Tag Archives: steve gatting

My Football Heroes Annual 1984

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This relatively unknown publication was billed as an annual, but I’m pretty sure that there was never a sequel.

‘My Football Heroes’ was published by Opal Quill Limited in 1983, and includes articles about a selection of First Division teams and players of the time such as Simon Stainrod (QPR), Gordon Cowans (Aston Villa) and Ian Rush (Liverpool). As well as profiling the career of future Albion winger Mark Chamberlain (Stoke), some Brighton interest comes in the form of a piece on ex-boss Peter Taylor that asked:

‘Who was the real boss… Brian Clough or Peter Taylor? Thats been the biggest riddle in football as the rest of the game’s pundits watched first Derby then Nottingham Forest reach the heights under this very idiosyncratic managerial partnership.’

Peter Taylor had recently saved Derby from relegation into the Third Division as well as putting Clough’s Nottingham Forest out of the FA Cup. So it must have seemed a pertinent question at the time. Even so, that article disappointingly overlooks Clough and Taylor’s spells down on the South Coast. And, just like the other pieces in this annual, it also suffers from the drawback that ‘My Football Heroes’ didn’t have direct access to the players and managers, unlike the interviews that appeared in ‘Shoot!’ Annual.

Nevertheless, this rather obscure publication does rather eulogise the Manchester United team and players of the time, with pieces on Alan Davies, Bryan Robson, Norman Whiteside and Ray Wilkins. Through this, we get to enjoy some colour action shots from the 1983 FA Cup Final, ones that I have not seen any where else.

Steve Gatting and Michael Robinson combine to clear the danger:

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Norman Whiteside made himself very unpopular with Brighton fans during the final when he deliberately handled the ball twice in goalscoring positions (would have been cautioned twice to be sent-off nowadays) as well as his X-rated tackle on Chris Ramsey that led to Manchester United’s equaliser. Do I still sound bitter after all these years? Yes, you’re right. Cheating Norman Whiteside is all elbows here against Steve Gatting:

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Next up is Frank Stapleton showing his aerial prowess before joining Brighton some eleven years later:

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The amazing shrinking midfielder Gary Howlett is the filling in a United sandwich of the ill-fated Alan Davies, who committed suicide in February 1992, and Norman Whiteside:

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And finally, Ray Wilkins scores one of Wembley’s finest goals before wheeling away.

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Great Albion kits: 1985/86 Away

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Worn in the famous snowy away tie in the FA Cup against Peterborough in February 1986, this striking kit is fondly remembered by Brighton fans of that time.

It had three large bold horizontal stripes on the side of the collar, a design that was unique to us despite all the other clubs that adidas manufactured shirts for at the time.

At the Peterborough game, the freezing Albion fans were given free red scarves. Brighton fan and North Stand Chat user Stat Brother has kept his in very good nick:

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… although with Stat Brother’s six month old golden retriever Lionel around, it may not last forever!

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A season later, NOBO replaced Phoenix Brewery as the sponsor for the Albion shirt.

As for Steve Gatting, he continued to serve well in whatever shirt he was asked to play in, red, blue, or even the green goalkeepers’ top:

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A retrospective piece in the Albion programme in 1994/95 stated:

It has not been often in modern times that a player has served Albion continuously for ten years – Steve did so in defence or midfield and battled back from a bad pelvic injury to play again when many might have thrown in the towel. He was, indeed, a versatile player but he never scored an FA Cup goal for Albion – in fact, he once played for much of a League Cup match in goal when, at the City Ground, he replaced the injured Perry Digweed between the posts for Albion and he didn’t do at all badly.

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Evening Argus previews the season

I’m sure the Argus has been previewing the football season since time immemorial. And covered every one since the start of the 1990s. However, I don’t think they’ve ever done a job as good as this fondly remembered free magazine-sized publication from the start of the 1989/90 campaign, ditching the usual newspaper-sized format. Mine came with an ‘Evening Argus – Seagulls’ cardboard banner. If only I’d still kept it!

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A forty-page special is graced with interviews with cover star Steve Gatting, comeback kid Martin Lambert, Robert Codner and Perry Digweed, a colour team photo centre-spread, pen pictures and photo opportunities with the players in pre-season training, including in that horrid red and white patterned away kit that looked more like a dull pink from a distance.

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A full page advert for embarrassing club sponsors NOBO promised the company would be ‘top of the 1st division for display and training aids.’ However, the British Gas ad below with 1970s-style comic is splendidly retro, even for back then.

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The only downside is that the magazine is rather heavy on adverts. Even so, they help give an evocative sense of what life was like in the late 1980s, when the local dialling code was still 0273, Garry Nelson had his car sponsored by FIAT, and ASICS were a popular sportswear manufacturer proud to have Barry Lloyd (awkward, insincere smile and all) advertising its football boots.

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