Tag Archives: supporters

Albion fans say no to John Barnes

It seemed a perennial question for much of the 1980s and 1990s: should John Barnes play for England? Had he been able to regularly reproduce his Liverpool form, the answers would surely have been yes. But by February 1993, when Andros Townsend was just two years old and not quite ready for international duty, visions of Barnes’ sensational solo goal against Brazil in 1984 were quickly receding.

In 90 Minutes’ issue 144 (6 March 1993), the magazine presented the question as this:

Following John Barnes’ performance and subsequent reception by the Wembley crowd at the San Marino game, 90 MINUTES LIVE enjoys a daytrip to the Goldstone Ground and asks Brighton and Exeter fans: Should Graham Taylor ever pick John Barnes for England again?

Below are the Brighton fans’ responses from the match (which incidentally was won 3-0 with goals from Kurt Nogan, Andy Kennedy and Clive Walker):


Matthew Perfect, Julian Coman & Neil Francis
Support Brighton
Matthew, 20: “No. His corners and crosses weren’t very good. I’d give him one more chance to see if he improves but if he doesn’t, then that’s the end.”
Julian, 21: “He should be dropped now and Chris Waddle should be brought back into the team. We need a flair player, someone who can put a decent cross in. Barnes shouldn’t be given another chance. I’m fed up with him.”
Neil, 20: “I think he’s had all the chances he needs. It’s about time he tried someone else. It’s Taylor’s fault. He’s been picked so many times by so many managers, they should have learned by now.”


Neil Picknell and Nick White
Support Brighton
Neil, 15: “He’s a good player but he keeps on being picked and not performing for England. Booing him was out of order, though. If he’s English he doesn’t get booed, but there’s too much young talent who would look like they’re trying harder than Barnes. he shouldn’t be picked again.”
Nick, 15: “I didn’t like the booing. It was disrespectful. He does his best but there are people who would do a better job. I’d definitely put Chris Waddle in there.”

90minuteslive6Simon McManus
Supports Brighton
Simon, 15: “No, he’s too old and slow. He was rubbish against San Marino – didn’t put enough crosses in. The booing was justified I think. I blame Taylor more, though, because Barnesy was only trying his hardest. Taylor should look at Paul Merson.”


Liz Peck and Helen Gibbs
Support Brighton
Liz, 18: “I wouldn’t pick him. He’s never really done anything for England, he’s a waste of space and there’s plenty of young talent that could probably do a lot better.”
Helen, 18: “There are so many young players around who could do a better job, he might as well pick them and give them the experience.”


Adam Holmes and Rob Townsend
Support Brighton
Adam, 14: “I don’t really like John Barnes much. He played well around the ’86 World Cup but I don’t think he’s got it any more. I’d put Andy Sinton on the wing.”
Rob, 16: “I wouldn’t play him on the wing. I’d play him deeper. It was forced on Taylor through injuries I think, because of Ian Wright not being there upfront. I’d still have him in the squad.”


Simon Verrall and Colin Curryer
Support Brighton
Simon, 21: “He’s like any other player, he has good days and bad days. If he’s having a bad day then he should be taken off. I’d still pick him though, he does work hard for the ball.”
Colin, 18: “He didn’t have a bad game against San Marino and we’ve tried putting other people in there. Who else is there? I could see Andy Sinton playing there maybe but nobody else really. I think we should stick with Barnes.”

(Click the image below to see the whole vox pops feature in all its glory).



My 77-97 home

At the end of the 1996/97 season, Brighton wasn’t the only Football League club to lose their home. Bolton left Burnden Road, Derby County vacated the Baseball Ground, and Oxford, Stoke and Sunderland saw the last of their respective stadiums.

A fan and the terracing Bill Archer sold from under him.

A fan and the terracing Bill Archer sold from under him.

The big difference was that all those other clubs had a spanking new stadium to move into. The Albion had nowhere.

Here’s Total Football (July 1997)’s fact file on Brighton’s state of flux:

Old ground: Goldstone Ground
Final capacity: 11,500
Record gate: 36,747
Last game: Doncaster, April 26, 1997
New stadium: TBA
New capacity: TBA
Location: Who knows?

Background to move: The sale of the Goldstone to pay off debts of £6m sparked two years of protests. A month or so of groundsharing can’t be ruled out while a temporary location, either at the nearby Corals greyhound stadium, or perhaps Crawley Town’s new gaff, 20 miles north but still in Sussex, is organised. The consortium who wrested power from the old board include a representative of McAlpine’s, so when plans for The Seagulls’ new nest are revealed, expect something worth the wait.

We certainly got a great stadium in the end, but what a wait it turned out to be…

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Evening Argus: Next Stop Wembley!

Here’s the Evening Argus headline for its Night Final on Saturday 16th April 1983:


I imagine most of us know in minuscule detail what happened on the pitch on that famous day of the FA Cup Semi-Final over Sheffield Wednesday at Highbury.

Inside, though, there is a story of how Gordon Smith’s parents Bill and Edith Smith travelled 500 miles from Ayrshire to see the game, and will be looking after the player’s three year old son Grant and daughter Lyagh-Ann, 12 months.

Meanwhile, Joan Shipp, secretary to the club’s commercial manager, Ron Pavey, tied up her stockings with a special lace garter made from yellow and blue ribbons. Decency prevents me from reprinting the shocking image of Joan flashing her thighs for the Argus here.

Elsewhere, at Forfars, work on Saturday kicked off early at midnight for some of its 45 workers, so they could all watch the game. Tim Cutress, the production director, said: “We have pushed everything out so we can all get up to London. Some came in at midnight and everyone started two hours earlier.”

Putting their dough on an Albion victory are Tim Cutress, John Joyce, Matthew Cutress, Graham Taylor (no, not that one) and Chris Budd.

Putting their dough on an Albion victory are Tim Cutress, John Joyce, Matthew Cutress, Graham Taylor (no, not that one) and Chris Budd.

Finally, we end with a story of …lurrrrve.


This couple in love set off for Highbury knowing it was their last chance to cheer Albion in this year’s cup.

“We are getting married on Final day so we know we would not be going to Wembley,” said communications engineer David Lewin, 22, a dedicated fan.

His marriage to 21-year-old Deborah Locke, of Devonshire Place, Brighton, was arranged before the team started its FA Cup charge.

“There is no way we can re-arrange the date,” said David of Eastbourne Road, Brighton. “But we will really enjoy today.”

Deboroah added: “We do not get married until 4pm so we can watch the first half of the Final on TV.

So, with Albion 1-0 up at half-time against Manchester United at 3.50pm, if you ever wanted to know why the soccer gods turned against the Seagulls, it’s because these ‘dedicated’ supporters David and Deborah turned off the telly at that moment. Bad fans!


90 Minutes Magazine asks Brighton fans: ‘Is football on TV a big turn-off?’

It’s the Portsmouth v Brighton fixture in September 1991. Armed with a camera and dictaphone, 90 Minutes Magazine (issue 70) asked supporters a hot topic of the day:

As BSkyB’s Sky Sports channel begins showing football every night of the week, we grab our buckets and spades, blow up our inflatable dolphins and take a trip down by the seaside to Fratton Park to ask: is football on TV a big turn-off?


Justin Blundell & Nick Thompson
Both 18, from Uckfield, & support Brighton
Justin “I don’t really like the live games; they don’t have a good enough mixture of the teams they put on. Sky have got quite good coverage but I haven’t got that. The local TV do good things on Brighton and local teams and I like seeing the goals after the live game on Sunday afternoon.”
Nick “I’ve just come back from holiday in Spain and they have television coverage of British games on Saturday afternoon. They don’t show enough football here. If you’re not going to the match then that’s it – you just have to wait for the scores at 4.45pm or put Teletext on. They should show every single goal because the Second Division clubs sometimes score much better goals than the First Division.”

90minuteslive-matthewMatthew Andrews
18, from Hailsham, supports Brighton
“I like the midweek highlights rather than the live coverage. I think the highlights are more exciting. If you get a bad game you’ve got 90 minutes of boredom. With the highlights you get to see more teams, which is especially good at the start of the season when clubs have new players.”

Do you know Matthew, Justin or Nick? Please forward this article to them if you do.

(Click the image below to see the whole vox pops feature in all its glory).



EastEnders’ Anita Dobson meets Albion gals


From the Brighton v Peterborough programme in March 1986:

Our feature photo shows some very attractive young ladies on the Supporters’ Stand at the Brighton Ideal Home Exhibition three weeks ago. Gill Lacey, Claire Williams and Kieron Dorey are wearing the Albion shirts but the ‘gal with a smile’ in plain clothes is Angie from EastEnders, screen wife of ‘Dirty Den’, otherwise (known as) actress Anita Dobson.

Maybe the fans could have interested her in securing a deal for Phoenix Brewery at the Queen Vic!


Fans warned by Bamber to turn up early


From Shoot! magazine in 1979:

Brighton fans get a warning from chairman Mike Bamber as they prepare to welcome the First Division big boys to the Goldstone Ground.

The Seagulls start life in the top flight with a glamorous home game against FA Cup winners Arsenal – and Bamber makes it clear the fans must get there early. “I’m afraid they are going to have to change the habit of a lifetime and turn up at the ground with plenty of time to spare now we are in the First Division,” he says.

“The days when they could turn up ten minutes before kick-off and stroll through the turnstiles are over. If they do that now there’s a fair chance they won’t get within a mile of the ground. Our promotion to the First Division has created tremendous interest down here and everyone is excited about seeing some of the great names and some of the great teams of football at Brighton.

“We have all got to make adjustments to meet the new challenge and I beg the fans to get here in plenty of time in future. We’v had problems in the past on big-match days trying to pack in everyone who turned up late and many have complained it’s taken them ages to get through the turnstiles.

“It will do. It you get lots of people arriving together – and late. They will have no chance at all this season if they leave it late. So my message to fans is – please be early.”

In the end, Bamber was both right and wrong. A huge crowd of 28,604 came to see Brighton trounced 0-4 by Arsenal in a First Division baptism of fire in August 1979. All but one home league game hit the 20,000 mark, which was understandably the Stoke match shortly before Christmas. (If fans had to miss one, they chose wisely as it was a 0-0 stalemate). At the same time, the attendance at the Arsenal match was still five-thousand short of the capacity at the time. There was not one 30,000 attendance at the Goldstone Ground by the end of 1979/80.

By the following season, the novelty of top flight football had waned, with Brighton mostly struggling to keep their head above water. With the onset of recession and much higher ticket prices than in the old days of the 1970s, home attendances began to dip.

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Protest and survive

This picture is from Superclubs Soccer Yearbook 1998/99 and shows livid Brighton fans staging a sit down protest on the pitch during the ‘Troubles’ of the mid-1990s:


Do you recognise anyone in this photo?

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