#1: Brighton 2-2 Manchester United 21/05/1983

Saturday 21st May 1983 ITV 1983 BBC1 1983

1983 tunnel

BBC PRESENTER David Coleman GUESTS Lawrie McMenemy, Jimmy Hill & Bobby Charlton
COMMENTATOR John Motson REPORTERS Alan Parry, Des Lynam
3pm Kick Off; Wembley Stadium     11-5.10pm Grandstand on BBC1 [Extended to approx 5.40pm due to E.T.]

1983 Coleman 1983 BBC panel1983 alan parry

ITV PRESENTER Dickie Davies GUESTS Ian St John, Jimmy Greaves & Jack Charlton
COMMENTATORS Brian Moore & Graeme Souness REPORTERS Jim Rosenthal, Fred Dinenage
3pm Kick Off; Wembley Stadium     11-5.10pm World of Sport on ITV [Extended to approx 5.40pm due to E.T.]

Context of the Match: This was the first ever live televised Brighton match. The Albion reached the FA Cup Final for the first time, defeating Newcastle, Manchester City, Liverpool and Sheffield Wednesday on the road to Wembley. Despite this good run, Brighton were already relegated from the top flight by the time this match came around. Manchester United were strong favourites to win the match, and comfortably, as one of the best teams in the country and part of the ‘Big Five’. Most predictions had a United stroll.

83 team 83 MUFC

The Teams: Brighton’s big match inexperience was highlighted in the line up with only Jimmy Case playing in a Cup Final before; scoring in the 1977 FA Cup for Liverpool. Regular captain Steve Foster was suspended so the skipper’s armband went to Tony Grealish. Gordon Smith had Scottish FA Cup Final experience and led the line for Brighton, famously as it turned out to be. Manchester United’s side included England captain and record signing Bryan Robson as well as midfielder Ray Wilkins and Northern Irish teenager Norman Whiteside.

1983 Team News

Presentation Team: The BBC’s Cup Final Grandstand coverage was anchored from their Wembley studio by David Coleman. Coleman was the lead presenter on Grandstand as well as football coverage after stepping away from commentary of the sport in 1979, replaced by John Motson. Motty was the solo commentator here, with very, very ocasional interjections in-play from studio pundit Jimmy Hill (only once or twice so not frequent enought to be considered a co-commentator). Jimmy was the BBC’s star analyst having joined from ITV in 1973. Hill worked as presenter, pundit and commentator throughout his long and versatile broadcasting career, including on the groundbreaking ITV World Cup 1970 panel. Lawrie McMenemy has also been a regular pundit since 1972 so was well versed in the studio. Bobby Charlton had also been in the punditry business casually with the BBC on their big live matches since 1976. Three experienced analysts alongside a vastly experienced host and commentator meant the BBC had their big guns out for the big day. Reporting features and interviews in the build up was Brighton fan, Grandstand host and future Match of the Day anchor Des Lynam. Future ITV and Sky Sports commentator Alan Parry was the roving reporter on the day, interviewing Brighton live during their helicopter ride to the Wembley and various players and fans in the build up.

Dickie Davies led the ITV programme during their World of Sport branding, having been associated with the programme since 1965 and lead presenter from 1968 until the show’s demise two years after this Final. With Bobby Charlton on the BBC panel, ITV signed up his brother Jack Charlton for their studio. Jack had worked successfully on ITV’s 1974 World Cup panel and frequently appeared on the network for a number of years, as the slightly more outspoken and critical Charlton brother. With him were Saint and Greavsie, AKA Ian St John and Jimmy Greaves. This was before the pair became a double act in their own right but were reguarly appearing on ITV football preview show On the Ball during World of Sport, which later evolved to S&G in 1985. Another vastly experienced studio team and host for the big match. In the commentary box was one of the most warmly regarded and highly respected football commentators there’s ever been; Brian Moore. Moore had been with ITV since 1968 and by this point had already commentated on 14 FA Cup Finals, 3 European Championships and several British successes in European competitions as well as anchoring 4 World Cups, he was the voice of a generation. Alongside him surprisingly was Graeme Souness; Liverpool captain and only 30 years old. His inexperience in the role showed as he and Moore talked over each other and was very quick to contribute analysis after a goal before the replay had even begun. Jim Rosenthal had been at ITV since 1980 working on football and boxing. His regular contribution was as secondary presenter on LWT’s highlights show The Big Match, linking into goal round ups, news and viewer contributions. Southern Television presenter Fred Dinenage reported on various features and interviews during the build up, a familiar face to local Brighton viewers.

1983 helicopter 1983 Parry helicopter interview

The Coverage: Both the BBC and ITV coverage began at 11am for their showpiece event, incorporated into their usual Saturday afternoon sport marathons Grandstand and World of Sport respectively. Building up four hours before kick off, both channels would also dip into other sports; snooker dominated much of ITV’s first hour for example with wrestling to come later on. Comedian Jimmy Tarbuck, a mainstay of ITV’s Cup Final days, appeared at various points. Dennis Norden hosted a special football cock-ups edition of “It’ll Be Alright on the Day” just after 2pm. The Beeb had their usual review of the season and goals compilation, as well as “A Question of Sport” special.

As the Cup Final was pretty much the biggest and only live domestic football match on each season, the coverage went all out. Cameras and reporters were allowed access everywhere from the hotel rooms to the Brighton helicopter ride to the stadium (this extravagant journey being a first for the Cup Final). BBC reporter Alan Parry broadcast live interviews with the manager and players and the entire 20-odd minute journey was shown, soundtracked at the start by the Albion Cup Final song “The Boys in the Old Brighton Blue”. The usual traditions met the players after the teams came out, with ‘Abide with Me’ sung and Royal guests being introduced. The programmes were initially due to end around 5.10pm however extra time delayed that.

1983 Half time score 1983 Half Time band

Story of the Match: Brighton could have won the FA Cup against the mighty Manchester United. Gordon Smith gave the Albion a half time lead with his early strike. Frank Stapleton got the equaliser early in the second half before Ray Wilkins curled a fantastic shot in from the edge of the box with his left foot. That looked like being the winner until Gary Stevens stabbed home a second with only minutes remaining. The match went into extra time which is most famous for the radio commentary line “And Smith must score!”, referring to Gordon Smith’s excellent one-on-one chance which United keeper Gary Bailey was able to dive on and save with his body when really Smith should’ve done better. The game ended all square after the additional 30 minutes and a replay took place five days later.

Smith, Stevens Stapleton, Wilkins

1983 R graphic.PNG


About Mark O'MEARA
I am Mark O'MEARA.

One Response to #1: Brighton 2-2 Manchester United 21/05/1983

  1. Pingback: #2: Brighton 0-4 Manchester United 26/05/1983 | Mark O'MEARA

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