Tag Archives: peter taylor

Shoot Cover: Brian Horton (15 July 1980)

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An excellent photo of ‘Nobby’, so-called because of the uncompromising nature of his play when he appeared for Hednesford. Here, he competes for the ball with Crystal Palace’s young midfielder Jerry Murphy in April 1980, during Brighton’s first season in the top flight. The game ended 1-1.

What isn’t known by many Albion fans, however, is how Horton could have signed for Crystal Palace, not Brighton & Hove Albion, in 1976.

In an article in Backpass magazine (issue 26), Horton talks fondly of his time at Port Vale:

We had a fantastic spirit because we were all free-transfer lads brought in by Gordon Lee and, later, Roy Sproson. In 1976, we played at Crystal Palace just before transfer-deadline day. Terry Venables (Palace’s player-coach and soon-to-be manager) got a message to me beforehand saying, ‘Don’t sign for anyone, I’ll sign you in the summer’. We drew 2-2 and afterwards Sproey said, ‘I’m sorry but we’re selling you to Brighton for 30 grand. We need the money.’ The deal was already done and everyone knew but me.

Next day I went to Brighton and met (manager) Peter Taylor in the Metropole hotel. He offered me a deal and my then-wife came down to look around. We watched them play Shrewsbury that night and the next morning I tried it on over wages – there were no agents then – but he called my bluff. He said, ‘Take it or leave it. But if you sign I’ll look after you.’

Horton duly signed.

After a few games for Brighton, Horton was handed the captaincy by Taylor and retained the position when Alan Mullery succeeded Taylor as Albion boss in June 1976. In the season that followed, the tough-tackling skipper was involved in a controversial incident against Palace, the club he almost signed for, in the famous FA Cup 1st Round 2nd Replay at Stamford Bridge.

Horton slotted home a penalty but referee Ron Challis ordered a retake after encroachment by Palace players. Yes, you heard that right, by Palace players. When Horton retook it, Eagles keeper Paul Hammond saved it and Brighton lost 1-0.

Horton did get on the scoresheet in the away match against Crystal Palace in October 1978, but his fine goal proved a consolation goal. Very small consolation, indeed, as Brighton lost painfully, 3-1, as part of a spell where the Albion did not beat Palace in any of Horton’s first nine matches involving the two sides.

It took until that 1979/80 for Brighton to lift the Crystal Palace hoodoo. Horton tucked home a penalty after five minutes to set the Seagulls on the road to a comprehensive 3-0 thrashing of their rivals. After that, Horton never lost again while playing for Brighton against Palace, and played both matches when the Seagulls did the double over the Eagles in 1980/81.

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Joe Kinnear’s short stay at Brighton


He is now known as the rather opinionated Director of Football at Newcastle United. Back in the 1970s, though, Joe Kinnear was a classy full-back for Tottenham and the Republic of Ireland, winning four major cup competitions in a glittering career lasting over a decade at White Hart Lane.

When the 28 year-old was signed by Peter Taylor for Brighton, part of the deal involved the defender enjoying a benefit match between his old and new club in March 1976. Tottenham won 6-1 at the Goldstone with Kinnear scoring a consolation penalty. While the score was not to their satisfaction, Brighton fans must have rubbed their eyes in disbelief to see Jimmy Greaves, Rodney Marsh and Terry Venables all appearing for their side.

In ‘Still Crazy,’ his biography with Hunter Davies, Kinnear’s account of his time on the south coast rather unintentionally gives an impression of a pampered professional footballer chasing one final pay cheque. When Peter Taylor departed for Nottingham Forest, new boss Alan Mullery was not impressed with his former team-mate. In Joe’s own words:

I signed for Brighton and Hove Albion in August 1975. The transfer fee was officially £40,000. That’s what was announced, a reasonably average sum for the times, but it was agreed that I would get it all. Normally, with a transfer fee at the time, a player only got a small percentage. I think it was really a sort of thank you, for the years of loyal service. I didn’t get it in one lump sum. It was to be spread over several years, as part of my salary. I paid tax on it all, in the normal way.

We kept on our home in London, in Woodside Park, Mill Hill, at least for the time being. I decided I could commute by train each day to Brighton, getting off at Hove, returning in the afternoon after training. On match days, Bonnie would come to watch me. We’d have a meal in Brighton after the match, then come back to London together. That was the plan.

When I arrived at Brighton for the first training sessions, I did still worry if I’d done the right thing. My pride had been hurt by being transferred. I still wondered if I should have stayed, played in the reserves, fought to get my place back. But I couldn’t have faced the reserves any more.

I knew it was a come-down, going to a smaller club, in a lower division, down in the third division, after the glamour of Spurs. Still, Phil (Beal) had told me the club was ambitious and had a good set-up. It turned out to be not quite what I expected.

First of all, Peter Taylor was hardly there. Dunno where he was, what he was doing, but we only saw him on Fridays after training, then on Saturday at the match.

Second, we didn’t have our own training ground. We’d assemble at the Goldstone Ground, the club’s stadium in Hove, which wasn’t bad, but we rarely trained there. Instead, we’d jog for 15 minutes or so through the streets and do our training on a public park. There would be dogs walking over the pitch, mums with prams. There weren’t even any goalposts. We just had cones on the ground or a pile of bibs.

Third, the coaching was mostly a joke, when you consider it was a so-called professional club with paid coaches. I don’t know how one of the coaches got his job. We called him the Spud Man. We were told that he sold potatoes, that was his real job. Apparently he’d been providing Cloughy and Peter Taylor with potatoes. He had a job as a coach. That’s what we heard anyway. I’m sure it was just a joke. But it was clear all the same that he had little idea about coaching.

In the first season I was there, we did quite well. We were on the fringes of promotion to the Second Division. Then in an away match at Port Vale, I got tackled by their left winger. Not a nasty tackle, but I did my cruciate ligaments. My knee got twisted round, ending back to front. I’d snapped the ligaments. That was it, stretched off.

In fact, the match Kinnear refers to was the last-but-one of the 1975/76 season against Gillingham at the Goldstone in April. Here’s a photo of him being stretchered off in the 70th minute with what was reported by the Evening Argus’ John Vinicombe as a ‘locked knee that could mean a cartilage operation’:


The injury capped a disastrous Easter 1976 for Kinnear. In the game with Millwall, Joe’s calamitous backpass to Peter Grummitt gifted Millwall’s second goal in a 3-1 defeat at The Den. In the match where he got injured, his eighteenth and last for Brighton, Joe had also missed a penalty against Gillingham after Dave Shipperley had handled. He hit the spot-kick to the goalkeeper Phil Owers’ right with insufficient power and the shot turned around the post.

Says Kinnear:

I couldn’t play for six months. I could have had an operation, but I was told the success rate was only 50-50. I did try to come back and started training again. I had my leg all strapped up but I was still limping. Then I had a brace, but it was agony every time and it just swelled up.

I’d begun by then to get on quite well with Peter. He’d call me in to discuss the team, who should be played, the tactics. We chatted generally about ideas, how football should be played, or discussed the opposition, the strengths and weaknesses. I did tell Peter that I fancied going into coaching. He was quite encouraging.

Then he left. I’m not sure if he got the sack or just packed it in. But anyway, that was it, he was gone.

If I’d been stronger at the time, as a person, and more confident, I might have asked what the chances were of me being considered for manager. But I didn’t say anything, I didn’t push myself forward. The chairman, Mike Bamber, did call me in and told me who they were thinking of appointing – Alan Mullery. He asked me what he was like, as I’d played with him at Spurs. I said his pedigree is terrific – Spurs captain, England captain – can’t get a better CV than that.

So he was appointed. I was looking forward to working with him again – I hoped that as I knew him, and had been his team-mate, he’d give me some sort of coaching job. That was my hope. But then when he arrived he’d brought his own coaching staff.

Kinnear never featured in a game under Mullery and instead left Brighton for Woodford Town becoming player-manager. Who knows how things would have turned out if the Eire international has become one of the coaching staff at the Goldstone? Would he have been with a chance of eventually progressing to the manager’s hot-seat at Brighton? Impossible to say. However, if you are puzzled as to why the new boss was not impressed enough to offer Kinnear a coaching job, you can find the answer in Mullery’s ‘An Autobiography’ from 1985:

“A few old pros had heard that under Taylor and Clough there was a few bob about and it was up to me to get rid of the driftwood, keeping the players I wanted and bring in some youngsters. It wasn’t an easy time and a few of the senior stars gave me a rough ride. Kinnear was the worst and, after watching him play in a friendly at Maidstone, I accused him of still behaving as if he was at Tottenham or in Europe and I ordered him to lose a stone in weight. We had a number of rows and so I threatened to end his contract only to discover from secretary Ken Calver that the club owed him £18,000. He continued to rebel and eventually left the club without getting all his money.”

So, that was that. Mullery won his first real test as a manager. Kinnear, for his part, proved to be a very different character as Wimbledon boss to his lackadaisical approach as a player, relying for much of his managerial success on his ability to motivate his players. In terms of priorities, at least this was something he and Mullery could both agree upon!

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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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Brian Clough: You Can’t Win ‘Em All

A fitting time to share this gem of a pop record, after Brighton’s painful 0-2 Play-Off Semi-Final home defeat against Crystal Palace yesterday.

This track (file under ‘philosophical football’), where Brian Clough made an astounding guest appearance, was by JJ Barrie, the Canadian singer and songwriter, most famous for his cover of ‘No Charge’ which was number one in the UK in June 1976. How he ended up recording a song with the then Nottingham Forest manager is a mystery to me although I have heard suggestions that Barrie was a fan of the City Ground side.

For your reference, the improbable fantasy commentary is:

“Neeskens is going down the wing. He’s crossed to Beckenbauer and he heads down to Keegan. A one-two with Dalglish. He takes on two defenders. Brady takes over. He lobs to Cruyff. He’s in the 30 yard box with a short pass to Pele. He shoots. It’s in! What a goal – ONE – NOTHING! In the final twenty seconds. It’s just as Peter Taylor predicted!”

A very nice touch to namecheck assistant boss Peter Taylor in there. Apart from the FA Cup, the management double-act pretty much did win ’em all: League Championship, League Cup, Charity Shield, European Cup and European Super Cup. Unlike at Forest and Derby, I think the track is far more relevant to Clough and Taylor’s brief time at Brighton together, where results were often mediocre, or even dire such as Albion losing 4-0 at home in the FA Cup to Walton & Hersham (which Clough wittily said sounded more like a branch of solicitors than a football club!) in November 1973 and then getting trounced 8-2 by Bristol Rovers at the Goldstone Ground three days later.

Here the two men are in an unhappy mood, with Brighton chairman Mike Bamber in between. As the song suggests, defeat is no more than ‘a toss of a coin, the luck of the draw’ although when the stakes are high, it doesn’t often feel this way.


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Barry Butlin scores the winner at Selhurst Park


Classic match report by John Vinicombe from the Evening Argus in September 1975:

Fighting Albion sink pacemakers Palace

Albion shattered the unbeaten seven-match run of Third Division leaders Crystal Palace last night before a crowd of 25,606 – the best for two seasons at Selhurst Park – with a goal after only three minutes from new loan signing Barry Butlin.

Having seized a dramatic lead Albion fought to stay in front and redeem themselves after that abject defeat at Colchester.

In the physical battle Albion came out on top – a fact ruefully acknowledged by Malcolm Allison: “They marked us very tight and they kicked us. We missed three tremendous chances that should have been put away. For football we slaughtered them… how many shots did Brighton have, three, four? We were beaten by frustration. You can outplay a side and not beat them. That is what happened to us.”

As a strict contrast to the Palace manager, Peter Taylor confined himself to the pertinent comment: “I was delighted with the result, but I have talked too much this week. The lads did the talking out there tonight.”

Indeed, they did: it was a performance that could well herald the much-promised revival. This was no ordinary League match.

The exchanges were conducted in a cup-tie atmosphere, and the cut-and-thrust carried through with the zest of deadly rivals.

No quarter was asked, or given, but not once did I see a vicious or mean foul awarded by the TWO referees. The first half was run by Denis Turner of Cannock. But he strained an ankle and the second period saw John Hazell from Colchester promoted from senior linesman to the middle.

On 22 occasions Albion were penalised, while Palace had 18 free kicks given against them. This stiffening of resistance by Albion was a direct contrast to their last outing when Allison had them watched. “I was told that Brighton didn’t fight very hard. Well, you saw them tonight… the teams that will go up from this division will be those who fight every week, not just here and there.”

Albion can take this as a compliment and start believing themselves away from home. The first free kick of the match produced the only goal and a first for Albion from Butlin. Machin split Palace with his artful kick and Fell, with room to move, hit a low cross that Binney jumped over. When the ball arrived at the far post, Butlin’s shot was unstoppable.


Barry Butlin was a former Derby and Luton striker who had topped the Second Division scoring charts when his seventeen goals helped the Hatters to promotion in 1973/74. (You can see footage of him scoring for Luton in a remarkable game in the snow and fading light against Huddersfield). He had joined Nottingham Forest in a £120,000 deal in October 1974. Making smart use of his ties with Brian Clough, Brighton boss Peter Taylor was able to secure Butlin on loan in September 1975. The goal at Selhurst Park was in the second of the attacker’s five appearances with the Albion. He followed up his Selhurst winner in the next game with another goal as Brighton romped to a 3-0 win against Chesterfield at the Goldstone.

The two successive victories pushed Brighton up to sixth position, a welcome relief after three successive campaigns battling relegation. Nevertheless, inspired by the flamboyant Malcolm Allison and breathtaking wing-play of Peter Taylor (as opposed to the then Brighton boss of the same name), Crystal Palace were still sitting pretty at the top of Division Three, with the loss to the Albion their only League reverse of the season so far. It was still their sole defeat by 6th December when the South London side held a yawning seven point gap between them and second place Brighton. Surely an unbridgeable gap? In the promotion chase that followed, however, Albion completed the League double over Crystal Palace in February 1976, with Sammy Morgan getting both goals at the Goldstone. Helped by wins such as this, Brighton held the runners-up slot as late as 3rd April 1976, before a run of one win in the last five matches ended their dreams. As for Crystal Palace, they seemed distracted by a wonderful run to the FA Cup Semi-Final where they enjoyed famous victories over Leeds, Chelsea and Sunderland. The League form of Malcolm Allison’s side imploded and they finished the campaign weakly with one win in eight matches. By the season’s conclusion, they had nosedived to fifth spot, one place behind the Albion.


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With Clough By Taylor: The Peter Ward Story


Fascinating extract from this book by Peter Taylor first published in 1980:

I wish Peter Ward had signed for us earlier. I saw Ward slotting straight into Woodcock’s position, with Trevor Francis striking from midfield; everything about the deal looked right, yet everything went wrong.

I had signed Ward for Brighton from Burton Albion – a deal that came about through appointing Ken Gutteridge, Burton’s manager, as a coach at Brighton. He told me, ‘I’ve two or three players at Burton who are good enough for the Third Division. They are Ward, Corrigan and Pollard. Clubs have looked but turned them down. Now will you have a look?’ I sent my assistant manager Brian Daykin, who watched them in an away match and gave the thumbs down. Gutteridge, though, persisted and said, ‘You must rate me to have fetched me all the way from Burton to Brighton so at least give me the satisfaction of seeing these three for yourself.’

There was no answer to that, so I went to Burton and watched them in the second leg of the FA Trophy semi-final against Buxton, whose centre-half was Peter Swan, the old England player. Swan gave Ward a hard time and Burton lost, but I still thought, ‘Yes, he’ll do.’ Burton played at Maidstone four days later and I took Brian Daykin with me. He’d seen Ward once and voted no; I’d seen him once and voted yes, so it seemed a good idea to watch him together. The pitch was bad; Burton, who had turned up with a scratch side, were bad; and Ward was bad – yet he still showed a few class touches, enough to make him worth a £4,000 gamble.


Ward has scored a hat-trick for England Under-21s and had a place in the full England squad but I don’t think he’ll realise his full potential because of inconsistency. Yet I like him. He is very good with his back to goal because he can turn and lick defenders and finish. That’s a rare quality – sticking it in the net.

I thought he would be good value for Forest at £300,000, the price I agreed with Brighton chairman Mike Bamber on the night before leaving for a European Cup tie in Romania. The signing was arranged for the day after our return but, shortly after landing, I heard a story that Derby were hoping to exchange Gerry Daly, their Irish midfield player, for Ward. Efforts to contact Alan Mullery, Brighton’s manager, were unsuccessful, which made me suspicious. Then Brian, for the first time in our partnership, doubted my judgement and asked, ‘Are you right about Ward?’

I felt floored and insulted. ‘Right?’ I shouted. ”I’ve got every detail about him except his fingerprints. I’ve bought him once; I’ve played him. He’s tried and tested. I know him as well as I know you’ – and with that, I left the ground. Brian, on seeing my conviction and eagerness to complete the deal, then got in touch himself with Mullery and Bamber but found them no longer anxious to sell, because Ward was returning to form. He played at Forest in November and gave a dazzling display in Brighton’s 1-0 win. This was our first home defeat in the League for fifty-one consecutive matches, stretching back to April 1977. Mullery said afterwards, ‘You couldn’t have him for £600,000.’


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Did Albion really want promotion in 1976?

Some angry and sceptical letters from E.F. Russell and L. Revell in the Argus in April 1976, as Brighton’s promotion push in Division Three peters out with one win in their last eight matches, despite rookie striker Peter Ward hitting six goals in that period.


L. Revell (no relation to Alex?) wrote:

“Albion have been pipped for promotion once again. I would suggest that next season will be a bit of an anti-climax and that the efforts at home will not be as good as this year. So an enormous improvement would have to come about in away performances to have any sort of chance of going up. This being so, I doubt very much whether next season will bring promotion either. I have said repeatedly for years that I will never see Brighton in the First Division whatever age I reach.”

The understandable sense of frustration from season ticket holders such as him was probably not helped by the Argus reporting a few weeks before on the eve of the busy Easter schedule:

There is no specific promotion target for Albion manager Peter Taylor. With just four matches remaining, he is content to play each game as it comes. With the big game at Millwall coming up on Friday, Taylor said he was confident of a result. “But I am not thinking about a target. We shall continue to play our best.”

In the end, Albion were tonked 3-1 at the Den.

Happily, Revell’s pessimism was misplaced. In fact, 1976/77 went down as one of the most golden, most celebrated seasons in Albion history, signalling the start of the glory years. As formidable a home record as Brighton had in 1975/76 (W18 D3 L2), they improved their Goldstone record the following campaign (W19 D3 L1). In 1976/77, they also significantly enhanced that wretched away record, from W4 D6 L13 to W6 D8 L9.

However, it was to take all the motivational drive of Alan Mullery, and the deposing of top scorer Fred Binney (who got a mere five away League goals in 1975/76), to bring this to fruition. Peter Taylor had long departed, but he did also achieve promotion in 1976/77, with Brian Clough, of course, as Nottingham Forest sneaked back into Division One. Glory was just around the corner for them too.

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