to lift the ever so prestigious Jewish Chronicle Cup in July 1980. Not many players can say they’ve helped the Albion win an international club competition!


Sayer it ain’t so


The Welsh attacker Peter Sayer had helped to create an electric atmosphere at the Goldstone in the 1978/79 season with some of his exciting runs. But, as discussed in Shoot! magazine, with the Brighton side now in the heights of the top flight, he found the competition for places even tougher than ever:

Brighton’s young star, Peter Sayer, hopes that promotion to the First Division will mean more international recognition for him.

Sayer left Cardiff, his home town club, in February, 1978, four months after he had gained his seventh cap for Wales in a World Cup qualifying match with Scotland at Anfield. And since then, life hasn’t always gone as smoothly as the youngster would have liked.

“Competition for places is very tight at Brighton and no one is certain of a first team spot,” he says. “I lost mine when I was injured early in the New Year and I couldn’t get it back. But that sort of competition for places is very healthy and I’m sure that it will help Brighton remain a top club.

“I’m convinced I need to play in a top side like this and do well, to get back into the Welsh side. I haven’t played for Wales since that Scotland match and I’m sure that’s because there are now more players available to Mike Smith. You need to be in top class football with a good side to catch the eye and I’m sure my Welsh prospects will be considerably enhanced if l keep playing well for Brighton and they continue to be successful.

“I’m a true, proud Welshman and I want to win more caps for my country. I’m determined to do well for Brighton in the First Division and getback my Welsh shirt.”

After playing the first 18 matches of the 1979/80 season, Sayer never got his place back. He was sold to Preston North End in August 1980. Click here for an interview I did with the Welshman recently for Viva Brighton magazine.


Weller Weller Weller… oops!


Former England wing wizard Keith Weller, who died in 2004, is considered one of Leicester City’s greatest ever players. In September 1978, he tore the Albion team apart with a scintillating display. The 4-1 victory was the Foxes’ first of the season. It was also Albion’s heaviest defeat since they returned to the Second Division. From the Daily Express:

If Albion were still suffering from the flu germ that forced the postponement of the previous week’s match against Stoke, it was Weller who sent Leicester fans’ temperatures soaring with a vintage display.

He played the key role in Leicester’s first three goals, then capped a first-class display with a goal of his own.


Weller gave warning of what was to come when, after four minutes, he cut past three men and struck a shot over the bar.

Leicester then had to survive a purple patch by Albion, before going ahead after 20 minutes. Steve Kember, who controlled midfield for most of the match, found Weller on the right – and Trevor Christie tucked Keith’s low cross inside the far post.

Eight minutes later, Leicester were two up. Weller won the corner and took it himself. And with the bewildered Albion defence massed at the post, Billy Hughes placed his header just inside the near post.

But Brighton did enough before half-time to suggest that Leicester still had a fight on their hands. Peter O’Sullivan missed a first half sitter, and Teddy Maybank’s strong running caused moments of blind panic in the Leicester defence.

Leicester indeed looked to lose their rhythm until a 57th minute penalty by Hughes put the result beyond doubt.

Again, it was Weller’s good work that created the opening. He seemed certain to score until Mark Lawrenson brought him down.

The usually immaculate Lawrenson had his name take for dissent and Leicester centre-half Steve Sims was also booked for a stiff challenge.


But by then, Leicester were beyond caring. For although full-back Gary Williams pulled one back for Albion with a superb volley 15 minutes from the end, it was then too late to mean much.

And a minute later Weller got the goal he so richly deserved when he pushed a short ball from Christie past the helpless Eric Steele.

Leicester: Wallington, Whitworth, Rofe, May, Sims, Kelly, Weller, Kember, Christie, Duffy, Hughes. Sub: Welsh.

Brighton: Steele, Tiler, Williams, Horton, Rollings, Lawrenson, Towner, Ward, Maybank, Clark, O’Sullivan. Sub: Sayer.

Having won their previous three League games, the Seagulls dropped to tenth following the trouncing. In the Brighton v Leicester City programme earlier on this current season, Alan Mullery provided an interesting postscript to this defeat:

It was a mystery to me why we had performed so badly. On the Tuesday following the defeat, I received a letter saying all the lads had been spotted out in a nightclub in Worthing on the Thursday night. Maybe there was a reason for our poor performance after all and there was going to be hell to pay if it was true. I confronted the lads in a group the next day in training and gave them the opportunity to see me in my office if they were involved.

In the end, Teddy Maybank and Peter Sayer both knocked on the door and admitted they had been at the club, but hadn’t been drinking any alcohol. Both were fined two week’s wages which went to a guide dogs’ charity.

Two very naughty boys

Two very naughty boys

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Panini Football 81 – a Brighton watershed

Brighton fans may have initially balked at getting a sticker album with Crystal Palace’s Gerry Francis on the cover, but I’m sure they got over it!


Besides, Palace’s season was a disaster. They even had four different managers during the course of the 1980/81 season, none that could arrest their slump. Even Ray Wilkins’ side, Manchester United, sacked theirs, ex-Albion player Dave Sexton, at the end of their own disappointing campaign.

And Brighton? It was a watershed season for us too. Potentially Albion’s strongest squad had flattered to deceive. Peter Suddaby had played a major role in 1979/80 but injury meant he never did play in the new all-blue Adidas kit. Mullery resigned at the end of the 1980/81 season, and the reliable John Gregory was another departure, to QPR. While he stayed, Graham Moseley was deeply unsettled, rocked by a loss of form, the signing of Perry Digweed as well, as Mullery’s stinging criticism of the erstwhile number one keeper at the Goldstone:


Interesting to see Mark Lawrenson listed here as a midfielder. He had performed that role admirably in the second half of 1979/80. Would Albion fortunes have been different had he stayed there in 1980/81? He, alongside Ward and Horton, also departed the Goldstone not long after the publication of this album. We are also treated to a rare shot of Peter Sayer in our new fangled Adidas kit. Sayer was an unused sub on the opening day match against Wolves before leaving for Preston North End.


Notable absences here are Perry Digweed, Gary Stevens and Andy Ritchie, all of whom made a significant number of appearances during the course of the season.

This album is notable for the first appearance of team groups being made up of two stickers rather than one. Looking through the album, there are some alignment issues with some team groups, but happily, the Brighton one looks fine.

Second Division clubs were also given the half and half treatment, and it’s possible to clearly see Ray Clarke at his new club, Newcastle United. Even Third Division clubs were covered by Panini at the time, albeit with a single sticker team photo. 15mm tall in Charlton’s team sticker was Mike Bailey. Little did Albion fans know it in 1980/81, he would be man to bring forth a new era to the Goldstone, and a whole lot of new player stickers to collect!

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Panini Football 80 – Brighton’s first double spread


I originally bought this second hand at the Sunday market outside Brighton train station in the early 1990s. I thanked my lucky stars that all the Albion stickers were there. This was years before eBay, so finding someone with a spare Peter Sayer sticker lying around would have been tricky, whereas now it would only take a few seconds…

Looking at the Arsenal pages now, it’s striking that out of the 14 Gunners on display, five would eventually join Brighton (Steve Gatting, Willie Young, Sammy Nelson, Liam Brady and Frank Stapleton). Neil McNab lined up as a Bolton player sticker for the last time, while future Seagull favourite Michael Robinson smiled for his Manchester City photo shoot with a joviality that was not reflected in his unhappy year at Maine Road.

However, it’s the Albion double-spread that really catches the eye!



In these head and shoulder shots, we get to see the bubble perms of Sayer and Ward, but even these are outnumbered by the popularity of moustaches within the Brighton first team, through Lawrenson, Horton, Clark, O’Sullivan, Poskett and Ryan. Curiously, our players here are wearing flared collars with a triangular panel at the bottom, whereas during the season (I’m addressing fellow shirt anoraks, here!) it was open flared collars that were on display, at least for the home kit.

As the season unfolded, keeper Eric Steele gave way to Graham Moseley. Gary Stevens and Steve Foster also played much stronger roles in defence than either Chris Cattlin or Andy Rollings. Sayer, Maybank and Clark would be further casualties as Mullery moved his Panini stickers around his imaginary album to try to find a winning formula. Then, from nowhere (OK, Blackpool in the Third Division) Peter Suddaby took Lawrenson’s spot in defence while the Republic of Ireland international was pushed further forward. He would have taken one of the midfielder stickers, while Neil McNab and Ray Clarke would have been the new arrivals bringing high quality passing and forward play to the Goldstone. Good swopping, Mullers!

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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!

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Peter Sayer, Justin Fashanu and Alan Mullery in the new Backpass magazine


It’s a lovely feeling to be filled with expectation about a new edition of a magazine that’s about to hit the newsstands. I don’t know about you, but football-wise, I haven’t felt this way since 90 Minutes magazine died a death in the 1990s and Tuesday mornings were never quite the same again. In a previous post, I have documented the excellent coverage Brighton & Hove Albion has received in past issues.

With its first edition of the new season, a refreshed Backpass Magazine is now up to issue 30, and now defines itself as ‘the retro football magazine with a modern-day bite.’

In terms of Brighton interest, there is a great interview with Peter Sayer. A substantial part of the article recalls his wonderful winner for Cardiff against Tottenham in the FA Cup in 1977:

Albion fans chiefly remember Peter’s magical wing-play in the late 1970s while playing in Brighton’s blue and white stripes. Even so, I have found an FKS Soccer ’82 sticker of Peter in the B-Cal Brighton shirt of the early 1980s:


However, Albion fans didn’t get much of a chance to see him in it as he was an unused substitute on the opening day of the 1980/81 season against Wolves and made no further appearances for the first team before departing for Preston.

Nevertheless, he speaks well of his years at the Goldstone Ground:

It was an excellent time at Brighton. There were some very good players at the club and I was playing well. I especially remember when we won promotion to the old First Division at Newcastle in 1978-79. We had our own train which we used to travel to away games on! It was great for team morale.”

When Albion struggled to maintain their place in the First Division, Peter lost his place in the side:

I ended up in the reserves even though I was playing well. I got asked to go to Newcastle but failed the medical. The club then had an opportunity to sell me to Preston and they perhaps felt they needed to offload some players. Maybe I should have dug my heels in and fought.

justinfashanu3Elsewhere, Jim Read’s fascinating biography of Justin Fashanu covers the latter part of the striker’s career and strongly argues against the myth that seems to be grown that some of the main facts known of Fashanu:
a) He was a promising footballer (as shown by the ‘Goal of the Season’ against Liverpool)
b) He came out as gay
c) His manager at Nottingham Forest, Brian Clough, and his brother John were far from supportive.
d) He committed suicide

were somehow all linked and that coming out as gay led to his death as be became ostracised from the football community. The details of Fashanu’s life, especially his struggle with injury (he actually retired from the professional game when he was released by Brighton) and his particularly brand of religion, not to mention the varying social values of football fans and players, show that things were far more complicated than that.

Spencer Vignes writes a splendid piece about ‘football specials’, the trains that carried the team and supporters to away matches in the 1970s and 1980s. He mentions the Seagulls Specials and there is a lovely quote from Mark Lawrenson about the party on the train after Brighton clinched promotion to Division One with a 3-1 win at Newcastle.

mullery_bigAs Alan Mullery said in his latter autobiography:

“We travelled home by train and The Seagull Special became The Paralytic Express. There was champagne everywhere. The journey back seemed to take a lifetime, but nobody cared. I walked the length of the train with the team, thanking the fans for their support. Everyone who was on that train will remember it forever.

Presenter Alan Mullery is also the ‘star’ of a low budget video nasty reviewed by Chris O from the Football Attic.

Finally, the magazine also charts the fall and heartwarming rise of Newport County, Brighton & Hove Albion’s League Cup opponents on Tuesday evening.

So, if this has whetted your appetite, feel free to nip off to the newsagent now. Or subscribe online via www.backpassmagazine.co.uk. Just £3.99.

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The legend of Robin Friday


The recent consternation over excrement being used to write the words ‘We Hate Palace’ in the Crystal Palace changing room at the recent play-off match at the Amex stadium echoes some stories often told about the last-but-one match of maverick footballer Robin Friday, who played for Reading and Cardiff City.

Friday, the forward seen by some as one of the most gifted footballers of the 1970s, was involved in Reading’s epic League Cup 1st round tussle with Peter Taylor’s Brighton in August and September 1974. It stretched to three replays. Eventually, the Royals triumphed 3-2 at the Goldstone despite Ricky Marlowe hitting two goals for the Albion. In the Reading Evening Post, it was reported:

“When Murray’s shot hit the post, this time jubilant Robin Friday was there, sliding on his back to push it in the goal. When it was all over Friday lay stretched out on the turf…”

The performances of this colourful character helped Reading win promotion from the Fourth Division in 1975/76. In 1976/77, Reading made a great start to the campaign, reaching 3rd spot by early October, but began to falter and were eventually relegated. Friday played in Reading’s 3-1 home defeat to Alan Mullery’s Albion side in November 1976, with the Royals failing to make the most of their very good chances. As his dip in form and disciplinary problems continued, however, Friday joined Second Division Cardiff City in December 1976.

His star burned brightly at times at Cardiff but he suffered a mystery virus that laid him low for several months. His return match, his penultimate game for the Bluebirds, came against Brighton in October 1977. However, it was another Welshman who won the rave reviews. In the Daily Mirror:

Cardiff hit by Welsh wizard
Brighton 4-0 Cardiff

This was a case of a Welsh side torn apart by a Welsh international. Brighton’s Peter O’Sullivan scored twice and tormented a Cardiff team which looked to have big problems. To make things worse, Robin Friday, the striker Cardiff hoped would lift them on his return after a long illness, was sent off after 55 minutes. He clashed with Brighton’s Mark Lawrenson in midfield and got the red card from referee Alan Robinson after kicking out in retaliation. Alan Campbell, Cardiff’s most effective player, was booked for protesting. Said manager Alan Mullery: “Sully was brilliant – surely there is no midfield man in the country playing better.” Brighton’s other scorers were Peter Ward and Ian Mellor.

Friday had been sent off for kicking Mark Lawrenson in the face. From Bluebirds Banter:

Robin Friday was fed up. He’d been sent off after falling out with Brighton’s Mark Lawrenson at their old Goldstone Road ground in 1977 – and took it out on his own team-mates! They returned to the away dressing room after the final whistle and discovered that Friday had thrown all of their clothes, everything he could find, into the team bath.

“There had been quite a battle between Robin and Brighton’s Lawrenson,” said David Giles, who was in the Bluebirds squad. “I was on the bench and went on for Steve Grapes when we were 2-0 down in front of nearly 23,000 spectators.

“It all flared up just after half-time when Lawrenson tackled Robin and he didn’t like the challenge. So he kicked out and was sent off.

“We lost 4-0 and when we got back to the dressing room we knew Jimmy Andrews would have something to say. One of the lads went into the shower room to get out of the way and he shouted ‘Robin’s thrown all our clothes into the bath’.

“Brighton had a big plunge bath and all our gear was floating in it. We wrung our underwear out and had to put that on. The rest of our stuff was soaked and we borrowed tracksuits from Brighton to wear home.

“Robin got a club suspension for that.”

Legend also has it that Friday broke into Brighton’s dressing room and defecated in Mark Lawrenson’s bag! (See The Bleacher Report: Robin Friday.

Surprisngly, in Paolo Hewitt and Paul McGuigan’s book about Friday, ‘The Greatest Footballer You Never Saw,’ there is no mention of the incidents in the home dressing room and the away one.

Perhaps it’s because it didn’t happen. Roger Titford has put together a very wonderful 50-page photo-essay called ‘The Legend of Robin Friday’ which traces exactly how the legend of ‘the greatest footballer you never saw’ came about and where it’s turning into pure myth. Well worth the £3 price for the digital read. It says:

“It’s the mainly anti-hero charisma that drives the legend nowadays. Just as a terrorist of one generation becomes a politician of the next so today’s football world takes just the bits it wants from the legend of Robin Friday. This is where the legend takes its wings and flies into the world of myth, exaggeration and putting together incidents that happened separately. The thing with Bobby Moore – over in a moment. No, he didn’t kiss the policeman after the wonder goal, as it says on YouTube. And no, despite what it says on some punk football T-shirt website, he didn’t crap in Mark Lawrenson’s kit-bag after being sent off. Dishonourably, arguably out of character, he kicked the young Brighton centre-half in the face as he lay on the ground. No one then knew that Lawrenson would turn into an establishment BBC pundit of somewhat complacent and annoying nature – so maybe that’s what makes it ‘funny’ for some today.”

And yes, it mentions him doing a poo in the Mansfield bath but not in the Brighton bath in the game above.

Clearly, though, Mullery was not at all impressed with Friday:

“The foul by Friday was one of the worst I have ever seen. He kicked my player in the face when he was on the ground! How can you defend that sort of behaviour?”

But he was impressed by the performance of another Welsh Bluebird, Peter Sayer, who the Albion signed four months later. In April 1978, finishing fourth, Albion missed out on promotion out of Division Two by goal difference despite beating Blackpool on the last day of the season. The result relegated Blackpool, helping Cardiff to beat the drop by a single point.


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Star Sign: Peter Sayer (happy 58th birthday today)


From Shoot! Magazine’s star signs feature:

Taurus (April 21 – May 21) Those born under this sign usually have excellent taste and love beautiful things. You may be artistic, too, and you like comfort and romance. In fact you have a lot of drive when it comes to getting on in the world and you are persistent enough to hang on to your success.

And this is what Peter says about this:



Topps bubblegum cards


We knew we had made it as a football club when Topps issued cards of eight first-teamers in 1978/79. Enclosed in a daring pink border, Topps cards perfectly captured the vibe of the 1970s with its use of bright garish colours and popular typefaces of that time.

So enjoy Peter Sayer’s quite magnificent perm, the rare sight of Graham Moseley with a beard and Sully proving himself to be the Welsh answer to Tom Selleck, never mind Rivelino. But, wait, no Brian Horton?

The backs of the cards featured all the vital career stats up to the end of the 1977/78 season plus some bullet points:

topps back

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