#4: Bournemouth 3-1 Brighton 24/09/1995

Sunday 24th September 1995 Meridian

Meridian Match 95.JPG

PRESENTER Andy Steggall
COMMENTATORS David Smith & Alan Mullery REPORTER Chris Maughan
3pm Kick Off; Dean Court, Bournemouth     Meridian Match Live on ITV Meridian


Context of the Match: Brighton went to Dean Court on a Sunday afternoon in September 1995 to play Bournemouth in a first for the region; the Meridian Match made its Live debut (previously any Live Football League games in the region were simulcast from LWT or elsewhere). This was also the first time the Albion had a League fixture televised Live and the first from any competition for almost 12 years, as documented in the previous matchday programme (below). There was a slight sense of gallows humour about choosing this match, as Brighton fans were severely disgruntled with the way the club was being run and local reports indicating the board were looking to sell the Goldstone Ground. The club were languishing in 23rd place in the third tier of English football at the start of the game, and would go on to be relegated at the end of this season. Fans organised a pitch invasion to protest against the asset-stripping during this match, shortly after Bournemouth’s third goal went in. The commentary team and manager Liam Brady condemned the protests at the time, as did the wider media and public, however the long-term battle was only just beginning. Highlighting this to the region using the opportunity of Live television was the first necessary step. As for Bournemouth, they were a mid-table side looking to climb into the play offs.

Meridian Match programme

The Teams: Long gone were most of the stars of the last televised match, the famous FA Cup win against Liverpool, however Gerry Ryan was now assistant manager. The club was sinking fast down the leagues, the stadium was to be sold to developers without a new home planned. Former Arsenal and Republic of Ireland midfielder Liam Brady was in charge for this fixture, having joined in 1993. Brady was not to last in the job much after this game and wouldn’t manage another club, however would make a name for himself in his native country as a pundit for RTE for many years. Irishman Paul McCarthy would go on to take over captaincy from Steve Foster, who himself was coming towards the end of his second spell at the Albion. Future manager Dean Wilkins was a regular, as was former Tottenham trainee Junior McDougald.

Meridian Match 94 studio

Presentation Team: Andy Steggall hosted from Meridian’s Southampton studio, as he did for all Live and highlights programming. It is unclear who was guest pundit for the broadcast. Commentary was provided by David Smith and Alan Mullery. Smith in his first season as the Meridian Match Live voice, Mullery a regular contributor in the studio. Local sports news reporter Chris Maughan was pitchside to interview players and managers and was brought in to fill during the fans pitch invasion protest. It was reported that Meridian were prepared to cut the broadcast if a rumoured protest came to fruition, in order to not be seen to condone the actions. However, as the protest was settled down within five minutes of it starting, the broadcast remained uninterrupted. Unfortunately details I have found of this programme are minimal.

Meridian Match police

The Coverage: The match is most remembered for the Brighton fans pitch invasion above anything else. You can see a short 5 minute clip of the Meridian Live pictures on YouTube. This extract is pretty much all I have to go on regarding the coverage of this fixture, so I’m as yet unaware of the punditry details or the programme listing. During this 1995/96 season ITV held exclusive live rights to the Football League; encompassing the restructured Divisions One, Two and Three following the launch of the Premier League in 1992. This was the final season in which ITV would have live rights as Sky snapped these up too from 1996. What ITV offered that Sky couldn’t was regionalised programming, and so this match was live on ITV but only in the Meridian area. Each region also had a weekly highlights programme showing the goals from their local teams. For us this was the Meridian Match, hosted by Andy Steggall. As the region only had five* main Football League teams (none of whom did particularly well at the time) – Bournemouth, Brighton, Gillingham, Portsmouth and Reading – we were afforded more regular air time than if the highlights were networked only. The highlights this season would regularly go out for half an hour at 2pm on a Sunday afternoon, plus occasional midweeks. It would be realistic to suggest that, with today’s match being a 3pm kick off, the live broadcast could have followed the highlights show at 2.30pm running until 5pm. In additional to the local coverage, weekly highlights of the entire Leagues were broadcast under the fondly-remembered Endsleigh Football League Extra brand; mostly shown late Monday night.

In the clip the voices that can be heard are lead commentator David Smith and co-commentator Alan Mullery. Former Albion manager Mullery was a regular contributor to both the Meridian programming as well as Sky Sports, later going on to be a regular pundit on Gillette Soccer Saturday’s early incarnation. David Smith was our number one commentator for a couple of years from 1995, becoming the first Meridian-specific live voice. Previously other voices were used as feeds were taken from other regions such as LWT. For highlights Gary Bloom and Brighton fan Peter Brackley were the main voices prior to Smith’s arrival. Live matches were infrequent so a regular co-commentator wasn’t recruited, appointments were made on a match specific hence Mullery’s natural inclusion here. Jim Smith would crop up, as would still-active Paul Walsh and future ITV regular Barry Venison. The touchline reporter was Meridian News Sports correspondent Chris Maughan, also heard in the clip interviewing Brighton boss Liam Brady during the fan protest. Maughan joined Meridian in 1993 and went on to work for them solidly for 16 years, becoming a regular face in the area. Graphics on the broadcast were minimal, with no scoreboard or clock, but lower-third astons faded in for name captions. The theme tune was a very forgettable guitar riff, one of a few tunes the Meridian Match had during its Football League run. Whilst the above screenshots of the studio were not taken from this match, the set design was the one used during the 1995/96 season. Coverage was not presented on-site.

* Southend and Swindon were also sometimes featured in the Meridian region, as were Southampton when in Cup action due to their Premiership status. There was also an occasional crossover with the London LWT/Carlton region teams like Charlton.

Bournemout ITV 95 Manager interview caption

Story of the Match: Bournemouth ran out comfortable winners in front of the 4,500 crowd at Dean Court. They took a three goal lead before defender Ian Chapman pulled a consolation goal back. In between, Brighton fans invading the pitch and rushing the terraces is pretty much what most people will recall from this, certainly from a Brighton perspective. Condemned for their actions by the media, press, manager and board, this was just the start of the fans bid to save the club. The season didn’t go to plan at all, much like the match, but the job here was to gain notoriety for what the directors were planning on doing – selling the stadium – and that goal was very much achieved.

Jones, Robinson (2) Chapman

Bournemouth protest


NEXT; #5 BRIGHTON 0-0 FULHAM 14/12/1995

EXTRA; Meridian News clips from the night of the game show a young ‘David’ Beckett reporting on the match and protest. The broadcaster and Brighton fan became known as Dave Beckett and is synonymous with Football League coverage, providing voiceovers for Football League Extra in the 1990s, The Championship on ITV in the noughties and various subsequent goal round-up, review and preview shows, generally considered amongst the best in the business.

Meridian Match news report Meridian Match Dave Beckett


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

2 Responses to #4: Bournemouth 3-1 Brighton 24/09/1995

  1. Pingback: #3: Brighton 2-0 Liverpool 29/01/1984 | Mark O'MEARA

  2. Pingback: #5: Brighton 0-0 Fulham 14/12/1995 | Mark O'MEARA

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