Small Screen Seagulls; 2011/12 Season part 1

Small Screen Seagulls LogoThe 2011/2012 campaign was a landmark season for Brighton and Hove Albion. After a seemingly never-ending battle to secure planning permission for a new stadium, that dream was finally realised when the American Express Community Stadium in Falmer was opened in the summer of 2011. Brighton had come home to a stadium they could call their own for the first time since the Goldstone Ground was sold and demolished in 1997. The ‘temporary’ abode of the Withdean Stadium, complete with athletics track and unsheltered seating, ended up being home for eleven seasons! As successful as the team were during that period, with three titles and a Play Off Final victory, this new stadium would be the catalyst for even greater success.

Here are snippets of some of the features and coverage of the Albion during that homecoming season. Screenshots are provided from various clips of coverage by BBC Sport and Sky Sports. This is part one, the second part is HERE.


Away Days visit to Brighton

Soccer AM, Sky Sports 1 (20th August 2011)

SAM Soccer AM titles SAM Away Days

Sky Sports long-running Saturday morning entertainment show Soccer AM, hosted by Max Rushden and Helen Chamberlain, had a popular comedy feature called Away Days. In this, crew member Adam Smith played the part of ‘Franky Fryer’, a Danny Dyer spoof character who visited a new stadium each time and took in some of the local sights and sounds as if a visiting supporter on a day away. The mannerisms and language used parodied Dyer’s presenting style on football hooligan documentaries such as The Real Football Factories. The character aped Dyer’s use of cockney rhyming slang and exaggerated speech, with a trademark catchphrase “Keep me nut down!”

SAM Pier SAM Sealife centre SAM Laughter therapy SAM Stadium

In Franky Fryer’s visit to Brighton, he arrived at the station to learn that the new stadium isn’t technically in Brighton, but instead nearby Falmer. He moved down to see the famous Palace Pier, “standing for over one hundred years man and boy”, and along the seafront and pebble beach. A quick visit to the Sealife Centre followed, apparently “the world’s oldest operating aquarium”. Fryer liked to take in the weird and wonderful parts of a city so a trip to the Laughter Centre for some laughter therapy was in order. How very Brighton. Before long he had stumbled across the fields adjacent to the stadium in Falmer.

SAM Dicks Bar SAM In the stands

The supporter’s bar, named Dick’s Bar after former chairman Dick Knight, located at the back of the North Stand and adjacent to the club shop was “my sort of place” according to Fryer. He made his way round to the other side of the ground for the culmination of the piece; the South Stand away end.  He remarked upon the padded seats in all four stands of the magnificent stadium as we saw the view visiting supporters are treated to. The final shot panned out to reveal the entire South Stand, sat to the right of the impressive three-tiered West Stand and opposite the vocal home support from the North Stand. The stadium had only been open a matter of weeks by the time of Soccer AM’s visit, so it was all shiny and new. Away fans as well as, of course, Brighton fans were in for a treat when they visited England’s newest Football League ground upon opening in the summer of 2011.


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Quiz Show from The Amex for Brighton 2-2 Blackpool

Take It Like A Fan, Sky Sports 1 (26th August 2011)

TILAF Titles TILAF Hosts

Sky Sports Friday night football quiz show Take It Like A Fan returned for a second season during 2011/2012. Presented by former Soccer AM crew member and Soccer Saturday interviewer John Fendley, AKA Fenners, and Bianca Westwood, current Soccer Saturday reporter. Westwood became a permanent fixture on the show this season having covered last year when previous co-host Charlotte Jackson was absent. The programme was presented entirely on location at a football stadium around the country with the premise of giving away cash for correct answers to a range of football-based questions and games. The show visited Withdean Stadium back in January, as chronicled on the blog post In the Spotlight. Today, the seaside special was the centrepiece, as Blackpool were the visitors to The Amex.

TILAF The Possession Game TILAF Home or Away

The first feature was called ‘The Possession Game’. In this, one fan would answer a quiz question, get it correct he kept ‘possession’ of the £500 cash prize. Get it wrong however, and he’d hand the money over to his opponent. The person in possession after the fifth and final question would then go on to take a penalty at half-time in the Blackpool match where if successful would keep that £500. Albion supporters Simon and Danny took on the game. Questions included “What nationality is Manchester City’s Edin Dzeko?” and “Who’s won more FA Cups – Manchester United or Arsenal?” The all-important poser (shown in the screenshot above, left) was answered incorrectly by Danny, giving Simon the opportunity to win the cash at half-time, shown later in the show.

The next game was the more familiar ‘Home or Away’ premise; home questions would be about Brighton and win you a tenner, or for fifty pounds you could choose an away question on Blackpool. Brighton fan Richie maximised his earnings by selecting to go away for all three questions. Questions here included, “As a player, which of these clubs didn’t Blackpool boss Ian Holloway have a spell at – Wimbledon, Luton or Brentford?”, and “Who was Blackpool’s top scorer in the Premier League last season?” He answered two of the three correctly and decided to choose the double or quits option (shown in the screenshot above, right). Answering incorrectly, he lost the one-hundred pounds he accumulated.

TILAF Birds Eye View TILAF Brighton players

Another Brighton fan competing was Ben, who previously appeared on MasterChef. For today’s TV appearance he took part in the game ‘Bird’s Eye View’, where you had to identify football stadiums from an aerial shot. Each correct answer was rewarded with ten pounds. Helped along the way by Fenners, Ben scored eleven earning him £110 in sixty seconds. He too took the double or quits option but fared better than Richie by guessing the home of Liverpool correctly.

Brighton trio Gary Dicker, Craig Noone and Steve Cook took part in a special round of ‘Fenners’ Tenners’, answering as many questions correctly inside half-a-minute as possible. First team coach Charlie Oatway was on stopwatch duty. Questions included, “What is Ashley Barnes’ squad number at Brighton?”, “Who did Brighton sign Craig Mackail-Smith from?” and “Who play their home games at Roots Hall?” The boys achieved nine correct, largely thanks to Gary Dicker. Their question to double the pot to £180 was as follows; “Which player committed the most fouls in the Premier League last season – Kevin Davies or Cheick Tiote?” Watch the video below to see how they got on.

TILAF Poyet TILAF Full Time

With kick off approaching and the players warming up, Bianca Westwood chatted to manager Gus Poyet in the dugout. He gave his thoughts on the excellent unbeaten start to the season as well as the magnificent new surroundings. “It’s been great, difficult to keep everybody calm!” the Uruguayan began. On the stadium and new League this season he added, “It’s perfect. We need it, it was the aim last year. It wasn’t easy but we are here and now we are enjoying the Championship and doing well.” She also spoke with veteran Blackpool striker Kevin Phillips before and after the match, as he entered the final spell of his playing career.

The goals and key chances from the afternoon’s match were shown, set to music. Craig Mackail-Smith opened the scoring with a header on half an hour. Ashley Barnes tapped home a second goal five minutes into the second period as Albion enjoyed the summer sunshine. But Kevin Phillips headed one back after the hour mark to ensure a nervy finish. And in stoppage time the goalscoring great bagged a great goal to equalise and rescue a point with a superbly executed volley on the turn.

TILAF Half Time TILAF Penalty

During the half-time interval, Simon from earlier on in the show faced goalkeeper Dan in a penalty kick. Score it and Simon would pocket the £500 from ‘The Possession Game’ but miss and he’d go away empty handed. Simon kept his cool and slotted the penalty away well, in front of the North Stand crowd.

The final game of the programme was with Blackpool fan and the godson of Manchester United assistant Mike Phelan, Liam. He played ‘Fenners’ Tenners’, scoring an impressive thirteen correct in the minute. He also managed to answer in full sentences rather than just the right answer! To double up to £260, he had to answer the following; “Which stadium has the smallest capacity in the Premier League – Loftus Road or Liberty Stadium?” The West London ground earned him the big money to cap off a very fun show.


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Brighton 0-0 Sunderland (1-0 AET) Highlights

The League Cup Show, BBC One (24th August 2011); Carling Cup Round Two

CCUP Titles CCUP Comms

The games came thick and fast in the opening weeks of the Football League season and by the end of August we were already at the second stage of the League Cup. BBC held highlight broadcast rights to the competition, producing a midweek round up show on the Wednesday night. Imaginatively titled The League Cup Show, the studio and set up was the same as Saturday night highlights programme The Football League Show that began for the 2009/10 season. It was hosted by former Football Focus presenter Manish Bhasin. Joining him for this edition was pundit and former West Ham and Fulham striker Leroy Rosenior. One of the featured matches tonight was the Albion’s clash with Sunderland. Commentary was provided by Match of the Day regular Martin Fisher.

CCUP Teams

Brighton reached the Second Round of the Carling Cup by defeating their old landlord, Gillingham, in Round One. Ashley Barnes from the penalty spot was the decider that night. It set up a clash with Premier League side Sunderland at The Amex. Steve Bruce’s team were yet to win either of their top flight matches; drawing one and losing the other. By contrast, the Albion were unbeaten in their opening five games, winning all but one – the two-two draw with Blackpool last time out. Victory in these opening three matches was the club’s best start since the 1953/54 season.

Gus Poyet made two changes for tonight’s clash, as midfielders Gary Dicker and Romain Vincelot dropped out, replaced by Alan Navarro and Ryan Harley. The latter was making his debut having signed from Swansea the previous day. Steve Bruce swapped out three of his Sunderland players that lost to rivals Newcastle at the weekend. In came new goalkeeper Kieran Westwood for his Black Cats debut, and midfielders David Vaughan and Craig Gardner; all summer signings. The referee was Andy D’Urso.

CCUP Post CCUP Dive incident

The five-minute highlights edit began with a great chance for Sunderland after Kazenga LuaLua was caught out in his own penalty area. Thankfully, Stephane Sessegnon couldn’t provide a finish. He was also denied from long range by Casper Ankergren later in the half. Craig Mackail-Smith was at the heart of all Brighton’s attacking play at the other end, with two efforts on goal causing problems. He was denied by Westwood with the first and shot over for the second. It was goalless at the break.

The best chance arrived in the second half when Mackail-Smith was sent clear through an excellent long-range pass from Liam Bridcutt. The striker sprung the offside trap to find himself one-on-one with Westwood (above, left). Unfortunately, the shot bounced onto the post, back across the goal line and out. So close! The big talking point came when Inigo Calderon of all people found himself galloping into the area. Goalie Kieran Westwood raced out and appeared to bring the Spaniard down for a penalty (above right). The referee blew his whistle but signalled the other way, booking Calderon for a dive. It looked like a close call, with commentator Martin Fisher adamant there was contact; “The right boot of Westwood on the left boot of Calderon. It’s a huge escape for Westwood and Sunderland.” Sunderland too had a couple of half-chances but Ankergren stood firm and it finished after ninety minutes at nil-nil.

CCUP Goal CCUP Full Time

The match had to be decided on the night so on to Extra Time we went. Within six minutes, Brighton had the breakthrough and it was the tireless Craig Mackail-Smith who notched it. Scouse duo Craig Noone and Alan Navarro linked up on the near side to send the latter on down the right-hand side of the box. He hit an instinctive cross up towards the back post which was perfect for Mackail-Smith. Last season’s highest goalscorer in the country added another to his new club’s tally with a header back across from inside the six-yard area. There was nothing Sunderland could do about that one and you couldn’t say the Seagulls didn’t deserve it. The Black Cats found no answer and suffered an early exit to the competition as the stripes of Brighton went marching on.

CCUP Mackail-Smith CCUP Studio

In his post-match interview, Gus Poyet believed Brighton to have been good enough to win this close match and praised the efforts of the goalscorer, whilst Sunderland’s Steve Bruce was gracious in defeat; “they were terrific on the night, they played some really good stuff.” Match winner Mackail-Smith spoke of the club’s positive attitude; “We just believe in the way we play football and we feel that whoever we play we can go out and beat.” Back in the studio, pundit Leroy Rosenior believed this Cup upset to be no shock to Seagulls supporters, loving life in their new home; “It’s no surprise to them, they just carried on where they left off. Nobody fancies playing Brighton at the moment.” If only that were to continue! Round Three saw even more prestigious opponents descending on the South Coast; Kenny Dalglish’s Liverpool.


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Southampton 3-0 Brighton Highlights

The Football League Show, BBC One (19th November 2011); Championship

SOU FL Show titles SOU Comm

The Championship returned after the international break and we welcomed back the BBC’s highlights programme The Football League Show late on Saturday night to round up the day’s play. Hosted by Manish Bhasin with pundit Steve Claridge, the featured match for this mid-November edition was a South Coast clash as Southampton took on Brighton. The Saints sat top of the Championship table, a position the Albion occupied briefly in September before a dip in form saw them slide out of the top six and into tenth. After an unbeaten first half a dozen League games, Brighton won just one of the following ten, ending a terrible run with a two-nil victory over Barnsley last time out. Commentating on the action was Martin Fisher, who also covered our opening day dramatic victory over Doncaster for the show.

SOU Southampton SOU Brighton

Brighton wore their change kit of green and black for the visit to St Mary’s. Southampton’s home form was remarkable; they’d won their previous nineteen matches in a row at this stadium. In the line ups, Dean Hammond captained the home side and returned to the first team in place of Morgan Schneiderlin. Midfielder Adam Lallana had been in the senior squad since 2006 having come up through the youth system. Rickie Lambert was the club’s top scorer but failed to find the target in the previous five. For the Albion, just one change was made from the side that beat Barnsley two weeks ago. Left-back Marcos Painter was preferred to Inigo Calderon. Goals had dried up for record signing Craig Mackail-Smith, his last came in the disappointing home defeat to Crystal Palace at the end of September. Strike partner Billy Paynter was on loan from Leeds until January but was yet to register a goal for the Seagulls. Half the midfield was Scouse, in Navarro and Noone. The referee in charge was Peter Walton.

Southampton complained of two penalty shouts early on, neither given by referee Peter Walton. The first was a definite no, when a shot from close range struck Gordon Greer on the arm. There was nothing the Scotsman could have done from such a short distance to get out of the way. The second saw Ricky Lambert’s shirt being held by Marcos Painter. The striker still outmuscled his man and headed goalwards regardless. Chances were few and far between in the first half as the sides went into the break goalless.

SOU Lambert goal SOU Incorrect Penalty decision SOU Penalty award SOU Full Time

It took the Saints just four minutes into the second half before the took the lead through Rickie Lambert. Richardson crossed from the near side, cutting back on his left foot and swinging a delivery towards the back post. Lambert outjumped both Craig Noone and Mauricio Taricco to win the header and power it past Steve Harper in goal. Brighton rightly avoided giving away a penalty when Dean Hammond went down under Harper’s challenge. The referee didn’t buy it and booked the ex-Albion midfielder for diving. But Southampton were awarded a penalty soon after when the linesman flagged for a foul by Dunk on Jose Fonte. If they got the Hammond decision correct, the officials lost all credibility when giving this one as the contact clearly took place outside the box. Taricco went mad and got sent off for presumably something he said to the referee. From nothing, Brighton were about to lose all hope of getting something from this crunch clash. Lambert tucked away the spot kick sending Harper the other way for two-nil just before the hour mark.

Alan Navarro went close to joining Taricco for the proverbial early bath when he lunged into a challenge with his studs showing. He connected full on with the calf of substitute Morgan Schneiderlin. Navarro was awarded a yellow card when it could easily have been more. The resulting free kick towards Lambert then should have been a penalty for a push by Painter but wasn’t given. They say these things even themselves out. It capped off a pretty bad day for the officials. Yet another shout for a penalty came when Lambert appeared to be felled by the foot of Inigo Calderon. This was more difficult to judge as first glance it appeared to be a foul but the replay showed contact was minimal and, if anything, Lambert just lost his footing. Either way, it was given and Lambert completed his hat-trick with another superbly taken kick into the roof of the net twenty minutes before the end. They could have had even more but for Harper and some tame efforts, but it finished three-nil to the home side at St Mary’s.

SOU Poyet SOU Studio

In Gus Poyet’s post-match interview he, understandably, spoke out about the refereeing performance. “We respect the referees a lot and we give them credit for the job they do and how difficult it is nowadays in football to give a penalty or not… And when it’s so embarrassing, if you want the players just to accept it and clap their hands and go home and just relax and forget about that. They took everything we done in fifty-five minutes away just because… who knows what went through the head of the referee and the linesman today?”

In the studio, Manish Bhasin and Steve Claridge also began by discussing the decisions of the officials. For the penalty that should have been a free kick on Fonte, Claridge called it an “incredible decision. I don’t think Jose Fonte actually gets any part of his body at any time into the box apart from when he falls over eventually.” They emphasised that the right team did still win the game, but they were helped along the way by Peter Walton and Brighton’s challenge ended with the award of that first penalty. The studio team reviewed five big penalty decisions Walton had to make and judged that he got four of them wrong. The one correct decision was to book Hammond for his dive. Claridge’s assessment of Brighton was that although they were in the game for the first fifty-five minutes, he didn’t think they ever looked like they were going to win it, whilst Southampton’s start to the campaign was better at this stage than the previous two winners of the Division. Bit of a turnaround from the two sides competing together last season in League One.


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Amex Stadium Report from an away perspective, Brighton 2-0 Bristol City

Late Kick Off, BBC One South (16th January 2012)

LKO1 Titles LKO1 Studio

The BBC’s regional Football League magazine show, Late Kick Off, returned for a new series on Monday 16th January 2012 until the end of the season. In the South and South West, the programme was presented by James Richardson with regular pundits Graeme Murty, formerly of Reading and Southampton, and Leroy Rosenior, ex-West Ham and Bristol City striker. It was the second season running with this trio at the helm, having taken over from original host Jonathan Pearce. The show covered the Albion as well as Bournemouth, Portsmouth, Southampton, Swindon, Aldershot, Plymouth, Bristol City, Bristol Rovers, Cheltenham, Crawley, Exeter, Oxford and Yeovil.

The lead feature of this edition centred around stadiums; with Brighton having moved into their new home ahead of this season, meanwhile Bristol City were fighting their own battle with the powers that be to secure their new one. The two sides met on Saturday at The Amex in the Championship. The Albion board made their visitors feel very welcome, sympathetic to their cause. As host Richardson explained in the show, “A judge has today ruled that a full review is necessary on City’s bid to build their new stadium.” Andy Steggall (below left), better known as the face of sport on ITV Meridian during the 1990s, reported on the story for Late Kick Off. He also co-owned the production company that made the programme, along with Match of the Day commentator John Roder.

LKO1 Steggall LKO Bristol ale

Steggall’s report began with Brighton’s two goals to secure the victory; a fantastic long ranger from Inigo Calderon, an unlikely goalscorer, plus Will Buckley rounding the goalkeeper. He then moved into the away concourse to showcase the efforts Brighton made to feel visiting supporters feel at home, treating them with respect rather than contempt. It’s a lesson a lot of other clubs could learn from. Little touches included lighting in the colours of the away club, this time being red, selling a guest ale from their local area and decorating the television screens with images of the opposing players. “When The Amex was designed, serious consideration was given to making away fans feel welcome”, Steggall explained. He spoke with a few of the travelling support to gauge their opinions of the away fan experience at Falmer. Some of them had clearly been enjoying the hospitality of the local ales! “Brighton’s an example to all teams” one fan slurred, as the tributes were all glowing.

LKO1 Touring LKO1 Martin Perry and Guy Price

In addition to some two-thousand away fans, Bristol City directors and board members were welcomed to The Amex to have a look around. “Before kick-off, Albion had welcomed every door to all of their opponent’s heads of department, from the rooftop to the tunnel. Happy to give them every war story, every helpful hint about planning success and stadium building”, Steggall added. In the director’s lounge, the suits of both clubs were in discussion. Guy Price, Bristol City’s CEO, asked about the defining lessons Brighton learned that City could take away. The reply explained the experience for the fans had been thought of in every last detail.

Price also spoke to Martin Perry, Brighton’s chief executive and a huge figure in the club’s success off the field in obtaining this stadium. Perry had lent his support to Bristol City’s bid for a new stadium at Ashton Vale, arguing their case and attending their planning committees. “It was important that we demonstrated that when they talk about the benefits to the community, we’d already begun to deliver them. So this wasn’t just talk, this was real”, Perry told us as he expressed how we’re all part of the wider football family.

LKO1 Doncaster game LKO1 Lynam

Steggall’s report continued by explaining the situation from a Bristol City point of view; “The judge’s decision now means further delays, further cost for club and council.” Perry’s final words of advice? “Never give up.” We also heard from broadcasting great and Seagulls supporter Desmond Lynam who spoke about the emotions when that first League game against Doncaster came about back in August 2011. “We were so moved in the directors’ box we were shedding a tear… It had taken so long, so much heartache and all the rest of it… This isn’t the biggest and it’s probably not the best, but it’s ours. It’s for us.” Hear, hear.


This is the first part looking back at Season 2011/2012. The second part is available HERE.

World Cup 1994 on the BBC

World Cup Logo FIFA brought the world of football to the United States of America for the staging of the fifteenth World Cup in 1994. However, the tournament would perhaps be best remembered for events off the field. On the opening day, America was gripped by an altogether different occasion involving a sports star as former NFL player OJ Simpson went on the run from the police in a car chase which gripped the nation and played out Live on television, following suspicions of murdering his wife. When the football did get underway, it was once again Diego Maradona who grabbed the headlines for the wrong reasons when he was sent home after two group matches due to failing doping. He was found with a ‘cocktail of drugs’ in his system, which came as no surprise to anyone who saw his extreme close-up celebration at the camera after his one and only goal this summer against Greece. And Colombian defender Andres Escobar was tragically murdered by members of a drugs cartel five days after his country was eliminated from the tournament, believed to be in retaliation for his own goal against the host nation in the group stages. BBC pundit Alan Hansen clumsily, and presumably accidentally, described defending during the Argentina versus Nigeria match the day after Escobar’s death in the worst way; “the Argentine defender wants shooting for a mistake like that.” Elsewhere there were no home nations present at the World Cup for the first time since 1938, owing largely to Graham Taylor’s disastrous campaign with England and a Scotland side in decline. Republic of Ireland were the nearest representative and upset the odds immediately by beating Italy in New York. They graced the knockout stage before elimination at the hands of the Dutch. The competition culminated with the first ever Final penalty shoot-out, as Italy were defeated by Brazil in one of the most laboured of matches. British broadcasters BBC and ITV were there to beam the vast majority of matches direct to our late-night living rooms. In this post I look at the efforts of the BBC, who opened the tournament with the ceremony and the first match.

 

BBC SportPresenters; Des Lynam, Bob Wilson
Pundits;
 Jimmy Hill, Alan Hansen, Terry Venables, Gary Lineker, David O’Leary, Steve Coppell, David Baddiel, Frank Skinner
Commentators; Barry Davies, John Motson, Tony Gubba, Clive Tyldesley, Gerald Sinstadt
Co-Commentators; Trevor Brooking, Liam Brady, John Fashanu, Chris Waddle
Reporters; Ray Stubbs, Hazel Irvine, Garth Crooks


TITLE SEQUENCE & THEME TUNE

Grandstand Titles

Theme: Leonard Bernstein – America (from West Side Story)

The BBC went route one with their choice of theme tune; using ‘America’. Taken from the musical West Side Story, they used Leonard Bernstein’s instrumental version. The familiar tune was definitely one that would stay in your head but after the monumental success of the 1990 titles with Nessun Dorma, this was a bit of a climb down. However, the celebratory joy of the American World Cup came across in this tune even if the dog barking sound effects were a slightly odd addition!

BBC titles 1 BBC titles 4 BBC titles 2 BBC titles 3

The titles kicked off with the instruments blaring in full flow whilst cutting to various shots of famous American landmarks. Starting with fireworks by the Statue of Liberty before flashing through the likes of the Brooklyn Bridge and the huge buildings that crept into the New York skyline. When the music quietened, the titles switched to clips of footballing action, updated as the tournament progressed. In the example here, we saw the likes of Ray Houghton’s goal against Italy in the group stage and Jack Charlton’s celebrations on the sidelines, amongst other goals and crowd shots. To emphasise the host country, the stars and stripes adorned the top and bottom bars of the screen. When the music came back round to the bombastic bars of the chorus again, the title sequence was coming to a close with a spinning ball filled with previous World Cup winners lifting the famous trophy. As the track reached a crescendo, the red stripes of the USA flag covered the centre before a ball flew from the bottom right to act as the flag’s ‘stars’, revealing the title card “World Cup ’94”. Below, the titles to the Brazil v Netherlands Quarter Final.


PRESENTATION TEAM

BBC Host BBC Pundits

Desmond Lynam was once more at the helm of the BBC’s World Cup coverage, fronting the opening match, key games and, of course, the Final. As the corporation’s principal football presenter, Lynam had just finished the second season chairing the best of the action from the Premiership on Match of the Day since the Beeb regained the rights to the top flight in 1992. He previously hosted the show’s FA Cup coverage from 1988 and USA 1994 was his fourth FIFA World Cup. Lynam anchored more than just football though, he was a real all-rounder with his work fronting Grandstand and light entertainment shows. Consequently, he was absent for much of the group stage, instead hosting coverage of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships, but was present for the Republic of Ireland games and the latter stages. Bob Wilson deputised. A regular in the studio was pundit Alan Hansen. The Scotsman joined BBC television for the new Premiership rights in 1992, having previously covered European football for Sky as soon as he retired from playing in ’91. He was also heard on BBC Radio Five Live and quickly earned a great reputation for his considered, authoritative and forthright analysis. He made his name playing in the great Liverpool sides as a centre back during the 1970s and 80s, winning everything there was to win. Hansen excelled with his studio work during his first international tournament with the BBC.

BBC Lineker BBC Lineker studio

One of England’s all-time great goalscorers, the 1986 World Cup Golden Boot winner, Gary Lineker earmarked a career in the media once his playing days were over. He made occasional media appearances during previous tournaments, either by doing the TV interviews for England or, once knocked out, appearing on the broadcasts as a guest. He was still a professional during this tournament, plying his trade in Japan for Nagoya Grampus Eight, whom he joined in the summer of 1992. Two injury-hampered seasons followed. He returned to England whenever he could during this spell, enjoying stints on BBC Radio 5 Live and Match of the Day, including the first Premiership version of the programme in August ’92. However, instead of just going down the usual route of punditry, it was clear Lineker also wanted to be in the presenter’s seat. During the build up to the opening match of the tournament – Germany versus Bolivia – he presented a piece to camera previewing some of the big hitters; above left. Back in the studio, host Lynam told us, “We’ll be seeing quite a bit of Gary, of course, over the next couple of weeks or so”, as Lineker’s BBC career began in earnest. He appeared mostly as an analyst for this tournament but would soon go on to front shows once hanging up his boots for good in September of this year.

BBC Wilson BBC Coppell

For now though, the number two football host was Bob Wilson. He had been the host of magazine preview show Football Focus for the past twenty years upon retirement from keeping goal for Arsenal for more than a decade. Wilson made the leap from player to presenter straight away, rather than via the pundit seat, and also hosted Grandstand and Match of the Day during his time with the BBC. He played a major part during the 1994 World Cup whilst number one Des Lynam was engaged with fronting Wimbledon tennis for much of the group stage. Anchoring World Cup proceedings from Television Centre in London allowed Lynam to return to the fold for the bigger group games but it was Wilson who did much of the heavy lifting on both Live and highlight programming. One of the BBC’s recruits for this tournament was former Manchester United and England winger Steve Coppell. The 1977 FA Cup winner had his playing career cut very short due to persistent knee injuries. It stemmed from a terrible challenge in a World Cup qualifier against Hungary in 1981. He struggled through for two years before calling it quits in October ’83 at the age of twenty-eight. The following summer he moved into management and began his relationship with Crystal Palace, managing them for eight years before resigning last year following top flight relegation. Being out of work, he used the summer opportunity to sit in the BBC studio and analyse the World Cup, providing both a player and coaches perspective, but was keen to get back into management.

BBC Venables BBC Hill

Two long-standing members of the BBC team were present once more in the studio. Terry Venables was a familiar face on the corporation since the mid-1980s, appearing on commentary before becoming more established in the pundit role. His playing career was almost exclusively London based, enjoying success from midfield at Chelsea and Tottenham as well as spells at QPR and Crystal Palace. After retiring in 1975 whilst at Palace, he was handed a coaching role with the club before taking over as manager the following year. Since, he’s had spells with former clubs QPR and Spurs as well as taking charge of Spanish giants Barcelona for three years, he was able to combine this with tournament appearances for the BBC. He hadn’t actually taken charge of Tottenham since 1991, instead moving to Chief Executive for two years before being dismissed. In January of this year, he was appointed England manager following Graham Taylor’s notoriously bad campaign culminating in failure to qualify for this tournament. Another regular on the Beeb was the one and only Jimmy Hill. This was his eight World Cup as a broadcaster, stretching back to 1966. He presented Match of the Day for fifteen years from 1973, often with Bob Wilson as co-host, before moving back into the analyst seat when Lynam took the helm in 1988. As the most senior pundit, he was still going strong at the age of sixty-five during this World Cup, featuring on all the big games including the Final. Completing the line-up of regular studio guests for this tournament was former Arsenal and current Leeds defender David O’Leary, shown on our right of the picture, below, with Liam Brady. With Arsenal, the Irishman won all domestic honours; League, FA Cup, League Cup and Charity Shield. He won sixty-eight caps for the Republic of Ireland and played at the previous World Cup in 1990. After joining Leeds last summer and starting the campaign well, a serious achilles injury kept him out of action for most of the 93/94 season. It was something he would not recover from and, although officially in rehabilitation on the books of Leeds, he would never play again.

BBC Brady and OLeary

Whilst the studio team were all based in London, the commentary was done on-site in America. Co-commentators utilised for this Cup were number one Trevor Brooking, along with Irish representation in the form of Liam Brady; shown in the picture, above, on the left. Brooking was celebrating a decade on-air with the BBC having joined after finishing his playing career, appearing over half a century of matches for West Ham’s midfield. He appeared both in studio for Match of the Day and was first choice as Live match summariser, commentating across both BBC radio and television during his media career. Former Republic of Ireland midfielder Liam Brady was covering his second consecutive World Cup for the BBC, both featuring his national side. After retiring from playing in 1990 he managed Celtic from the following year before joining his current post at Brighton and Hove Albion in 1993. Unfortunately for Brady, both spells have been marred by financial trouble at the top and poor form on the pitch. He was co-commentator for all Ireland’s matches as well as select others during the tournament. Providing a current player’s view from the gantry were John Fashanu and Chris Waddle. With Fashanu in the final couple of seasons of his playing career, he was looking for media roles. When ITV sporting entertainment giant Gladiators launched in the UK in 1992, he was host alongside Ulrika Jonsson and launched his catchphrase ‘Awooga!’ into the public conscience. He attracted controversy during his career both on and off the field. On it, his elbow during the 93/94 season fractured Tottenham captain Gary Mabbutt’s eye in a sickening clash. Off it, he publicly denounced his own brother Justin for coming out as gay in 1990, a decision he later regretted. John Fashanu’s finest day in football came when, as John Motson put it, ‘the Crazy Gang beat the Culture Club’ to win the 1988 FA Cup with underdogs Wimbledon, defeating Liverpool by a goal to nil. He spent the last eight years with the Dons but would move to Aston Villa after the World Cup for his final season before retirement. His struggled to take to co-commentary, with his fellow broadcaster having to pick up a lot of the slack during matches, confined mostly to the midnight BST kick-offs.

BBC Davies

Leading the BBC’s commentary team for his one – and sadly, only – Live World Cup Final as number one was Barry Davies; above, seen hosting the BBC’s Review of the Tournament from December ’94. He celebrated twenty-five years at the BBC in July. After serving as number two behind John Motson for so long, he was rewarded with this summer’s showpiece climax, having had experience on European club Finals during the 1970s and 80s and the 1972 European Championships Final between USSR and West Germany. This meant John Motson would have to settle for second best in 1994, including sharing Republic of Ireland duties with Davies on one Live game apiece. Motson did get to do the BBC’s Semi Final as well as the likes of USA’s first match, Brazil, Germany and Italy games too. The pair covered eighteen of the BBC’s twenty Live matches between them, leaving the other commentators to pick up the remaining couple of games as well as the non-Live ones for highlights. Clive Tyldesley was the man getting the nod for the other two Live fixtures, having joined from ITV in the summer of 1992. This was ahead of the relaunched Premiership Match of the Day, getting the chance to voice top flight fixtures on a regular basis as well as voiceovers and reports across the sporting output. Tony Gubba first covered a World Cup for the corporation in 1974, commentating on every tournament since. Owing to the large travel distances across the States, a fifth voice was needed to cover the highlights. Gerald Sinstadt, who moved over from ITV in the mid-80s, was chosen. As well as commentating, he was a familiar voice to the MotD goal round-ups at the end of the programmes.

BBC Studio 2

Fulfilling the roles of reporter in the USA were Ray Stubbs, Hazel Irvine and Garth Crooks. Stubbs started with the BBC in 1983 on local radio as a presenter and commentator before moving to Manchester after three years to produce. It was as a producer that he went to Italia ’90, for investigative sports programme On the Line, and since the formation of the Premiership he too voiced round-ups as well as touchline reports for Live FA Cup fixtures. He followed the fortunes of the Republic of Ireland from their US camp this summer. Hazel Irvine was another transfer from ITV, following the 1990 competition where she reported from the Scotland camp. At the age of twenty-eight, she became the youngest ever presenter of Grandstand in June ’93. Crooks was previously in the studio as an analyst for the 1982, ’86 and ’90 tournaments but was dispatched around America to showcase the vibrancy and atmosphere of the competition this time round.


LIVE MATCH SELECTION

BBC Sport broadcast a total of twenty Live matches during the USA 1994 World Cup, kicking off the tournament with the opener featuring holders Germany and concluding with the Brazil versus Italy Final. They showed the Republic of Ireland’s final group match with Norway which saw Jack Charlton’s men progress to the knockout stages. Whilst ITV front-loaded the tournament, the BBC had control over the picks for the knockouts, selecting the best potential clashes including the first choice UK prime-time Semi Final, Ireland’s Second Round defeat to the Netherlands on Independence Day and the Quarter Finals of both Germany and Brazil. Their coverage, although UK based, was much better received than ITV’s Dallas location.

GROUP STAGES; Friday 17th June
Germany 1-0 Bolivia (8pm Kick Off)

Saturday 18th June
USA 1-1 Switzerland (4.30pm) & Romania 3-1 Colombia (Midnight)

Sunday 19th June
Cameroon 2-2 Sweden (Midnight)

Monday 20th June
Brazil 2-0 Russia (9pm)

Tuesday 21st June
Nigeria 3-0 Bulgaria (Midnight)

Thursday 23rd June
Italy 1-0 Norway (9pm)

Friday 24th June
Brazil 3-0 Cameroon (9pm)

Saturday 25th June
Argentina 2-1 Nigeria (9pm)

Monday 27th June
Germany 3-2 South Korea (9pm)

Tuesday 28th June
Rep of Ireland 0-0 Norway (5.30pm)

Thursday 30th June
Bulgaria 2-0 Argentina (Midnight)

LAST 16; Saturday 2nd July
Germany 3-2 Belgium (6pm)

Sunday 3rd July
Romania 3-2 Argentina (9.30pm)

Monday 4th July
Netherlands 2-0 Rep of Ireland (5pm)

Tuesday 5th July
Bulgaria 1-1 Mexico, AET – BUL win 3-1 on penalties (9.30pm)

QUARTER FINALS; Saturday 9th July
Brazil 3-2 Netherlands (8.30pm)

Sunday 10th July
Germany 1-2 Bulgaria (5pm)

SEMI FINALS; Wednesday 13th July
Italy 2-1 Bulgaria (9pm)

FINAL; Sunday 17th July
Brazil 0-0 Italy, AET – BRA win 3-2 on penalties (8.30pm)


COVERAGE & GRAPHICS

BBC Ident BBC Sport Ident

When the BBC 1 ident came on followed by that iconic BBC Sport sting, you knew you were in for a treat. Above left; this set of BBC idents came in back in February 1991 and was their second major international football tournament, following the 1992 European Championships. Known as the ‘virtual globes’, the circle rotated around the numerical 1 in the centre. The BBC Sport ident followed, with that classic jingle that will surely now be playing in the heads of those of a certain vintage at the very sight of that image; above right. The gold tinge of the ‘nucleus’ around another rotating globe came in for major events beginning with the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, with this ’94 World Cup their international football tournament debut.

BBC Studio BBC Opening Ceremony

Coverage was hosted from Television Centre for all matches bar the Final, when Des and the team travelled out to the States to present on-site. Above left; the establishing shot of the sofa studio, taken from the opening match between Germany and Bolivia. Joining Lynam in the studio were principal analysts Alan Hansen and Jimmy Hill. Above right; the panel behind Lynam was a television screen, allowing Live pictures to be shown behind him as he and the panel discussed the match. In the example, the Opening Ceremony was about to begin. There were two studio sets used during the coverage of the World Cup, the main sofa area is shown above. A desk and chair set was also used, as detailed further down the page.

BBC Final Italy BBC Final Brazil

The host broadcaster provided graphics ahead of, and during, the match for channels all over the world to use. This included the team line ups as shown above. Their graphics were on a translucent blue panel with italic white text. The official tournament logo was incorporated in, with the white dots underlining the headings and the striped ribbons of the US flag appearing in the background. Above left; the Italian line up in numerical order for the Final. Above right; the Brazilian starting XI for the Final laid out in formation, shown after the numerical list as the commentator talked us through the players. These graphics would fade or appear in, with little animation or fanfare. Considering these were US graphics, they were rather simplistic and understated.

Aston 1 Replay transition 2

In-play graphics were also provided by the host broadcaster across all of BBC, ITV and Eurosport. Above left; the world feed name aston for Italian talisman Roberto Baggio. Again, this featured the blue panels with white dots and italic text. The addition of the flag and three letter country code was placed on the right, whilst a yellow number appeared left of the name to indicate the squad number. Above right; the replay transition as we returned to Live action. Replay pictures flew in from the left of screen with a thick white border. Once complete, the replay flew back out towards the right of screen as shown. This was the case throughout the tournament other than the Final, where the fixture adorned the border instead.

BBC Scorebar

This was the first international tournament where the BBC provided a permanent on-screen scoreboard and clock. With occasional experiments using this on other sports during the 1980s, a scoreboard became a permanent fixture on the football coverage in this country when Sky Sports launched in the early 1990s. The BBC took to the idea in the 1993/94 season for their UEFA Cup broadcasts and deployed it for this World Cup. Above; similar to that of ITVs, the BBC logo appeared in the top left of the screen with the clock underneath and the scoreline to the right. The timer appeared within a translucent box whilst the fixture was in a yellow italic font. This formula remained a constant throughout the rest of the decade, with only a few minor tweaks along the way.

BBC graphics BBC Sub

The host broadcaster’s graphics did not stretch to a permanent scoreboard, instead using the more familiar approach from previous tournaments of flashing up the clock and score at intervals. Above left; this would sometimes lead to slight conflictions between the exact seconds of the timer, with this example showing the BBC clock two seconds ahead of the official one. The graphics on the blue panel with the white dots would appear all around the world at the same time. Above right; for substitutions the host broadcaster graphics would appear on screen and indicate the player coming on and off with a little “In” or “Out” signal on the left accompanied by an animated arrow.

BBC Aston BBC Standings

The BBC did use their own graphics for coverage outside of the Live match. Above left; BBC aston captioning Ireland’s goalscorer over Italy, Ray Houghton’s. The blue background and italic white text fitted with the World Cup branding, whilst the trophy was added to the left and further text written in light blue. The graphics faded in and out. Above right; full screen graphics with very much a blue theme. This was after that Irish win opened their campaign. The BBC Sport globe and corporation logo adorned the bottom corner of the screen.

BBC Score astonBBC Coming Up

Further examples of the BBC’s own graphics are shown here, again using that blue panel background. Above left; during the highlights of the Nigeria v Italy match, a caption appeared signifying the progression into the Extra Time period. Above right; at the conclusion of the Live match programme, the coverage would usually end with a graphic detailing the next World Cup programming on the BBC. In this case, highlights show World Cup Report would be on air from 11.25pm.

BBC Rule Changes BBC Rules 2

Ahead of the tournament, there were genuine fears that it being held in America would change the game for the worse; with reports of the game being split into quarters rather than halves for advertising purposes, lots of gimmicks and would the supporters even know what was going on. It’s fair to say those never materialised and the tournament was the best attended to date. However, some big rule changed did come into effect. The most positive, as outlined during the BBC’s build up to the opener (above left), saw three points awarded for a win rather than two. The complaint about Italia ’90 was too many dull, defensive matches and not enough attacking prowess. The group stage alone saw ten one-nil victories and eight draws. The additional point for a win was a bid to encourage more teams to go for victory. Elsewhere we saw the introduction of names on the back of shirts, and additional substitution allowed and the possibility of video evidence determining if a suspension should stand or not. The referees were also encouraged to look out for certain things to punish as well as yet another interpretation of the offside law; above right. Other directives were to give the attack the benefit of the doubt over tight offsides, timewasting reduced to a minimum and the introduction of an electric cart! Technology was there and they were going to use it. All whilst refereeing in something other than the traditional black uniforms.

BBC Studio 3

Whilst the previously mentioned sofa area was the main set used by the BBC for coverage of this tournament, there was also a large desk area too, as shown above. In this example, host Bob Wilson is joined by pundit Steve Coppell and comedic guests Frank Skinner and David Baddiel. The pair were dressed in the unique style of USA defender Alexi Lalas. The desk would often feature on highlights programming, Grandstand and more formal broadcasts, whilst the sofa was more utilised on Live matches. During the regular season, Match of the Day’s set was like the above, featuring pundits either side of the large table. The three-coloured BBC logo was unmistakable at the front.


FEATURES & SUPPORT PROGRAMMING

Diana Ross Opening Ceremony 1 Opening Ceremony 2

The BBC showed Live coverage of the tournament’s opening ceremony in Chicago, during their build-up to Germany versus Bolivia. If people had their doubts about the Americanisation of soccer, there could surely be no doubts that they knew how to put on a show. You knew it was going to be good when someone had the bright idea of inviting comedian Robin Williams on with FIFA general secretary Sepp Blatter to conduct the group draw. The ceremony was the usual mix of colour and noise, compered by television superstar Oprah Winfrey. The show introduced each country in their individual traditional dances, such as samba for Brazil and Irish dancing for the Republic (above, bottom left), there was a performance of the official tournament song – also ITV’s theme tune – by Darry Hall and The Sounds of Blackness; above, bottom right. But the standout moment came right at the start when legendary Motown singer Diana Ross kicked it all off. Wearing oversized red jacket and trousers, she ran the length of the pitch, through a parade of dancers and performers, whilst singing her classic hit “I’m Coming Out”. The intended culmination was for her to score a penalty kick which would catapult the goal frame to split in half and launch the ceremony. What actually happened was one of the most memorable moments of any opening ceremony anywhere, but for the wrong reasons. After playing to the crowds, Ross stuttered her run up, toying with the goalkeeper before slicing her shot horribly wide (above, top)! As the old adage states; the show must go on. The nets collapsed as if it was all still going to plan and Diana Ross ran through onto the stage for the next part of her performance. Seamless. She did not reign Supreme on this occasion.

Baddiel and Skinner 1 Baddiel and Skinner 2

BBC Studio 4

Comedians David Baddiel and Frank Skinner came to prominence during 1994 for their hit late-night BBC 2 television programme Fantasy Football League. The programme ran weekly on Friday nights from January and was a mix of comedy, sketches and discussion around the Premiership centred around Fantasy Football; the idea of choosing a team of players from the League, earning points for goals, assists and clean sheets amongst other things and competing against others in a League table, first popularised in the mainstream in the 1990s in England. Celebrity guests would come on to the show during the series and discuss their team of players, but it was also an excuse to show some funny clips from football and take the mickey out of it. As a result of the immediate popularity of the show, Baddiel and Skinner were invited onto the final day edition of Match of the Day as pundits alongside Des Lynam in May and did a good enough job to be asked back for appearances during the World Cup. They made a handful of cameos during the post-match coverage of some of the late-night Live group matches, sitting alongside the regular pundits. Their remit was to provide a lighter look at the tournament as they did on Fantasy Football League, using funny clips and making jokes. Quite brilliantly, during the closing credits after the World Cup Final, their names appeared in the list of pundits alongside the likes of Hansen, Hill and Lineker!

BBC Goal of the Tournament BBC Maradona report

A tradition of previous Cups was the Goal of the Tournament vote. BBC viewers were asked to call in to vote for their favourite from the shortlist of ten provided, which included new Tottenham signing Jurgen Klinsmann’s effort against the Koreans; above left. Following the huge news that Argentinian star Diego Maradona had failed a drugs test at the tournament and would be banned, BBC One broadcast a special twenty-five-minute programme before their coverage of Argentina’s final group match, against Bulgaria, documenting his story. Above right; Bob Wilson voiced ‘Maradona – A Special Report’ which featured archive footage, news reports and interviews. This was eight years on from his infamous ‘Hand of God’ goal in the 1986 World Cup against England, so the development sparked little sympathy from the British broadcasters and provided Baddiel and Skinner with further comedy ammo.


THE FINAL

Coverage of the last match on BBC One was hosted Live from the stadium as Des Lynam attended his first World Cup Final in person. Des’s previous tournament finales had been hosted from the BBC Studio in London. He was accompanied by Jimmy Hill and Alan Hansen in a cramped box which was presumably too small to also include Terry Venables. He instead found himself sat away from his fellow pundits and up on the gantry providing his thoughts when asked by Lynam during the pre- and post-match broadcast.

BRAZIL 0-0 ITALY (AET, BRA win 3-2 on pens) World Cup 1994 Final, Los Angeles
Sunday 17th July 1994, 8.30pm Kick Off BBC One Logo

BBC Final Studio BBC Final CreditsBBC Final Credits 2

PRESENTER Des Lynam GUESTS Jimmy Hill, Alan Hansen & Terry Venables
COMMENTATORS Barry Davies & Trevor Brooking
Hosted from the Rose Bowl, California     8.15-11pm Live on BBC One (Extended to approx 11.35pm)

Trophy Lift

For details on ITV’s World Cup 1994 coverage click HERE.

Small Screen Seagulls; FA Cup in the Nineties part 1

Brighton on TVBrighton’s exploits in the FA Cup during the nineties provide a decent insight into the rollercoaster experience of being a Seagulls supporter during the most troubling of decades for the club. Throughout the decade, Brighton competed in all three Divisions of the Football League, plummeting from the heights of a Wembley Play Off Final appearance in 1991 all the way down to surviving the drop to the Conference only on goals scored in 1997. Appearances in the high court were more frequent than appearances in the latter stages of the Cup. Whilst Cup ties in the 1990s saw the Albion excite in matches against top flight giants Liverpool and thrash local side Crawley, some of the lowest lows on the pitch also happened. Non-League Sudbury Town and Kingstonian provided huge shocks whilst Canvey Island forced a replay. If ever you needed illustrating just how desperate things had gotten, this whirlwind look back should provide some insight. This is the first part, the second is available HERE.


1990/91 Round Four goals

Match of the Day, BBC One (26th January 1991); Liverpool 2-2 Brighton 

91R4 Liv Intro 91R4 Liv Penalty

Reporter Ray Stubbs voiced the goals to Brighton’s trip to Anfield in the Fourth Round in 1991 for BBC Match of the Day: The Road to Wembley. Between 1988 and 1992 the programme only held rights to the FA Cup, with League football signed up exclusively on ITV. Des Lynam presented in the studio with Trevor Brooking as an hour and ten minutes were devoted to covering the Fourth Round Saturday. Albion weren’t chosen as one of the three featured matches so the goals were around two minutes worth of Stubbs’ round-up. Division One Champions Liverpool, managed by Kenny Dalglish, hosted Barry Lloyd’s Second Division outfit in Cup tie which saw a dramatic late comeback. The Reds opened the scoring shortly after half time when Ian Rush latched onto John Barnes good chip upfield which split the Albion back line. Rush’s heavy touch forced him into a sliding finish under pressure twelve yards out, the power giving Mark Beeney no chance. At the other end, Bruce Grobbelaar produced a good save to keep John Crumplin’s effort out and just moments later it was two-nil. Ian Rush was the danger man again, beating the offside trap to latch onto Barry Venison’s through ball. Replays show he in fact fooled the linesman, as there’s more than a hint of offside. Anyhow, Rush dinked it over the onrushing goalie with his left foot to double the advantage after ten second half minutes. Brighton looked down and out but that changed with seventeen left on the clock. A long kick upfield was flicked on for Paul McCarthy in the penalty area with a shooting chance. Irish defender Steve Staunton upended the striker as he was about to pull the trigger and the Seagulls had a penalty. Mike Small made no mistake with the kick, blasting it into the top right-hand corner. And five minutes later the comeback was complete thanks to a bullet diving header from John Byrne. A deep cross from the right was headed across goal by Small to be met by Byrne unmarked at the back stick six yards out; two-two. There was no stopping that and meant a rematch was needed to decide who would progress to Round Five.

R194 Liv equaliser 91R4 Liv Scoreline

 

Round Four Replay extended highlights

Sportsnight, BBC One (30th January 1991); Brighton 1-1 Liverpool (2-3 AET) 

BBC Sport 1991 Sportsnight 1991 91R4R Liv Rider 91R4R Liv Studio

The Replay at the Goldstone ground four days later was covered extensively by midweek BBC round-up show Sportsnight. The long running highlights programme dated back to the end of the 1960s. It featured action from multiple sports, similar in approach to the weekend Grandstand but with the emphasis on recorded highlights, as opposed to Match of the Day which principally covered football. David Coleman anchored the programme for the first five years until 1972 before Tony Gubba took the reins. It was during his era that the show moved from Tuesdays to Wednesdays. Live and recorded European Cup football, Cup replays and internationals would regularly take place in midweek and Sportsnight would be there to cover it. With football playing a key part of the schedule the programme would usually only be on air during the regular season. The theme tune was instantly recognisable, with its fast tempo and news-style beat. For this ninety-minute Wednesday night edition of Sportsnight, Steve Rider anchored proceedings from Television Centre in London. He had been the regular host of the show since joining the BBC from ITV in 1985, taking over from boxing commentator Harry Carpenter. Prior to switching, Rider reported for ITV’s Saturday afternoon strand World of Sport and covered Olympic Games, golf and football, all of which he went on to cover for the Beeb. In the studio alongside Rider was Tottenham boss Terry Venables. He was a regular in the pundit’s seat for the Beeb since the mid-80s and covered World Cups and European Championships as well as England internationals for the corporation. It wasn’t just the Brighton versus Liverpool clash that would feature on this programme, as action from other Fourth Round Replays followed; with Arsenal at Leeds as well as games at West Ham and Sheffield Wednesday. The introduction reminded us of Brighton’s good record against the Reds in recent FA Cup seasons, knocking them out en route to the Final in 1983 and then again the following season when the clubs were a Division apart. Describing the match action was the one and only Barry Davies in his 22nd season with the BBC.

91R4R Liv Brighton 91R4R Liv Liverpool

Both team line ups were strengthened from the original tie. For Brighton, manager Barry Lloyd was able to select Robert Codner in at number ten after suspension, taking Bryan Wade’s place. Up front were Mike Small and John Byrne, the two scorers at Anfield. Dean Wilkins captained the side from midfield with former Norwich man Mark Barham and ex-Chelsea winger Clive Walker on the flanks. Long-serving goalkeeper Perry Digweed had been at the Albion for a decade now, as had defender Steve Gatting. The latter was part of the starting line up in the 1983 FA Cup Final. He was partnered for tonight’s match by nineteen-year-old Irishman Paul McCarthy. Full backs John Crumplin and Gary Chivers both moved to Sussex towards the end of the eighties. That decade was one of dominance for tonight’s visitors, but Kenny Dalglish’s Champions had enjoyed just two wins in their last eight games. His line-up was packed full of household names such as captain Ronnie Whelan, who returned after nine matches out with a hamstring injury. Also selected were talisman John Barnes, goalscoring hero Ian Rush and the three Steves – Nicol, Staunton and McMahon. If the game were to go all the way to penalties then goalie Bruce Grobbelaar would fancy his chances, after his wobbly-legged antics did for Roma in the ’84 European Cup Final shoot-out. The Reds had even more strength on the bench, with Peter Beardsley and creative playmaker Jan Molby the two allotted options to choose from. Second Division Brighton would be in for a tough task to replicate the latter stages form displayed in the first match against this back-to-back title hunting Liverpool. The referee at the Goldstone was Brian Hill. Commentator Barry Davies set the giant-killing scene by reminding us of the Seagulls excellent Cup record against Liverpool; “Looking for lightning to strike for the third time. ’83, ’84, would it be ’91 as well?”

91R4R Liv Opening goal 91R4R Liv Small one one

Brighton went close very early on when Codner headed a cross on, Ronnie Whelan’s flick almost took it into his own net but landed just shy of the post. The usual suspects were just getting into their stride for the away team, with Rush and Barnes both having efforts off target. Barnes was sporting gloves and black tights, the January South Coast chill too much for the England international. But the Redmen were warmed up when McMahon broke the deadlock after ten minutes (above, top left). It all started with a poor goal kick from Perry Digweed which immediately invited pressure back. Steve McMahon robbed the defence to set Barnes in behind. His left footed strike was pushed away by Digweed but following up at the back post sliding in was McMahon ahead of McCarthy. Undeterred by this setback, Brighton went close to scrambling an equaliser soon after. Clive Walker’s free kick was into the danger zone where John Byrne couldn’t quite connect how he would have liked, Grobbelaar to the rescue to block aided by his defence. It would be the Albion who struck next with an equaliser through Mike Small (above, top right). Walker tried his luck from twenty yards out, the connection wasn’t quite right for the shot but it did find its way to Small on the penalty spot, via a deflection, with no Liverpool defender in sight. He did well to take it down with his first touch before blasting it low into Grobbelaar’s bottom-left hand corner. Barry Davies’ initial call was “Offside, surely? No it’s not! No it’s not. Small has scored.” Replays didn’t really clear things up too much, the definitive angle wasn’t to be had, but Brighton did not care one jot! The linesman didn’t raise his flag and the goal stood. With nine minutes to go in the first half it was one-one.

91R4R Liv Disallowed 91R4R Liv Rebound 91R4R Liv Extra Time 91R4R Liv Byrne goal

The second period began with Liverpool looking threatening. They were nearly gifted the lead when Crumplin’s backpass was intercepted by Nicol. Luckily his shot across the face of goal crept just wide of the post. Brighton looked dangerous too and were denied the lead when referee Hill blew for, well, something but it was really not clear why. It appeared that Grobbelaar just lost out when coming to claim Wilkins’ corner and with two players on the goal line when Mike Small cleverly back-headed the ball into the net there was no question of offside. Hill was well placed (above, top left) so he must have seen something the viewers didn’t. Up the other end Liverpool managed to miss when a goal seemed a certainty. Steve Staunton had a shot from the far side of the area which went right across the face of goal towards the back stick. Waiting there was McMahon who looked like he’d be getting another close range finish but he couldn’t quite get a touch and it chipped up off the post (above, top right) and flew towards the other corner of the goal, landing just the right side from a Brighton perspective. “An amazing escape!” cried Davies. Chances continued to come for both sides, with Dean Wilkins looking to score from distance on many occasions. The closest came from a quickly taken free kick thirty yards out, Grobbelaar stayed alert to tip over. The sides couldn’t be separated within the ninety so Extra Time was required, with Liverpool using it to strengthen by bringing on Jan Molby. Grobbelaar was still failing to claim cleanly from corners, which looked like Brighton’s best chance of scoring another. “Some of the scrambles in the Liverpool six yard area have been quite unreal for a side of their pedigree,” Davies summarised. In the eighth minute of Extra Time, John Byrne scored to give the Seagulls the lead for the first time in over three hours of these Cup ties. Codner headed the free kick taken from inside the Albion half. John Byrne latched onto it and outpaced Gary Ablett, who stuck a leg out which just aided the striker. “A golden touch at the Goldstone Ground!” Byrne finished past Grobbelaar into the corner with a fabulous first time strike (above, bottom right). The packed Goldstone almost lifted the roof off, with one or two even straying onto the field in celebration. ‘Que Sera Sera’ began to ring round the famous old ground as memories of ’83 came flooding back for those in attendance.

91R4R Liv 2-2 Scoreline 91R4R Liv Winner 91R4R Liv Final Score

Just fifteen more minutes for Brighton to hold out as the second half of Extra Time got underway. But Liverpool struck an immediate blow. Substitute Beardsley made an immediate impact as it was his ball to Ian Rush which created the equaliser. The bobbling pass was taken on by Rush with his first touch, before firing an unstoppable shot into Digweed’s top left-hand corner from the edge of the area. It was a magnificent finish to make it two-two. Into the closing stages and Liverpool completed a comeback of their own to finally win the tie. With six minutes remaining it was the man who kick started tonight’s goals off who netted the final one; Steve McMahon. He started the move off and several neat, first time passes later he was behind the Albion back line, set free by Rush, and with Wilkins unable to quite cut it out, McMahon opened his body up and finished clinically past Digweed (above, top right), sending the 1,500 away fans into rapturous applause. The final score, after Extra Time in the replay, was Brighton two, Liverpool three. Barry Lloyd believed the introduction of Jan Molby to be the deciding factor when speaking in his post-match interview (below, left). “The change was when he came on the pitch and they shored their game up a wee bit and that was the difference.” Lloyd was in fine spirits, laughing with Barry Davies at the “marvellous” game, pushing the Champions all the way. Back in the studio, pundit Terry Venables (below, right) was full of praise for the Seagulls; “They certainly had them on the rack there for a long time and all credit to Brighton. They give it every shot they had there and there was some incredible scrambles from both sides. I thought it was a terrific Cup tie.” The first talking point of the analysis was on whether Mike Small’s goal was offside or not, with Venables believing him to be “well offside”, but replays were still not providing a definitive answer. He believed the disallowed effort should have stood and saw nothing wrong with it, the refereeing decisions therefore evening themselves out. The Reds faced Everton in Round Five where they lost one-nil, whilst the Seagulls did go on to make it to Wembley in May 1991; in the Division Two Play Off Final where Notts County took the spoils.

91R4R Liv Lloyd 91R4R Liv Venables


1991/92 Round Three goals

Match of the Day, BBC One (4th January 1992); Brighton 5-0 Crawley 

92R3 Cra Intro 92R3 Cra Opener

Des Lynam was in the chair as usual to host Match of the Day: The Road to Wembley for this Third Round programme, one of the most anticipated dates in the calendar as the big boys and the minnows have the potential to go head-to-head. Brighton, still managed by Barry Lloyd, were drawn to face fellow Sussex club Crawley for the first time in a full fixture. The semi-professional Southern Premier Division side were enjoying their best ever FA Cup run but were no match for the Albion, themselves having a poor season. After losing out on promotion in the Play Off Final at Wembley just seven months earlier, Brighton’s Cup campaign got off to a five-star start. Gerald Sinstadt voiced the best of the action in the round-up, with the home side “in their deck chair stripes.” Striker Mark Gall got the scoring underway in the twenty-fourth minute (above right) after controlling a long punt forward with his chest before sidestepping the defender and rifling it through the goalkeeper. Thirty-four-year-old Clive Walker doubled the lead with a nicely taken curler from the edge of the box that had a hint of a deflection on the way to deceive the ‘keeper. A young Ian Chapman made it three (below left) with a fantastic finish from a similar position, Sinstadt described it as “a ferocious finish” into the top corner, it bounced down off the crossbar. Into the second half and Chapman scored again, this time from the penalty spot as he sent the goalie the wrong way. The foul wasn’t shown, presumably to cram this many goals into a sub-two-minute report! The action was rounded off by Raphael Meade, who hit home a volley from seven yards out after Bryan Wade’s effort rebounded off Winterton in goal. A terrific win in front of the highest home attendance of the season, Sinstadt pointed out the positives for the away side; “Crawley’s consolation was a share of a £110,000 gate receipt.” The Seagulls reached Round Four for the third season running.

92R3 Chapman goal 92R3 Cra Scoreline


1991/92 Round Four highlights

Match of the Day, BBC One (25th January 1992); Bolton 2-1 Brighton 

92R4 Bury studio 92R4 Bury teams

Brighton’s reward for a demolition of Crawley was a trip to Third Division Bolton Wanderers at Burnden Park. The ingredients were there for a potential Cup upset, with the higher Division team travelling to the lower League club. Fourth Round Saturday though was hugely depleted by adverse weather, with only five ties surviving. BBC Match of the Day salvaged three of them to get the featured highlights treatment; West Ham hosting giantkillers Wrexham, Leicester versus Bristol City and, finally, our very own trip to Bolton filled the seventy minutes that Saturday night. This was our first MotD commentary edit since March 1986! Des Lynam hosted in the studio with Trevor Brooking. Des talked us through the two line-ups before handing to our commentator. For Phil Neal’s home side, former Celtic striker Andy Walker was banging in the goals as was Tony Philliskirk, both began up front. A young Alan Stubbs became a regular this campaign whilst Tony Kelly was impressing at the back. As for the Albion, much had changed from last season’s Fourth Round appearance, as both Mike Small and John Byrne had since been sold on and the experience of Steve Gatting was lost to Charlton. Form too had dipped, not winning in any of December’s five matches. The line-up at Bolton included John Robinson in midfield and a reserve partnership at the back due to injury and suspension which resulted in Nicky Bissett and Paul McCarthy getting the nod in place of Gary Chivers and Gary O’Reilly. Goalscorers in Round Three – Raphael Meade, Ian Chapman and Clive Walker – all looked to add to their Cup tally. Having to juggle things around due to the numerous postponements presented the opportunity for Ralph Dellor to do his one and only commentary for the show. Dellor was best known for his cricket work and was a big part of the Test Match Special team for many years. With Bolton wearing their familiar strip, the Albion had to wear their away kit which Lynam described as “Bolton in white, Brighton in..well, the other colour.” The famous ‘Chewit wrapper’ red and white kit.

92R4 Bury Meade goal 92R4 Bury aston

Around ten minutes of match action was afforded. The first action of the highlights edit was a chance for Brighton. Crumplin’s free kick on the half way line bounced up on the edge of the box for Meade to challenge with the goalkeeper. Felgate punched but the loose ball fell to Bryan Wade. He dragged his shot wide under pressure from the Bolton captain. Bolton’s first effort was a long ranger from Tony Kelly, no problem for Beeney in the eye-watering green and black shirt with white and red shorts. They nearly took the lead when Darby’s shot went just wide. Wanderers continued to pepper the Albion goal, with Kelly having another hit from outside the area which needed to be pushed away well, right at the end of the half. The whistle came just at the right time for the Seagulls as the final act saw Philliskirk’s header crash against the crossbar. The second half continued in the same manner, with Patterson going close before Andy Walker finally broke the deadlock for the home side. The chance arose from Green’s quick throw on the near side which was flicked on by Philliskirk. Walker reacted quicker than McCarthy in defence to poke home from just a couple of yards for one-nil. Brighton’s equaliser came out of the blue starting with a long hit and hope forward by Ian Chapman. A touch from his strike partner on halfway immediately sent Raphael Meade clear on goal behind the defence. He took two touches to maintain the momentum before sliding and toe-poking the ball as he beared down on goal (above left). By taking it early he gave the covering defender no opportunity to make a tackle and also caught the ‘keeper flat-footed to the delight of the travelling Seagulls ten minutes into the second half. The winning goal came from a terrible error by Paul McCarthy who stumbled and handled the ball as it skipped up awkwardly off the turf. It presented Tony Philliskirk with the chance to convert from the penalty spot, which he duly did with his trusty left foot (below left) as nineteen minutes remained. The Whitemen held out for another famous FA Cup win, having knocked holders Liverpool out in Round Three. Derby ended the run in Round Five, whilst Brighton were relegated into the third tier at the end of the season, finishing just one place above the bottom.

92R4 Bury penalty 92R4 Bury Scoreline


1992/93 Round Two goals

Match of the Day, BBC One (5th December 1992); Brighton 1-1 Woking 

93R2 Wok Intro 93R2 Wok Headed goal

The Albion knocked out Hayes two-nil in the First Round to set up another clash with a non-League club in Round Two, as Woking came to Sussex. Gerald Sinstadt once again rounded-up the action from third-tier Brighton’s FA Cup tie as part of his report on Match of the Day on BBC One. The BBC had highlights rights to both League and Cup from this season’s formation of the FA Premier League and so the best of the Second Round games were slotted into a seventy-five minute programme alongside the top flight League action presented by Des Lynam. Therefore just thirty seconds were needed to showcase the two goals at the Goldstone. Sinstadt’s voiceover began, like previously, with a comment on the Albion’s kit and skilfully managed to link in the club’s off the field problems; “Brighton, wearing the converted sun blinds, emerged from the shadow of the Inland Revenue and the threat of a winding-up order to take the lead against Woking.” This was in reference to the financial struggles Brighton were facing, debts built up and the board’s rescue plan was refused – planning permission for retail units on the site of the ground was rejected. Manager Barry Lloyd was increasingly having to focus on these matters and sell his best players just to stay afloat. On the field, the Albion’s goal came from a deep cross on the near touchline by John Crumplin. Scottish forward Andy Kennedy leapt highest to head home (above right) in the first half. That lead lasted almost an hour before Shane Wye (bottom left) reacted to a misplaced header to drive home his low volley along the ground and past Mark Beeney to equalise. A replay was scheduled for eleven days time, coincidentally on the same day the Seagulls next had to answer to the taxman in the High Court.

93R2 Wok Equaliser 93R2 Wok Scoreline

 

Round Two Replay goals

FA Cup Special, Sky Sports (16th December 1992); Woking 1-2 Brighton 

93R2R Wok Scoreline 93R2R Wok Celebration

Richard Keys was in the studio this midweek as Sky Sports wrapped up the story of the Second Round of the FA Cup with voiceover reports covering the Replays. In a clip that screamed early 90s telly, the goals were soundtracked by fast guitar and drum beat that ITV’s Gladiators would have probably liked. Reporter Nick Collins leant his dulcet tones to the short report, which began by referencing the Albion’s High Court appearance earlier in the day. With around £400,000 owed, negotiations would carry on for much of the rest of the season before the sale of Mark Beeney to Leeds in April ’93 for £350,000 just about bailed us out. Brighton had to be bailed out on the pitch a lot sooner in Surrey when Woking took an eighth minute lead. Steve Biggins crossed for ex-Reading striker Trevor Senior to turn home from six yards. Robert Codner burst through the middle of the park to equalise with a fine strike on the edge of the area and celebrate with the travelling support who had spilled onto the turf (above right) ten minutes before the break. As Extra Time loomed, Brighton struck a winner with five minutes remaining. A cross into the box was headed beyond the back stick where Gary Chivers was waiting. He flicked it back into the middle where John Crumplin dived for a header. It took a huge deflection off a nearby defender to loop up and over the despairing ‘keeper’s dive (below left) and in. A huge let off for Brighton, on and off field, to the relief of Barry Lloyd (below right), not that he was in any mood to show it. The Third Round saw fellow Southern region club Portsmouth travel to the Goldstone and were swiftly dispatched one-nil. After that? Only Manchester United at Old Trafford!

93R2R Wok Winner 93R2R Wok Barry Lloyd


1992/93 Round Four goals

Match of the Day, BBC One (23rd January 1993); Manchester Utd 1-0 Brighton 

93R4 ManU BBC Lynam 93R4 ManU BBC Giggs

This was Brighton’s fourth consecutive appearance in Round Four of the FA Cup and their fifth in six years. In 1993 it was Premiership title-chasing Manchester United who hosted the Albion, in front of a packed house at Old Trafford. Match of the Day was on The Road to Wembley once more as Des Lynam hosted the best of the action from Television Centre with Trevor Brooking and Alan Hansen. Lynam explained Brighton were “desperate for some kind of result to help out with their current financial predicament.” The match received a short one-minute round-up voiced by reporter David Davies, who went on to join the FA the following year. It began with what looked like a penalty for the Seagulls as Andy Kennedy went down under pressure from goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel, the referee disagreed. Next, Clive Walker stood a cross up from the left which Nicky Bissett got his head to but went agonisingly wide as Schmeichel was caught out. A let off for a sluggish Manchester United who showed their class in the second half with a fantastic bit of skill from Welsh winger Ryan Giggs (above right). He played keepy-uppy with three touches before flicking it over the head of Steve Foster to get into the penalty area. It led to nothing and the breakthrough goal was not forthcoming. United thought they had it when Lee Sharpe’s cross was headed back across goal by Keith Gillespie to Brian McClair centre just a couple of yards out (below left). He turned the ball into the net. The linesman came to the Seagulls rescue. But the Premiership Champions-elect would ultimately not be denied as Giggs curled home a terrific free-kick with less than a quarter of an hour to play. A result which came to the relief of Red Devils midfielder Paul Ince (below right).

93R4 ManU BBC Offside goal 93R4 ManU BBC Ince

Also; FA Cup Special, Sky Sports

93R4 ManU Sky intro 93R4 ManU Sky No pen

Sky Sports held Live and highlights rights to the FA Cup in a joint deal with the BBC and had done since the channel’s inception in 1991. Their round-up show, presented by Richard Keys in the studio, included a one-minute report on Brighton’s trip to Old Trafford. It was voiced by reporter Tony Lockwood, this time sans backing music. This report began with a look at the penalty which wasn’t given (above right), with the behind the goal angle perhaps suggesting minimal actual contact. The Nicky Bissett miss (below left) gets worse every time you see it, with Walker’s cross being flapped at by Peter Schmeichel and landing right on the head of Bissett with the goal gaping just four yards out. He had to angle his body in order to jump for the ball which must have hampered the accuracy, as the power was achieved and would have given the ‘keeper no chance if on target. After showing the disallowed goal, they showed the excellent Ryan Giggs free kick which separated the sides. From the angle behind the goal (below right) you follow the ball’s flight path all the way in from just outside the box to nestling in Beeney’s net. “At nineteen, Giggs is one of the hottest properties in the game,” claimed Lockwood. He certainly would be that. United went on to lose to Sheffield United in Round Five of the Cup but did claim the inaugural Premiership crown. The Seagulls consolidated back in the third tier (new Division Two) and finished in ninth spot despite the surrounding financial problems forcing the sale over the past year or so of many of their top players. Unfortunately for much of the rest of the decade, it would be all downhill from here.

93R4 ManU Sky missed chance 93R4 ManU Sky Goal


This look back over Albion’s FA Cup adventures in the 90s continues with part two which can be accessed HERE.

 

Small Screen Seagulls; Sunderland (H) 19/02/2005

Small Screen Seagulls 2000sAfter achieving promotion to the second tier via a fantastic Play Off Final victory in May 2004, beating Bristol City by one goal to nil in Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium, the Seagulls had a tough task on their hands for the 2004/2005 season. The primary objective, after four seasons of bouncing around the Divisions, was simply to remain in the newly-rebranded Championship and avoid the drop. A tricky start saw the Albion lose three of the first four before back to back wins over Preston and Live on television at Leicester got them off the mark. Two away victories in September was followed by a winless October, including a two-nil scoreline at promotion-chasing Sunderland. Just ten more points were gained by the turn of the year but an unbeaten January gave Brighton real hope of staying in the Division. ITV’s highlights programme The Championship popped down to Withdean when Sunderland were in town towards the end of February in a crucial match at both ends of the table.


Brighton 2-1 Sunderland, Championship; 3pm, Sat 19th Feb ’05

SUN Titles

A new addition to the televised football schedules from the start of the 2004/2005 season arrived on ITV1 nationally as The Championship debuted on Sunday 8th August 2004. The Football League rebranded its three Divisions from this campaign onwards; out went Division One, Two and Three to be replaced by the Championship, League One and League Two. Alongside this was a contract for a new national highlights programme focussing on the second tier Championship Division, which would go out every Sunday morning for forty-five minutes from 10.30am on ITV1. This replaced ITV’s previous efforts stretching back the previous ten years; late night round-up show Football League Extra. Also on the move were the regular Sunday afternoon regional magazine programmes, now going out on Thursday evenings around 11pm. In Brighton’s region, The Meridian Match would now be called Meridian Soccer Night. Andy Steggall remained at the helm for that. Back on the networked show, Matt Smith was the regular Championship host, with reports and analysis from the likes of ITV’s regular football correspondents Andy Townsend, Ally McCoist, Robbie Earle, Gabriel Clarke and Dave Beckett. The format of the show was simple; one featured match from where the programme was hosted from, two featured reports from other Football League games and voiceovers rounding up the rest of the action from the Championship, As the programme went on, in later seasons it increased to an hour’s duration and included Leagues One and Two action. Here I take a look back at the one and only time the programme was presented from Brighton and Hove Albion’s (temporary) home Withdean Stadium as Mick McCarthy’s Sunderland provided the opposition.


The Championship, ITV1, 10.30am (Sunday 20th February 2005)

SUN Ident SUN Sponsor SUN ITV Sport Ident

The Sunday 20th February edition of ITV’s highlights programme The Championship was broadcast from Withdean Stadium. The programme was in its first season and rotated from a different stadium around the country each week, from which the featured match was being played. It was sponsored by Pukka Pies, a staple of the Football League stadium food selection. The ITV Sport ident followed. Having held exclusive highlight rights for the top flight for the preceding three seasons, ITV’s main action now came from the lower Leagues as well as sharing Live midweek European Champions League action with Sky Sports.

SUN Lynam SUN Intro 1 SUN Intro 2 SUN Intro 3

Before the title sequence, legendary sports presenter Des Lynam made a cameo appearance to have a joking dig at today’s presenter; “Good morning, I bet you thought you’d seen the last of me on ITV Sport. The trouble is they’re letting almost anybody present the programmes these days.” The camera then panned across to Andy Townsend standing alongside Lynam to introduce the programme; “Welcome to Brighton and Hove Albion Football Club and all the weekend action from the Championship.” Des retired from Live sport in the summer of 2004 following the European Championships Final in Portugal and was enjoying supporting his team Brighton from the stands for this match. The titles played after, with the familiar sounds of U2’s Beautiful Day playing over the action. This music was retained as ITV’s theme tune following its use on The Premiership between 2001 and its ending in 2004. The Championship intro featured people playing football in the park and in the workplace interspersed with match footage from previous games. It also set the scene for what was to come over the next forty-five minutes. First up was the main match; Brighton versus Sunderland. Then pundit Ally McCoist went to visit his old boss Bobby Williamson, the manager of Plymouth, ahead of his next match. And finally reporter Gabriel Clarke was in Bradford to chat to their striker Dean Windass.

SUN Townsend

With regular Matt Smith away for this episode, Andy Townsend was the host for a rare frontman appearance. Smith presented the vast majority of editions from the beginning, having previously been the face of the Football League during the 2001/2002 season when the ITV Sport Channel held exclusive Live rights. When that folded he moved over to the main channel to chair The Premiership on Monday weekly discussion and highlights show from the studio. Andy Townsend joined ITV after retiring from football in 2000 and quickly became a regular pundit. He worked across Champions League, UEFA Cup, Football League and FA Cup coverage and was given his own analysis slot when The Premiership launched. However his ‘Tactics Truck’, which invited a player into the outside broadcast vehicle after the match to discuss the tactics of their performance, was ridiculed and quickly dropped after a few weeks. When Ron Atkinson resigned from ITV in April 2004 it was Townsend who filled the role of number one co-commentator on the channel with immediate effect, covering that year’s Champions League and European Championship Final alongside Clive Tyldesley. His work on The Championship has featured reporting on a secondary match and occasional hosting.

SUN Hospitality SUN Hammer throw SUN Trackside SUN Tunnel

Townsend opened the programme with a quick look around the below-par surroundings Brighton have to put up with at Withdean whilst the fight for a new stadium site in Falmer dragged on. He visited the portacabins which doubled up as VIP hospitality areas, where he was pelted with bread rolls upon his arrival. He then moved to the goal area, behind which was a hammer throwing area netting as part of the athletics equipment for the stadium. He described it as “certainly the most unusual ground that a Championship side will visit this season.” The public inquiry into Falmer was briefly mentioned whilst walking trackside in front of the North Stand. The initial plan had been for the stadium to be opened for the beginning of the 2005/2006 campaign but that was thwarted by Lewes District Council, later in 2005 MP John Prescott would reveal his decision to approve or reject the stadium proposals. Townsend concluded his visit around Withdean in the tunnel area with the players ready to make their way onto the pitch. He highlighted the Albion’s status in the League, just four places above the drop zone.

SUN Jon ChampionSUN Commentary Box SUN Comm

Our host then handed over to our commentator, “up in the crow’s nest”, who was Jon Champion. He joined ITV in the summer of 2001 to work on Premiership highlights and the launch of the ITV Sport Channel. He covered Football League and Champions League games Live and went to the 2002 World Cup and Euro 2004 as third choice commentator behind Clive Tyldesley and Peter Drury. He also got to cover the 2002 Worthington Cup Final Live for the channel. Prior to joining ITV, Champion spent five years on BBC Match of the Day where he covered Premiership and FA Cup highlights as well as going to the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000. He memorably got to call Michael Owen’s wonder goal for England against Argentina in ’98 for the highlights, with his commentary living long in the memory; “It’s still Michael Owen.. he’s scored a wonderful goal!” Champion has a class and wit about him which make for the ideal candidate to be a lead commentator for a broadcaster. Outside of football he also covered cricket and rugby. We saw him in-vision at the start of this highlights package, with the temporary scaffolding commentary box at the back of the open-air South Stand proving an unusual sight for clubs at this level.

SUN Brighton

The team news for the Albion saw Dan Harding come in at left-back in place of Kerry Mayo. Striker Leon Knight began in a wide-left position in midfield as manager Mark McGhee opted for Adam Virgo, continuing his makeshift striker role this year, and Mark McCammon up top. McCammon joined from Millwall in December initially on loan before making the signing permanent at the beginning of February. He netted his first Brighton goals shortly after, scoring both in the three-two defeat at home to Derby. Swedish goalkeeper Rami Shaaban came in for his debut having been brought in on a short-term deal until the end of the season the previous night. This was to cover the places of the injured Ben Roberts and Michel Kuipers. Among his previous clubs included Arsenal where he was plagued with injuries and only started a handful of times. Defender Danny Cullip and midfielder Darren Currie, who only joined in August, had both been sold since our last big television appearance a few months earlier. Chairman Dick Knight could barely afford to turn down decent money for players with budgetary constraints tight as the fight for Falmer continued. Guy Butters was on target when we last picked up a point, three games ago at Leeds. He partnered Adam Hinshelwood at the heart of the defence, with the academy graduate now a regular fixture in the starting eleven. Midfielder Alexis Nicolas joined from Chelsea and made his move a permanent one in October.

SUN Sunderland

The Black Cats were playing in the Championship for the second successive season, having lost out to Crystal Palace on penalties in the Play Off Semi Finals last time round. Mick McCarthy named an unchanged side from the win over Watford a week ago. Hat-trick hero Marcus Stewart was the club’s top scorer this year and last. Strike partner Stephen Elliott was a summer transfer from Manchester City. Also coming in for this campaign were midfielders Carl Robinson and Dean Whitehead, the latter the only one of the line-up not to have played in the Premiership so far. Winger Julio Arca was named in the PFA Team of the Season last year. At the back, the experience of Republic of Ireland international Gary Breen was crucial as captain. His central defensive partner Steven Caldwell, vice-captain, joined from fierce rivals Newcastle having been released. Left back George McCartney was a key part of Sunderland’s excellent defence and started his professional career at the club.


SUN Yellow Card SUN 1st Goal SUN Carpenter celebration SUN Scoreline 1

Story of the Match: This was the first time Sunderland had travelled down to Sussex to face the Seagulls in a League fixture since the 1991/92 campaign, with that match ending in a two-all draw in a year when Brighton were relegated. The referee in charge today was Dermot Gallagher. The first incident on the highlights showed a late, aggressive shoulder challenge from Adam Virgo on Steven Caldwell rewarded with a yellow card from referee Gallagher. It wasn’t long until Brighton had the ball in the back of the net after some decent intentions shown by Mark McCammon. Right-back Paul Reid passed the ball up the line towards the forward where the ball wouldn’t quite settle at his feet. He regained possession of the loose ball to lay it off to Reid on the far touchline. His deflected cross was headed away only as far the edge of the penalty area. Richard Carpenter was waiting unmarked and with a lot of space and time. He struck a fierce first-time volley which took a nick off Stephen Wright on the way in. Brighton took a surprise lead much to the crowd’s, and Des Lynam’s, delight twenty-six minutes in!

SUN Red Card SUN Red offence

The dream start soon turned to a nightmare when, after just half an hour’s play, Virgo received his second yellow card and his marching orders. Sunderland were playing it about in midfield when a pass went astray from Jeff Whitley in the centre circle. Virgo lunged in and took the loose ball but the follow through with both feet caught Whitley on the ankle. The referee was no more than ten yards away and believed he got a clear view of the challenge, which was pretty reckless and deserving of a yellow card. Unfortunately for the Albion man it meant his second and his match was over more than an hour early. Clearly receiving gestures and words from the Sunderland supporters in the North East corner of Withdean, Virgo held up his hands to show the scoreline as still being one-nil as he headed for the tunnel. “And now Brighton are up against it,” claimed commentator Champion.

SUN 2nd Goal SUN McGhee grin SUN Crowd cheers SUN Half Time

However the man disadvantage didn’t seem to do Brighton any harm in the immediate aftermath as the Seagulls doubled their lead with two minutes to go in the first half. Leon Knight won a corner after a tussle with Stephen Wright. Carpenter’s kick was swung in from the left high up to the centre of the goal six yards out. Mark McCammon rose highest to gently glance his header into goalkeeper’s bottom-left hand post for two-nil. He out-jumped his marker Gary Breen who could only turn round and watch as the ball sailed home. Mark McGhee greeted it with a cheeky grin to camera. It was the perfect response to losing a player as Brighton went into the half-time break with a two-goal advantage. All ten wins so far this season had been by a single goal margin so a tough second half was surely to be expected.

SUN Double sub SUN Thornton chance

Into the second period, Sunderland made a couple of changes in a bid to get back into this match. Sean Thornton and Chris Brown came on to provide a bit more of a goal threat, with Whitehead and Whitley making way. And Thornton almost provided the early breakthrough after a neat passing move that began at the back. A lay off in the box by Arca found the on running Thornton but his shot, under pressure from a combination of Carpenter and Hinshelwood, was blazed over. The Irish midfielder was involved again soon after, with a well-struck half-volley on the corner of the penalty area stinging the palms of Shaaban, who could merely punch the ball up and back out. The chances were slowly stacking up.

SUN Diving SUN Arca

The away team’s final throw of the dice saw another striker added to the mix as Michael Bridges replaced Stephen Elliott. He had a shot which bounced just wide from outside the area. With time running out and just a quarter of an hour left to play, Sunderland resorted to slightly desperate measures when Thornton appeared to dive under no challenge from a Brighton player. The referee was right on the spot and correctly did not award a penalty but also brandished a card for the cheating. But the ten men couldn’t hold out for the clean sheet as Julio Arca got one back for Sunderland with ten minutes to play. The tricky winger picked the ball up just outside the centre circle before embarking on an unchallenged run through the middle of the pitch. By the time any Brighton defenders were in sight he got his shot off. It was struck left-footed and low into the corner of the net, grazing the post upon entry, as Shaaban couldn’t quite stretch far enough.

SUN Hit the post SUN No penalty

Sunderland kept pushing for that equaliser in the closing stages. George McCartney’s run on the left wing delivered a great ball in but there wasn’t quite a red and white striped player close enough. Dan Harding booted the ball clear. It was gathered by Thornton around thirty yards out who went for goal. His effort bounced once on the way through as it struck the face of the post and away, thankfully from an Albion perspective. Shaaban would not have got there if it was on target and it was a let off for Brighton, who seemed to have very little in this second period. The final moments saw scrambles to get the ball out of the box and away from danger as the Seagulls dug deep. Further appeals for a penalty were dismissed after the ball hit Alexis Nicolas on the arm from point blank range. “Brighton hearts in Brighton mouths for a moment”, was how Jon Champion called it. And then the final whistle blew, to the relief and sheer joy of the 6,647 spectators inside Withdean Stadium. “Brighton’s best win of the season and maybe, given the circumstances, Sunderland’s worst defeat. One of the most endearing features of the Championship is that any one team can beat any other, whatever their relative status on a given day.” Perfectly summed up by our commentator.

SUN Final Score


After the match, Champion spoke with players and managers to get their immediate reaction to the result. Sunderland boss Mick McCarthy gave Brighton credit for the work rate and desire, calling his own team’s performance not great. Champion joked with Carpenter that the first was “obviously a Stephen Wright own goal?” Carpenter responded with “I don’t know about that! It took a bit of a deflection on the way through but I think I’ll definitely claim that one.” He thought the second yellow card for Virgo baffled him and was a bit harsh. Debutant goalkeeper Rami Shaaban was also interviewed, with reference being made to his last Arsenal appearance before he broke his leg and was out of action long term. He played in front of 67,000 against Manchester United that day compared to 6,000 here but was keen to point out it’s all still football; “For me this was a little bit more nervous even because before the United game I knew where I was standing and now I’ve been away for a while and playing in some reserve games but this is a totally different game.”

SUN Carpenter SUN Shaaban SUN McGhee

Mark McGhee didn’t hold back when it came to the ongoing stadium saga. “It’s embarrassing for us, it’s embarrassing for our supporters, having away supporters coming and sitting in this dump of a place. We do the best we can but it is a dump in terms of modern football and the quicker they give us permission for a stadium the better for everyone in Brighton.” And with that the programme took its first advert break having devoted the entire first third to the main match. Andy Townsend continued to review the rest of the Championship action linking in and out of round-ups from various spots around Withdean. Peter Drury voiced brief highlights of Preston versus Ipswich from the Friday and Wolves against Gillingham from Saturday, whilst Ned Boulting and Dave Beckett voiced the goals from the rest of the Division. As well as the reports from Plymouth and Bradford mentioned at the top of the show, the final five minutes were devoted to rounding up the best of the rest in Leagues One and Two, as a couple of selected goal highlights were broadcast to close the show before the off-air time of 11.15am.

SUN Round Ups 1 SUN Endboard

The win for Brighton saw them climb three places to fifteenth and, crucially, ten points clear of the relegation zone. Sunderland weren’t able to close the gap on the top two automatic places and now faced a fight to overtake one or both of Ipswich and Wigan to gain that all important spot back in the big time of the Premiership. The season would go down to the wire.

 SUN Table topSUN Table bottom

 

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

#1 BRIGHTON 2-2 MANCHESTER UNITED FA Cup FINAL
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.

BRIGHTON 2 MANCHESTER UNITED 2
Smith, Stevens Stapleton, Wilkins

1983 R graphic.PNG

NEXT; #2 BRIGHTON 0-4 MANCHESTER UNITED 26/05/1983