Tag Archives: tony grealish

The Boys in the Old Brighton Blue

Here are the the 12″ and 7″ versions of Brighton’s 1983 FA Cup Final song, with ‘The Goldstone Rap’ as the B-Side, released on Energy Records:


With superb attention to detail, the front and back covers had lavish designs that helped to soften the blow to club sponsors British Caledonian Airways, whose name would not feature on the players’ shirts on Cup Final day, due to TV regulations at the time:



Back row: Michael Robinson, Steve Gatting, Gordon Smith, Graham Moseley, Perry Digweed, Gary Stevens, Steve Foster, Jimmy Case;

Middle row: Sammy Nelson, Giles Stille, Neil Smillie, Tony Grealish, Graham Pearce, Gary Howlett, Gerry Ryan;

Front row: Terry Connor, Chris Ramsey.

I originally bought the 12″ from one of the second hand record shops on Trafalgar Road, Brighton. Not sure how much it cost me, but it was considerably less than the £50 forked out by one of The Seagulls Love Review fanzine lads, Stefan, at a BHACHS auction at Withdean about five years ago!

You can see a dance performance to this song here:

The song can be heard in its entirety below:

In case you want to have a sing-a-long, the rather corny lyrics are:

come on you seagulls, we’ll follow you
come on you seagulls, we’ll see you through
come on you seagulls, we’ll follow you
the boys in the old Brighton blue

verse 1
we are the boys in the white and the blue
football’s our game, Brighton’s our name
we are the team who’ll be out there for you
the boys in the old brighton blue

verse 2
here we are on the road to wembley way
fighting hard for our place on that day
for the pride of our town down by the sea
we’ll do our best to bring them victory

verse 3
cause we are the boys in the white and the blue
football’s our game, Brighton’s our name
follow the flag we’ll be flying for you
the boys in the old Brighton blue

reprise chorus

verse 4
as we go on our way to meet the best
once again we’ll be put to the test
but we’ll play like we always try to do
we won’t give up until the game is through

verse 5
we are the boys in the white and the blue
football’s our game, Brighton’s our name
follow the flag we’ll be flying for you
the boys in the old brighton blue

verse 6
follow the boys in the white and the blue
football’s our game, Brighton’s our name
follow the flag we’ll be flying for you
the boys in the old Brighton blue (twice)

reprise chorus with last line sang twice

I have been told that the lyrics of Albion’s FA Cup final song were reproduced on an A4 sheet which was distributed over the counter at the Seagulls Shop.

In the end, the song reached number 65 in the UK singles chart. Not a bad achievement considering the song wasn’t all that good!

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Grealish out! Cattlin’s Brighton revolution takes shape

Tony Grealish was one of the established stars shown the door in Chris Cattlin’s first season in charge:


It meant that we weren’t going to see that 30 harder against Cyprus (mentioned above) recreated by him at Old Shoreham Road any time soon. With a hint of regret, Shoot! magazine spotlights the dramatic turnover of staff at the Goldstone during 1983/84:

Chris Cattlin’s Brighton revolution has totally changed the face of the 1983 FA Cup Finalists.

Less than a year after taking Manchester United to a Cup Final replay, most of the Cup heroes have either been sold off or left out in the cold.

The facts are startling, Before Jimmy Melia’s departure from the Goldstone Ground, Gary Stevens and Michael Robinson were sold off for almost £600,000.

But if Brighton fans were disappointed to see two big names depart almost as soon as the Cup Final celebrations were over, much more was to occur once Cattiin took control following Melia’s sacking in October, From the Cup Final squad of 13 players who comprised the two teams which faced United … Robinson, Stevens, Steve Foster, Gordon Smith and Tony Grealish have been sold, pushing the earnings from transfers in less than a year to a staggering £1 million.

But other Cup Final heroes have also felt the draught. Graham Moseley, the goalkeeper, defender Gary Pearce and wingers Nell Smillie and Gerry Ryan have been left out of Cattlin’s rebuilding plans while another Cup star, full-back Chris Ramsey, has been given a free transfer.

Case shoots against Swansea in the FA Cup

Case shoots against Swansea in the FA Cup

Of 13 players, that leaves only three with any real involvement in Brighton, 1984, under the Cattlin regime… ex-Liverpool star Jimmy Case who was made captain, centre-back Steve Gatting and midfield kid Gary Howlett.

The new men are everywhere in the team.

Joe Corrigan in goal, full-backs Chris Hutchings and Mark Jones, coloured defender Eric Young, midfielder Danny Wilson, striker Alan Young, and Irish winger Steve Penney.

It looks as though Cattlin has moved to clear out the old stars in a bid to launch the club’s new future, based on organisation and discipline.

Cattlin says: “The club had been organised only for the present, no thought had been given to the future.
Whatever else I do, I intend to build a structure so that youngsters will emerge for first team soccer from our own junior teams.

That is of immense importance and much work has been done already to that end.”

The man Cattlin wants to build his team around is ex-Liverpudlian Jimmy Case. And Case is happy with the job, saying: “Although the club haven’t yet spoken to me, I would like to stay here when my present contract expires.”

Sadly for Seagulls fans, it looks for the moment at least, as though First Division aspirations have gone out of the window.

As departing Eire international Tony Grealish said just after clinching a £75,000 move to West Bromwich Albion: “The club seem to have sold all the players capable of taking them back to the first Division.”

That, unfortunately, has been the price Brighton have had to pay for the post Wembley revolution.

Despite the exodus of star players, Cattlin’s methods seemed to be working, at least in Hove. By late March 1984, the Seagulls stood in a healthy ninth position in the Second Division following a 3-0 demolition of Leeds United at the Goldstone. While the team went on to win their remaining four matches at home, they did not pick up another victory on their travels for the remainder of the campaign. Still, the side looked a good bet to mount a serious promotion bid in 1984/85.

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Panini Football 82 – a reshaped Brighton


The wind of change blew in 1981/82, and not just for Brighton & Hove Albion. Panini introduced new stickers with a tweaked layout. While the head and shoulder shots remained, the photos now sported rather spatially uneconomical oval frames instead of the standard rectangle. Elsewhere, the one year experiment with two stickers for a First Division club squad photo was abandoned, with team groups reverting back to one sticker.

The Brighton squad was also significantly revamped, under new boss Mike Bailey. Right-back Don Shanks was drafted in while, surprisingly, this was the first Panini collection to feature Gary Stevens in the Brighton double-spread:


New midfielders Jimmy Case and Tony Grealish are featured here, while youngster Giles Stille also appear for the first time for the Albion. Filling the void left by Horton and Lawrenson, all three players enhanced the quantity of facial hair found within the Brighton squad. Up front, Robinson, Smith and Ritchie powered on with a clean-cut Albion strike force:


Of the other teams, Steve Gatting still appears on the Arsenal pages even though Brighton signed him quite early on in the season, in September 1981. Panini clearly didn’t get round to updating their stickers. The Welsh rapscallion Mickey Thomas is also on the Everton spread, despite his ill-starred spell at Goodison Park. His time with Brighton in the same 1981/82 season proved just as disastrous. And, surprise surprise, Peter Ward makes no appearance in the Nottingham Forest pages.

Perhaps that’s fitting. As a sticker collection, Football ’82 was a bit like Brighton & Hove Albion that season: solid, no thrills and not very much flair. All that would change the following season when Panini added a healthy dose of innovation back to its flagship football sticker collection.

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It’s a Seaside Knockout – Ryan wrecks Liverpool’s day out

Tomorrow, it’ll be exactly thirty years since Brighton’s tremendous FA Cup 4th Round humbling of mighty Liverpool in January 1984. As a Second Division side, the Seagulls beat the League Champions 2-0 on ‘The Big Match Live’ thanks to two goals in two second half minutes from Gerry Ryan and Terry Connor.

A great image from the game can be found on the Football Association Yearbook 1984-1985, with Tony Grealish in a midfield tussle with Graeme Souness, while Steve Gatting watches on:


Meanwhile, Match Weekly covered the game in its feature article the following fortnight, via interviews with Gerry Ryan and Jimmy Case:

Gerry Ryan and Terry Connor celebrate after the match

Gerry Ryan and Terry Connor celebrate after the match

Seaside sensations Brighton capped a season of shocks when, for the second year in succession, they sent FA Cup favourites Liverpool spinning out of the competition.

“Match” brings you the inside stories and the best pictures from the Fourth Round stunner.

Seagulls hero Gerry Ryan came down to earth this week to re-live his FA Cup fairy tale.

Gerry set South coast Brighton on their way to yet another sensational Cup victory over Liverpool by scoring the opening – against the League champlons for the second year running.

The Irish international rocked Anfield last year with Brighton’s opener in the Fifth Round… and he repeated the trick in this season’s tie at the Goldstone Ground.

And the scourge of Liverpool admits: “It’s unbelievable. To beat the best team in Europe twice in the FA Cup is magnificent, but to score on both occasions really puts the icing on the cake for me. I*11 never forget it.

“The goal at Liverpool was a simple tap-in after some great work by Michael Robinson but it will always be special because it helped set up a victory at Anfleld •.. and not many teams achieve that•.

“My effort last week was more spectacular, although I thought the referee was going to blow for offside when Tony Grealish lobbed the ball over the heads of Mark Lawrenson and Alan Hansen.


“Fortunately, Phil Neal had played me on so I raced towards the penalty area and struck the ball past Bruce Grobbelaer.”

And just 60 seconds later, the Second Division club had wrapped up another sensational victory when Terry Connor put Brighton 2-0 ahead.


“Even though that goal killed them off, the rest of the game was very nerve-racking.”

Gerry admits that the early departure of skipper Graeme Souness with a hamstring injury had a big bearing on the result. He says: “Graeme is a major influence on the side and his loss unsettled them.

“This victory was more satisfying than the one at Anfield because we deserved to win. Last season we were very lucky because we were under the cosh for most of the 90 minutes.

“Liverpool could have been over-anxious. Our win at Anfleld last season hurt their pride and they must have been really keyed up to beat us.

“Even though we’ve beaten them twice in the last year, I still regard them as the best. I thoroughly expect them to finish the season as League Champions and European Cup holders.

“Brighton have done the rest of the teams still left in the FA Cup a big favour by knocking out the favourites and Gerry says: “Anyone can win it now – even us.

The Second Division club’s win has once again got the South coast fans buzzing and dreaming of s dramatic return to Wembley, where they were beaten last season 4-0 by Manchester United in a replay.

‘There aren’t many quality teams left in the Cup now and we must fancy our chances because we’ve got players here who can rise to the big occasion; “But I’m afraid to think about the prospect of returning to Wembley at this early stage,” says Gerry, who joined Brighton from Derby for £80,000.

“Before dreaming of another Wembley visit, we’ve got a few more games to play and Watford are going to be really tough in the next round.”


‘It’s anyone’s Cup,’ says Jimmy Case
Jimmy Case believes Brighton can take Liverpool’s place in the FA Cup Final … so taking the glorious ride down Wembley Way for the second year in succession.

Explains Jimmy: “Most people would have forecast Liverpool as one of the finalists.

“Having beaten them again, we SHOULD go all the way. No disrespects to our next opponents Watford but that’s the feeling at the club now.

“Looking at the teams left in the competition, it’s anyone’s Cup.” Jimmy was speaking just 24 hours after Brighton’s latest shock victory over the League champions and he told ‘Match’: “It still hasn’t sunk in. I just can’t believe it.

“This has to be an even greater achievement than when we knocked them out of the Cup last season.

“People might have thought us lucky last time but this proved it was no fluke.

“The lads were really keyed-up and it was a really great all-round team performance.

“Against a team like Liverpool, every player has to be on top form and, on this occasion, everyone played their part.

“It was certainly one of our best performances of the season.

“The defence kept Ian Rush and Michael Robinson pretty quiet and, in goal, Joe Corrigan made some vital saves at crucial times.

“The midfield was biting all the time and wide men Neil Smillie and Steve Penney were both on song.

“It seemed to stun Liverpool when we scored our second goal but they slowly started coming back into the game.

“They put on a lot of pressure in the last quarter of an hour but I would say they began the game a little apprehensively.” Jimmy could only watch from the sidelines as he served out a one-match suspension and, as the celebrations died down, he admitted his problem now could be getting back in the team …

“I’m still in the Cup but, after that last performance, who knows if I’ll be selected for the next tie?”

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Extended video highlights – Brighton 4-0 Manchester City (FA Cup, 1983)


In January 1983, Brighton followed on from their FA Cup replay victory at Newcastle by demolishing Manchester City 4-0 at the Goldstone in the Fourth Round. In his autobiography ‘Big Joe’, Joe Corrigan, the City keeper, revealed unrest within the City camp prior to the tie:

In the previous road we’d seen off Sunderland after a replay but a Sunday morning training session at Maine Road prior to the game showed how badly things had deteriorated at the club and should have made events after the game at Brighton not quite so surprising. As we trained, Nicky Reid and John Bond had an argument that threatened to get out of hand, and that resulted in a nasty half hour of action with some players intent on hurting one another.

Brighton hammered us 4-0 in the cup tie. It was a dreadful day and an awful, disjointed performance by all of us. As we left the pitch Alex Williams walked over to console me and I said, ‘It’s yours now, kid. I won’t be here for much longer.’

‘What do you mean by that?’ he asked. I explained that the cup exit would mean cost-cutting exercises and I’d be one of them. I assured him I would be on my way before long and, within three months, that’s exactly what happened.

It was all smiles from the Brighton perspective, however. Here’s how John Vinicombe reported the match in the Evening Argus at the time:

The 217th FA Cup-tie in Albion’s 82-year-old history will long be remembered for the majestic manner in which Manchester City were despatched.

Thus an equally famous occasion 58 years ago at the Goldstone was averaged. Then, in a third-round tie, Third Division Albion were crushed 5-1 after previously performing the prodigious feat of knocking out Everton.

No doubt the degree of satisfaction warmed the cockles of any old-timer’s heart to see the record put straight, for it ever a side were comprehensively beaten it was Manchester City.

I doubt if John Bond, who departed in utter misery, contemplated for one moment the total destruction of his team.

On the day, i thought, they sold him short and, seeing no way past Albion, an air of surrender was discernible.

There was the misfortune of losing skipper Paul Power with damaged knee ligaments at the half-hour after a tackle with the uncompromising Chris Ramsey, but that alone could not explain City’s astonishing collapse.

Peter Bodak, the sub, caused one or two problems with his crosses, but at no time were Albion in danger after taking such a firm grip.

Had a goal at 57 minutes been allowed, then Mike Robinson would have scored a hat-trick and Albion finished even more convincing than 4-0 winners.

The revelation was Steve Gatting, playing only the third game of his League career at left-back.

I think Gatting had two games at No.3 in his first season at Arsenal. Having been omitted lately, and then moved to say that he didn’t fancy staying unless he is in the team, maybe Gatting will have a re-think. Apart from Pearce, and among defenders, Gatting is the only natural left-sided player in the squad, and I must say he surprised me with the quality of his play.

In my book, the star was Jimmy Case on a day when there were so many stellar performances. Since Melia took over and got on the Merseyspeak wavelength with Case, his involvement has become greater with every match.

He ripped the heart out of City’s experienced midfield together with Tony Grealish. At training, Grealish is the first player the five-a-side skippers automatically ask for.

To be so highly esteemed by colleagues has to be earned, and never let it be forgotten that it was Grealish who set such a sterling example by his leadership at Newcastle.

He won ball after ball against City, and exhibited fine control in setting up the third goal for Robinson with just over 20 minutes remaining.

By then City were skint, and Robinson finished them off rather as a matador puts the bull out of its misery.

The eighth-minute opener by Case that deflected off Kevin Reeves was a piece of overdue luck and Neil Smillie’s continuing improvement was signalled by his first goal for the club before the break.


Just before, Steve Foster suffered a painful dead leg. At first, there were fears it might be a pulled hamstring, but it was nonetheless worrying. It might have slowed him a pace or two, but his attitude remained unchanged.

City vainly tried to unsettle him: an elbow in the eye was the prime example, but nothing worried Foster, and certainly nothing diverted Gary Stevens from that much admired elegance that made City’s England candidate, Tommy Caton, look so average.

As the physical element was introduced by despairing City, so they derived no change from Ramsey.

Gordon Smith used his incisive eye for an opening to set up a rich assortment of passes, while Andy Ritchie and Robinson created havoc in the box.

The one dodgy moment came early into the second half when Steve Kinsey hit a post. Had it gone in, Albion’s lead would have been cut to 2-1.

When it did not, the white flags were fluttering, and it might have been appropriate had Bond tossed in the towel as well.

Albion: Moseley, Ramsey, Gatting, Grealish, Foster, Stevens, Case, Ritchie, Robinson, Smith, Smillie. Sub: Ryan.

Manchester City: Corgan, Ranson, Bond, Reid, Power, Caton, Tueart, Reeves, Cross, Kinsey. Sub: Bodak for Power (injured, 31 minutes)

Well, John Bond did toss in the towel, resigning after this capitulation by the Seagulls.

And now, for the first time on YouTube, here are 20 minutes of highlights from this match to savour:

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The forgotten FA Cup match of 1983


Brighton famously embarked on a glorious FA Cup run in 1983, but it began inauspiciously. Who can remember much of the January afternoon at the Goldstone when the Seagulls were held by Second Division Newcastle, Keegan et al?

Here’s John Vinicombe’s thoughts in the Evening Argus in the aftermath:

A series of mixed blessings attach to Albion’s FA Cup replay at Newcastle on Wednesday.

For a start, they are still in the competition, albeit with a slimmer chance of reaching the fourth round.

At St James’ Park, where there must surely be a crowd of around 30,000, Albion stand to pick up around £20,000 as their share of the gate.

And although skipper Steve Foster’s two match suspension is now advanced by the course of events, he will be eligible for the important First Division match at home to Luton Town on January 22.

There is little doubt to my mind as to which is the most important engagement from the long-term point of view. Retaining championship status is all-important, while the cup has so often proved a flight of fancy for Albion.

Can anyone seriously imagine them winning it, or even reaching the final?

No, no one at the time could have imagined Brighton doing that. How wrong we were all proved to be!

Far from benefiting the side drawn at home, the Goldstone pitch was certainly problematic for Melia’s Brighton side trying to play a more flowing game with three strikers:

Conditions reduced Saturday’s affair to a lottery, although the 1-1 draw was right on balance, and the ground was the same for both sides. But what has happened to that stretch of grass that was once known as Frankie Howard’s pride?

After 15 minutes or so, divots were carved out everywhere, and it was putting an impossible premium on skill asking players to run with the ball, or pass with any certain degree of accuracy.

Newcastle had the better of the play early on with Steve Foster slipping:

An untimely loss of balance let Keegan in and Graham Moseley deflected for a corner when Albion could so easily have gone a goal down. Again Moseley rescued Albion with a flying, one-handed save from Keegan. This was at 23 minutes when Newcastle were much the better side.

But suddenly they were put under pressure when Andy Ritchie’s shot was cleared off the line by John Anderson.

Varadi looked sharp, and so did Chris Waddle who continually pushed up on the left, and had a fascinating duel with Chris Ramsey.

Only 21, Ramsey has the youth to triumph over stamina tests, and Giles Stille also gave Melia what he wanted with non-stop running.

Brighton took the lead on 56 minutes:

When Stille’s cross came over after snapping up a poor clearance, the ball took a slight deflection off Clarke. This found Ritchie on the left in plenty of space. For what seemed an eternity he fidgeted to find a spot, and then appeared to mis-hit the shot. The ball, however, rolled gently past Carr’s right hand.

1-0 to the Seagulls, who were then on top, even gaining their first corner on 65 minutes. Even so, Newcastle battled on and had a penalty claim for a supposed push on Keegan by Gary Stevens but the referee did not award it. As Vinicombe noted:

Plenty of referees would have given a penalty but Tony Glasson hasn’t been on the list for 24 seasons for nothing.

However, Newcastle did hit back a minute later:

In terms of experience, Newcastle have the edge. Apart from Keegan, there is a wily and abrasive Terry McDermott whose 77th minute equaliser capped a shrewd piece of kidology.

When Moseley turned the ball round for a corner, McDonald’s flag kick came to Keegan, and he dummied for McDermott to drive home a beauty.

While appearing to turn it on and off in patches, McDermott was always threatening, a similar sort of role to Case, except Case didn’t score.

Graham Moseley pulled off a great save from Newcastle’s Mick Martin late on, while Stille just failed to connect with a Jimmy Case cross.

When the final whistle blew, it was all-square. A replay was hastily arranged for St James’ Park, where Peter Ward proved keeper Kevin Carr’s master once more, just like in 1979.

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FKS’ last hurrah: Soccer 83-84 stickers

Poor FKS. They once dominated the ’70s football sticker scene with fabulously grandiose album titles such as ‘The Wonderful World of Soccer Stars Gala Collection.’ Which suitably sideburned and flared young kid wouldn’t want to be in on that? By 1983/84, probably due to the intense competition from Panini, FKS had reached the end of the line with the rather dubious ‘Soccer 83-84’ series. Following on from their ‘Soccer 82′, it appears that they were trying to cover two seasons’ worth of top flight soccer with this inept collection. Here are the Brighton players:

Graham Moseley

Graham Moseley

Chris Ramsey

Chris Ramsey

Graham Pearce

Graham Pearce

A stray ball seems to be trying its darnedest to try to muscle in on the limelight behind Moseley’s shoulder. But is this really true? As you can see, the grass behind Moseley and Ramsey looks suspiciously unnatural in its greenness, especially as the unaltered green on the side of Ramsey’s arm rather gives the game away. The mixture of the head and shoulders shots of these players and the zoom-in on Graham Pearce’s head bestow an untidy look for this collection. No wonder Chris Ramsey looks uncomfortable.

Steve Gatting

Steve Gatting

Tony Grealish

Tony Grealish

Steve Foster

Steve Foster

Similar gripes with Messrs Gatting, Grealish and Foster here. Given where FKS had appeared to have swiped their photo shot of Tony Grealish from, you can understand why they had to put on a faux-grass background.

Gary Stevens

Gary Stevens

Jimmy Case

Jimmy Case

Gary Howlett

Gary Howlett

A nice, genuine photo of Jimmy Case, fresh from the barbers, follows another manipulated one of Gary Stevens. And whoa! An intensely dim shot of a young and rather frail-looking Gary Howlett. Suffice to say, if you met him in a dark alleyway, I don’t think you’d be that scared.

Michael Robinson

Michael Robinson

Gordon Smith

Gordon Smith

Gerry Ryan

Gerry Ryan

Some more bog-standard and doctored head and shoulders shots of some of Albion’s attackers follow. It’s like FKS were trying very hard to emulate Panini here, whereas some of the action shots that the company had previously used would probably have been more interesting to the young collector.

Neil Smillie

Neil Smillie

And then the final insult! Sticking in a shot of a player in a Crystal Palace kit on a Brighton page. Yeah, thanks, FKS! A bit like putting a sticker of Mo Johnston in a Celtic shirt within a Rangers sticker double-spread, I don’t think that would have gone down too well on the south coast at the time.

No need to be too resentful to FKS, though, after a stay that had lasted since the late 1960s. The company had introduced new ideas such as actual albums for affixing your stickers, something we take for granted today. Now, though, the game was up.


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Rare video: Summer of ’81- team photo shoot at the Goldstone


A wonderful glimpse of life at the Goldstone in the summer of 1981, with a shot of Moshe Gariani and co getting it together for the pre-season photo shoot, plus interviews with new Albion men Mike Bailey and Tony Grealish.

And, blimey, Michael Robinson signs a ten year contract! Whatever he was doing in pre-season in 1991, it was certainly not at the Goldstone Ground.

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Official club team poster 1981/82

1981-82 poster

This glorious A2 colour poster from the Seagulls Shop would have been stuck proudly upon the bedroom wall of many Brighton fans. It would have helped familiarise them with the re-shaped team. In this very select team group photo with just eleven outfield players and two goalkeepers, new signings Jimmy Case, Don Shanks and Tony Grealish take pride of place in the front row with new boss Mike Bailey. As you can see, these were the good old days when the coaching staff had their initials printed onto their tracksuits. Very cute!

Just like his new buddy in midfield Tony Grealish, it is widely forgotten that Jimmy Case took some time to settle with the Seagulls. Grealish had a job to win over the fans as he had replaced club captain Brian Horton, who joined Grealish’s former club, Luton Town. After a long, successful career at Liverpool, Case’s form was indifferent in his first season at Brighton. Nevertheless, Case did manage to play 33 League matches. He scored just three goals, all in the early part of the season, the last of which was in November 1981.

Right-back Don Shanks (front row, fourth along) was a free transfer from QPR, and proved an instant hit, working his way up and down the line throughout the season in a way that many Brighton supporters remember fondly. This is illustrated by his great work down the right-wing that helped the Seagulls draw 3-3 against Liverpool in October 1981. His First Division know-how also made for a much meaner defence.

With Andy Ritchie and Michael Robinson banging in the goals, this tightly organised team never fell below 14th place and were able to play a whole season in the First Division without any relegation fears.

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Tony Grealish (1956-2013), Rest in Peace

It’s very sad news to hear of a former Brighton & Hove Albion player who has died. It’s particularly regretful that the first Albion player from the glory years of 1976 to 1983 to no longer be with us is the man who captained the side at its first ever FA Cup Final, in May 1983.

Here, he delighted the watching millions by wearing a headband to show solidarity with the suspended Steve Foster:





It’s fair to say that Tony Grealish was not so popular with fans when he was signed from Luton Town for more than £100,000 by new manager Mike Bailey in July 1981. The tenacious midfielder was not in the best of form in his first season, and he had the difficult job of replacing ex-skipper and crowd favourite Brian Horton who found his way to Tony’s previous employers, Luton.

Even so, he seemed in good spirits in this pre-season photoshoot and player profile from the Brighton v Swansea match programme in 1981/82:



Over time, Grealish won over his detractors with his steely determination in breaking up opposition attacks, supplying colleagues with the ball and occasional forays upfield. He was the engine of the side. You can see a fine performance and goal from him from Brighton’s 3-1 win over Everton at the Goldstone in February 1982 (23 mins):

In total, he made 121 appearances for the Seagulls between 1981 and 1984. His contributions to the FA Cup run of 1983 are fondly remembered, such as this dribble past two Manchester City players before a defence splitting ball for the first of Michael Robinson’s double in the 4-0 win (2 mins):

He teed up Jimmy Case’s scorching goal in the FA Cup Semi-Final against Sheffield Wednesday with a cheeky backheeled free-kick (1 min).

As well as a characteristically wholehearted performance, the Seagulls’ number four was involved in the build-up of both of Brighton’s goals in the FA Cup final against Manchester United, switching the ball out wide for Gary Howlett to cross for Gordon Smith’s opener and then pushing the ball into the path of Gary Stevens. In the following season, Tony Grealish (and Danny Wilson) ran the Liverpool midfield ragged in another famous FA Cup game.

The industrious Republic of Ireland international eventually left in March 1984, signing for West Bromwich Albion in a £95,000 deal.


If not a player what job would you do? ‘Don’t know. In the current recession I wouldn’t have a lot of choice. Perhaps an airline pilot!’

That’s rather fitting, and not just because of his British Caledonian shirt! In the words of a North Stand Chat user called ‘rool’, Grealish now joins Alan Davies in the 1983 FA Cup Final reunion in the sky.