Tag Archives: steve penney

Albion’s World Cup connections

Howard Griggs of the Argus has put together an immensely fascinating series of interviews relating to Brighton & Hove Albion and the World Cup.


On Wednesday he speculated whether Gary Stevens could have stopped Maradona’s wonder-goal in the Mexico ’86 Quarter-Final between England and Argentina.

The chances are he would have made a better effort at chasing back than the half-fit Peter Reid.

As Stevens told Spencer Vignes in ‘A Few Good Men’:

I came on as a substitute for Peter Reid in that Paraquay match. We won it comfortably and after the game were having our debrief when Peter Shilton started going on about how we had lost our shape when ‘Reidy’ went off, careering forward and what have you. I looked at him and said “Shilts, what you’re saying is that when I came on we lost our shape.” And he was going “No, no, when ready came off.” I said, “Yeah, but I came on. You’re having a pop at me.” That was the old pals act. It was done to some extent to guarantee that Peter Reid played in the next match against Argentina, which he did.

Then, on Friday, the Argus published Griggs’ piece about how Steve Penney’s participation in the tournament in 1986 with Northern Ireland was ended by Spain’s Emilio Butragueno’s challenge..

Finally, Gerry Armstrong’s World Cup exploits also get an airing. Like Stevens and Penney, he also figured in Mexico ’86 but, of course, his moment of triumph came in 1982.

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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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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:


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:


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:


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:


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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Penney drop – Steve hands in transfer request


With the exact poor man-management approach that Garry Nelson would later document, Barry Lloyd dropped Northern Ireland’s World Cup winger Steve Penney 45 minutes before the Albion’s home match with Bournemouth in September 1988. It led to Penney handing in a transfer request. As John Vinicombe reported:

A day of confusion and disappointment at the Goldstone ended on an acrimonious note with Steve Penney saying he would never play for Barry Lloyd again.

Penney, who had been relegated to the subs’ bench together with Paul Wood, then left to join Billy Bingham’s squad for Wednesday’s World Cup game against Eire in Belfast.

Penney repeated his request for a transfer. He had asked to leave in May 1987 when Albion went into the Third Division. This time, he put his point of view to chairman Dudley Sizen, and later publicly slated the club.

“The way things are going here at the moment is absolutely ridiculous,” he said.

He maintained he was being unfairly treated by Lloyd and that his dropping coincided with playing a target man in Gerry Armstrong.

That switch, according to Penney, didn’t make sense as he is the principal provider of crosses.

“There are other things involved, including financial details. I was told only three-quarters of an hour before playing that I was not playing, and it seems I’ve been made the scapegoat with Paul Wood.

“The way I’m being treated at the moment is ridiculous. The manager had to put me on; we were two-nil down and it could have been a couple more.”

If Lloyd gets a reasonable offer for Penney, he will have no hesitation in selling, and that has been the situation for some time now.

The story also made the back pages of the News of the World, with Penney saying:

The manager told me I was dropped when I came in. It was completely out of the blue. I felt on Wednesday against Southend in the Littlewoods Cup that I played my best game of the season. I got in enough crosses to win but we just don’t have a target man.”

The Bournemouth game was also memorable for the fact that Perry Digweed failed to turn up from his home in Chelsea. As a result, John Keeley, who had injured a finger in training on the Friday, had to answer a late SOS and even had to send a friend to his home to retrieve his contact lenses.

With all the drama, it was hardly surprising that Bournemouth opened up a two-goal lead at the Goldstone through Mark Newson and Shaun Brooks. After Penney came on, Gary Chivers halved the deficit after 66 minutes.

The game against the Cherries was the fifth in a dismal run where Brighton lost all of their opening eight matches of the 1988/89 season. Despite his vow that “I’ve definitely played my last game for manager Barry Lloyd,” Penney regained his place in mid-November in a surprise 3-2 victory at Ipswich, before scoring in the next match in the 3-0 drubbing of Sunderland at home.

His deteriorating relationship with Barry Lloyd is documented well in Spencer Vignes’ superb ‘A Few Good Men’ book, where he recounts another occasion when Barry Lloyd attempted to damage Penney’s likelihood of being selected for his country, by substituting the winger and complaining of his lack of effort to Billy Bingham, the Northern Ireland boss. Bingham replied to Lloyd:

Steve will be playing on Wednesday night because he’s played 15 games for me and that’s not his character.

In the end, knee injuries took their toll on Penney, and his appearance for the Albion in the return fixture with Bournemouth on 2nd January 1989 proved his last for the club. He was given a free transfer towards the end of the 1990/91 season. Nevertheless, the tricky winger who so mesmerised the Liverpool defence on national TV in the FA Cup in 1984, is still remembered with great affection by Seagulls fans.


Dean Saunders gets a taste for coaching


From the Brighton v Reading programme from 1986/87:

“I go into schools every couple of weeks through the season,” says Dean. “I usually do my coaching sessions with Steve Penney and we enjoy it. They are always very keen and they always try their best. We concentrate mainly on the more positive sides of the game. Passing, taking on players and shooting on goal. That sort of thing. Steve and I have got our routine worked out now. We always end the session with a game, which the kids enjoy. The only trouble is they are pretty quick into the tackle! Steve plays for one side and I play for the other. It’s a good laugh, but we’ve learnt not to do too much dribbling now. We just get it up to the front men and let them get on with it.

Will those be the Wolves tactics for the match at the Amex?!

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