Small Screen Seagulls; Aldershot (A) 18/11/2000

Small Screen Seagulls 2000sBrighton negotiated a move back to Sussex to play at Withdean Stadium in 1999 and immediately took to the new, if unusual, surroundings. The first campaign there brought about the highest League finish for four seasons, ending the campaign in eleventh place in Division Three. Form towards the end was particularly impressive and had the season carried on for a few more games, the Albion might even had found themselves close to a Play Off spot. Things were on the up and, in Micky Adams, the club had a bright, young manager who resonated with players and fans alike. After starting the 2000/01 campaign brightly, a tricky trip to non-League Aldershot awaited in the First Round of the FA Cup. This garnered interest from BBC Match of the Day with the potential for a Cup upset on the cards. Could the Seagulls avoid national embarrassment and progress through?


Aldershot 2-6 Brighton, FA Cup Round 1; 3pm, Sat 18th Nov ’00

ALD Titles

Beginning in 1964 to help build the public interest in football ahead of the World Cup to be staged across the country two years later, Match of the Day went on to become one of the most iconic and recognised sporting television brands. The early years had highlights of one pre-selected game per week, hence the name, the show then expanded at the end of the decade to incorporate further matches on firstly a regional, then a national basis. By the 1980s there were three fixtures selected for extended action on MotD, before losing the top flight League action in 1988. For the following four years it was FA Cup all the way until the birth of the Premiership on Sky Sports in 1992. The BBC had the highlights of this exciting new Division and typically showcased the best of three games plus a goals round-up of the rest in both League and Cup. By the time tonight’s edition was on, in November 2000, Live FA Cup rights were with Sky and ITV but, curiously, highlights of the grand old competition remained with the BBC. Which brings us up to date ahead of this clash between Aldershot and Brighton. After seeing all the top flight goals, one match received the full MotD treatment from the First Round of the FA Cup and what better choice than the Albion? Gary Lineker presented from the studio at Television Centre in London, whilst Tony Gubba was dispatched to the corner of Hampshire to commentate on this potential Cup banana skin.


Match of the Day, BBC One, 10.30pm (Saturday 18th November 2000)

BBC One ident 2000 BBC Sport ident 2000

A mammoth one-hundred-minute Match of the Day was broadcast on BBC One in the regular 10.30pm slot on Saturday 18th November 2000. Earlier in the evening you could have seen Ant and Dec host Friends Like These after a bit of The Generation Game hosted by Jim Davidson. Classic Saturday night family entertainment, even with Davidson. The extended edition of the Beeb’s long-running highlights programme was to incorporate the best of the FA Cup action alongside the regular Premiership highlights, with a full round in swing. The famous globe idents were still being used and were followed by a quick BBC Sport sting before that unmistakable title music played. It was a big day of Premiership football, with both the Manchester and North East derbies taking place. Manchester United and Sunderland came out on top of those matches, respectively. Elsewhere Charlton defeated Chelsea, causing Alan Hansen bafflement at some of the Blues defending. And in the basement battle, Bradford remained rooted to the bottom after defeat at Derby. With the top flight action complete, attention could turn to the magic of the Cup. The first goals round-up came before the extended highlights of the Seagulls visit to this garrison town. Also making the trip would be commentator Tony Gubba, a regular across BBC’s sporting output since the 1970s. He covered every Olympics from 1972 and every World Cup from 1974. He also presented midweek highlights show Sportsnight for three years until 1975. Behind Motson and Davies in the football pecking order, Gubba would often cover more of the middle ranging matches but did voice a World Cup Semi Final in ’86 and the ’96 Charity Shield in amongst his wide range of other sports such as darts, ice skating and hockey. He was a true all-rounder.

ALD Lineker ALD Pundits ALD FA Cup graphic ALD Referee

Former Leicester, Tottenham, Everton and Barcelona striker Gary Lineker successfully made the transition from player to broadcaster after retirement in the early 1990s. He began as a pundit, making appearances on ITV during the World Cup whilst still a professional, before being given more regular work by the BBC when his playing career was drawing to a close. When he moved to Japan, he still cropped up on Match of the Day and BBC Radio 5 Live when available. He fully concentrated on his media aspirations after calling it a day in ’94 and wanted to go down the presenting route more so than sitting on the other side of the studio. He first big hosting role came in 1996 when he took over preview programme Football Focus from Steve Rider and went on to front Grandstand and Match of the Day as cover for the main hosts. His biggest gig came when Des Lynam transferred to ITV in August 1999 which enabled Lineker to step into the great man’s shoes and become the BBC’s face of football. He was joined in the MotD studio for this edition by regulars Alan Hansen and Mark Lawrenson. The former Liverpool defenders were long-standing members of the BBC football team. Hansen joined in 1992 for the re-launch of the new Premiership-based programme, having tried his hand in the studio for Sky Sports on their Sunday afternoon Italian football matches the season before, straight out of retirement. With his distinctive Scottish accent and erudite analysis, Hansen quickly became one of the leading pundits on television and was the corporation’s first choice. Mark Lawrenson also began his punditry career elsewhere before becoming a mainstay of Match of the Day, with appearances on ITV’s Welsh and West Country region, HTV West, as well as Sky Sports Soccer Saturday and European matches. He had a brief spell coaching at Newcastle in the mid-90s before returning to the television studio and radio gantries with the BBC. The pairing was now their first choice studio pundits.


ALD Aldershot

The story of today’s hosts, Aldershot Town, is one of hope from despair. Their predecessors, Aldershot FC, racked up debts they just couldn’t afford to pay back and were wound up in March 1992. In doing so they became the first Football League club to go out of business during the season since Accrington thirty years earlier. Aldershot regrouped later in ’92, adopted the Town name and began life as a football club five Divisions lower than their March position; Isthmian League Division Three. Fans stuck with them with big attendances and success came quickly as they climbed back up the pyramid. Two promotions in the first two seasons saw them compete in the Isthmian League Division One by 1994, and the Premier Division by 1997, the level where they were at when Brighton came to town. This was one level below the Conference. Manager George Borg took over for the 97/98 campaign and gained promotion in his first year and local Cup joy in subsequent ones. The star name in his side was veteran striker Gary Abbott, a non-League legend showing no signs of slowing down at the age of thirty-six. He built a name for himself scoring goals for Welling in the 1980s, joined the Shots in 1998 and won last year’s Non-League Player of the Season. He’s partnered up top by Wayne Andrews, a pacy twenty-two-year-old signed from St Albans in February. Captain Mark Blake began at Southampton before spells at Fulham, Shrewsbury and Cannes in France. Winger Mark Graham enjoyed Football League experience, spending five years at QPR before moving on to Cambridge. Substitute Stafford Brown had a three-month spell with Brighton at the start of season 1998/99.

ALD Brighton

Micky Adams brought his side to Aldershot sitting second in the Division Three table and on course for promotion. He’d built a consistent core team with three starting all eighteen League matches thus far. Amongst those were top-scorer Bobby Zamora, with ten goals to his name, all coming at Withdean. His strike partner Gary Hart was also an ever-present, as was left-footed right-back Paul Watson. He was also a dead-ball specialist, adept at free-kicks and penalties. Combative midfielder Charlie Oatway returned to the starting line-up after suspension, receiving a red card in the top of the table defeat at Chesterfield. Alongside him was Richard Carpenter, who missed two matches in the early stages of the season but has been immovable since returning. The same goes for Danny Cullip, a rock at the back. Matthew Wicks was his centre-back partner, a former Arsenal and Manchester United youth prospect who joined initially on loan from Peterborough before making the switch permanent this year. The defence ably protected Dutch goalkeeper Michel Kuipers, signed on a free transfer from Bristol Rovers over the summer. Captain Paul Rogers had top flight experience with Sheffield United and even scored the winner for Wigan in the Auto Windscreens Shield Final at Wembley in 1998. Options from the bench included Scouse striker Lee Steele, tricky winger Paul Brooker and solid centre back Andy Crosby. Refereeing the contest was Paul Rejer.

ALD Carpenter 1-0 ALD 1st penalty challenge ALD 1st penalty ALD One One

The Albion got the game underway in the rain sodden pitch, kicking from right to left in the first half. It didn’t take them long at all to settle into the match, scoring the opener after just two minutes. Charlie Oatway was tripped by Ricard Gell around thirty yards from goal. Paul Watson with his left foot and Richard Carpenter with his right both stood over the set piece. It was the latter who struck it and struck it well (above, top left). It flew around the wall and into the back of the net, goalkeeper Pape was nowhere near it. The perfect start and what a fantastic goal from Carpenter. Commentator Tony Gubba drew comparisons with England’s own free kick specialist David Beckham, adding “he won’t have scored many better himself.” Aldershot got right back into the Cup tie around twenty-five minutes when Danny Cullip fouled Wayne Andrews in the box to concede a penalty. Kerry Mayo cut out Protheroe’s forward ball, diverting it into the area. Andrews got there quickest ahead of Cullip, whose outstretched leg brought the striker down (above, top right). The Shots talisman Gary Abbott stepped up and blasted his kick straight down the middle but, crucially, high enough for Kuipers not to get a meaningful hand to it, just fingertips on the way through (above, bottom left). One-one and it was game on at the Recreation Ground.

ALD Zamora challenge ALD Watson 1st pen

The pace of Andrews up top almost put the home side in the lead soon after the equaliser. He picked up a pass around the halfway line before going on a lightning run through to the area. Matthew Wicks did his best to stay with him all the way and just did enough, with Andrews forced slightly wide his shot smashed into the side netting. Brighton then began to take control of the match and should have taken the lead through Bobby Zamora. He latched onto a fantastic Watson cross, the header just not quite on target as it smacked against the crossbar and out to safety. Very unlucky. He was not to be deterred though as he raced onto a Kerry Mayo ball over the back line. Zamora’s first touch took him into the box out on the left whilst his second put the ball past the outrushing goalkeeper. Pape had already slid in and his arms caught Zamora to bring him down for a penalty, this time to the Albion (above left). It may have looked a little theatrical but the contact was there and enough to send Zamora flying and hand the ‘keeper a card. Paul Watson stepped up and converted the spot kick expertly (above right), tucked into the corner low and hard to his right to give Brighton a two-one lead right on half-time.

ALD Second Half ALD Oatway ALD Oatway goal 2 ALD One Three

Into the second period and it didn’t take Brighton long to extend their lead, beginning the second as brightly as they had the first half. A positive drive down the left flank from Welsh wizard Nathan Jones gained territory. His cut back found Charlie Oatway in space some twenty-two or so yards out. He took two touches to get the ball out of his feet before looking up and curling a shot magnificently into the top right-hand corner of the net (above, top right and bottom left). What a sensational goal! The rare sight of an Oatway goal must have caught everybody by surprise, particularly the extravagant manner of it. Commentator Tony Gubba called; “Good strike! Ohhhh well done Oatway. It’s three-one now, Brighton and that might well knock the stuffing out of Aldershot.” The replay from behind the goal showed just what a strike it was, no chance again for the goalie. Oatway notched his first of the campaign eight minutes into the second half and the travelling supporters began chanting and singing his name.

ALD 3rd penalty foul ALD Watson 2nd pen

There was no let up from Brighton, keen to get the game beyond the reach of the Reds. Zamora tried a long crossfield pass to Jones, which was just cut out by Protheroe. His header sent the ball bouncing around and into the penalty area. Pape came to claim but lost possession in a tussle with Jones. The ‘keeper then proceeded to drag the Welshman down in the resulting scramble (above left), with referee Rejer under no illusions and awarded the third penalty of the match. Paul Watson again took the kick and again sent it flying into the back of the net (above right). It was identical to his first in that it was struck low and hard into the bottom right-hand corner past the stretched arm of Pape, the only difference was it was now at the opposite end. It was another fantastic penalty and surely now the game was beyond the non-League outfit. Four-one the score at the hour mark as the rainfall got heavier in Hampshire.

ALD Subs ALD Zamora goal ALD Wicks goal ALD Wicks celebration

A triple substitution for Aldershot prompted a response, with one-time Albion man Stafford Brown bundling the ball into the goal. However it was deemed unfair by the referee who adjudged the number fifteen to have fouled Michel Kuipers. He pretty much jumped into him as Kuipers claimed a routine cross, with the result that both he and the ball ended over the line. A double sub of their own saw Lee Steele and Paul Brooker on for Albion. And a fifth came shortly after. Gary Hart’s cross from the right bounced up off a defender in the box and landed kindly at the back post for an unmarked Bobby Zamora to nod home from just a couple of yards out (above, top right) with a quarter of an hour to go. It was his first away goal of the season. And the rout was completed following an Oatway corner late on. Gary Hart hung out a leg to meet it fifteen yards from goal. His touch fell to Matthew Wicks on the edge of the six-yard box who instinctively prodded home (above, bottom left). It just needed a little touch as the combination of the slick surface and the close proximity to goal was too much to prevent it going in.

ALD Consolation ALD Goalscorers

A six-one scoreline perhaps flattered Brighton a little, who had been by far the better side but took their opportunities better and stood firmer. As commentator Gubba pointed out, “As the rain continues to fall, Aldershot’s defence proving as leaky as their guttering.” The giantkilling potential had long gone but there was still time for the home fans to cheer something as they scored a consolation second with a couple of minutes left. Some nice work from sub Brown presented Abbott with the ball near the eighteen-yard line. His fierce shot stung the palms of a diving Michel Kuipers to force a corner. The resulting set-piece was swung in to the near post and temporarily cleared after a scramble. Left-back Chewins crossed it back in high towards the back stick. Waiting there was, of course, Gary Abbott who arched his neck and powered a header across the face and into the corner of the net. It was a great header and no more than he deserved having worked tirelessly all game in difficult circumstances. And so they pulled one back to make the final scoreline Aldershot two, Brighton six. It was excellent reading for Seagulls supporters; the upset was avoided and then some! The ghosts of the previous non-League defeats to Kingstonian, Hereford and Sudbury were banished for now. National television highlights coverage was one to savour rather than peer behind the sofa at. Micky Adams and his men were through to Round Two.


ALD Scoreline ALD Borg ALD Adams

In the post-match interviews we heard from Shots boss George Borg as well as their scorer Gary Abbott. Borg was disappointed at half-time to have conceded so close to the break to go behind but remained gracious; “All credit to Brighton they played very well today, knocked it around and we’ve got no complaints really.” Abbott agreed that the first half penalty was the turning point after putting up a decent fight. Micky Adams returned the compliments to the hosts, saying “I thought they were terrific today. On their day I think they’ll cause teams a lot of problems.” The teams were friendly at full-time, applauding each other off the pitch after a crackingly entertaining and open Cup tie. However, it was not to last for Borg who left Aldershot later that month. Micky Adams meanwhile continued to lead Brighton on to greater things and sealed promotion from Division Three at the end of the season with the title trophy secured in the process.

ALD Studio ALD Lawrenson

With so many games and so many goals to cram in, there was no time for any analysis on Match of the Day back in the studio other than a brief word from former Albion defender Mark Lawrenson. He played over 150 times for the club in the late seventies and early eighties before securing his big move to Liverpool where he became a household name. After the ten minutes or so of match action, Lawrenson said “It’s always nice to see your old team do well. If you consider, what, two or three years ago could’ve gone out the League and could’ve actually been playing Aldershot in a League match. They’re doing very well in Division Three, right manager in Micky Adams and long may it continue.” Hear, hear, Lawro. And that was it as far as the Albion were concerned for this edition of the programme. Lineker introduced the rest of the round-ups before the long night was over. Brighton’s progress in the FA Cup came to an end in Round Two with a two-one defeat away at fellow Division Three side Scunthorpe. Better things were to come but for now, that six-two scoreline would do very nicely thank you very much. Six of the best.

BHAFC Premier League Commentaries 2019/20

img_1598Brighton just about scraped their way to safety following a dismal run towards the end of the 2018/19 campaign, surviving over Cardiff by just two points. Manager Chris Hughton seemingly paid the price as he was sacked the morning after the season concluded. Swansea boss Graham Potter was the chosen one to replace him for the Albion’s third successive top flight season. 2019 saw the start of a new Premier League broadcasting contract, with Sky and BT remaining as the dominant partners. Also entering the fray were online streaming giants Amazon, who held the rights to show two midweek rounds in full Live. Whilst the money from this domestic deal was slightly down on the previous one, there was a significant increase from overseas broadcasters making the Premier League once again an embarrassment of riches. Sky no longer held rights in Ireland but did continue to show all non-Live matches in thirty minute highlight form, meaning every game enjoyed full commentary.

Here are the full commentary details of Brighton’s third Premier League season.

# Date Fixture H/A UK TV Live / World Feed Match of the Day
1 Sat 10 Aug Watford (W3-0) A Tony Jones & Tony Gale Mark Scott
2 Sat 17 Aug West Ham (D1-1) H Guy Havord & Tony Gale John Roder
3 Sat 24 Aug Southampton (L2-0) H Gary Taphouse & Keith Andrews Simon Brotherton
4 Sat 31 Aug Manchester City (L4-0) A David Stowell & Keith Andrews Martin Fisher
5 Sat 14 Sep Burnley (D1-1) H Guy Havord & Andy Walker Robyn Cowen
6 Sat 21 Sep Newcastle (D0-0) A Sky; Bill Leslie & Alan Smith Guy Mowbray
7 Sat 28 Sep Chelsea (L2-0) A Gary Taphouse & Tony Gale Jonathan Pearce
8 Sat 5 Oct Tottenham (W3-0) H BT; Darren Fletcher & Glenn Hoddle Simon Brotherton
9 Sat 19 Oct Aston Villa (L2-1) A Rob Palmer & Iain Dowie Jonathan Pearce
10 Sat 26 Oct Everton (W3-2) H Gary Taphouse & Andy Walker Conor McNamara
11 Sat 2 Nov Norwich (W2-0) H Guy Havord & Garry Birtles John Roder
12 Sun 10 Nov Manchester United (L3-1) A David Stowell & Iain Dowie Conor McNamara
13 Sat 23 Nov Leicester (L2-0) H Guy Havord & Davie Provan Simon Brotherton
14 Sat 30 Nov Liverpool (L2-1) A David Stowell & Davie Provan Steve Wilson
15 Thu 5 Dec Arsenal (W2-1) A Amazon; Clive Tyldesley & Alan Shearer Mark Scott*
16 Sun 8 Dec Wolves (D2-2) H Sky; Bill Leslie & Andy Hinchcliffe Simon Brotherton
17 Mon 16 Dec Crystal Palace (D1-1) A Sky; Bill Leslie & Alan Smith No highlights
18 Sat 21 Dec Sheffield United (L1-0) H Gary Taphouse & Andy Walker Tony Husband
19 Thu 26 Dec Tottenham (L2-1) A Amazon; Guy Mowbray & Glenn Hoddle Guy Mowbray
20 Sat 28 Dec Bournemouth (W2-0) H Sky; Martin Tyler & Alan Smith Steve Wilson
21 Wed 1 Jan Chelsea (D1-1) H BT; Peter Drury & Glenn Hoddle Simon Brotherton
22 Sat 11 Jan Everton (L1-0) A Rob Palmer & Davie Provan Martin Fisher
23 Sat 18 Jan Aston Villa (D1-1) H Gary Taphouse & Davie Provan Steve Wilson
24 Tue 21 Jan Bournemouth (L3-1) A Rob Palmer & Garry Birtles Tony Husband
25 Sat 1 Feb West Ham (D3-3) A Tony Jones & Keith Andrews Simon Brotherton
26 Sat 8 Feb Watford (D1-1) H BT; Ian Darke & Jermaine Jenas Jonathan Pearce
27 Sat 22 Feb Sheffield United (D1-1) A Rob Palmer & Keith Andrews Alistair Mann
28 Sat 29 Feb Crystal Palace (L1-0) H BT; Darren Fletcher & Martin Keown Jonathan Pearce
29 Sat 7 Mar Wolves (D0-0) A Rob Palmer & Keith Andrews Jonathan Pearce
30 Arsenal H
31 Manchester United H
32 Norwich A
33 Liverpool H Sky;
34 Manchester City H Sky;
35 Southampton A
36 Newcastle H
37 Leicester A
38 Burnley A

Matches 10 & 14 were shown delayed in full as the Game of the Day.

*Goal clips with commentary were shown on Football Focus as MOTD aired the night before match 15.

The season had a temporary break with all football postponed from 13th March due to the global outbreak of the coronavirus.

Final Premier League position;                        [Key; WIN, DRAW, LOSE]

The Amex as seen on Premier League Match Pack

Sky Sports Match Choice 2019/20

Match Choice 2019/20 img_9656

Match Choice provided 30 minute highlights of every single non-Live Premier League game throughout the season. There was a new title sequence for this campaign, used across the Live Super Sunday, Friday Night and Saturday Night Football shows; soundtracked as the theme tune by Labrinth’s “Something’s Got to Give”. The programme remained sponsored by Renault. The titles featured each of the twenty Premier League teams with a player posing behind the team name representing them. With Anthony Knockaert leaving the Albion for Fulham, he was replaced after two seasons on Sky’s titles by Jose Izquierdo. With the winger out injured for the majority of the season, Pascal Gross was edited in to replace him on the Live coverage from December. The programme itself just uses commentary, with no host or voiceover linking in and out. Graphics were the same as this year’s Live Sky Sports set, which in itself were a tweaked version of the previous season’s graphics. Game of the Day followed the same pattern.

BBC Match of the Day 2019/20

img_9649 img_9658 img_9647 img_9648

Match of the Day went through an overhaul of its look this season, with all football related programming now being presented via a fully virtual ‘stadium studio’. This enabled the background to constantly change according to the discussion at the time. Some things should never change though, and thankfully that familiar theme tune remained in the titles. Each Premier League club featured in the intro sequence, and each of the day’s fixtures were incorporated in text form. Brighton were represented by both a flying seagull (above, bottom left) and then star striker Glenn Murray (above, bottom right), who stood alongside Harry Kane near the end of the sequence.

MOTD 19-20 Live link up MOTD Studio 360 19-20

The studio in Salford incorporated 360 degree virtual reality technology for the first time. Gary Lineker hosted on the left with his two pundits on the right. Pictured above are Alan Shearer and Ian Wright; other regulars used throughout the season included Danny Murphy, Jermaine Jenas, Phil Neville, Kevin Kilbane and Martin Keown as well as newcomers Peter Crouch, Micah Richards, Tim Cahill and Karen Carney. Graphics were unchanged from the last couple of seasons. Team line ups used images of the players laid out in formation if it was a main game, shorter highlights edits had the player pictures animate on the lower third of the screen. Lineker would often speak to one manager after the match (above, top left) via videolink, with the commentators conducting the rest of the chats.

MOTD 19-20 MOTD Brighton Background 2019 MOTD line up 2019 MOTD Line ups 2019

BBC Match of the Day 2 2019/20

img_9655 img_9681

Highlights of Sunday matches were broadcast on Match of the Day 2, shown on BBC One around 10.30pm each matchweek. The titles were a slightly modified version of the main show’s, with many clubs having a different player representing them on Sunday to Saturday. This season, new signing Neal Maupay was the Brighton man featured in the MotD2 opening sequence fresh from his debut goal. Once again, Mark Chapman was the regular host in the studio. He was sat in the middle of his two pundits, with the studio design adopting blue virtual stadium seating colours to contrast it with the red on the main show. In the screenshot below left, Chapman was joined by Tim Cahill and Danny Murphy. The show utilised the regular pool of BBC pundits listed above but also included guests from the world of football such as current and former managers, current players and footballers recently out of retirement. Additionally, semi-regular pundits who didn’t tend to appear on the main show did on MotD2 and the FA Cup highlights; Mark Lawrenson, Dion Dublin, Alex Scott, Jon Walters and Leon Osman. The rest of the programme followed the familiar pattern with round ups of the previous day and a lighter look at the weekend. Graphics were the same as used on MotD.

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VAR; Video Assistant Referee

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The use of VAR was introduced to all Premier League matches from the beginning of the season, having been trialled in the FA Cup and League Cup in the previous year or two and at the FIFA World Cup in Russia 2018. This was given its own graphics and font used across all broadcasters worldwide. Although there were teething problems and a lack of clear communications, VAR was implemented to aid the on-field referee using replays and various angles and graphics to try to eliminate match changing mistakes. Stockley Park in West London was the location of the VAR room for all Premier League matches this campaign. The implementation of it was a total shambles.

FA Cup 2017

BBC Match of the Day broadcast highlights and goals from the FA Cup this season, many with full commentary edits, whilst both they and BT Sport held the Live rights. After last season’s run to the Semis, Brighton crashed out at the first stage this year to Championship side Sheffield Wednesday.

R3 Sat 4 Jan Sheffield Weds (L1-0) H World Feed & MOTD; Matt Davies-Adams

Withdean on Screen; Milestone Matches part 2

Small Screen Seagulls 2000sThe media spotlight didn’t often shine on the Albion. Outside of the glorious run to the FA Cup Final, and Replay, in 1983, appearances on the television were rare. Goal clips were shown on the news and, if you were lucky, the Brighton game might have been selected for extended highlights on Match of the Day or The Big Match. Live games were even rarer, with the Seagulls on screen just three times in the 1980s and four in the 1990s. The satellite television boom didn’t really reach the South Coast until the 21st Century. The story of the club’s homelessness, two-year exile to Gillingham’s Priestfield Stadium and twelve year stay at Withdean did garner some attention. Television helped play its part in this. This piece remembers some of the milestone matches Brighton played at their temporary abode. This is the SECOND part of the story, the first can be found here.

Ipswich 05 Pitch invasion

1

BIGGEST MARGIN OF VICTORY (11th November 2006) FA Cup Round One

Match of the Day, BBC One; Brighton 8-0 Northwich Victoria 

Northwich Intro Northwich red button

After a disappointing 2005/06 season which saw the Albion relegated in last place from the Championship, and further frustrating delays over the planning permission for the new stadium in Falmer, the club were back in the third tier for a period of transition. It got worse just a month into the campaign when boss Mark McGhee left after a lacklustre start and three consecutive losses. Hopes of bouncing straight back up like the last time they were at this level were quickly diminished. Chairman Dick Knight said at the time he thought McGhee had lost the fans and accepted his proposal to stand down. Former Albion midfielder Dean Wilkins, coach of the academy, was appointed initially in a caretaker role before being given the post full time. Results weren’t showing much sign of improving with five defeats on the bounce, including a disappointing defeat Live on Sky against Blackpool in October. That proved to be a bit of a turning point as Wilkins’ young Seagulls then began a six match unbeaten run, five of them wins, ahead of an FA Cup 1st Round tie at home to Conference side Northwich Victoria. As the 1990s showed, Albion taking on non-League sides in the Cup wasn’t always a guarantee of a result. Terrestrial FA Cup broadcaster BBC showed the pick of the First Round ties at the end of an extended one-hundred-minute Match of the Day, once all the Premiership highlights had been on. In fact there were so many goals to get through, there was only time to show three of ours on the main show, with the rest shunted to the BBC Red Button where every goal from every game was played on a loop overnight. Damien Johnson voiced all eight Albion finishes, eventually!

Northwich Cox opener Northwich Robinson 2nd Northwich Revell Northwich Rents

Dean Cox got us off to the perfect start with a goal in the eighth minute. A positive surge from Dean Hammond brought the ball inside the area where Cox finished first time to curl into the bottom corner (above, top left). Jake Robinson doubled the lead ten minutes later when he skipped past two to drill low into the corner past goalkeeper Phil Senior. The juniors were out on top at half time and it was three nil ten minutes after the break. Robinson was again the scorer, cutting in from the right touchline past his marker and finishing from a wide angle under the ‘keeper (above, top right). The low corners were proving to be the weak spot for Senior and Alex Revell took full advantage with a fantastic strike (above, bottom left) from twenty-five yards. Four more goals were added in the final twelve minutes, the first of which completed Jake Robinson’s hat-trick (below left). This time the effort flew high into the roof of the net from range. The sixth came about when, for some reason, the furthest forward was Adam El-Abd who saw his shot parried into the path of Joe Gatting, son of former Albion defender Steve, to tap home from six yards. That was his first senior goal for the club after coming up through the ranks and another also got that accolade with a minute to go. Sam Rents was put through by Dean Cox with time and space to make it number seven (above, bottom right). And it was Cox who rounded things off neatly, scoring the first and the last, to make it a great eight-nil. His run into the area was spotted by Gatting, the through ball perfect for Cox to lift it over the goalie and into the top corner. A fantastically ruthless display from a Brighton side full of youth and excitement. They progressed to the Second Round with the biggest margin of victory Withdean would see.

Northwich Robinson Hat Trick Northwich Scoreline

This result didn’t quite prove to be the shot in the arm to push on for the rest of the season. Further exploits in the Cup continued, ending with a Third Round defeat to Premiership West Ham away. League form was patchy and the club trundled to an eighteenth place finish in League One in 2007, picking up just eight points from the final twelve matches. The following season was much more positive though and Wilkins narrowly missed out on a Play Off spot by a single place. The biggest result came off the pitch, with permission finally granted for Falmer, this time Lewes District Council decided not to challenge. Things were on the up again! But sadly not for Dean Wilkins, who was relieved of his duties at the end of the season, in a surprise move. Brighton searched through their former glories and brought back Division Three winning manager Micky Adams after seven years away for the 2008/09 season. What could possibly go wrong?!


2

BIGGEST SHOCK (24th September 2008) League Cup Round Two

Carling Cup Highlights, ITV1; Brighton 1-1 Man City (2-2 AET, 5-3 on pens) 

Man City Intro Man City Skippings

In September 2008, Manchester City were taken over by an Abu Dhabi Group consortium for £200 million which instantly made them the richest club in world football. The club finished ninth in the Premiership the season before and were now competing in Europe this time round. On Transfer deadline day they bought Brazilian superstar Robinho from Real Madrid for £32.5 million. By contrast at the same time, Brighton were competing in League One having brought back the manager who left to become an assistant at Leicester seven years earlier, beginning their twelfth season without a home, lost to Crowborough Athletic in the final pre-season match and the biggest bit of transfer news was the re-signing of Adam Virgo on a free, having not spent a penny on a new player all summer and relying on youth, free agents and loans. So when the two sides were drawn to play each other in the Second Round of the Carling Cup it was fair to see it was a complete mismatch. The City schedule was jam-packed due to their progression in the UEFA Cup so this match had to be played when pretty much everybody else was playing the Third Round. They went into the match off the back of a six-nil thrashing of Portsmouth and won three out of the first five Premiership games. Brighton’s form had regressed since an unbeaten August, without a win in four and lost the previous Saturday to the nine-men of Walsall. Nobody really held out much hope of making it to the League Cup Third Round this Wednesday night at Withdean. Football League highlights broadcaster ITV put on a late-night programme at 11.35pm to round up the events of the week presented by Matt Smith in the studio, with our match receiving the voiceover treatment from regular reporter Tom Skippings.

Man City Opener Man City Murray Man City Anyinsah Man City Equaliser

Big money signing Robinho was a no-show but City’s side included several famous names, the likes of Peter Schmeichel’s son Kasper, Richard Dunne, Vincent Kompany, Michael Ball (not that one), Michael Johnson (not that one either) and Jo all starting. The Albion’s team featured local born Adam Virgo, Tommy Elphick, Adam El-Abd and Tommy Fraser alongside new signing David Livermore and Ipswich loanee Matt Richards. But honours were even in the first half, with Steve Thomson nearly even putting Brighton one up when he struck the post. However, City took the lead just after the hour mark. Gelson Fernandes saw his effort take a huge deflection of Elphick and fly past Kuipers (above, top left). Just when you thought that would be that, Brighton popped up with an equaliser in the final minute after great work from Thomson. He received the ball from a throw-in on the left touchline, dribbled past Stephen Ireland and through Vincent Kompany. He received the ball in the box from a Virgo flick over the top before stabbing the ball goalwards. Waiting to pounce from no more than two yards out was Albion striker Glenn Murray who got there ahead of Fernandes to equalise (above, top right). Extra Time was required. Brighton turned the game around just five minutes in when substitute Joe Anyinsah, on loan from Preston making only his second appearance, pounced in the area (above, bottom left) after good work from Dean Cox. For all their wealth, experience and technique, it took Mark Hughes’ Manchester City side to go route one for their equaliser three minutes into the second period. A long punt upfield from goalkeeper Schmeichel was missed by everyone and allowed to bounce just outside the box. Stephen Ireland latched on to it to squeeze between the central defenders and slot the ball through the legs of Kuipers for two-two (above, bottom right). They still couldn’t be separated and a shoot-out was next.

Man City Richards penalty Man City Adams Man City Scoreline

Penalty shoot-outs had served Brighton rather well, with a superb dramatic win over Swindon in 2004 on the way to Play Off glory being the most famous thus far. Nobody was giving an inch during this, with the first seven spot kicks all being converted. Livermore, Elphick, Murray and Virgo scored for the Seagulls, with Ched Evans, Elano and Kompany replying for the visitors. Michael Ball couldn’t follow, with his kick saved well by Kuipers low to the Dutchman’s right. That presented Matt Richards with the opportunity to win it, which he duly did; dispatching his penalty to the left (above, top left) sending Schmeichel the wrong way and Brighton through! Cue a mini pitch invasion, the hoardings and running track of Withdean no barrier for the fans. There was no doubting this was an embarrassing exit for Manchester City, who would get over it in subsequent years of course. Pure elation for Brighton, supporters getting that little chance to gloat over the big clubs. In his interview afterwards, Micky Adams said “The fans have thoroughly enjoyed it tonight. It’s nice to see the Withdean packed out.” Adams wouldn’t go on to see that again too much. Defeat to Derby in Round Three saw a swift exit, they were knocked out of the FA Cup in Round One via a replay and were a penalty shoot-out away from a Wembley Final in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy but Luton edged it that night, Live on Sky. Form in the League crashed and burned and he was sacked in February after just nine months as the club slid into the relegation zone. An emergency rescue operation was required in the final third of the season to avoid falling into League Two.


3

THE GREAT ESCAPE IS ON (18th April 2009) League One

The Championship, ITV4 (repeat); Brighton 3-1 Oldham

Oldham Titles Oldham Smith

With Micky Adams losing his job in February and the club in the bottom four of League One, it was a tall order to reverse the slide with so few matches remaining. Come in, Russell Slade! The 2007 League One Manager of the Year was appointed in March until the end of the season, giving him just fourteen matches to lift them from 22nd place. Early on he got the better of his old side Yeovil with a five-nil thrashing but that was the only win in March. Defeats on the road at Walsall, Scunthorpe and MK Dons followed before a vital win at Hereford. An Easter Monday victory at Colchester kick-started an incredible finish to the season which continued with this match, at home to Oldham. Joe Royle’s side were comfortably mid-table with the Play Offs not quite in reach so essentially had little to play for. But Brighton had the worst home record in the Division, with just two wins at Withdean since 1st November – that’s an astonishing thirteen matches. ITV’s The Championship continued to be the terrestrial highlights programme for the Football League but despite the name, they did show the goals from all three Divisions. Matt Smith presented the Sunday morning show on ITV1, repeated on Monday nights on digital channel ITV4, from Molineux as Wolves celebrated promotion. Reporter Chris Hall talked through the goals on a big day for Brighton.

Oldham League One Oldham 1st goal Oldham Owusu header Oldham consolation

Dean Cox got Brighton off the mark after twenty-six minutes, left unmarked at the back post to nod home Lloyd Owusu’s cross. And the assister became the goalscorer just before half-time in slightly unusual circumstances. Gary Hart, who was actually released in the summer by Dean Wilkins only to be immediately brought back when Micky Adams was appointed, provided a similar looking cross to the back stick where Owusu stood. The striker joined in March on loan from Cheltenham. He was denied a goal at the first attempt when his stooping header was saved by goalkeeper Mark Crossley but his quick reactions ensured he wasn’t to be denied completely. Whilst lying full stretch on the floor, he flicked the loose ball in from all of a yard to improvise brilliantly (above, top right). You don’t see too many horizontal headers! After an hour, Lewis Allesandra pulled a goal back for the Latics when he outmuscled Adam El-Abd to win a ball over the top and calmly slot past Michel Kuipers (above, bottom left). The hope was short-lived as Lloyd Owusu grabbed his second and Brighton’s third less than two minutes later to seal the points. Somehow the ball trickled through the middle of the Oldham defence and Owusu latched onto it to slot past Crossley (below left).

Oldham Owusu 2nd Oldham table

Three-one was the final scoreline as Brighton completed a huge victory and shook off that Withdean hoodoo. There were three more matches in order to pull off the greatest of great escapes, with just one of those coming at Withdean. The League One table still made for uncomfortable viewing from an Albion perspective, with the club languishing in 22nd spot but three vital points brought them that little bit closer to getting out. Hereford’s fate was sealed that weekend after another defeat, just three other spots now waited to be filled. Brighton followed up these back-to-back wins with two more great away performances. A two-one victory at Bristol Rovers saw the Seagulls come from behind to snatch the three points. That man Owusu scored again, cancelling Rickie Lambert’s opener, whilst on-loan Crystal Palace forward Calvin Andrew got the winner. This was backed up by a crucial point at Huddersfield, who had veteran Andy Booth still firing strong and on the scoresheet. Again, Andrew and Owusu netted. These results lifted Albion out of the relegation zone and meant that a win in the final match of the season at home to Stockport would be enough to complete what was unthinkable just a few short weeks ago; stay in the Division. Could the Seagulls hold their nerve for one more match?

4

FINAL DAY SURVIVAL (2nd May 2009) League One

Big League Weekend, Sky Sports 1; Brighton 1-0 Stockport

Stockport Titles Stockport Gavin

Sky Sports previewed the final weekend of the Football League season with their usual Friday night magazine show Big League Weekend 1. This replaced the old Football League Review show on Thursday nights in previous seasons with a Friday preview and a Monday review show under the Big League banner. This was introduced for the 2007/08 season. George Gavin was the main man fronting it in the presenter’s seat. Gone are the days of having to stand around that podium for an hour! Graphics and titles were the same as used on the Live matches. For this edition, Gavin was joined in the studio by Brentford manager Andy Scott and Sky Sports pundit Scott Minto.

Stockport Slade dugout Stockport Studio 1  Stockport table before match Stockport Fixtures

The studio team looked ahead to the intriguing battle at the bottom, where five teams were battling to avoid the drop; Crewe, Carlisle, Northampton, Hartlepool and, of course, the Albion. Crewe had the unenviable task of playing Champions Leicester and even a win might not have been enough for the Railwaymen to avoid joining Hereford and Cheltenham. Perennial escape artists Carlisle could do it again as they hosted Millwall, the Lions with nothing much to play for but pride having already secured a top five spot. Hartlepool headed South West to Bristol Rovers knowing a point would be enough for them. Northampton faced a tricky tie at Play Off bound Leeds, where coming away with anything is usually tough. And at Withdean, Stockport were dragged down towards the battle after a ten point deduction for going into administration. However, with their positive goal difference it was almost impossible for Carlisle to overturn that swing so effectively were safe. Brighton knew a win would secure the great escape for Russell Slade having only taken the reins in March. Reporter Dominic Johnson voiced a package interviewing someone from all the clubs involved in the relegation battle. Slade said “That was my biggest worry, that there wasn’t a lot of game to be played and to turn it around in such a short space of time.” Pundit Scott Minto thought Northampton and Crewe would be the two to drop, with tough final day fixtures for the pair.

Stockport Titles 2 Stockport Studio 2 Stockport Withdean merchandise Stockport Knight

The Monday after the Saturday before, Sky Sports broadcast their ninety minute weekend round-up of the Football League in Big League Weekend 2, presented by George Gavin with Birmingham’s Kevin Phillips and Burnley’s Robbie Blake. Tony Lockwood voiced a report detailing the season’s conclusion at the foot of League One, having discounted Crewe after their defeat at Leicester sent them down. Four teams remained trying not to get that final spot. The package began on the South Coast with the sun shining at Withdean as the fans and staff went about their preparations. Chairman Dick Knight was interviewed pitchside prior to kick off putting an excited, positive spin on the events. “It’s actually why we come to football, days like this, a wonderful, exciting day. We’re very optimistic, we’ve got a full house, record crowd that’s ever been here.” 8,618 turned up to the pack out the athletics ground, fully expecting a good result for Russell Slade’s miracle men.

Stockport Intro Stockport Forster goal Stockport Full time Stockport Forster

Things didn’t get off to the best of starts though as an early goal from Graham Kavanagh put Carlisle one up in their match and with the Albion level with Stockport, the goal put Brighton into the relegation zone. However, that position didn’t last for long as a Leeds goal against Northampton sent the Cobblers dropping instead. As things stood, Brighton and Carlisle were safe, Northampton were joining Crewe, Cheltenham and Hereford in League Two. Carlisle extended their lead against Millwall to save them from the drop and Leeds soon doubled their advantage against Northampton. A third goal for the Yorkshire team secured Northampton’s fate late on. With seventeen minutes to go, Brighton made sure of it when Nicky Forster pounced to score the sort of poacher’s goal he was famous for (above, top right). On loan Gary Dicker’s volley on the edge of the box was parried by goalkeeper Conrad Logan but only as far as Forster who tapped home from five yards. It was enough to get the win, with the final whistle a cue for a pitch invasion to celebrate (above, bottom left). Afterwards, Forster (above, bottom right) was full of praise for the support; “It was a fantastic atmosphere, the fans came in force and that was definitely key to the day.”

Stockport Slade Stockport Celebrations Stockport Player of the Month Stockport Owusu

Russell Slade told Sky Sports “The lads have responded exceptionally well in recent weeks and I think they deserve it.” The boss was carried on supporters’ shoulders (above, top right) on the pitch, enjoying every second of this magnificent achievement. It’s easy to underplay it in hindsight but when he arrived the club morale was low; the home form was abysmal and it was difficult to see where the next win would come from. A couple of loan signings and some fresh thinking from the manager galvanised the side into promotion form in the final third of the campaign, ending with a five-match unbeaten run taking thirteen points out of fifteen. Six goals from striker Lloyd Owusu earned him the Powerade Player of the Month award for April (above, bottom left and right). He rejected the offer of joining permanently in the summer, but there was better news (initially) for Russell Slade, who was offered the job on a two-year deal. The final table (below) actually saw the Seagulls leap up to sixteenth position, three points clear of the drop zone but four places. As Scott Minto predicted on the Friday show, it was Crewe and Northampton who joined the already relegated two on their journey down to the basement League. It could so easily have been Brighton were it not for good old Russell Slade. It was a shame that his good impact didn’t stretch into the 2009/2010 season where a terrible start saw him dismissed in November to be replaced by former Chelsea midfielder Gus Poyet for his first managerial role. The rest really was, as they say, history!

Stockport Final Table


5

THE FINAL MATCH (30th April 2011) League One

The Football League Show, BBC One; Brighton 2-3 Huddersfield

Huddersfield Titles Huddersfield Studio

When Gus Poyet was appointed Albion boss in November 2009, the club were just above the relegation zone in League One. His first match was televised Live on Sky Sports and the terrific three-one away victory at Southampton was a taster of results to come. It wasn’t all rosy though and the first few months were hit and miss. Gradually as the campaign wore on, he went about adjusting the playing style to a more fluid, passing one. He got the best out of the likes of Adam El Abd at the back, Matt Sparrow in the middle and Ashley Barnes up top alongside Glenn Murray. There was a clear identity about the club again. That season ended with the club climbing the League table from twentieth in January up to thirteenth in March, where the club would finish. The second half of the season was more like the Brighton we would come to see during the 2010/11 campaign; our final year at Withdean Stadium. With a new look structure of Tony Bloom as chairman and Gus Poyet as manager, the Albion stormed League One from the off. Just one defeat in fifteen saw them in the top six places and they would never look back. A terrific run of eleven wins out of twelve in March and April saw firstly promotion clinched with a four-three defeat of Dagenham, then the title secured with a three-one scoreline at Walsall. The foot eased off the gas a little towards the end of the season, the first home defeat was inflicted by Southampton at the end of April before a comedic own goal at Colchester, Live on Sky, saw further points dropped. The target of one hundred points was just slightly out of reach. And so the final match after twelve long, hard seasons at Withdean was upon us. Huddersfield were the visitors, themselves needing the points to join Albion in the Championship next season. Terrestrial highlights had switched from ITV to BBC in 2009 so The Football League Show presented by Manish Bhasin in the studio with Steve Claridge was where we could witness the best of the action.

Huddersfield Intro Huddersfield Barnes Huddersfield Sparrow Huddersfield Winner

It was only right that Dave Beckett, a Brighton supporter and voice of the Football League for more than a decade, got to narrate the final ever Albion match at Withdean. Beckett was there throughout the entire story of the sale of the Goldstone and playing at Gillingham, where he reported for ITV Meridian News. He was the presenter of ITV’s Football League Extra in the early years at Withdean before providing the reports for The Championship when that began in 2004. And when the BBC gained the League highlights he became one of their principle voices on the round-ups. He summed up the departure of Withdean nicely, beginning his report with “No electronic scoreboard at Withdean’s humble surroundings, a ground Brighton’s fans are delighted to say goodbye to after twelve years, even if it has seen some excellent seasons.” Huddersfield provided a guard of honour for the Champions but soon took the lead after just eight minutes. Benik Afobe swivelled to sell Gordon Greer a dummy in the area before slotting the ball under Peter Brezovan’s dive and into the back of the net. Brighton had their chances to equaliser, immediately with Ashley Barnes thwarted then later with Chris Wood, who saw his header crash against the crossbar. The Terriers lead at the break but just two minutes into the second half there was a chance of an equaliser when Elliott Bennett was fouled for a penalty. Up stepped Barnes. Goalkeeper Ian Bennett guessed the right way to keep it out but couldn’t do anything about the rebound, as Barnes stooped to nod in (above, top right). With less than half an hour remaining, Huddersfield regained the lead through Afobe’s second. He was presented the opportunity from a mistake by right back Inigo Calderon, whose chest back to Brezovan did not reach the intended target and Afobe nipped in to finish smartly. Eight minutes later and the Seagulls were on level terms again. A terrific through ball from Greer was dummied by Gary Hart to allow Matt Sparrow to latch onto it. Through on goal, he took two touches before finishing into the far corner for two-two (above, bottom left). That wasn’t the end of things as Danny Ward won it for Huddersfield in stoppage time when he put two Albion defenders on their backsides with one simple touch before firing past Brezovan at the near post (above, bottom right). Three-two the final scoreline for the final match.

Huddersfield scoreline Huddersfield Table Huddersfield Poyet Huddersfield Brighton Champions

That win for Huddersfield kept alive their hopes of joining Brighton in the Championship via the automatic promotion route, going level on points with Southampton in second place. The Saints also won that day, a three-nil scoreline at Brentford, but with a game in hand they were still favourites to go up. That’s exactly what happened, with Huddersfield having to try their luck in the Play Offs. For Brighton fans, the final ninety minutes was just a sideshow for the main event of the day – saying goodbye to this peculiar stadium in style with the presentation of the League One trophy. Captain Gordon Greer held the silverware aloft as the champagne flowed and the celebrations began. Manager Gus Poyet was lapping it up with the supporters (above, bottom left). It capped off a remarkable last season there, blowing away the rest of the competition and ending up on a hugely impressive 95 League points. The second tier would be where Brighton would begin life at Falmer in. The 2011/2012 season would not only see a change of Division, but also a change of home. At long, long, long last! Goodbye Withdean, and thanks for the memories.


Huddersfield Goodbye

Small Screen Seagulls; FA Cup Away at the Big Boys

Small Screen Seagulls 2000sWith the move to the Withdean Stadium in 1999, Brighton’s fortunes on the field began improving markedly. Whilst the 1990s was a decade of decline, slipping down the Leagues and almost into oblivion, the early part of the 21st Century was a complete reversal of this. The biggest of the FA Cup ties whilst at Withdean were actually played on the road, with four trips to Premier League sides during that period. As the Albion climbed up the Football League, the ultimate aim was to join these Big Boys in the top flight for the first time since 1983. That season, the one and only time Brighton had reached the FA Cup Final (well, technically two including the Replay) was combined with relegation from the elite League. With financial troubles and homelessness, we seemed a world away from the huge riches of the Premier League but the ambitions of the club laid there. Here, take a look at the four occasions where Brighton got that little taste of the top table as we travelled in the FA Cup away at the Big Boys. Relive the games through clips of extended highlights and round up from BBC and ITV.


 

2004/05 Round Three goals

Match of the Day, BBC One (8th January 2005); Tottenham 2-1 Brighton 

2005 R3Tot Titles MOTD Studio 2005 2005 R3Tot Intro

The 2004/05 season was Brighton’s first back in the second tier after a year away. Having won the Division Two Play Off Final in May 2004, the Seagulls were plying their trade in the newly named Championship and things had begun a lot better than the last time at this level. At the mid-way point of the season, an FA Cup trip to White Hart Lane presented Mark McGhee’s men with a chance to face Premiership opposition in the form of Tottenham Hotspur. BBC held terrestrial FA Cup rights and a report was shown on Match of the Day on Third Round Saturday, the first time teams from the top two tiers entered the fray. The show was presented by Mark Pougatch, normally a leading voice on Radio Five Live, in a busy day for him having presented the lunchtime Live match that day. He was joined in the studio in London for the highlights by Lee Dixon and Gavin Peacock, two fringe BBC pundits. Reporter Rebecca Lowe voiced the goals round up.

2005 R3Tot Carpenter crossbar          2005 R3Tot King goal 2005 R3Tot Equaliser          2005 R3Tot Celebrations

Brighton, wearing the change kit of yellow, began well and hit the crossbar after a quarter of an hour when Richard Carpenter struck one from twenty-five yards out on the half-volley (above, top left). But it was the higher Division side who took the lead just before the break. A short corner on the far side was crossed into the box. England defender Ledley King met with a header on the edge of the six yard line which looped up and over goalkeeper Michel Kuipers to bounce in (above, top right). A couple of minutes after half time, Albion found the perfect response when Carpenter did get his goal this time. It came directly from a free kick from twenty-two yards which curled round the wall and beat Paul Robinson in goal to equalise brilliantly (above, bottom left). As the game was heading for a replay, Robbie Keane won it with an extraordinary goal from the edge of the area (below, top left). Seven minutes remained when the ball was chipped in to him from the left. With his back to goal and Guy Butters pressing high, he took one touch to control with his chest before swivelling and shooting on the volley. It flew into the top corner for one of the goals of the season. Afterwards, the Irishman presented his old Wolves manager McGhee with a signed shirt and had praise for the Albion in his interview; “They didn’t give us many chances, Brighton. They were so tight and congested in the midfield.” Spurs progressed to the Sixth Round where Newcastle eventually knocked them out, whilst Brighton survived relegation from the Championship thanks to a final day draw with Ipswich Live on Sky.

2005 R3Tot Keane winner 2005 R3Tot Keane 2005 R3Tot Final score


2006/07 Round Three highlights

Match of the Day, BBC One (6th January 2007); West Ham 3-0 Brighton 

2007 R3WHam Titles 2007 R3WHam Studio 2007 R3WHam Comm 2007 R3WHam Team News

Following relegation from the Championship in 2006 and a poor start to the League One campaign, Mark McGhee was sacked in September and replaced by youth team coach and former Albion midfielder Dean Wilkins. Brighton’s FA Cup matches couldn’t have gone better this season, back having to begin at Round One again after a couple of years in at the Third. The first game saw a Withdean record; an eight-nil victory over non-League Northwich Victoria. This was followed up by a three-nil scoreline against another non-League outfit, Stafford Rangers. With the top teams entering at Round Three, last season’s losing finalists West Ham were drawn to play the Seagulls at their famous Upton Park stadium. Terrestrial Cup broadcaster BBC showed brief highlights of the clash with commentary during their Saturday night Match of the Day broadcast. This was hosted from Television Centre by Ray Stubbs alongside pundits Lee Dixon and Gavin Peacock. When the Premiership highlights returned to the BBC after three years away in 2004, every match was covered with a commentary and these extra voices were utilised during the Cup shows. Commentating on our tie was MotD regular Alistair Mann. The edit was only short so the teams were not displayed in full, instead opting to use the scrolling info bar at the bottom of the screen, where Arsenal defender Joe O’Cearull made his Albion debut.

2007 R3WHam Opener 2007 R3WHam Cole goal 2007 R3WHam Zamora chance 2007 R3WHam Third goal

The Seagulls wore their change kit of white shirts with blue shorts and socks. The two debutants, O’Cearull for us and Luis Boa Morte for the home side, tangled legs in the first half and risked giving West Ham a penalty. Referee Mark Halsey deemed it accidental. Tommy Fraser had a good chance for Brighton when presented with a heading chance unmarked in the centre, the connection though lacked any pace and was easy for Roy Carroll in the sticks. Right at the start of the second half, the deadlock was broken by youth graduate Mark Noble – his first goal for the club. Boa Morte’s cross on the left was flicked over by Guy Butters, then headed down by Carlos Tevez into Noble’s path to run on to. As the defender rushed to block, Noble got his shot away (above, top left) on the half-volley which Wayne Henderson in goal wasn’t quite able to keep out. Alex Revell came close to an equaliser but couldn’t quite reach to nod home from Hart’s cross as the opportunity flashed across goal. Punishment came just before the hour mark when Carlton Cole made it two (above, top right), despite Albion protesting offside. Boa Morte’s cross found Cole unmarked to sidefoot volley into the top corner. Former Seagull Bobby Zamora, on the books of West Ham having moved from Spurs, came on and was inches from netting. Yossi Benayoun made contact with the ball to send it skidding to the back post where Zamora was. Zamora tried to get the definitive touch just as it was about to touch the post and it just ended up flying back off the woodwork (above, bottom left), the offside flag would have prevented him had he scored anyway. With virtually the final kick of the match, West Ham got their third through Hayden Mullins heading home Shaun Newton’s cross (above, bottom right). Three-nil the final scoreline.

2007 R3WHam Final Score 2007 R3WHam Wilkins 2007 R3WHam Analysis

In his post match interview, manager Dean Wilkins thought his young side showed their inexperience in attack; “I think if we’d have shown a bit more calmness, a bit more awareness, within the final third once we did break I think we could have scored the first goal.” Former Albion player Alan Curbishley had newly been appointed West Ham boss and called for his fans to get behind their midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker after being on the end of plenty of abuse all season. The stats showed equal possession but West Ham dominating the shots and corners. In the studio, Gavin Peacock analysed the Clarets new look, with particular focus on how well Carlos Tevez played; “He was bright and he was lively and aggressive in his running.” The Hammers exited at the hands of Watford in the next round. Brighton’s season saw them continue to struggle as costs were tightened and the playing squad increasingly dominated by unknown youngsters. The Albion finished in eighteenth in the League One table.


2009/10 Round Four highlights

FA Cup Highlights, ITV1 (23rd January 2010); Aston Villa 3-2 Brighton

2010 R4Vil Titles 2010 R4Vil Studio 2010 R4Vil Intro

Much had changed at Brighton since the FA Cup trip to West Ham in 2007. The biggest news was the stadium, as Falmer had finally been given the go-ahead and work had begun at the site with completion due for summer 2011. The man in the dugout at Withdean had changed twice since then too. After a makeshift first season, Dean Wilkins guided the Seagulls to an impressive seventh place in the 2007/08 campaign, narrowly missing out on the League One Play Offs. Yet that wasn’t enough to keep his job and former boss Micky Adams returned to the hot seat in May 2008. Having guided us to the, then, Division Three title in 2001 before the Premiership came calling, optimism was high upon his return. However that did not work out at all, with League form slipping finishing sixteenth in 2008/09 and not improving much in the opening months of the 2009/10 campaign. Chairman Dick Knight wielded the axe in November and brought in former Chelsea and Tottenham midfielder Gus Poyet for his first managerial role. With the club in the bottom six upon his arrival, he changed the philosophy of the team from long-ball to a skilful passing side. Some took to it better than others, whilst others such as Adam El-Abd were transformed under Poyet. He got off to a perfect start with a three-one away win at Southampton Live on Sky in his first match, and steadily lifted the club up the table. The FA Cup campaign began with a caretaker manager, Martin Hinshelwood took charge of the incredible four-four draw at Wycombe, before the two-nil victory at Withdean saw Poyet make it two wins out of two. In Round Two there was a closer-fought three-two win to knock Rushden and Diamonds out, whilst Torquay were dispatched in Round Three by a goal to nil at Plainmoor. The Fourth Round draw saw a trip to the Midlands to face Premier League Aston Villa, managed by Martin O’Neill. FA Cup rights had transferred from the BBC to ITV in 2008, and the commercial network broadcast their Fourth Round highlights show on the Saturday night which included a short commentary edit on our clash. Their theme tune brought in this season was by The Enemy, titled Be Somebody; rather apt for a competition known for smaller clubs making their name.

2010 R4Vil Comm 2010 R4Vil 1st goal 2010 R4Vil Elphick goal 2010 R4Vil Young goal 

Ned Boulting was in the presenter’s chair in the London Studio for this edition, joined by ITV pundit Robbie Earle and former Brighton manager, amongst many other clubs, Steve Coppell. In the commentary box was John Rawling. He was more familiar as their voice of boxing, having covered the sport previously for Radio Five Live and Setanta, but was used over the past couple of seasons infrequently on Football League and Champions League highlights shows. Gus Poyet was relying on his prolific strike force of Glenn Murray and Nicky Forster to continue to fire together, with support from the likes of Andrew Crofts and Elliott Bennett behind them. Adam Virgo had returned to the club after a couple of seasons away and joined a defence which included academy graduate Tommy Elphick. Villa’s side included former Albion loanee Steve Sidwell in midfield and had hit scored six past Blackburn whilst conceding four in the League Cup the previous midweek. Fifty-six League places separated the sides at the start of play, and it was Villa who got off to the better start with a goal after just five minutes. Captain Ashley Young sent Marc Albrighton running down the wing. He skipped past the lunge of Elphick before crossing low for Nathan Delfouneso to steer home from close range (above, top right). Brighton responded four minutes before the break through Elliott Bennett’s corner on the far side. A number of Albion players were waiting in space in the middle. It came off Adam El Abd and landed on the six yard line for fellow defender Tommy Elphick to swivel and finish expertly (above, bottom left) for the equaliser past several claret and blue bodies in the way. Rawling rightly described them as “the Villa defence all over the place!” It took just three second-half minutes for the home side to regain the lead thanks to Young’s header. Stewart Downing stood the ball up to the back post where Young jumped highest and saw his header fly past Kuipers and in off the post (above, bottom right).

2010 R4Vil Delph goal 2010 R4Vil Forster goal 2010 R4Vil Final Score 2010 R4Vil Poyet

James Milner provided Fabian Delph with an excellent chance to score a third but Kuipers was equal to it, using his body to block effectively before the defence helped him out. The two Villans combined with less than half an hour to play and this time they did make it three-one. Milner sent Delph clear, covering defender Inigo Calderon got back to force him to check his run. However, the opportunity still presented itself and his strike on the edge of the box went through Calderon’s legs and under the diving hand of Kuipers to score and put the game to bed (above, top left). Brighton did get a consolation in stoppage time thanks to Nicky Forster to make the scoreline more respectable. The ball across was dummied and found Forster in the centre with his back to goal. He held off the defender before arching his body to swivel and shoot, much like Elphick in the first half. The finish was clinical, as you’d expect from a man who scored goals wherever he went in his career, low and hard into the back of the net past Brad Guzan (above, top right). This was the striker’s fiftieth for Brighton. It was too little too late for the Seagulls, whose FA Cup adventure came to an end at the Fourth Round stage for the first time since a trip to Manchester United in 1993. Gus Poyet afterwards admitted he was aware of the size of the task against a Premier League club; “I knew it was difficult to cope for more than an hour with the same pace, the strength of the opposition… They are not only better technically, they are better physically.” Villa progressed all the way to Wembley and the Semi Finals. After seeing off Crystal Palace and Reading, it was eventual winners Chelsea who knocked them out. Brighton continued to flourish under Poyet, who steered them to a thirteenth placed finish in League One with the foundations laid for a good season to come.


2010/11 Round Five highlights

FA Cup Highlights, ITV1 (19th February 2011); Stoke City 3-0 Brighton 

2011 R5Sto Titles 2011 R5Sto Smith 2011 R5Sto Teams

The 2010/2011 campaign was Brighton’s final one at the eleven-year temporary home of Withdean Stadium. Gus Poyet and his entertaining football side were tearing League One apart, climbing to the summit early on and never looking back. They were on course to open the new home in Falmer with Championship football and a title to boot. The good form also transferred to the FA Cup, where Brighton reached the Fifth Round – the last sixteen of the competition – for the first time in twenty-five years. After a shaky start, drawing nil-nil at home to Woking and needing a penalty shoot-out in the replay to progress, round two saw a shock draw with non-League FC United of Manchester. A four-nil win in the replay was more like it. The third round saw an impressive three-one victory over Portsmouth, Cup finalists the year before and a Division above in the Championship before a further second tier side was sent packing in round four as Watford were beaten on their own patch. This set up a meeting with Tony Pulis’s Premier League Stoke City at the Britannia. It would be a clash of styles, with Pulis known for the long ball game and utilising throw-ins, up against Poyet’s more modern, passing game. The Cup schedule was a little all over the place, with Fourth Round matches taking place at the same time owing to postponements and replays congesting matters. So ITV’s Saturday night highlights show featured action from both stages, presented by Matt Smith. The theme tune was the same as the previous year; The Enemy with Be Somebody, but the graphics went through a transformation. Commentating on the action was freelancer Jim Proudfoot, formerly of Sky Sports and Setanta but here more frequently heard on ESPN’s European Leagues and talkSPORT radio. He is also remembered fondly by Albion fans for his excited scream of “STORERRRRR!” during his South Coast Radio days, commentating on Brighton’s final game at the Goldstone against Doncaster in 1997 alongside Tony Millard.

2011 R5Sto Comm 2011 R5Sto Carew goal 2011 R5Sto 2nd goal 2011 R5Sto Shawcross goal

Elite level referee Howard Webb was the man in charge of this tie. The team line ups saw almost a full strength Stoke, with last year’s top scorer in the Cup John Carew up front. Kenwynne Jones was missing but had regulars Jon Walters, Jermaine Pennant, Rory Delap and Matthew Etherington all ready to create the danger. The back line of Shawcross and Huth took no prisoners in a physical set up. The Albion had Cup ‘keeper Peter Brezovan in goal, supported in front by Tommy Elphick, captain Gordon Greer and Marcos Painter. Elliott Bennett and Gary Dicker would look to provide Barnes and Murray with the opportunities, whilst Liam Bridcutt was the rock protecting the defence. Set pieces were Stoke’s main goal threat, be it free kicks, corners or the throw in. Rory Delap was renowned for the latter and it was exactly that which created the opening goal. Delap chucked it in to the mixer where Brezovan came to collect. He didn’t get there ahead of big John Carew who just flicked it on with the top of his head and into the net before the quarter of an hour mark. It soon became two-nil eight minutes later after Jermaine Pennant teed up Marc Wilson to cross on the overlap. His ball in was met by the head of Walters at the near post through the arms of Brezovan and gave the Albion a mountain to climb so early on. Brezovan wasn’t covering himself in glory and flapped at another punch later on, giving Walters another chance which had to be headed off the line by Greer. Barnes and Murray combined with an interchange to give Barnes a rare sight of goal but his effort was lifted high and over. The third Stoke goal came two minutes before the break and began, you guessed it, from another dangerous corner. Pennant’s ball in was flicked on at the near post to the far one where Ryan Shawcross was arriving. He lost his marker and bulleted the ball in with his head, nobody on the line and too much power for Brezovan to react in time. The Potters captain had sealed the result before we’d even reached half time, Brighton had no answer to the brute force of the red and white stripes. Substitute Cristian Baz went closest for the Seagulls in the second half but in truth it wasn’t troubling Sorensen whilst another sub – Jake Forster-Caskey – also tried his luck but it wasn’t to be and Brighton lost by three goals to nil.

2011 R5Sto Final score 2011 R5Sto Poyet 2011 R5Sto Studio 2011 R5Sto Allardyce

Gus Poyet said in his post match chat “We tried. I think the best part is we didn’t change our game.” This point was picked up on by the former Bolton and Blackburn boss Sam Allardyce in the London Studio for ITV; “If you go and watch Stoke City and do your scouting, your normal game you cannot play if it’s a passing game because Stoke don’t let you.” He said the application of constant pressure, corner after corner, broke down Brighton and the physical edge paid dividends once more for them at the Brit. It was a tactic that took Stoke City all the way to the FA Cup Final where they lost to a solitary Manchester City goal at Wembley in the process securing them a thirteenth place Premier League finish and a spot in the UEFA Europa League qualifying. The Seagulls soared to the League One title, beating Southampton by three points, to secure a dream start to life at Falmer with a promotion party. In doing so they were one step closer to that top flight dream. With the foundations in place for something special, the early years at the new ground would be about building on all these experiences gained during the Withdean years and push for that final hurdle up to the top. It was beginning to look very exciting again for Brighton and Hove Albion.


Although the Albion lost on all four of these occasions, they were reaching the stages of the FA Cup where they hadn’t been for a long time. Therefore the opposition were of increased quality. The trips to these fantastic Premier League stadiums were in stark contrast to the home ground where Brighton had played since 1999; Withdean. This spurred the players on to perform better, to show they are worthy of these fine venues and, most importantly, highlighted how much of a necessity it was that the Seagulls had one of these to call their own. The Amex opened its doors in the summer of 2011 with Brighton League One Champions and about to compete in the second tier again. Within weeks of the new campaign at the new home, Premier League teams were coming to our place and being impressed with the facilities. The next aim? To become one of those elite clubs ourselves. Withdean served us well but Falmer would catapult the club to new heights with the big boys, and the Cup would provide some great days.

Small Screen Seagulls; FA Cup in the Nineties part 2

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. As Brighton dropped down the three Divisions of the Football League, the FA Cup represented the club’s best chance of gaining television exposure for the match action. Off the field matters attracted the most coverage unfortunately. 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 Manchester United as well as 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 second part, the first is available HERE.


 

1994/95 Round One goals

Match of the Day, BBC One (12th November 1994); Kingstonian 2-1 Brighton 

94R1 Kin intro 94R1 Kin opener

In November 1994 Brighton were sat in the bottom half of the Division Two table, a continuation of the fourteenth place finish the previous campaign. That season saw them crash out of the FA Cup at Bournemouth, losing in the 1st Round for the first time since 1976. Keen to avoid a repeat, this season’s draw took the club to non-League Kingstonian; a team full of part-timers with proper day jobs. One of the many FA Cup cliches is to mention the minnow player’s craft, especially if they score or cause an upset. So Brighton’s poor performance at Kingsmeadow gave BBC Match of the Day reporter Gerald Sinstadt plenty of opportunity to compare and contrast. “Glazier, carpet fitter, financial consultant and so on, currently in the lower half of the Diadora Premier Division”, his report began. That’s the Isthmian League if you don’t recall the sponsorship, one below the Conference South. The Albion got off to the worst possible start when, after just ninety-three seconds, Kingstonian took the lead. Jamie Ndah opened the scoring with a terrific overhead kick eight yards out (above right) after the away side failed to clear their lines. He was the brother of Crystal Palace striker George Ndah whilst other brother Micky was also on the field today in defence. And half an hour later it was Micky Ndah who was involved in the next goal, the Seagulls equaliser. Ndah’s attempt to clear danger scooped the ball high in the air. Junior McDougald outjumped his marker to nod across the box to Robert Codner (below left), who stooped to conquer from six yards out. The ‘keeper got a touch on the header but the power beat him, as his fingertips only pushed it into the corner. One-one. That’s how it stayed until the final ten minutes. An almighty goalmouth scramble ensued from a corner, in one of the most mid-nineties football clips you will see. The kick was flicked on at the near post, then flicked up in the air by the attacker, Nicky Rust in the Albion goal came to punch away but just punched up. It was eventually headed down to the ground and waiting to pounce was that man again; Jamie Ndah. He was first to the loose ball to poke home just a couple of yards out to send Kingstonian through to the 2nd Round of the FA Cup for the first time in their ninety-nine-year history. The reward was a tie with Aylesbury, where they went on to lose four-one. For Brighton and manager Liam Brady, simply an embarrassing day to forget.

94R1 Kin equaliser 94R1 Kin scoreline


1995/96 Round One report

FA Cup Special, Sky Sports (12th November 1995); Canvey Island 2-2 Brighton 

Fulham FACup Gavin 95R1 Can Keeley 95R1 Can Cramped dressing room Fulham FACup Ryan

The FA Cup had a title sponsor for the first time ever from this season, as Littlewoods joined forces. After Sky Sports Live 1st Round broadcast of the game between York and Notts County this Sunday afternoon, they showed a seven-minute report on the day’s other Cup match; Canvey Island against Brighton. Reporter George Gavin was dispatched to deepest Essex to take in the atmosphere. His report began on the coast ahead of “the biggest match in Canvey Island’s history”. Gavin told of how, in 1953, the Thames river burst its banks and flooded the area engulfing Canvey’s football club records. Like with Kingstonian last season, Brighton had a tricky trip to a non-League outfit to kick off their Cup exploits. This was the first time Island had reached this stage of the competition and had never played a Football League side ever. We saw shots of the various preparations for the match, with the kit men in the dressing room, the local fire brigade and police making their inspections and the teams arriving in by coach. Park Lane was used to attendances of around 400, this match saw them squeezing in around 4,000 fans. One link between Canvey and Brighton was goalkeeper John Keeley, who George Gavin spoke to ahead of the kick off. Keeley was at the Albion for four years in the late 1980s, making over 140 appearances but was now on the books of Canvey Island. He was still on good terms with his former club; “I’ve still got lots of friends down there, like half my house is full out with them! I did alright down there, I enjoyed my time.” When the Seagulls arrived, the surroundings were not quite what they were used to. The dressing room was packed to the rafters (above, bottom-left) which forced manager Liam Brady into limiting access to only those key men; “the lads who are not playing can you get out! Make a bit of room.” Assistant Gerry Ryan chatted on the pitch, undaunted by the prospect; “Cup runs start at places like this, you know. Played at plenty of places like this in my career starting out.” He stressed the importance of having the right attitude or risk getting turned over. From the Canvey perspective, manager Jeff King and their supporters were in hopeful mood. One woman personified the Essex girl stereotype by saying; “I must watch my white stilettos don’t get stuck in the mud though when I get on the pitch and do me streak!”

95R1 Can McDougald goal 95R1 Can McDougald 2nd 95R1 Can Equaliser 95R1 Can Brady

Onto the match action and if Brighton were worried about another shock upset, they didn’t show it early on by taking the lead after sixteen minutes. Dean Wilkins floated in a free kick from the left, met by the head of ex-Tottenham youth Junior McDougald (above, top-left) to go one-up, flying past the goalkeeper’s full-stretch dive. The lead didn’t last though with an equaliser coming in the thirty-third minute in similar circumstances. The cross from the right was finished by a terrific guided header by Steve Porter, with our reporter pointing out he’s a teacher during the week. They celebrated as if school was out for the summer. Their joy was also short-lived when Brighton regained the lead five minutes on. A long punt upfield from Nicky Rust sailed over the head of everybody and suddenly McDougald was in behind the defence. As a defender rushed back to block, the Albion man was able to get his strike off just in time (above, top-right) to finish into the bottom corner of the goal, losing a boot in the process. Two-one the score at half time. A chance for Brighton’s and McDougald’s third was presented by Peter Smith in the second half but the ball seemed to get stuck under his feet, preventing a clean strike as it dragged wide. And the miss would be rued as another equaliser came with nine minutes left. A long throw in was flicked on to Alan Brett waiting in the centre. His header six yards out (above, bottom-left) beat Rust to cue wild celebrations from the bumper crowd. They went close to a winner even later on, with the defence having to dig deep and scramble away. But the Cup upset was avoided, just, and the sides would meet at the Goldstone for the replay a week on Tuesday. Liam Brady said afterwards “This kind of pitch and the environment you come to is a leveller, it evens things out, but the players battled. I felt we were in control for long periods of the game and probably missed a chance to kill the game off early in the second half.”

 

Round One Replay goals

Meridian Tonight, ITV (22nd November 1995); Brighton 4-1 Canvey Island

96R1R Can Steggall 96R1R Can Acknowledgement

It was all change at the Albion since the last meeting with Canvey Island just over a week earlier. On Monday 20th November, following a three-nil home defeat to Walsall at the weekend, manager Liam Brady resigned. The following night the replay at the Goldstone was due to take place. On the day, the board acted quickly to draft in reserve coach Jimmy Case as first team manager and he took charge of the Cup match almost as soon as he agreed terms. Local evening news programme in the South, Meridian Tonight, reported on the match the following evening. Sports presenter Andy Steggall introduced the report, which showed the goals courtesy of FA Cup rights holder BBC, as well as a couple of interviews. Behind the scenes there were all sorts of issues relating to the ownership, with talks of planning a new stadium on the horizon and selling the Goldstone whilst debts continued to build up. Indeed, money that was loaned to the club by president Greg Stanley was now reported to be charged at an interest, further adding to the money owed whilst lining his own pockets. A visit from the FA also came at this busy time, seeking assurances of finances. On the pitch though, for tonight at least, things were looking up as Jimmy Case made a winning start to his managerial reign. Meridian’s Geoff Clark reported.

96R1R Can Byrne goal 96R1R Can Smith goal

John Byrne gave Brighton the lead with a powerful header down from a cross on the stroke of half time. The lead was doubled two minutes after the break by Junior McDougald, adding to the two he got in the original game, with a well taken half-volley into the top corner. John Byrne added another (above left) to make the game safe with just over twenty minutes remaining, slotting home past the ‘keeper. Canvey got one back five minutes later through Glenn Pennyfather before a fourth was scored by Peter Smith (above right). Smith made the goal all by himself when his initial through ball was blocked by a defender, he picked up the loose ball to continue his charge through as the back line opened up. Just entering the penalty area, he lifted his shot up over the onrushing goalie to put the cherry on top of the cake. Four-one the final scoreline. Jimmy Case downplayed his role in the win, paying tribute to the former boss; “Sometimes you get a reaction from whatever’s gone on. But I think Liam built the team as it stands.” George Parris, signed permanently in September 1995 after a loan spell from Birmingham the season before, said perhaps they did “put in a little bit more effort” for this new boss as “you wanna try and impress them and I think it showed again tonight.” Onto Round Two where a trip to Fulham awaited. That also went to a replay at the Goldstone, which was selected for Live television coverage by Sky Sports; that report is available via this link. The good form did not last though and by the end of the season, Brighton were relegated to Division Three for their first spell in the fourth tier since 1965.

96R1R Can Case aston 96R1R Can Parris


1996/97 Round One round-up

Match of the Day, BBC One (16th November 1996); Sudbury Town 0-0 Brighton 

96R1 Sud Intro 96R1 Sud Minton crossbar

Another season, and another First Round trip to non-League opposition. This time it was to Sudbury Town of the Doc Martens League; the sixth step of the English football pyramid, one below the Conference. Even though Brighton were now just two steps above and struggling at the foot of Division Three, anything other than a resounding victory would be seen as a humiliation. Cue classic mid-90s Brighton then as the first tie ended goalless. Sharing billing with the Premiership, a new look BBC Match of the Day squeezed in thirty seconds to round up this match, voiced once again by Gerald Sinstadt. Jeff Minton went closest for the stripes, smacking the crossbar with a fizzing left foot drive on the edge of the box. The ‘keeper Steve Mokler at full stretch could get nowhere near it. This was Sudbury’s debut in the First Round proper of the competition and they nearly went one better but for a disallowed goal. A high cross took an age to come down to Earth, at which point Nicky Rust in the Brighton goal went up to claim it. He was challenged by the Sudbury forward Ian Brown leaping at the same time (below left). It appeared as Rust was landing, the ball bounced off the striker and to the floor where he stuck a foot out to nudge it towards Christian McClean who volleyed it into the roof of the net. However, the referee ruled it out for Brown’s foul on Rust and the scoreline stayed nil-nil. So another replay was enforced, and this too went the distance, finishing one-all and needing a penalty shoot-out to decide the victor. The non-Leaguers prevailed winning four-three on penalties to send Albion to its lowest point on the pitch. The season continued with misery upon misery, stranded at the bottom of the entire Football League. Boss Jimmy Case departed in the weeks after, with former Charlton player-manager taking his place in December with the club eleven points adrift. He managed to work an absolute miracle in the League to pull off the greatest of great escapes during the utter mayhem going on around the club. This was without doubt the worst season in Brighton history; typified by this Cup exit, exacerbated by the sale of the Goldstone Ground without anywhere to move into by the shambolic ownership, the prospect of playing home games all the way up in Gillingham from the following season, it was Gritt by name and grit by nature. The final day relegation shoot-out draw at Hereford sent them down and kept Albion up on just goals scored. If you can bear it, further information and snippets from the 1996/97 season can be found in a separate report via this link. Sudbury meanwhile were knocked out in Round Two by Brentford.

96R1 Sud Foul 96R1 Sud Scoreline


1997/98 Round One highlights

Match of the Day, BBC One (15th November 1997); Hereford 2-1 Brighton 

97R1 Her Titles 97R1 Her Lineker

Hereford were also able to get a very small slice of revenge on Brighton just six months after their relegation to the Conference on the final day when the sides were drawn together in the First Round of the FA Cup. Extended highlights were shown on BBC Match of the Day presented by Gary Lineker with Jimmy Hill and Mark Lawrenson. This was a week when the Premiership took a back seat for the international break, so the FA Cup was afforded its own hour long MotD programme, as second choice Lineker gave Des Lynam the week off. The lead match was Hull against Hednesford Town with commentary by Tony Gubba, and our trip to Hereford was the other feature. In his third season on the show Jon Champion commentated at Edgar Street, having transferred over from Radio Five Live during the 1995/96 campaign.

97R1 Her Hereford 97R1 Her Brighton 97R1 Her Referee 97R1 Her Gritt

Brighton boss Steve Gritt named seven of the starting eleven that saved the club’s League status in this fixture in May; Nicky Rust among those that didn’t feature last time. Rust was in for regular ‘keeper Mark Ormerod, who was out with a twisted ankle. It was Craig Maskell’s shot which was pushed onto the post for Robbie Reinelt to react quickest and net the equaliser in May. Gary Hobson skippered the side. Kerry Mayo was the unfortunate man who turned into his own net to give Hereford the lead in the previous meeting. Left back Stuart Tuck was a product of the Albion youth academy, joining as a YTS in 1991. Scottish winger Paul McDonald was signed for £25,000 last year. Number nine Stuart Storer scored the final goal at the Goldstone in the victory over Doncaster which allowed Brighton to go to Hereford and get that draw. Five of Albion’s squad were on the transfer list, simply in a bid to bring in some much-needed cash. The home side, still managed by Graham Turner despite him handing in his resignation following demotion to the Conference, had just three survivors from that fateful day here; Andy de Bont in goal and Rob Warner and Brian McGorry in the middle. Taking charge of the encounter was referee Gerald Ashby.

97R1 Her Crossbar 97R1 Her Penalty 97R1 Her Missed penalty 97R1 Her Opening goal

Brighton wore their change kit of all red for this First Round Cup tie. A chance came their way thanks to the running of John Westcott down the right flank. He was put through by an excellent reverse pass by Storer. Westcott dribbled into the box, slowed down momentarily by the challenge of Fishlock, before laying it off to Maskell. His effort was weak and just chipped up into de Bont’s grasp. The home side almost took the lead when Cook’s header looped up over Rust but crashed against the crossbar (below, top left) and back down into the grateful ‘keeper’s arms. Into the second half, Brighton were awarded a penalty when Walker’s lunge took the legs of Maskell away (above, top right). Paul McDonald stepped up with his left foot but de Bont guessed correctly to parry it away to his right with an excellent full-stretch save (above, bottom left), maintaining the deadlock. But it didn’t last for long as Hereford took the lead after fifty-six. Top scorer Neil Grayson added to his tally with a smart finish. Fishlock’s cross from the left found Pitman who cleverly backheeled the ball on. Grayson gathered and, sensing Rust sliding out to claim, sidestepped him to slot into the empty net.

97R1 Her Storer equaliser 97R1 Her Level score 97R1 Her Another penalty 97R1 Her Winning goal

Paul McDonald’s corner wasn’t claimed by de Bont, the ball falling through his fingertips, which presented an equalising opportunity for Stuart Storer. From a tight angle and with bodies on the line and in front of him, Storer angled his shot to net superbly past the lot of them (above, top left). “From despair to delight. And the lead lasted barely four minutes”, called commentator Champion. Hereford weren’t despondent though and almost regained the lead through substitute James McCue. Ian Foster charged down the left and crossed into the middle, McCue almost ran past the ball and had to hang his leg back which scooped the ball up and high over the bar from seven yards. The pressure applied from Gary Hobson was enough to put him off. He had another effort moments after with his left just outside the box, this shot also going just too high but was getting closer. Then the referee gave another penalty, this time to Hereford. Peter Smith battled with Ian Foster, with the Albion defender judged to have pulled Foster back as the tangle continued into the area (above, bottom left). Paul Grayson, scorer of the first, got his second of the match as he blasted the penalty kick emphatically down the middle (above, bottom right). Rust had no chance due to the sheer power and Hereford led by two goals to one with just over a quarter of an hour to go. And that’s how it stayed, with the non-League side knocking out the Third Division (just about!) Seagulls. In the studio, pundit Jimmy Hill (below, bottom right) said “You feel for both those sides in a way… For Brighton, with all their problems as well. They put on a fine Cup tie.” He praised Hereford’s style, playing the better, more attractive football. Their reward was a Second Round trip to Colchester, where they triumphed on a penalty shoot-out in the replay to make Round Three. That’s where their Cup run came to an end, with a three-nil defeat by Tranmere. In the League they finished sixth in the Conference, whilst Brighton once again finished 91st out of the 92 League teams. Thankfully it didn’t go down to the wire this time, finishing fifteen points better off than relegated Doncaster. But Steve Gritt paid the price for more dismal form, with former player Brian Horton coming in to replace him in February 1998 and kept them up in April.

97R1 Her Final Score 97R1 Her Studio 97R1 Her Hill


The decade ended with defeats in the early stages of the competition as first Leyton Orient knocked the Albion out four-two in 1998. Then in 1999 draws in both the First and Second rounds ensured four FA Cup matches were played in the season, more than the previous three seasons combined. After seeing off Peterborough in the First Round Replay, Plymouth knocked us out in the Second after a rematch on our own patch. As the 1990s went on, the Cup increasingly became less important to Brighton as the main objective was the League. With the Goldstone Ground sold off in 1997, home matches were played in Gillingham’s Priestfield Stadium for two seasons, making home Cup ties even less appealing for the Albion faithful. By the time the club came home to Sussex, playing at Withdean Stadium from 1999, the form dramatically improved on the pitch and the Cups became a vital source of income as the fight for a permanent home took its toll on the budget. The story of further Cup exposure, drawn away from the Withdean to Premier League teams in the 2000s, is detailed in a separate post available HERE.

The first part of this two part 1990s FA Cup televisual rewind is available to view 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.

 

BHAFC Premier League Commentaries 2018/19

img_1598Brighton kept their top flight status with a win against Manchester United in May 2017. As with last season, every Premier League game received a full commentary for the world feed and also for the BBC Highlights show Match of the Day, in addition to the separate commentaries used on the live matches selected by UK rights holders Sky Sports and BT Sport. The world feed commentaries are used by international broadcasters showing the games live, and are also deployed on the extended delayed coverage on Sky; 30 minute highlights of every non-live UK match as well as the best Saturday 3pm kick-off shown again in full at 8.30pm as ‘Game of the Day’. Sky Sports viewers in the Republic of Ireland have a bonus live Saturday 3pm match, so the opportunity to see, here and around the world, the Albion fight for another season amongst the country’s elite had never been greater.

Here are the full commentary details of Brighton’s second Premier League season.

# Date Fixture H/A UK TV Live / World Feed Match of the Day
1 Sat 11th Aug Watford (L2-0) A Guy Havord & Don Goodman John Roder
2 Sun 19th Aug Manchester United (W3-2) H Sky; Martin Tyler & Gary Neville Jonathan Pearce
3 Sat 25th Aug Liverpool (L1-0) A BT; Darren Fletcher & Steve McManaman Martin Fisher
4 Sat 1st Sep Fulham (D2-2) H Jonathan Beck & Efan Ekoku Mark Scott
5 Mon 17th Sep Southampton (D2-2) A Sky; Alan Parry & Alan Smith No highlights
6 Sat 22nd Sep Tottenham Hotspur (L2-1) H BT; Darren Fletcher & Glenn Hoddle Jonathan Pearce
7 Sat 29th Sep Manchester City (L2-0) A David Stowell & Keith Andrews Alistair Mann
8 Fri 5th Oct West Ham United (W1-0) H Sky; Bill Leslie & Jamie Carragher Simon Brotherton
9 Sat 20th Oct Newcastle United (W1-0) A Tony Jones & Andy Walker Guy Mowbray
10 Sat 27th Oct Wolves (W1-0) H Gary Taphouse & David Phillips Steve Wilson
11 Sat 3rd Nov Everton (L3-1) A Tony Jones & Iain Dowie Guy Mowbray
12 Sat 10th Nov Cardiff City (L2-1) A Sky; Bill Leslie & Alan Smith Alistair Mann
13 Sat 24th Nov Leicester City (D1-1) H Guy Havord & David Phillips John Roder
14 Sat 1st Dec Huddersfield Town (W2-1) A Gary Taphouse & Garry Birtles Steve Wilson
15 Tue 4th Dec Crystal Palace (W3-1) H Tony Jones & Keith Andrews Alistair Bruce-Ball
16 Sat 8th Dec Burnley (L1-0) A David Stowell & Keith Andrews Martin Fisher
17 Sun 16th Dec Chelsea (L2-1) H Phil Blacker & Garry Birtles Jonathan Pearce
18 Sat 22nd Dec Bournemouth (L2-0) A Guy Havord & Terry Gibson Tony Husband
19 Wed 26th Dec Arsenal (D1-1) H Sky; Rob Hawthorne & Alan Smith Steve Wilson
20 Sat 29th Dec Everton (W1-0) H Guy Havord & David Phillips Jonathan Pearce
21 Wed 2nd Jan West Ham United (D2-2) A Paul Gilmour & Davie Provan Simon Brotherton
22 Sat 12th Jan Liverpool (L1-0) H Alan Parry & Davie Provan Jonathan Pearce
23 Sat 19th Jan Manchester United (L2-1) A Ian Crocker & Davie Provan Steve Bower
24 Tue 29th Jan Fulham (L4-2) A Jonathan Beck & David Phillips Mark Scott
25 Sat 2nd Feb Watford (D0-0) H Tony Jones & Garry Birtles Steve Wilson
26 Sat 9th Feb Burnley (L3-1) H BT; Darren Fletcher & Steve McManaman Simon Brotherton
27 Tue 26th Feb Leicester City (L2-1) A Jonathan Beck & Don Goodman Steve Bower
28 Sat 2nd Mar Huddersfield Town (W1-0) H Guy Havord & Tony Gale John Roder
29 Sat 9th Mar Crystal Palace (W2-1) A Sky; Bill Leslie & Andy Hinchcliffe Jonathan Pearce
30 Sat 30th Mar Southampton (L1-0) H Gary Taphouse & Tony Gale Conor McNamara
31 Wed 3rd Apr Chelsea (L3-0) A David Stowell & Keith Andrews No highlights
32 Sat 13th Apr Bournemouth (L5-0) H Ian Crocker & Andy Walker Jonathan Pearce
33 Tue 16th Apr Cardiff City (L2-0) H David Stowell & Efan Ekoku No highlights
34 Sat 20th Apr Wolves (D0-0) A Alan Parry & Davie Provan Steve Bower
35 Tue 23rd Apr Tottenham (L1-0) A Sky; Rob Hawthorne & Alan Smith No highlights
36 Sat 27th Apr Newcastle United (D1-1) H BT; Darren Fletcher & Steve McManaman Jonathan Pearce
37 Sun 5th May Arsenal (D1-1) A Sky; Rob Hawthorne & Alan Smith Simon Brotherton 
38 Sun 12th May Manchester City (L4-1) H Sky; Martin Tyler & Gary Neville Guy Mowbray

Matches 22, 23 & 34 were shown live on Sky in the Republic of Ireland only.

Matches 4, 22 & 38 were shown delayed in full as the Game of the Day.

The 13 Live Premier League matches broadcast this season earned the Albion a whopping £15.7 million in TV income.

Final Premier League position; 17th                       [Key; WIN, DRAW, LOSE]

MNF 2018 Brighton

 

Sky Sports Match Choice 2018/19

img_7105 img_7069-1

Match Choice provided 30 minute highlights of every single non-live Premier League game throughout the season. The title sequence again was the same as the Live Super Sunday, Friday Night Football and Premier League Live intro, using Tom Grennan’s “Found What I’ve Been Looking For” as the theme tune for the second season running. The programme was now sponsored by Renault, replacing Nissan. The titles feature each of the twenty Premier League teams with a stat, nickname or line of info about the club along with a player to represent them. Replacing Brighton’s “Premier League Debut” of last year was simply “The Seagulls”, with Anthony Knockaert remaining the main man for the Albion. The programme itself just uses commentary, with no host or voiceover linking in and out. Graphics were the same as the Live Sky Sports set. Game of the Day followed the same pattern.

BBC Match of the Day 2018/19

MOTD 17-18 MOTD 18-19

The Match of the Day titles used this season again were similar to the previous season, with a few minor tweaks with updated players and teams. Each Premier League club featured in the intro sequence, and each of the day’s fixtures were incorporated in text form. Brighton were represented by last season’s key provider Pascal Gross and grouped together with the two other South Coast teams Bournemouth and Southampton. The theme tune, as ever, was the regular MotD theme.

MOTD Studio img_7229

The studio design was kept the same as the previous few seasons, with Gary Lineker hosting on the left and his two pundits on the right. Above are Danny Murphy and Ian Wright; other regulars used throughout the season included Alan Shearer, Jermaine Jenas, Phil Neville, Ian Wright, Kevin Kilbane and Martin Keown. As with last season, Match of the Day 2 on Sundays was hosted by Mark Chapman sat centre of his two pundits. Graphics were the same as the previous season and World Cup 2018. As with last year, team line ups used images of the players and were laid out in formation.

img_7228 img_7230 BHA team

BBC Match of the Day 2 2018/19

MOTD2 titles 2018 MOTD2 Murray

Highlights of Sunday matches were broadcast on Match of the Day 2, shown on BBC One around 10.30pm each matchweek. The titles were a slightly modified version of the main show’s, with many clubs having a different player representing them on Sunday to Saturday. This season, Glenn Murray was the Brighton man featured in the MotD2 opening sequence. Once again, Mark Chapman was the regular host in the studio. He was sat in the middle of his two pundits, with the studio design adopting blue colours to contrast it with the orange on the main show. In the screenshot below, Chapman was joined by Ian Wright and Jermaine Jenas. The show utilised the regular pool of BBC pundits but also included guests from the world of football such as current and former managers, current players and footballers recently out of retirement such as Stephen Warnock and Matt Upson. The rest of the programme followed the familiar pattern with round ups of the previous day and a lighter look at the weekend. Graphics were the same as used on MotD.

MOTD2 Studio MOTD2 Stat

 

Due to the Albion’s progress to Wembley in the FA Cup, here are the commentary details of that Cup run. BBC Match of the Day broadcast highlights and goals from the FA Cup this season, many with full commentary edits. *However during our Round 3 & 4 matches, a voiceover report covered the limited highlights of the game whilst a longer edit featuring commentary was available on the BBC Sport website.

FA Cup 2017

R3 Sat 5th Jan Bournemouth (W3-1)

A

*World Feed; Gary Taphouse
R4 Sat 26th Jan West Brom (D0-0)

H

*BBC Online Highlights; John Roder
R4R Wed 6th Feb West Brom (1-1, W3-1 AET)

A

BBC Live; Steve Wilson & Kevin Kilbane
R5 Sat 16th Feb Derby (W2-1)

H

BT Live; Darren Fletcher & Adam Virgo MOTD Highlights; Robyn Cowen
QF Sun 17th Mar Millwall (2-2 AET, Win 5-4 on pens)

A

BBC Live; Jonathan Pearce & Jermaine Jenas
SF Sat 6th Apr Manchester City (L1-0)

N

BBC Live; Steve Wilson & Martin Keown

 

BHAFC Premier League Commentaries 2017/18

img_1598Brighton made their Premier League debut – and first top flight campaign for 34 years – in the 2017/2018 season. With this step up in opponents came a step up in television coverage. Every Premier League game receives a full commentary for the world feed and also for the BBC Highlights show Match of the Day, in addition to the separate commentaries used on the live matches selected by UK rights holders Sky Sports and BT Sport. The world feed commentaries are used by international broadcasters showing the games live, and are also deployed on the extended delayed coverage on Sky; 30 minute highlights of every non-live UK match as well as the best Saturday 3pm kick-off shown again in full at 8.30pm as ‘Game of the Day’. Sky Sports viewers in the Republic of Ireland have a bonus live Saturday 3pm match, so the opportunity to see the Albion in action here and around the world had never been greater.

Here are the full commentary details of Brighton’s debut Premier League season.

# Date Fixture H/A UK TV Live / World Feed Match of the Day
1 Sat 12th Aug Manchester City (L2-0) H BT; Darren Fletcher, Steve McManaman & Glenn Hoddle Jonathan Pearce
2 Sat 19th Aug Leicester City (L2-0) A Tony Jones & Don Goodman Steve Wilson
3 Sat 26th Aug Watford (D0-0) A Jonathan Beck & Tony Gale Guy Mowbray
4 Sat 9th Sept West Brom (W3-1) H Tony Jones & Don Goodman John Motson
5 Fri 15th Sept Bournemouth (L2-1) A Sky; Bill Leslie & Jamie Carragher John Roder
6 Sun 24th Sept Newcastle United (W1-0) H Sky; Rob Hawthorne & Andy Hinchcliffe Jonathan Pearce
7 Sun 1st Oct Arsenal (L2-0) A BT; Ian Darke & Martin Keown Simon Brotherton
8 Sun 15th Oct Everton (D1-1) H Tony Jones & Keith Andrews Jonathan Pearce
9 Fri 20th Oct West Ham United (W3-0) A Sky; Bill Leslie & Jamie Carragher Mark Scott
10 Sun 29th Oct Southampton (D1-1) H Sky; Bill Leslie & Alan Smith Steve Wilson
11 Sat 4th Nov Swansea City (W1-0) A Phil Blacker & Garry Birtles Conor McNamara
12 Mon 20th Nov Stoke City (D2-2) H Sky; Alan Parry & Andy Hinchcliffe No highlights
13 Sat 25th Nov Manchester United (L1-0) A Ian Crocker & Davie Provan Steve Bower
14 Tue 28th Nov Crystal Palace (D0-0) H Bill Leslie & Tony Gale Tony Husband
15 Sat 2nd Dec Liverpool (L5-1) H Alan Parry & Davie Provan Martin Fisher
16 Sat 9th Dec Huddersfield Town (L2-0) A Jonathan Beck & Keith Andrews Guy Mowbray
17 Wed 13th Dec Tottenham Hotspur (L2-0) A Martin Tyler & Tony Gale Simon Brotherton
18 Sat 16th Dec Burnley (D0-0) H Gary Taphouse & Garry Birtles Steve Wilson
19 Sat 23rd Dec Watford (W1-0) H Tony Jones & Keith Andrews Jonathan Pearce
20 Tue 26th Dec Chelsea (L2-0) A Gary Taphouse & Andy Walker Jonathan Pearce
21 Sat 30th Dec Newcastle United (D0-0) A David Stowell & Davie Provan Alistair Mann
22 Mon 1st Jan Bournemouth (D2-2) H Sky; Bill Leslie & Andy Hinchcliffe Jonathan Pearce
23 Sat 15th Jan West Brom (L2-0) A Daniel Mann & Garry Birtles Conor McNamara
24 Sat 20th Jan Chelsea (L4-0) H Sky; Alan Parry & Alan Smith Simon Brotherton
25 Wed 31st Jan Southampton (D1-1) A Tony Jones & Efan Ekoku John Roder
26 Sat 3rd Feb West Ham United (W3-1) H Ian Crocker & Davie Provan Jonathan Pearce
27 Sat 10th Feb Stoke City (D1-1) A Rob Palmer & Tony Gale Martin Fisher
28 Sat 24th Feb Swansea City (W4-1) H Phil Blacker & Iain Dowie Steve Wilson
29 Sun 4th Mar Arsenal (W2-1) H Sky; Alan Parry & Alan Smith Steve Wilson
30 Sat 10th Mar Everton (L2-0) A Gary Weaver & Davie Provan Steve Bower
31 Sat 31st Mar Leicester City (L2-0) H Gary Taphouse & Keith Andrews Tony Husband
32 Sat 7th Apr Huddersfield Town (D1-1) H Phil Blacker & Garry Birtles Steve Wilson
33 Sat 14th Apr Crystal Palace (L3-2) A Rob Hawthorne & Andy Hinchcliffe Jonathan Pearce
34 Tue 17th Apr Tottenham Hotspur (D1-1) H Sky; Martin Tyler & Davie Provan No highlights
35 Sat 28th Apr Burnley (D0-0) A Jonathan Beck & Keith Andrews John  Motson
36 Fri 4th May Manchester United (W1-0) H Sky; Rob Hawthorne & Gary Neville Jonathan Pearce
37 Wed 9th May Manchester City (L3-1) A Ian Crocker & Keith Andrews No highlights
38 Sun 13th May Liverpool (L4-0) A Sky; Martin Tyler & Gary Neville Steve Wilson

Matches 13, 15, 26, 30 & 33 were shown live on Sky in the Republic of Ireland only.

Matches 11, 13, 15 were shown delayed in full as the Game of the Day.

Final Premier League position; 15th [Key; WIN, DRAW, LOSE]

MNF 2017 Brighton

 

Sky Sports Match Choice 2017/18

Match Choice 17-18 img_7357

Match Choice provided 30 minute highlights of every single non-live Premier League game throughout the season. The title sequence was the same as the Live Super Sunday, Friday Night Football and Premier League Live intro, using Tom Grennan’s “Found What I’ve Been Looking For” as the theme tune. The titles feature each of the twenty Premier League teams with a stat, nickname or line of info about the club along with a player to represent them. This season Anthony Knockaert was the main man for the Albion. The programme itself just uses commentary, with no host or voiceover linking in and out. Graphics were the same as the Live Sky Sports set. Game of the Day followed the same pattern.

BBC Match of the Day 2017/18

MOTD 17-18 MOTD 17

The Match of the Day titles used this season were similar to the set introduced in the previous season, with a few minor tweaks with updated players and teams. Each Premier League club featured in the intro sequence, and each of the day’s fixtures were incorporated in text form. Brighton were represented by club captain Bruno and grouped together with the two other South Coast teams Bournemouth and Southampton. The theme tune, as ever, was the regular MotD theme.

MOTD Studio 17-18 MOTD Studio 17

The studio design had been the same for the previous couple of seasons, with Gary Lineker hosting on the left and his two pundits on the right. The red coloured panels behind the presentation team last season replaced the previous gold scheme retained after the show’s fiftieth anniversary celebrations in 2014/15. Above are Jermaine Jenas and Danny Murphy; other regulars used throughout the season included Alan Shearer, Ruud Gullit, Phil Neville, Ian Wright, Martin Keown, Kevin Kilbane and Frank Lampard. Graphics were tweaked for the new season with a yellow and white background and a sleeker wipe animation, with augmented reality providing virtual graphics all over the studio. These were used across the BBC Sport output.

img_9552 img_9551

Match of the Day 2 on Sunday nights used the same studio and set, but with host Mark Chapman now sat in the middle with his two pundits either side of him. The titles were broadly the same as the main show, except Bruno was replaced by Anthony Knockaert, as most of the teams had a different representative for MotD2.

 

As an aside, due to the Albion’s progress in the FA Cup to the quarter final stage, here are the commentary details of that Cup run featuring two live games and two matches chosen for extended highlights.

FA Cup 2017

R3 Mon 8th Jan Crystal Palace (W2-1) H BT Live; Ian Darke & Adam Virgo
R4 Sat 27th Jan Middlesbrough (W1-0) A MOTD highlights; Vicki Sparks
R5 Sat 17th Feb Coventry City (W3-1) H MOTD highlights; Jonathan Pearce
QF Sat 17th Mar Manchester United (L2-0) A BT Live; Ian Darke & Steve McManaman. MOTD Steve Bower

 

The 2017/2018 season saw another 15 live matches for Brighton, in the process taking the historic total to more than 100 live UK televised games. A win over Crystal Palace in the FA Cup saw the first time VAR could be called upon if necessary for the club, for the stadium and the competition. The best away performance of the season was televised, courtesy of an outstanding, comprehensive victory over West Ham at the London Stadium. A big defeat of Arsenal in March goes down as a highlight. But the moment of the season was a famous victory over Manchester United in May, courtesy of Pascal Gross’ goal-line-technology-approved winner, ensuring the club’s Premier League status for a second season. Which means we get to do this all over again next year!

Match of the Day; 50 Not Out

When starting something new you don’t normally look too far in the future. Thoughts rarely turn to how this might look in five years time. They never imagine it five decades on. From humble beginnings on 22nd August 1964, a brand new programme on a brand new channel launched. It was soon to become a firm favourite across all ages and go on to establish itself as a broadcasting institution. Match of the Day celebrated its fiftieth anniversary in 2014 and, in typical TV love-in self appraisal, it did so with much fanfare.

Kenneth Wolstenholme opened the very first show at Anfield as Liverpool hosted Arsenal in the First Division. Extended highlights of the home side’s one-nil win were broadcast to the small audience capable of tuning into the newly-arrived BBC Two. The apparent aim of the programme was to assist the public in catching what is now known as ‘World Cup fever’, with the tournament to be played in England two years later. Weekly highlights of a top game, indeed the match of the day if you will, were set to go out on Saturday nights for fans to obtain their football fix. So worried were the suits at the top division about attendances, they didn’t allow the BBC to announce which game it would be covering in advance in case fans didn’t bother to turn up, instead choosing to watch a shortened version later on at home. And so began a long mistrust and misunderstanding of the life and soul of the game, the supporter, by the authorities.

They had nothing to worry about. People turned up at the stadium, people watched on the gogglebox. Fifty years have passed and that’s still the case today. It will still be the case for the next few years at least as BBC Sport has just signed a new deal which will see Premier League highlights on MotD until at least 2019. In August 2014, a special anniversary edition of the show aired on BBC One which was pretty much the same as every other week but included a few montages and a very special one-off return. Selhurst Park, home of Crystal Palace, is an old-fashioned football ground with facilities that could easily pass for being untouched since the 70s. West Ham were accused by Jose Mourinho of going further back in time with their ’19th Century’ playing style. Appropriate then that for this celebratory reflectory show the bosses decided to jazz up Palace v the Hammers with retro graphics and the voice of one great man; Barry Davies.

He last commentated on the programme a whole 10 years previous but this was a very welcome return, albeit for just one week. Davies was, and indeed is, unique amongst his peers. His style, delivery and persona has always been to let the pictures do the talking, embrace silence and add words when necessary. A case of quality over quantity. His commentary was met with such a warm welcome in the few days leading up to the game as well as once the show had aired too. His memorable, understated lines live long in many a memory; during Olympic hockey “Where were the Germans? And frankly who cares?!’, Franny Lee’s wonder strike “Interesting… very interesting! Look at his face, just look at his face!” and on Maradona’s incredible goal against England in 86 “You have to say that’s magnificent’. In isolation these don’t read as much but when he delivered them, in his way, they were brilliant. He even managed another pearler during the anniversary game; West Ham’s Mark Noble scored from outside the box – “Noble… And so was that!” There will never be another Barry Davies.

With MotD’s simple format of goals and talking points from the weekend’s football the essentials of the show have remained a constant throughout the half-century. But there has been one significant adaptation which came in 2004 after re-gaining the Premier League rights from ITV. The change from selected match highlights plus a goals round-up of the other games, over to highlights with commentary of EVERY match has been both a positive and a negative. With all games being treated equally it makes it a lot easier for the running order to truly reflect the best games in the right order. For some reason lots of fans seem to believe in a perceived bias against their team and choose to ‘always be shown last on Match of the Day’. It is of course nonsense but don’t let that stop them believing in it. There are plenty of posts online about this elsewhere. However because they all have proper edits it means even matches as dull as Stoke 0-1 Hull sounds get a good few minutes of air-time, at the expense of a more entertaining match getting one or two minutes more. It was calculated that on a regular January edition of the show lasting 85 minutes and featuring 7 matches, 51 of those minutes were spent showing the actual match footage. This equates to an average of just over 7 minutes on each game, which is great for the smaller games but perhaps more could have been devoted to the bigger games. It’s a tough one to judge because nobody would like to go back to the old format but certainly there is room for improvement in the current state. Everyone seems to have a view on the show but personally I think it is currently in magnificent shape.

Established Premier League names from yesteryear have jumped at the chance to be associated with the programme. Danny Murphy, Philip Neville, Jermaine Jenas and Ruud Gullit are all excellent studio analysts that are tasked with a small amount of time to cram in what the goal was, why the goal was scored and what this means for the wider perspective. It isn’t easy but on their day they are all excellent. In between the forensics, the match commentators come from a very talented pool of around 15 or so voices. Guy Mowbray, Steve Wilson, Simon Brotherton and Jonathan Pearce have been BBC staff for a long time, over a decade, and have established themselves as very solid, if sometimes unspectacular,       broadcasters. All four could lay claims to be number one, but for live games it was Mowbray who took over from John Motson in 2010. Motty still appears regularly on highlights edits along with the likes of Martin Fisher, Steve Bower, John Roder, Dan O’Hagan and Alistair Mann. The freelancers ably support a very good bunch and, given the format, regularly get their chance to shine first on the programme straight after the news. Few may struggle to tell them apart but they each have their little quirks and phrases which make them all a pleasure to listen to. And isn’t that just splendid, Jonathan Pearce?

The man in the hot seat since 1999 has been striker-turned-pundit-turned-presenter Gary Lineker. He’s grown into a likeable, professional and able host with a dash of humour and an ounce of humility. It’s hard to imagine the show now without him, which is a testament to how good he is. This is just another in a series of first-rate anchors. Preceding Lineker was, amongst others, Des Lynam, David Coleman and Jimmy Hill. I saw the MotD host likened to the Doctor Who role; everyone has ‘their’ generation’s host. Mine was Lynam. It also helped that he’s a big Brighton fan, I’ve met him and he is very much a local hero. He was seen by many as the best host; warm, personable, witty and authoritative. He involved the viewer without the need for social media gimmicks. Ever prepared with the right line for the right occasion; like in the 1998 World Cup when England v Tunisia was an afternoon kick off – “Shouldn’t you be at work?” – a great opening line.

Alongside the host there’s been many a former pro in the pundits seat. Alan Hansen and Alan Shearer most recently, back through Mark Lawrenson and Trevor Brooking of yesteryear and all the way back to Jimmy Hill (him again) and Terry Venables before them. I’m too young to recall any prior to this. The pundit’s role on the show is a very difficult one to judge. Viewers tune in for the goals and highlights, not for the chat in between. With on-demand content and PVRs readily available many aren’t watching the programme live, they just skip through the analysis to get to the match action. Many of those that do watch in full are left unsatisfied, either through too much waffle or not enough insight. My take has changed over the years.

Match of the Day has nearly always managed to remain a popular and relevant part of a football fan’s weekend. I say nearly because there have been times when it’s been left behind the rest. It’s faced several challenges to its crown as the biggest footy show on the box. The recent documentary on BBC One – MotD at 50 – understandably blew smoke up the show and featured many a showbiz name drooling over clips they’ve been told how to remember just moments before. Many an article has also inflated the ego and massaged the importance of a mere 90 minutes of football. There’s no doubting it was vital to the sustained success of televised football pre-Sky. Along with The Big Match on ITV, the show was the home of domestic football week in week out during an age when live football was rarer than a law-abiding Radio 1 DJ. With football now televised every single day from somewhere in the world, the iconic brand of Match of the Day is arguably more important than ever before. It is vital that this remains on free-to-air terrestrial television to give everybody the opportunity to watch. It has a regular slot and a loyal and demanding audience. Our national game should never go the way of other sports by having it all on pay TV.

Sure, there are other outlets for football. Dedicated sports channels have helped the game and its coverage improve dramatically in the past 25 years. MotD’s big task now is remaining the place to go to for the best match action. We already know it’ll make it to 55 years not out with the new contract. If they carry on the way they are and manage to keep improving there’s no reason why we wont be seeing a similarly affectionate tribute to welcome in the 75th and 100th anniversaries in years to come. Saturday nights just wouldn’t be the same without it.