Tag Archives: supporters

Sean Coleman – a reader meets Brighton’s Peter Ward


Top Soccer magazine may not have lived long in the memory of many supporters, but the edition from 15th December 1979 certainly gave Seagulls fan Sean Coleman, then 11, one of the best Albion-related childhood stories of the glory years:

If people paint a room in the colours of their favourite soccer team then they must be close to being fanatical fans!

That can certainly be said of young Sean Coleman’s family after their kitchen received a blue and white coat of paint in honour of Brighton F.C.

That fact persuaded us to grant 11 year-old Sean his wish of meeting his idol, Peter Ward.

Sean was so excited at the prospect that he couldn’t sleep the night before and woke up at 6 o’clock in the morning.

He met Peter outside the Goldstone Ground with his kit bag at the ready.


Within a couple of minutes, he was achieving his greatest goal by running out of the tunnel in his ‘Seagulls’ strip.


Sean could hardly believe it when Peter gave him a few priceless tips on the game then autographed his football for him.


Then it was over to the dugout where Peter took it easy for a cup of tea while Sean got on Alan Mullery’s ‘hot line’ to the director’s box… to talk about the colour scheme at the Goldstone, no doubt.


Marvellous! 36 years on, I wanted to see if Sean was still supporting the Seagulls. After a bit of detective work, via North Stand Chat, I managed to track down Sean to ask him about his great day at the Goldstone all those years ago. Bet it must have been strange to see your name discussed on NSC!

“I got a message from a friend about it and I thought you’re having a laugh,” Sean says. “Didn’t seem quite real to be honest. I had a look at it and so here we are.”

So what is the story behind your appearance in Top Soccer magazine? “My dad used to buy Top Soccer magazine and, unbeknown to me, wrote to them saying I was a fan of Peter Ward and that would like to meet him. One day, he said, ‘Get in the car with your football kit on. We’re going for a drive’ and we ended up at the Goldstone. I met the whole team, including Brian Horton, Mark Lawrenson, Andy Rollings, Gerry Ryan, and went down the tunnel and there was Peter Ward on the pitch. I was blown away, really.”

Sean had been watching the Albion since he was five. He remembers going to see them play Southampton at the Goldstone Ground in his first game, in August 1972, when Saints fans climbed the floodlights. He was hooked. “I also went to Norman Whiteside’s first ever game for Man United. He came on for the last few minutes,” he adds. “I used to go regularly every week, home and away until I was 17 or 18. Then I got married and things changed. However, I did get a season ticket for the first season at the Amex, but now my work stops me going on a Saturday. I go as and when I can.”

And then things turned full circle.

“Funnily, about three years ago, I went to a signing at the club shop and Peter Ward was there. I was with my youngest son. I told him Peter Ward was the man I had idolised. My son’s hero at the time was Mackail-Smith as he was such a big signing at the time.”

Finally, is it true your kitchen was painted in blue and white? The answer is yes, thanks to his father, a man of many Albion-related surprises: “My dad came home with two pots of paint and began to paint the kitchen in Albion colours and my mum never let him live it down. That was quite something.”

And his current place? “My wife would never let me do that!”

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Grandmaster Fash

Here is mascot Gavin McLean, then 12 years old, posing with new Brighton striker Justin Fashanu on the opening day of the 1985/86 season, before the 2-2 draw with Grimsby Town at the Goldstone in August:


Fash had a fine spell with Notts County in 1984/85, leading to considerable interest from the likes of Manchester City, Norwich, Chelsea, Birmingham, Oxford and Oldham. In Jim Read’s superb biography of Justin Fashanu, he provides a vivid anecdote:

Also interested in Justin was the manager of another Second Division team, Chris Cattlin of Brighton & Hove Albion. Feeling he might be a difficult player to manage, Cattlin decided to invite Justin to stay at his house for four days so they could get to know each other. They obviously hit it off and the transfer was agreed.

Catlin explained: “Justin had a reputation of being a bit of a problem player with his other clubs but that is all in the past. In my dealings with him I’ve found him to be a smashing person and the sort of player our supporters will take to.’ He told the Evening Argus that Justin was ‘a dedicated player who has been asleep for a couple of years’, adding ‘I’m sure, with us, he will bring his talents to fruition’. For his part, Justin told The Times: ‘I only took this step after a good deal of thought and prayer. I am convinced Chris Cattlin can get the very best out of me.’ He described the move as the most important of his career. He must have felt it was his last chance to regain the form he had shown at Norwich and in his first few months at Notts County.

He signed in June 1985 for a fee of £115,000 given a generous three year contract, reported to be around £45,000 a year. He had passed his medical but there was an exclusion clause on his troublesome right knee. It would only be covered by insurance after he played 12 consecutive League games.

There was some lingering ill-will from supporters over various incidents when he had played against them including the injury to Jeff Clarke the previous season. When still at Norwich, he had broken the nose of Brighton’s defender, Andy Rollings, who was then sent off after swinging a punch at him.

Dismissing the broken nose as arising from an accidental clash of heads, Justin claimed: ‘I think I have become more subfie in my game. I would really hurt people in the past but that is all behind me, now.’ But, as one Brighton supporter put it: ‘He was the kind of player you couldn’t stand because you thought he was dirty, then he comes to play for you and you think he’s brilliant.’

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Charlie’s away day in Brighton…


Total Football magazine launched in September 1995 as a laddish competitor to FourFourTwo. In May 1997, in its ‘away days’ feature, Charlie Hirst revisited the doomed Goldstone Ground, where he had seen his first ever match in 1982.

The match was a 2-0 victory over Cardiff City, but for anyone who was pubbing and clubbing in Brighton in the 1990s, the mention of the nightspots afterwards will probably stir even bigger memories:

The classy seaside town of Brighton has been hit by deepening despair over the running of its football club. It’s well documented, but they’ve been dealt football’s roughest hand and there’s still a chance that The Seagulls might go out of business due to crass mismanagement, lack of interest from the local council and an apparent disregard by the FA for one of its members’ fortunes.

Total Football sped down to the crisis club with a couple of exiled Seagulls fans to join over 9,000 other supporters – the biggest gate in Divisions Two and Three – to lend its support to Brighton’s cause. And, of course, to sample the town’s hospitality. The first game I saw as a kid was at the Goldstone Ground, Forest beat Brighton 1-0 in the old First Division. Dizzy days indeed.

So it was with fond memories that I journeyed back to the South Coast.

With just three games left at the condemned Goldstone Ground, passions were running high at the match with Cardiff.

We arrived early, looking to mix in with a pint or two outside the ground. The obvious stop-off point was the Hove Park Tavern, on the corner of the Old Shoreham Road.

It was heaving with Brighton fans and before long we were enjoying a bit of banter with the locals. Several jars later and the atmosphere was warming up. The cry of ‘Give us an S’ went up and the letters to ‘Seagulls’ were bellowed out. The Cardiff corner responded, but seemed to lose their way by the time they reached ‘D’. Hopefully more to do with alcohol consumption than falling educational standards in Wales.

As 3pm approached, we downed our drinks, made our way to the ground and sat among the families and gentle folk in the South Stand. The massed ranks of fans on the North terrace looked mightily impressive.

Bdgriton started the game looking eager, lifted by the terrific home support. Pressing the Cardiff defence back, they won a penalty for a blatant push. “Hit in the onion bag,’ was the helpful advice of a chap sat in the row behind – who proceeded to give us a running commentary on the game. Paul McDonald duly despatched the spot-kick and Brighton led. The game then deteriorated into a midfieid scramble, but as my bruv reminded me, this was a real “battle at the bottom,” so style had to be compromised.

However, in the 44th minute a well worked move down the right culminated in a neat cross which was cracked in by lan Baird – 2-0 to Brighton! The home fans managed a rousing chorus of: ‘There’s only one Stuart Storer,’ and we weren’t about to argue.

Half-time brought on a feast of entertainment. The public announcer excelled himself by delivering the interval scores from around the country, went on to announce the birthdays and introduced the Under-12s penalty competition. This was the cream of Brighton’s youth production line and it wasn’t until the seventh strike that anyone hit the target. Finally the deadlock was broken by young Harry Birmingham, who neatly slotted away his spot-kick much to the approval of the North Stand.

Bobby ‘The Fish’ Bish excelled himself in goal, denying many a young lad their dream of scoring at the Goldstone.

The second half never really got going like the first, with the kiddies in the South Stand often out-singing their deeper-voiced comrades in the North. There were a few shaky moments in the Brighton defence, but Steve Gritt’s boys locked out the pride of South Wales, earning three valuable points in the process. The inanely grinning linesman on the nearside caused a few moments of humour to distract us from the mind-numbing action on the pitch, but with Cardiff looking utterly impotent, the points were safe.

The Hove Park Tavern wasn’t open for business after the game, so we strolled off to Hove station and took the five-minute ride into Brighton. And now we made the only, but major, mistake of our trip. Eager for beer and the sights and sounds of the town, we ignored our need for a night’s lodging and set off with a carefree strut in our quest for entertainment. Fish and chips were consumed on the Palace Pier, more for their romantic value than any palatable purpose, and a rendezvous was set for the Smuggler’s pub on Ship Street, where we shot some pool and basked in Brighton’s win.

It must have been 8pm before there was any mention of finding a B&B and, confident in my local knowledge, I volunteered to guide the party to safety.

One-and-a-half hours later, we were still roaming the outer streets of Hove, like Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem, banging on inn keepers’ doors only to be told ‘no room’. A sprightly Cockney taxi driver (who supported Man Utd) offered to drive us to the heart of the B&B area – directly opposite to the way we had walked. By the time we found the veritable jungle of B&Bs they were all fitted with ‘No Vacancy’ signs.

Left in a quandary, we slipped into The Lion to mull it over with a drink.

Buoyed after a whisky or five, we decided that the best course of action was not to think about
lodgings and turn our attention back to hitting the town. Without a thought for our future well-being, we meandered into the centre.

Ship Street was our destination again, although we didn’t know it at the time. We wandered through thefamous Lanes, all posh jewellery and lingerie boutiques, only to come out opposite the Black Lion. We were welcomed by the stench of cheap aftershave and a series of elbows to the ribs as we squeezed in through the crowds. This was not the sort of place where you could spill someone’s pint and get away with it. We found a corner and tried convincing ourselves that we were comfortable – but forever in the knowledge that the clock was ticking, we decided to press on in true adventurian spirit.

Pushing our way back through the sweaty punters, who were dribbling on about John Hartson’s brace for the Happy Hammers against Coventry, we stumbled out into the sunny streets, wobbled back through the Lanes and arrived at the Clock Tower. A public house called The Quadrant took our fancy, so we slipped in for one. Cosy, comfortable and friendly we settled in for the evening.

Purveyors of the distinctly fine Hoegarden Belgian White Beer and playing top tunes on the jukey, this was indeed a cracking pub.

They finally chucked us out at about 11.45pm with instructions to head for the nearest club, The Gloucester. We boogied and bopped the night away and rounded it off with a slap-up fried concoction in the famous all-night cafe – the Market Diner – down the road and round the corner from the Royal Pavilion.

Over our Mixed Grills and Veggie MegaBusters we gassed to Simon and Matt, a pair of drunken munters who reckoned they were mates with Neil Heaney and Paul Dickov.

Suitably unimpressed, we headed back to sleep in the car, the Hotel Laguna, which boasted shower facilities if you opened the sunroof when it rained.

It was a cracking day out, with a fantastic set of fans in a beautiful seaside town. Long live Brighton And Hove Albion.

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90 Minutes asks fans: “Should the FA become involved in internal club disputes?” in 1996

The hot topics today concern Hull City’s name change and Cardiff City’s shirt colour and nickname. Back in the 1990s, it was Brighton & Hove Albion’s supporters who felt they were being ignored. As the magazine put it:

Chairmen who don’t seem to give a stuff about their club; ground-sharing with Gillingham; and fans boycotting games. The Football Association have thrown their hat into the ring, urging the club to take the dispute to arbitration, even offering to meet the costs of the CBI. So just what is going on at Brighton? With this in mind, 90 minutes headed for Craven Cottage…


Matthew Dalton & Ian Fowler support Brighton
Matthew: “Brighton need independent arbitration to sort things out. What’s needed is someone neutral to look at it, with all parties involved agreeing to abide by the outcome. The FA’s move with the CBI is the first positive thing to happen in months.”
Ian: “Football’s a multi-million pound business, and we’ve seen that if a multi-million pound business such as the Post Office or the train drivers have a dispute, it goes to arbitration if it can’t be resolved. This seems to be the logical conclusion to what’s happening at Brighton.”


Ralph Bunche & Will Bouquet support Fulham
Ralph: “The FA needs to sort this out as clubs need help from time to time. We needed help to get planning permission to save Fulham a few years ago. The trouble at Brighton could go on for ever if someone doesn’t step in.”
Will: “The FA’s intervention should depend on how serious the dispute is. At Brighton they definitely should become involved, but they shouldn’t be jumping in every five minutes. Clubs should try to resolve their problems internally before resorting to outside help.”


Roy Garington & Steve Evans support Brighton
Roy: “We’re not going to budge and Archer’s not going to give in, so it’s stalemate at the moment with no solution in sight. So I welcome the FA’s move for independent mediation. It’s a good idea.”
Steve: “It’s about time something was done. Someone from outside has got to come in and sort it out. It’s a good move by the FA.”


Daniel Taylor supports Fulham
Daniel: “I think the FA should become involved in these sorts of disputes. The first thing they should do is send the Brighton chairman on a Public Relations course. That might help.”


Chris Pearcy & Steve Beds support Brighton
Chris: “The FA are the authority in football, looking after the interests of football. They shouldn’t allow the likes of Archer to come into a club and run it into the ground. The FA’s involvement and CBI suggestions are long overdue.”
Steve: “This is now so serious that it could end in the death of someone. I welcome the FA’s suggestion of independent arbitration, but Archer’s already putting pre-conditions on any inquiry. After the last couple of years I can’t see anything happening to settle this dispute.”


Alan Hedges & Chris Wright support Fulham
Alan: “The FA should stay out of it. It’s not really their business. Brighton should be sold to people who want to run it for the fans. Supporters should always come first.”
Chris: “The Brighton chairman lives in Blackburn, around 300 miles from the club. It looks as though he’s bought the club and selling the ground to make a profit, with no thought on where the team’s going to play. All he seems to be in it for is the money. The FA should have put a stop to it a long time ago. The directors at Brighton are just making money – I feel sorry for the fans.”


Simon Wednesday and Graham Campbell support Brighton
Simon: “The state of Brighton is horrendous and nothing’s happening, so the FA’s right to try and find a solution. The FA have surely got the power to intervene when a dispute is ruining a club. I welcome the involvement of the CBI or ACAS to mediate. Archer and Belotti are standing firm, and no one really knows why.”
Graham: “In any industry, if there’s a dispute that can’t be settled, it goes to independent arbitration, with both sides agreeing to abide by the outcome. That should have happened at Brighton months ago.”


United colours of football

This amazing photograph appeared in Total Football magazine in May 1997, showing fans all over the country uniting behind Brighton supporters on Fans United Day, from 8th February that year:


Click the image for a close up.

The match the fans watched turned into a 5-0 triumph over Hartlepool. As The Argus reported, the players were not slow to show their appreciation to the supporters:

Hat-trick hero Craig Maskell had a ball against Hartlepool, then showed the Albion fans just how much their support meant.

He grabbed hold of the match ball, kissed it and threw it into a packed North Stand after Saturday’s 5-0 victory at the Goldstone.

“I just wanted to give something back to the fans,” he said. “I’ve not had a brilliant time since coming here and it was nice to give them something to cheer about.”

Seagulls boss Steve Gritt declared: “It was a nice gesture by Craig. Perhaps he’s got so many match balls at home that he doesn’t want anymore!”

Maskell made it a perfect day for Albion. The Fans United show of strength organised by supporters produced a bumper gate of 8,412, the biggest of the season, and the players rewarded them with their biggest League win for 12 years.

Maskell gets his first

Maskell gets his first

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90 Minutes Live: Fans United, 1997

Seventeen years today, Fans United happened. It was a massive show of strength as supporters from all around the country, and the world, (including a young Richard Vaughan) came to the Goldstone Ground to support Brighton fans in their battle to save the club. From 90 Minutes magazine in February 1997:

Saturday 8 February will go down as the day the fans reclaimed the game. Against the backdrop of Brighton’s possible loss of league status and the threat of closure, over 8,000 fans from all over the country descended upon the Goldstone ground to show the money men who really runs things. 90 Minutes was on hand to witness the massive show of fan power in the fight to save Brighton and Hove Albion FC.

The Goldstone Ground was awash with shirts and scarves on supporters from all over the country. We asked some fans outside the Goldstone: “Your tea’s not playing today, so why are you here in Brighton?”


Ian Fennell supports Aldershot
“Aldershot went out of business which upset a lot of people, and I’d hate the same thing to happen to Brighton. Let’s hope today sends a statement that football fans from all clubs are standing together to stop, not only Brighton, but any other club from going out of business. We’ve simply all had enough of poor an untrustworthy management.”


Ros Constable & Sandra Jenner support Arsenal
“These people are buying into clubs cheaply in the lower Divisions and then, basically, raping them. These people at Brighton have to be stopped. If not, it’s like setting a legal precedent. If one bugger gets away with it, more will follow, and no club will be safe.”
Sandra: “These businessmen have looked to football clubs to make a fast buck. The fans should have a faster learning curve to outwit them and stop them in their tracks. We’ve come here today to support football and stop clubs in the lower Divisions being kicked out of existence.”


Graham Underwood & Steve Jones support Aston Villa
“I’m here today to show my support for the Brighton fans’ battle against some men who, thank God, are not in charge at Aston Vlla. It grieves me to say it, but, again, thank God we’ve got Doug Ellis, and not this lot down here, running our own club.”
Steve: “Who could sell a ground, before another one’s ever been found? The man’s a joke – it’s just a case of money before football. If one man gets control of a club, no one’s safe, not even Premiership sides.”


Miles Beecham supports Darlington
“I’m here today because Darlington football club are in a similar position to Brighton. We have directors who say one thing, do another, give promises and don’t deliver. It’s about time directors woke up to how fans feel, and respected them, because if the fans don’t turn up, there’s no club, no directors and no money for them.”


James Randall supports Derby & Richard Cole supports Liverpool
“Five years ago, Derby were playing Brighton. It could’ve been us that went down and down, and it’s important that these clubs continue to exist. Without them, there wouldn’t be any clubs anywhere in the long-term. We all rely on each other.”
Richard: “It’s about time the fans had a say in the running of clubs, not just the board and the business people. The game belongs to us, not to individuals with an eye to what the game can give them. It should be what they can do for the good of the game. Most of the top players are discovered by the smaller clubs (e.g. Keegan), so they must survive at all costs, or there is no long-term future for any club, big or small.”


Richard & Roger Vaughan support Plymouth
“There was a campaign page on the internet looking for ideas on how to protest about what’s going on at Brighton. There were loads of messages of support from supporters all over the country, even Europe, and it gave me the idea of organising a FANS UNITED day to help out Brighton. It shows football fans do care about other clubs. Richard put a message on the internet that started the ball rolling. The people organising Brighton Resistance thought it was a wonderful idea and put it into motion. We had to come today to see the end result and give our personal support. People are now coming from all over Europe and America to support the Brighton fans’ attempts to rescue their club. We’re here to show how people up and down the country are feeling about clubs that put money before fans. It’s a sport, not a money-making exercise.”


Trevor Hulstrop & Gaby Binstead support Southampton and Danny Blackmore supports Brighton
“I’m protesting because I believe that if clubs like Brighton are allowed to go under, it’s the beginning of the end. Football clubs are part of the community and people shouldn’t be allowed to come in, buy the club, asset strip it, run it into the ground and then dump it. A club like Brighton belongs to the people that support it and made it what it is over the last 100 years. Not one or two individuals.”
Gaby: “If they get away with this, and clubs go out of business, who are we going to play? Football clubs are all inextricably linked, so when one’s in trouble, we all have to rally round to save it.”
Danny: “Today is a statement saying: Football will win. Football is a lot of people’s lives, and it’s great that fans from all over are here today to help us – so thanks to everyone who’s supported us.”


Toby Radenhurst supports Millwall, David Fordham supports Watford & Paul Chesworth supports Brighton
“With what’s going on at my club, Millwall, I’ve come here today to show solidarity with Brighton fans – to say enough is enough. Directors running clubs into the ground are not going to get away with it.”
David: “It’s critical that football clubs aren’t allowed to die because of the attitude of these directors who are only there to make money at the expense of football. What these people are doing is wrong and it has to be stopped.”
Paul: “Today is showing that people care about all football, not just their own club. It’s fantastic that fans from other clubs care about whether we continue or not.”


John Cotton & Paul Hilton support York City and Milena Radosavcjevic supports Red Star Belgrade
“Ot could happen to any club – to our club – if we let Brighton be destroyed. It could be the first of many. It has to be stopped so we’re here today to lend our support.”
Paul: “If someone tris to make a quick profit out of a club, he’s not only taking on the directors, but also the fans. If you’re fan of a club, you’re a fan of football and anyone destroying football has to be stopped. That’s why we’re here.”
Milena: “People need their football club because it’s part of the local community. Why should it be taken away from them, just so an individual can make a quick profit?”

Finally, to round off an excellent feature…

Gulls’ Eye view:
For the first time in living memory, Brighton, Chelsea and even Crystal Palace shirts stood united by one cause. Seagulls devotee Johnny Dee reflects on this event and the shock of seeing that ‘I’ll get me coat’ bloke off the Fast Show:

In the teary-eyed closing scene of It’s A Wonderful Life, hundreds of familiar faces save the fallen George Bailey from bankruptcy and giving him all their cash and joining in a rousing chorus of Auld Lang Syne.

Last Saturday, every Brighton fan must have felt like old George. Under the banner Fans United, football supporters converged on the Goldstone Ground from Leeds, Birmingham, Glasgow, Newcastle and beyond. They came to see Brighto play Hartlepool but, more significantly, to show solidarity with a group of supporters in their season of need. They swelled the gate to double the season’s average, learned the hosts’ songs, saw a pretty decent game and left, reminded of the true spirit of football. It was bloody ace.

The reason so many took part in Fasn united was simple: if it can happen at Brighton, it can happen to anyone. Bought for a pittance by chairman Bill Archer, Brighton have found their ground sold, their assets sold off and a ludicrous groundshare with Gillingham looming. Yet the FA still has no powers to legislate against such actions.

Albion fans have become expert protesters this season, ahtough, sadly it was only the ‘violence’ after the pitch invasion last season that received national media attention. Fans united remedied matters a little, but it still wasn’t enough.

Every fan should hope Brighto manager to oust the disgraced Archer, because if Brighton fall, then plenty will follow. Visit Goldstone while you can (it’ll be bulldozed in May), but check with Seagulls fans first – if Archer’s still in charge, chances are they’ll boycott the match.

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Watching Forest at the Town Hall

From Football Handbook (part 25):


In a scintillating League Cup Quarter-Final, Alan Mullery’s men put on a great performance against the reigning English League champions and League Cup holders on 13th December 1978. The Seagulls succumbed to a 3-1 defeat against Clough’s side that retained the trophy and then also lifted the European Cup that season.

An estimated 5,000 Albion supporters cheered the Seagulls on at the City Ground. However, the support would have been even more if two of the three charter trains had not broken down en route.

In the Brighton v Stoke programme from 1978/79, there is a nice piece on how the club in January that season made it up to the supporters who missed this exciting cup tie:

With all the recent bad weather there has been a lot of work for the Promotions Office with re-arranging trains, etc. But one event that we had to work particularly hard on was the film showing of the Notts Forest Albion League Cup quarter-final. It was, of course, staged for the benefit of our unlucky supporters who were stranded on the two special trains which didn’t reach the City Ground.

Just under 1,000 people attended Hove Town Hall for the evening last Tuesday and several of the players came along to the delight of the supporters. The row shown in the picture shows the lads really enjoying some of their glory moments.

Some of the comments from the players made commentator Hugh Johns’ sound almost an amateur. Naturally everyone hopes we would never again have a similar situation but we hope supporters will agree that we’ve done our very best to make up for the disappointment.


Each one of the audience at Hove Town Hall was even issued with a black and white copy of the matchday programme:


Update 26/12/15: Two of the goals (from John McGovern and John Robertson) made it into the recent ‘I Believe in Miracles’ film:

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Dressing up as Gary Glitter for Fans United


From 90 Minutes Magazine, 25 January 1997:

Unless you’ve been living under a paving stone for the past couple of years, you can’t have failed to notice that Brighton and Hove Albion are in a bit of bother just now. Bottom of the Third Division and staring the Vauxhall Conference in the face, the beleaguered South Coast side’s directors have sold their Goldstone Ground, leaving the club homeless and on the verge of extinction.

To date, Brighton fans have already organised countless demonstrations and petitions, protested outside board members’ houses and even marched through London to FA headquarters to get their point across, all it seems to no avail. But they’re not finished yet. Not by a long chalk.

In their latest protest, Fans United, Brighton fans are asking all other football fans to put aside their own allegiances and to attend the Goldstone Ground on Saturday 8 February for the Seagulls’ clash with Hartlepool in a show of solidarity against the Brighton board and against greed and corruption in football as a whole. There’s no Premiership games and a restricted First Division programme so if you want to help a club and its fans in their hour of need, why not head for Brighton a week on Saturday. Your efforts will be appreciated.

Trevor Payne is pictured with co-star Gary Anderson, who plays Elvis in the show

Trevor Payne is pictured with co-star Gary Anderson, who plays Elvis in the show

Getting into the spirit of it was former Albion triallist Trevor Payne who planned to swap football boots for platform boots to help save the club. As The Evening Argus reported in February 1997:

Trevor, star of the musical That’ll Be The Day, in which he appears as Gary Glitter, has arranged a benefit show for the Fans United fighting fund.

Earlier this month, thousands of fans from all over Britain and Europe descended on the Goldstone to back Seagulls supporters protesting against the board, blamed for the club’s demise.

Worthing-born Trevor, 50, was a teenage triallist for the Seagulls in the Sixties, but chose to follow a showbiz career instead.

And now, as writer, director and star of That’ll Be The Day, he has offered to donate an entire night’s profits to the Albion fans’ cause.

The show will be held at Brighton’s Dome Theatre on March 5, as part of a 60-date UK tour,

Trevor said: “Most of the cast and production team are avid football fans and we were all impressed by the recent Fahs United day at the Goldstone.

“We all wanted to do something practical to help the fans and this seemed to be the best way, as well as giving them a great night out.” Sixties classics like You’ll Never Walk Alone, since adopted as a football anthem, feature in the show, which Albion supporters’ club vice-chairman Liz Costa is convinced will be a sell-out.

She said: “I was very emotional when Trevor contacted us to say he would be donating this money to the fighting fund. It could generate up to £7,000 for us.”

Fans are being urged to wear Albion strips to the show.

Suffice to say, these plans came before Gary Glitter was arrested in November 1997 on suspicion of indecent images stored on a computer he had brought to a store to fix.

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Brighton face FA penalty after new pitch invasion

Here’s The Guardian’s Peter Nichols report on the events of Tuesday 1st October 1996:


Brighton face the threat of playing behind closed doors and having three points deducted, after supporters invaded the pitch during last night’s Third Division game against Lincoln at the Goldstone Ground. Play was halted for 12 minutes in the first half when Lincoln took the lead.

Shortly after play resumed Brighton equalised but two further goals for Lincoln consigned them to last but one in the league. The second goal prompted another invasion but this time the spectators did not reach the centre circle and they were booed off. Even the faithful had had enough.

The damage, though, may well have been done. Brighton have a Football Association sentence hanging over them after fans rioted and caused the abandonment of a Second Division relegation game against York City at the end of last season. That sentence could now come into effect after the referee Steve Bennett was forced to take the players off the pitch.

Trouble had been anticipated. Fans were angry at the breakdown of talks on Monday between the club chairman Bill Archer and the consortium headed by the advertising millionaire Dick Knight wanting to take over the club. But appeals to stay calm went unheeded. There was already a volatile atmosphere, with cries of “Archer out”. before matters spilled over in the 25th minute.

About 50 supporters from the North Stand invaded the pitch, and the referee immediately took the teams to the safety of the dressing-rooms.

Another 100 or so supporters from other sections of the ground then spilled on to the pitch, and the entire group congregated in the centre circle before leaving en bloc to return to the North Stand. The police adopted a “softly, softly” approach and, as invasions go, by Goldstone standards it was brief and bloodless. There were five public order arrests.


Archer, the object of the supporters’ disaffection, was not there to witness the protest. He had bought into Brighton and Hove Albion for £56.25 and, through dealings that might be described as Byzantine, sold the ground to Chartwell, a company connected to the Kingfisher Group and with which he is also involved. Chartwell paid £7.4 million, most of which went to pay off the club’s mounting debts.

The club now rent the ground back on a single-year lease which costs £480,000. At the end of the season, after 94 years at the Goldstone Ground, Brighton will be homeless. The ground will be dug up in June for a retail development.

Supporters might have been less alienated if Archer had employed a little PR during his tortuous dealings.

Talking to the supporters would have been a start. Nobody in this seaside town has the faintest idea of his plans.

Archer has attended only a handful of games and yesterday’s was not one of them. David Bellotti, the former Liberal MP, has been the front-man and, though he did visit the ground yesterday, he made his excuses and left before the game.

This particular crisis was precipitated by Monday’s meeting at the Park Court Hotel in London, where the FA attempted to arbitrate between Archer’s group and the Knight consortium.

Liz Costa, vice-chairman of the Brighton and Hove Albion Supporters’ Club, was one of many who predicted the worst for last night’s match.

“It will make York City look a like a Christmas party,” she forecast. “There’s going to be bedlam.” In that match almost 3,000 spectators spilled on to the pitch to demostrate against the board.

If those fears were unfounded, there was no disguising the despondency of the manager Jimmy Case. “Since I’ve been here there’s not been one ounce of good news, written or implemented,” he said. “When Liam Brady was here he said he couldn’t work in an unharmonious atmosphere, and it’s got worse.

“All we want as a manager and a football team, and especially the supporters, is a ground to play in. This situation affects everyone, down to the tea-ladies. I’ve never brought it up before but there comes a time. Any good news would be a breath of fresh air for me, the players and the tea-ladies.”

From ‘Build A Bonfire’:

Bill Swallow: I have to say, and maybe this puts me in a minority of one, I wasn’t terribly happy wit the Lincoln protest. I didn’t think it was wise. If they’d opened fire on David Bellotti I wouldn’t have had a problem with that, no difficulty at all. I thought the strategy went off the rails.

Tim Carder: Everyone supported it – I mean there were about two cries of ‘get off the pitch’ because we were under suspended sentence at that point. We knew that anyone going on the pitch and holding the game up was going to cost us points, but we were in such a desperate state at the time that the vast majority of the crowd applauded them. I clapped them. It was all very orderly and the crowd was in full support. We had to show that, even with the threat of losing points – and we were very near the bottom at this stage.

Significantly, after the Lincoln match, there was a marked change in emphasis in the protests that followed. Out went the kind that were liable to cost the club league points and made it easy to brand the loyal supporters as hooligans, and in came the imaginative kind such as the charm offensive at the village of Mellor, Bill Archer’s home in Lancashire.

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Dream signing… children’s TV star Tommy Boyd joins the Seagulls!


Rescued from Shoot! magazine in 1979/80:

“This is a dream come true,” said Tommy Boyd, as he stood proudly on the Goldstone pitch, wearing the blue and white shirt of his favourite club, Brighton & Hove Albion. “The number of times I’ve stood on those terraces, wondering what it would be like to be out here. Well, now I know. It’s a great feeling!”

Thanks to the hospitality of Alan Mullery and his team, SHOOT was able to give the Magpie TV star a super day with the South Coast Seagulls.

His first call was at Alan Mullery’s office, where he also met assistant-manager, Ken Craggs.

After ‘signing on’ for The Seagulls, Tommy met the rest of the first team squad. Star defenders, John Gregory and Steve Foster, decided to check on Tommy’s fitness with a workout in the gym and afterwards he was happy to enjoy a relaxing cup of tea with skipper, Brian Horton.

“The thing I liked most was the happy atmosphere I found at the club,” Tommy said, later. “I think a lot of that stems from Alan Mullery. He’s a man with an open, friendly personality. He loves to laugh, but more than anything, he loves the game.

“I really enjoyed meeting him. He’s always been a hero of mine. He was a great player. Do you remember the way he marked Pele out of the game in Mexico, in 1970? I defy anyone to name a player who could have done a better job on the day. Mullery was so versatile. He could do the lot.

“Now, it’s great to see he’s carried his two best qualities, that’s skill at the job and a natural enthusiasm, into the world of management. I’m sure he loves every minute of what he’s doing.” Another Goldstone personality Tommy rates very highly is Brian Horton.

“Brian’s always had his critics and he has proved them wrong. I saw him make his debut for the club, when he was bought for peanuts from Port Vale. He impressed me right away. He’s got all the qualities you Io0k for in a captain.

“When Brighton won promotion from the Third, some critics wondared hew Brian would get on in the Second Division. Well, he was a driving force there and it was the same story last season. He’s a fine player.”

Tommy started supporting Brighton when he was just atoddler. During his student days, at Sussex Umversity, he loved to spend his Saturday afternoons relaxing with The Seagulls.

“The funniest aftemoon I’ve ever spent at the Goldstone was during our college Rag Week,” he chuckled. “We did some collecting on the terraces for charity, before a match. My friend was singing and playing the guitar and I was going round with the tin. Most of the fans were happy to give us money … as long as we promised to go away and annoy someone else!”

Like most of us, Tommy dreamed of becoming a professional footballer, when he was at school. “The closest I’ve come was a charity match last summer, when I was marking the great Bobby Charlton. I thought I was fit, but even when he was dribbling the ball, Bobby could leave me standing.

“So, I’ll never make a top player, But SHOOT made one dream come true for me. I’ll really feel at home the next time I go to the Goldstone. When I’m cheering the players from the terraces, I’ll be able to use their first names!”


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