Tag Archives: steve foster

Santa sleighs Crystal Palace

Getting into the festive spirit, these Albion folks featured on the cover to the Brighton v Newcastle matchday programme in December 1983:

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Can you work out who they are?

Inside, the identities were revealed… well, two of the trio, anyway:

Our cover photograph on today’s programme was the idea of supporter Stove Blunt, “but very few supporters will know exactly who the Father Christmas is alongside the two clowns. The identity of these are no secret as both Neil Smillie and Steve Foster have been the butt of their colleague’s humour this week.

Steve claims that his diet is responsible for the ill fitting trousers while Nell, who has missed training in recent weeks due to his ankle injury, shows that he has still been keeping fit . . . but what about Father Christmas, who is it?

I don’t know… surely it’s not Chris Cattlin, is it?

The early appearance for our photo of the lads in fancy dress gave no secrets away for the players’ own fancy dress party next Thursday. This party has become an Albion Christmas tradition and some marvellous characters have emerged in recent seasons.

Gary Williams’ depiction of Wurzel Gummidge two years ago was one of the best, but one or two of the players have some ‘secret’ plans lined up for next Thursday and local costume shops have been the ‘odd’ target for some.

One of the biggest, ACE Fancy Dress Hire, in Eastbourne, provided the material for our photo and several of the lads were over there this week lining up their own for the party. Everyone is playing a part but they all claim secrecy is part of the enjoyment.

Two rumours circulating the ground suggest that one player will be dressed as a well known cricketer and another is threatening to go as ‘Boy George’

Despite the seasonal cheer, manager Chris Cattlin was keen to maintain a discipline squad, as he revealed in the Brighton v Fulham programme on 27th December 1983:

“We were due to train on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and every player will be expected to step on the scales each day so that their weight can be checked… too much Foster turkey, Corrigan Christmas pudding or Case cream cakes will show up and the lads know it.”

It seemed to do the trick as Brighton won 2-0 at Crystal Palace on Boxing Day, with goals from Danny Wilson and Neil Smillie.

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Last hurrah for yellow away kit

Worn by the likes of Steve Foster below, this all-yellow Adidas number was Brighton’s away kit in the First Division from 1980/81 to 1982/83:

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Its most famous appearance came in the 1983 FA Cup Semi-Final when Brighton beat Sheffield Wednesday 2-1.

What is forgotten is that it was worn several times for the following season, 1983/84.

By then, though, with Albion in the Second Division, pinstripes and V-necks were all the rage. Here’s young winger Steve Penney showing his trickery while donning Albion’s sublime new white away kit with blue and red pinstripes:

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You can also see this adidas shirt in more detail at Phil Shelley’s Old Football Shirts website.

However, there was a sartorially tricky League fixture in the 1983/84 campaign at Blackburn Rovers, and a cup tie at Bristol Rovers (Milk Cup) that meant both the blue home shirt and the white away top could not be used as change kit.

Instead, Albion were forced to reuse the previous season’s yellow shirts, minus reference to the lapsed sponsorship deal with British Caledonian Airways, of course. Despite the flakey picture quality, you can just about make out those flappy blue collars here in the Bristol Rovers second leg in October 1983, where Albion prevailed 5-4 on aggregate:

For a closer look, here’s, ahem, ‘Jerry Connors’ smashing in the vital away goal:

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In the next round of the Milk Cup, in November 1983, Brighton travelled to Upton Park, Again they revived their old yellow kit, this time going down 1-0. Here’s Alan Young on the ball:

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By the following season, 1984/85, adidas launched a new yellow change shirt for the Seagulls. It was worn in this 2-0 defeat at Blackburn Rovers:

Fast forward three more seasons, to 1987/88, Spall took over the supply of Albion’s playing and replica kit, introducing a snazzy yellow shirt with shadow stripes. It was the first yellow away shirt worn in a promotion season since the Bukta design under Alan Mullery all those years ago.

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Video: Brighton 3-0 Norwich – a flying start for Jimmy Melia’s circus

It's Jimmy Media!

It’s Jimmy Melia – but no disco shoes here

It was boss Mike Bailey out, Jimmy Melia and George Aitken in, come December 1982. Having previously served as chief scout and chief coach, Brighton’s temporary managers helped to lift the gloom over the Goldstone Ground, caused by poor results, falling crowds and growing disharmony within the side:

Brighton are fighting for First Division survival after the departure of manager Mike Bailey. What hope for the club that brought football glory to Sussex by climbing from the Third Division to the First in three years but have since fought desperately to avoid relegation. SHOOT investigates Brighton’s catalogue of problems and turns the spotlight on Mike Bamber, the chairman who wants to be manager as well.

When Brighton were promoted to the First Division three seasons ago it seemed like a Iicence for the club to print money.

They had been magnificently supported, but the crowds melted away as two gritty battles against relegation were fought by Alan Mullery.

Then, last season under Mike Bailey, Brighton appeared to have turned the corner in finishing a respectable 13th, the highest position in their history.

Now, following Bailey’s departure early last month, Brighton, amid falling gates, are fighting all over again to establish themselves.

Alarmingly, there are cracks appearing in the Goldstone structure, and some disgruntled fans have even said they’d be better off in the Third Division.

It is a fact that Brighton have never attracted 30,000 crowd since they went up, yet there is well-heeled catchment area that hasn’t been visibly hit by the recession.

The season was only a few weeks old when two key international players, Steve Foster and Michael Robinson, asked for transfers. Then Nell McNab said the chairman’s involvement extended too far. McNab alleged that he picked the team.

Foster - staying for now

Foster – staying for now

The fuss died down, and Foster and Robinson later said they were willing to stay. McNab, who is also on a lengthy contract, turned down a move sending him to Newcastle on loan, and has since joined Leeds United on a temporary transfer.

While the basis of Foster’s gripe was money he considered a rise was due after getting into England’s World Cup squad, Robinson’s quarrel, besides being financial, raised other questions.

He accused the club of lacking ambition, and this was triggered when Bamber refused to back Bailey up in giving Charlie George a month’s trial.

Robinson: Want-away striker

Robinson: Want-away striker

It was Robinson’s opinion that the chairman should also have given Bailey a contract. After putting his cards on the table, it looked as though Robinson would leave.

But he declined a berth at Sunderland, and was later wooed by Arsenal and QPR.

Foster’s dispute had been settled previously, and he did not identify with Robinson all the way. But McNab’s bluntness in challenging his chairman was a blockbuster.

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Ward returns, replacing the Ward-replacement Andy Ritchie

Bamber brought about the return of Peter Ward, Brighton’s former record scorer, on loan from Nottingham Forest.

He saw him as not only a vital crowd-puller, but the man to link-up best with Robinson.

Brighton have only got him until the end of next month, but he did the business by scoring the winner against Manchester United on November 6 when the gate was a satisfying 18,398 – an increase of 8,000. The inclusion of Ward put Andy Ritchie’s nose temporarily out of joint, Brighton’s most expensive signing at £500,000 from Old Trafford stayed in the reserves for six weeks and only re-appeared when Bailey left.

And another big-money player, Gordon Smith, who cost £400,000 from Rangers, went back to Glasgow on a temporary transfer.

The principal reason was to help Rangers in the Scottish League Cup Final against Celtic. But all Smith got was a runners-up medal that was stolen the same night when his car was vandalised.

Smith, like most Brighton players, is also on a long engagement. But he’s in a whirl.

“When I get back to Brighton, I’ll have to introduce myself as a new signing.”

Perhaps Brighton’s biggest mistake was signing Mickey Thomas from Everton. Over £400,000 was involved, and the Wales international couldn’t put a foot right.

He gave domestic reasons for several acts of truancy that held Brighton up to ridicule. Fines and suspensions didn’t bring him into line. But once transferred to Stoke, Thomas showed his real worth.

Then he relaxed, and said: “Joining Brighton was the worst period of my life. Last season was just a horror story for me. I felt trapped there. They were in such a hurry to sign me, and soon everything got me down. And the system they played was so defensive that I got bored. I admit I was out of order in taking time off, but I should never have gone there in the first place.”

Brighton cannot afford another mistake like that, and it is very doubtful they will be able to recoup anything comparable to the fee paid for Smith.

Bamber disclaims responsibility, saying the down-turn in the market has put many clubs in trouble, and Brighton are no exception.

He is hoping that Jimmy Melia, in temporary charge, can lift the side…

The Melia era got off to a glorious start with an emphatic 3-0 victory over Norwich City on 11th December 1982, a win that suggested the side, now more attacking, had turned over a new leaf in the League. Here you can enjoy highlights from this match, Albion’s biggest victory in Division One that season:

Enjoy Jimmy Case’s rocket with his left foot, the close control and creative play of Peter Ward, and Andy Ritchie’s curling free-kick.

Unfortunately, it proved a false dawn. Albion failed to win their next ten League matches, a poor run that plunged the club from 18th to bottom of the division by the start of March. By then the media circus over the FA Cup run gripped the club and First Division survival became of secondary importance.

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Shoot Cover: Steve Foster (28 November 1981)

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In the season of this front cover, 1981/82, Shoot! published an article claiming ‘Captain Foster loves to nag!’:

Steve Foster has welcomed the job of Brighton captain as a major boost to his own form. Whether his team-mates wholeheartedly agree with the choice is open to rather more doubt.

Foster says, tongue slightly in cheek: “The lads reckon I nag them just a bit more than I used to.
They say I’m getting on their nerves these days, but that doesn’t matter, if we do the business and my shouting has helped in any way, it will have been worthwhile.”

Foster’s team-mates are, of course, joking. They recognise the immense contribution of the big central defender. And “Fozzie’, as he is known to the Brighton players, believes the captaincy will help him become an even greater asset to Brighton’s cause this season.

“A lot of players wouldn’t want the captaincy. I’ve heard them say they don’t produce their best form when they’re worried about what the other lads are doing. But it works the other way for me. I feel a greater sense of responsibility. I feel that if I want the other lads to try s bit harder during a match, they have to see me doing just that. So I’ve found it has helped me improve,” says Foster.

“I used to shout all the time anyway, to encourage the lads. The only difference now, is that I’m the official skipper and I have to do it. I find I have concentrated more since I took over as captain.”

Brighton have introduced a new, tighter defensive system under new manager Mike Bailey. Foster believes it will help the Sussex club establish themselves in the First Division without the fear of relegation which has dogged them for the past couple of seasons.

“We have to keep our discipline at the back much more under Mike Bailey,” says Foster. “Defenders can still go forward, but there has to be plenty of cover at the back before we can move up.” Foster recognises the immense task he faces to succeed as skipper to the extent Brian Horton managed. Foster says: “Brian was a great leader.

“He had such respect from other players that I can only hope to gain half as much. The lads reckon I’ve always been a moaner on the field, but I won’t complain if the results go for us, So it’s up to the lads – if they don’t want me to nag them, they’ll have to produce the form which means plenty of points!”

“I think our bigger squad and greater experience will be vital this season. We feel confident and have more players available. You must have strength in depth in this Division, and we are now getting that. It could make a big difference to us.”

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Blood-stained Steve Foster for England!

With an international weekend of football approaching, now seems an apt time to share this article discussing Steve Foster’s England chances. From the 1980/81 season:

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Steve Foster, Brighton’s giant centre-half, has a habit of bumping into things. Like Andy Gray’s head and Justin Fashanu’s elbow!

“I received a bad cut on the first day of the season, against Wolves,” he says. “Andy and I went for a high ball and cracked our heads together. That left me with a two inch cut on my forehead.

“I had to go off, but I wanted to get back as soon as possible. They gave me an injection, but it hadn’t worked properly when they put a couple of stitches in, so it was a bit painful. But when I got on the field again, the injection took effect. I didn’t feel anything then.”

With a huge white bandage ~ across his brow, Foster looked like soldier in the heart of a battle. Grown men winced as he continued to win his duel in the air, the ball smacking into the plaster on, his head. By the end of the game, he looked drained. His shirt was stained with blood. But he dismisses the incident with a shrug.

“I had a headache afterwards, but that was about all. I wanted to be there at the final whistle. It was the same when I got cut against Norwich. I went for a high bail with Fashanu that time. That was a bad one, but I’d rather finish a game, before getting patched up.”

Here’s Foster nursing a broken nose…

Foster’s gutsy attitude is admired by Brighton boss, Alan Mullery, who has signed him on a ten-year contract.

“Steve’s a powerful player, with tremendous character. He’s very competitive. He wants to win and that’s the only attitude to have in this game,” says Mullery.

“I think he should be England’s next centre-half. He has the skill and he has the heart to succeed at international level.”

“It’s nice to hear the boss saying things like that,” says Steve, “but I know the way to make your name is to do well for your club. That’s what I’m concentrating on.

“But, of course, I’d be proud to play for England. You often hear of the pride of the Scots. Well, if I ever played for my country, I’d be as proud as any Scot has ever been. It’d be the biggest thrill of my life.”

Foster, who Mullery signed from Portsmouth in the summer of 1979, has had a busy season, as the Seagulls have battled to establish their right to First Division status.

There have been disasters, like the 4-3 defeat at Everton, and triumphs, like the 1-0 home win over Ipswich, when Foster snuffed out the menace of Paul Mariner.

“i’m enjoying playing alongside Mark Lawrenson at the back. I think our styles go well together.

We gave away some silly goals, especially at the start of the season, but we’re getting it together now. He’s got so much skill and he reads the game so well. Playing with someone like that every week can’t be bad!”

Ironically, Brighton’s First Division fight has given Steve’s game a terrific boost. Defenders, like ‘keepers, often perform best under pressure. That was certainly true, last term, when Seagulls’ fans voted Foster their “Player of The Year”. On the field he is a hard competitor.

Away from the action, he’s the Goldstone’s gentle giant. “‘1 enjoy having s laugh and joke with the other players. This is a happy club. They all kid me because I’m lucky at cards.

“They say they’re going to buy shares in me. We were at a reception the other week and they were joking about ‘Lucky Fossie’. Just then they called out the raffle winners. Guess who got first prize?”

With luck like that, combined with his tremendous determination and competitive spirit, Steve Foster would be a safe bet to lead Brighton away from the First Division relegation zone towards the promised land of security among soccer’s big boys.

And perhaps then he can make the England place his…

Foster eventually made his England debut against Northern Ireland at Wembley on 23rd February 1982. Partnering Dave Watson at the heart of the defence, the Brighton skipper played his part in a 4-0 victory. Three months later, Foster again helped England keep a clean sheet, with the Netherlands defeated 2-0. It was enough to book his place to Espana ’82, where he took Terry Butcher’s starting place for the final group game against Kuwait, a 1-0 victory.

He never got another England chance after that, but that record of three clean sheets in three matches is one about which he can be justifiably proud.

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They played for Brighton & Portsmouth

Recently, I’ve discovered a rather curious collection of coloured drawings of players who played for the Albion and Portsmouth. Leant to me by Nick from Fishersgate, they are neither stickers nor cards. These Victory Blend illustrations are simply printed on small sheets of paper.

Maybe the rest of the collection includes the players of Fratton who have fraternised with Southampton… or Crystal Palace… or Millwall – I just don’t know! If anyone has any details about this series, please comment. For now, I will concern myself with these ten collectables. Give or take a Warren Aspinall, I wonder if it’s possible to construct a decent, well balanced football team out of these players:

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Goalkeeper: Doug Flack.
Fulham’s goalkeeper who joined the club in 1935 and made one war-time appearance for the Albion in January 1940, losing 1-0 at Reading. Also guested for Portsmouth in the war years before being a regular in Fulham’s 1948/49 Second Division championship side.

Centre-back: Gary Stevens.
Outstanding, classy defender during Albion’s glory years in the top flight. He joined Tottenham and played for England before injury problems wrecked his career. Joined Portsmouth on loan in January 1990, which became a permanent deal.

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Centre-back: Steve Foster.
Beginning with Portsmouth as a centre-forward, he turned into a central defender and transferred to Brighton after the club had gained its First Division status in 1979. After spells with Aston Villa, Luton and Oxford, Fozzie rejoined the Albion in the 1992/93 season.

Midfielder: John Ruggiero.
Joined Brighton in June 1977, scoring on his League debut against Southampton. Loaned to Portsmouth for a month in December 1977 before making his final Albion appearance in the famous match with Blackpool in April 1978.

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Inside forward: Bert Barlow.
Portsmouth’s Bert Barlow scored in the 1939 FA Cup Final, but I could find not record of him playing for Brighton. Perhaps there was confusion with K Barlow, a Southampton born lad leant to the Albion for a game against his own club in 1944/45.

Inside-forward / Centre-forward: Albert Mundy.
With his 87 goals in 165 League appearances for the Albion from 1953 to 1958, mainly as an inside forward, Mundy is the second highest scorer in Albion history. He joined the club from Portsmouth where he established a growing reputation.

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Centre-forward: Jackie ‘Jock’ Anderson.
A Portsmouth player for thirteen seasons, he scored against Wolves in the 1939 FA Cup Final victory. Played three times for Albion during the war as a guest, beginning with a home match with West Ham in 1943.

Inside forward: Bill Pointon.
A Port Vale player who made a single appearance guesting for Brighton at home to Portsmouth in April 1944. I’m unsure when he played for Portsmouth, but it was probably as a wartime guest player as well.

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Inside forward: J. Lewis.
Looking rather like a member of Frankie Goes To Hollywood! He played for Portsmouth in between two spells with Bristol Rovers. The second time at Eastville led to a call up to Wales’ team, where he figured in a 1-0 win over England in March 1906. Two months later, he left for Brighton where he played 43 times before joining Southampton.

Winger: Mark Chamberlain.
Explosive winger who made his name with Stoke and England early in his career. An unsuccessful move to Sheffield Wednesday marred his career before returning to form with Portsmouth. He had a so-so spell with Brighton in the 1990s before being released. You can read more about him here.

As you can see, even though with only ten in the side, this team is refreshingly attack-minded. If only Oscar Garcia could choose an Albert Mundy or a ‘Jock’ Anderson (in their prime, of course!) to solve Brighton’s very current striker crisis!

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Mike Yaxley, physio… writer!

A Norwich City supporter in his youth, Mike Yaxley is a fully qualified FA coach. He gained the Diploma of Loughborough Colleges in Physical Education in 1961 and then moved to the Sussex area where he was appointed Sports Master at Brighton, Hove & Sussex Grammar School (now BHASVIC Sixth Form College).

He successfully coached the Sussex Youth team, and joined the Albion staff in 1968/69 before becoming Pat Saward’s new right-hand man in the celebrated 1971/72 campaign:

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Yet, helped by the expertise of the late, great Bert Parker, who treated Albion players from the 1960s to 1990s, it was in his many years of great service as physiotherapist that Mike Yaxley became best known to Albion fans. Here he is resplendent in a snazzy navy and light-blue Adidas tracksuit treating Steve Foster against Wolves on the opening day of the 1980/81 season. Fozzie’s injury led to the introduction of his trademark headband. Equally stylish, I think!

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Outside of his immediate duties for the club, Yaxley carved out a niche as a writer, as this profile in the Brighton v Blackburn programme from 2nd January 1984 explained:

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When you meet Albion’s physiotherapist Mike Yaxley, it soon becomes apparent that he is a man with many interesting ideas and theories. He is, quite simply, a sports fanatic. But his areas of specialist interest are coaching and, of course, the treatment of sporting injuries. So, it comes as no surprise to learn that Mike spends much of his free time committing his ideas to paper.

Away from it all, he’s an author!

‘I started writing for local papers when I was at college at Loughborough,’ says Mike. “We ran nine soccer sides and I was club secretary, so I gave up playing to concentrate on the administration. We got involved in an Amateur Cup run and we wanted as much publicity as we could get, so I started contributing articles about the team to local papers.

‘After that they asked me to do more match reports and then I did some articles on keep fit and so on. I enjoyed it and I carried on doing a little writing for the Argus when I left college and moved down here.’
At that time, Mike was a teacher and he has always had an interest in coaching youngsters. That interest paved the way for his first book.

‘I wrote it about four years ago. A publisher suggested a simple coaching guide for young players and I enjoyed doing it. The book will help anyone who is organising coaching sessions for the first time, but it covers more advanced work too, so it would be useful for coaches preparing for their FA preliminary award.’

Mike has obviously hit the right level with his book, Soccer. It is available in schools and libraries, as well as bookshops throughout the UK. It has been reprinted here and has enjoyed similar success in South-East Asia and Australia.

‘It’s surprising how it all snowballs,’ says Mike.

He is now working on two more books. The first sounds like an excellent idea which will again appeal to a wide audience. ‘It’s a careers guidance book for young people who want to work in professional sport. Just because you’re not good enough to participate as a competitor, it doesn’t mean you can’t work in sport. There are many other openings. This book will cover many different sports, from soccer and tennis, to horse racing and Grand Prix racing. In each section, I will outline the team around the sportsmen and provide information and addresses for the reader. So, whether they want to be a stable boy, a Grand Prix mechanic or a football physiotherapist, we’ll put them on the right path.

‘The other book I’m working on is more specialist, covering the cause and treatment of sporting injuries. If people understand the background to injuries it can help the healing and rehabilitation process. I think there’s a need for a book like this and I hope it will help people when it is published.’

1984 looks like being a busy time for Mike Yaxley the author. ‘My work with the players here at the Goldstone always comes first,’ Mike explains. ‘I write when I can find time. Often on the coach to and from away matches. Finding the time to write is the biggest problem, but when I finish a book, the hard work is always worthwhile. It gives me a great sense of satisfaction.’

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Moshe a winner!

In Soccer Monthly magazine, Albion fan Alan Hanking from Lewes puts enormous faith in the abilities of Israeli international Moshe Gariani. Maybe he ought to invest in one of these t-shirts?

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Perhaps a footballer being ‘blinkered like a racehorse’ may give a reason as to why Moshe did not make it in First Division under Mullery or Bailey!

No matter, Moshe has cult hero status for Albion fans of the 1980s, not to mention this blog. One substitute appearance against Southampton, and that was it for Mr Enigma.

In a ceaseless search for the Israeli midfielder, one online interview for Gariani has been found. Apologies for the broken English:

1981-1982 season and he’s 23 years old, The little playmaker of Maccabi Netanya is taking a plane and lands in Brighton. It’s true, He didn’t see much pitch but 22 years ago it was something great for the Israeli football.

Q: Moshe, You are in cold and buttoned England?
A: You see what it’s like, Yes, me. In England, either you win or you loose – You finish the match day in the Pub, drinking and laughing. The score doesn’t matter. You went off of the pitch and that’s it! After a loose – You will not find a face of Av the 9th (a face of sadness cause Av the 9th is the day the Temple was ruined) like in Israel. In England they make a separation. You could see players, 45 minutes before the game, calling from the club to a gambling agent and put money on Horse Gambling. I also put money once and won 20 pounds.

Q: Hey, Listen. You actually have it.
A: Yes, eh? We were always together. Going to eat, playing Tennis,Golf, Squash, Horse racing and Billiard.

John Gregory was there, who became the manager of Aston Villa and Derby County after. You can be sure that it wasn’t boring, although in the end of the day everyone got back to their families and I was stuck alone, climbing on the walls.

Q: How is the English audience?
A: The audiance was alright. Not to much fanatical. Not once the fans met me on the street and told me that they don’t understand why the coach don’t let me play and that I deserve to play. In the newspaper there – I wasn’t to take an interest in so much cause they had only half a page of Sports and anyway, I didn’t know how to read the language so it didn’t interested me. But the Guys there were wonderfull.

There were couple of tricksters there, like the full back – Steve Foster. He had a very weak forehead. Every game he was getting on the pitch with a bandage on his head. He was also tricked in the runnings of the Cross Country and hiding behind the tree, till everybody came back. Those things remind me the things we used to do in Israel but the poor guy got fine on those things.

There was a great thing in Christmass. There is some kind of night there that everyone is getting masquerade. I was flow with that thing and put a costume of an American Indian and we got to couple of walks in Pubs and Discotheques, the guys went wild, ever place we left – we left chaos but we were forgive cause we were football players.

Q: In the end, You didn’t make it to the second season.
A: It could have been that if I was established I could have stayed but being alone drive me crazy. I was making pre season trainings in the second season and was in the reserves team. I remember we scored 9 goals to Dallas Texas, I scored 6 goals and the Americans offered me a contract of 150,000$ per season. Big money, but I was thinking at that time to go back home so I told them that I thank them for the money but I’m prefering to come back home.

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Steve Foster – Match Weekly profile from 1981/82

Here’s a profile of Albion skipper Steve Foster, sans headband, from Match Weekly:

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(Click on the image to enlarge and read the profile in full).

It mentions his best goal as a header against Liverpool: ‘It didn’t count even though it crossed the line!’ Surely if he’s referring to the one in the 3-3 draw at the Goldstone in that season, it certainly counted, even though it may not have crossed the line. Well, I don’t think it did, judging from the footage!

Also note the positive words about his player for the future: ‘Mark Vanston, an apprentice at Brighton. He’s got a terrific left foot.’ If I had been Vanston, I’d have been overjoyed to read that. According to the Middlesbrough v Brighton programme in the 1981/82 season Vanston was a:

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Steyning born youngster who is still an apprentice but averaged better than a goal a game in all his appearances in the Youth and Reserve teams for Brighton last season. Only 17 but he seems destined to make the great (sic) among a unique breed of goalscorers.

Unfortunately, he never did make any first team appearances and consequently, never had a chance to have his own Match Weekly profile…

Other than that, Foster’s was a pretty standard fare for a 1980s footballer profile, although I doubt many professional players ate three boiled eggs to go with chicken as a pre-match meal!

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Steve Foster joins exclusive 10-year club

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No wonder he’s smiling. He’s signed for a club that would later ensure he’d never run out of money for headbands. This is from Football Weekly News, 9-16 July 1980:

Brighton defender Steve Foster has joined an exclusive 10-year club at the Goldstone Ground.

Last week the 22-year-old former Portsmouth centre-back signed the long-term contract which will keep him on the south coast for a decade.

“We want all our best players to spend their whole careers with this club,” said manager Alan Mullery, who purchased the player from Pompey for £150,000 last summer.

“Steve, added the boss, “is an outstanding prospect and could go to the very top of the tree.”

Republic of Ireland star Mark Lawrenson is already serving a similar 10-year stint with Brighton while Young England striker Peter Ward has signed on for eight years.

In addition, Michael Robinson signed a 10 year deal about twelve months later.

But so much for these eye-wateringly long contracts! Ward was gone within three months, Lawrenson after a year while Foster played three more seasons for the Seagulls. Even so, Foster did return, to great acclaim to the Goldstone in the 1990s, once again becoming one of the key players in the team. By then, of course, much shorter contracts were the order of the day for a financially impoverished Albion.

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