Small Screen Seagulls; 2011/12 Season part 1

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

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


Away Days visit to Brighton

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

SAM Soccer AM titles SAM Away Days

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

SAM Pier SAM Sealife centre SAM Laughter therapy SAM Stadium

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

SAM Dicks Bar SAM In the stands

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


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Quiz Show from The Amex for Brighton 2-2 Blackpool

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

TILAF Titles TILAF Hosts

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

TILAF The Possession Game TILAF Home or Away

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

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

TILAF Birds Eye View TILAF Brighton players

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

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

TILAF Poyet TILAF Full Time

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

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

TILAF Half Time TILAF Penalty

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

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


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

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

CCUP Titles CCUP Comms

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

CCUP Teams

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

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

CCUP Post CCUP Dive incident

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

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

CCUP Goal CCUP Full Time

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

CCUP Mackail-Smith CCUP Studio

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


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Southampton 3-0 Brighton Highlights

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

SOU FL Show titles SOU Comm

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

SOU Southampton SOU Brighton

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

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

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

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

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

SOU Poyet SOU Studio

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

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


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

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

LKO1 Titles LKO1 Studio

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

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

LKO1 Steggall LKO Bristol ale

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

LKO1 Touring LKO1 Martin Perry and Guy Price

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

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

LKO1 Doncaster game LKO1 Lynam

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


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

Small Screen Seagulls; In the Spotlight at Withdean

Small Screen Seagulls 2000sDuring our twelve-season tenancy at Withdean the club was extremely successful. Three League championships were won, with a fourth promotion via the Play Offs. The Albion arrived in the lower half of the lowest League, Division Three, before consolidating, improving and taking the fast track up to Division One. Two relegation seasons in the dozen years saw some of the lower on-field moments, but the club were determined to be in the second tier by the time the new home was in place. The fairytale story was completed with the League One title secured prior to the final match in April 2011. As the success grew, television naturally came calling that little bit more. Here, look back at some of the programmes that showcased the Seagulls players and surroundings on screen whilst at Withdean. The piece begins with a cult Saturday morning football show on Sky in December 2004.

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SOCCER AM (18th December 2004) Sky Sports 1

SAM Ident SAM Sponsor SAM Titles

To get you in the matchday mood you had Football Focus in the 1970s. Saint and Greavsie dominated the 1980s. Fantasy Football took the mid-1990s by storm. And as the 20th Century drew to a close, a small budget early morning entertainment programme on satellite was beginning to make big waves in the footballing community. Soccer AM began life on Sky Sports in 1995 as a four-hour discussion and phone-in show with Russ Williams and Jane Hoffen at seven in the morning, before Gary Stevens and Helen Chamberlain joined later on. It was a bit bland, a bit straight but it filled up lots of hours of Sky’s schedule when there was little chance of Live sport. When Tim Lovejoy came on board as producer and presenter in 1996 he changed the show beyond recognition and took it to new heights, with the aim being to replicate the excitement and build up that the Cup Finals of the 70s and 80s got on the telly. They built up a small but loyal following over the next couple of seasons on Saturday mornings, inviting viewers into their world of silly costumes, funny sketches, games, goals and star names. Soon everybody was clambering to be on the show, from the likes of Ray Winstone and Chris Evans, through Noel Gallagher to Rio Ferdinand and Paul Gascoigne. It was the place to be and soon became one of Sky’s most talked about shows. By 2004 it was a staple of the football coverage; for three hours each and every Saturday morning forty weeks a year from 9am you would tune into Soccer AM to see Tim and Helen, along with crew members Fenners, Sheephead, Tubes, Rocket, Robbie and co, entertaining you ahead of the big matches over the weekend. The show was sponsored by Yorkie, during the chocolate bar’s “It’s not for girls” campaign. With Brighton’s promotion into the Championship via the 2004 Play Off Final, media exposure was on the rise. On 18th December 2004, having played (and lost to Stoke one-nil) on the Friday night, three of Albion’s finest were invited onto the famous orange sofas to talk all things Brighton. They were striker Leon Knight, winger Nathan Jones and midfielder Charlie Oatway.

SAM Presenters SAM Sofas

With the show being three hours long at this point, the first hour was usually spent looking back at some of the best goals of the week along with funny moments, features and sketches. Particular highlights included Boston Goals, a parody of the unusual phrases American commentators use for football, showed the goals from Boston (in Lincolnshire as opposed to New York!), there was Northern 1970s style comedian Big Stan Hibbert (“I’m here all week!”) telling a classic gag and crew member Sheephead with his Topless Weather, once again pointing out down South there was “light drizzle!” These things sound ridiculous in isolation but once you joined in with the world Soccer AM created in that Isleworth studio, you were hooked and part of the gang. The second hour of the show was all about the guests and there were a whopping 7 (seven!) of them on this episode. As well as the Albion trio, joining later was former Spurs and Chelsea man Jason Cundy and three members of The Charlatans, backed by the noise of the Fans of the Week from Oxford United. When introducing them all at the top of the show, Lovejoy asked Chamberlain, “What’s Charlie Oatway like, Helen?” To which she replied, “He’s brilliant. He’s hard as nails so don’t upset him!” And the final hour, with the guests still present on the sofa, would go up a gear as the big hit features came out. The likes of Third Eyes, Showboat, Crossbar Challenge, Soccerette, Live link-ups to a ground and the locker sketches were amongst the most popular items before the show culminated with the fans kicking footballs through a hole in the end game. We’ll return to that last one later.

SAM Guests SAM Stoke game SAM Trio

Tim Lovejoy introduced the Brighton boys onto the show for their main interview with the line, “Our first guests have got their Christmas party tonight so are getting very excited. Please welcome Brighton’s Leon Knight, Nathan Jones and Charlie Oatway.” After the opening pleasantries they showed Ade Akinbiyi’s decisive goal from the previous night’s loss at Withdean to Stoke as well as Oatway’s chance towards the end, his miss getting a ribbing from the other Seagulls. That was going to be the order of the day, it was just a chance for each of them to take the mickey out of the other. Helen Chamberlain brought up Knight’s yellow card during the game, his fifth of the season, for an apparent dive. Both Knight and Chamberlain protested it should have been in fact a penalty, whilst a researcher frantically trawled through the tapes in order to find the incident. No sympathy from Jones though; “Ask him what his other four bookings were for though?” with Oatway adding “Exactly the same thing!” As Lovejoy mentioned in his intro, it was the Albion Christmas party that night and each of the boys drew out a famous name to dress up as. Knight got the short straw, his own words, and ended up as a lion, Jones got Dolly Parton and Oatway had probably the best you could get, Freddie Mercury. They talked about the Play Off Final victory in Cardiff, where the club produced a DVD using Charlie Oatway’s self-filmed footage behind the scenes that day. A clip of him imitating boss Mark McGhee running away from the fans during the Semi Final pitch invasion was shown and Oatway revealed the money he received from that would go to an unnamed player who recently had to retire due to illness.

SAM Jones press ups SAM Jones Soccer Skills SAM Basil Fawlty SAM Bus Stop

A feature of the show during the 2004/05 season was a footballer would do press-ups as the end credits rolled. The previous week had seen Nathan Jones’ attempt, which was controversially discounted as the arms didn’t lock back on the way up, enabling him to do more quicker. As he pointed out after seeing a clip, “Brian Jacks won Superstars with them!” In a bid to rectify that, Jones agreed to do press-ups Live at the end of the show, and Leon Knight being the competitive type decided he’d go head to head with him. It wasn’t the first time Jones had been featured on the show though, as a couple of years earlier his tricks earned himself its own item called ‘Nathan Jones’ Soccer Skills School’. In it, Fenners voiced a heavily exaggerated Welsh accent over the top of three of Jones’ tricks. The first, entitled the ‘Basil Fawlty’, saw him hugely overestimate a step and stretch his leg out in the style of Fawlty impersonating a German (above, bottom left). He actually won a penalty with the move. The second was the ‘Exaggerated Rhondda Valley Stepover’, in which he comically feigned a stepover. And the final one came in the same passage of play, after he did the stepover and sent the defender in a spin he just stopped and put his hands on his hips, AKA the ‘Bus Stop’. All set to the tune of The Entertainer. Afterwards, Jones revealed, “To be honest with you, it’s a bit detrimental because I used to get booted.” During the week, the guest researchers would phone the players up to get some idea of stories for the show and the Brighton players just used this as an excuse to wind the others up. As a result, Leon Knight was accused of having the driest shins of any footballer, Nathan Jones was revealed to be obsessively neat and tidy yet never washed his clothes and Charlie Oatway used and abused his local trainer store by returning each pair after he wore them. “I had that shop in the bag, now you lot have killed it!” he laughed. At which point the interview came to an end but the trio would still be hanging around in the studio for the rest of the morning.

SAM Stools SAM Knight Crossbar

A little bit later on the crew had dug out the Knight penalty incident from the Stoke game which saw him pick up his fifth caution of the season. After seeing it twice, it seemed only Knight and Chamberlain still thought it was a penalty, with the rest laughing at the comical fall. Lovejoy recommended he got Chris Kamara to highlight it on Goals on Sunday, as he often did with incorrect refereeing decisions. Fast-forwarding some more past next guest Jason Cundy’s chat and it was time to bring out the band. In order to accommodate The Charlatans on the sofa for their chat, the other four guests had to relocate. They were placed on stools behind the sofa, which gave the team a huge laugh as they knew what was coming next. A pan up of the camera was accompanied by a burst of the “Fool Again” chorus by Westlife, with the boyband famous for just sitting on stools when performing. It was so funny they did it every chance they could! The Charlatans were unable to stay for the whole show so the stools were only utilised for a few parts unfortunately before the boys returned to the sofa area. Fun whilst it lasted! The previous week it was Brighton’s turn to feature on the Crossbar Challenge, where all they had to do was hit the crossbar with a shot from the halfway line. It proved harder than it sounded. We saw our three guests attempts again this week (above, top right), with none of them able to get anywhere near. “Bit far” was Jones’ excuse.

SAM Oxford fans SAM Oatway Kick SAM Press Ups

The traditional climax to the show was outside in the Frank McAvennie car park where the Fans of the Week had sixty seconds to score as many balls through the hole as possible, with the caller guessing nearest winning a t-shirt and other merchandise. This year, as last, the show was celebrating Sky’s purchase of UEFA Champions League football rights with the game “We are the Champions League”. The target was the star-shaped hole in the middle of the ball logo, with the guests acting as ballboys for them before it was their own turn to have a kick. The Oxford fans were not very good at all, only managing two. Of the four guests, only Charlie Oatway was able to convert his kick (above, top right). They all rushed back inside to close the show with the head-to-head press-up challenge as Knight took on Jones, Live! The credits rolled along the bottom of the screen, along with the joke names and gags, whilst a version of Santa Baby played, given the time of year. Nathan Jones’ press-ups didn’t seem to dissimilar to the ones he executed (badly) previously but even so, he couldn’t keep pace with Leon Knight over the minute and the striker took it 71 to 61. And another excellent show came to a close. It was the first taste of a big light-entertainment show featuring any of the Withdean crop and they did well. The club got plenty of mentions, came out of it looking like they were up for a laugh and joined in with all the craziness that went with Soccer AM.


2

COCA COLA’S ‘WIN A PLAYER’ PRIZE (30th May & 30th June 2005) Sky Sports

WIN Group

The Football League went through its biggest rebranding since 1992 when it renamed the three Divisions in 2004. Division One became the Championship, whilst Two and Three became League One and League Two respectively. A new sponsor was gained in the form of fizzy drinks giant Coca-Cola, replacing Nationwide on the titling. As part of their sponsorship, Coca-Cola went into marketing overdrive. Their iconic red logo was adapted into the colours of each and every one of the seventy-two League clubs for use in the stadium, in the programmes, online and in print. The new logos were everywhere. They even redesigned the lower League and Play Off trophies into what looked sort of like a drinks bottle. But the most memorable campaign came towards the end of that first season of sponsorship when they launched their ‘Win a Player’ promotion. In exchange for buying a bottle of Coke, fans could enter into a prize draw where their football club would receive £250,000 to go towards a player, or players. The winning fan would also receive £10,000 for themselves. It was a simple yet brilliant idea, with a quarter of a million being a deciding factor in whether or not a club with little to no money could afford to actually spend money in the transfer market. For the lower League clubs this could be season changing. Even though the Albion were now competing in the Championship, finances were all being poured onto the campaign for Falmer which was still ongoing at this point. So this money would be a wonderful addition in order to welcome a new face to the club. The Terms and Conditions allowed for entries for multiple supporters from the same club rather than just one chance in seventy-two. The clamour for Coca-Cola bottles was on up and down the land!

WIN Cheque WIN Aaron Berry WIN McGhee WIN Studio

After eighty days of the promotion, a winner was drawn from the hat and would be revealed during the pre-match build up to the Coca-Cola Championship Play Off Final at the end of May 2005. Sky Sports televised the match Live between Preston and West Ham United at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium. Reporter Chris Kamara, who had been heavily involved as one of the faces of Coke’s promotion, was standing by the centre circle with the winning fan along with their club’s manager and chairman. Over one million entries were received. So imagine the delight when up pops Dick Knight and Mark McGhee next to Kamara. They were joined by the winning supporter, Albion fan Aaron Berry, all behind the giant cheque confirming a quarter of a million pounds was heading to the South Coast. The rules stated the money had to go towards the transfer and/or wages of players and couldn’t just be pocketed by the club and that £250,000 needed to be spent by the end of August that summer. This gave Coca-Cola the opportunity to market the player for the new season. During the Live Sky Sports interview, Dick Knight joked that the winnings could afford Mr Berry to become the chairman now! Knight spoke of how this would “double the playing budget” and would invest wisely. Always alert to the bigger picture, he of course stressed the need for a new stadium, really taking that television opportunity to remind everyone watching – and especially John Prescott – once more. He, thankfully, never missed a trick in promoting the needs of the club. Manager Mark McGhee responded to Kamara’s question of how he would spend the money simply with one word – “Wisely!” He added, “We’ve now got a budget!.. It’s a fantastic windfall for us. It really could be the difference between us staying in the Division and being relegated.” Up in the studio, host George Gavin and his guests George Burley and Paul Jewell echoed the chairman’s words regarding a new home. Gavin said, “All the problems they’ve had, I’m not sure any fan in the country would begrudge Brighton having that money if they couldn’t have it.”

 

WIN Sky Sports News WIN Kazim-Richards

A month later, on 30th June 2005, Brighton used the whole £250,000 windfall to sign eighteen-year-old striker Colin Kazim-Richards from Bury (or you could say Berry, after winning fan Aaron) on a three-year contract. Sky Sports News reporter Jeremy Langdon was there to cover the story as Kazim-Richards posed with Berry, Knight and McGhee for Coca-Cola’s promotional material. The new signing was immediately dubbed “The Coca-Cola Kid”, a tag which he would always be remembered. Speaking on the moniker, he said “I’d rather just Colin! But it’s nice for someone, anyone, to just know who I am.” Mark McGhee hoped that is exactly what he’d be known for as opposed to anything else. Whilst the chairman explained Kazim-Richards had been on their radar for some time, even before the money, fighting off competition from the likes of Wigan and Leicester. Signed as a prospect for the future, he lasted just one season at the Albion before being shipped on at his own request, but did score a memorable last-minute equaliser in the Live televised match at Sheffield Wednesday which was probably one of his highest points with the Seagulls.


3

THE FOOTBALL LEAGUE SHOW (1st January 2011) BBC One

FLS Potted History FLS Clem Goldstone FLS Wembley 83 FLS Goldstone Retail Park

The spotlight dimmed when the Albion were relegated from the Championship in 2006 and took a few years to find their feet in the third tier. By the time the BBC took over highlights of the Football League in 2009, their Saturday night programme The Football League Show had extended coverage of a couple of the day’s matches, all the goals from all the rest of the games and a report or feature. The latter involved their reporter Mark Clemmit providing a ‘Potted History’ of a club, looking at some of the key moments and achievements of a team’s past. He would also report from a selected match from the three Divisions to take a closer look behind the scenes and interview players and managers. Clemmit was a familiar voice on BBC Radio Five Live and in his native Middlesbrough and transferred to television with this programme. On the 2011 New Year’s Day edition, Clemmit’s potted history was on Brighton and Hove Albion. Soundtracked by ‘Sussex By the Sea’, the report began with shots of the home at the time; Withdean Stadium before a note on the formation of the club in 1901 and subsequent move to the Goldstone Ground a year later. He appeared from behind the gold rock (above, top right) located in Hove Park from which the stadium took its name. He then moved on to 1920, when the club first joined the Football League, before looking back at the Albion’s main piece of national notoriety; the 1983 FA Cup Final appearance (above, bottom left). By law, any mention of that match must then include Gordon Smith’s chance to win in in the last minute of extra time. Twelve years later the bitter row between the inept board and the heroic fans was chronicled, as the iconic Goldstone Ground became just another retail park (above, bottom right) when the site was sold for redevelopment. Clemmit touched upon the final day relegation escape at Hereford in 1997 and the subsequent two-year ground share with Gillingham as the 1990s drew to a bitter close.

FLS Goldstone now FLS Goldstone then FLS Withdean FLS Withdean North Stand

The Goldstone now (above, top left) and then (above, top right) were compared and contrasted before moving to the current situation of playing at Withdean Stadium, the temporary home since 1999 (above, bottom left and right). “The athletics stadium, formerly a zoo, was supposed to be a temporary one. By the time they move to their £93 million new home next season, they’ll have been here twelve years.” He told how the club’s nickname changed from the Dolphins to the Seagulls in 1976, in direct response to rivals Crystal Palace and their Eagles moniker. The potted history concluded with shots of the pier (below, left) as he gave details about the club song Sussex By the Sea; it “was written in 1907 as a military march. It was a favourite of former Brighton director, the late Norman Wisdom.” Following the report was a quick round-up of the Albion’s match that day against Leyton Orient. The result was a comprehensive five-nil victory over Russell Slade’s side, the man who kept the Seagulls in the Division just eighteen months earlier. Dave Beckett voiced the action, starting with Glenn Murray netting courtesy of a Chris Wood cutback. Wood, on loan from West Brom, crossed from the left less than two minutes later and saw it fumbled into the net by goalkeeper Jamie Jones to double the lead. In the second half, Liam Bridcutt was sent through on the near side. He fired it low across the box for Murray to finish first time for three-nil. His hat-trick was complete on the hour mark when Elliott Bennett slid a pin-point ball through the defence and extend Murray’s excellent goalscoring form. A fifth was added by Ashley Barnes when he latched on to his own headed flick, with the Orient defence giving him acres of space. A five-star performance for manager Gus Poyet and his League One leaders, who said afterwards; “Passing the ball, moving around – it’s a pleasure. As a manager to achieve that with the players that we’ve got in this Division is absolutely fantastic.” Almost five months later the Albion were crowned Champions as their time at Withdean, finally, drew to a close.

FLS Piers FLS Scoreline


4

TAKE IT LIKE A FAN (21st January 2011) Sky Sports 2

TILAF Titles TILAF Presenters

After leaving Soccer AM with Tim Lovejoy and half the crew in 2007, Fenners returned to Sky Sports three years later to do some interviews for Soccer Saturday and then co-host his own weekly football quiz show on location; Take It Like A Fan. The show was new for the 2010/11 campaign and aired on Friday nights, usually following the Live Football League match. Fenners, AKA John Fendley, and co-host Charlotte Jackson from Sky Sports News would present the show from a football ground each week, playing various games and quizzes in order for fans to win money. In January 2011, with the club going very well at the top of League One in the final season ahead of the move to Falmer, the programme came from Withdean Stadium around the Peterborough match. Fenners and Jackson would ask various questions in rounds before and after the match, and a special prize for one of the fans would be to take a penalty kick at half-time in order to win big. Welcome to Take It Like A Fan! They had a cracking theme tune too, Hunger by Frankie and the Heartstrings.

TILAF Round One TILAF Zamora goal TILAF Zamora question TILAF Zamora guesses

The show began with the round borrowing from a famous line of commentary; “There’s Some People on the Pitch”. So-called because the spot from where they film from is based on a famous moment on that pitch. After showing Kazenga LuaLua’s spectacular strike against MK Dons earlier this season and the incredible comeback against Swindon in the 2004 Play Off Semi, it was then decided as to where our first quiz would be taking place. For this Withdean special it came from the spot within the penalty area where Bobby Zamora volleyed a superb goal past the Halifax goalkeeper back in March 2000. After seeing the goal, we met the two contestants who were going head-to-head to win the chance to take a penalty at half-time and win £500. Playing today were Albion fans Christos and Joel. They were asked to write down how many of Zamora’s 117 goals thus far were scored for Brighton, the nearest would take the spot kick later. Unfortunately for Christos, the answer was 76 and so Joel Kaltz would be stepping up to test his shootout skills.

TILAF Dugout TILAF Home or Away 1 TILAF Home or Away 2 TILAF Oatway

Our hosts caught up with manager Gus Poyet in the dugout as he went about his pre-match routine. He pointed out it was the half-way point of the campaign, unbeaten at home so far but too many games were played at this level. They also mentioned his son, Diego, who had represented England – and not Uruguay – at under-16 level recently. Before leaving they tested him out with one of the quiz questions; Which Spanish club are nicknamed El Submarino Amarillo (the Yellow Submarine)? Quick as a flash he named Villarreal and won £10, sent straight to charity. The next round was Home or Away, very much not the same as the round in A Question of Sport as the ‘Back off Barker’ campaign from the show attempted to make clear so Sue doesn’t sue. Joel’s brother Jake took part in this one, with the aim of the game being to answer three questions correctly about either today’s home team – Brighton – and win a tenner or, for fifty pounds, the away team – Peterborough. He went with the home option for the first question, shown above top right, which he correctly bagged ten pounds. For the remaining two he went away, getting the second correct but unable to name which of Mark Wright, Terry Butcher and Tony Adams had a spell managing today’s visitors. After the three, there was the option to go double or quits and answer question four, shown above bottom left. He got it right and doubled sixty quid to one-hundred-and-twenty English money pounds. First team coach Charlie Oatway popped up pitchside before the warm up to give Fenners some grief about his jacket choices and answer the following question, somehow, correctly; ‘Which club did Manchester City sign Eden Dzeko from?’ So off he went ten pounds richer.

TILAF Fenners Tenners TILAF Tenners TILAF Players TILAF Goal

Tenners galore were up for grabs in the next round, where our contestant was hairdresser Adam who had sixty seconds to get as many questions right to stack up the cash. Amongst the teasers he got were; ‘Who are the only non-League club left in this season’s FA Cup?’, ‘What is Cesc Fabregas’ squad number at Arsenal?’ and ‘Which club play their home games at The Lamex Stadium?’ He got eight correct within the minute and tried to double it with this killer question; ‘Who has scored more goals for Liverpool – Robbie Fowler or Kenny Dalglish?’ He guessed correctly and pocketed a cool £160 before it was time for the adverts. Part two kicked off with three of the Albion squad members, above bottom left, answering a mini thirty-second edition of Fenners Tenners. Their questions included; ‘Which Scottish club play their home games at Hampden Park?’ and ‘Who knocked Newcastle out of this season’s FA Cup?’ They scored a fantastic seven correct, bagging seventy pounds, before blowing it all in the double or quits question when guessing Olof Mellberg’s current club incorrectly. Charlotte Jackson caught up with camera-shy Barry Fry, Peterborough’s Director of Football and former manager before we saw the goals from the big match as the Albion hosted the Posh. Chris Wood opened the scoring after twenty-five minutes with a near post header before Elliott Bennett doubled the lead two minutes later with a nice curling effort from just outside the penalty area (above, bottom right). And that led us nicely onto the next segment at half time.

TILAF Penalty TILAF Penalty Miss TILAF Full Time TILAF Where on Earth.

It was time for earlier winner Joel Kaltz to take his penalty. The opponent in the sticks was Brighton academy ‘keeper Josh James. If Joel netted, and he was confident, he’d take home the £500, if it was saved he’d get nothing. He stepped up and struck it low just left of centre but James guessed the right way and gathered well to keep it out (above, top right). “Fluffed it” was Joel’s reaction before adding, “Had a ‘mare!” Josh James’ reward for saving the show £500 was a ton himself. Back to the match and the second half continued where we left off, with Albion adding a third through Wood again, this time bundling in Glenn Murray’s cross. Peterborough pulled one back through Lee Tomlin with twenty-four minutes remaining but it was just a consolation, the final score ending three-one. Next up was back to the quizzing, with Sean taking on the ‘Where on Earth?’ round. He was shown a series of cards with players on, he just needed to name the country they were from. For every one right he’d receive ten pounds and had sixty seconds to pick up as many as possible. Examples included Eden Dzeko (that man again!), Alexander Hleb, Ali Al-Habsi and Dani Alves. He managed eleven correct but threw it all away by incorrectly answering where on Earth Brede Hangeland was from. He was not Swiss.

TILAF Wood TILAF Trackside

The programme ended with a quick natter Posh boss Darren Ferguson before hearing from two-goal hero Chris Wood (above left), both speaking to Charlotte Jackson. He joined on loan from West Brom in November until the end of the season, scoring on his debut as well in the recent Cup win over Portsmouth. And finally, the last word from Brighton went to gaffer Gus Poyet, who had something to say about the referee during the match, as often the case. Poyet said the show was welcome back anytime now that they won the match, with them hoping to return the following season in the new surroundings at The Amex. With that, our presenters Fendley and Jackson bid us farewell and onto the next show at another football stadium next week. Brighton continued the terrific form and stayed on their lofty perch at the top of League One for the foreseeable.


5

LATE KICK OFF (18th April 2011) BBC One South

LKO Ident LKO Titles LKO Richardson LKO Murty and Rosenior

The Seagulls soared to the top of League One and never looked back during the 2010/11 campaign. Promotion was secured with a sensational four-three win over Dagenham and Redbridge and that was followed up four days later with a superb three-one victory at Walsall. That was enough to secure the League One title with four matches to spare and two of Albion’s heroes all season – Tommy Elphick and Elliott Bennett – appeared in the BBC South studio on the Monday evening to celebrate. Late Kick Off was the BBC’s weekly regional Football League magazine programme. It launched in January 2010 to cover the second half of the season, the BBC’s first as League rightsholder in the deal, and returned for the second half of this 2010/2011 season too. The country was split into seven regions and Brighton were predominantly served by the South, West and South West version which also covered Bournemouth, Southampton, Portsmouth, Reading, Bristol City, Bristol Rovers, Swindon, Exeter, Plymouth, Aldershot, Oxford, Cheltenham, Torquay, Wycombe and Yeovil. To complement the main highlights programme The Football League Show on Saturday nights, Late Kick Off aired on Monday nights showing the goals from the region as well as reports, interviews and analysis. Match of the Day commentator Jonathan Pearce presented our region’s first season but did not return for this one. His place was taken by former Channel 4 Football Italia host and king of wit and wordplay, James Richardson (above, bottom left). Joining him in the studio were regular pundits Graeme Murty and Leroy Rosenior (above, bottom right).

LKO Trophy in studio LKO Inflatable trophy LKO Going Up

The programme began with Richardson introducing his two guests, Elphick and Bennett, sat on the sofa who temporarily displaced the usual pairing of Murty and Rosenior. The latter would be back towards the end of the show. The shiny League One trophy was also present, with Brighton not able to get their hands on it for real until the final home match against Huddersfield in just under two weeks’ time. By Tommy Elphick’s own admission, the players had been partying almost non-stop since securing the title on the Saturday so any croakiness of voice would surely be forgiven here. A VT montage played of the two matches over the past week which secured firstly promotion followed by the championship, cut with the scenes of jubilation and celebration. It was set to Florence and the Machine’s “Dog Days are Over”, appropriately enough. Thoughts immediately turned to next season and the Championship Division. Elphick responded to Richardson’s question of nerves with, “I think with the way the club’s going and everything, that we should be well in hand for next year and prepared.” He praised the people in charge at both the club and manager level.

LKO Elphick LKO Bennett LKO Bennett goal LKO Studio

Brighton had three players named in the PFA Team of the Year for League One, with defenders Inigo Calderon and Gordon Greer joining Elliott Bennett. Perhaps harshly overlooked was striker Glenn Murray, with Bennett arguing his case; “Top player, he’s scored over twenty goals this season. Hopefully the club can tie him down to a long contract and he can score some goals next year as well.” He provided Murray with a lot of assists but it was the winger who scored the final goal in the weekend’s match at Walsall (above, bottom left), a cracker from twenty-five yards that flew past the ‘keeper in the final minute. Elphick added of it, “We see it every day in training. Nothing surprises the lads when he pulls one of them out the bag.” The trio also discussed manager Gus Poyet, with plenty of superlatives for him as a person and coach. Elphick told of the changes he brought about to transform the club from the bottom end of the table to the very top within eighteen months. “He brought a real winning mentality to the squad. Everything we do in training, whether it be a five-a-side or head tennis, it’s all down to winning whatever way you do it. I know we’ve done it the right way and passed the ball a lot but we have got the other side to the game as well which I think does make you Champions.” Elliott Bennett confirmed the next target of theirs was to go for the one-hundred points marker. He also played down his PFA accolade, saying it could have been any one of the team included, which presenter Richardson wasn’t quite buying the modesty! Some of his goals were shown as they discussed the achievement, in the process almost creating his own ‘Goal of the Month’ compilation they were that good.

LKO Group shot

The opening third of the programme focussed entirely on the Albion and the two studio guests before continuing almost as normal with reports and goal round-ups. Graeme Murty was sent to Southampton on an access-all-areas mission to provide an insight into what the day is like from a player’s perspective before he, Richardson and Leroy Rosenior voiced over all the goals from the region’s clubs from the weekend. Elphick and Bennett moved back to the sofa for the final few minutes of the show, along with the regular threesome to form a packed studio. Richardson quipped, “It’s kind of like a before and after, isn’t it, of footballing careers and the effect it can have on your body!” The long goodbye to Withdean Stadium and the move to Falmer was touched upon. Elphick saying “I believe it’s the biggest pitch in the Football League” before appealing for Murty to come down and film one of his tactical reports that he filed for the show earlier. He also said he was not sad to be bidding farewell to the athletics stadium; “We’ve obviously had some great nights there and some good games but I think for the club to progress the way it wants to we’ve definitely got to get out of there.” And that was just about that as they closed the show for another week. The Albion didn’t go on to win the last Withdean game, or indeed any of the final four fixtures missing out on the century of points. But who cares now?! A new Division and, most importantly, a new stadium was on the horizon. A home the Seagulls could finally call their own. What a time to be a Brighton fan.


Twelve seasons at Withdean Stadium began in the basement Division, scrambling for survival in the Third, and ended up flying high with the League One title and a place in the Championship upon arrival at the magnificent new home in Falmer. It was a rollercoaster ride from start to finish; with the uncovered stands, the shoestring budget, the battling on and off the pitch and some remarkable afternoons and evenings that supporters will never forget. For the players, appearances in the spotlight on the likes of Soccer AM brought the sort of exposure you only really get as a footballer at a certain level the higher up the Leagues you go. The history of the club and the fight for a home became a story told on an increasingly frequent basis as the years at Withdean went on. National coverage of it was always welcomed. Things would go up, in all areas, several notches by the summer of 2011 and the opening of the American Express Community Stadium. The Withdean years, though, should never be forgotten.

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.

 

#27: Luton 1-1 Brighton 17/02/2009

#27 LUTON 1-1 BRIGHTON (LUT win 4-3 on pens) Johnstone’s Paint Trophy Southern Area Final 2nd Leg
Tuesday 17th February 2009 Sky 2007

SHR Titles

PRESENTER David Jones GUEST Peter Beagrie
COMMENTATORS Ian Darke & Garry Birtles REPORTER Patrick Davison
7.45pm Kick Off; Kenilworth Road, Luton     7.30-10pm Live on Sky Sports 2 (Extended to 10.15pm)

SS2 Ident Titles start LUT Intro

Context of the Match: Luton and Brighton were now one match away from a trip to Wembley Stadium. It would’ve been Brighton’s first trip to the stadium since a Play Off Final defeat to Notts County in 1991. Both teams went into this match in the relegation zone in their respective Leagues; Brighton 21st in League One whilst Luton were cut adrift at the bottom of the entire Football League. The Albion were looking ahead to better times with the initial stages finally underway just before Christmas for the new stadium site in Falmer, expected in a couple of seasons time. Off the pitch things were finally looking up but on the pitch was a real struggle. Since Micky Adams returned to the club last summer the fortunes have been mixed; excelling in Cup competitions but not able to replicate that in the League with 28 points from 29 games. As we approached the final third of the season there was still a lot of work to be done to avoid relegation down to the fourth tier for the first time since 2001. Luton by contrast were already there and already pretty doomed. They suffered two successive relegations from the Championship down to here and began this season with a massive record 30 point deduction due to financial irregularities; 10 points deducted by the FA and 20 by the Football League for breaking the rules on exiting administration. Money problems had been going on for a couple of years, culminating with this. So the JPT was somewhat of a leveller, a chance to rectify a terrible season. The first leg at Withdean ended goalless, there would be no away goals rule or extra time. If it finished level on the night tonight then penalties would be required again. Brighton had been involved in three shootouts this season, winning all three and scoring fifteen out of fifteen taken. Like in the previous round, the club arranged for free coach travel to the match, ensuring around 1,500 Seagulls supporters were present.

LUT Luton LUT Subs LUT Brighton

The Teams: After the disappointing start to the season, Micky Adams tried to overhaul the side in the January transfer window. Brighton’s squad included a number of new faces including on-loan Calvin Andrew from Crystal Palace up top. Six changes were made from the previous match at the weekend, as out went penalty save hero John Sullivan for Michel Kuipers. Andy Whing and Dean Cox also returned due to a combination of tactical and enforced tinkering. Chris Birchall joined in January on a six-month contract and is perhaps most famous for somehow managing to sneak into the Trinidad and Tobago World Cup 2006 squad where he faced England in the group stages. Another on a six-month contract was Jason Jarrett, described by Adams as “an energetic box-to-box midfielder who can operate in either an attacking or defensive role anywhere across the middle.” Big things were hoped of him. 17 year-old Steve Cook was on the bench. Luton manager Mick Harford needed to practically rebuild his squad in the summer following another relegation but were faced with a transfer embargo until just 48 hours before the first match of the season, this on top of their points deduction. Their mix of youth and experience meant the likes of top-scorer Chris Martin, not his Coldplay frontman namesake, former Ipswich and Swindon striker Sam Parkin and player of the year Keith Keane all returned. Many January signings for both clubs were ineligible; Seb Carole, Jim McNulty and Craig Davies for the Albion, hence the high number of changes. Refereeing was former top flight official the dreadful Andy D’Urso.

LUT Jones LUT Beagrie LUT Studio

Presentation Team: As with the previous round of the JPT, Sky’s duo of David Jones and Peter Beagrie presented coverage from the corner of the stadium adjacent to the away fans. David Jones was fast rising up the pecking order in favour of established main Football League anchor George Gavin, picking up the Saturday Night 5.20pm slot and all the extras such as this competition. Peter Beagrie was his regular pundit and Sky’s firm number one on the League. In the commentary box were Garry Birtles and Ian Darke. Birtles had been on the coverage since 2003 and firmly second choice behind initially Chris Kamara, and now Don Goodman. With two Live Football League matches on most weekends, Birtles would usually pick up one of them. When it came to League One he was the voice, covering Play Offs and Finals as well as the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy. Ian Darke was in the near unique position of being a semi-regular voice on both Sky’s Premier League and Football League coverage. He was behind Martin Tyler, Rob Hawthorne and Alan Parry in the top flight, meaning sometimes there weren’t enough Live games to go round Sky’s big four commentators. As a result he would pick up Football League matches behind their number one Bill Leslie (who was on Scottish Cup duty this midweek), particularly around international break weekends as we saw last season with our Live Leyton Orient match. His enthusiasm and engaging style made it a pleasure to listen to and livened up even the poorest of matches. He perhaps deserved a bigger gig and in 2010 joined ESPN in America after a hugely successful World Cup, covering the top Premier League games for the US audience. The partnership with Darke and Birtles was amongst Sky’s most enjoyable. Reporting pitchside today was Patrick Davison, a new name to Brighton’s Live television coverage. Davison had begun reporting for preview programme Big League Weekend since the beginning of last season and was slowly gaining experience on Live matches of relatively low profile, such as in this competition and Leagues One and Two. He started off at Sky working behind the scenes on Sky Sports News.

LUT Table LUT Adams LUT Kick Off LUT Comms

The Coverage: Jones and Beagrie came on-air fifteen minutes before the kick-off at Kenilworth Road. This was just enough time to discuss the struggles of both clubs, look at their dismal League standings (Brighton 21st and Luton 24th in Leagues One and Two respectively). The second leg of both the Northern and Southern Area Finals were being played tonight and the goals from the first legs were shown pre-match. As Brighton v Luton was goalless that meant we just saw Scunthorpe’s two against Rotherham from January. Patrick Davison interviewed both managers in the tunnel, asking Harford and Adams about their preparation for penalties. It seemed many were expecting this to be a tight match. Commentator Ian Darke talked us through the starting line-ups before heading for a quick break before the kick-off. The title sequence and graphics remained as they were for the previous match in this competition, with the replay transition for everything including goals being the nice flying trophy from the top left into the middle of the screen and out again. The aggregate scoreline was added between the team names and the clock for clarification. One addition this season was the total number of cards earned that year when given a yellow or red, which helped highlight when a suspension would be due. Half time analysis centred on the two goals and of course the red card for David Livermore. When the second half concluded there was just a little bit of time to grab some reaction from Peter Beagrie before straight onto the penalties without a break, capturing the atmosphere and the nerves well. The programme was extended by fifteen minutes to account for the pens, and after the break Patrick Davison conducted interviews with the man of the match and the winning goalkeeper, as well as the victorious manager. Jones and Beagrie reviewed the goals again, rounded up the result from the other Area Final and analysed the penalties before closing the show and Brighton’s JPT campaign for another season.

LUT Goal LUT Red Card LUT Analysis LUT Coming Up 

Story of the Match: What is it they say ahead of a big match? Keep it tight early on, start brightly, be nice and sharp and switched on. Brighton certainly heard that. And proceeded to do the complete opposite as Luton took the lead within 60 seconds. A long ball forward from defence was headed on by Craddock to a seemingly innocuous enough position. Michel Kuipers came racing out of his goal to the edge of the area to clear but got in a complete tangle with Adam Virgo as both players had embarrassing air-shots. This left Tom Craddock to pick up the loose ball and calmly slot it into the empty net well to leave Micky Adams shaking his head in disbelief on the sidelines. The surface was rather bobbly but that was no excuse for the shambolic way the goal came about. Brighton didn’t let it affect them too much in a very open first quarter. In the fifth minute Nicky Forster burst down the right but his cross-shot narrowly alluded everyone. A quarter of an hour later he was in behind again with his shot rolling agonisingly just inches wide of the post. Forster wasn’t to be denied though as the skipper got the equaliser less than a minute later, deservedly so as he was everywhere early on. The resulting goal-kick went straight to Chris Burchill in the centre circle, he brought the ball forward ten yards before setting Forster through centrally behind the Luton defence. He took one touch to steady himself, with the ball hardly moving due to the poor pitch, before unleashing his fierce shot early from the edge of the box and low past the outstretched Price’s hand. The fact it was taken early was key, not giving the goalie or defender enough time to react. Forster’s celebration unveiled a t-shirt stating “Sorry but that’s 200” referring to his career goals tally, however commentator Ian Darke had been stating all evening that he was on 198 prior to tonight. The discrepancy arose because he was indeed on 198 club goals but had also scored once for the England under-21s. So technically both were correct and it wasn’t a case of the Ian Wrights about him by celebrating too early like Wright did wrongly when he thought he broke the Arsenal record. Michel Kuipers in the Brighton goal was having a nightmare return to the side and nearly made another fatal error 33 minutes in when a backpass to him was bizarrely underhit straight back into play as Kuipers was leaning back off-balance and narrowly missed Sam Parkin as the defence were able to pick up the pieces. All of Brighton’s hard work was undone a minute before the break with a red card for David Livermore. His interception sent the ball away from his control and he lunged in for a 50:50 challenge. He was too late and over the top as Spillane got the loose ball first, even though there didn’t seem a huge amount of actual contact it was still a dangerous tackle. After consulting with his linesman, referee Andy D’Urso sent the defender off and we went into the break level on goals but a man down. This forced Dean Cox to be sacrificed for Tommy Elphick to shore up the back line. The second half was equally as tense and as close with only half-chances being permitted for both sides. Brighton were happy to sit back and force Luton into bringing the game to them, the ten man having to concentrate for every moment. As an attacking force, the red card killed them off, with Nicky Forster having to feed off scraps all by himself. Brighton survived a last-minute scare when Kuipers was called into action to parry a shot and pounce on the rebound but that was about it. And so, inevitably, it went to penalties again, to be taken in front of the home end.

LUT Penalties LUT Pen Save

Forster was first up, scoring and sending the ‘keeper the wrong way. Chris Martin levelled it identically. Virgo was next, going the other way and still sending the ‘keeper the wrong way. Craddock made it two-two straight down the middle. Tommy Elphick just squeezed his penalty in despite a big hand from Price. Asa Hall equalised again. But the incredible run was to come to an end, Jason Jarrett the first man to miss a spot kick for Brighton in a shootout this year as his effort was saved onto the post. Ryan Charles put Luton ahead and it was all over when Birchall’s was saved brilliantly by Price as the Hatters fans poured onto the pitch to celebrate their 4-3 penalty win. Luton went on to face Scunthorpe in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy Final and lifted the trophy. They won a pulsating contest at Wembley by three goals to two in April in front of 55,000 people. The cup success wasn’t quite enough to save their League season. Despite a fantastic effort, they were relegated with several games to go and ended up fifteen points off safety. Had they not had the 30 points deducted their final League position would’ve been 15th. Brighton’s season would continue to be a struggle after this. Micky Adams lost his job and Russell Slade was appointed at the start of March until the end of the season. His task was simple – keep the club up. He managed to achieve the great escape thanks to a final day home win against Stockport. That win flew the Seagulls up the table, finishing 16th but would have been relegated on goal difference had they lost that match. Crazy, tense and all-too-close but Slade rescued a pretty dismal season after last year’s hope. A huge improvement was required if Brighton were to achieve their aim of being a Championship club when the move to Falmer commenced.

LUTON 1 BRIGHTON 1
Craddock. Luton win 4-3 on penalties Forster

LUT Replay

PREVIOUS; #26 SHREWSBURY 0-0 BRIGHTON 16/12/2008

NEXT; #28 SOUTHAMPTON 1-3 BRIGHTON 15/11/2009

#26: Shrewsbury 0-0 Brighton 16/12/2008

#26 SHREWSBURY 0-0 BRIGHTON (BRI win 5-4 on pens) Johnstone’s Paint Trophy Southern Area Semi Final
Tuesday 16th December 2008 Sky 2007

SHR Titles

PRESENTER David Jones GUEST Peter Beagrie
COMMENTATORS Bill Leslie & Garry Birtles REPORTER Greg Whelan
7.45pm Kick Off; Prostar Stadium, Shrewsbury     7.30-10pm Live on Sky Sports 1 (Extended to 10.15pm)

Xmas Ident 1 Xmas Ident 2 Intro

Context of the Match: The Football League Trophy, known here as the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy, is a competition between teams from Leagues One and Two and for many represent their best chance of getting to Wembley Stadium and winning a trophy. Brighton had never really got very far in this competition since it began as the Associate Members Cup in the 1983/84 season. Tonight was the Southern Area semi final, meaning a win for the Albion would put them in a two-legged Area Final with the winner progressing to face the Northern Area winners in a one-off Final at the Home of English Football. The draw wasn’t too kind for Brighton, pitting them against League Two high-flyers Shrewsbury Town at their shiny new Prostar Stadium. It was fair to say Shrewsbury were favourites for this match, being at home, in-form and with Brighton struggling just seven places above them albeit in different Divisions. The Albion had changed managers in the summer, somewhat surprisingly given Dean Wilkins had steadied the ship and just missed out on a Play-Off place by one position, finishing seventh. This was largely thanks to captain Nicky Forster’s 15 goals. Nevertheless Wilkins was out and Micky Adams returned to the club. Adams guided Brighton to Division Three champions in the 2000/2001 season before leaving the following season for Premiership Leicester. Seven years down the line and after a spell with Coventry as manager and Colchester as assistant for a few months, he was reunited with Dick Knight back in charge of the Seagulls. Promotion was again the aim and the mood was positive with the good news about the stadium finally given the go-ahead, building work would begin with preparation the day following this match, and a successful former boss returning fans were optimistic going into the 2008/2009 campaign. It would not start well at all. Brighton were 20th in the table with just four League wins all season. The cups however provided much needed respite, having already knocked out Premier League moneybags Manchester City on penalties in the Carling Cup, and knocking out Northampton, Leyton Orient and Swindon to get to this stage of the JPT. Now the spotlight of the television cameras fell on the club for the first time in 2008. Brighton provided fans with free coach travel for this big occasion.

SHR Shrewsbury SHR Subs SHR Brighton

The Teams: Micky Adams’ Brighton side included captain Nicky Forster, Dean Cox, Adam El-Abd, Tommy Elphick and Andy Whing all featured in the last Live match the previous season. Kevin McLeod, not to be confused with his Grand Designs namesake, turned down a two-year contract extension with Colchester in the summer to join Brighton and got a goal in the JPT win over Northampton. Play Off hero from 2004 Adam Virgo returned to the club after an unsuccessful spell with Scottish champions Celtic which then followed loan spells with Coventry and Colchester before signing permanently again with the Albion. Goalscorer Glenn Murray was an absentee for Brighton having picked up an injury. Murray signed permanently from Rochdale at the end of January 2008. Irish midfielder Kevin Thornton was on a short-term loan from Adams’ former club Coventry. With Michel Kuipers again out injured, youth team graduate John Sullivan, not to be confused with his Only Fools and Horses writer namesake, kept goal after only making his professional debut at the end of October. Goalkeeping coach Paul Crichton came out of retirement at the age of 40 to make up the numbers on the substitute bench. The danger man for the homeside was undoubtedly Grant Holt up front alongside Richard Walker who won this competition in 2002 with Blackpool. The Shrews were the top scorers in the tournament with Holt netting seven goals in just two appearances so far! Goalkeeper Luke Daniels is on loan from West Brom and was one of three changes from their last match, with Walker and Hunt also coming in for Paul Simpson’s side. Brighton wore a special one-off all-white kit due to the other three all clashing. The last time we wore this was the famous Crystal Palace away win in 2005. Keith Hill was the man in black.

SHR Jones SHR Beagrie SHR Studio SHR Studio setting

Presentation Team: Saturday Night Live duo David Jones and Peter Beagrie hosted coverage of this Johnstone’s Paint Trophy semi final. The competition was rarely shown Live before the overall Final match under previous contracts, with the occasional regional Final Live and that’s about it. However under the latest contract there were a few more Live matches from this competition, seemingly on an ad-hoc basis. As of the beginning of last season, David Jones was the Football League number two sharing duties with George Gavin, back after his operation last season. Previously Jones was more familiar as a face of Sky Sports News and was pitchside reporter for Premiership Plus in their first two seasons before going full-circle and hosting the final handful of Live pay-per-view PremPlus matches before the venture closed down in 2007. Jones first experiences of anchoring Live matches came during the 2006/2007 season when he was one of a couple of new presenters given an opportunity to host the League Cup early rounds, as was Soccer AM’s Tim Lovejoy. Peter Beagrie became a regular full-time Sky Sports Live pundit at the same time as Jones, forming a regular partnership with Jones. In the commentary box were familiar Football League voices Bill Leslie and Garry Birtles. As number two co-commentator, Birtles covered the pick of the lower leagues, JPT and League One play-offs, as well as regular Championship matches. Bill Leslie was the number one League commentator and was making occasional Premier League, Scottish Cup and Scotland international commentaries as well as regular England under-21 and Champions League games. Greg Whelan was reporting once again as the League’s first choice.

SHR Adams SHR Interview SHR Kick Off SHR Comms

The Coverage: The programme came on-air fifteen minutes prior to kick-off from the studio next to the Brighton fans in the Prostar Stadium away end (where the Sky Sports 1 Live DOG is in the above screenshot). Amongst the fans were several Father Christmas suits, with the match taking place just nine days before the big day. This also meant we got to see Sky Sports’ Christmas presentation, with the snowmen idents and the frosty graphics. For the past few years, each December Sky Sports used special festive idents with sporting snowmen to introduce the programmes in a long-held television tradition. One of these features snowmen versions of Premier League hosts Richard Keys and Andy Gray using the touchscreen before their arrows crashed into snowmen playing football. As shown below, when advertising upcoming Live matches, frosted ice would form the background whilst an instrumental version of Christmas (Baby, please come home) rang out. The title sequence for the JPT was the generic one with library music Sky Sports used for any football match which didn’t have its own regular one; friendlies, youth games etc. The match graphics broadly the same as when they were introduced at the start of last season, with the red and black colours for the Football League, compared to the blue and black of the Premier League. The team line-ups though had been tweaked this year. The circles for the numbers replaced squares, the red pitch background had a cleaner, glassy effect, and the team name moved from the sides to the bottom. The player name would transition from a black to a white background when the commentator was highlighting a particular man. When changing from one team to the other, the darker part featuring the team name rotated round to clear the pitch nicely. The scorebar had also been tweaked to include the team colours, easily identifying who’s who. This became a trend across the rest of the broadcasters. Something which also came in, which I first saw on Channel 5’s UEFA Cup coverage in previous seasons, was the scorebar being introduced at the bottom of the screen during half time and full-time; helpful for those who had only just tuned in.

SHR Santa SHR Christmas graphics SHR Sub SHR Knight

For today’s programme, the build up centred around the two managers. Micky Adams was interviewed as normal, whilst Paul Simpson had a more in-depth chat with Greg Whelan situated in the home team dressing room. Shrewsbury moved into this ground for the start of this season so Sky built up the element of a team getting a new stadium versus a team longing for a new home after several seasons of temporary surroundings. This extended to the half-time break when Brighton chairman Dick Knight was interviewed pitchside to update us on Brighton’s battle, which Sky had followed closely every step of the way, and brought good news. The first steps would be taken the day after this match with preparation work on-site as the road-widening and initial stages begin. And Knight was beaming to tell us all, whilst praising the facilities he was standing on. The feature of many a pre-match VT over the past six years, a new stadium in Falmer, was finally becoming a reality in the morning. “Will the earth move for me tomorrow? Yes it will!” he said. The rest of the build up and half time was the studio team in discussion. With the match going to penalties, the programme was extended by an extra fifteen minutes to incorporate full post-match analysis. Interviews with Man of the Match John Sullivan alongside Dean Cox, as well as losing manager Paul Simpson. Sky also got to roll out their penalty shoot-out score graphics which you rarely see. After the interviews were concluded, the spot-kicks analysed and the results from the other area semi finals revealed, David Jones said his goodbyes on a chilly Shrewsbury night.

SHR Penalties SHR Save SHR Man of the Match SHR Analysis

Story of the Match: Shrewsbury started as favourites due to their excellent form and goalscoring ability and this showed in the early stages. Brighton were forced into an early change with Colin Hawkins picking up an injury. He was replaced by Adam Hinshelwood after just twelve minutes, Hinshelwood recalled from a loan spell with Crawley for this game to pad out the bench. It took until the half hour mark for the first real goalmouth action where John Sullivan was called into action. A long throw-in from the far touchline was inadvertently flicked towards his own goal by Virgo and Sullivan had to react quickly to get down low and keep it out. The resultant corner kick was whipped in furiously which everyone, including Sullivan, just missed. Other than a mini-scramble in the Brighton box right on half time there was not much action elsewhere in the first half barring a few dangerous looking crosses from either side. Referee Keith Hill went off at half time injured and was replaced by his fourth official Phil Gibbs. Brighton started on the front foot in the second half with Andy Whing bursting down the wing, he pulled it back for Dean Cox to fizz a shot narrowly past the post. The depleted squad had more injury woe with McLeod coming off after a knee problem with Jake Robinson coming on just before the hour point. Both teams were restricted mainly to long-range pot-shots or penalty box scrambles for much of the match. When John Sullivan was called into action though he was certainly alert. Shrewsbury had a great chance to take the lead when a cross found White six yards out, which perhaps even surprised himself as his shot was palmed away. And with Sullivan’s excellence through the game, it ended goalless and thus straight onto penalties. With his confidence high and Brighton knowing both penalty shoot-outs they’d been involved in so far this season they had won, surely this was only going to end one way. Brighton went first, with Nicky Forster making no mistake low to the keeper’s right. Ben Davies replied for Shrewsbury to the same side but up high for one-one. Adam Virgo restored Brighton’s lead with a copy of Davies’s. McIntyre followed suit to go back level. Tommy Elphick used Forster’s penalty for inspiration to give Brighton the advantage again. As did substitute Steve Leslie for three-three. Another substitute, Jake Robinson, became the first man to go the other side of the goal. His precise penalty flew past the keeper into his bottom-left hand corner. Shane Cansell-Sherriff did likewise to equalise for Shrewsbury. Brighton’s fifth penalty was taken by left-back Matt Richards who scored in the other corner despite Daniels getting a hand to it. Something had to give, and with the final penalty of the ten it was Shrewsbury star Grant Holt who gave it. His spot kick was poor, low and central and straight into John Sullivan’s diving arms to end it. Brighton had won with a perfect five out of five penalties converted. It was only right that Sullivan got to be the hero after such a solid performance during the ninety minutes. Up next for the Seagulls in this competition; Luton Town over a two-legged area Final. Bring it on!

SHREWSBURY 0 BRIGHTON 0
Brighton win 5-4 on penalties

SHR ResultsSHR Replay1 SHR Replay2

PREVIOUS; #25 LEYTON ORIENT 2-2 BRIGHTON 17/11/2007

NEXT; #27 LUTON 1-1 BRIGHTON 17/02/2009

Small Screen Seagulls; 1996/97 Season

Brighton on TV

The 1996/1997 season was Brighton’s final one at their home of 96 years – the Goldstone Ground. The off-pitch battles were fierce, difficult and extremely fraught. Excellent articles and books, such as Build a Bonfire, have been written documenting the entire battle to save the ground, save the club, oust the board and keep Brighton in Brighton, which I won’t go into on here. Instead here are some brief snippets from the media coverage of the 96/97 season, where for the first real time since the 1983 FA Cup Final, Brighton were the subject of media attention (albeit for truly terrible reasons). Screenshots are provided from various clips of news and highlights coverage by ITV Sport, Meridian, Sky News and BBC South.

 


South Today, BBC South (16th October 1996);

Brighton 0-1 Hereford, 15/10/96 – Division Three

Protest presenter 1 Protest presenter

Brighton fans had already had to protest, invade the pitch and cause an abandonment, in the 1995/96 season plus one just a couple of weeks before this match, to get their story heard amidst an ongoing battle with the board – namely chairman Bill Archer and chief executive David Bellotti. They had planned to ease the club’s mounting debts by selling the Goldstone Ground, however there was no new home lined-up and it was revealed they had changed the club’s constitution in an effort to profit from such sale. In order to get this story nationwide, fans organised a series of protests for publicity. At the time of this report on local news bulletin BBC South Today, there was a blueprint for ground-sharing with Portsmouth from the following season. This of course never materialised and Gillingham were instead landlords for the two seasons after this one. Regular presenters at this time in the region were Harry Gration (above left) and Roger Finn (above right).

Protest fireworks Protest outside

Fireworks in the 75th minute provided the cue for much of the 3,500 Seagulls supporers to walk out of the ground in protest, with around a thousand congregating outside the stands and by the directors’ entrance. “We’re just sick to death of what’s going on down there, it’s ridiculous. We just want Archer out” one fan commented. As the game drew to a conclusion with more fans outside the ground than in it, the Albion lost one-nil to Hereford; a team who would crop up again in an absolutely pivotal way later on this season.

Protest reporter Protest baine

The report was compiled by Sean Killick, long-time BBC South Today ‘Sussex reporter’ who chatted with fans and protesters. “It’s gonna carry on and carry on until he goes cos there is no future for this club with Bill Archer here and everybody agrees with that. There isn’t one single person in the whole of Sussex who supports him!” said John Baine of the Brighton Independent Supporters Group. Baine is better known as punk poet Atilla the Stockbroker, one of the leaders in the fans campaigning and later one of two voices over the PA at our time at Gillingham and Withdean Stadium. Whilst the message was being heard loud and clear inside and outside the ground, as well as starting to filter around the rest of the country, the football on the pitch was still dreadful. The defeat left Jimmy Case’s Brighton bottom of the entire Football League, four points adrift with little sign of improvement.


Meridian Tonight, ITV Meridian (4th December 1996);

Brighton 2-3 Darlington, 03/12/96 – Division Three

Case sacked presenters Case sacked protest

Meridian Tonight reported on the surprise sacking of manager Jimmy Case the morning after a midweek defeat to Darlington at home. Main presenter Fred Dinenage was in conversation with sports presenter Andy Steggall on the local news bulletin. Steggall began by not messing his words one bit; “I think it’s extraordinary. I don’t know what the directors are playing at. They haven’t got a friend in the world, the fans hate them,” before confirming that the FA and Football League are investigating them too. This match was seen as a must-win for Brighton, as most were, as Darlington were just one place above the Seagulls ahead of the match, with Brighton still at the foot of the table.

Case sacked board Case sacked quote

The protesting began just three minutes into the match, as Chief Executive David Bellotti was chased out of the directors box followed by a small group of fans running onto the pitch and crossing stands. Steggall went on to point out how strange the timing of the decision to get rid of Case was, having stated in the programme notes only the night before how everyone should “get behind Jimmy and the players… Jimmy and the team deserve better than this.” They really did. Then came the statement thanking Case for his efforts and urging supporters to get behind the new incumbant. Case left the Albion after almost a year exactly, having took charge of 59 games with just nine wins. He acknowledged before this decision that things were “going steadily down hill… I’ve learned to put up with a lot… But I still want to see it through.” The club would face an even bigger uphill battle now without a manager, losing to their nearest rivals and sitting glumly at the bottom of the entire Football League without a home to play in next season. It would take a minor miracle to turn this around in 1997.


Sportsline report, Sky News (27th April 1997);

Brighton 1-0 Doncaster, 26/04/97 – Division Three

Goldstone sky news host Goldstone sky news reporter

Before the Sky Sports News 24 hour rolling channel existed, sports news on Sky came via the Sky Sports Centre, a pre-cursor to SSN with excellent daily bulletins, or from Sky News regular updates in Sportsline. The latter is where we saw a report on Brighton’s last ever match at the Goldstone Ground. Chris Skudder hosted from the Sky News centre, with Pete Barraclough reporting from Brighton, both long-standing members of the Sky reporting team.

Goldstone sky news pub Goldstone sky news invasion

Barrclough’s report began by mentioning the National Lottery funding granted to Brighton’s West Pier to prevent it crumbling further into the sea, before moving down to the Hove Park Tavern, a couple of minutes walk from the Goldstone. The pub exterior still looks the same twenty years on as it did in 1997, the difference being how much more populated it was back then. After a quick chat with a couple of fans in buoyant mood, including one who had travelled back from Washington DC for this, it was onto match action. This was slightly spoiled by the caption for Brighton manager Steve Gritt flashing up instead as “Stuart Storer Brighton Goalscorer”, whose interview was yet to come. After showing the goal, we saw the scenes of elation at the final whistle as the players ran off and the fans ran on, eager to claim their little souvenir from the soon-to-be demolished stadium.

Goldstone sky news goal Goldstone sky news storer

Stuart Storer’s name would never be forgotten by Albion fans for his decisive goal to secure the win against Doncaster and keep Brighton in with a fighting chance of avoiding relegation against all odds. The ball was headed onto the crossbar and fell to Storer’s feet five yards from goal to blast home on the half-volley above the multiple bodies on the goalline. Brighton had done it, the fairtytale ending to 96 years at the grand old stadium, in doing so meaning survival was then in their own hands ahead of the final day showdown at Hereford the following Saturday. “We didn’t play very well,” Storer began after the match, “but at the end of the day the result matters and a lot of people have gone home very happy but probably with a tear in their eye as well.” This time the correct caption was put up! The final shots of the report showed the fans knocking out the old wooden seats to take home with them, as the demolition work effectively began.


Nationwide Football League Extra, ITV (5th May 1997); 

Hereford 1-1 Brighton, 03/05/97 – Division Three Final Day

Football League Extra Titles FLE Gabriel Clarke

Gabriel Clarke hosted the weekly Football League highlights programme from Hereford on the final day of the season, broadcast late Monday night networked across the ITV regions. Football League Extra was a popular review programme featuring all the goals from all three Divisions, a nostalgia section looking back at a classic match, and a club feature or interview. The show came about during ITV’s exclusive coverage of the Football League and continued after they lost Live rights to Sky in 1996; FLE ran from 1994 to 2004, replaced by Sunday morning show The Championship on ITV. This particular match was absolutely huge, effectively a play-off to decide who gets relegated to the Conference. Brighton went into it knowing that if they avoid defeat they’ll stay up, Hereford had to win or they would go down. “There has never been a last day scenario quite like the one played out at Edgar Street this weekend. Hereford and Brighton met for a match guaranteed to span sports emotional extremes. At the end of Saturday, one of them would be dropping out of the Nationwide League,” Clarke opened the show.

FLE Steve Gritt FLE Fans

“There’s an awful lot at stake, really it’s not worth contemplating relegation really because it will mean so much to everyone connected to the club to stay in the league,” were the pre-match thoughts of Brighton boss. Steve Gritt joined the club in December 1996 when the Albion were bottom of the table and needed results fast. It was already some achievement, given what was going on around him off the pitch, to have put Brighton with their fate in their own hands on the last day in 23rd position, level on points with the home side both on 46 points. The sharp plummet of Hereford to the foot of the table had been overshadowed somewhat as a result. They were in the play-offs the previous season.

FLE Kick off FLE one nil

Gabriel Clarke voiced an extended report at the top of the programme incorporating the highlights, devoting the first seven minutes of the 40 minute programme. The rain fell before kick off to make the playing conditions even trickier. The home side were able to adapt better quicker and dominated possession early on. It took just 21 minutes for the breakthrough to come. Tony Agana found a bit of space in a crowded box and hit a cross-shot towards the centre of the six yard box and turned into his own goal by 19-year-old local defender Kerry Mayo. It would’ve been more before half time if it weren’t for Brighton’s resolute defending throwing bodies on the line. Some things never change.

FLE one one FLE chance

This continued into the early stages of the second half, where Hereford were unfortunate not to be awarded a penalty. The decision mattered even more in the 62nd minute. Craig Maskell shot on the volley and was millimetres away from writing his name into Brighton history, instead the honour going to Robbie Reinelt. Maskell’s shot hit the post, with the goalkeeper scrambling around to get back on his feet the rebound fell to the inrushing Reinelt to calmly slot the ball home from seven yards out. Brighton were level with one of the most important goals in the club’s history. Instantly there was a role reversal, it was Hereford who were now on the back foot and looking nervy and tired. Chances still fell, with Agana’s header inches wide as Brighton ‘keeper Mark Ormerod failed to punch clear. Disaster almost, and definitely should have, struck in the final minute as the Albion defence were caught wide open. Hereford striker Adrian Foster was in on goal with just Ormerod to beat but the shot fell straight into his arms and that was almost it.

FLE Dick Knight FLE Reinelt

Robbie Reinelt said in his interview after the game it was “probably the best moment of my career. I’ve been at Gillingham when they nearly went out of business, I was with Aldershot when they out of business, Colchester nearly out of business. So today I break my duck!” What were Brighton thinking signing such a jinx! Having led the fan charge to take over the club from David Bellotti and Bill Archer, local businessman Dick Knight was chairman for the final two games of the season, seen by many as one of the saviours of the club. Knight was quoted on the show as saying it was “tense, nailbiting… and that was just the kick off!” After 46 games and 47 points for both Brighton and Hereford, the Albion survived by virtue of a better goal difference of just two goals. The tightest of margins.

FLE Final whistle FLE Hereford

What a contrast of emotions at the final whistle. Steve Gritt and his staff were of course jubilant. Nobody wanted the Brighton job before he was appointed in December with the club twelve points adrift at the foot of the entire Football League, he did a remarkable job to lift the players, lift the fans and grind out those all-important results. It is widely believed that the club wouldn’t have survived in the Conference, probably having to go part-time playing their games miles from home without their own stadium. Debt, a player exodus, a disengaged fanbase; it doesn’t bare thinking about. For Hereford that was their reality – relegation out of the League after 25 years. They were to remain a full-time club but their problems would begin as soon as the final whistle blew. Manager Graham Turner, shown with his head in his hands above, immediately offered his resignation. Over the summer his resignation was rejected and he ended up staying with Hereford for a further 12 years, eventually guiding them back up into the League and then a further promotion to the third tier whilst also being a major shareholder in the club. Whilst he was the man that took the club down he was instrumental in saving and rebuilding them and deserves a lot of credit.