Tag Archives: peter taylor

Obscure Albion kits: 1974/75 Brighton away shirt on eBay

There is an interesting jersey on eBay at the moment:


This is the away shirt worn by Peter Taylor’s men in the difficult 1974/75 season. Unlike the rounded collar of the home kit,this one has a flappy collar with a triangle at the bottom. I’m not quite sure of the technical term.

The item was originally listed as a Southampton away shirt but further research suggests it wasn’t worn by the Hampshire side.

Paired with blue shorts, you can see it worn in the Huddersfield v Brighton match in October 1974:


Presumably, the Admiral logo transfer wore off by March 1975:


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Ward sets the pulses racing

From the Evening Argus after Peter Ward’s explosive start of six goals in eight matches at the end of the 1975/76 season:

Rare shirt, rare skill

Rare shirt, rare skill

The exciting potential of 20-year-old Peter Ward, whose last-minute goal deprived Sheffield Wednesday of a first away win since December 28, 1974, prompted Albion manager Peter Taylor to declare: “He is the hottest proper in English football. I would not dream of listening to any offer for him. He’s that good he would get into Derby’s side tomorrow.”

Knowing as we do Taylor’s close affinity with Derby County, presumably there can be no higher praise… but it is a massive tribute for one so young to have heaped upon his head.

I seriously doubt whether such fulsome billing is good for young players. Of course, Ward is a very promising player. Why, then, did he not make a League debut earlier than eight games ago? In that time he has scored six goals, and opportunism of the sort displayed in the last month was missing in an attack that had gone off the boil.

Naturally, Taylor is keen to enthuse about something after Albion’s failure to win promotion, and Ward is an obvious choice. He seems too level a lad to be affected by the cliches.

Right now Ward has only one thing on his mind, and that has nothing to do with football. He and his wife Sue expect the arrival of their first child on Cup Final day.

Some players have been known to be affected by offspring on the way. But not Ward whose rattlesnake speed of strike is an asset on which Albion must build next season.

Incredible, isn’t it, that he has been an active participant in League football just one crowded, hectic month?

In that time he has shown touches to send the pulses of most managers racing. His goal against relegation-threatened Wednesday came at a time when Albion looked booked for a first home defeat since September 10. Nobody would have been surprised had Wednesday broken their duck.

Now the 1-1 draw means Wednesday must beat Southend at Hillsborough in the final match this week or crash into the Fourth Division for the first time. The anxiety until then can all be put down to Ward.

Remarkably little is known about him because there is a basic shyness and modesty in his make-up. Interviews are foreign to him. This is as it should be – all the best players play with feet and head, not tongues.

On the pitch, however, he has the right stamp of arrogance and determination, and an ability to turn defenders very quickly. His shot is spectacular because he doesn’t wait to tee the ball up.

Lichfield-born, he played for a local side but was never associated with Derby County. He went straight from playing with his mates to Burton Albion, the Southern League club, and last season scored lots of goals, He cannot remember how many.

Word soon reached Taylor, a former Burton manager, about Ward. He was in with a cheque before any rivals, and £4,000 brought Ward to the Goldstone last summer.

He was duly dispatched to learn his trade in the reserves.

Tuesday night regulars at the Goldstone soon noted his prowess. When Ward debuted at Hereford, it was not before time. His name went on the scoresheet in just 50 seconds. He had arrived.

The next match was at Rotherham and he gave Albion an early lead there. At Chesterfield it was a foul on Ward that led to a Joe Kinnear penalty. By this time the lad was starting to feed off Sammy Morgan. They were looking a good pair together. But at Chesterfield, Morgan was injured.

In the Port Vale game Ward’s name appeared in the score frame. Nothing doing at Millwall, but he nearly broke the net with his equaliser at Aldershot. A lot of running and effort finally paid off against Gillingham with a flashing header.

And so to the final game when his flair meant Albion finishing with 39 points from their home matches. Dropping only seven was a remarkable feat, and should have taken them into the Second Division. The millstone that kept Albion down was the dreadful away record.

The Ward goal apart, and yet another strong display by Brian Horton, and solid performances we have come to expect from Andy Rollings and Steve Piper, the less said about Albion’s performance, the better.

Admitted Taylor: “We didn’t really perform at all. They didn’t allow us to play and must deserve credit for that. Len Ashurst got his lads to do everything right, considering their position.”

Apart from Ward’s equaliser, the most appreciated touch came before the ball was kicked. Skipper Horton led the players round the ground and they applauded the crowd for their support. The spectators acknowledged the gesture warmly and two minutes later stifled groans as Eric Potts scored the softest goal at the Goldstone for many a long year.

While the 11,859 crowd was the lowest since September 27, it was by far an ways the best in the division. Hereford, who have run away with the championship, had only 8,950 as the trophy was handed over.

Two minutes: There seemed to be no danger when POTTS swerved away from Horton’s biting tackle. A low shot from just outside the box looked covered by Grummitt, but he could only get a hand to it, and the ball trickled over the line. 0-1.
Eighty-nine minutes: A long ball from the back was nodded down by Mellor, and WARD slammed it on the volley. 1-1.

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Derby delight for the Seagulls

Smith does score!

Smith does score!

It was time to stop the rot. After opening with three successive defeats, Gordon Smith converted a penalty as relieved Brighton under Jimmy Melia picked up a very welcome 1-0 victory against Derby County at the Goldstone in September 1983.

At the time, the Rams had seasoned players of the calibre of Roy McFarland, Archie Gemmill and John Robertson. However, they were all past their best. County were managed by ex-Albion boss Peter Taylor, who had returned to the Baseball Ground in November 1982, having ended his long partnership with Brian Clough by quitting Nottingham Forest six months previously. Together, Clough and Taylor had shocked the world by leading the Midlands side to the League Championship in 1972. However, going it along a decade later, Taylor struggled, although he did put one over Ol’ Big ‘Ead when the Rams beat Forest in the FA Cup in January 1983.

By the return match between Derby and Brighton at the Baseball Ground in March 1984, County were on their way towards Division Three and Taylor heading towards the sack. Helping them on their way was the Rams’ emphatic defeat to Cattlin’s Brighton side. Here’s how John Vinicombe of the Evening Argus reported it at the time:

Chris Cattlin’s rebuilding programme, aimed at promotion next season, continued apace at crisis-ridden Derby.

A wholly satisfying 3-0 victory also stilled any criticism at selling Steve Foster and Tony Grealish. Dissenting voices, always a minority, must now be faint echoes in the light of this latest performance.

Displays like this beat out Cattlin’s promise that the last two and half months of the campaign will not be allowed to peter out.

Amazingly, Peter Taylor axed four key players, including skipper Archie Gemmill and, before Gordon Smith scored the third and best goal of the match after 75 minutes, the Baseball Ground was a scene of bitter rancour.

Peter Taylor, who with Brian Clough, threw Albion a precious lifeline a decade ago, is himself in need of rescue.

Second from bottom, this grad old club, a founder member of the Football League, face relegation to the Third Division for only the second time, in their centenary year as well as today’s Inland Revenue winding-up petition in the High Court.

Perhaps Robert Maxwell will save Derby after all, but the prospect of charing a Third Division club cannot be that attractive. If he were to pay the preferential creditors in full, Derby could be had for under £1m.

Vinicombe blamed Derby’s poor financial affairs on poor housekeeping and contends that Brighton will never suffer such problems under Chris Cattlin, whose financial acumen was being demonstrated by his opposition to long-term contracts and the sale of senior players. Their opponents had the look of a veterans’ side, with Kenny Burns and Dave Watson also recruited to fight Derby’s relegation battle. Of the Rams, Vinicombe wrote:

Derby, this time shorn of not only Gemmill, but Paul Futcher who says he never want to play for Taylor again, John Robertson and Steve Cherry, had only endeavour to offer.

This is really only a polite way of saying their football was nothing but kick and rush, but there was a moment in the first half when the game might have gone their way.

That is did not was entirely due to Perry Digweed rectifying Willie Young’s mistake and preventing a certain goal by Bobby Davison. Digweed smothered the ball at Davison’s feet after Willie’s ill-timed pass back, and a few minutes’ later, when there didn’t appear to be a call, collecting one of Eric Young’s size 11 boots in the face.

For at least ten seconds, Digweed didn’t know what time of day it was. This was his first game for Cattlin, and only re-affirmed the manager’s high opinion of his second-string keeper.

A first ever Albion goal for Steve Penney.

A first ever Albion goal for Steve Penney.

Brighton took the lead on 54 minutes when Alan Young’s header found Steve Penney. The Ballymena-born winger turned Steve Buckle inside out and finished off the far post just as goalie Yakka Banovic tried to close the angle.

Striker Alan Young turned from provider to goalscorer eight minutes later, latching onto Gary Howlett’s pass to fire the ball home off Banovic’s foot.

Finally, Gordon Smith wrapped up the match with his last ever goals for the Seagulls, and it was a good one too. Danny Wilson caught ex-England defender Dave Watson at sixes and sevens and fed the Scotsman who rifled the ball into the roof of the net.

At the end of the season, Brighton finished ninth and Derby in 20th. However, it was a brief stay in the Third Division for the Rams and they returned to the Second Division in 1986 under the canny leadership of Arthur Cox.

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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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Port Vale ‘hard man’ Horton signs for Albion


From the Evening Argus on 10th March 1976:

Brian Horton, Port Vale’s midfield general, signed for Albion today. A £30,000 fee was agreed between the clubs after manager Peter Taylor made his approach last night when Horton played in the 2-2 draw at Crystal Palace.

Horton, 27, visited the Goldstone this morning when formalities were completed. He will watch his new club against Shrewsbury Town tonight.

The signing is highly regarded as one of the hardest players in Division 3, and Taylor has never concealed his admiration of the player.

No doubt Taylor wants a harder approach away from home by his promotion-striking squad, and sees Horton as just the man to inject more power.

Captain Brian Horton, third from right in the middle row

Captain Brian Horton, third from right in the middle row

Captain of Port Vale, Horton has played over 250 games for the club, and joins another former Vale player at the Goldstone, striker Sammy Morgan. He cost £30,000 from Aston Villa.

When the transfer was completed 24 hours before the deadline, Taylor said: ‘I have always admired Brian. He has been very loyal to Vale, and he possesses the qualities I want in players.

“His age is right in terms of experience, and I am delighted he has agreed to come to the Albion.”

A final check was made on Horton last Saturday when Vale won 2-1 at Rotherham. He has been under close scrutiny for the past two months.

Port Vale earlier had inquiries about Horton from Hereford and Peterborough, but these were turned down. When Albion came in with their bid, there was no hesitation by Vale’s directors.

The move is the first in Horton’s career, although he began as an apprentice with Walsall. He has been at Port Vale six seasons and captain the last two.

“I knew Brighton were interested only last night. I had no doubts about coming in such a tremendous set-up. The support and potential is wonderful, and this is what attracted me.”

With Vale, Horton played a left-side, midfield role. Injury kept him out of the team when Albion drew 1-1 at Vale Park on September 6, and he has been injured recently.

There was a possibility of a second signing before the deadline, but Taylor said that he was now content to play a waiting game to get the player he wants.

Albion expect a 20,000 plus Goldstone gate tonight for the visit of promotion rivals Shrewsbury Town.

Injured winger Gerry Fell will enter hospital tomorrow for a knee operation.

Victory would give Albion a 15th straight home League win and close the gap between them and leaders Hereford United to two points.

A 15th consecutive home win proved beyond Brighton, as Shrewsbury took a shock 2-0 lead before half-time. However, Albion rallied to secure a 2-2 draw. Horton made his debut for Brighton in the following match, at Preston on 13th March 1976, and played for the remainder of the 1975/76 campaign. Even so, if Taylor had hoped for an immediate upturn in results away from home, he was to be disappointed. Brighton lost 1-0 at Deepdale and would not gain another away victory for the rest of the season. Three points short of Millwall in third place, this ultimately cost the side promotion to Division Two.

As for Port Vale, despite the need to balance the books, their supporters were understandably livid about the sale of their inspirational captain for such a low fee. From being eighth after Horton’s final match for Vale, it was unsurprising that Roy Sproson’s team’s form dipped. It took them until a 3-1 victory over Wrexham on 5th April 1976, with two goals from Terry Bailey and one from Colin Tartt, before they witnessed another win.

 Number 10, Peter Ward, on his home debut, extends a glad hand to Fred Binney who scored Albion's opener

Number 10, Peter Ward, on his home debut, extends a glad hand to Fred Binney who scored Albion’s opener

Five days later, Brighton rubbed salt into the wounds at the Goldstone, decisively winning 3-0 with goals from Binney, Mellor and Ward. By then, Brian Horton was the new Albion skipper, a role he held with great distinction for the next five full seasons.

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In his own words: Peter Taylor at Brighton


This is an extract from ‘With Clough By Taylor’, Peter Taylor’s autobiography. It’s his chapter on his time at Brighton, both with and without Brian. Interesting to hear Taylor so clear about what he thought his own weaknesses as a manager were:

Only the man on the end of the phone attracted me to Brighton.

He was Mike Bamber, a property developer and the club chairman. He was persuasive, progressive and brave enough to make his move while the charge of bringing football into disrepute hung over Brian.

The F.A. disciplinary commission were to hear the case in a fortnight. At best, a long suspension was forecast and one First Division manager assured the ITV producer Bob Gardam, ‘Those two will never get another club.’ Bob. a good friend, was upset but I said, ‘We’ve done no wrong. So go back and tell the fellow we’ll have his job if he’s not careful.’ I could understand directors being wary and I could understand some of the Derby board stirring things up, but I objected to fellow managers putting in the boot while we were out of work. A couple of years later, that manager was sacked himself. We shed no tears for him.

I have a lot of time for Mike Bamber. He had heard the rumours but believed what I told him, ‘We have done nothing to prevent us taking any job in football. The gossip is rubbish.’ We met late on Saturday night at the Waldorf Hotel in London.

Brian and I had been in the ITV studios watching Derby draw against West Ham. while Mr. Bamber had been in Hereford seeing his team lose 4-0 and hearing more abuse from Brighton supporters. He arrived with the vice-chairman Harry Bloom; they meant business and we were impressed.

Brian, though, was set on a long break but I pushed him into accepting the offer. He agreed but his heart wasn’t in it – as events were to show. Yet he summoned up the old bounce on our first day at Brighton’s Goldstone Ground this was Brian at his most quotable: ‘It’s tougher here than at Hartlepools where they didn’t expect anything. Now we have a reputation, but there are no fairies at the bottom of Brighton pier.

‘There are only sixteen professionals here. Only one goalkeeper, one trainer, one secretary, one groundsman: in fact, one of everything. That puts Peter and me in the majority, for they have two managers.’

The fans could also produce bright remarks and I heard them saying, ‘Fetching Clough and Taylor to Brighton is like engaging McAlpines to decorate a roadside cafe.’ I saw what they meant when I met the team at a hotel in Lewes. They were casual, almost amateurish, joking about their plight instead of being concerned. Brian thrust his chin at them, challenging, ‘Go on, punch it! Show me you’re capable of positive action.’ I wanted to wade in, too, but decided that the best course was wholesale replacement.

Our outstanding result in November 1973 was at the disciplinary hearing. I attended with Brian and the Commission cleared him. We were free to work and I’ve rarely worked harder. I was away scouting while Brian’s hands were full trying to explain away some awful defeats. We lost 4-0 in an F.A. Cup replay to an amateur club, Walton and Hersham. We lost 8-2 at home in the League to Bristol Rovers. It wasn’t our team but that was no consolation. Brian tried to draw the blame on himself by saying, ‘The players seem petrified of me.
They put on a shirt, look at me and wonder if they’re doing it right. It’s got to change or we°ll go down.’

Brian. although his heart and home remained in Derby, wanted to win for Brighton. He yearned for success, as he always does. There’s a delightful story about that from John Vinicombe, who covers all Brighton matches for the Evening Argus. He inadvertently opened the dressing-room door at Walsall after the first away victory under our management and found Brian on his knees, untying the players’ boots.

Meanwhile, the cauldron still bubbled at Derby. The players signed another letter demanding our re-instatement, while threatening not to report for a match against Leeds United. I was too busy travelling to take much interest: one night I was standing in the crowd at Chester, the next night I was more than 200 miles away watching Norwich reserves. My job is: observation, decision, replacement. It wasn’t difficult at Brighton to see who to replace.

My first signing was the veteran goalkeeper Peter Grummitt from Sheffield Wednesday for only £7,000. Next, John Bond of Norwich City agreed a package deal of £65.000 for three of his reserves: Andy Rollings, Ian Mellor and Steve Govier. Rollings was still in the side when Brighton won promotion to the First Division in 1979. He was a defender, so was Govier. I paid Luton Town £20,000 for Ken Goodeve, another defender. We got it right at the back, so we stayed up in 1973-4 – and I was glad because I had fallen for Brighton. I loved the club, the people and the place, but Brian never took to the South Coast. We weren’t a unit at Brighton. His mind was elsewhere: he hankered after Derby for a long time. He had tasted championship football and couldn’t adjust to the Third Division.

Brighton, still fighting relegation in the New Year, went off to Cambridge for a match, while Brian flew to New York for the world heavyweight fight between Muhammad All and Joe Frazier. He met Ali who taunted, ‘Hey, you a football player in England? You wouldn’t last two minutes over here. You’re too small’ – which only goes to show that the champ had never heard of soccer. He thought the only kind of football was gridiron which, of course, is played by giants.

Brian returned from America only to start planning a cricket trip to the West Indies in February. Then he flew to Tehran in March to discuss an offer from the Shah of £20,000 a year tax-free for us as joint managers of the Iranian national team. He also left the team to canvass in the Midlands during the 1974 General Election. And he never discouraged the offers that poured in: from Ajax of Amsterdam, from Aston Villa, from Queens Park Rangers. I didn’t want to work in Iran or Holland or anywhere except Brighton because Mike Bamber, realizing the club’s potential, was prepared to back his judgement with cash. He wanted the best, he was ready to pay, and he was determined to enforce his five year contract with Brian – but I knew that a split was inevitable.

Brian’s absences began to draw adverse comments. He accused the team of selling the club short and received this tart reply from some of the players. ‘How does he know? We never see him’. One disillusioned fan described him as, ‘A publicity hunter who dashes from the TV studios to the dressing-room just in time to gee up the players.’

The break came through a sensational sacking. The F.A. fired Sir Alf Ramsey, England’s manager when they won the 1966 World Cup, They were hammered by the critics and public and, needing a famous replacement to quieten the storm, turned to Brian’s old adversary, Don Revie of Leeds United.

Then Manny Cussins, the Leeds chairman, decided (against the advice of Revie and the misgivings of some directors), on Brian as a replacement. Four of us, Brian, myself, Bamber and Cussins – met at Hove in July 1974 to thrash it out. Brian wanted to go; Bamber wanted £75,000 compensation; I leaned towards staying and reminded Brian. ‘Don’t forget that Brighton came for us when we were out of work and while everyone else was hedging. And that they have backed us all the way.’

Nothing had been pre-arranged between myself and the Brighton Board, as Brian believed, but I felt the job was only half done and that we owed loyalty to Bamber for signing us under the shadow of a disciplinary commission. Not only that, but he had kept his promises: cash for transfers, no interference, accommodation in the best hotels, a new Mercedes coach for team travel. Brighton treated us wonderfully and I wasn’t prepared to discard them even for the champions of England, but I could read Brian’s ambitious mind. He saw himself jumping straight from the Third Division into the management of a European Cup side; he saw himself leading out Leeds United at Wembley in the following month’s Charity Shield match against Liverpool.

He was bitter when I said, ‘Count me out.’ After nine years, the partnership was over. I stayed at Brighton, signing busily so many players it’s hard to remember all of them. There was Peter Ward. a striker, for £4,000 from Burton Albion. He progressed right through to Brighton’s First Division team, won a place in an England squad, and was valued at more than one hundred times his original fee. There was Brian Horton from Port Vale, a natural captain who skippered Brighton from the Third to the First Division. He cost only £27,000 – anyone could have bought him and his wages were rock-bottom. Football had given him a hard time. West Bromwich had cast him off as a kid: he had played non-League football for Hednesford in the Midlands: and yet, because of his determination and influence on other players, he ought to have been playing at the top level from the start.

I bought some good footballers for Brighton and Hove Albion but, as a manager on my own, I just failed them. In July 1976, two years after we split, I resigned and joined Brian at Nottingham Forest. I had stayed with Brighton for the right reasons and, in my opinion, I left them for the right reasons. A change is required at times, and I think both of us needed one.

Mike Bamber had been wonderful to me. I could have anything a new car. money for players, a salary increase. I took a long holiday in Majorca. then returned to resign. After keeping them clear of relegation in 1974-5 I had missed promotion in 1975-6 by losing an Easter match at Millwall; from that day, my doubts grew I told Bamber, ‘I’m going; I’m a failure.’ and he said. ‘If you call this failure, then I want more of it’ which was a nice note to leave on. Time has proved me right; Brighton, under my successor Alan Mullery, reached the First Division, while I, re-united with Brian. went on to greater triumphs: the League Championship, two League Cups, the European Cup.

The split showed us how we were both up against it without each other. Our strengths were divided. I dislike dealing with directors and sitting through long board meetings discussing plans for new stands: Brian does it like shelling peas. He is a genius on press relations, but he hasn’t my knack for assessing, buying and selling players. As it happened, though, he missed me more than I missed him during those ill-fated forty-four days at Elland Road.


Here’s Taylor’s side that came so close to promotion from Division Three in 1975/76. They won just once in their last eight matches despite Peter Ward hitting six goals in that spell:


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‘The Leatherhead Lip’ strikes Brighton

The goal that put Brighton out of the FA Cup: Leatherhead's Chris Kelly (right) hits the 65th minute winner

The goal that put Brighton out of the FA Cup: Leatherhead’s Chris Kelly (right) hits the 65th minute winner

If you thought Brighton’s defeat to Newport County last night was bad enough, you’d be right. Still, at least the capitulation wasn’t against non-League opposition. Yesterday, Brighton failed to silence Justin Edinburgh who had been mouthing off about the Albion in the media before the match. Thirty eight and a half years ago, it was Leatherhead’s Chris Kelly who was adding spice to a cup competition by making some brash statements in the media.

Below is John Vinicombe’s report from the Evening Argus in January 1975, reporting on Albion’s humiliating 1-0 defeat to Leatherhead at the Goldstone Ground in the FA Cup:

Albion, perhaps more than most clubs, are now all too painfully aware of the narrowing gap between those in and outside the Football League.

Last season it was Walton and Hersham who cut them down to size in that traditional leveller the FA Cup. While the Walton defeat numbed everyone at the Goldstone, it was put down to several reasons that had little or nothing to do with how the team actually played.

The new managers had only just arrived and there was an air of upheaval scarcely conducive to getting minds right, as the saying goes. There was a degree of truth in this, and so Walton was written off as “one of those days.”

Well, Leatherhead have knocked the bottom out of that argument. They deservedly ended Albion’s hopes of a fouth round place and now face Leicester City – either at Crystal Palace or at Filbert Street.

When a manager says afterwards that he is both disgusted and ashamed of his team on the day, it leaves very little for me to say.

I think the best course of action is to quote Peter Taylor verbatim, and then add my own two cents worth on an extraordinary day that saw all five non-League clubs survive the round, with Leatherhead and Wimbledon, the real shock performers at Burnley, going through.

This is what Taylor said after the 1-0 defeat that dazed most of a 20,491 crowd who paid £11,035.15.

“We were outfought and outplayed. I am disgusted with the Brighton side and full of admiration for the opposition. We didn’t play five minutes’ football. Leatherhead played it honestly, and showed plenty of heart and fight.

“We have no excuses whatsoever. The onus was on us to win it by heart, and then show our skills. But we didn’t put two balls together. Leatherhead fought cleanly and fairly.

“Beforehand, I thought the mood was right. Leatherhead played exactly as we anticipated. But when it came to matching them by heart and taking them by skill, it didn’t work. I don’t mind getting beaten, but I don’t like being outfought. Cup football is a different game. I am ashamed of them.”

Mr Taylor went on to pinpoint character deficiencies, and how honest Leatherhead were in their approach. He then made this important point:

“What advantage Leatherhead had was that they appreciated what hard work means. All their players have a job in the week. It would be good for my players to clock in at eight and leave at five in the evening… which some of them might be doing shortly. Having a job makes players outside the League realise what it is to work for a living.

“I thought we had seen the last of the Walton days at Brighton. Evidently, we have not, but it is not the end of the world.”

Dave Reid nips in and robs Ian Mellor as he streaks forward.

Dave Reid nips in and robs Ian Mellor as he streaks forward.

Brighton starting line-up for that day was Peter Grummitt, Ken Tiler, Harry Wilson, Tommy Mason, Steve Piper, Graham Winstanley, Tony Towner, Peter O’Sullivan, Fred Binney, Ian Mellor and Jim Walker. Substitute was Marlowe who came on for Mason in the 70th minute.

On North Stand Chat, one user going by the name ‘Freddie Goodwin’ said:

Having suffered to Walton the previous year there was no way this would happen again as the team, under Peter Taylor, was taking shape. Over 20,000 turned up to see us thrash this motley crew from Surrey but, as mentioned above, it just didn’t happen. We were poor but everything we tried failed to come off and there was that air of inevitability that they would score. It was a really depressing game and I was of the opinion that those players should never play for Albion again…except that team had the likes of Sully, Rollings, Piper and more who went on to be part of the glory years.


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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Brian Clough lays down the law


Taken from the Brighton & Hove Albion Supporters Club Handbook 1974/75, Clough’s swaggering words leap off the page:

If I’ve turned Brighton upside-down and inside-out since my arrival from Derby County I don’t apologise.

This club needed a clean sweep and I’ve never been one for wasting valuable time. The work has always been hard, often frustrating but I can, at last, see the light.

I returned from Majorca with the team recently and began to wonder if the full realisation of what I have done here has reached the supporters.

We played one game on that beautiful island and won 8-2.

The score didn’t matter one iota. BUT WE HAD 10 NEW PLAYERS REPRESENTING BRIGHTON ON THAT PITCH. Two had never met their team mates before!

If there’s ever been a new start made in the history of football, then we have made it here at Brighton!

Certain players were not happy to be shown the door at the Goldstone Ground, but Peter Taylor and myself wanted, nay, demanded, new talent and new determination for our big push towards the Second Division.

We think we have reorganised well and are fully aware of the fact that we’ve left ourselves with 16 players.

Don’t be afraid of the drastic measures we have taken. We know what we are doing and we have a fair record at the bottom and top levels in this game of football.

Peter has already told you that we are men of action. Accordingly, we place ourselves at the mercy of the public because we are completely open to everybody’s judgement. We hide no secrets, we make no excuses – we believe our way is the healthy way.

It was Liverpool manager Bill Shankly who said at his team’s FA Cup banquet in London that too many clubs set out for survival rather than victory. I hope he doesn’t list Brighton among the survivors.

I promise that we will have a big, big, go to bring you entertainment and results in the same, successful package deal.

It wouldn’t be fair to ignore the fact I made trips abroad, during the season just passed and came under heavy fire from certain quarters.

I would ask you to bear this in mind… first of all my chairman, Mr Michael Bamber, was aware of all my movements, and secondly, I needed those breaks.

Leaving Derby County, a team we had built so well and so carefully, obviously led to personal difficulties.

I found much-needed comfort and Brighton benefited, too, from my travels. I’m sure my employers understood the turmoils I was facing at the time.

Now, we are looking forward to a great start from a new team. Exciting days, we are convinced, are coming to Brighton.

We will, I promise, give you plenty to shout about and we do look forward to your support.

Reading this, it’s the first and only time I’ve heard Clough justify his mid-season excursions, such as missing the away game at Cambridge in January 1974 to fly to New York to watch the Muhammad Ali boxing match with Joe Frazier. During his nine month spell as Brighton manager, he had also returned to Derby to campaign for Phillip Whitehead, the Labour candidate for Derby North. To cap it all, while Brighton were in the middle of a relegation battle, Brian Clough also travelled to Iran as a guest of the Shah with a view to taking over as manager the national side.

It was hard to escape the impression that Clough lacked commitment to his position at Brighton. Such an unsatisfying perception rang true when the Leeds United vacancy became available. Here is Brian Clough arriving at Heathrow Airport after cutting short his stay in Majorca to open talks with Leeds chairman Manny Cousins:


By the time the Supporters’ Club Handbook had left the printers, and Brighton fans got to read Brian Clough’s rhetoric about ‘looking forward to a great start from a new team’, the manager was already gone.

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Obscure Albion Kits: 1974/75 Home

No, this is not a Leeds United shirt!


This is a pimped-out version of the very ‘plain Jane’ Brighton home shirt from Peter Taylor’s first season in sole charge at the Goldstone in 1974/75. As you can see, not only did Albion fans have to put up with their manager Brian Clough defecting to Leeds, but our traditional and beloved blue and white stripes were ditched in favour of a design by Admiral that echoed the kit worn by the Elland Road side.

To add a bit of flourish, the shirts were originally worn with white shorts that had two blue stripes running down the side and with white socks featuring two blue rings.

While controversial, the move to all-white had a precedent at the Goldstone earlier in the decade. Before Brighton boss Freddie Goodwin had left for Birmingham City in the summer of 1970, he had instigated a change to the team’s colours to this aesthetic, perhaps in admiration of Leeds or maybe he thought it would help us play like Real Madrid. Or could it be that he just liked how milky-white kits shone under floodlights during night-time matches? Whatever the reason, that radical change lasted for a single season, however, in the first campaign of the Pat Saward era.

Just as under Pat Saward in 1970/71, Brighton’s season in 1974/75 was one of struggle in Division Three, with the threat of relegation being averted by the end. Under the watch of Peter Taylor, the all-white affair was worn by the likes of Ian Mellor when he scored on his League debut for Brighton in an opening day win against Crystal Palace in August 1974 and by fellow striker Dave Busby who became the first black player to play for the Albion when he came on as a substitute against Reading in the League Cup in September. Humiliatingly, the shirt was also worn with blue shorts for the 1-0 home defeat in the FA Cup by non-league side Leatherhead in January 1975, with Chris Kelly, ‘The Leatherhead Lip,’ here giving the Albion defenders the runaround:

At least the white shirt from the earlier season had the letters ‘B&HAFC.’ This one of 1974/75, with the identical blue round neck and shirt cuffs, had nothing that identified it as belonging to Brighton & Hove Albion. Stingily, it also offered none of the design innovations that Admiral became synonymous with during the decade, such as tramlines down the shirts and shorts …or even sock tags which featured mainly at Elland Road in kits manufactured by Admiral (If you’re going to copy Leeds, at least copy sock tags!) And yet, as if to rub your nose in it, Admiral did manage to get their own logo on.

Strangely, given the plentiful supply before, there’s a paucity of colour photography of Brighton & Hove Albion players during 1974/75, apart from this photo by Crystal Palace fan Paul Wright which understandably is from quite far out, so you can’t see the detail on the shirt. So, from black and white photos, I was unable to ascertain the colour of the Admiral logo until Phil Shelley from Old Football Shirts was helpfully able to confirm it as yellow with a blue outline, having chatted to a few ex-Brighton players at the Alan Mullery special celebration dinner event last year.

1974-75shirt2Powered with this knowledge, I ordered a blue round-necked white shirt from Toffs. Then I proceeded to get a yellow Admiral logo unstitched from another shirt and sewn on to it although, judging from photos, I think the originals had the logo as an ironed on transfer. I even got the Admiral neck label added on to make it look more authentic when it is anything but!

Although it could be easily mistaken for a white polo necked t-shirt with a badge ironed on, I do wonder how much an original Brighton home shirt from 1974/75 is worth. Not that there’s much chance of an original surviving the lifespan of being used in competitive matches, then in reserve matches, then as training kit, then probably discarded due to wear and tear. When I contacted Dave Busby, who made three appearances during that season, he said: “We were never allowed to keep kit. It all had to be accounted for.”

Unless any found their way out, what you are looking at could be the only 1974/75 Brighton home shirt in existence, albeit as a reproduction.


Back row: Brian Daykin (assistant manager), Andy Rollings, Ian Mellor, Peter Grummitt, Graham Winstanley, Jim Walker, Ken Gutteridge (coach)

Front row: Harry Wilson, Ernie Machin, Fred Binney, Peter Taylor (manager), Tommy Mason, Tony Towner, Peter O’Sullivan

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