Thanks to Nick Spiller for lending me these marvellous items.
A pair of badges from the late 1970s:
…some discs from 1979/80:
…and yet more discs, this time from 1980/81:
Thanks to Nick Spiller for lending me these marvellous items.
A pair of badges from the late 1970s:
…some discs from 1979/80:
…and yet more discs, this time from 1980/81:
In Part 60 of Marshall Cavendish’s ‘Football Handbook’ in the late 1970s, there is a superb account of Brighton’s First Division debut against Arsenal on the opening day of the 1979/80 season:
From the Fourth Division to the First in 14 years – that’s the Brighton & Hove Albion success story. Handbook went behind the scenes for Brighton’s baptism of fire against FA Cup holders Arsenal, and discovered how nerves and lack of experience played a big part in the Seagulls’ day-one disaster…
August 18, 1979 should have been the greatest day in Brighton & Hove Albion’s history–their first match ever in Division One. Unfortunately, Arsenal were to spoil the celebrations…
Before the match the team meets in the usual hotel. The old brigade who clinched promotion for Brighton chat noisily, while the new boys – like John Gregory, bought in the summer from Villa – smile nervously on the edge of it all.
Peter Ward sits alone and bleary-eyed. He has been up all night while his wife gave birth to their second daughter.
There’s a studied air of calm about the Brighton squad, but the prospect of making their First Division debuts has several of them inwardly buckling with nerves.
This, and the fact that FA Cup holders Arsenal are the visitors, has given everyone the flutters. All the Gunners’ players are familiar to the Brighton lads. Arsenal receive enough press exposure and TV coverage for a team-talk to be almost unnecessary. Alan Mullery concentrates on morale.
‘They’ve only got two feet, same as you. They might pass the ball better than Second Division sides, but they also let teams play which Second Division teams don’t do. We’re not going to respect anyone in this League – we’re going to chase, fight and tackle.’
Mullery to Maybank: ‘Ted, I want you back in our area for corners. I don’t care how tired you are, you’ve got to get back to knock that ball away with your head.’
Before they board the coach that will take them to the Goldstone Ground, Mullery tries one last piece of basic psychology. ‘Now listen. We know them, but I’ve just been talking to their physio, Fred Street, and they haven’t a clue what to expect from us.
‘You beat Arsenal today and you’ll believe in yourselves for the rest of the season.’
As the coach nears the ground, the jitters begin to surface again. Maybank senses the mood and tries to defuse it with a joke. ‘Don’t panic, don’t panic,’ comes his Corporal Jones impersonation from the back of the bus.
Inside the ground, the atmosphere is electric: a pipe and drum band march past the brand new stand, and then the Albion players emerge in their ‘civvies’ to walk around the pitch and acknowledge the fans’ tumultuous applause.
Ten minutes later they re-emerge. This time it’s for real – and within minutes Brighton’s First Division career has begun. After 60 seconds Talbot and Horton tangle and the free-kick to Albion bobbles tantalisingly around the Arsenal box. Ryan latches on to it, wriggles through and swivels to send in a left-footer which the shovel-sized hands of Jennings tip away at full stretch.
Three minutes later it’s Ryan again. This time the toe-end of Willie Young’s despairing lunge relieves the pressure. The Brighton crowd scream their support. Although Ryan yet again comes close, Arsenal are starting to settle. Their offside trap is beginning to frustrate Mullery’s men and, ominously, the Rix-Brady shuttle service is starting to roll down the left.
Then, inside the space often bewildering minutes, Brighton’s dreams come crashing down around them. First Stapleton receives from Sunderland to crash a 20-yarder past Eric Steele; before Brighton have time to reflect on the seeming injustice of it all, Arsenal make it two – from Brady’s freekick, Young’s header drops to Sunderland, who nods in from a yard out.
By half-time Brighton are dead. Rix lofts a pass through the middle. Sunderland delays his run and then sprints past Rollings and scoops the ball over Steele. The keeper gets a palm to it but the ball still drops into the net; 0-3.
As Albion troop in disconsolately at the break, Mullery tells them, ‘You’ve lost the game. Now get out there and start again with a clean slate…’
But it’s all gone flat. Only the jigging of the Arsenal contingent breaks the silence as they mimic the ‘Sea-gulls’ chant with one of ‘Three goals, three goals’. And then a Brady penalty makes it four in the second half to really rub Brighton’s noses in it.
As Brighton file sadly into the dressing-room at the end, their big day ruined, Terry Neill comments, ‘We posed them a few more problems than they’re used to. But I’m sure Alan Mullery is not the type of individual to get discouraged.’
Though bitterly disappointed, Mullery still finds time to praise Arsenal and pinpoint the difference between the sides. ‘They taught us a lesson in cold, clinical finishing,’ he says.
‘It was like a Clint Eastwood movie. Out came the guns, and bang bang – we were dead…’
Under the title ‘Frank’s zapper’, Football Handbook then turned its attention to Frank Stapleton’s goal:
The most meaningful lessons are usually the most painful to learn – in life, in football.
For Brighton and Hove Albion the moment of truth came on the opening day of the season, their first-ever First Division contest.
FA Cup winners Arsenal were the visitors.., and the teachers.
All the exuberance that took Brighton to promotion hardly dented the composure of silky Arsenal, to whom First Division pressure was nothing new.
Manager Mullery’s ‘treat it like a cup tie’ approach – ‘we’re going to chase, fight and tackle’ – lost all significance once Arsenal took the lead approaching half-time.
Brighton had had most of the play and, like an underdog boxer, must have fancied their chances of an upset.
And, like many a ‘softener’ for the knock-out blows to follow, the goal that put them firmly in their place had an almost dream-like essence to it.
Inertia ruled among the Brighton players as Sammy Nelson played the ball down the left to Alan Sunderland.
He was given space to cross where he liked and almost certainly aimed deep for Brian Talbot, who had made a typical run behind the home defence.
His mishit went straight to Stapleton instead. Stapleton stumbled. The crowd laughed. Stapleton recovered but his shot from 20 yards was hardly a hammer blow.
Nevertheless, it went in, the ball looping over the despairing Eric Steele.
If that was a dream-like moment, it soon became a nightmare as Arsenal added two more quick goals before half-time.
In the end it was a humiliating 0-4 scoreline, a result that Mullery rightly saw as a lesson in cold, clinical finishing.
In 1979, Brighton & Hove Albion achieved their dream of reaching the top flight. Unsurprisingly, the Evening Argus marked the achievement with a 40 paged ‘Division One – Here We Come’ supplement.
This included a seven-part review of the season, an Alan Mullery eulogy by John Vinicombe, a discussion of the club’s prospects in the First Division plus pen pictures of the squad. All in black and white newsprint… which is where this foray into colour comes in: on the final page, it says:
To obtain a free full-colour folder celebrating Albion’s promotion, fans can collect vouchers from six different days’ issues of the Evening Argus, starting on Monday. Each voucher carries the name of a different Albion player. The folder, printed on art paper, includes a team picture in full colour. You can use it as a cover for this souvenir supplement or alternatively as a wall poster – or both if you collect two sets of vouchers.
All you had to do was bring your vouchers to any Evening Argus office on or after Wednesday 23rd May or send it off to the Argus promotions department.
Here is the front cover, with Brian Horton apparently jumping for joy in front of a delirious home crowd. On closer inspection, you can see his body has been cut out and crudely superimposed on the background. All done without Photoshop:
As for the centre spread, there is a marvellous team photo. I’m sure that would have made the wall of many supporters at the time:
Finally, the back page features action shots of key players Mark Lawrenson, Peter O’Sullivan, Teddy Maybank and Peter Ward:
John Vinicombe’s report from the Evening Argus on Brighton’s 2-1 victory over Blackburn Rovers, in their last home match of the 1978/79 season:
The crock of gold that is the First Division is shimmering up there at St James’ Park, Newcastle.
It is there to be taken by Albion, who must not only win the battle on the pitch but prevail in a war of nerves that took a heavy toll of their rivals while they overcame Blackburn Rovers.
The last match at the Goldstone of this marvellously exhilarating campaign set Albion up to snatch the prize of prizes – a place among the coveted elite.
Brian Horton led his players in a lap of honour. Blackburn most sportingly clapped their conquerors from the pitch. These were memorable moments. Now Albion prepare for the final hurdle. At St James’ Park, they will be cheered by an army of admirers travelling by air, rail, and road. A win will take them into the First Division without any arguments: anything less must depend on other results.
In their present mood, Albion are perfectly capable of winning in the grand manner. The championship could be theirs by twenty-to-five on Saturday.
They have shrewdly taken matches one by one, and were well aware that beating Blackburn was absolutely vital.
This was the game that could have gone horribly wrong (shades of Blackburn’s recent wins at Stoke and Sunderland), but Albion never looked like losing although I wouldn’t care to relive the last ten minutes.
Great credit must go to Albion for keeping their heads after the Easter Saturday defeat at Cardiff City. Subsequently, Cardiff spoiled a few cards, culminating in the sensational win at Sunderland that dispelled City’s relegation fears.
Newcastle will not yield without a fight, and I cannot take seriously the story going the rounds that they might be a pushover because Sunderland in the First Division would affect their gates.
Of course, there is no love lost between the traditional rivals of the North – East but can you imagine a manager like Bill McGarry demanding anything less of his players than 100 per cent?
There has been stress on Albion, who have been in the top three since the 3-0 win at Charlton on December 23. Manager Alan Mullery has proved an inspirational motivator and Brian Horton quite the most outstanding captain the club has had, certainly since the war.
These redoubtable qualities were fully tested when Blackburn arrived no longer tortured over doubts of staying up. They came knowing full well that Division 3 is their scene next season. It ever a team stood to upset the favourites, it was Rovers.
Fears of a slip-up were partially justified as Albion were without Peter O’Sullivan, and had to re-jig with a new formation on the left. It didn’t quite come off, but in terms of chances created Albion outclassed Rovers.
Instead of being consumed by their own fears, Albion took early command, and the work rate of Teddy Maybank, who chased everything and won most of the balls in the air, typified the spirit. Tiring players found that extra half yard, and rovers were unable to stage a third sensation of the season.
The 18th minute opener by Maybank that bulleted through a cloud of smoke was grabbed with tigerish tenacity. Whoever hurled the canister from the South Stand may have distracted goalkeeper John Butcher but it would have taken a wonderful save to have prevented Maybank scoring.
From that point on, Rovers thrashed about in a fog of they own making. They hadn’t a clue about picking up Peter Ward, who had a splendid match, while their star man, Duncan McKenzie, seldom shook off the shackles imposed by Paul Clark.
Watching Andy Rollings it was difficult to believe that here was the player who needed assistance in boarding the train from Cardiff a fortnight ago. Then the head was temporarily down! Rollings feared a break, and in the next match Mark Lawrenson snapped an arm in two places.
The rapid return of Rollings to fitness has been an important factor. He not only read the game well but scored the all-important clincher early into the second half beyond Rover’s reach.
The foraging of John Bailey, one of the best left-backs we have seen at the Goldstone, and Noel Brotherstone’s fondness for varying the point of attack often spelled danger, but in all honesty the 2-1 scoreline let Rovers off rather lightly.
Quite early on, Ward was unlucky to hit the bar, and he might have scored at the half-hour, only Butcher blocked bravely. Malcolm Poskett on the left wing for the first time got into many good positions, but just couldn’t finish. But he never gave up, and on effort alone was worth his place.
And for sheer brilliance of reflexes Eric Steele once again proved why he is first choice goalkeeper at the Goldstone. There had been one nail-biting moment when a pass back from Rollings bobbled just past the post. And another two-thirds of the way through when Mike Rathbone’s shot deflected off Horton and against the far post where Peter Sayer pounced to clear.
Steele’s moment of brilliance came at 78 minutes when Martin Fowler’s shot clipped off Maybank’s backside. In a split second he changed direction to turn it round.
He hadn’t much chance four minutes from time with John Aston’s beautifully curled free-kick.
For ITV’s footage of the match, watch this:
Former England wing wizard Keith Weller, who died in 2004, is considered one of Leicester City’s greatest ever players. In September 1978, he tore the Albion team apart with a scintillating display. The 4-1 victory was the Foxes’ first of the season. It was also Albion’s heaviest defeat since they returned to the Second Division. From the Daily Express:
If Albion were still suffering from the flu germ that forced the postponement of the previous week’s match against Stoke, it was Weller who sent Leicester fans’ temperatures soaring with a vintage display.
He played the key role in Leicester’s first three goals, then capped a first-class display with a goal of his own.
Weller gave warning of what was to come when, after four minutes, he cut past three men and struck a shot over the bar.
Leicester then had to survive a purple patch by Albion, before going ahead after 20 minutes. Steve Kember, who controlled midfield for most of the match, found Weller on the right – and Trevor Christie tucked Keith’s low cross inside the far post.
Eight minutes later, Leicester were two up. Weller won the corner and took it himself. And with the bewildered Albion defence massed at the post, Billy Hughes placed his header just inside the near post.
But Brighton did enough before half-time to suggest that Leicester still had a fight on their hands. Peter O’Sullivan missed a first half sitter, and Teddy Maybank’s strong running caused moments of blind panic in the Leicester defence.
Leicester indeed looked to lose their rhythm until a 57th minute penalty by Hughes put the result beyond doubt.
Again, it was Weller’s good work that created the opening. He seemed certain to score until Mark Lawrenson brought him down.
The usually immaculate Lawrenson had his name take for dissent and Leicester centre-half Steve Sims was also booked for a stiff challenge.
But by then, Leicester were beyond caring. For although full-back Gary Williams pulled one back for Albion with a superb volley 15 minutes from the end, it was then too late to mean much.
And a minute later Weller got the goal he so richly deserved when he pushed a short ball from Christie past the helpless Eric Steele.
Leicester: Wallington, Whitworth, Rofe, May, Sims, Kelly, Weller, Kember, Christie, Duffy, Hughes. Sub: Welsh.
Brighton: Steele, Tiler, Williams, Horton, Rollings, Lawrenson, Towner, Ward, Maybank, Clark, O’Sullivan. Sub: Sayer.
Having won their previous three League games, the Seagulls dropped to tenth following the trouncing. In the Brighton v Leicester City programme earlier on this current season, Alan Mullery provided an interesting postscript to this defeat:
It was a mystery to me why we had performed so badly. On the Tuesday following the defeat, I received a letter saying all the lads had been spotted out in a nightclub in Worthing on the Thursday night. Maybe there was a reason for our poor performance after all and there was going to be hell to pay if it was true. I confronted the lads in a group the next day in training and gave them the opportunity to see me in my office if they were involved.
In the end, Teddy Maybank and Peter Sayer both knocked on the door and admitted they had been at the club, but hadn’t been drinking any alcohol. Both were fined two week’s wages which went to a guide dogs’ charity.
It was not just any other spring Saturday morning on 21st April 1979. Brighton were within sight of promotion. Three games, including the day’s match at Luton, separated them for Division One, as reported in Football Handbook in ‘One Stop from Division One’:
At Brighton station there’s a blue and white queue filing on to the ‘Seagull Special’. There are no beer cans, no early morning drunks. These are, they claim, ‘the best behaved supporters in the land’.
Suddenly a murmur of excitement disturbs the quiet. Cat, Whizzo, Sully, Nobby, Tot, Leo… are all walking alongside them on the platform. To anyone outside the close confines of the club, these men are Chris Cattlin, Peter Ward, Peter O’Sullivan, Brian Horton, Graham Winstanley, Peter Sayer and the rest of the Brighton first team.
On board the train, some play cards, some read, some just listen to the radio and look out of the window. They’re keyed up, but confldent. At East Croydon a cluster of fans tdisplays a flurry of derisory gestures. But then this is Crystal Palace country…
At Clapham Junction Alan Mullery and assistant manager Ken Craggs come on board to ironic cheers from the team. ‘Oh no, he’s not still wearing his Marks and Spencer shoes is he?’ It’s a standing joke. Mullery wears the same suit and shoes for every match, home and away.
Outside Luton station the team stands to one side while the police escort the line of Brighton supporters which snakes its way past us. As they disappear down the road a chant of ‘Clark is E-vii’ goes up. Paul Clark is the young Brighton ball winner. When Albion played Luton earlier in the season Paul Fucillo’s leg was broken in a challenge with Clark.
If Clarky is wondering how the Luton fans are going to react to that incident he soon finds out. As the teams are announced over the tannoy at the ground there is mass booing at the mention of his name, and when the Brighton team emerges from the tunnel a Luton fan tips tomato sauce over his head. Just what you need before a vital promotion match.
Brighton’s nerve ends are showing in the first five minutes of the game and Maybank and Sully have a shout at each other. Gary Williams hits a simple pass into touch and his captain, Horton, gives him the palms down, ‘calm down’ sign. Two old sweats, Alan Birchenall and Bob Hatton, organise the Luton side.into some promising moves.
Clark ‘the tank’ is playing in low gear, his usual aggressiveness blunted by the crowd’s reaction to the Fucillo incident. Their hysterical shrieking every time he touches the ball seems to have subdued him. There are none of his usual earth-removing runs through the middle as he looks to play safe, obvious, square passes.
Brian Horton bellows at his team and claps his hands for more effort all round. Clark slips the ball to Maybank, takes the return and almost before the boos are out of the home supporters’ mouths tonks a left-foot drive just wide of the post with the keeper struggling. Donaghy, the Luton number four, panics on finding himself directly up against Ward. He yells ‘Kirk, Kirk’ – and right-back Kirk Stephens scuttles back to help him out.
But the momentum dies. Ricky Hill shrugs off a challenge from Sully and crosses the ball from the right. Alan West shoots tamely but as goalkeeper Eric Steele bends to gather the ball Gary Williams sticks out a toe and deflects it past him for an own goal.
Brighton are on the rack. At the end of 45 minutes those two promotion points look a long way away.
After three minutes of the second half the ball falls to Ward in the box. He takes his time, tees up and right foots it past the keeper, but Brighton’s first shot on target is booted off the line. Within a minute Luton are clean through at the other end. For a split second it looks all over, but Steele rushes out to get an arm to the shot and the ball loops wide of the goal for a corner. Brighton are still alive – but they’re living dangerously.
On the hour a Luton defender appears to handle in the box. Brighton players swarm round referee Clive Thomas but he ignores their appeals for a penalty. Horton stands, hands on head, unable to believe it.
Mullery throws on striker Poskett for full-back Williams. All or nothing now. Birchenall tries to calm the Luton side with a back pass towards his own goal, but it slides under the advancing keeper. Poskett follows the ball but stops running when it looks certain to dribble into the net. The Brighton players’ arms are in the air saluting the ‘goal’ as the ball drifts against the inside of an upright.
‘You’re staying down with us’
Poskett realises to his dismay that it’s not going to go in but Donaghy is fractionally quicker off the mark to beat him to the ball and knock it to safety.
Horton is booked. Nobody knows why. ‘You’re staying down with us…’ The Luton fans revel in Brighton’s despair.
Five minutes to go and the First Division is a million miles away. Brighton get a free-kick. Maybank has a word with Horton and wanders away. Horton’s pass finds him on the left side of the penalty area. He checks, holds, picks his spot and drives it into the right-hand corner of the net.
Horton clenches his fists and the veins stand out on his neck as he screams for that last little bit from his team. Gerry Ryan risks the back of his legs by taking the ball to the corner flag for a classic piece of time wasting, but as Luton boot the ball out of the ground for the third time it’s clear that they’ll settle for the draw.
At the final whistle the players scurry down the tunnel. Relief floods through the dressing-room.
‘Well done, Teddy boy. The King.’ Chris Cattlin applauds Maybank’s goal. ‘I told you never to fluster, my son,’ Maybank is nonchalant. Then: ‘I caught it really sweet. I haven’t hit one of them since I was 17.’
Suddenly the hollering dies and a hush descends as the other results come out of the tranny. Mullery stands arms folded and straight-faced. Hoots and jeers greet the results of their promotion rivals, but Sunderland and Stoke have done well. The pressure hasn’t eased.
Now for the post mortems. Poskett’s miss: ‘He should’ve followed that ball in.’ Mullery is critical. The turned-down penalty: ‘Definite penalty. The ref was looking at it.’ Horton is certain.
‘What did he book you for Nob?’ Lawrenson asks him.
‘Yeah. Facial expression,’ Horton assures him.
‘Was it one of your special looks Nob?’ ‘Yeah, show us.’ The rest of the side request a Horton grimace. He obliges.
‘Good job it wasn’t Tot, he’d have been sent off.’
‘Tot’ Winstanley smiles a toothless smile.
Not a pretty sight…
As the train draws away from Luton the blinds are pulled down so that if stones are thrown at the windows by rival fans the glass will not spray all over the place. The mood is quiet on the journey back. Not the abject gloom which would have accompanied a defeat but silent reflection on the fact that in a 42-match season the dividing line between success and failure can be almost nonexistent. Last year they missed promotion by goal difference. Will today’s draw be enough at the final reckon up? Surely fate would not be so cruel a second time round.
With this result, Brighton dropped down to second place, one point behind Stoke City on 53 points. Quite remarkably, the Albion had amassed the same points total, after forty matches in 1977/78. What an amazing level of consistency displayed by Mullery’s men. Their next fixtures were Blackburn at home and then Newcastle away. No one knew it at the time but a win and a draw would see them through…
I originally bought this second hand at the Sunday market outside Brighton train station in the early 1990s. I thanked my lucky stars that all the Albion stickers were there. This was years before eBay, so finding someone with a spare Peter Sayer sticker lying around would have been tricky, whereas now it would only take a few seconds…
Looking at the Arsenal pages now, it’s striking that out of the 14 Gunners on display, five would eventually join Brighton (Steve Gatting, Willie Young, Sammy Nelson, Liam Brady and Frank Stapleton). Neil McNab lined up as a Bolton player sticker for the last time, while future Seagull favourite Michael Robinson smiled for his Manchester City photo shoot with a joviality that was not reflected in his unhappy year at Maine Road.
However, it’s the Albion double-spread that really catches the eye!
In these head and shoulder shots, we get to see the bubble perms of Sayer and Ward, but even these are outnumbered by the popularity of moustaches within the Brighton first team, through Lawrenson, Horton, Clark, O’Sullivan, Poskett and Ryan. Curiously, our players here are wearing flared collars with a triangular panel at the bottom, whereas during the season (I’m addressing fellow shirt anoraks, here!) it was open flared collars that were on display, at least for the home kit.
As the season unfolded, keeper Eric Steele gave way to Graham Moseley. Gary Stevens and Steve Foster also played much stronger roles in defence than either Chris Cattlin or Andy Rollings. Sayer, Maybank and Clark would be further casualties as Mullery moved his Panini stickers around his imaginary album to try to find a winning formula. Then, from nowhere (OK, Blackpool in the Third Division) Peter Suddaby took Lawrenson’s spot in defence while the Republic of Ireland international was pushed further forward. He would have taken one of the midfielder stickers, while Neil McNab and Ray Clarke would have been the new arrivals bringing high quality passing and forward play to the Goldstone. Good swopping, Mullers!
Short of Peter O’Sullivan, Teddy Maybank and Gary Williams turning up at your door tipsily singing ‘Auld Lang Syne’, what finer retro Albion way to see in the New Year than an invitation for you to feast your eyes on a Brighton football calendar from 1980?
In 1979/80, a company called Print For Sport Ltd launched some lavish A2-sized Soccer Action Calendars for each First Division club, some ‘top’ Second Division clubs (West Ham, Leicester, Sunderland, Newcastle and Burnley, Luton and QPR) and the England team. For just £2.49 each, you received one for your favourite team with twelve colour action shots of first-team players.
The item, advertised heavily in the likes of Shoot! Magazine and Match Weekly, also included red ‘You-Fix’ stickers allowing fans to mark match dates and opponents on the calendar itself. I suppose they could have pre-printed the fixtures directly onto the relevant dates themselves but this was what counted as ‘fun’ and ‘interactive’ in those days!
Here is the Brighton & Hove Albion calendar, lovingly scanned by yours truly:
In a clever, eye-catching design, Malcolm Poskett, Chris Cattlin and Peter Ward are the cover stars.
Then into January is… ermm, Brian Horton with a full head of hair in the perm? Well, it’s definitely Nobby’s signature on the bottom right but, as Alan Wares (Albion Roar) from North Stand Chat has identified, it’s Andy Rollings blocking the shot from Orient’s Alan Whittle in a memorable 3-3 draw. Peter O’Sullivan and Mark Lawrenson are in the background, along with Clark’s hair!
Next up is Malcolm Poskett, also in action against Orient, out to prove Alan Mullery was right to prefer him to Wardy in the number eight shirt for this match.
When Peter Ward does show up in March, it’s on a bad hair day.
Steve Foster had signed for the Seagulls in pre-season in the summer of 1979. Without a genuine match appearance for Brighton to his name yet, he strikes a pose for the camera instead.
In the same Blackburn game where he scored a goal in the midst of a smoke bomb going off, here’s Teddy Maybank challenging for the ball.
Eric Steele shows a safe pair of hands for the camera.
‘Viking’ Paul Clark on the ball, possibly against Luton in April 1979.
New signing John Gregory juggles the ball.
Veteran Chris Cattlin is star of the month for September 1980 even though his Albion playing were over by then.
Gary Williams carries the ball out against Blackburn.
Proving his acting skills are no better than his punditry skills, Mark Lawrenson fakes celebrating a goal!
And finally, Gerry Ryan goes for a dribble.
As you can see, 1st January 1980 fell on a Tuesday, whereas 1st January 2014 is a Wednesday, so you’ll be disappointed if you were hoping to print this out and use it, unamended, as your calendar for the New Year. Significantly, 1980 was also a leap year so you’ll have to wait all the way until 2036 before this calendar fits the bill again. Never mind! I hope that you are patient. In the meantime, Happy New Year!
Argus journalist John Vinicombe was in a happy mood, describing Brighton’s 5-0 annihilation of Cardiff City in December 1978. Helped by three goals from Teddy Maybank, the handsome result put the Seagulls in third place in Division Two:
Albion’s form in the two Christmas matches – at Charlton and yesterday against Cardiff City at the Goldstone – was nothing less than superb.
From the 3-0 success at The Valley, where Malcolm Poskett scored a second half hat-trick, Albion carried on where they left off when Cardiff arrived at the Goldstone.
And there to greet them was a numbing goal in the first 23 seconds by Gary Williams and Teddy Maybank bagging his first hat-trick for the club.
But for the courage of goalkeeper Ron Healey, City would have been taken for a cricket score.
The 5-0 victory was easily Albion’s most convincing display so far and helped lift them to third spot in the table as all the results went their way.
Before a ball was kicked, Albion knew that close rivals West Ham had crashed to a shock home defeat at the hands of Orient.
Albion needed six goals to eclipse them on goal difference alone, and the situation now is that Brighton have won more games (12) than any other side. On this form they face the New Year with confidence.
If Charlton were just as comprehensively outclassed as Cardiff, it should be borne in mind that Charlton picked up yesterday to take a point at Stoke.
Other results in Albion’s favour were the 1-0 defeat of Newcastle United at Bramall Lane and Sunderland dropping a point at home to Leicester City.
And while West Ham came tumbling down, there was a similar upset at Selhurst Park, where leaders Crystal Palace suffered a 1-0 defeat by Bristol Rovers.
This is a traditional time for crazy results, but there was no hint of Albion slipping up. I cannot recall them playing so consistently welt for the entire 90 minutes as Cardiff reeled under a succession of tremendous blows.
Never mind Cardiff’s bad away record… they had toppled Fulham in their previous match and are desperate to avoid the drop.
Not once did they remotely look like upsetting Albion’s approach, and it was realty a case of how many goals would finish in City’s net.
The three deposited by Maybank will do wonders for his morale. In a twinkling, a much-maligned player has earned many new admirers, although those who watch the side home and away will testify to his voracious work rate.
Significantly, Mark Lawrenson played a part in all three Maybank goals, and if there is a more gifted player in the division, I have yet to see him.
When Maybank headed Albion’s second at 23 minutes it was his first at home for nearly a year! He last hit the Go!dstone net on January 21 against Mansfield and it is almost four months since he scored away from home.
The way has been far from easy for Maybank, but now that the spell is broken I look forward to his luck changing.
Although his damaged ankle ligaments are healed, there was no place for Peter Ward. How could Alan Mullery have changed the side that dazzled at Charlton? Now he has what managers like to call a ‘nice problem’. With nearly half the season remaining there will be plenty of chances for Ward to get back, but the good of the club comes first and personal feelings second.
It must be satisfying for Mullery to have found the touch with his players at such an important time. Aibion were long overdue for a good Christmas. but I don’t think even the most devoted fan thought in terms of two wins and eight goals!
The heavy conditions yesterday suited Albion, and skipper Brian Horton showed himself master of the long ball. Peter Sayer and Peter O’Sullivan ran and worked so hard that there was nothing for Cardiff to create. And Lawrenson, always ready to go on runs at Charlton. was equally hungry yesterday. He inspired that much confidence in Andy Rollings to mind the shop with the ever vigilant Chris Catilin to provide additional cover.
Twelve minutes from the end, Lawrenson limped off with a touch of cramp. It was a wise move to pull him out at that stage, as Cardiff’s defence lay in tatters.
Without any buses, the crowd was kept down to 20,172, but surely there must be a good 28,000 for Saturday’s visit of Newcastle.
They should prove a sterner test than Charlton or Cardiff, but in this mood I doubt if Albion care very much who they play.
Shrewd Mullery had the players in on Christmas morning to be weighed. Not one was a pound over – testimony to their professionalism. I lost count of the bails on Cardiff’s goal. Lawrenson hit the post early on, and midway through the first hall Poskett’s shot was deflected on to the bar. Two other Poskett efforts missed by narrow margins, and twice Maybank went very close and so, for good measure, did Cattlin.
When referee Tony Cox sounded the final whistle it was a merciful release for Cardiff, who were reduced to the stature of a park team.
One minute: The stopwatch showed 23 seconds when Williams hit a swerving shot from just inside the box from a pinpointed Poskett centre (1-0).
Twenty three minutes: A long ball from Lawrenson found Sayer and he quickly picked up Sully. When the ball came over to the far post, Maybank was in with his head (2-0).
Forty three minutes: A finely worked move involving five players ended when Ryan flicked across for Maybank. He pitched headlong when he shoved in the back by Roberts, and Horton nearly took the back of the net out from the spot (3-0).
Forty-eight minutes: A run of 20, maybe 25 yards by Lawrenson took him down the right, and the hard, low cross was met by Maybank with a diving header (4-0).
Sixty-two minutes: An almost identical move: Lawrenson raiding yet again, and Maybank getting in to force the ball home (5-0).
Albion: Moseley; Cattlin, Williams, Horton, Rollings, Lawrenson, Ryan. Poskett, Maybank, Sayer, O’Sullivan. Sub: Clark for Lawrenson (withdrawn), 78 minutes.
Cardiff City: Healey; Thomas, Pethard, Campbell, Roberts, Larmour. Attley, Stevens, Evans, Dwyer, Lewis. Sub: Bishop for Stevens (withdrawn), 63 minutes.
Referee: Mr T. Cox (South Croydon).
Bookings: Campbell (foul).
Albion Jackpot: Pink 88107 – £105; yellow, 1609 – £57.50; pink, 94905 – £34.50; yellow. 3819 – £23.
From his moment of triumph, Teddy Maybank didn’t quite run into a rich vein of goalscoring form. He popped up with the opener against Leicester City in early February at the Goldstone before embarking on another fruitless spell in front of goal. A sending off against Sheffield United in March threatened to curtail his participation in the final run-in as Mullery moved quickly to sign Martin Chivers as a stop-gap.
However, three goals in the last four matches meant Maybank ended the season with a bang. It was ample reward for a forward who unselfishly did the donkey work to create space for his more fleet-footed colleagues.
With the 1979/80 season approaching, Peter Ward was on the transfer list. However, as he told Tony Norman, he withdrew his request and signed a two-year contract:
“I’d been unsettled and I hadn’t been seeing eye-to-eye with the manager,” he explained, “so I wanted to move. I couldn’t tell you whether anyone came in for me or not.
“But as our first game in Division One got closer, I realised just how much I wanted to play. I was training hard and playing well. I wanted to be there. I like Brighton. There’s a good atmosphere between the players, and the club’s ambitious. So, I decided to stay and prove myself in the First Division with them.” Alan Mullery was happy to welcome Peter back into his tong-term planning.
“They seem to let you play more at this level, until you get into the final third of the field. Then it’s very tight. You can’t dawdle on the ball, or it’ll be whipped away from you. The game’s much quicker. You’ve got to sharpen up mentally, as well as physically.There’s a lot more to think about.
“But, at the same time, I think it’s important to carry on playing your natural game. I’ve got the freedom to do that at Brighton. I know I’m a bit greedy sometimes. The lads will have a moan and I’ll give them a little smile. There are times when I could lay off an easy ball, but I’ll try to go on my own, or have a shot.” But surely his willingness to try the unexpected has been rewarded with some spectacular goals?
“Yes,” he grinned, “it’s alright when it comes off. But there are plenty of other times ~when you’re left looking a bit silly!” Ward’s early season form was patchy. But it was clear he relished the challenge of playing in the First Division.
“It’s a thrill going to play at big stadiums like Anfield and Old Trafford. When I was a kid, I used to travel up to watch United, from Derby. That was in the days of Law, Best and Charlton. It’s got a nice ring to it, hasn’t it? They were my heroes. When they played, the atmosphere was tremendous.
“Now, I love playing in front of big crowds. It gees you up. I remember playing a night match at Oldham last year. There were about 4,000 there. We won, but it was depressing playing to empty terraces. I love the big match atmosphere. Driving through the crowds, then running out onto the pitch before the game. That’s a great feeling.”
Like the street kids around the Goldstone Ground, Ward scored a thousand Cup Final goals in his childhood fantasies. But there were times when playing in the First Division seemed as likely as a relaxing stroll on the Moon.
“I was always one of the smallest kids at school. When the selectors for Derby schoolboys used to come along, they’d pick about six lads for the trials. We had a good side and I was always one of the top scorers, but I never got picked.”
How did he feel about that? “It didn’t bother me.”
But surely it hurt his pride?
“Yes, I suppose it did really. I’d see the other lads going off for their trials and I’d think, ‘bloody hell…’ It made me play better. In those days, you had to be big and strong to get in the Derby side.”
Ward’s size, or rather the lack of it, weighed heavily in the minds of those around him.
“I remember going to see the headmaster, just before I left school. He asked me what I wanted to be. I Said a professional footballer.
He told me not to be so stupid. I was too small.”
Suitably filled with confidence, Ward left school at the age of 15, and joined Rolls Royce on a four-year engineering apprenticeship.
“I gave up my dreams of making it as a player. I thought that was it. I was playing for Burton Albion in the Southern League and working different shifts at the factory. Clocking in and clocking out. Sometimes I’d be up at six in the morning to get to work on time. I was stuck in the factory all day, doing a monotonous job. I never want to do that again. It drove me crackers.”
Those were dark, uninspiring days, but in May, 1975, Peter Taylor heard of Ward’s potential and decided to give the youngster his chance at Brighton. The results were spectacular. Ward scored 32 League goals in his first full season, as Brighton won promotion. He was again leading goalscorer in the two Second Division campaigns.
“I got off to a good start, scoring in 50 seconds on my debut at Hereford. The cameras were there and we stopped off at a hotel in London to see the game, on the way home. It’s a peculiar feeling seeing yourself on TV for the first time. I was sitting there thinking, ‘I don’t look like that, do I?’ ” With his stylish play and good looks, Ward soon found himself cradled lovingly in the arm of the publicity machine. He was a star, eagerly making up for lost time.
In September 1977, he made his international debut for England Under-21’s, against Norway.
“That’s one of my happiest memories. The match was played at Brighton and that might have swayed my selection, but I scored a hat-trick and really enjoyed the game. There were some good players in the side. Up front, we had Barnes and Cunningham on the wings, with John Deehan and myself in the middle.
“A month later, I was looking forward to playing for the Under-21’s again, when I was called up for the full squad. I went to Luxembourg with them. It was a great experience, but I wasn’t picked to play. And that was it. I haven’t got a look-in since.” Another disappointment, but Ward remains typically philosophical about his international future.
“I’ve just got to do it for Brighton in the First Division. If I’m playing well and doing my job, which is scoring a few goals, I might get the chance of a call up.
“I’m sure the side can hold its own this year. The club’s destined to go places. They’ve got the money and the resources to do well. From my own point of view, I’m enjoying playing up front with Teddy Maybank now. He’s taken a lot of weight off me. He’s a skilful player, much better than a lot of people think.” This season is providing Ward with his greatest test to date, but there’s nothing new about his main motivating force.
“I want to score goals. That’s still the biggest thrill for me. When I don’t score, I feel a bit flat, even when we’ve won the game. I want to score every week. I’m sure Ted’s the same. You couldn’t be a striker if you didn’t think that way. But when it comes right down to it, I.’m lucky. I still go out and enjoy playing. We’re in a short-lived profession. I want to make the most of it.”
With half an eye on the future, Ward has enrolled for a small business management course especially designed to help players shape fresh careers when their playing days over. Not for him the factory. Not again.