Brighton Rock; Slade at The Goldstone Ground

Brighton RockGlam rock band Slade, with their iconic leader Noddy Holder, dominated the airwaves for the first half of the 1970s. They wrote their name into British culture forever in ’73 with the smash-hit festive anthem, “Merry Xmas Everybody”. The band’s releases spent more than 300 weeks in the UK charts and sold more records than any other group in Britain that decade. Yet, despite these achievements, almost nobody remembers their one and only attempt at a football song back in 1978; “Give Us A Goal”. It’s a great shame as the song enjoys a special connection with Brighton and Hove Albion. Strangely enough, the Goldstone Ground provided the rockers with the location for their music video. On a freezing winter day in February, the band were present for the Albion’s match with Burnley where Slade made Brighton rock.

This post pieces together the story of the single through articles, cuttings and children’s television performances.


SLADE: “GIVE US A GOAL” (Barn Records, Released 1978)

slade-daddioSlade, as we know them now, began life under various different guises in the mid-1960s – The Vendors, The ‘N Betweens, Ambrose Slade – before agent John Gunnel and his business partner Chas Chandler paid a visit. As the 1970s approached, Chandler liked what he heard and agreed to manage the band. They adopted a skinhead look, wrote their own songs and shortened the name down to just ‘Slade’. They broke into the charts in August 1971 under Chandler’s direction and positioned themselves within the ‘glam rock’ movement, with the long hair and big costumes that went with it. Success followed as they began to take over the UK charts for the next few years, peaking with their best-selling juggernaut ‘Merry Xmas Everybody’; the 1973 Christmas number one.

But every rise comes with a fall, and the band’s popularity declined after that. A move to America came in the mid-70s, to little critical acclaim. By 1977, Slade aimed for a comeback in the UK so Chas Chandler switched them to his own label; Barn Records. The move didn’t bring much initial joy, with only a tribute song to the death of Elvis Presley breaking the top forty. They followed this up with an idea for a song to kick off 1978 based on football chants, aiming to capitalise on their old skinhead following, a look which was closely linked with supporters of the sport.

With their new football single written and ready to go, Slade needed to record a music video to flog to television programmes to use and promote the song for its release date (some publicatiosn report this as 3rd March 1978 though many others suggest it was actually 24th February). According to website Dave Kemp and Slade, Chas Chandler lived in the Sussex area at the time and had contacts with the Brighton and Hove Albion directors so arranged to use their Goldstone Ground home for the video shoot. Ahead of the visit of Burnley in the middle of February, Brighton’s North Stand were treated to some top-notch rock ‘n’ roll pre-match entertainment.

SLADE Cartoon promo

A cartoon promo advert in the music newspaper Record Mirror for the new Slade single as the band score past Jim Lea


FILMING THE VIDEO

Brighton 2-1 Burnley; Saturday 11th February 1978

SLADE Crowd SLADE Albion

Brighton competed in the Second Division of English football having gone up from the Third tier the previous year. Managed by Alan Mullery, the club were going well in the promotion shake up again with two thirds of the season gone. They’d won twelve of the twenty-seven League fixtures thus far, losing just the once at fortress Goldstone. Twenty-two-year-old striker Peter Ward was fast becoming a club legend, dominating the goalscoring charts to add to his tally of a whopping thirty-six the previous season. Albion’s number eight had a new strike partner in Malcolm Poskett, who scored on his debut the previous week at Hull.

Protecting goalkeeper Eric Steele, the Seagulls defence included ex-Huddersfield and Coventry man Chris Cattlin, who would later return as manager. Preston’s young, impressive Player of the Year 1977, Mark Lawrenson, moved to Sussex that summer for £100,000 to play alongside former North End teammate Gary Williams and established centre half Andy Rollings.

Brian Horton was pivotal in the middle of the park. Local lad Tony Towner featured on the right wing, with Welsh international Peter O’Sullivan serving the other flank. Long-serving O’Sullivan joined as a teenager in 1970. Completing the home line up was the midfielder nicknamed the ‘tank’; Paul Clark made his debut back in November ’77 to grab the number ten shirt.

Perhaps inspired by Slade’s pre-match singalong, both teams did what the rockers asked. Brighton gave us goals from Horton and Poskett to defeat Burnley two-one, defender Derek Scott netted for the visitors. Mullery’s men sat fourth in the Division Two table, the same place where they’d finish at the end of the season. Albion agonisingly missed out on promotion to the top flight on goal difference alone; nine worse than third placed Tottenham. In fact, they were only two points off the title! The foundations, though, were in place for a successful promotion push the following season as Brighton hit the big time at last.

SLADE Clap SLADE Guitar and backing vocals

But before the match, it was Slade’s turn to ignite the ground. Their line up at the time comprised four members: Noddy Holder, Dave Hill, Jim Lea and Don Powell. The quartet performed in front of the North Stand at the Goldstone, on a little stage by the side of the pitch. Noddy was the enigmatic frontman, responsible for lead vocals and played rhythm guitar. In this video, draped in the blue and white Albion scarf (above left), he led the clapping and chanting, rousing fans to join in at every opportunity.

Above right, we see guitarists Jim Lea (yellow and black scarf) and Dave Hill (red and white scarf). Jim co-wrote the song with Noddy, as was the case for most of Slade’s back catalogue. The track heavily relied on the guitar to drive the familiar riff of the football chant, topped off with the rasping voice Holder was renowned for. The chorus lyrics were catchy; “We’ll beat ya, defeat ya, we’re ready to roll! Get the ball into the net and give us a goal!” The reviews weren’t glowing, but one from the music paper ‘Record Mirror’ at the time did state it “recaptures the football fervour that they used to build up” at gigs.

SLADE Drums SLADE Pitch

The band earned a reputation for their energetic and engaging Live performances, making good use of the gathered crowd for a fantastic atmosphere. Despite Slade’s decision to move into the football song market, the band members weren’t particularly fussed by the game. Hailing from Wolverhampton, some of the members would look out for their results but weren’t particularly sporty themselves. Drummer Don Powell is shown, above left, in the white scarf. Don recovered from a very bad car accident five years earlier, which left him with lifelong injuries and killed his partner.

SLADE Noddy SLADE Football

There was an existing link between football and popular music, with many clubs and teams releasing their own songs. For the 1970 World Cup, England’s trophy holders sang the famous ‘Back Home’, which reached top spot and kicked off a tradition of the tournament anthem to celebrate their participation. Clubs reaching the FA Cup Final would often follow suit, with the likes of Arsenal, Leeds and Chelsea all lending their voices to vinyl early on in the decade. The players tended to also appear in the video. So this recording needed some footballing actions shots too.

SLADE Dave SLADE More football

Interspersed between clips of Noddy and the gang giving the North Stand a performance to remember with their musical instruments, the band also took part in a football match with some of the Brighton players. The musicians donned the famous blue and white stripes of the Albion for a kickabout on a frosty winter’s day, with their ‘opponents’ decked in red. It was so cold that Dave Hill needed a thick bobble hat to protect his skinhead top, with the guitarist complaining of the temperatures throughout. This was recorded separately to the Burnley match day, during a squad training session. Several of the Albion first team were involved, including Eric Steele who was standing firm in goal. See how many you can spot.

SLADE Supporters SLADE North Stand

A crowd of 22,694 was recorded in attendance at the Goldstone for the Burnley match. The North Stand terrace behind the goal was full of Albion fans ready to make their music video cameo in the build up to the big game. With the club flying at the top end of the table, it was an exciting time to be a Brighton supporter. It’s not every day you get to be a film extra. Could you imagine Withdean Stadium being used as a rock backdrop?!

Spectators were shown making their way down to the stadium and through the turnstiles. In the stands, the sea of blue and white scarves brightened (and Brighton-ed) up the screen, bouncing around to the music being played out just yards in front of them. A small stage was erected in the penalty area adjacent to the goal to elevate Slade, their recording equipment and instruments whilst several cameramen recorded the scenes.

SLADE Goal SLADE Net

The filmmakers wanted a big finish to the video, with one of the band scoring a goal as the climax. However, none of them had really played the game since leaving school and so it appeared much trickier than first thought. None of them could put it in the back of the net! Which might explain the slightly odd footage of the ball entering a virtually open goal (above right) but with no indication of how it got there. Drummer Don Powell is credited by Dave Kemp with the strike to bring the curtain down on the video. As the lyrics suggested, they stopped their fancy footwork and just gave us a goal. The whistle blew. It was now all ready to go and send round the broadcasters for airplay.

SLADE Programme

Excerpt from the Brighton programme against Sunderland, 25/2/78, housed online by Seagulls Programmes

Disappointingly, the song failed to chart and so there would be no appearance on the number one music show, Top of the Pops. However, that didn’t mean it sunk without a trace. Children’s television programmes gave many artists a platform to connect with the public, some even making their screen debuts there. First to televise the band’s new football song was ITV’s anarchic Saturday morning powerhouse TISWAS.


TELEVISION COVERAGE

‘TISWAS’ video broadcast; ATV, 9.30am-12pm; Sat 4th March 1978 

TISWAS Titles TISWAS Tarrant

TISWAS TV Times Listing

TV Times Listing, 4/3/78

As confirmed by the band’s excellent fan site Dave Kemp and Slade, TISWAS aired the ‘Give us a Goal’ music video on the morning of Saturday 4th March; not long after release. An acronym for ‘Today is Saturday, Watch and Smile’, TISWAS began in January 1974 as a strand for children which linked together programmes in ITV’s midlands region of ATV. As the popularity of the presenter links overtook much of the programming they were introducing, it began to be picked up by other regions as the years progressed. By the time of this fourth series during 1977/78, the HTV, Anglia, Granada, Border and Scottish Television regions were all airing the show.

At the time it was fronted by ATV’s news and current affairs host Chris Tarrant (above right), as he did from the outset, and former Midlands sports reporter Trevor East alongside newcomer this series, Sally James. TISWAS started to enter its ‘golden age’ with slapstick characters such as ‘The Phantom Flan Flinger’ causing chaos in the studio, and early appearances from comedians and showbiz stars who would later go on to become household names; such as Lenny Henry, Frank Carson, Bob Carolgees and Jasper Carrott.

But the ITV region serving the Brighton and Hove area, Southern Television, didn’t begin to take the show until, at least, the end of 1979. So local Albion fans would not have seen their Goldstone Ground home appearing in Slade’s music video when TISWAS gave it this television outing.


3

‘Get It Together’ performance; Granada, 4.20-4.45pm; Tue 14th March 1978

GET Titles GET Roy North

GET TV Listing

TV Times Listing, 14/3/78

Slade performed the song in the Granada studios in mid-March, as they appeared on children’s afternoon programme Get It Together on ITV. This was a weekly pop music show as groups and artists showcased their latest single in front of a studio of excitable children. Slade’s performance was on the penultimate episode of series 2.

Get It Together was broadcast on Tuesday afternoons at 4.20pm, the ideal post-school slot. It was shown across most of the ITV network, with the exception of Wales. The performances provided many bands with their first TV appearance at a time when there were few opportunities for up and coming acts.

Another key element of the show was performances from the hosts, who at the time were Roy North and New Faces winner Linda Fletcher. They were the show’s original presenters, joining for the April 1977 launch. As well as singing, North was better known as having been the straight man to Basil Brush for three years, playing Mr Roy.

As the series went on, it adapted its format to include a house band with backing singers and, of course, its own dance troupe – known as The Teri Scoble Dancers. It would run for over four years with almost one hundred episodes.

Slade’s song was part of a football themed episode, sharing the bill with ‘Hampden’s Heroes’ singing Scotland’s track for that summer’s World Cup. The audience cheered and clapped along, adorned with football shirts and scarves, to really get into the spirit of it.

GET Slade GET Audience


4

‘Cheggers Plays Pop’ performance; BBC1, 4.40-5.05pm; Mon 17th April 1978

CHEGGERS Titles CHEGGERS Chegwin

CHEGGERS Genome Listing

Radio Times Listing from BBC Genome

Young Scouse actor-turned-television presenter Keith ‘Cheggers’ Chegwin became a household name in the mid-70s through his work on children’s programming. He was part of the BBC’s Saturday morning alternative to TISWASMulti-Coloured Swap Shop with Noel Edmonds and John Craven from 1976.

That led to success in his own right as host of Cheggers Plays Pop two years later. This was classic kids TV, with a screaming young audience taking part in silly games and challenges in the studio, punctuated by performances from the latest hitmakers. The second ever episode had Slade belting out a performance of “Give us a Goal”. Again, the crowd were decked in football scarves to look the part.

CHEGGERS Slade CHEGGERS Slade on stage


5

FIFA ’09 commercial; EA Sports television advert soundtrack, 2008 

FIFA Rooney FIFA Gameplay

FIFA TaglineAfter not achieving much success, the song garnered a mini revival some thirty years later. Computer game makers EA Sports used “Give us a Goal” as the soundtrack for the official television advert for the latest in their football series FIFA ’09. The full four-minute commercial featured Manchester United and England striker Wayne Rooney taking on Real Madrid’s Higuain as they went head to head playing the game, whilst hundreds gathered in the street to cheer and watch on the big screen.

Whilst this wasn’t enough to push the track into the charts for the first time, it did bring it to a whole new audience who wouldn’t have been aware of it or even around at the first time of asking.


Those Albion supporters who were heading to the Goldstone Ground on that bitterly cold day on 11th February 1978 would likely have been blissfully unaware that later that afternoon they’d be the unwitting stars of a rock music video. The players must have been listening closely to Slade’s instructions to “Give us a Goal”, as the following season Brighton were promoted into the top flight for the first time in club history. Cum on feel the noize!

SLADE Scarves

SOURCES and EXTRA READING

#7: Chester 1-1 Brighton 15/01/1999

#7 CHESTER 1-1 BRIGHTON Division Three
Friday 15th January 1999 Sky 1999

Ident 99 Chester titles

PRESENTER Marcus Buckland
COMMENTATORS Rob Hawthorne & Clive Allen REPORTER Alan Bentley
7.45pm Kick Off; Deva Stadium, Chester      7-10pm Friday Night Football on Sky Sports 2

Chester programme Chester tv

Context of the Match: The above screenshot in yellow is taken from the Brighton programme in December when the news was confirmed of the televised fixture. However the unusual kick-off time of 7.30pm was a mistake and, as confirmed by the second image taken from The Guardian website, the kick-off was actually the regular 7.45pm time. As alluded to above, Chester were suffering from severe financial problems and entered administration in October 1998 with worse still to come in the following years unfortunately. When Brighton’s difficult period intensified a few years earlier, fans of other clubs rallied around fantastically to raise funds, awareness and really help out under the ‘Fans United’ banner on two previous occasions. Tonight was labelled as a sort of ‘Fans United 3’, with supporters from the likes of Oxford, Portsmouth and Manchester United lending their support tonight using the Live TV opportunity, just like Brighton fans did at Bournemouth in 1995. Manchester United fans also had their own protest against Rupert Murdoch and Sky’s proposed takeover of their club, so they didn’t waste this opportunity to be vocal either. The deal eventually fell through later that year, whilst their players went on to win that incredible Treble. At half time a scarf featuring all 92 English League teams was paraded around the pitch as a mark of solidarity. On the field, Chester were six unbeaten whilst Brighton were doing alright in mid-table.

In contrast, Brighton had for once received some positive news a few weeks before this tie. The club would be returning to Sussex to play home games, having been tenants of Gillingham at Priestfield Stadium since the beginning of the 1997/98 season. The exile was confirmed to be coming to an end after two seasons and Withdean Stadium, an athletics ground predominantly, would be Albion’s temporary home from this coming summer. That word ‘temporary’ would provide so much of the television coverage of the club during Live games as well as news bulletins and magazine shows for the best part of the next dozen years or so however, as the journey home was a long old process. It’s never dull here!

Chester stat Chester booking

The Teams: Boss Brian Horton brought the Seagulls into the game having not won in three but were on the fringes of the Play-Off places entering the second half of the season. This wasn’t to last with Horton leaving to join higher-division Port Vale later in the month after not even a calendar year in charge. Club captain Gary Hobson was a couple of weeks away from being fully fit, having hardly played much all season. Rod Thomas, who began the season at Chester, was also a casualty after injuring his ankle when the club used Manchester City’s training ground the day before the match. Top scorer Richie Barker and midfielder Jeff Minton were the expected danger men for the Seagulls in their red away kit. Future youth team coach Ian Culverhouse featured in the defence. Amongst the names in the Chester squad were a young David Flitcroft, 18-year-old defender Martyn Lancaster and Andy Crosby, who would sign for the Albion later in the year. Kevin Ratcliffe was the manager. The match was refereed by Peter Walton, long before his Premier League duties.

Chester full time

Presentation Team: Marcus Buckland was at the helm from the Sky studio. It is unclear who the guests were as footage of this is minimal. Rob Hawthorne, Sky’s number 1 Football League commentator, was alongside Clive Allen on the gantry. As this was a Division Three match, Allen was used instead of number 1 Alan Brazil. Clive Allen was taking his first steps into regular punditry and commentary this season on Sky’s coverage, also deputising on Soccer Saturday and Soccer Special on occasions as well as appearing in studio. He would do this until 2001 when he joined ITV’s talent for their Football League and Premiership coverage and subsequently forging a long career in the media. Reporter Alan Bentley took over from George Gavin in 1997 and remained on the touchline for League and Cup until Sky lost the rights to ITV. Unlike most of the other names here, Bentley never returned to Sky and chose to go down a different route. He formed a production company specialising in sports betting programmes.

Chester Marcus Buckland Chester pundits Chester Alan Bentley Chester studio

 

The Coverage: Sky had been providing exclusively Live coverage of the Football League since 1996 and this was the third season of that deal. Personnel had changed slightly since we were last on during their first season, with Marcus Buckland now in the presenter’s chair instead of Russ Williams who was only there for the first season. Buckland joined from Radio 5 Live in 1997 and presented Sky’s entire Football League output until they lost the rights in 2001 to ITV Digital. He then moved across to host the pay-per-view matches on Premiership Plus until 2007 when he became the face of Sky’s tennis coverage. Sky still hosted the vast majority of games from their Isleworth studio, although the set design was less colourful than the Williams’ year. The theme tune remained as Black Grape – England’s Irie until 2000, when it was replaced with Primal Scream’s ‘Swastike Eyes’ for the final pre-ITV season. Matches were regularly broadcast in the Friday night and Sunday lunchtime slots still, with full build-ups incorporating goals round-ups and features alongside Sky’s weekly ‘Football League Review’ highlights programme. Graphics were uniform across Sky’s Football Output and were understated black, white and grey colours faded in and out but ones with moving text (team line ups, substitutions) did come with beeping sound effects. This came about when Sky transformed it’s look and logo at the start of this 1998/99 season.

Chester build up 1 Chester build up

Unfortunately again I do not have very many details of this particular broadcast at all, clips and footage has proved very hard to come by (thankfully this is the last Live game which I’ll need to say that). The only video I could find was 4 minutes of the goals (embedded at the bottom of this post) and a brief report on Chester’s form this season in the pre-match coverage, titled ‘Ratcliffe’s Blues?’, voiced by Buckland therefore confirming his presence. Hawthorne and Allen can be heard describing the action in the match clip. Therefore I have had to provide example images of the studio, host and reporter from a different match earlier in the season (Bristol City v Bolton). Pundits that night were Nigel Spackman and Ray Wilkins, and they were the regular Friday Night Football League pairing of this era so it could be assumed they were in situ for Chester v Brighton as well. Club-specific guests were a lot rarer during those days, with Sky opting for regular pundits Spackman, Wilkins, Allen, Brian Marwood, Alan Brazil and Dave Bassett, with Chris Kamara going on to join this pool in later seasons. The replay graphic was the same for all competitions; the video replay swooshing in from the top corner to cover the screen before flying out again, adorned with blue and red Sky Sports colours.

Chester penalty Chester Armstrong graphic

Story of the Match: The home side generally had the better of the match, as highlighted by the first half corner statistic of 8 to 1. Deep into first half stoppage time the home side got their deserved lead thanks to a speedy counter attacking break off the back of Brighton’s first corner. Alex Smith surged down the left, running most of the length of the field before getting his shot away. That was parried by Mark Ormerod and fell right to the feet of Mike Conroy to tap home from six yards out for his first home goal with virtually the last kick of the half. Brighton had a goal ruled out frustratingly for offside six minutes after the break and thought perhaps the game had gone. Deep, deep into stoppage time at the end of the ninety minutes however a lifeline was granted. Substitute Kerry Mayo clipped the ball into the box and flicked on for Jamie Moralee who was pushed to the ground. Penalty! But regular taker Jeff Minton had already gone off so the task was left for 20-year-old Paul Armstrong. “I elected myself. I just thought what the hell? I had a lot of nerves but there was no better place to score my first goal than in front of the cameras,” he commented post-match. Armstrong’s first senior goal and live on television to boot but the drama wasn’t over there. Even deeper into injury time Chester went up the other end and probably should’ve immediately had their own penalty when a long ball from the half-way line was pumped forward to be flicked on into the penalty area. Brighton’s Ian Culverhouse clumsily swung a leg to go for the ball, missed completely and did end up getting the man to bring him down. Clive Allen on co-commentary observed “Culverhouse tries to clear, I don’t think he had any intention of actually playing or tackling the player.” A slightly fortunate point gained for the Seagulls, and the first in a Live televised League game at the third attempt. This marked our final Live match of the 20th Century.

CHESTER 1 BRIGHTON 1
Conroy Armstrong (Penalty)

Chester replay

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