FALMER YEARS - 2011-17
Aug 2011 - June 2013 ~ Gus Poyet
June 2013 - May 2014 ~ Oscar Garcia
June 2014 - Dec 2014 ~ Sami Hyypia
Jany 2015 - ............... ~ Chris Hughton
The American Express Community Stadium officially opened in July 2011, with a friendly against Premiership big-boys Tottenham Hotspur in front of a crowd of 15k. Previously 6k watched the first ever ramp-up event, when Charlie Oatway's BHA reserve side played Eastbourne Boro in the Sussex Senior Cup Final of season '10/11.
GUS POYET took Brighton to the Amex as League1 title holders at Withdean and next we were playing in a brand new 20k+ stad in the Championship. Behind the scenes, Brighton fans knew Chairman Tony Bloom was the man responsible for financing building of the Amex, which was only plans on paper at time of the Global Banking crisis and recession of 2007-8. He effectively provided funds to erect Martin Perry's pet project of lifes work and also enable Gus Poyet to try to take the club from the gutter to the stars. Talk about state of the art!
BHA applied to increase stadium capacity for the second year in 2013 from 22k up to 30k. There were also plans to build a training complex at Lancing by 2014. Gus Poyet also did the biz on-field and BHA reached p-os for '12/13.
OSCAR GARCIA became head coach for our third term at Falmer for '13/14. But he resigned immediately after defeat in p-os.
SAMI HYYPIA was appointed in summer of 2014 as the new, young and dynamic head coach by ever-ambitious chairman Tony Bloom. But he also resigned, following a poor run of results prior to Xmas fixtures.
CHRIS HUGHTON stepped in at New Year 2015 with a brief to lift the team clear of relegation places and reinvigorate the club to, 'one aim, one ambition.' This appeared to be a huge task by end of the season. But in 2016 Albion just missed a top-two place, although were knocked out in p-o s-f once again.
Y L Seasn Pt Po Mangr
1 C 11/12 66 10 Poyet
2 C 12/13 75 -4 Poyet . p-o s-f
3 C 13/14 72 -6 Garcia . p-o s-f
4 C 14/15 47 20 Hyypia/Hughton
5 C 15/16 89 -3 Hughton . p-o s-f
Years 1&2 Gus Poyet
The charismatic and somewhat enigmatic Uruguayan coach certainly raised the team's profile, when competing in tough second level fixtures which coincided with BHA rehoused at the Amex. Crowds flocked there again when capacity increased during the second term, with almost constant sell-outs. The football was something Brighton fans old and new hadn't seen live before. It therefore came as a shock when at end of '12/13 Poyet was told to stay away and later sacked in the close season.
Year 3 Oscar Garcia
As a former Barcelona midfielder, Garcia was considered more than suitable to continue the Spanish style of play that Albion adopted during opening years in the Championship.
He took his brand of quiet determination onto the training ground and led BHA to another successful season. But quit to pursue greater ambitions.
Year4 Sami Hyypia & 4-6 Chris Hughton
The tall blond Finn was another young coach with impecible credentials as a quality player, like Garcia & Poyet, at the highest club level, plus international experience. He also quit, after seeing BHA slide into relegation places before end of 2014. He was replaced by an experienced manager with a sound coaching record, knowledge of the division and how to get out of it - upwards! Hughton came very close to gaining auto-promo in his first full season.
FALMER YEARS - 2011-17
From the successful League1 title-winners of '10/11 at Withdean, Albion had Assistant Manager Mauricio Taricco to help Gus Poyet on the practice pitch. He duly retained first team coach and reserve eleven manager, Charlie Oatway - a previous player in the Withdean era. Also re-appearing, based at our new Falmer facility were; Tony Godden (GK coach), Luke Williams (development squad), plus Steve Brown and Vic Bragg (youth team). However the club soon reorganised with just Bragg answering to original Director of Football Martin Hinshelwood.
Gus Poyet had a strategy for the future that required all squads, from youth to first team, to play passing football using similar shapes and tactics. Thus Hinsh and Bragg became Academy Managers in the revamped set-up for 2012 onwards. Simon Rusk took over as Youth Team Coach.
The medical team too quickly shuffled the Amex pack; Nathan Ring (head physio), Matt Miller (conditioning & sport science) and Dean Lobb with Antony Stuart (sports therapists). Ex-player Paul Watson remained as physio, Stephen McAleer was youth physio, Robin Turner resumed orthopaedic consultant role, while Luke Hampton was club masseur again. James Clarke-Reed got appointed performance analyst. Early in 2012 Dr Helge Riepenhof, a top German sports doctor, was appointed full-time head of sport-med&science.
Poyet wanted professionalism and expertise in all associated areas, so promoted BHA stalwart Ade Cooper to Chief Scout (opposition analyst). He took over in lieu of John Stevenson, recent head of football operations, who in turn had replaced Zigor Aranalde for '11/12. Another ex-Seagull Warren Aspinal, was re-employed as southern scout. Ex-manager Barry Lloyd still associated with BHA in a talent spotting role.
From January 2012, David Burke became official Hd of Ops. Incidentally, Paul Barber took over as CEO and he had an FA coaching qualification and all.
In close season of '12/13 Andy Beasley replaced Tony Godden as keepers coach. He had previous with Gus at Swindon and Leeds. Then John Morling became Academy Manager in lieu of Martin Hinshelwood. Later Mervyn Day (ex-Chelsea keeper) got appointed manager of scouting.
Personnel changes from 2013
At end of '12/13, Taricco and Oatway were suspended by the club along with manager Poyet. Tanno was soon cleared of any wrong-doing. However he left the club following the sacking of Gus Poyet. Oatway moved on soon afterwards - thanked by the club but in undisclosed ignominious circumstances.
During the close season, Juan Torrijo Navaro, Rubens Martinez and Joaquin Gomez came on board as fitness and assistant coaches to new gaffer Oscar Garcia.
Simultaneously Luke Williams vacated his job with the development squad. Keeper coach Andy Beasley also left.
Nathan Jones an ex-Seagull from the Withdean era (see squads y2k onwards) accepted the post of head assistant coach. He had previously been asst mgr at Yeovil before moving to Charlton. He could also speak Spanish - mucho bueno senor.
Paul Holder began as Head of Academy coaching. Simon Ireland (ex-Blackburn) got appointed academy U21 coach.
More revisions for 2014
Sami Hyypia became manager but Nathan Jones remained - initially as First Team Coach, then Asst Mgr and Joaquin Gomez took that coaching role. Goalkeeping coach now was Antii Niemi, former custodian with top pedigree as a handler. David Burke was still Head of Ops and now assisted by Paul Winstanley as recruitment manger. John Morling was Head of Academy - at the new training complex in Lancing. The Academy was granted category one status - to play in PremLg div2. U21 coach was Simon Ireland and U18 coach was Simon Rusk. Mark Anderson was academy recruitment manager.
Dr Reipenhof stood down from the medical services unit, so Adam Brett took the post. Seagulls strength & conditioning manager was now Tom Barnden. The club doc became Dr Stephen Lewis.
With the resignation of Sami Hyypia just before Xmas, Tony Bloom decided to revamp admin and David Burke was first out of the Academy door. Nathan Jones became caretaker prior to the New Year. Chris Calderwood as former right-hand man of new boss Chris Hughton, then joined BHA as asst mgr. Jones became 1st team coach with Niemi in support but Gomez left. And Simon Rusk stepped up to U21s. Head of admin was now Paul Mullen. Ewan Chester joined the scouting team. For '15/16, ex-Albion goalie Ben Roberts took over as keeper coach. At New Year Nathan Jones left to become manager at Luton. He was eventually succeeded as first team coach by Paul Nevin, a former Prem Lg head of coaching, in the 2016 close season.
In '16/17 Simon Rusk took charge under the new U23 Prem Lg div2 and also Checkatrade Trophy competition. In November Calderwood left and was replaced in a week by Paul Trollope as asst mngr - he had previously worked with Hughton at B'ham & Norwich.
FALMER YEARS - 2015-17
To Seagulls from Magpies, via Canaries.
On New Year's Eve, after a hectic Xmas period for 2014, Tony Bloom appointed the very experienced coach and proven manager on a 3.5yr contract. On a fans published vote, Chris Hughton was not first choice but there was no doubting his official credentials to step into the Albion hot-seat and become the fourth Amex boss in the last couple of years.
Hughton played for Spurs & West Ham at fullback and had over 50 Rep of Ireland caps. He hung boots up over twenty years ago but the now 56yo established as a top flite coach for over 15yrs or so prior to getting the gaffers job at Newcastle in 2009. In 2011 while at Birmingham, he guided Blues into Championship play-offs. Then Hughton went again into the Prem with Norwich before leaving the club as they faced relegation in 2014. At level two he has seen it, done it and worn the t-shirt. In the event, the mission was accomplished - when Albion escaped all relegation issues but failed to reach a 50 points safety target. The following season Chris Hughton took BHA to very brink of automatic promotion - getting the LMA award to boot, as the club contested play-offs. He was then awarded a 4yr contract by Tony Bloom.
FALMER YEARS - 2014
From playing in red to bossing in blue.
During the '14 close season a former Finnish international and Liverpool legend became Albion's third manager at the Amex in as many years. Hyypia had limited experience as boss with Bayer Leverkusen in the Bundesliga after hanging up boots there in 2011. He also coached Finland's squad. As a player Hyypia enjoyed success on Merseyside and was a key man in the Champions League side of 2005. However, his record in charge of BHA was poor and with Albion adrift in the bottom three, he resigned his post in mid December - just before Xmas. Hyypia's strategic brand of wingless shape with narrow front runners did not prove successful and many supporters found it totally ineffective.
FALMER YEARS - 2013-14
More Spanish influence.
A reserved man by all accounts, 40yo Garcia from Catalonia took Israeli club Maccabi Tel Aviv from no-hopers to champions in fine style during one season there. He was headhunted by BHA and it was an open secret that he would replace Gus Poyet prior to pre-season. Garcia's m.o. is 433 and was an exponent of Johan Cruyff's method of winning with Barcelona. He won major hons with them, including 4 La Liga titles as a player. Supposedly more of a coach than all-round manager, Oscar was quite a taskmaster as motivator and man manager. He was previously youth coach at the Nou Camp, having enjoyed that successful career as a Barca midfielder. He said, 'my obsession is to attack and have the ball as many times as possible.'
Some fans thought the football ponderous & boring but Albion got to another p-o s-f and probably over-achieved with an injury ravaged squad. Oscar Garcia deserved full credit for making a tough season into a launch pad for the future.
FALMER YEARS - 2011-13
Home from home in city by the sea.
Seagulls Chairman Tony Bloom took over the hot seat when BHA club saviour Dick Knight became Life President in 2009. Tony was a maths wizard and could see the club he long supported, struggling with basic arithmetic at Withdean - so decided to crunch some huge numbers. With the team floundering in League1, Bloom elected to take a calculated risk, by making highly-regarded coach Gustavo Poyet manager - for his very first job as numero uno.
In his initial season '9/10, Poyet laid foundations for a promotion push the following term. Tony soon signed Gus up for much more and Brighton duly strolled to promotion as L1 champions for '10/11, thus further enhancing credentials of the impressive young Uruguayan talent.
Falmer next became home and Poyet spent a few million of Bloom's squad-pot in pre-season of '11/12, with an aim of establishing asap in the Championship at very least. He done good and BHA were not far off play-off places come end of term. On completion of '12/13 Gus had duly taken BHA to a p-o spot. This was the clubs highest placing since before those gory years of the nineties at the Goldstone Ground.
Sensationally Poyet was suspended by Bloom in May, the week after defeat by Crystal Palace in the 2nd leg s-f at the Amex. He was given a hearing by the club, ref breaches of contract but sacked during last week of June just before players started pre-season training. He appealed but the club upheld its original decision.
Whatever rights or wrongs prevailed, the guy will be a modern Albion legend. He was a man who spoke directly from the heart and firmly believed in his opinions, irrespective of arousing opposition or for that matter negative publicity.
Ins & Outs '14 - '17
FALMER YEARS - 2014-2017 (seasons 4-6)
in '17 - Glenn Murray
signed permanently in the January window after arriving on loan from Bournemouth in summer of 2016. Second spell at BHA and a prolific goalscorer, netting 56 times prior to joining Palace after achieving promo with Albion in 2011 at Withdean. Also on loan at Reading in 2014 then moved to B'mouth in 2015.
in '17 - Jordan Davies
18yo from Wrexham has Welsh U19 caps. Left back has potential with U23 squad to make the grade long term.
Jake Forster-Caskey - out 2017
Youngest ever teenager (16 and a little bit) to turn out for first team. Not big but man enough to compete in FL. Gus didn't rush him and included in new '10/11 develoment squad. Got England U17 credentials. World is his oyster if he can crack it. FAC5 app and looked Prem quality. '11/12 CHAMPS - gonna make the grade at some point in future. Sub on last day of 2011. Scored on full debut at New Year and on list for a reg place. Goal again in FAC3 on second start. Got crocked. '12/13 - Signed for another couple of seasons at least. Went on loan to Oxford in L2. '13/14 - tough to break thru into 1st 11? Variable displays. '14/15 - selected but needed to improve again - U21 call up. '15/16 - went on loan to MK Dons. 16/17 - on loan at Rotherham & then transferred to Charlton.
in '16 - Shane Duffy
24yo Rep of Ireland Int transferred from Blackburn at end of August transfer window. Biggest BHA signing at 4 million... so no pressure.
in '16 - Oliver Norwood
25yr old midfielder arrived in the week before season kick-off. A Northern Ireland international, it was maybe the right move to come here from Reading.
in '16 - Ben Hall
youngster who made the Motherwell cent-def pair, transferred to BHA with aims of breaking into the 1st 11. From northern Ireland and a U19 cap to boot.
in '16 - Steve Sidwell
the veteran midfielder signed a full contract for 12 months following a successful loan spell during the 15-16 run-in. Had Prem credentials via Stoke and was once on Albion books briefly as a transfer prospect in Withdean days.
Inigo Calderon - out 2016
wingback; offered contract at end of '9/10. Nasty hip injury curtailed short term success. Returned as Godfather Gus fav boy. '10/11 L1; Got to capt side on day1. Done well and liked to be up and back on right flank. Couple of cracking goals and all. Pretty fair full-back, needed to be tight defensively. Red card spoiled decent record. Slight loss of form in mid season, although super late season goals. Regular selection and voted in lg1 players team. PoY candidate. '11/12 CHAMPS - gave it a right pop, to see how far it goes. 5 Yellows & ban. Keyhole surgery on knee. Stunning strike for first goal. Lost his place but returned. Stand-in captain. '12/13 - competition for place and second choice. Competitive and likes to go forward again. Sent off at Leeds in match 45. Contract extended. '13/14 - chased any vacant wingback pos. Sent off in LC shambles. FA cancelled red card. Useful replacement on either flank. '14/15 - tough to be picked regular. Sent off in Cup tie. Useful stand-in and also as captain. Converted to winger and scored goals! PoY. 15/16 - on bench sometimes. Became stand in left back.
Adam Chicksen - out 2016
left back; 21yo prospect signed in 2013 close season by managerless BHA's talent-spotter team in lieu of new head coach. Kid came from MK Dons and was delighted to be at the Amex. Well, who wouldn't be? '13/14 - had something to prove. Got a small chance and did ok. Sometimes on bench. '14/15 - only sub for left flank job. Went on loan at Gillingham & Fleetwood. 15/16 - went on loan at Orient & Gillingham again.
Gordon Greer - out 2016
Central def; 29yo moved from Swindon for couple of hundred grand plus pocket change. Comes from Jockland and turned out for Kilmarnock once or twice. Made club capt. '10/11 L1; Sent off twice and bans. Thoroughly unprofessional and needed to rethink aggressive flaw. Injured calf, marked time with family issues. Was on bench, then on field. First choice, upped his game. No stroll in the park though. Generally commanded rearguard with solid displays. Red for a Glasgow kiss in run-in. In L1 players team. '11/12 CHAMPS - capable of leading L1 title winners in the Championship. Injured calf again. Struggled a tad with good attackers at this level. Sent off again. Plenty of gob but did ok. Abdominal probs. Poy runner-up. '12/13 - looked secure enough at BHA attempt to step up. Useful pairing with El-Abd. Trouble against good strikers in the air. Hamstring prob. Got contract extended. '13/14 - got into Scots squad. Muscle injury. Getting it done until red card. Over 40 apps, so Garcia loved him with Upson. '14/15 - got a new partner in Dunk and useful pairing thru season. Scotland cap. Niggling knee injury. First name on teamsheet. 10Y = ban. 15/16 - goes on & on and in Scot squad again. Suffered injury and some time out. Came back like GG does but mostly sat on bench.
in '16 - Jiri Skalak
Big signing from Czech republic top div for new forward to help with 2016 promo push. Full international and 23yo also played in Europa League.
in '16 - Jonah Ayunga
came in during Jan window from Dorchester to join U21 squad. A Dorset lad who has form as a striker in county games and Southern League. Joined Sligo in Ireland, on loan for 2017.
in '16 - Henrik Bjordal
Future prospect joined in Jan window as part of U21 group. 18yo from Norway is an attacking midfielder or winger and signed for 2.5yr. Had experience in top div of homeland league and U21 caps.
in '16 - Anthony Knockaert
French wideman got a three & half year deal in the New Year. BHA paid 2m to Standard Liege but the 24yo had previous with Leicester in the Championship. Instant impact in a team chasing promotion.
in '16 - Richie Towell
24yo m-f attacker signed to play from New Year after agreeing terms for 2.5yr deal in Dec. Was on books at Dundalk in Ireland but previously with Hibs & Celtic in Scotland. A Dubliner, he scored plenty of goals in his home country so a move to England is better than just luck.
in '15 - Elvis Manu
Young striker/winger from Feyenoord got a three year deal until he is 25. Another one for the future with Holland U21 caps. Went on loan back to Dutch league in 2017.
in '15 - Connor Goldson
Central defender from Shrewsbury penned a 4yr deal. 22yo is a northerner from Yorkshire who came thru ranks with the midlands club in lower leagues. Was in 14/15 PFA L2 side and Poy at Shrews.
in '15 - Jamie Murphy
A winger from Scotland, playing for Motherwell but had last couple of seasons with Sheff Utd. 25yo got in for 1.5mill during the open Aug window. Wants to play for national side and this was a step up towards that.
in '15 - Uwe Huenemeier
During the Aug transfer window, Albion signed the German central defender from the Bundesliga second division on a 3yr deal. He had not played outside his native leagues but was a product of Borussia Dortmund and so thought to be of good value at English level2.
in '15 - Bobby Zamora - out '16
Ex BHA legend BZ returned to the club aged 35 to try and make a second impact. Prem experience and on verges of England team before injury struck when in prime. Hoping to make it as a Championship striker but injuries cut that very short.
in '15 - Jack Harper - out '17
19yo arrived via Real Madrid and is Scottish U19 striker. Left Spain with a knee injury but had hopes of flying high with Seagulls in future. Returned to Malaga in Jan '17 window. Only 25 U23 apps & 4 goals in 2 seasons.
in '15 - Vahid Hambo
came in mid July from Finland via FC Inter. 21yo striker scored lots of goals in homeland and penned a 2yr deal.
in '15 - Niki Maenpaa
signed at start of pre-season to join goalkeeping union from Venlo. 30yo has international caps with Finland. Also played in France.
in '15 - Gaetan Bong
Joined in close season, for 2yrs, on a free from Wigan. 27yo is Cameroonian left back and has played prior for Olympiakos in Greece.
in '15 - Tomer Hemed
Experienced Israeli striker signed for Albion after a short spell at Almeria. Played in Spain and homeland for several clubs and had a good goals to games ratio.
in '15 - Liam Rosenior
Ex Hull full back with lots of games for other sides like Ipswich, Fulham & Bristol City. Was U21 in days of yore and still something to offer at this level.
in '15 - Beram Kayal
Came in the January transfer window from Celtic. Got a 2.5yr deal to give some quality in midfield. Experience in Champions League and also caps for Israel. 26yo was box to box player and had defensive & creative qualities.
in '14 - Sam Baldock
Arrived prior to closing of the transfer window and became tenth signing of this totally revamped squad (included 3 on loan). Not classic no.9 for the Championship but very useful average of a goal per three games. 25yo came thru MK Dons, West Ham and Bristol City, where he was L1 top scorer 13/14.
in '14 - Adrian Colunga - out '15
The Spaniard signed from Getafe on a 2yr contract during Aug transfer window. Fee as undisclosed but as BHA were under FFP rules, we guess it didn't break the bank. 29yo striker was added to line-up with goal-scoring experience at top level in Spain. But went back there on loan to Granada. Failed to make squad and contract went in waste bin.
in '14 - Paddy McCourt - out '15
A N Irish int, who had been on Celtic and Barnsley books, impressed to earn a 1yr contract after being on trial. Joined expanding ranks in m-f and rated as something of an attacking force. Sometimes came on as sub. Went on loan to Notts County.
in '14 - Danny Holla - out '16
The flying 26yo Dutchman with a pedigree from good sides in Holland signed in August for three years. Came with endorsements as a versatile central midfielder capable of picking out a pass. Failed to hold a regular place and left the club in August '16.
in '14 - David Stockdale
Big signing to fill the vacant keeper position prior to final friendly before Championship kick-off. A first class pro of quality, with Prem experience at Fulham. Penned a 3yr deal as numero uno.
in '14 - Chris O'Grady
Added to the squad in pre-season to fill gap in ranks of strikers. 28yo was previously at Barnsley. Had plenty of apps in lower league with Rotherham, Oldham, Rochdale & Wednesday. Loaned out for a while to Sheff Utd in 14/15 and 15/16 to Forest, also thru 16/17 to Burton.
in '14 - Aaron Hughes - out '15
Came in July as Sami Hyypia's first signing to boost a depleted squad. 34yo was a very experienced defender. Northern Ireland int and ex-Prem c-d with Newcastle, Villa & Fulham. Hardly figured, even from bench.
in '14 - Nzuzi Toko - out '15
Joined at end of the Oscar Garcia season as p-o squad was due overhaul. Came from Swiss club Grasshoppers where 23yo Congolese had experience in central midfield. Was a U21 and also native DR Congo player. But hardly figured under Sami Hyypia and soon released by Chris Hughton in Jan '15.
Ins & Outs '11 - '14
FALMER YEARS - 2011-2014 (seasons 1-3)
Tomaz Kuszczak - out 2014
keeper; 30yo from Poland signed 2y deal for BHA, second season at Falmer in '12. Ex Man Utd and Polish Int. Came via WBA in 2.1mill deal to MU in 2007. '12/13 - no.1 was in his hands. Looked like the keeper we needed & remained consistent. Mighta commanded six yard box better. '13/14 - v good stopper and coulda been stronger in physical clashes.
Peter Brezovan - out 2014
Keeper; '9/10 - December signing and straight into L1 action. Tall and athletic with good handling and reasonable kicking. Was at Swindon and comfortable with Gus. Very mixed form between good and bad apps. '10/11 L1; Fractured wrist in pre-season out 2 months then on bench. FA Cup goalie and Sub late in lg1 run-in - did ok. '11/12 CHAMPS - some issues apparent before taking hands-on approach at short notice. On bench, done good on late seasonal debut. Kept place with FA Cup run. Held gloves but kinda got beat once too many times. '12/13 - did not make bench early doors. Looked shaky on debut. Out with washing thereafter. Got contract extended - happy as no.2. '13/14 - made rare apps in lieu of TK.
in & out 2014 - David Rodriguez
Striker; came on free at Jan transfer window from Celta Vigo in La Liga. Had over 100 apps and scored 38 goals. Few apps.
in 2014 - Dale Stephens
M-f; Bolton born and youngster at Bury. 24yo signed from Charlton for 3yrs at Xfer window. Spotted by Nathan Jones at lev2 but experience in lower league with Oldham - 70+ apps, 12 goals. 80+ apps for Addicks.
Liam Bridcutt - out 2014
Midfield; 21yo initially signed for five months to fill in as defensive cmf. Product of Chelsea youth system and hailed from Reading. '10/11 L1; Second choice as holding m-f. Small bundle of energy and knocked about, got it done A-ok. Quality displays in role. Stunning volley for first pro goal and late match winner. Worthy signing at L1.
'11/12 CHAMPS - regular pick for destroyer role but beware yellow peril. Stepped it up. Worked hard but tough to shine in average line-up. Then got loadsa mom awards and top man. 10+ cards. PoS and deserved to be.
'12/13 - improved and did so again. Contract extended. Done well and easily held his own. 10 yellows. Scotland call up. PoS award again.
'13/14 - coming into prime and a Scot int to boot. Had hernia surgery - groin prob. Club accepted transfer bid by Prem outfit Sunderland.
Adam El-Abd - out 2014
Cent def; Fought his way back into '08/9 L1 side after injury and formation changes. Searched for the hero inside himself and at level. Not first choice and reached crossroads in career. '9/10 L1; Selected by default. Got it together - fighting displays. Signed new deal and appreciated by GP. Returned from injury and Gus really liked him more. '10/11 L1; A-ok and kept shirt. 5 yellows. MoM more than once. Broken nose. Beware the Egyptian - got a goal too. Injured - thigh wound needed stitches. Excellent performances through season. 10 yellow cards - oh dear. Done hamstring but quick recovery. Voted PoY. Fractured foot - out for start of '11/12.
CHAMPS - fits in with Latin hard man ethos but could he come back on top of his game? Became regular. Won an Egypt cap.
'12/13 - was a revelation under Gus. Did the do and not bad for a guy under six feet tall. Ten yellows. Egypt call up.
'13/14 - after an Egypt cap, needed to be first choice at club tho. Got a run of apps in lieu of Greer. Moved permanently to Bristol City.
Ashley Barnes - out 2014
Forward; '9/10 L1 - 20yo target man got in from Plymouth. Scored on debut and did ok as sub. Got more - nice finisher. '10/11 L1; Found it tough and needed to be quicker but goal ratio did improve. Injury niggles. Useful lg1 form and scored as impact player. 20 goal target reached.
'11/12 CHAMPS - first choice for strike partner and delivered as sub. Struggled with this standard at times. Sent off - violent conduct. Did variety of roles and also defends. Leading scorer too. '12/13 - hey, Gus says lay off him! Got picked regularly and good in fits and starts. Had to be at best to impress and that meant scoring goals. Sent off twice. Long suspension. Contract extended. '13/14 - is another centre forward these days. Transferred to Burnley.
in 2013 - Kemy Agustien - out 2015
M-f; put pen to paper for 2 years after impressing coaches and scouts. Dutch U21 int who did on-loan spell with Birmingham before ending up at Swansea - 31 apps in Prem. Considered quality by Oscar Garcia. Only made 6+7 lg apps & 4 in cups. Suffered with injuries.
in 2013 - Matt Upson - out 2014
Initially came on loan from Prem-land cast-offs and slotted in easily to hold place in cent-def for a shot at play-offs. Good enough for an old man to be offered a years contract in the very tough Championship. Ex-England hero and expected to show experience against good strikers. First signing of the post-Poyet era. Easily got PoY for season but was snapped up by Leicester. BHA could not compete with Prem clubs.
in 2013 - Fernando Ulloa - out 2014
During the end January window Brighton arranged a transfer with Spanish club Almeria for their Argentine striker (2mill). The 26yo was hailed as the target man we had been searching for. He got nearly one goal in two games and was top scorer in La Liga in last term with 29. On his debut he netted against Arsenal in FAC4 at the Amex.
Had played for Castellon in Spain after three clubs in S America. Moved in 2010 to Almeria and got 48 goals in 102 apps. '12/13 - Looked big and awkward & jury out. Then hat trick hero. Took to the English game like an old centre forward. Needed right service. '13/14 - could play off another front man who supports. Straight red for high feet. Carried off - ankle prob. Useful at converting chances. Used in 451 on away trips - tough gig. Went to Leicester for 8million + appearance money.
in 2012 - Stephen Dobbie - out 2013
SD came to Albion at the summer deadline, with the club attempting to get a very competitive squad. The 29yo Glaswegian scored 26 goals from 48 starts for Swansea and Blackpool - 6 from 10 on loan to Seasiders in '11/12. Quite short for a pro at 5ft8, he was not the targetman fans were expecting but knew the score ok at this level and slightly above. Got a three year contract for an undisclosed fee. Gus believed he would fit in and give BHA different attacking options. Oh dear, all wheels came off. He soon went off to Palace on loan and later permanently.
in 2012 - David Lopez - out 2014
Gus had a long day on 31Aug and got in a right-sided midfielder from Athletico Bilbao (La Liga in Spain) late in the evening. 29yo Lopez was not an English speaker but decided to come over after making over 150 apps for two Spanish clubs. He transferred there from Osasuna for six million euros in 2007. He accepted a one year deal at BHA and added quality to m-f positions. Popular with fans. Signed again for another year. Then released.
in 2012 - Andrea Orlandi - out 2014
At the Aug-Sept transfer deadline, Gus swooped for a left-sided creative midfielder he'd been after from Swansea. The fee was undisclosed. Orlandi is Spanish but played most footy in England/Wales for Swans - 72 apps mainly at lev2. 28yo AO joined on a 2year contract, adding to an increasing number of fellow countrymen. He speaks English well and knew the game here, so everything seemed to fit into place - was even a team-mate of Calderon when they were much younger. Made a useful contribution to the squad. Had injury probs.
in 2012 - Andrew Crofts - out 2016
Ex-Albion L1 Captain and midfield dynamo, Crofty left BHA at Withdean in 2010 for Norwich. He returned to slot straight into a Championship team hoping to beat last terms tenth pos. The 28yo from Kent was with Chelsea youth before joining Gillingham as a pro. Russ Slade snapped him up in 2009 at W'dean and he had 44 apps for BHA. There were 68 caps for Canaries and 23 for Wales. AC scored around thirty goals in career to date and useful to add more from midfield at any level. Long term injury probs and shadow of former self but regained fitness. Went on loan to Gillingham to get games.
in 2012 - Bruno Salter Grau
Gus Poyet managed to obtain services of Vicente for a second year and to sweeten the pill also got Bruno in - ex-contract from Valencia. The two were team mates there and so helped both to settle at BHA for the second Championship season at the Amex. The 31yo Spaniard from Barcelona played for Espanyol, Lleida, Almeria and then Valencia. The no nonsense right back was first a defender but would go forward to aid attacks. He had over 360 apps in his home country and scored seven goals. Bruno was experienced and also brought other strengths to the position. Unfortunately suffered extended injuries.
Tommy Elphick - out 2012
Cent def; made a man of him in 4 terms of torment from third-tier strikers. '9/10 - half decent start but needed to be full on it - sent off for 2 yellows. Started again and got up to speed. Given a shot in the arm by Poyet and responded. Found top frontmen a handful and drifted off them, upped it and ok. PoY candidate and racked up nearly full apps.
'10/11 L1; Done good. Dropped then ban for 5Y. Reg FA Cup apps. Got starts in lieu El-Abd and Greer. Done his best - difficult to be regular pick. Injured - torn ankle ligaments.
'11/12 CHAMPS - out for season-long injury from second surgery.
'12/13 - renewed contract for one year. Had a big job on to be first choice. Went to Bournemouth on eve of season.
in 2011 - Vicente Rodriguez - out 2013
Plucked from the scrapheap of Valencia B team after notching 50 goals from over 300 apps in 11 years for the La Liga outfit. Chatted up by Gus, Tony Bloom and Ken Brown on a flying visit to the Amex from the Med in August. The 30yo Spaniard liked what he saw and said, 'si si senores.' A Spanish International with forty caps and been involved in Champions League and UEFA Cup. Potentially a massive return for the club from a proven Euro class act.
Soon injured and spent a long time on sidelines. However Gus got him fit again for 2012 and we saw just what a class act we'd available. Busy and inventive but too clever by half for squad to read him. Further injuries severely curtailed second season apps. His potential was unused.
in 2011 - Craig Mackail-Smith - 2015
CM-S was with Peterboro, who got to the Championship (via L1 p-o's) care of his 35 goals in '10/11. Gus wanted him and at 27 was considered in his prime - Scottish cap to boot. BHA passed over 2.5 million in July to Posh, to bust our spending record wide open. CM-S was at London Road for four years and netted 80 goals in 185 apps. Previously he was with Dag&Red in the Conference - 38 goals from 106 apps. Craig had several interested parties for his services but he chose Brighton and Gus Poyet is the reason why - oh and we got a new stadium too.
Didn't have the most productive of first campaigns, although maintained fitness throughout. Sometimes sub and asked to play wide but best facing goal and chasing. Injury in second year at the Amex prevented him getting back to form of old. Made 79+28 lg apps, 8+5 in cups and scored 21+3 goals.
in 2011 - Will Buckley - out 2014
Spending one million pounds in June of the close season prior to the Amex opening, meant BHA gained our most expensive signing ever. Watford got the wad but 22yo Buckley had previous with Rochdale. Will could play as a winger or creative midfielder, scoring in either role. He didn't hesitate to sign for 3 years, remembering how Albion looked like a proper lev2 outfit away at Watford in the FA Cup of '10/11.
Bit of a goal-getter and supersub '11/12. Couldn't hold a regular place and some average away performances to boot. Hamstring problems reduced the number of apps in second year.
'12/13 - repayed some of big fee. But had more to offer. Kinda lost scoring touch. '13/14 - mighta aimed to be new Vicente. Oh dear, perhaps a hamstrung step too far. '14/15 - after day1 went to Sunderland for 2.5mill or so.
in 2011 - Will Hoskins - out 2014
During the '10/11 season, League1 leaders Albion went to Bristol Rovers and would have won 0-4 but for Will Hoskins. He scored twice for the West Country club and although they went down to Lg2, he netted twenty goals that season. It came a no surprise when Gus Poyet got him for Seagulls straight away, with a 500k wedge, rising to 800k if he did the biz. WH had experience at Watford and also been on loan to Forest and Millwall.
Made scant apps '11/12 and went on loan to Sheff Utd. The following year he busted a knee and that finished it. Released following many injury probs.
in 2011 Craig Noone - out 2012
New Year '11 transfer window signing from Plymouth. Got 3 year contract and about 300k spent. 23yo from Merseyside played non-league at Stockport. Two footed and played on either flank. Not too many regular apps in last two terms. Liked to dribble thru and cut inside. Listened to Gus and changed impulsive ways. Came off bench to add flair. Something of a supersub game changer and popular with fans.
Massive step up in Championship but coped. Needed end product for all that dribbling. Regular sub when not starting. Had hamstring probs. Needed more apps. Signed for Cardiff for supposed seven figure sum.
Goalkeepers '11 - '17
FALMER YEARS - 2011-2017
Stockdale, Ankergren, Walton, Maenpaa '14 - '17
Young Chris Walton went on loan to Bury for 15-16 & Luton 16-17. Stockdale and Finnish goalie Maenpaa were left to dispute the gloves - exclusively for the former Prem custodian, with the Finn on the bench.
Casper Ankergren was the only senior keeper retained from the first three seasons at the Amex. But he played only a bit part in subsequent years. David Stockdale from Fulham had been recruited as no.1, two weeks before opening day of the '14/15 campaign. When he was injured, U19 custodian Chris Walton deputised and showed maturity beyond his young age. Bizarrely, Ali Al-Habsi came in from Wigan on loan for a month but merely played once that Nov.
Brezovan, Kuszczak '11 - '14
On day1 GP played Casper Ankergren again (once at Leeds) as no.1. He'd done good for BHA's previous season in Lg1 with clean sheets. Earlier first choice Peter Brezovan (originally via Swindon) was on the bench as reserve keeper. Third goalie Michael Poke (initially from So'ton) was back-up to the union. Poke and youngster Mitch Walker from Dev Squad (who did a spell on loan) turned out in reserves and for BHA seconds in the Sussex Senior Cup competition. Before end of October '11, Poyet made a short loan move for veteran Steve Harper from Newcastle. Brezovan regained the gloves at end of 2011, while Poke went on loan to Bristol Rovers. Poyet next signed David Gonzales (ex-Man City) for 2012 as late competition for the gk jersey. But both these back-up keepers, plus youngster Walker, were released at end of '11/12 season. In the close season Tomasz Kuszczak signed a 2y deal. He became first choice throughout '12/13 & '13/14. But at end of that season he & Brezovan were both released.
Squads '14 - '17
FALMER YEARS - 2014-2017 (years 4-6)
Year4 Squad, 2014 - 2015
There was a significant change of personnel during and at end of '13/14 term - see Year3 below.
Out - Kuszczak, Brezovan, Hoskins, Rodriguez, Orlandi, Ulloa, Upson, David and Dickenson.
Sami Hyypia became the third BHA manager, in the close season, prior to Albion's fourth campaign at the Amex. In conjunction with chairman Tony Bloom and head of ops David Burke, he had several positions to fill with new players as time ran out through pre-season training.
Keepers - Casper Ankergren, Chris Walton
Defenders - Bruno, Gordon Greer, Lewis Dunk, Inigo Calderon, Adam Chicksen, Vita Maksimenko.
Midfield - Dale Stephens, Andrew Crofts, Kemy Agustien, Jake Forster-Caskey, Rohan Ince.
Forwards - Craig Mackail-Smith, Kazenga LuaLua, Solly March, Will Buckley, Shamir Fenelon.
The first player introduced by Burke after abortive play-off s-f was Nzuzi Toko a holding midfielder. He was eventually followed by experienced c-d Aaron Hughes (Hyppia's first signing) and later in time for friendlies, striker Chris O'Grady (Barnsley). Then a big 1mill signing, David Stockdale a keeper from Fulham. After one week, Buckley went to Sunderland. In week2, midfielder Joao Carlos Teixeira (Liverpool) penned a year long loan. Then two academy kids, defender Glen Rea & m-f Charlie Harris, also joined the first team squad. In week3, two midfielders; Danny Holla joined from Holland and Paddy McCourt (Barnsley). Then l-b Joe Bennett (Aston Villa) came in on season-long loan. In the week prior to Aug window shut, striker Adrian Colunga came from Spain. Also m-f Gary Gardner (Villa) was added on 4mth loan. Then followed Sam Baldock a striker from Bristol City. In early November Ali Al-Habsi (gk) came in on emg loan from Wigan, also Elliott Bennett returned on loan (Norwich) and c-d Greg Halford (Forest). Before the loan deadline at end of Nov, striker Darren Bent came in for a month from Villa. But CMS & COG went out on loan at the same time. After New Year and Chris Hughton taking charge, striker Leon Best came in on loan from Blackburn. At the transfer window, Beram Kayal arrived from Celtic to bolster midfield. In the loan window, winger Emmanuel Ledesma joined from Middlesbro short term. Also Mustapha Carayol from the same club.
1 Al-Habsi (Gk short loan), 2 Bruno, 3 Greer, 4 Hughes, 5 Dunk, 6 Stephens (injured), 7 Colunga (out on loan), 8 Crofts (injured), 9 Baldock, 10 Agustien, 11 O'Grady, 12 Mackail-Smith, 13 Stockdale (Gk), 14 Calderon, 15 Chicksen, 16 Ankergren (Gk), 17 Teixeira (on loan), 18 Forster-Caskey, 19 Gardner (on short loan) then Best (on loan), 20 McCourt (out on loan), 21 Maksimenko (out on loan), 22 Holla, 23 Fenelon (out on loan), 24 Ince, 25 LuaLua, 26 Rea, 27 March (injured), 28 Toko (left), then Kayal, 29 Harris, 30 Buckley (transferred) then J Bennett (on loan), 31 Walton (Gk), 32 E Bennet (on short loan) then Ledesma (on short loan), 33 Halford (on loan), 34 Carayol (on short loan), 39 Bent (on short loan).
Year5 Squad, 2015 - 2016
Out - Mackail-Smith, Hughes, Agustien, McCourt, Maksimenko, Fenelon.
Keepers - Stockdale, Walton - out on loan, Ankergren
Defenders - Bruno, Greer, Dunk, Chicksen, Calderon.
Midfield - Stephens, Crofts, Forster-Caskey, Holla, Ince, Kayal.
Forwards - Baldock, O'Grady, LuaLua, March, Colunga.
New signings - Tomer Hemed (Almeria - striker), Liam Rosenior (Hull - fullback), Niki Maenpaa (Venlo - keeper), Gaetan Bong (Wigan - fullback), Vahid Hambo (FC Inter - striker), Jack Harper (Real Madrid - striker), Bobby Zamora (QPR - striker), Uwe Huenemeier (Paderborn - cent def), Jamie Murphy (Sheff Utd - winger), Connor Goldson (Shrewsbury - cent def), Elvis Manu (Feyenoord - striker).
Nov '15 loan window - James Wilson (Man U - striker), Rajiv La Parra (Wolves - winger). Jan '16 window - Richie Towell (Dundalk - m-f), Liam Ridgewell (Portland - cent -def), Anthony Knockaert (Liege - winger), Steve Sidwell (Stoke - m-f), Henrik Bjordal (Aalesunds - winger), Jonah Ayunga (Dorchester - striker), Jiri Skalak (Mlada Boleslav - striker)
1 Maenpaa (GK), 2 Bruno, 3 Greer, 4 Huenemeier (injured), 5 Dunk, 6 Stephens, 7 Kayal, 8 Crofts (out on loan), 9 Baldock (injured), 10 Hemed, 11 O'Grady (out on loan), 12 Bong (injured), 13 Stockdale (GK), 14 Calderon, 15 Murphy, 16 Ankergren (GK), 17 Goldson, 18 Forster-Caskey (out on loan), 19 Manu (out on loan), 20 March (Injured), 21 Wilson (on loan), 22 Holla, 23 Rosenior (injured), 24 Ince (out on loan), 25 Zamora, 26 Rea (out on loan), 27 Colunga (left), then La Parra (left), then Knockaert, 28 Chicksen (out on loan), 29 Towell, 30 LuaLua, 31 Walton (GK out on loan), 32 , 33 Ridgewell (on loan), 36 Sidwell (on loan), 38 Skalak
out - Greer, Calderon, Crofts, Chicksen, Zamora, Rea.
Year6 Squad 2016-17
out on loan - O'Grady, Forster-Caskey (transferred), Walton (gk), Manu, LuaLua
new signings - Steve Sidwell (mf - Stoke), Ben Hall (cd - Motherwell), Glenn Murray (striker - Bournemouth loan), Oliver Norwood (mf - Reading).
Youngsters Rob Hunt, Sam Adekugbe (Vancouver loan) and Ben White were added to the squad from U23s. Before the transfer window shut at end of August, Shane Duffy (c-d - Blackburn) and Sebastian Pocognoli (lb - WBA loan) arrived. In the Jan window, Forster-Caskey transferred to Charlton, LuaLua went on loan to QPR, Hunt to Oldham & Ince to Swindon. Defender Fikayo Tomori came in on loan from Chelsea, while striker Chuba Akpom arrived on loan from Arsenal. Glenn Murray signed permanently.
1 Maenpaa (gk), 2 Bruno, 3 Bong, 4 Huenemeier, 5 Dunk, 6 Stephens, 7 Kayal, 8 Skalak, 9 Baldock, 10 Hemed, 11 Knockaert, 12 Pocognoli (on loan), 13 Stockdale (gk), 14 Sidwell, 15 Murphy, 16 Ankergren (gk), 17 Murray, 18 Goldson (injured), 19 Manu (loaned), 20 March, 21 Norwood, 22 Holla (left) then Duffy, 23 Rosenior (injured), 24 Ince (loaned), 25 , 26 , 27 Tomori (on loan), 28 Akpom (on loan), 29 Towell, 30 LuaLua (loaned), 42 Hunt (loaned), 43 White, 44 Adekugbe (on loan)
Squads '11 - '14
FALMER YEARS - 2011-2014 (years 1-3)
A new beginning at the Amex.
Year1 Squad, 2011 - 2012
From the previous lg1 title-winning squad, Gus Poyet retained his keepers, Casper Ankergren, Peter Brezovan, Michael Poke and Mitch Walker. Club Captain Gordon Greer, long serving pair Tommy Elphick and Adam El-Abd (both injured), together with wonder-kid Lewis Dunk and youngster Steve Cook, made up heart of defence. The champions lg1 full-backs, Inigo Calderon and Marcos Painter were again first choices, supported initially by asst mngr Mauricio Taricco. In cent midfield, Gary Dicker, Liam Bridcutt and Matt Sparrow were rejoined by old hand Alan Navarro. On the wings, Craig Noone and Jamie Smith were bolstered by LuaLua re-signing (on loan from Newcastle) and million pound man Will Buckley via Watford. Up front, Gus spent money on Will Hoskins (Bristol R 500k) and Craig Mackail-Smith (Peterboro 2.5mill) to assist Ashley Barnes. Romain Vincelot, a utility player, came in from Dag&Red. Just into the new season, GP signed playmaker Ryan Harley care of Swansea. At end of August, Gus got Vicente Rodriguez on a free from Valencia - a huge result for an experienced big name from Spain. Toward end of October, Poyet got Chilean international defender Gonzalo Jara Reyes on short loan from West Brom. Next obtained services of veteran keeper Steve Harper from Newcastle on short loan. Soon after, striker Billy Paynter loaned to us via Leeds. LuaLua signed permanently in November. For 2012 Gus got goalie David Gonzalez (ex-Man C) on a free. Just before the Jan 2012 transfer widow shut, target-man Sam Vokes appeared on loan from Wolves. Jara Reyes returned and also fullback Joe Mattock came in on loan from WBA. During February, Gus swooped for Man City m-f pair, Abdul Razak and Gai Assulin on loan to bolster quality options for selection.
In the development squad, Ex-Spurs youth teamer, Yaser Kasim, Norwegian Torbjorn Agdestein and U18 star Jake Forster-Caskey were now lining up with Dutch youngster Roland Bergkamp. Others to make the grade included Grant Hall, ex-Chelsea pair Anton Rodgers and Ben Sampayo, plus George Barker. At New Year, youngster Ben Dickenson came in from Dorchester.
1 Brezovan (gk), 2 Mattock (on loan), 3 Greer, 4 Elphick (injured), 5 Dunk, 6 El-Abd, 7 Hoskins (loaned), 8 Navarro, 9 Barnes, 10 Sparrow, 11 Noone, 12 Mackail-Smith, 13 Paynter (on loan) then Assulin (o-l), 14 Calderon, 15 Vicente Rodriguez, 16 Ankergren (gk), 17 Harley, 18 Dicker (injured), 19 Poke (gk loaned), 20 Vincelot, 21 Harper (o-l gk) then Gonzalez (gk) , 22 Painter (injured), 23 Agdestein, 24 Smith (left) then Vokes (o-l), 25 LuaLua, 26 Bridcutt (PoY), 27 Taricco, 28 Cook (transferred) then Razak (o-l), 29 Bergkamp (loaned), 30 Buckley, 31 Hall, 32 Kasim, 33 Barker, 34 Sampayo, 35 Forster-Caskey, 36 Jara Reyes (on loan), 37 Walker (gk), 38 , 39 Dickenson, 44 Rodgers.
Year2 Squad, 2012 - 2013
Many players already had ongoing contracts so Poyet only released Navarro and keepers, Poke, Walker and Gonzalez. In the close season he got Polish g-k Tomasz Kuszczak (ex Man U) and Spanish fullback Bruno Saltor Grau (ex Valencia). Then at pre-season, left back Wayne Bridge (Man C) arrived for season loan. During early August, Andrew Crofts returned from Norwich. Yaser Kasim, Jake Forster-Caskey and Roland Bergkamp went out on loan. After friendlies finished Tommy Elphick transferred to Bournemouth and Grant Hall signed for Spurs. At Aug xfer window Craig Noone went to Cardiff. But Gus got four in; 3 midfielders - Andrea Orlandi (Swansea), David Lopez (Bilbao) and Dean Hammond (loan So'ton). He also got striker Stephen Dobbie (Swansea). In new year Matt Sparrow signed for Crawley. Before the '13 xfer window shut, target-man Leonardo Ulloa signed from Almeria in Spain. On the last day, cent-def Matthew Upson arrived on loan from Stoke
1 Brezovan (gk), 2 Bruno, 3 Greer, 4 Elphick (transfer) then Hammond (loan), 5 Dunk, 6 El-Abd, 7 Hoskins (injured), 8 Crofts, 9 Barnes (banned), 10 Sparrow (left) then Dobbie, 11 Noone (transfer) then Orlandi, 12 Mackail-Smith (injured), 13 , 14 Calderon, 15 Vicente (injured), 16 Ankergren (gk), 17 Harley (loaned), 18 Dicker, 19 Ulloa, 20 Vincelot (left) then Upson (loan), 21 David Lopez, 22 Painter (injured/loaned), 23 Agdestein, 24 , 25 LuaLua, 26 Bridcutt (PoS), 27 , 28 Bridge (loan), 29 Kuszczak (gk), 30 Buckley, 33 Barker (loaned), 35 Forster-Caskey, 38 Dickenson (loaned)
Year3 Squad, 2013 - 14
At end of '12/13 Vicente, Painter and Dicker were released. El-Abd signed a new contract and eventually Lopez did too. Upson got a year's deal. David Burke (Head of Ops) signed Adam Chicksen a 21yo left back prospect from MK Dons. In pre-season m-f Kemy Agustien came here on a free from Swansea. Several lads were included from the dev squad. For first home game, m-f Keith Andrews signed on-loan from Bolton. Later Stephen Ward (lb) also came on-loan from Wolves. Before close of the Aug loan window, winger Craig Conway signed from Cardiff until end '13. An emergency loan for a striker gotten in Leroy Lita (Swansea) in mid October. During Jan '14, Barnes, El-Abd & Maksimenko transferred and striker Jonathan Obika (Spurs) came in on loan. Before the window closed Bridcutt also transferred. M-f Dale Stephens signed from Charlton, along with striker David Rodriguez out of La Liga. Before end of Feb, Jesse Lingard signed on loan from Man Utd.
g-k; 29 Kuszczak, 1 Brezovan, 16 Ankergren
def; 2 Bruno, 14 Calderon, 5 Dunk, 3 Greer, 6 El-Abd (left), 20 Upson, 15 Chicksen, 28 Maksimenko (left), 17 Ward (loan)
m-f; 8 Crofts (injured), 11 Orlandi, 21 Lopez, 26 Bridcutt (left), 10 Agustien, 18 Forster-Caskey, 38 Ince, 4 Andrews (loan)
strikers; 7 Hoskins, 12 Mackail-Smith, 19 Ulloa, 9 Barnes (left), 30 Buckley, 25 LuaLua, 27 March, 22 Barker then Obika, 24 Dickenson, 23 Conway (loan), 35 Lingard (loan), 44 Lita (loan)
Annual Q1-4 @ Amex
FALMER YEARS - 2011-16
'15/16 - Per Quarter Stats.
Q4 - H = 3 3 0, A = 4 1 0 . Qtr totals 25 pts, F23 A8 gd+15. 4 clean-shts and 1 fts. 2.27pt/gm. 6 home games unbeaten run.
Q3 - H = 4 0 2, A = 2 2 2 . Qtr totals 20 pts, F18 A11 gd+7. 6 clean-shts and 5 fts. 1.67pt/gm. 4 home games unbeaten run.
Q2 - H = 3 1 1, A = 0 6 0 . Qtr totals 16pts, F13 A13 gd0. 3 clean-shts and 4 fts. 1.45pt/gm. 4 home games unbeaten run.
Q1 - H = 5 1 0, A = 3 3 0 . Qtr totals 28pts, F18 A10 gd+8. 4 clean-shts and 1 fts. 2.33pt/gm. 6 home games unbeaten run.
Q+ - H = 15 5 3, A = 9 12 2. Full total 89pts, F72 A42 gd=+30. 17 clean-shts and 11fts. 1.93pt/gm
'14/15 - Per Quarter Stats.
Q4 - H = 0 2 3, A = 1 2 3 . Qtr totals 7 pts, F4 A11 gd-7. 4 clean-shts and 7 fts. 0.63 pt/gm. 1 home game unbeaten run.
Q3 - H = 4 0 2, A = 2 2 2 . Qtr totals 20pts, F16 A11 gd+5. 6 clean-shts and 5 fts. 1.66pt/gm. 3 home games unbeaten run.
Q2 - H = 1 3 2, A = 0 3 2 . Qtr totals 9pts, F13 A18 gd-5. 1 clean-shts and 2 fts. 0.81pt/gm. 3 home games unbeaten run.
Q1 - H = 1 3 2, A = 1 2 3 . Qtr totals 11pts, F11 A14 gd-3. 3 clean-shts and 5 fts. 0.91pt/gm. 4 home games unbeaten run.
Q+ - H = 6 8 9, A = 4 9 10. Full total 47pts, F44 A54 gd=-10. 14 clean-shts and 19fts. 1.02pt/gm
'13/14 - Per Quarter Stats.
Q4 - H = 2 1 2, A = 2 3 1. Qtr totals 16 pts, F16 A12 gd+4. 3 clean-shts and 4 fts. 1.45 pt/gm. 3 home games unbeaten run.
Q3 - H = 4 2 1, A = 2 1 2. Qtr totals 21 pts, F11 A7 gd+4. 7 clean-shts and 3 fts. 1.75pt/gm. 4 home games unbeaten run.
Q2 - H = 2 2 1, A = 4 1 1. Qtr totals 21 pts, F17 A9 gd+8. 5 clean-shts and 1 fts. 1.90 pt/gm. 2 home games unbeaten run.
Q1 - H = 2 2 2, A = 1 3 2. Qtr totals 14 pts, F11 A12 gd=-1. 5 clean-shts and 4 fts. 1.16 pt/gm. 4 home games unbeaten run.
Q+ - H = 10 7 6, A = 9 8 6. Full total 72pts, F55 A40 gd=+15. 20 clean-shts and 12fts. 1.56pt/gm
'12/13 - Per Quarter Stats.
Q4 - H = 3 2 0, A = 2 2 2. Qtr totals 19 pts, F19 A8 gd+11. 5 clean-shts and 3 fts. 1.72 pt/gm. 5 home games unbeaten run.
Q3 - H = 4 1 1, A = 2 3 1. Qtr totals 22 pts, F19 A12 gd+7. 5 clean-shts and 1 fts. 1.83 pt/gm. 5 home games unbeaten run.
Q2 - H = 2 4 0, A = 1 3 1. Qtr totals 16 pts, F16 A15 gd+1. 3 clean-shts and 2 fts. 1.45 pt/gm. 6 home games unbeaten run.
Q1 - H = 2 2 2, A = 3 1 2. Qtr totals 18 pts, F15 A8 gd=+7. 4 clean-shts and 6 fts. 1.50 pt/gm. 3 home games unbeaten run.
Q+ - H = 11 9 3, A = 8 9 6. Full total 75pts, F69 A43 gd=+26. 17 clean-shts and 12fts. 1.63pt/gm
'11/12 - Per Quarter Stats.
Q4 - H = 2 3 1, A = 0 2 3. Qtr totals 11 pts, F10 A16 gd=-6. 3 clean-shts and 4 fts. 1.00 pt/gm. 3 home games unbeaten run.
Q3 - H = 4 2 0, A = 2 3 1. Qtr totals 23 pts, F19 A10 gd=+9 5 clean-shts and 2 fts. 1.91 pt/gm. 6 home games unbeaten run.
Q2 - H = 3 0 2, A = 1 1 4. Qtr totals 13 pts, F06 A11 gd=-5. 4 clean-shts and 7 fts. 1.18 pt/gm. 3 home games unbeaten run.
Q1 - H = 2 3 1, A = 3 1 2. Qtr totals 19 pts, F17 A15 gd+2. 4 clean-shts and 2 fts. 1.58 pt/gm. 4 home games unbeaten run.
Q+ - H = 11 8 4, A = 6 7 10. Full total 66pts, F52 A52 gd=0. 16 clean-shts and 15fts. 1.43pt/gm.
FALMER YEARS - 2011-17
Yearly statistical record.
'17 r3 MK Dons .. H 7/1/17 w 2-0 ~ Kayal, Hemed
'17 r4 Lincoln ..... A 28/1/17 l 3-1 ~ Towell
'16 r3 Hull.......... A 9/1/16 l 1-0
'15 r3 Brentford .. A 3/1/15 w 2-0 ~ Dunk, O'Grady
'15 r4 Arsenal ..... H 24/1l 2-3 ~ O'Grady, Baldock
'14 r3 Reading .... H 5/1/14 w 1-0 ~ Crofts
'14 r4 Port Vale ... A 25/1 w 3-1 ~ Ince, March, Obika
'14 r5 Hull ......... H 17/2 d 1-1 ~ Ulloa
'14 r5r " " ............ A 24/2 l 2-1 ~ Ulloa
'13 r3 Newcastle . H 5/1/13 w 2-0 ~ Orlandi, Hoskins
'13 r4 Arsenal ..... H 26/1 l 2-3 ~ Barnes, Ulloa
'12 r3 Wrexham .. H 7/1/12 d 1-1 ~ Forster-Caskey
'12 r3r Wrexham .. A 18/1 d 1-1 ~ Barnes - BHA win 5-4 on pens aet.
'12 r4 Newcastle . H 28/1 w 1-0 ~ Buckley (76)
'12 r5 Liverpool ... A 18/2 l 6-1 ~ LuaLua
'16 r1 Colchester.. H 9/8/16 w 4-0 ~ Murphy 2, Baldock, Manu
'16 r2 Oxford ........ A 23/8 w 2-4 ~ Adekugbe, LuaLua, Manu, Hemed
'16 r3 Reading ...... H 20/9 l 1-2 ~ Hemed
'15 r1 Southend.... A 11/8/15 w 0-1 ~ LuaLua (90+3)
'15 r2 Walsall........ A 25/8 l 2-1 ~ Forster-Caskey (39)
'14 r1 Cheltenham H 12/8/14 w 2-0 ~ Dunk (79), Mackail-Smith (90)
'14 r2 Swindon .... A 26/8 w 2-4 aet ~ Ince (10), Colunga (95), F-C 2 (pens 100, 120)
'14 r3 Burton Albion A 24/9 w 0-3 ~ Ince (18), LuaLua (37), CMS (65)
'14 r4 Tottenham A 28/10 l 2-0
'13 r1 Newport .... H 6/8/13 l 1-3 aet ~ Barnes (18)
'12 r1 Swindon .... A 14/8/12 l 3-0
'11 r1 Gillingham ... H 9/8/11 w 1-0 ~ Barnes (67 pen)
'11 r2 Sunderland H 23/8 w 1-0 aet ~ Mackail-Smith (96)
'11 r3 Liverpool .... H 21/9 l 1-2 ~ Barnes (90 pen)
WITHDEAN ERA 1999 - 2011
Apr 1999 - Oct 2001 ~ Micky Adams
Oct 2001 - May 2002 ~ Peter Taylor
July 2002 - Oct 2002 ~ Martin Hinshelwood
Oct 2002 - Sep 2003 ~ Steve Coppell
Nov 2003 - Sep 2006 ~ Mark McGhee
Sep 2006 - May 2008 ~ Dean Wilkins
May 2008 - Feb 2009 ~ Micky Adams
Mar 2009 - Oct 2009 ~ Russell Slade
Nov 2009 - May 2011 ~ Gus Poyet
There was a local south-coast derby on a Tuesday night in 2006, when Bournemouth came to town. The first time they visited in the 'modern' Withdean era was almost exactly five years before in 2001, while the world recovered from 9/11 and realised its implications. By coincidence it was also Brighton & Hove Albion's selective Centenary Match. Brighton duly won, to cement their intention to make a mark on history and attempt to gain a second consecutive promotion in three years at W'dean. Three games later Micky ADAMS quit as manager, to jump two levels instead of just one small step.
Peter TAYLOR bridged that gap but subsequently failed to take a giant quantum leap. A year later 2002, Martin HINSHELWOOD was about to be relieved of duties by Dick Knight after eight losses on the bounce, with a 'ten and out' limit imminent. Two years on from actually achieving 100 years history, by 2003 Albion were back in div2 (league 1) having further; lost those two 'new' bosses, had an abortive initiation to div1 (Championship) in '02/3 and were now about to wave goodbye to Steve COPPELL. Thus changing their third short-term manager in quick succession. September is remembered as the month war broke out in 1939 but for this 21st century equivalent, progress "in our time" was getting a tad ridiculous.
By the second coming of Bournemouth to our super sports complex in Feb '04, BHA was well on the way to reach a place in div2 play-offs. A 3-0 home victory certainly floated our boat. We had by then lashed Mark McGHEE to the helm and he steered a straight course to the Millennium Stadium.
Another three years went by and following a second sinking from the Championship and indifferent form in League 1, Brighton repeated their September phobia and dispensed with Mr McGhee's captaincy. Dean WILKINS with no experience came straight in for bulk of '06/7 and hey, it was a learning curve alright. He done fairly good in '07/8 just failing to reach League1 p-os.
But failure was subjective in others' eyes - for '08/9 Micky ADAMS returned, with an agenda and a plan of his office at Falmer. Oh dear, he only lasted 9 months. Russell SLADE was left to pick up the pieces from Mar '09 and keep us up in League1. He did too on the last day and got a contract to boot. Unfortunately '9/10 started as a mare and RS was gone in 8 months total.
First season chairman Tony Bloom, sifted a huge mail bag in Nov '09 and for his second appointment, gave Gus POYET his first manager's job. GP moved Albion into mid table mediocrity and set about putting plans into action for that last season at Withdean in '10/11. A couple of months into the season Albion hit top of the table and went on to gain promotion and then the league1 title with four fixtures to go.
Y L Sesn Pt Po Mangr
1 2 99/0 67 11 Adams
2 2 00/1 92 1(P) Adams - champions
3 1 01/2 90 1(P) Adams/Taylor - champions
4 C 02/3 45 23 Hinshelwood/Coppell - rel
5 1 03/4 77 4(P) Coppell/McGhee - play-off winners
6 C 04/5 51 20 McGhee
7 C 05/6 38 24 McGhee - rel
8 1 06/7 52 18 McGhee/Wilkins
9 1 07/8 69 7 . Wilkins
10 1 8/9 52 16 Adams/Slade
11 1 9/10 59 13 Slade/Poyet
12 1 10/11 95 1(P) Poyet - champions
Y1-3 Micky Adams & Peter Taylor
Years 1-3 were sensational when seen in the light of a decade of playing league football at a place like Withdean sports complex. Adams first sought consistency where previously this had not been possible at the Goldstone and Priestfield. BHA's homecoming and new squad began a process of steady improvement in standard, based on what had gone before in lg2 (div3). In 99/0 after a useful opening 3 months, things slipped over the winter period as we bobbed about adrift in mid table. A late unbeaten run to end of first season, lifted the club from anonimity to mediocrity. The following two terms can conventionally be considered successful for Brighton. So much that an incredible rare double promotion was achieved. In 00/1 Adams immediately kicked off a promo push with an enhanced skillful side. Consistency was maintained until gaining silverware as champions in Albion's centenary year. 01/2 started in similar vein in lg1 (div2), initially launched by Adams before he left for kudos of the Premiership. Peter Taylor took over and the challenge continued somewhat seamlessly. It was business as usual as Taylor matched Adams stats in back-back fashion.
Y4 Martin Hinshelwood & Steve Coppell
With Taylor declining to attempt a shot at Championship level (div1), Hinshelwood gave it a try for year4. But attempting to establish a team at higher standard proved difficult in 02/3. There was a long losing run and Coppell stepped into the breach but was unable to save us from relegation, although he tried hard enough. The recognised 50 point survival target unfortunately was not reached. There was a feeling of hard luck that prevailed in denying consolidation afterall. Nevertheless a precedent had been set in doggedly competing at this level.
Y5-7 Mark McGhee
There was a positive beginning to year5 when Coppell bettered Adams respective stats at lower league in 03/4 before likewise leaving for superior status. Mark McGhee arrived, got through a tough mid season and kept us in the hunt for a play-off place. He almost matched Adams/Taylor's credentials as his luck held during the run-in and knockout phases. It was an unbelievable day of emotion at the Millennium Stadium. In 04/5 McGhee's year6 return to the Championship went much along lines of Adams inaugural year1 until tailing off, to assume a drop zone contest of Coppell's year4. Albion clung on to tier two this term, snatching survival at the death - thus claiming a second life. In 05/6 under pressure McGhee's year7 went from bad to worse - down, enough said.
For 06/7 there was a weekend lg1 visit to south London in Sept 2006, thankfully short in terms of nationwide away trips because appearing quite a bit on fixture lists was Millwall. We'd been there a lot during recent seasons, which also brought mixed memories flooding into our once-upon-a-time manager's aching head. South he came, in the year 2000 to Millwall and in that new beginning, created heaven and then it became hell. He took them up to division 1 and on to play-offs but crowd trouble meant imposed restrictions at the Den, when sky high gates fell to meagre on rocky earth. Mr McGhee was under enforced gas pressure, as imposed Premiership impossibilities simmered on a low rear burner. The following season, he moved down to Brighton in 2003 and took us back into the Championship alongside Millwall again. Both clubs dropped into familiar League1 surroundings by 2006 and Mr McGhee was once more feeling pressurised.
Dick Knight appointed Mark McGhee, hoping he could make new city boys Brighton a regular Championship side, like he had with our neighbours in the capital and one enduring life with the Lions. Our new manager responded with a defensive, 'there is no magic wand'. This no nonsense Glaswegian had a very broad playing and managing experience, also saying, 'I don't want to be known as a Second Division specialist'. McGhee arrived here after long deliberation and not as a knee jerk reaction to wanting a job. By own admission, he was prepared to give 100% but only signed for two years initially, as a sort of pre-nuptial honeymoon period. Those opening games at lesser standard for our gritty Scots Boss were, in footy speak a 'mare. He added to the squad immediately and held a doctrine of blooding young players considered of pro ability. His aim was to finish in the top two. It didn't happen quite that way but a prominent Youth Policy flourished during two subsequent years ('04-'06) in the Championship. However establishment there stalled, as things went badly wrong towards that disappointing end to our last Champ's season. Even a 1st of April win at lowly Millwall was merely celebrated as another bizarre event, although it could be seen just what youth, pace, enthusiasm and commitment might eventually achieve.
The '06/7 season started with a below average assessment and again Mr McGhee was feeling a squeeze. He asked for a degree of tolerance from Brighton fans, who gave him a tongue lashing on seeing the third consecutive defeat in six. 'We have a very young squad, who need time to develop and aren't suddenly going to turn up experienced and knowing the ropes'. So, based on form thus far, no inspiring talk of a 'top two finish' or presumably not League1 er, specialism either. 'The only players available to me beyond the 16 were two others, neither of whom featured before'. Well, BHA had become a selling club and by definition 'profits' by remaining small and turning over talent - including those not reaching McGhee's supposed quality test for attitude, seemingly in which he did specialise. So goal posts appeared to get moved since progressive days of three years before, when he stated, 'I've come here to be at the top end of the game again'. Brighton fans very much welcomed a return to such an ambitious program that desperately needed to boost this club and yes, it all kicked off on a Saturday in Docklands. However, McGhee was sacked on the Friday before, along with assistant Bob Booker.
Y8-9 Dean Wilkins
While taking over for 06/7, our 6th manager in 8 years faced a huge task ahead. He probably did ok to settle for a less than average end to that inconsistent season. In his second term of management, Dean Wilkins guided Brighton to just outside League1 play-offs for '07/8. He had taken over from Mark McGhee in September 2006, when unrest among fans and unease with the squad prompted the BHA board into action. Wilkins had beforehand been youth team manager and coached more than one very successful side of lads to prominence in their regional set-up and recognition when against Academy outfits in the Cup. Many of his various under 18s from several annual intakes became professionals at this club. These kids and a few home-bred youngsters from previous regular scholarships, were duly drafted in to attempt a difficult challenge - reaching p-os in a tough third tier. In a year of under achievement, everybody learnt a lot about basic grass-roots footy in that division. Expectation levels rose for 2007 but unfortunately, developing an integrated group became somewhat disjointed with a series of transfers at the January 2008 window. That Wilkins steered a revised and patched-up team to within touching distance of k-o stages is to his immense credit. You couldn't hold it against boyish blue & white that they fell short. There was some comment as to DW's square shape in a round hole and not merely on the pitch. A 10 man cull of Albion's squad at end of an encouraging season received much criticism from fans and fringe players alike. Supposedly Dean Wilkins was not the most adaptable in human resources and media involvement. His chairman and in many respects demanding boss, dealt with player negotiations and of course their associated agents. It all became a process two steps removed from face to face on green grass. Wilkins still had backers, while McGhee endured detractors after perceived failure to consolidate at higher level. Twenty months after starting out down the road, steering a football club to anticipated destinations, Wilkins found he too had run out of room to manoeuvre.
Y10-12 Micky Adams, Russell Slade & Gus Poyet
In an end of season blaze of publicity, Dick Knight installed Micky Adams as his 'new' manager for '08/9. Wilkins had got BHA to 7th place in '07/8, which some regarded as sufficient to expect a p-o challenge next term. You can imagine just how big the E-word was by pre-season, when Virgo and other ex-Champ's players arrived to boost Adams inherited squad. But following a reasonable start, form tailed off, especially at W'dean where it became a continual mare. Knight stood by his man when coming under criticism from fans as Albion slid downwards. DK did the biz again in Jan '09 transfer window to help try to solve injury and other squad problems. But before end of February, Adams left our club by mutual consent with B'ton in 21st place, still struggling at home and threatened by relegation. Did he jump or was he pushed?
Russell Slade came in and orchestrated the great escape, by taking things to the final fixture to avoid falling back into the drop zone. He became a legend in his own run-in. Dick Knight was a relieved man and all. He in turn became an old ledg when 'promoted' to President when Tony Bloom got to be chairman in May '09.
But it was same old in '9/10 and Slade's new squad were just as poor results-wise as 12 months ago. At the end of October '09 Slade, along with White & Booker were all sacked by Bloom. Big punter Tony thought he held a useful hand and the ace in this pack turned out to be Gus Poyet. He was a pukka coach but very new to management when taking over in Nov '09. Poyet set about changing Albion's style from long ball to footy on the floor but it took a while for the peseta to drop. Eventually a blend of Slade signings and new on-loan recruits got to do the biz. A mid table finish formed a foundation to push on for better things in '10/11. Gus revolutionised the way Albion played during our final term at Withdean. Most people thought it was the best performances since Goldstone glory years and took BHA to top of league1 from merely eight games played. It stayed like that through mid season and come the run-in, Brighton had run away with this division to achieve promotion as L1 title winners.
WITHDEAN ERA from 1999.
Y2k -'08 Dean Wilkins & Dean White -'09
More speculation and serial September sensation in the denes of Sussex during 2006 - Dean & Dean were still awaiting their first home win! We supposed this small blip in an otherwise winning sequence would soon be rectified, to register complete satisfaction on any given Saturday. Their new partnership bridged a six year gap stretching back to the end of September 2000. On that proverbial 'well I never did' football merry-go-round, Withdean was 'sold out' for a first time. Micky Adams was shortly to appoint Bob Booker as his new assistant and also Dean White as boss of reserves. But in Sept '06 B'fans said, 'thank you Bob' for guiding, advising and generally looking after so many BHA managers and players in the interim. Our new caretaker Dean Wilkins, had previously been kicking a ball about at Worthing, Crawley and Bognor before returning to Brighton as Youth Team Coach in pre-season of 1998. As a 21yo Dean left QPR, joined BHA and went out on loan to er, LO. He then ended up in the Netherlands for three years, finally signing again for Brighton in 1987. It was a kind of arse about face and definitely a little bit double Dutch to boot. Adams brought Dean White to the club to tap into his non-league knowledge and experience, thus trying to exploit any local talent to be found in and around the county. On May Bank Holiday 2000, BHA reserves had played Hastings Town, managed by White and won the Sussex Senior Cup via a penalty shoot-out. Fiesty Adams gave away lucky winners champagne to his future 2nds coach and Chief Scout - keeping Dean in mind for a professional post at Brighton and subsequently much more bubbly. Dean White became Wilkins assistant when the former Youth coach took over from Mark McGhee in September 2006. White was also asst in Micky Adams second spell from May 2008 and took over briefly as caretaker mngr in Feb '09. He said, 'I've enough knowledge to know what's needed. I feel as though I've done a good job here. I live in Hastings, this is my local team and will give it absolutely everything. We've worked to keep this club going forward.' Dean White was sacked by Tony Bloom in October 2009.
Bob Booker Y2k - '06 & '08 - '09
Returning to the club in July 2008 but as Reserve Team Coach, Booker said, 'this feels like I'm coming home. We all muck in together.' When Micky Adams first brought Bob on-board as Assistant in October 2000, Dean White had also just arrived to do the 2nd eleven job. Previously Alan Cork had been asst mgnr and ex-Albion player Ian Culverhouse was in charge of the stiffs. Cork joined Cardiff shortly after a visit to the Welsh outfit, where his old Wimbledon Crazy Gang pals Bobby Gould and Sam Hammam were in residence. It was probably an offer he couldn't refuse. Alan said, 'it was like leaving my brother to go back to my father'. Booker returned to the fold with Adams second revolution after Dean Wilkins declined demotion to become 1st eleven coach and another ex-Albion man, Ian Chapman resigned from that post in sympathy of management 'restructuring'. Bob held the gofar job under Taylor, Hinshelwood, Coppell and McGhee and had spells as caretaker mngr. He saw the back-back title years, Millennium Stadium triumph and also Championship struggles in 2004-2006. Perhaps it was a surprise when shown the door with Mark McGhee. For a while Booker scouted for Sheff U, his old club where he'd been a legend but stayed close to and in Sussex life and football. He said, 'I will get in there and play my part as I did before'. But things went from bad to worse during Adams second coming and Bob was again in a caretaker role when Adams went in Feb '09. Booker for his pains was sacked a second time, in Oct '09 when Russ Slade also departed BHA, as part of Tony Blooms big club mission. Bob was expected to join Micky Adams and original BHA Withdean era assistant Alan Cork, at Sheff Utd from beginning of 2011.
'09 - '11 Revolution2 & 3 continued
Tony Godden was confirmed as g-k coach, after replacing Paul Crichton during '08/9 season. He was a WBA and Chelsea custodian who as a reaction, took the dive to save his career. Crichton had previously replaced John Keeley, who went to Portsmouth as Academy gk coach in 2007. Keeley made first team gk coach when Pompey had financial troubles and dropped out of the Prem.
Mal Stuart retired from his very long-served post as physio, to be replaced by Jim Joyce. He'd been around at Yeovil, So'ton and Aldershot. He was also joined by ex-Albion full back Paul Watson as assistant. Matt Miller became fitness coach specifically. Then Mauricio Taricco arrived as squad coach for '9/10, when White & Booker got P45's from Bloom. Charlie Oatway got their coaching role as boss of reserves, while Steve Brown took charge of competitive kids soccer. Taricco sorted 1st 11 defensive woes and advised GP on rearguard duties. Oatway steered his young charges to yet another BHA seconds Sussex Senior Cup victory. Meanwhile, scouting networks got a makeover and Spaniard Zigor Aranalde became chief scout. U18-to-pro progression was also revised. We all knew the Combination league was a joke and not good for proper progression of a first team squad. A reliance on kids to make up reserve numbers was seen as a black hole in the scheme of things. So Gus decided to sort it. He brought in Luke Williams as coach for a revised development group in '10/11. At New Year 2011, Jim Joyce left and Nathan Ring became physio. He had been at Shrewsbury previously. Gus and his asistant come playing-sub, Mauricio Taricco (Tanno) worked wonders on the training ground and also benefitted from Matt Miller (Stretch) keeping the squad relatively injury-free off-field. Aranalde left the club in summer of 2011 to become a coach in Spain.
WITHDEAN ERA 2009 - 2011
South American carnival came to city by the sea.
Tony Bloom selected a top flite coach for the BHA hot seat in the autumn of '09, although Gus Poyet hadn't exactly got a track record as a gaffer. But whether it was at Withdean or Falmer, potential was definitely there to really go places. The 41yo Uruguayan ex-midfielder, with credentials at Chelsea and Spurs, stepped into an open-air environment hoping the roof wouldn't cave in before our new stad was erected. He immediately brought in Mauricio Taricco as no.2, to make it a Latin inspired foreign double with plenty of English experience. His Argy side-kick ex-defender had previously played for Ipswich & Spurs. Both men had a philosophy to win but also perform with entertaining footy to keep those crazy Brits happy. God only knows, Brighton fans had been starved of success during second half of this decade, while endlessly waiting for positives both on and off the field.
Poyet started with a big bang along the coast at Southampton but after that it kind of went tits up, like with Adams and Slade. However, genial Gus remained upbeat and musta had plenty of self belief. Slowly but surely, driven by passion and desire, GP stopped the rot, with BHA teetering on edges of the drop zone. Home form was dire but away, we were a different outfit - top-six figures for sure. Using Gussies knowledge and game plan, Brighton moved into mid table for '10, playing half decent football and finally giving their long suffering fans something to be happy about. Poyet introduced several successful on-loan signings and sent out a significant number of existing squad to other teams for games. He went for a 451 shape and tried to field a settled side. Passing footy was required and by and large, Albion scored more and conceded less than previously with orthodox 442.
Prior to start of '10/11, Gus took his newly assembled international squad to Portugal for er, multi-lingual bonding. He next signed an extended contract as manager until 2014. Pass, pass, pass was his mantra, although this now applied to third tier English basics. After an indifferent start to the final term at Withdean, BHA could concentrate on league1 - as we went out of LC and JPT comps in round1. By late September, Albion hit top of the table and stayed there for over seven months. A gap opened up above runners-up spot that chasing sides tried to close. An average spell of form during November and December coincided with an FA Cup run and bad weather. Once back on the promotion trail, Seagulls soared and during March won eight fixtures in series, to win GP Manager of the Month. Once again we were well clear of opposition and heading for the title. Promotion was achieved with five fixtures left and BHA became champions following the next match. What Gus had done for this club, backed by Tony Bloom's financial clout and Chairmanship, was truly remarkable and set us up for playing in the Championship at Falmer.
WITHDEAN ERA 2009
Hero to er, well a nice zero
During February 2009 Micky Adams left BHA suddenly and ended his brief second spell at this club. Mr Knight actually wanted Jim Gannon from Stockport as new boss but he turned us down. Paul Ince declined an interview and supposedly there were others on Knight's knee-jerk hit-list. Anyway, Russell Slade need a job coz he'd departed from Yeovil a few weeks beforehand. He signed a short-term deal in March to try and keep Albion in League1. His background was with Scarborough and Grimsby, where he got 'em to a p-o final in '05/6. He also did the same for Glovers small outfit in '06/7. The 48yo was obviously ambitious and noticed the great big hole being dug at Falmer straight away. Mr K said they would fill it with 22k punters in 2011 and Slade said, 'ok'. He set about keeping Albion in League1 and it went to the very last day to get sufficient points for survival.
For '09/10, Tony Bloom was now chairman and funded BHA for 100mill. Slade accumulated a new squad but it backfired as Seagulls slumped to d-z landings. By October '09, Bloom had taken enough punishment and Slade, White & Booker were given gardening leave and told to clear desks. Everybody said big Russ was a nice guy but you know what they mean about nice guys don't you? Falmer was being built and steelwork towered above the A27. Bloom had ambitions to be big in tier two and didn't want to waste another L1 season poncing about there, with threats of div4 come the next August becoming a reality. Look, life isn't a beach! Slade got a late job in '9/10 to rescue Orient from relegation - he did that too. So he got taken on there for '10/11. Russ did well at Brisbane Road and O's weren't so far off a play-off place in seventh.
WITHDEAN ERA 2006 - 2008
Where did the buck eventually stop?
Brighton may have failed miserably to make play-offs but there was plenty of knock-about action just below sixth place since dust settled on League1's table of '07/8 term. No sooner had Swansea exposed a glaring gap between champions and best of the mediocre rest, than it all kicked-off again at Albion in an immediate post-season week of shocks. Defender Joel Lynch said, 'a few more wins in games we know we should have won could have put us up there.' Finishing seventh also took its toll on out of contract fringe players, where several were involved on Mayday Bank Holiday in the 2008 Sussex Senior Cup final - see my considered match report. A once appreciable void then closed between non-league and league standards as witnessed at sunny Eastbourne. Goal-scorer Scott Chamberlain said, 'it can't have done my chances any harm that the gaffer was there to see it.' Captain Wes Fogden said, 'not everyone is going to be here next year so we played for each other and got the right result.' By midweek, manager Dean Wilkins announced Brighton's revised squad lists and Chamberlain, Fogden, striker Sam Gargan and keeper John Sullivan from a victorious reserves side were retained. That meant midfielder Paul Reid, Sam Rents, David Martot, Shane McFaul, Sonny Cobbs, Lloyd Skinner and sub-goalie Chris Winterton from those county cup winners were released. Some certainly felt hard done-by. Wilkins said, 'it is the nature of the game that to be competitive we have to make tough decisions.' Reid said, 'I thought being versatile and filling different positions has benefited the club and the team.' Reid also elucidated Wilkins didn't communicate enough with players, lacked man management skills and showed disrespect toward older pros. He furthermore suggested, 'you know deep down when your face doesn't fit you have got no chance.'
Apart from controversy among Brighton's seconds, long-serving first team regulars Guy Butters, Kerry Mayo and Gary Hart were similarly shown the door in a ten man clear-out. Injury prone Adam Hinshelwood and rookie Doug Loft were two kept on BHA books for 2008 as Albion revealed a 2.8 million pound loss to June 2007. Chairman Dick Knight said, 'the results spell out the urgent need for the new stadium with all the economic benefits it will bring.' Knight appeared to throw money at Wilkins playing budget in mid season when things were in a state of upheaval. At the time, original contract issues were apparently not up for extensive discussions, resulting in some comprehensive transfer activity. This set a trend for shuffling the deck to find a winning combination. Undoubtedly progress was made during a formative season with latterly a marque-two team-sheet that more than doubled first half points tally. Mr Knight got his anticipated top-ten position but must have been disappointed not to reach k-o phases - when converting a perceived selling club into an outright buying one. A few loan signings measured against lack of strength in depth had taken Brighton to brink of qualifying, without representing the real deal in terms of Championship potential. In truth we couldn't beat likes of Swansea, Carlisle, Forest and Leeds, while versus Southend and Doncaster only obtained points in very tight contests. Meanwhile Deadly Dick had his eye on the end game and in knowing what's needed for elevation, wasn't prepared to tolerate mere mid table anonymity. He could recognise a supposed threat to our club's present fan-base from continuous rise of Sussex teams chasing future League2 football. Nine thousand gates isn't enough turnover until 2010 and BHA thereafter require at least fourteen kay at accessible and sustainable Falmer. This league ain't big enough for two of us.
Anyway all of the aforementioned happenings took us rapidly to end of the first full week of May and incidentally, up in Essex, Southend hosted Doncaster for their p-o home leg that evening. Mr Knight had held a post mortem meeting and said, 'the board felt we needed a manager with more experience to help the club make the great leap back into the Championship.' Brighton fans found out via various grape-vines that legend Micky Adams had agreed a three year deal to return pronto to southern shores and create a beach-head for yet another Sussex promotion push. Simultaneously Eastbourne Borough joined Lewes and Crawley in Blue Square Premier division for 2008-9. Adams said, 'the challenge is to get the club into the Championship in the next two years leading up to Falmer.'
So rebounding irony of an up and down week was that if Wilkins actually had got Brighton into p-o contention, in spite of midterm gliches, he might not have experienced the proverbial rug pulled from under feet like some of his squad. It would seem a near miss is as good as a mile on the road to Falmer, when seen in those particular circumstances of applying relative success to this season. However, specialised knowledge necessary for a bosses CV on and off the field, could only be gained through traumatic involvement. Knight was happy to conduct contract negotiations because he's had well over ten years to reflect on peoples ulterior motives in and around professional football. Qualifications in business management and PR activities may have been foreign to Wilkins but hey, did he allow guidance from the club's senior mentor to become the thin end of a powerful wedge to side-track his other skills? Perhaps DW had visions of his own that did not dovetail with DK's three-year Falmer dream machine. Development of a home-bred eleven was a route instigated in residual days of McGhee's abortive reign, when Brighton was skint in more ways than one. So it should hold up to inspection that Deano would want to take his youth products as far as they could go, possibly at expense of other signings. Despite BHA's restrictive finances since 1999 and economic climates recently, there is now investment available riding on the back of late pro-Falmer political decision. This may not have sufficiently swayed our rookie ex-manager from a chosen path of completing his favoured pet coaching project. Those with ultimate power to hire and fire obviously thought differently and exercised their options to devastating effect. Older ex-manager Adams, was repetitively willing and able and it all fell into place, even if timing was bizarrely out of phase with Withdean's boss no.6, boys to men achievements. But Knight had waited too long to ponder on what-ifs and after all he is again, like our home-coming initial no1 leader, a man on a veritable mission. By appointing Adams and replicating moves devised before dawn of the twenty-first century, he aimed to repeat success at second time of asking. It surely proved a harder task and in a sense there was much more to lose, apart from missing that cherished top10 target, when facing another relegation occasion. Micky was of course a philosophical icon among his many talents and one quote that springs to mind is, 'failing to prepare is preparing to fail.' You know it all makes perfect sense in hindsight really.
For 2009-10 Dean was appointed assistant to Alan Pardew at League1 Southampton. Dick Knight had gone upstairs to run hospitality and oversee community affairs but we're sure he had a kind word with his old Albion hero - no hard feelings. We just love a happy BHA ending too. DW again found he had yet another new boss before too long but hey, that's ya footy merry-go-round for yer!
WITHDEAN ERA 2003 - 2006
What did he get into?
Going back in time to mid November 2003, BHA were full of anticipation for a successful launch to return to a division 1 orbit. Mark McGhee had stepped forward to replace Steve Coppell and next up was Bristol City at Withdean. Albion were in 4th place in div2, four points ahead of City and within reach of leaders Plymouth and QPR. McGhee said, 'I don't think anyone at the club believes we have a squad that can guarantee us a top two finish. Therefore I am determined to put together a squad that will give us a chance of finishing in the top two.' After the match which Bristol won 4-1, McGhee then said, 'I think between the time of Steve going and me arriving at the club, the players had lost a little bit of confidence and a bit of fitness and they are starting to get that back. This should bode well for the very hard programme coming up... However there's a lot of work to be done in order to get us back to the top of this division and we just can't afford to have days off at the moment.' Brighton fans had got a shock during that Bristol fixture but home form picked up again and the next 90 minute Withdean 'loss' of sorts, was to Swindon in '03/4 play-off semi-finals. Meanwhile McGhee struggled to prevent a string of defeats on the road until entering the run-in proper. His words were seemingly as thin as Albion's away form as we went for at least 6th qualifying spot. A play-off place was secured, five points behind third placed Bristol City and six adrift of automatically promoted QPR.
Three seasons later on our last visit to Ashton Gate for a JPT tie the manager had changed, although Albion's '06/7 squad had not radically altered. During a summer day of 1 September '06, in an early season League 1 sparring contest at City, McGhee fell foul of fans and ultimately his Chairman. In a slightly different ball game, Wilkins was also building for a future and still generally has backing while inheriting, understanding and tackling latent problems. McGhee's then fielded team could be called experimental, having shown the door to numerous established pro's before pre-season. By default, Wilkins had adapted those remaining personnel to needs as he saw fit for purpose to progress. If ongoing League results were expressed in form of a graph, an undulating upward curve reached a plateau, possibly peaked and had to be watched closely, if not monitored ultra carefully for signs of downward motion. But that midweek contest was a second consecutive cup-tie and one perhaps with more significance than being pushed over the edge by a flashy Prem outfit. There were post match measures pinpointing how far Brighton had fallen in relation to a typical top ten League 1 club, who we crucially defeated in regaining Championship status - getting on for three years before. Essentially Albion had to view it like past play-off or Millennium Stadium style events charged with positive energy. However times had changed and this was kicked off by McGhee but eventually to be finished by Wilkins.
MMcG went to Motherwell and did ok. So he took off for Aberdeen. It was as far north as he wanted to go. Mark came back in pre-season 2010 with Aberdeen for a friendly at W'dean. He said he had to sell players at Albion coz the club was so skint with Falmer sucking up any extra dosh. Ok, let by gones etc, it's all in the past anyway. BTW, somehow McGhee held onto an SPL job when his outfit got claymored 9-0 later that season. Not too much later he was unemployed again. Ock aye the noo Jock!!
WITHDEAN ERA 2002 - 2003
Told as a tale of double standards.
By summer's end of 2002, Martin Hinshelwood had his very short career as Albion manager, washed away in autumn rains. It also poured cold water on hopes of green-as-grass BHA, establishing in div1 after a meteoric rise from lowest launch sites of div3 mud-baths. Steve Coppell was drafted in to try and stabilise the '02/3 situation and keep us up if at all possible. He nearly succeeded in a dramatic turn around of events. A year later, Coppell baled out for higher levels and Mark McGhee came in as leader for '03/4. In '04/5 McGhee was faced with a slightly different scenario to Coppell when managing Brighton in the Championship. He had the luxury of pre-season to prepare, plus div1 experience elsewhere - unlike Hinshelwood and knew the squad, unlike Coppell.
Each manager had brought their own players in to bolster the team but were very restricted by budgets and running costs. Although the side as such had changed over two years, the backbone of a competent keeper, tough tackling centre half and proven goal scorer was in situ for both campaigns. In fairness to Hinsh, he was deprived of these three key elements continuously through injuries and players poor form. The learning curve also rose steeply for old pro's and kids alike, who altogether were first time in at the deep end.
If we consider each season as a battle for survival, the critical phase was that following the start period when damage had already occured. Coppell had the disadvantage of reversing a long losing run, which saw Brighton bottom of the div1 table and adrift of fellow strugglers. McGhee in contrast almost languished in mid table and only had to repeat this performance for a mediocre but highly applauded finish.
02/3 P12 W1 D1 L10 Pt4 Po24 Hinshelwood
04/5 P12 W4 D3 L5 Pt15 Po15 McGhee
After the start was recorded, it left a target to be achieved over remaining 34 games up to a total of 46. The bottom line in each case was to survive.
02/3 +34 11 13 10 Pt 46 Po21 Coppell
02/3 P46 12 14 20 Pt 50
04/5 +34 08 11 15 Pt 35 Po21 McGhee
04/5 P46 12 14 20 Pt 50
At halfway stage through these terms, when we had met each opponent once, effects of the calibre of individual leadership could be measured. Coppell tightened defence that subsequently kept scores down. He made us harder to beat and competitive on a level playing field at some big name stadia. McGhee was finding defeats at our Withdean nature reserve a thorn in his side, compounded by some stinging shocks away that had him reaching for an antidote.
02/3 P23 W3 D5 L15 Pt14 Po24 Coppell
04/5 P23 W7 D4 L12 Pt25 Po20 McGhee
In both cases it was far from a winter of discontent as results reflected a healthy return of points taken at the three quarters snapshot. In 2003 Coppell had to attempt finding a winning formula to nullify inertia of a legacy of very bad opening stats. McGhee needed to ensure defeats were kept to a minimum in order to stay on schedule, having got half of his points in the bag by beginning of 2005.
02/3 P35 W7 D8 L20 Pt29 Po22 Coppell
04/5 P35 W12 D8 L15 Pt44 Po15 McGhee
A realistic rescue act was not thought possible, given conditions for Coppell to operate. It went to the last day but Albion were at least 5 points shy of the cut-off line. The Brighton team of two season's later also needed a result in the final fixture to make sure of staying up. McGhee ended six points better with his second year triers.
02/3 P46 W11 D12 L23 Pt45 Po23 Coppell - relegated
04/5 P46 W13 D12 L21 Pt51 Po20 McGhee - survived
Coppell was undertaking major surgery in his 34 match exploration. He scored highly in mid season, run-in and second half periods. He missed a tough target but got 89pc of the way there. Coppell roused Seagulls to obtain 16 of final points tally during the run-in. Projected over a full term this strike rate would have ensured a position above the drop zone. McGhee unfortunately found himself attempting to re-motivate a side that peaked before well before run-in. His latter figs were relegation type form and a gaffers nightmare. He regained equalibrium with late salvage work to actually hit his er, mark.
02/3 P23 W6 D7 L10 Pt25
04/5 P23 W8 D5 L10 Pt29
02/3 P23 W8 D7 L8 Pt31
04/5 P23 W6 D8 L9 Pt26
02/3 P11 W4 D4 L3 Pt16 Coppell - unlucky
04/5 P11 W1 D4 L6 Pt 7 McGhee - just made the grade.
WITHDEAN ERA 2002
Summer, first, second then third times.
There were of course ups and downs in the Withdean era. By start of '02/3 campaign, Brighton were new boys in div1 and with a new manager as well. Peter Taylor had departed soon after receiving the div2 title silverware and Martin Hinshelwood was shifted into your proverbial managers office, from his position of responsibility with development of the youth squad. Dick Knight left things late to reorganise and pre-season for 2002 was about to get underway. Hinshelwood had originally been appointed Barry Lloyd's assistant way back in 1987. He then came back to the club prior to our Withdean era, under their new regime to build sides of successful Sussex youngsters. His brief was to fast-track kids to do a job as pros - initially reaching BHA first team squad.
Also going back - to those gory years of a decrepit Goldstone, followed by exile at Gillingham, a few die-hards could remember poor starts to several seasons. However no Albion fan would want to repeat that 12 match opening sequence to '02/3, that did for us long before a panic-stricken run-in. Mid table mediocrity, smug safety scenario, a comfortable cushion and perusing play-off pursuits would have done nicely instead. To log those first dozen games, reflect upon initial points and performances and dwell on the start generally, set a far from usual trend. We took 4pts from 2 opening fixtures but none thereafter until well into autumn. As a row of LLLL... increased, Dick Knight said words to the effect of, '10 and out.' He was as good as his word and Hinshelwood got promoted upstairs to Director of Football.
As a comparison, a second stab at tier two level starts in '04/5 and third in '05/6 is worth a look for stats purposes. Brighton had grown accustomed to being in a drop zone dog-fight by then. Working to tight budgets was mandatory and totally necessary as the fight for Falmer swallowed huge amounts of dosh. Injuries, fitness and loss of an edge became prime factors in make up of the selected sixteen. Out of form but quality strikers are hard to substitute, when realised from those zany Zamora halcyon days. Championship type players didn't want to come here and so Hinshelwood's revised role was even more important than ever before. Home bred youngsters began to slot into his first eleven in desperate times and to some extent, this policy resumed at a later date. Several kids made the grade and helped pursue an Albion dream. If you're good enough, you're old enough. Hinsh as Director of Football, went on to bring many more Sussex kids into pro football in the Withdean era.
02/3 P12 W1 D1 L10 Pt4 Po24 Hinshelwood
04/5 P12 W4 D3 L5 Pt15 Po15 McGhee
05/6 P12 W1 D7 L4 Pt10 Po21 McGhee
WITHDEAN ERA 2001 - 2002
Different boss, similar bottom line.
With more managers than you can shake a fixture list at in an extraordinary decade, the Withdean era kicked-off with Micky Adams in 1999. He had the nucleus of a side to be play-off contenders after his first twelve months proper. In '00/01 Adams revolution rolled on and there was a sustained promotion push. Consistency of a fantastic 2pt/gm average culminated in some div3 silverware in Albion's centenary year. The following term '01/2 started in similar vein, initially launching a winning campaign for div2 heights. Adams appeared to be repeating history, however he left for kudos of the Premiership. The popular Yorkshireman went to Leicester as assistant. Their ex-manager Peter Taylor took over here and the challenge continued somewhat seamlessly. It was business as usual until the trophy was won, again with a superb 1.95 index at this successive title race's climax.
One way to interpret these two back-to-back champions seasons is to measure both for their repective target period. After each start of 12 games, a forecast for remaining 34 fixtures is then set. This in turn computes a total, which as these seasons progress, result in an actual bottom line. As detailed below, Adams and Taylors records are on the left while their ultimate projections are to right of the table.
Withdean era season2, Div3 '00/1 - Micky Adams:
P12 W07 D02 L03 Pt23 - start for Adams
P34 W21 D06 L07 Pt69 - W17 D10 L07 Pt61 target
P46 W28 D08 L10 Pt92 - W24 D12 L10 Pt84 total
Withdean era season3, Div2 '01/2 - Peter Taylor:
P12 W06 D04 L02 Pt22 - start by Adams for Taylor
P34 W19 D11 L04 Pt68 - W17 D10 L07 Pt61 target
P46 W25 D15 L06 Pt90 - W23 D14 L09 Pt83 total
Taylor progressed a settled side on through the autumn/winter period of '01/2 to mostly be in the top two and set-fair for p-o stages at least. In fact Albion stormed through the higher division just like a year previously. They eventually went on to win the title and collected consecutive championships - no mean feat. The 2002 run-in began with their last defeat as Brighton took 24pts from 30 possible in an amazing unbeaten climax. For his own reasons Taylor didn't want to be gaffer for an attempt to stake a claim in div1.
'00/1 DWDWW WDWWDL = 22pts Adams
'01/2 LWDWW DWWWDW = 24pts Taylor
WITHDEAN ERA 1999 - 2001 & 2008 - 2009
Revolution Part 1
In May 2008 Micky Adams said, 'I thought it was a great honour when I got the job the first time but to be offered the chance to comeback for a second time is fantastic.' He'd left Brighton in October 2001 to become assistant at Leicester, then manage to guide that club back into the Premiership. Adams subsequently had two years at Coventry from 2005, including a move to their new stadium in the Championship. But it was at Brighton in 1999 that our gritty Yorkshireman showed skills as a motivator and winner. As the youngest player-manager in the league at Fulham in 1996, he led them to promotion from div3 straight away. Adams then had a spell at Brentford and very briefly Swansea, before mailing his CV to Dick Knight. Those following two and a half years became known as Adams revolution, as he transformed a down-and-out fourth tier side into champions. Micky and the Albion were seemingly a match made in heaven but an ambitious young man wanted to test himself in the elite. Somehow on returning to our fold, where stakes were upped with all-round approval of Falmer, Adams still appeared to be the right man at slightly less than the right moment. 'Brighton managed to reach the Championship not so long ago and I laid the foundations for that,' he said. But with passing through of those of his players who once held their own at tier two, Adams had a partial rebuilding job in League1 to complete. However with the second coming, a lot of club infrastructure and experience was in place to assist with team reconstruction and creation of expected p-o candidates, or better, table toppers mark two.
Revolution Part 2
Back to the club where he appeared fatefully drawn in 1999, Micky Adams was responsible for Albion's Withdean year2 elevation to Lg1 (div2). Since then in nine years of struggle, BHA obtained two further promotions (yr3 & yr5) and look how far the club has come from 20th century dark days. It could be argued that there were two distinct types of period for furthering Brighton's ambitions - progressive (yr1-6) and static (yr7-10). In a sense both categories produced the goods, albeit hardly by linear or 'normal' progression with time. It was usually more of two steps forward and one back. Those early attempts to establish in the Championship (yr4, yr6-7) should not be seen in isolation - but as an accumulative product of what went before. Each previous hop was precluded by regular stepping stones, with pause to regroup and eventually try to move forward (yr1-3, yr5 and yr8-10). Life in lower league was again part of an anticipated if somewhat enigmatic rise to tier two, where Albion expect to play football and as Adams originally recognised - rightfully belong. In a decade of striving, BHA, the club and managers and fans are still ambitious for the consolidated Championship future. A top ten team consistently performing at a modern stadium could be considered a minimum aspiration for representing a significant football city by the sea.
Once again Micky Adams was in charge and we suspected he wasn't just there for old times sake. Having said that, if Brighton were serious about mounting a promotion challenge, it might be pertinent to compare those seasonal starts from Withdean era years when we done good. BHA achieved promotion from lg2 (div3) in 2001 and again from lg1 (div2) in 2002. We were back in the equivalent to League1 for 2003 but managed to gain a place in div2 play-offs. In 2008 these k-o stages were just out of reach, although early stats did give an indication of what was needed to progress. As a rule of thumb, 20+ points is a useful tally after twelve fixtures and even a couple pts less could set a path for 6th position. To make an assault on automatic promotion places, you gotta get points in the bag from day one....
Y1 99/0 D3 P12 W5 D3 L4 Pt18 Po11 - Adams
Y2 00/1 D3 P12 W7 D2 L3 Pt23 Po3 -- Adams
Y3 01/2 D2 P12 W6 D4 L2 Pt22 Po3 -- Adams
Y5 03/4 D2 P12 W7 D3 L2 Pt24 Po1 -- Coppell
Y8 06/7 L1 P12 W4 D2 L6 Pt14 Po14 - McGhee
Y9 07/8 L1 P12 W5 D2 L5 Pt17 Po10 - Wilkins
10 08/9 L1 P12 W2 D7 L3 Pt13 Po17 - Adams
11 9/10 L1 P12 W3 D4 L5 Pt13 Po17 - Slade
12 10/11L1 P12 W7 D4 L1 Pt25 Po1 -- Poyet
Adams kicked-off the start to '99 in an initial Withdean era campaign (year1), with a vast improvement on anything since relegation to div3 in '95. Occupying a position in mid table was almost acceptable - with an average of 1.5 points per game. He eclipsed that the very next term '00 by overturning three losses out of four opening fixtures, to record a promotion type index value of 1.9pt/gm - or rounded-up nearly two per match. His third blast from the blocks in '01 saw similar figures clocked, before Adams jumped ship - 1.83pt/gm.
Steve Coppell gave evidence to claim to be a winning manager when equalling automatic promotion figures in his start to '03 - 2.0pt/gm. Unfortunately he was also sought after, as success implied greater ability rather than mere capability. Mark McGhee came in later to stay on course for play-offs. He was in final days at the helm for '06 when Albion returned to third tier football. His starting stats were not much above survival level - 1.17pt/gm. Wilkins quickly replaced McGhee and a year on had the task of aiming for play-offs from the word go in '07. His numbers were 1.42pt/gm which was a tad shy of the real deal required for a top-six spot. Mr Knight did a Sir Alan and Adams came home for a second revolution in '08. MA got 1.08pt/gm - oh no! That was relegation form.
So there you are, points win prizes and writing was on the proverbial wall from high summer until 'see you in September'. Drop too many points early in the season and you are up against it. Get a head start on rivals and suddenly, it's a quarter of the way toward a possible fourth promotion in a decade of on the up - dream on.
Brighton's start to '08/9 wasn't the best preparation for bettering '07/8 sequences but even with these mundane stats in the bag, expectation remained high for progress toward top-six. However things went from bad to worse. Apart from loss of form, a series of injuries meant MA couldn't field a settled side and loan players came and went up to New Year '09. Poor results at W'dean throughout mid-season put Albion into the drop-zone and Adams under pressure to find a fix. We thought him bullet proof with Mr Knight's backing but before end of Feb '09, Micky Adams had left Brighton again. It appeared he couldn't find an elusive magic formula for second time of asking and turn basic pro's into a team going places at third tier level. Moreover it seemed as if he was fighting a losing battle with scouting and director factions at the club. He recognised the level of players was under par but couldn't change the course of this round of results. Once on the rocky road, Adams saw the warning signs and where it was leading. Others wouldn't accept his brand of realism and asked a lot of someone true to individual beliefs. Micky had never towed the line to keep himself in a job. Adams became boss at Port Vale and hoped to do another rebuilding job - professionally and personally. At start of 2011, Micky applied for and got, the vacant mngrs job at Sheff Utd. He almost felt he deserved it. Trouble was, they were soon relegated to league1 and Adams and side-kick Alan Cork got the old tintack. So he went back to Vale and carried on.
W'dean Ins & Outs
in 2009-2011 out - Elliott Bennett
Winger and more; 20yo from Wolves for £250k+ for '9/10 and Russ Slade chased him to say the least. Did wing walking at speed. Looked like a confidence player and Gus Poyet needed to get his arms spread in a man to boy hug. Super-kid obviously had raw ability but needed coaching bad. Reasonable first apps and sensational in one game with wonder goal too. Perhaps played a tad too deep at home. Generally did good stuff while open to improvement. Not used to full effect either but did defend. Made an effort to get on score sheet with regular strikers so in-and-out. Hid a tad on flank and often spasmodic involvement when kicked off the park at L1 level. Then followed super displays away, plus great goals. PoY runner up.
'10/11; Bit of fetch and carry duties and had a special delivery. FAC equaliser but could score more overall. Busy as supplier to strikers in 4312 free role. Increasingly influencial from midfield or off either flank. Part of the core of a title winning side. Got his own chant and went down the wing for it. PoY candidate.
Transfer Window - Tony Bloom said no to offer. End of season - received L1 442 mag PoY award. Went to Norwich for 1.5mill in close season. Deserved a shot against elite.
in 2008-2011 out - Glenn Murray
300k signing from Rochdale in '08 as lg2 hitman who got goals. Tall and fairly good in the air, ok too on the floor. Had a footy brain but needed service to exploit talent. Scored no probs and obviously had an eye for chances. Hold-up okish but no real pace. Got stuck between a rock and a hard place. Injuries included needing groin surgery. Also stomach problem and other stuff.
'9/10 season; dug in and needed to and all. Took pens but sent off as well. Better stance with new coaches when Poyet arrived. 4goal hero and bit of an enigma - a poacher in the box. League1 striker at his level. Eventually broke home goal duck but ban for loadsa yellows. His own worst enemy with Refs and temperment had to be coached if to be a tier-two pro of note. Came back from injury and had a mare as solo striker. Sent off and ban - was a very bad boy for sure. Talk of poss transfer back up north. Woulda saved on shrinks fee too.
'10/11 season; off the mark early doors and looked sharp in make or break year. Subbed but was first on selection list. Missed basic chances but bagged difficult ones. Had an edge in more ways than one, languid with a winning streak you might say. Picked up too many yellows, although MoM performances - when he wanted to! Hat-trick hero to boot!! 20+ goal striker and leading scorer. PoY candidate in title winning year. Very good strike rate over three seasons. Came good in the end, now gone and soon forgotten.
in 2006-2011 out - Andrew Whing
Dean Wilkins first took the tenacious right back on loan from Coventry, for Brighton's return to league1, in October of '06/7. In the summer of '07/8 he signed permanently and became no.2 outright. During '08/9, Albion were heading straight for league2 and the red-haired Brummie played a significant part in Russ Slade securing BHA survival. When Gus Poyet arrived in '9/10, Seagulls were again struggling and after heavy loss against top notch Norwich, Whingy was not involved in squad participation on match days. The self confessed Aston Villa fan made 115 apps and got voted PoY for that '08/9 great escape. Russ Slade rescued his career when taking the tough tackling defender to Orient on loan in '10/11, then signed permanently. Albion paid up the contract and Andy became a free agent, so went to Brisbane Road. He said, 'I would like to thank fans for being so supportive during my time at the club.' While Albion often made hard work of life in league1, Whing could sometimes be part of travelling support when not selected and was seen on terraces rooting for team mates like a true fan.
in 2008-2010 out - Adam Virgo
Micky Adams returned to Brighton in May 2008 and so did Adam Virgo, when signed in July on a free transfer from Celtic. He was transferred there by Mark McGhee in close season of 2005 for 1.5 million quid, following a season conveted from defender to striker. Virgo did ok as a front-man in the Championship of '04/5, scoring 9 goals from 36 apps. His last net buster was on the final day at home to Ipswich. That strike and subsequent point, ensured Albion stayed in tier two for another season. He was voted PoY for services to BHA. In Mar/Apr of 2001 Adams started Adam in the first eleven as deputy for Danny Cullip. He had come through Youth ranks and was one of the first to show the club's policy was working. Dean Hammond (no.27/22), Dan Harding (no.19/26), Adam Hinshelwoood (no.24) and Adam El-Abd (no.28) were others who made the grade during those early noughties. He made a few appearances under Taylor and Coppell in the no.22 shirt but did a spell away on-loan as Albion struggled in div1. It was McGhee who kick-started his career with no.19 printed on back of b&w stripes. Clock this reserve team-sheet for a night in December 2003; Keeley, Watson, Harding, Virgo, Hinshelwood, Pethick, Marney, Pitcher, Lee, Windsor, Beck. After New Year, Virgo got a position at right back and held it as Albion claimed a knockout spot. Any Brighton fan who remembers play-offs of 2004 knows it was Virgo who got a very, very late equaliser to send a s-f tie to penalties - see Swindon history tab. Adam Virgo was on-loan from Scotland to Coventry and Colchester, when Adams had jobs at those clubs in 2006 & 2007. Adam said, 'I had other offers but the gaffer said all the right things. I am 25 now, I thank him for the opportunity he has given me. I was unfortunate with injuries and things didn't happen. I just want to enjoy football again.' Micky Adams said, 'if he can replicate what he did in his first spell then we have got a player relatively cheap.' AV asked for shirt no.23.
During '08/9 Virgo was pretty much first choice throughout, barring a couple of bans for two red cards. For '9/10 AV got to play in his preferred position at cent def from Aug but wasn't able to hold down regular selection under GP as boss. Virgo fought his way back for 2010 but could be considered unfortunate to be sent off at Leeds in Feb. From then on he slipped further in pecking order and out of 1st 11 contention. Virgo's contract was not renewed by Gus Poyet for season '10/11 - the last one at Withdean. So Adam joined Nathan Jones at Yeovil following a successful trial.
in 2007-2010 out - Nicky Forster
Forster was nearly 34yo when signing for 75k in June '07. He had been around the block and came here from Hull, who were then on the up. Forster is remembered prior to his stint at BHA, as the sub for Reading who netted against us with a dodgy hand-ball - but it was given! In '07/8 Nicky scored 19 times during a fair season under Dean Wilkins when pushing for a play-off place. He twice reached 16 in subsequent terms, often alongside Glenn Murray in a useful striking duo. Forster managed to retain a quick turn of pace that caught out many a defender at lower league. NF was blessed with a football brain, as well as skillful feet and a will to win. He knew the game back to front and kept clear of serious injury from cloggers who might target match winners. A Surrey born sportsman, Nicky fancied going on to a career in footy after playing. He had his own opinions, some of which would involve differences. Forster left Albion late in '9/10 season, following a dispute with Gus Poyet over offer of contract renewal. He then joined Brentford in league1 and went on to be interim manager in '10/11. Hung up boots and decided on a career in footy management.
2008 out - Dean Hammond
After rejecting a new offer, no.11 Dean Hammond joined Colchester for 250k in the January transfer window of 2008. He was a home-grown player who came through ranks to be an influential member of Wilkins '07/8 squad but moved on before signing a contract that would have made him a top earner at BHA.
In December 2006, Cheltenham Town had gone back to Gloucestershire very late on a Saturday night having been defeated at Withdean by an 11th hour penalty. Player of the year in '06/7, Dean Hammond got a brace of goals that evening. His coolly taken spot-kick completed a consecutive but ultimately rare home win to push Albion into the top ten. Brighton seemingly could double their average tally as expected and then a few bonus points would send us into play-off contention as in '03/4. Er, no. Robins eventually did go bobbing along, while Seagulls merely defecated in their own nest.
In May 2004, Brighton fans were preparing to get into play-offs, then hoped to knockout opponents Swindon and go see their heroes run out as winners at the Millennium Stadium. Hammond had not figured in that plucky super squad, which was worthy of a shot at regaining Championship status. Latter units were a long way off such fanciful aspirations. Anyway, Hammond had been a stalwart in a useful reserves side that strolled through to contend the Sussex Senior Cup final. A string of half decent performances in their Combination league as well, reflected the driving force that was Hammond and Lee in mid-field. Unlike his Sussex born colleague's career afterwards, Dave Lee (no.23) was never able to break into the first eleven on a regular basis and was released by Mark McGhee. Brighton seconds contested for silverware against Worthing FC and led from an early penalty on May Bank Holiday Monday. For over an hour the result hung in balance as West Sussex seasiders went for it. They had been runners-up in Ryman div1 south and appeared well organised. On 73 minutes a superb move down the right flank resulted in a high ball into the centre. From around the D, Hammond smashed a volley goalwards. The ball went into a bottom corner and if it had happened in a p-o decider at Withdean, the place would have erupted on cue. It was a fantastic goal that won Albion the cup, although when Hammond held it up there was something of an anticlimax without typical noisy away support on hand.
The following season of '04/5, Hammond wearing no.22 was in and out of the first team but finally established his credentials as a local lad done good. Very late in that campaign to hold on to a Championship place, he got two goals against West Ham at Withdean in a precious 2-2 draw. Both were headers and the second came in the last minute from a Carpenter (no.12) cross. By the next game, no. 45, Albion had accumulated 50 points and needed one more to ensure continued status, which was still considered success, if actually not quite suitable consolidation. Hammond had made the grade and went on to make 40 appearances at no.11 in the Championship of '05/6. Brighton were relegated on Easter Monday as McGhee's misfiring, misplaced and mismanaged charges lost yet again at home. Hammond got sent off for two bookables after 80 minutes to prematurely end his season. This fortuitously expired before he witnessed the team's last day dire display versus Stoke City. That marked a required evolution - if not exactly to say revolution for '06/7. With 46 apps and 11 goals he became regarded as an experienced player in his prime and important to future success. DH got to wear the captains armband at and established as a goal-scoring midfielder. His loss during the middle of a possible play-off season in '07/8 did make a difference to continuity of results expected from a settled side. Hammond joined Southampton in Aug 2009 to join up with coach Dean Wilkins there.
in 2005-2006 out - Colin Kazim-Richards
Those who saw Kazim-Richards playing for Turkey in Euro 2008 must have wondered how he'd ended up in warmer climes than Sussex by the sea. He was transfered away from BHA in late August 2006 after turning out for 45 min in a reserve match at Woodside Road, Worthing. There were issues between Brighton management and the single-minded striker who made a subs appearance in the opening game of '06/7. Mark McGhee with backing of Mr Knight, transferred Kazim-Richards to Sheffield United for 150k and he went from League1 to the Premiership in one foul swoop.
In pre-season of 2005, a young Brighton fan won 250k in a 'buy a player' competition. 19yo Colin was at Bury and came over to Albion, thereafter to be known as the Coca-cola kid. He was a Brit but with Antiguan and Cypriot roots. For once Brighton was flush with dosh, having sold Adam Virgo (ex-no.19) for 1.5 million and 450k tribunal settlement for Dan Harding (ex-no.26) going to Leeds, plus sell-on clause. McGhee said, 'there are good players to be had at the right price - as I think we've proved with the acquisition of C K-R.' McGhee also got Argentinian Federico Turienzo (no.8) in for a supposed 150k to his agent. Also a couple of Frenchmen, Seb Carole (no.17) and Alex Frutos (no.19). Alexis Nicolas (no.6) got aboard and had U21 selection for yeah, wasn't it Cyprus? Experienced Jason Dodd (no.5) arrived from along the coast with Prem credentials. It was hoped Brighton could now consolidate in the Championship with these additions to the squad. CKR wore no.22 and made 42 apps, scoring 6 goals in '05/6. Nearly all were sensational strikes, truly worthy of higher standard. Colin became a bit of a super-sub in a bitter season of disappointment otherwise. It was common knowledge McGhee was tearing his relegation threatened hair out trying to tame the impulsive and free spirited front runner. At end of term with Albion demoted, McGhee said, 'we must be determined to keep all our best players'. Turienzo made one start and 3 subs apps and was quickly let go. Carole didn't come back a second time, having disappeared to Leeds. Frutos stayed and played in '06/7 but became another foreign liability. Alexis Nicolas didn't seem to make the grade afterall. Dodd was always injured and went west from where he came. A few days after Kazim-Richards bolstered his anticipated successful career, McGhee was sacked by Mr Knight and those mega bucks buying and selling days were over for a while. It was good while it lasted.
in 2003-2005 out - Leon Knight
At Xmas 2005 and New Year 2006 Albion were really up against it in the Championship of '05/6. On Boxing Day, Charlie Oatway (no.10) was crocked versus of all teams QPR at Withdean. It was also no.7 Leon Knight's last start. We'd been done 0-3 away at Luton in that stupid fixture compressed between one old year's festival and another brand new knees-up. Failed S. American Federico Turienzo (no.8) made his only start up the M1. Then sinking Albion lost at home to Millwall next. Leon Knight came on as sub, in a year when it all ended in tears - for Mark McGhee! On the bus to a Happy New Year fixture at Southampton, supposedly Knight verbally fell out with the gaffer. Michel Kuipers (no.1) got involved and neither player figured in this match. Ex-Saint Jason Dodd (no.5) made the coffee at half-time but only because he was fit to do so. Brighton lost again and things were coming apart. By that transfer window of end of January, Knight had departed way over the Welsh threshold in League1. He'd made 111 league apps and netted 35 times over three seasons. As seller McGhee counted on fingers his dosh in multiples of 10k, he wondered on the value of each of Leon's often fantastic scoring achievements.
Steve Coppell had procured services of the Chelsea front man, on loan for beginning of a League1 campaign in 2003. Bobby Zamora (no.25) had left for Spurs and BHA needed somebody to fill a void after relegation. With massive changes at Stamford Bridge, Leon Knight quickly signed permanently for '03/4 and went on to record excellent stats in what became a promotion year - 25 goals from 42 apps. He hit the winning penalty in Cardiff to send Albion back to the Championship against the odds. When Mark McGhee took over in Nov '03, Knight scored a brace at Peterborough to impress his new boss. It was tougher for LK back in the Championship of '04/5 as Leon struggled to find the net. Knight was lucky by remaining injury free but it ran out with his disciplinary record. Apart from regular yellow cards he also got into trouble with McGhee. He was tried in a variety of forward roles and also as something of a playmaker, where he was effective. However Leon wanted to take, rather than make goals and had to settle for being penalties first choice as others got glory from open play. His 90th min winner at Sheff Utd in Jan '05 was typical of predatory instincts. With better service he might have notched a greater tally.
Knight had a spell at MK Dons but became something of a journeyman. He had plenty of talent, super skills and was also good in the air. He knew quite a bit about self belief but his ego got in the way of relationships with people he shouldn't really offend. Leon next played for a dozen or so clubs in the UK and a few abroad too, when last reported in 2010. He said he was a changed man now, with responsibilities like a partner and kids - OMG.
in 2002-2003 out - Paul Kitson
Brighton had reached div1 for their fourth year at temporary Withdean in an historic rise from previous depths of decline. But progress stalled as Albion hit a long losing run, to prop up the division and stare relegation in the face from late summer of 2002. New manager Martin Hinshelwood had a very short period to prepare for life in tier two and BHA kicked off the '02/3 season with a basic squad that had secured back-back promotions through lower leagues. He quickly got ex-Prem striker Paul Kitson to the club, a player with plenty of experience at higher grade. After all he'd been with Leicester, Derby, Newcastle and West Ham in a career of over 300 games. Bobby Zamora (no.25) was crocked very early in this campaign, so having a pukka front-man to lead our line was initially considered a blessing in disguise. Paul was from the north-east but came south after injury. However after four fixtures, 31yo Kitson was on the physio's bench again and didn't figure in the first team for another five months. He then made a single sub's app against Pompey at home in January 2003, following hamstring problems. Brighton's no.27 wasn't seen again apart from reserves run-outs until April, during a frantic run-in while scrapping for survival. Kitson made 10 appearances in total and scored 2 goals. Steve Coppell brought him on for 20 mins at Reading and he duly netted to put Albion two up. Kitson figured in final contests but it was too little too late - we went down and he just went.
in & out 2002 - Junior Lewis
During the first half of the '01/2 promotion campaign in div2, Brighton had lost only once away from fortress Withdean in 2001. Peter Taylor was seemingly steering BHA onward and upwards just like Micky Adams before. Then as return fixtures started for 2002, Albion lost 0-3 at Wigan, 0-2 at home to Preston in FAC3 and 0-4 on a nightmare evening in Brentford in January. Taylor wanted to keep on track and got Junior Lewis in for an early Feb trip to Oldham - we got beat again 0-2. Brighton did suffer defeat once more, at Stoke 1-3 but Lewis made a big difference to midfield as the run-in recorded vital wins to help us to a successive title. Junior Lewis was on loan from Leicester where Peter Taylor had previously been manager. He took a vacant no.6 shirt, available since Andy Crosby (ex-no.6) departed before New Year. In 16 apps he scored 4 times and those were vital goals for keeping a promotion challenge going.
Lewis was a Londoner who played for Gillingham when boss Taylor took them up to div1 in 2000. Previously the Taylor-Lewis combination had been at non-league Dover. As a lanky six footer, Junior could have played in defence or attack and was something of a utility player. He'd netted plenty of times as front man for Hendon in younger days. Taylor said, 'it's like signing three players.' Lewis slotted in straight away and already knew some of the squad, whose team spirit was second to none. He provided a touch of class as Albion obtained 32 points by May or 2pts/gm average that won us the league. Mr Taylor declined to be Brighton boss subsequently and moved around a lot for an experienced coach. Junior Lewis was obviously on his list of usual suspects for enhancing various other squads. They were together in non-league at last count.
in 2001-2002 out - Simon Morgan
When Junior Lewis was an apprentice at Fulham before 1992, defender Simon Morgan signed for the Cottagers. This was well before their lower league rise under Micky Adams and big-time giant leap with Al Fayed finances. In 2001 Adams assembled another promotion winning outfit at Albion and brought the experienced Morgan down from west London. He then played over 40 league games for BHA in '01/2 to finish a career of over 550 apps with a champions medal. Job done he went back to Fulham where he'd been promised a back-room position for life. Virtually ever present wearing the no.5 shirt in rearguard with (no.4) Danny Cullip, this selection formed a formidable defensive pairing as Brighton charged right through tier three. Likes of Andy Crosby (no.6) and Matt Wicks (no.23) couldn't get picked to start and both moved out, while Peter Taylor largely kept faith with Adams preferences. Morgan was an unsung, if perhaps forgotten hero who ensured Brighton attained their tier two status and personally suffered for devotion to duty. Simon's knees were a bit creaky to say the least and he had to have injections to maintain mobility. Quite how he managed to turn-out week after week was a mystery to physios and medical teams patching up an ageing centre half, who was half as fit as others but reliable, dependable and defensive in the extreme. The 35yo even got a goal at Withdean when upfield from a second attempted set piece versus Northampton. It was his first score since 1999 when in similar league circumstances, with champ's chasing Fulham on their way to div1. Talk about what goes around eventually, also quite often comes around. He went back to Fulham for an admin job and later joined Prem Lg in their community development.
in 2001-2003 out - Robbie Pethick
After being a non-playing sub at Swindon for the last div2 fixture of 2003, Robbie Pethick went on loan to Weymouth in non-league. He'd gone full circle, having started there as a fresh-faced kid. He came to Brighton from Bristol Rovers as part of Micky Adams intrepid excursion into div2 that first time for '01/2 and played under Steve Coppell in div1 of '02/3. By Mark McGhee's tenure and play-off chasing squad of '03/4, Pethick found it harder to get a starting place. Robbie had joined Brighton in pre-season of 2001 with Geoff Pitcher (no.7) from non-league, Dirk Lehmann (no.16) via Scottish footy and ex-Fulham stalwart Simon Morgan (no.5). Apart from Morgan the others were used mainly as subs and not regular first eleven starters. Lehmann was gone by Xmas and Pitcher's BHA career withered on the vine by New Year 2002. Pethick who was regarded as a defender, got selected for a spell as Peter Taylor sought a line-up to take us up. In the no.26 strip, Robbie became a utility player often subbing front runners as Taylor switched shape during the run-in contests. Under Martin Hinshelwood and Steve Coppell in div1 of '02/3, Robbie wore no.14 and his position was initially at full back, part of a 5 man c-d, or later in mf. When Dean Blackwell (no.5), Simon Rodger (no.30/8) and Ivar Ingimarsson (no.20) were brought in, he lost his place in the squad. Pethick was no.6 for '03/4 and career injuries to Blackwell and Rodger gave opportunities for selection. But McGhee kept faith with Nathan Jones (no.15), introduced Yeates (no.11) and Rehman (no.34) on loan and brought on youngsters like Hinshelwood (no.24), El-Abd (no.28), Harding (no.26) and finally Virgo (no.19). The writing was on the wall and for those at fringes it said, 'go west - now or later.'
in 2000-2002 out - Lee Steele
At end of the '01/2 campaign Brighton finished as div2 title holders and the whole squad celebrated a second success on the bounce. None more so than Lee Steele, a striker who wore no.14 this term after unlucky no.13 previously. Striker Steele got 9 goals from around 40 apps, many of which were as sub. That was good compared to 2 strikes from 23 apps in '00/01, where he started only 4 times as aux front-man. Steele signed for Brighton as Micky Adams built a div3 promo side in 2000. He had come from Shrewsbury and initially non-league Northwich Victoria. His ratio of one goal every three games looked a useful stat when Albion would need to score 70 odd at tier four to go up. Other new additions Kuipers (no.1), Carpenter (no.12), Brooker (no.11), Zamora (no.25), Jones (no.15), Wicks (no.23) and Melton (no.20) all had super seasons but Steele stalled on fringes. Lee didn't pick up a yellow or red in '00/01 but his disciplinary record was Prem style bad-boy. Micky Adams changed his strip number for '01/2 and with Darren Freeman (ex-no.7) forced to retire, set up Steele as super-sub. Dirk Lehmann (no.16) was up front with Zamora. Soon he graduated to start and after Peter Taylor arrived as boss post Adams, held a strikers place and Lehmann transferred. While Albion wobbled in winter of 2002, so did Lee as Daniel Webb (no.30) got aboard but he returned for the run-in and played his part in a successive promotion. Lee's 90+ min diving, headed winner at home versus Bristol City, is forever archived in annals of Albion folklore. Taylor said, 'they were one of the best sides to visit Withdean this season.' Steele beat their off-side trap, dove in, stole the points and also our hearts on all fools day that April 1st. He received a champ's medal, although like Adams and Taylor set off for assumed greener grass outside Sussex.
in 1998-2000 out - Rod Thomas
Ex-Albion hero and short-term manager Brian Horton bought winger Rod Thomas for 25k from Chester in October 1998. He wasn't so-far removed from notching 300 apps. Permanently skint Dick Knight had been given some dosh by Brighton fans and Thomas got labelled as the peoples' player. He made 12 apps in '98/99 and scored 3 goals. In Micky Adams Withdean era revolution, Thomas scored a blinder in that 6-0 demolition of Mansfield on day1 in high summer 1999. Believe it or not he didn't get another goal for Albion in 33 further apps, although received a return red card in defeat at Field Mill to square the circle. As you can imagine Adams wasn't too pleased and was forever trying to curtail the little no.11 from using ball-skills etc in our third. During Brighton's successful term when gaining elevation to div2 in 2001, Thomas now wearing no.16 made 2 league appearances as sub very early in this 2nd W'dean era season. He was on the bench for a couple of months, then in reserves, then... out with the washing, if not out of contract by springtime.
W'dean Goalkeepers '99-'11
WITHDEAN ERA 1999 - 2011
Brezovan, Ankergren, Poke and Walker 2010 - 2011
Michael Poke came from So'ton during pre-season to be back-up to Peter Brezovan. However, the big Slovenian busted his wrist before start of hostilities and Gus Poyet had a problem. Poke played in friendlies and an early Lge Cup tie but appeared shaky. On day1 GP got in Casper Ankergren, previously of Leeds, to be new no.1. He done good and got PoM for September with clean sheets. Brezovan was reserve keeper, so didn't return to 1st 11 duties until FA Cup r1/2 and respective replays, then r3,4&5. Ankergren kept goalies jersey for league fixtures and done good, getting a second PoM for March as BHA romped to 8 straight wins when leading L1 by a clear margin. Poke and Walker (who did a spell on loan) turned out in reserves and for BHA seconds in the Sussex Senior Cup competition.
Kuipers, Smith and Brezovan 2009 - 2010
Graeme Smith (no.22) arrived in pre-season '09 from Motherwell, with good reports from Mark McGhee. Russ Slade was now gaffer and Tony Godden keeper coach. GS got an early chance between sticks when Kuipers (no.1) was sent-off up north. Unfortunately loadsa goals went in for all comps and worryingly, continued to whenever the Scot got selected later. In New Year, new boss Gus Poyet sorted out his squad and Smith went back to Scots lg, going to Hibs on a free. GP got Peter Brezovan (no.29) for free (ex-Swindon) and he looked and got the part straight away when FDM was crocked. MK next resumed duties for 2010 but lost his place in Feb. By end of that month he'd busted a finger in training and was kaput again. Brezovan became numero uno by default but done good anyway. Danny Naisbitt (no.35) came in from Histon as cover coz Poyet wouldn't risk kid keepers Mitch Walker (no.13) or Josh Pelling (no.31). Michel didn't get a new contract but a job off the field was offered. Also his testimonial to be played at Falmer - fitting tribute to a loyal servant. FDM soon signed for Crawley Town as Reds numero uno under old on-loan Boston boss Steve Evans.
Kuipers and Sullivan. 2008 - 2009
Goal-keepers seem to go on forever so there was plenty of time for FDM to get his old numerical allocation of no.1 back and continue first choice on the team-sheet. So, as that season's anticipated if not expected success faltered, Sullivan (no.13) got a chance at last. He made a debut in '08/9 when FDM got injured. Could he hold the shirt? According to (no.36) ex-coach Paul Crichton (who left for Norwich) yes. But in that great football pyramid, including those holding their gloved hands up, who could really tell? Big Danish kid-keeper Mikkel Andersen (no.40) came in on loan from Reading to hold the fort during an injury crisis. Youth goalie Josh Pelling (no.37) was previously also added to the squad. Sullivan got released and some think he got a raw deal in a year of change.
Kuipers and Flinders. 2006 - 2008
Former Dutch Marine Michel Kuipers played in all fixtures in '07/8. Although not so during '06/7 when our ex-no.1 (renumbered no.16), a man allowed to handle the ball under rules and regulations but usually in pre-match practice, made only 14 apps. Wayne Henderson (ex-no.1) transferred to Preston and FDM resumed between posts. Hot Palace youngster Scott Flinders (no.1) then signed for late season, reserve loan-goalie duties and stole into numero uno, making 'one' seem a tad uninformed - from his union colleague's uniliteral perspective. Kuipers probably wondered what actually happened to leave him left alone yet again, when Gods of football miraculously moved those proverbial goal posts. He has however been in this predicament before - on more than one occasion.
Henderson, Chaigneau and Blayney. 2005 - 2006
In '05/6 dour Scot Mark McGhee had a goal-keeper problem or two and eventually more. Kuipers was recuperating from injury when that third Championship campaign kicked-off. A certain Wayne Henderson (no.28) arrived direct from Aston Villa, on day one at Derby to keep goal for Brighton. The youthful Irishman said, 'I'm ambitious, I want to make a name for myself as a number one. I'd like to think Brighton could be somewhere I could achieve that.' Inside the opening month a very tall young Frenchman had also come abroad and signed for a years stint in vying for now international custodian's gloves. Florent Chaigneau (no.40) came over from FC Rennes but without a lot of competitive experience, at that time being just twenty one Chaigneau didn't merely dream of a nightmare at Shrewsbury in the League Cup, as Brighton conceded three there in extended cavalier knockout style. Six weeks into the season Alan Blayney (no.23) from N Ireland, also joined via Southampton and effectively became number two between the sticks. Blayney then deputised when Henderson returned to Villa right at the end of October. Kuipers (no.1) had meanwhile made a comeback in reserves and trotted out for Albion in their festive Boxing Day fixture at Withdean. Blayney too had departed as 'on-loans' expired, while Chaigneau resumed warming the bench for a third keeper, in lieu of any further 'entente cordiale' appearances. On a New Year's Day trip to Southampton, after a team-bus altercation concerning manager Mr McGhee and striker Leon Knight (no.7), Chaigneau got to replace Kuipers under the cross-bar at unforgiving St Mary's. Five days later he proffered a goal-mouth Gallic shrug, following a tame exit from an FA Cup round3 tie at Withdean - as McGhee despaired yet again on the hostile Sassenach south-coast of Sussex. Amid these multi-national comings and goings, Kuipers kept goal for two adjacent fixtures before Henderson was reinstalled permanently. Brighton boy Richard Martin (no.13) took over as bench-man, Chaigneau quickly reduced to a forlorn Frenchman, McGhee was the henchman come hangman and who'd be a forgotten Dutchman? McGhee always selected a sub goalie in his match-day sixteen and for '06/7, Henderson assumed king-pin no.1 and Kuipers made no.16 - ironical huh, when unused no.13 was considered unlucky. You know the rest via folklore.
Yelldell, Shaaban and Blayney. 2004 - 2005
Previous shenanigans of an in-front of the net kind, ensued during '04/5, following Kuipers shoulder injury versus Forest at W'dean. A giant goalie from Blackburn reserves played for Brighton at Leeds in a pink jersey. This instant impact lasted only three games for David Yelldell (no.23), as fourteen days in Jan-Feb highlighted an off colour on-loan fashion statement. Yelldell had an American father but after little glory, saw more stars than stripes at Albion. Rami Shaaban (no.20) was his immediate replacement and also had foreign connections. He was eligible to play for Sweden and did so in '06 World Cup. However, prior to a short engagement at Brighton, he was recovering from serious injury at Arsenal. Shaaban played the next six games through Feb-Mar, including four consecutive near catastrophic defeats. Brighton fell from a healthy position before the run-in to dispute a desperate dog-fight for survival. Alan Blayney (no.23) was drafted in to stop the rot and try and keep a crucial clean sheet for Brighton to finally get the point. He did save a couple of penalties and saw us to safety. Ben Roberts (no.29) eventually had been forced to retire due to persistent back pains and Blayney was thought of as a likely Championship goalie for consolidating next term.
Roberts and Flitney. 2003 -2004
Kuipers (no.1) and Roberts (no.29) had shared handling formalities throughout '03/4 until FDM survived a horrific car smash in late November. Michel was admitted to hospital but sustained relatively minor injuries. Another kid keeper, Ross Flitney (no.31) from Fulham had been called in as cover for two injury prone custodians and made a couple of appearances. Steve Jones (no.31) took over for a brace of matches away from home, when Brighton really struggled to accumulate points on the long road to Wales that term. Roberts got back to fitness as the push for a play-off place intensified. Coach John Keeley (no.32) had even been 16th man over mid-season periods but eventually Kuipers became back-up for an all important run-in and play-offs.
Petterson, Roberts and Beasant. 2002 - 2003
During a tough start to life in div1 of '02/3, Andy Petterson (no.30) played eight losing games before FDM resumed between posts. Ben Roberts (no.13) initially visited Brighton as a stand-in after Kuipers was injured in an FA Cup r3 tie at Norwich in Jan, that fateful relegation campaign from tier two. He turned out three times and impressed enough for Steve Coppell to want him permanently in div 2. Meanwhile Dave Beasant (no33) did the 'do' until a cliff-hanger of a finish at Grimsby on the first Sunday in May. He was so old, Keelo refused to coach him but brought up a constant supply of reinvigorating sports drinks, that were intravenously drip-fed prior to springtime Saturday afternoons - allegedly!!
Kuipers, Royce and Cartwright. 2000 - 2002
In '01/2 and '00/01 back-to-back title winning seasons, Michel was first choice keeper and racked up over 70 apps. Simon Royce (no.31) deputised for six matches after Xmas 2001 in div2. At start of div3 campaign the previous term, Mark Cartwright (no.19) was in goal for a dozen contests. Kuipers (no.1) was an inexperienced import from Bristol Rovers in summer of 2000 and had to establish his place. He did so and proved to be a capable, if not to say long-serving custodian.
Walton & Ormerod. 1999 - 2000
Micky Adams had two goalies already on BHA books when arriving at Priestfield in April of the '98/99 term. Mark Ormerod (no.1) started a BHA homecoming campaign at Withdean in 1999 as no.1 custodian but soon was left behind the net, rather than in front of it. Mark Walton (no.15) took over between the sticks and made a fist of it on more than one occasion. Adams assumed he would handle everything for a promo season next time - but no. Walton surprisingly signed for Cardiff in pre-season of '00/01, while Ormerod was released. So Adams had to cast around for a keeper with potential.
W'dean 2nd & 3rd Revolutions '08-'11
WITHDEAN ERA... 2008 - 2011
2nd Revolution '08-'09
Micky ADAMS returned to BHA in May 2008 following publication of Dean Wilkins retained list. Guy Butters and Paul Reid were let go, along with Kerry Mayo, Gary Hart, Sam Rents and Frenchman David Martot. Adam Hinshelwood was given more time to recover from serious knee injuries. Doug Loft was also retained for '08/9. But Wilkins went too as Adams brought in old bouy Adam Virgo (Celtic), winger Kevin McLeod (Colchester), central defender Colin Hawkins (Coventry) and lb/mf David Livermore (Hull) on free transfers. He also brought back lb Matt Richards on loan from Ipswich. Keeper Michel Kuipers was one remaining from MA's original rev1 squad and then Hart & Mayo re-signed. Adams already knew rb Andy Whing from sky-blue days and a few who'd come thru youth ranks like utility-man Adam El-Abd and forward Jake Robinson. Others from Wilkins successful if various U18 outfits, were goalie John Sullivan, defs Joel Lynch and Wes Fogden, m-f's Dean Cox, Tommy Fraser and Scott Chamberlain, strikers Joe Gatting and Sam Gargan and previous PoY c-d Tommy Elphick. Striker Nicky Forster (capt) was on the books since start of '07/8, while partner Glenn Murray, cmf Steven Thomson and fwd Jonny Dixon joined mid-term when Wilkins revamped a supposed p-o chasing first eleven. Adams added m-f loanees Joe Anyinsah (fwd - Preston), Kevin Thornton (fwd - Coventry), Brad Johnson (mf - Leeds) and Robbie Savage (mf - Derby). Later striker Stuart Fleetwood (Charlton) arrived, after Fogden and Gatting left. Kids Kane Wills, Kane Louis, Dan Royce, Andy Pearson, Steve Brinkhurst and Steve Cook got given their own squad numbers as young pro's. In the Jan '09 transfer window, Adams signed m-f's Chris Birchall (ex-Coventry), Jason Jarrett (Preston), winger Seb Carole (ex-Leeds) and striker Calvin Andrew (Palace) on loan. On day of the deadline he got left back Jim McNulty (Stockport 150k) and striker Craig Davies (Oldham). Then with BHA in bottom four, Adams went in Feb '09 and White & Booker took charge. An injury crisis meant extra bods arrived thru necessity. Lloyd Owusu (fwd - Cheltenham), Matt Heath (c-d - Colchester), Al Bangura (mf - Watford), Mikkel Andersen (gk - Reading) and Gary Borrowdale (lb - QPR) all came in on loan. Russell SLADE then became manager on a short contract from Mar '09. He got in Gary Dicker (mf - Stockport) on loan.
Year10 Squad, 2008 - 2009
1 Kuipers, 2 Whing (PoY), 3 Mayo, 4 Hinshelwood, 5 Lynch (loaned), 6 El-Abd, 7 Cox, 8 Thomson (transferred) then Jarrett, 9 Forster, 10 Thornton (loan) then Birchall, 11, McLeod, 12 Richards later Heath (loan), 13 Sullivan, 14 Livermore (loaned), 15 Hart, 16 Hawkins, 17 Murray, 18 Loft (loaned), 19 Robinson (loaned), 20 Gatting (released) then McNulty (serious injury), 21 Dixon (loaned), 22 Fraser, 23 Virgo, 24 Elphick, 25 Chamberlain (released) then Davies, 26 Fogden (rel) later Fleetwood (loan) then Andrew (short loan), 27 Johnson (loan) then Dicker (loan), 28 Anyinsah (loan) then Carole, 29 Wills, 30 Louis, 31 Royce, 32 Pearson, 33 Gargan, 34 Cook, 35 Brinkhurst, 36 Crichton (GK coach - left), 37 Pelling, 38 Owusu (loan), 39 Bangura (loan), 40 Andersen (gk loan), 41 Borrowdale (loan), 44 Savage (short loan).
3rd Revolution '09-'11
One way or another things were different for 2009-10. Tony Bloom secured funding for Falmer with a multi-million financial injection. He also took over the chairmanship, while blue & white Knight became President. Within 3 months TB exercised owners rights to power.
SLADE got the boss-job permanently pre-Falmer and swung the axe. He released Mayo, Hinsh, Jarrett, Birchall, Sullivan, Loft, Robinson, Fraser, Carole, Gargan and later Dixon, also four young pro's. Lynch went to Forest as expected. But Owusu signed for Adelaide. So he signed Dicker permanently, then got m-f Matt Thornhill (Forest) on loan. Next came defender James Tunnicliffe (Stockport), plus winger Mark Wright (MKD), followed by cmf Andrew Crofts (Gillingham) and g-k Graeme Smith (Motherwell). In pre-season came striker Liam Dickinson (Derby), defender Jake Wright (Crawley), m-f kid Jamie Smith (CP) and m-f general Alan Navarro (MKD). Later came wingers Elliott Bennett (Wolves) and Arron Davies (Forest - loan). Kid Mitch Walker was added to GK union. Right back Gavin Hoyte also came in on loan from Arsenal reserves. Slade went in early Nov '09 and Bloom made another appointment. Gus POYET became manager and now got promoted to numero uno coz previously he'd only made assistant. Keeper Peter Brezovan (Swindon) got here before Xmas '09. In New Year '10 rb Inigo Calderon signed from Alaves in Spain. Then Seb Carole came back week to week for a third spell. Also lb Marcos Painter joined from Swansea on loan. In Jan transfer window, striker Chris Holroyd came in from Cambridge. Followed later by winger Kaz LuaLua on loan from Newcastle. Next came m-f's on loan Diego Arismendi via Stoke, then a little later Lee Hendrie out of Derby. On March final loan xfer day, forward Ashley Barnes (Plymouth) and keeper Danny Naisbit (Histon) also joined a revised squad. BHA youngsters Lewis Dunk and Jake Caskey got pro terms and joined the squad at the death. Jake became the youngest player to play for the first team.
Year 11 Squad, 2009 - 10
1 Kuipers (injured), 2 Whing (loaned out), 3 McNulty (loaned out), 4 Elphick, 5 Wright J (loaned out), 6 El-Abd, 7 Cox, 8 Navarro, 9 Forster (loaned out), 10 Dickinson (loaned out), 11 McLeod (transfer), then LuaLua (on loan), 12 Tunnicliffe (loaned out), 13 Walker, 14 Livermore (left), then Arismendi (on loan), 15 Hart, 16 Hawkins (long injury), 17 Murray, 18 Dicker, 19 Wright M (transfer), later Davies A (short loan), then Calderon. 20 Crofts, 21 Thornhill (short loan), later Carole, 22 Smith G (transfer), later Painter (on loan), 23 Virgo, 24 Smith J, 25 Davies C (loaned out), 26 Bennett, 27 Hoyte (on loan), 28 Barker, 29 Brezovan, 30 Cook, 31 Pelling, 32 Brinkhurst, 33 Holroyd, 34 Hendrie (on loan), 35 Naisbitt (on loan), 36 Barnes (on loan), 37 Dunk, 38 Caskey.
Gus POYET didn't renew contracts of Forster (Brentford), Cox (Orient), Virgo (Yeovil), Kuipers (Crawley), Pelling and Brinkhurst (E Boro). Crofts transferred to Norwich early in close season. Hawkins (Fingal) also left, while Wright went to Oxford, Dickinson got a job at Barnsley and Davies penned for Chesterfield. McNulty went back on-loan to Scunny and Tunnicliffe to Bristol R for season.
GP re-signed Brezovan (injured), Smith, Cook, Dunk and goalie Walker. Painter signed full terms before pre-season. Calderon didn't initially pen what was again offered and this deal only got completed early in June. Michael Poke (So'ton) said yes to poss no.2 keeper spot soon afterwards. Just prior to pre-season, midfielder Agustin Battipiedi and forward Cristian Baz both signed from Argentina div3. C-mf Matt Sparrow came in via Scunthorpe. Then Barnes (Plymouth) made his move permanent in first days of July. After first local friendly, c-d Gordon Greer joined from Swindon. Then Bulgarian m-f Radostin Kishishev got a year deal. Spurs youngster, Yaser Kasim got on board too. Just before the first fixture, great Dane, Casper Ankergren came in as no.1 keeper. Next came m-f Liam Bridcutt (Chelsea) on short loan as back-up. By Aug transfer window, GP added winger Kaz LuaLua (loan) and strikers, Norwegian Torbjorn Agdestein and Spaniard Francisco Sandaza. Mauricio Taricco resumed training as stand-by l-b. In Nov, striker Chris Wood came on loan from WBA. In the New Year transfer window, winger Craig Noone arrived from Plymouth.
Year 12 Squad, 2010 - 11
1 Brezovan (injured), 2 Whing (left), 3 Greer, 4 Elphick, 5 Battipiedi, 6 El-Abd, 7 Bennett, 8 Navarro (long injury), 9 Barnes, 10 Sparrow, 11 Baz, 12 LuaLua (long injury), 13 Walker, 14 Calderon, 15 Hart, 16 Ankergren, 17 Murray, 18 Dicker, 19 Poke, 20 Holroyd (loaned), 21 Sandaza (injuries), 22 Painter, 23 Agdestein, 24 Smith, 25 Kishishev, 26 Bridcutt, 27 Taricco, 28 Caskey, 29 Kasim, 30 Cook (loaned), 31 Noone, 32, 33, 34 McNulty (long injury), 35 Tunnicliffe (loaned), 36, 37 Dunk, 38, 39 Wood.
W'dean interim period '06-'08
WITHDEAN ERA 2006 - 2008
Times surely were a changing.
'06/7 began with Albion back in tier three and Skint as usual to say the least. Wilkins quickly assumed managerial duties and it was make do and mend on the squad front. Striker Alex Revell arrived for day1, followed by c-d Georges Santos. Youth products continued to be developed, although a few loan signings appeared to boot. Sam Rents, Wes Fogden, Scott Chamberlain, Tommy Fraser and Paul Hinshelwood continued the rise of BHA kids. Aussie mf Nick Ward joined, with mf Tony Stokes and c-d Keith Lowe as initial loanees. They were later replaced by winger Alistair John, striker Bas Savage, defenders Andy Whing and Zoumana Bakayogo. Others came in like forward Sam Williams, mf Dean Bowditch, later defender Joe O'Cearuill, French middleman Alexis Bertin, goalie Scot Flinders and c-d Zesh Rehman made up a complement of borrowed players. Nathan Elder went full time from non-league.
In '07/8 hitman Nicky Forster signed like back Andy Whing and winger David Martot. Midfielder George O'Callaghan entered the fray on loan, like back Matt Richards. In a flurry of January transfer activity, strikers Glen Murray and Jonny Dixon, mf Steven Thomson and Shane McFaul arrived. Later mf men Dean Bowditch, Ian Westlake and Thiery Racon came down on loan. Sam Gargan was new striking kid on the block.
Years 8-9 Squad 2006 - 2008
1 Henderson (gk) later Flinders (loan gk), 2 Reid then Whing, 3 Mayo, 4 A Hinshelwood, 5 Lynch, 6 El-Abd, 7 Frutos then Cox, 8 Ward (loan) then Revell later Westlake (loan), 9 Hart then Forster, 10 Oatway then O'Callaghan (loan) later Thomson, 11 Hammond later Bowditch much later Racon (loans), 12 Carpenter then Hart, 13 Sullivan (gk), 14 Butters, 15 Revell then Reid, 16 Kuipers (gk), 17 Sullivan (gk) then Savage later Murray, 18 Martin (gk) then Rents, 19 Robinson, 20 Gatting, 21 Molango later Rehman (loan), then Elder later Dixon, 22 Kazim-Richards later Williams, Bowditch, Bertin (loans) then Fraser, 23 Loft, 24 Santos then Elphick, 25 Breach then Chamberlain, 26 Elphick then Fogden, 27 Rents then Martot, 28 Cox then Richards (loan), 29 P Hinshelwood, 30 Fraser, 31 Chamberlain then McFaul, 32 Fogden, 33 Lowe later Whing, Bakayogo (3 loans) then Gargan, 34 Stokes later John (loans), Savage, 35 Elder, 36 O'Cearuill (loan).
At very end of a near-miss campaign in '07/8, when Brighton finished immediately below play-off places, several people lost jobs at the Albion. Dean Wilkins had got a side developed from youth players, strengthened by pro signings and bolstered with loan imports, to perform to good League1 standard. However it was all a bit 'mix and match' and various fringe players made any number of appearances, as Wilkins second season squad changed personnel at regular intervals. During the January transfer window, comings and goings had a detrimental effect on performances, which turned into a sort of 'in and out' season. Long serving trio Kerry Mayo, Gary Hart and Guy Butters were released among a general clear-out prompted by BHA management. Paul Reid was also let go, while others seemingly less skilful got to be retained. Within days Wilkins also was relieved of his position and Micky Adams returned to this club as boss pre-Falmer.
It began in Goldstone death throes before 1997, then after what seemed like a flash, Kerry Mayo had actually been at Brighton for twelve years. He received a testimonial for continuous service during the Withdean era prior to start of '07/8. Kerry had by then completed 410 appearances, coming on as sub in the last fixture of that term at our decade-long temporary home. Mayo no.3 was Brighton's usual left back for bulk of seasons but also played in central defence or midfield on occasion. He got to be a regular in the back-back title years of 2001-2002. When Albion were fighting to stay in div1 of '02/3 under Steve Coppell, Kerry had a super season at higher standard. Coppell said, 'he's had a great survival instinct and you must have to stay so long with one club.' In subsequent seasons competition for the place, loss of form or injuries, never stopped Mayo trying to regain selection in the sixteen. In bouts of reserve matches he often took on the senior pro role, remained enthusiastic and a good example to developing youngsters. This 2nds teamsheet was prior to most recent 2008 resurrection; Sullivan, Fogden, Mayo, Wills, Butters, Lynch, Robinson, Loft, Gatting, Dixon, Hart. He'd seemingly bounced back so many times, suggestions of rubber insoles were muted in those nationwide dressing rooms. Mayo said, 'playing for the club is a job and it pays my bills. But being a supporter, I want Falmer to come to life just like anyone else.' The Ginger Prince left on good terms, although Falmer was only a dream as those working years quickly ticked away. During pre-season of '08/9 Micky Adams offered him a job again, nine years after the Withdean era began. Mayo had injuries and didn't figure, so it was no real surprise when he was released a second time. Still, 400 odd games for BHA was quite an achievement in an incredible decade.
As records go, Gary Hart was another stalwart to be given a testimonial match, albeit after termination of a 378 app career. He was on loan to Havant & Waterlooville during '07/8 and Charlie Oatway was glad to have him there. Ex-Albion midfield destroyer Charlie said, 'Gary shared the success that's come the team's way during the last ten years.' That included 3 promotions and 3 terms in the Championship. Dean Wilkins said, 'his versatility and willingness to play in a number of positions have made him a huge hit with supporters.' Hart had some up and down seasons, just like the club but his hay-day was probably at no.9 as a live-wire striker way back in old div3. That he adapted to higher level and turned out in other positions is part of a pukka pro's CV. Micky Adams converted Gary to the right flank after adopting a single striker shape. Hart had come initially from non-league and bagged 12 Albion goals in '98/99 to be joint top scorer. He chipped in with a few each season as BHA rose through ranks by '04/5. Mark McGhee said, 'he could always be relied upon to give one hundred per cent at all times. His work rate and attitude were always excellent.' Gary was tried at right back in reserves combination games and soon had that position in the first team. Brighton struggled in tier two but he soldiered on while a new order evolved. Opportunities became limited beyond '06/7, during development of a young side from a very good youth squad. Hart wanted to give more to BHA but time finally ran out. OGH said, 'I've had almost one manager per year. In just about every season we've been pressing for promotion or fighting relegation. Life has never been dull.' You could say that again. Hart broke a leg at Peterborough in 2002 but got stuck in again subsequently, especially when Albion were up against it versus superior opposition. He liked a good old scrap for sure. Micky Adams offered Harty a lifeline for '08/9 and truth is apparently stranger than fiction. OGH got injured but came back to play a significant part in the great escape under Russ Slade. He offered the old no.9 a contract and we all love a happy ending. Hart also played bit parts under Gus Poyet and was still up for it approaching '10/11. Gary Hart was released by BHA at end of that campaign - Albion's last season at Withdean.
Footnote; Hart was invited to play in the Sussex Senior Cup final at the Amex and scored the first goal there to boot. And so yet another page turns.
One time Spurs, Pompey and Gillingham defender Guy Butters, was a veteran who played over 200 times for Brighton when many others would have dropped to lower level for an easier existence. He said, 'I'm not sure how many games I played down the years.' Introduced to fill a centre-half role by Martin Hinshelwood at Portsmouth in a traumatic start after promotion to div1 in '02/3, Guy played only six games at no.6. Butters certainly was then quickly struck out of favour that term. He appeared once under new mngr Steve Coppell - his first and Butts last. Typically here is a reserves sheet for Mar '03 v Portsmouth - ironical huh; Packham, Hinshelwood, Jones, Pethick, Butters, Hammond, Wilkinson, Rogers, Hart, Barrett, Piercy. GB also did a stint at Barnet on loan. After relegation to lower league for '03/4, B'ton immediately won a place back in the Championship and now, Butters no.14 was incredibly voted player of the season. Mark McGhee said, 'Guy has been fantastic. When I came here there was a question mark over him. It has gone the right way by committing himself to make sure he is in the right shape and by the way he has played.' GB next turned out for 2 terms in defence at tier two, although needing to use his head more rather than legs. Butters said, 'I loved the big games in the Championship. To survive was nothing short of a miracle considering finances at the club. We were going to grounds where everyone was writing us off and coming away with wins. We'd be defending for our lives and then everyone would come into the changing-room and just be laughing. At Brighton you always had some excitement, year in year out.' Guy maintained match fitness and was a regular rearguard selection until '07/8, when mostly sub or emergency cover in League1. Butts did some coaching badges and trundled off fairly happily to Oatway's H&W non-league outfit for a bonus season. He was sad not to say goodbye properly but was offered a job in BHA community services by Dick Knight in pre-season of '08/9. It's a cruel world outside football. Butters turned out for Lewes on-loan with Danny Cullip from Feb '09. He tried his hand at management with Winchester City in 2010.
After a brace of demanding years previously, Paul Reid suffered two long term knee injuries that wrecked seasons '06/7 and '07/8. He was spotted at Bradford City reserves when Brighton were scouting for late additions to a side chasing a play-off place in '03/4 and was given squad no.34. He then got the no.16 shirt for '04/5. An Australian from near Sydney, Reid was an attacking midfielder but during a couple of seasons in the Championship got converted to no.2 at right back. By May 2006 He'd made around 80 lg career apps and scored 4 goals. In Sept 2006 a busted cruciate kept our Aussie down under for almost another year. For season '07/8 Paul played with no.15 on his back, after returning to full fitness. He made a few starts in m-f when others left and a spot was vacant. A second ligament prob during Jan 2008 turned his world upside down again. He'd married, settled in and liked Brighton, eventually taking British citizenship to boot. He later said, 'you need a run of games where you are given a bit of a chance and I haven't found that this year. I thought being versatile and filling different positions has benefited the club. Now it seems like that has been one of my downfalls.' The normally even tempered antipodean anglophile left with criticism of Dean Wilkins management style and had much sympathy from sections of Brighton fans. His perceived role as something of a playmaker never developed while BHA were struggling in tier two and latterly only treading water keeping heads up in tier three. You might say the ball never really broke for a thinking player, who could see a pass and get it on target. Those qualities were in short supply in lower leagues. Reid quickly returned to Australia with Adelaide and the climate was a lot warmer there too.
PS: Dean Wilkins said, 'It is the nature of the game that to be competitive we have to make tough decisions. It may sound like hollow words but I would like to thank each of the players for their professionalism and service and wish them well for the future.'
Dick Knight appointed Micky Adams merely hours afterwards and said, 'we are expanding the managerial team with a very experienced person at the top of it. We need to make this move now to ensure the club moves forward on the playing side at the same pace as it does off the pitch.' Wilkins was offered a coaching job but parted company with the Albion well over a month later. Mayo, Hart, Butters, Reid and Wilkins all loved this club. That was not enough apparently to ensure being treated like part of an extended family. Adams returned to the fold but knew full well, achieving promotion and Championship consolidation were the blood ties that definitely bind. Adams parted company with BHA by mutual consent in Feb '09. QED.
W'dean Championship Years '02-'06
WITHDEAN ERA 2002 - 2006
Old Guard Go - going, nearly gone...
Albion reached div1 in 2002 but were back in div2 a year later. Martin Hinshelwood got cent-half Guy Butters, strikers Paul Kitson, John Piercy and loans Graham Barrett and keeper Andy Petterson to the club in his spell at start of div1. He also re-introduced kids Dean Hammond, Dan Harding, Chris McPhee, Adam Virgo, Dan Marney, Shaun Wilkinson, Will Packham, Adam Hinshelwood and Adam El-Abd to the squad. Steve Coppell then brought some of his players in to try and survive at tier two for rest of '02/3. These were c-ds Dean Blackwell and later on loan Ivar Ingimarsson, mf Simon Rodger and borrowed Steve Sidwell, also later keepers Ben Roberts and Dave Beasant and striker Tony Rougier (loans). For 2003 strikers Leon Knight, Darius Henderson (loan), plus goalies Ben Roberts and Ross Flitney and mf Zesh Rehman (loans) were added by Coppell. Jake Robinson and Dan Beck elevated from youth level. Mark McGhee took over as gaffer and got mf Mark Yeates, striker Trevor Benjamin and gk Steve Jones on board via loan system. Later he obtained services of Chris Iwelumo (loan) and Paul Reid for the '03/4 run-in and play-offs. In '04/5 for a 2nd Championship campaign, Alexis Nicolas and Darren Currie joined midfield, Albert Jarrett and Maheta Molango up front and kid Chris May became sub goalie. Much later keepers David Yelldell, Rami Shaaban and Alan Blayney arrived on loan. Toward end of the season c-d Joe Dolan (loan), strikers Steve Claridge (loan) and Mark McCammon swelled numbers. Youngsters Joel Lynch, Dean Cox and Gary Elphick also got allocated shirts.
Years 4-6 Squad 2002 - 2005
1 Kuipers, 2 Watson, 3 Mayo, 4 Cullip, 5 Blackwell then Dolan (loan), 6 Pethick then Nicolas, 7 Knight, 8 Rogers then Rodger, 9 Hart, 10 Oatway, 11 Brooker then Henderson later Yeates (loans), then Currie, 12 Carpenter, 14 Butters, 15 Jones, 16 Reid, 17 Wilkinson later Benjamin (loan), then Molango, 18 Packham then Marney then Jarrett, 19 Virgo, 20 Melton later Ingimarsson (loan), then Piercy later Shaaban (loan gk), 21 McPhee, 22 Hammond, 23 Lee then Yelldell & Blayney (loan gks), 24 Hinshelwood, 25 Zamora then Claridge (loan) later McCammon, 26 Harding, 27 Kitson then Beck later Elphick, 28 Barrett (loan) then El-Abd, 29 Roberts (gk), 30 Petterson (loan gk) then Iwelumo (loan) then Robinson, 31 Flitney later S Jones (loan gks) then Cox, 32 Keeley (coach), 33 Sidwell (loan) later Beasant (loan) then May (gk), 34 Webb then Rehman (loan) then Lynch.
'05/6 was a pivotal year for changes to the previous back-to-back promotions shirt number list. Michel Kuipers eventually lost no.1 due to serious injury in January 2005. Paul Watson no.2 and Nathan Jones no.15 were let go in May '05. No.4 Danny Cullip had been transferred in December 2004 and no.10 Charlie Oatway got crocked at Xmas a year later. That left no.3 Kerry Mayo, no.9 Gary Hart and no.12 Richard Carpenter soldiering on as representitives of a fast fading team-sheet from a truly inspiring first few years of the Withdean era.
Mark McGhee brought in Wayne Henderson and Florent Chaigneau as new custodians, plus Jason Dodd and Paul McShane to bolster defence. Coca-cola kid Colin Kazim-Richards transfered in via competition money, with Argentinian Federico Turienzo, plus French wingers Seb Carole and Alex Frutos. Kids Jake Robinson, Joel Lynch, Dean Cox, Richard Martin and John Sullivan (gks), Gary & Tommy Elphick, Joe Gatting and Chris Breach got squad recognition. Doug Loft from non-league and Gifton Noel-Williams got in on the act for the run-in.
Year 7 Squad 2005 - 2006
1 Kuipers, 2 Reid, 3 Mayo, 4 Hinshelwood, 5 Dodd, 6 Nicolas, 7 Knight later Noel-Williams (loan), 8 Turienzo, 9 Hart, 10 Oatway, 11 Hammond, 12 Carpenter, 13 Martin (gk), 14 Butters, 15 McCammon, 16 McPhee, 17 Carole, 18 Jarrett, 19 Frutos, 20 El-Abd, 21 Robinson, 22 Kazim-Richards, 23 Blayney (loan gk) later Loft, 24 McShane (loan), 26 Breach, 27 G Elphick, 28 Henderson (loan gk), 29 Cox, 30 T Elphick, 31 Sulivan (gk), 33 Gatting, 34 Lynch, 40 Chaigneau (loan gk).
W'dean Old Squad '99-'02
WITHDEAN ERA 1999 - 2000
Back in 1999 Brentford completed their programme at that old div3 (league2) grade as champions, while Albion actually celebrated too but bizarrely in 17th place. Our 'home' match at borrowed Gillingham on Boxing Day '98, was witnessed by nearly five thousand against a beatable (when they travelled away from W London) Bees side, with victory for Albion 3-1. Micky ADAMS had come on board that following Spring at Priestfield and for once kept us out of 23rd position, 'held' precariously in each of those three terrible previous seasons. He then put together a side fit for a new era at the Withdean and as they say in Sussex, 'the rest is BHA history'. Adams brought in Charlie Oatway, Paul Watson and Darren Freeman from an old century Brentford clear-out for '99/00. He later also picked up ex-Bees Danny Cullip, who'd recovered from a serious knee injury and twelve months down the line, Bob Booker as Assistant Manager for our centenary year through '00/01. Andy Crosby, Jamie Campbell, Darren Carr, Chris Wilder and Ryan Palmer (defenders), plus Dave Cameron, Aidan Newhouse and Warren Aspinall (forwards) were also initial imported additions to Adams revolution. Keepers Mark Ormerod and Mark Walton, defenders Keith McPherson, Gary Hobson and Ross Johnson, mf Andy Arnott and Paul Armstrong, forwards Rod Thomas and Scott Ramsay, plus fringe players Danny Davis, Ben Andrews and John Westcott all survived Adams 1999 pre-Withdean cull. Danny Marney elevated from youth ranks, as did Chris McPhee, Shaun Wilkinson, Dean Hammond and Will Packham. Ian Culverhouse was semi-retired and reserve team coach, while another senior pro Martin Ling, arrived in March 2000 for the run-in. Lorenzo Pinamonte was a big Italian hope up front who left before Bobby Zamora and Paul Brooker arrived on loan.
Year1 Squad 1999 - 2000
1 Ormerod (GK), 2 Watson, 3 Campbell, 4 McPherson, 5 Carr, 6 Hobson later Brooker (loan), 7 Freeman, 8 Rogers, 9 Hart, 10 Oatway, 11 Thomas, 12 Cameron, 14 Arnott later Marney, 15 Walton (GK), 16 Johnson later Ling, 17 Armstrong, 18 Palmer, 19 Mayo, 20 Westcott, 21 Davis, 22 Ramsay, 23 Andrews 24 Crosby, 25 Newhouse later Zamora (loan), 26 Wilder, 27 Cullip, 28 Aspinall, 30 Packham (GK), 31 Culverhouse, 32 Wilkinson, 33 McPhee, 34 Hammond, 35 Pinamonte (loan).
After pro days were completed, Paul Rogers became a BHA manager - er, in the sales and commercial dept. That's because he's too clever for his own boots! Dick Knight gave him a job in 2003 when Dodge was making numbers up with the playing squad under Steve Coppell. Prior to that disappointing season in div1, Rogers had been club captain and made 118 starts at lower level. Micky Adams brought him to Brighton in 1999, having persuaded the ex-financial trader away from Wigan. He led Seagulls out onto summer green at Withdean for the very first time, against Forest for a homecoming friendly and never looked back. At end of this inaugral season, Rogers had all but been ever present and scored 8 league goals with no.8 on his back. He was also approaching 300 games as a pro, which began late during his mid twenties. Those two seasons that followed and saw back-to-back championships, crowned a career where previously he had held silverware up for Wigan in their emergence toward higher grade football. In '00/01 Brighton initially struggled to secure many points but played better in a League Cup tie at the Den. Paul said, 'after the first few matches playing 442 when results weren't the best for us, the gaffer changed formation (451) for the Millwall game. That gave me more licence to get forward with Chippy and Charlie behind me - it was quite a fluid formation.' Again he'd played in all but one fixture as Albion stormed to head div3. A year later and almost a case of deja vu when BHA went up a second time running, although Rogers was sidelined toward the run-in. Peter Taylor introduced Junior Lewis (no.6) and that rather limited selection in central midfield. On hearing of promotion off the bounce, Rogers said, 'at start of the season, realistically we thought about mid table and pushing for play-offs but continued on a roll.' He went on to turnout for Worthing FC to get a foot in, while pushing a BHA pen to keep his hand in. With Falmer arriving, Dodge got a super managers job with Albion Commercial - oh yes! He was heavily involved with promotion and sale of hospitality and seating for the Amex stadium at Falmer.
For the record, Charlie Oatway was Albion's no.10 for 8 seasons, although for the last one and a half didn't make an appearance in blue & white. Charlie was a regular during div3 & div2 back-to-back titles (2001-2), play-off promotion season (2003) and also in the Championship. In 1999 Micky Adams got him to Withdean with Paul Watson (no.2) from Brentford for start of an era. Oatway had also spent some time at Torquay. Being a combative central midfielder with a destroyer role, he picked up several short term injuries as part and parcel of his job. But he suffered a broken ankle at Withdean on Boxing Day 2005 and was subjected to a series of set-backs during rehabilitation and physiotherapy. Although Brighton struggled at tier two, Oatway was then having a half decent season in '05/6. He wasn't an ordinary player, reaching 227 league apps and was an extraordinary bloke. Charlie didn't score many but liked Plymouth, getting a brace there in 1999 in div3 and a consolation in a heavy Championship defeat in '04/5. Oatway was adaptable in tackling the toughest, cleverest or most skillful - he'd kick 'em all. Just before start of the League1 '07/8 campaign he got crocked again in a friendly and it was serious enough to end his FL career. Dick Knight said, 'Charlie joined us as part of Micky Adams revolution and has been an effervescent and inspirational presence ever since. It is sad that after all his hard recovery work over the past eighteen months, injury forced his retirement.' Knight installed Oatway as a member of Albion in the Community team straightaway. Charlie said, 'I feel I can improve the club in certain areas, so I'll be giving it my best. No different from when I was on the pitch.' Oatway was involved in polishing up basic reading and writing skills during sessions with BHA education schemes, so had firsthand experience of this award winning project. Apart from this important work, if not to say calling, he went on to join Havant & Waterlooville as assistant manager to boot. He was popular with squad and fans alike and served this club very well indeed. Before too long Charlie was back, helping bolster morale among reserves and generally being a nuisance in all departments. He was also part of Hinshelwood's coaching team under caretaker management in Nov '09. Not much later CO became CO of coaches when Poyet & co arrived. Suddenly he was 1st 11 coach & reserve team manager and all. He published his life story in 2011 and all proceeds went to Albion in the Community.
One of a group of players that initially came to Brighton in 1999, Paul Watson was an integral part of Micky Adams revolution. Paul Rogers (no.8), Andy Crosby (no.24), plus from Brentford like Watson, Charlie Oatway (no.10) and Darren Freeman (no.7) all also arrived to kick-start the Withdean era. He played at right back and throughout a six season career at Albion always held squad no.2. In their third promo campaign of '03/4, Paul sustained injury during February 2004 and didn't play again that term. It was unfortunately start of going downhill. He had virtually been ever present over four successful seasons previously bar odd niggles and suspensions. Being predominately left footed, he bagged several goals from set pieces on the right and equally important, numerous assists for Bobby Zamora's record breaking strikes. Mark McGhee was later playing him in midfield after some problems with maintaining full fitness, following a tough term in div1. Watson resumed in McGhee's Championship squad a further nine months later, having suffered troubles with pain in both feet. Unfortunately Watto started only one fixture at beginning of 2005 and three subs apps in all. He was released when '04/5 finished, recording 197 apps and scoring 14 goals. In fact his last goal was at Port Vale in the last game before BHA were promoted as back-to-back champions in 2002. Paul Watson came from Hastings and was a Brighton fan as well. He played at Gillingham but met up with Micky Adams at Fulham, then going on to Brentford with his ex-player-manager. Of his own special dead-ball skills he said, 'to be honest a lot are the same free kicks and corners that I'd been doing since at Fulham so I've got a bit used to them. The quick ones I took with Bobby was just between him and me. We'd make eye contact and if I'd put it in the right place, nine times out of ten Bobby put it away.' Watson was last seen as a Crawley sub in the Sussex Senior Cup final of May '08. He was released by the Blue Square Prem outfit soon afterwards. Incidentally he'd come on at left back and looked quite ok against a new generation. Paul continued to play at non-league level in Sussex. He rejoined BHA in community footy coaching and took his tickets. In 2009 Watto became asst squad trainer. He had always been interested in sports science and after-all, spent some time on ex-physio Mal Stuart's treatment table! PW was latterly an integral part of BHA's comprehensive medical team, including Jim Joyce, Kim Eaton and Matt (stretch) Miller.
For a central defender not known for much up the other end, Danny Cullip scored late in his debut at Withdean on 18 Sept 1999 and jubilantly ran toward elevated A block to celebrate. Micky Adams had acquired him on loan from Brentford, following comeback from knee ligament damage. Within a month Danny signed a 50k deal, which was big money for cash-strapped Albion in those days. He quickly established in a homecoming side at no.27 and despite an indifferent Seagulls team term, was given player of the season award for 2000 with genuine displays. Cullip got the no.4 shirt thereafter, while other centre-halfs came and went. Danny played alongside Andy Crosby (no.6) as Brighton stormed to top of div3 in 2001 and with Simon Morgan (no.5), likewise in div2 for the subsequent successful season of 2002. After a typical fighting performance in Brighton's first stab at div1, Cullip was again voted fans favourite following unlucky relegation in 2003. During a turbulent year when Albion struggled in the Championship of '04/5, Cullip was transferred to Sheff Utd for 150k prior to Xmas. Mark McGhee said, 'every week there seems to be a new obstacle put in the club's way which affects the stadium, finances and ultimately the team that runs out on the pitch.' Danny deliberated, 'as I said to the Chairman, it wasn't all about money. At 29 it was too good an opportunity to turn down.' Apart from being a dependable and tough tackling defender, DC or Driscoll as he was known (ask Oatway) used to chip in with a goal here and there. Mostly they were headers from corners, like one that won the div3 title on a night to remember. Occasionally he let fly with boots too, as at Portsmouth, when div1 appeared harder for our team but well within his capabilities. Cullip's career peaked at Brighton with 220 apps and he played at Forest in '06/7 and again Withdean for Gillingham in '07/8. He was ploughing a centre-backs trade in non-league at Lewes when dropping out of FL. Later to become a leading light there. Danny worked for Albion in the Community and retired from playing due to injury in season '9/10.
Brighton hosted a div3 home fixture against Exeter with a noon k-o on 3 January 2000 for one of the first new millennium matches. This gave advantage to a team that had scored 21 times in year1 at homecoming Withdean and guess what? Darren Freeman netted the nationwide initial score of 2000 and removed his no.7 stripes to expose a personal new century, numero uno message written on a T-shirt. Giant Italian striker Lorenzo Pinamonte (no.35) also notched as first foreigner, while BHA won 4-2 during a one in a thousand contest. It wasn't the first time Freeman had hit headlines for six, actally bagging a hat-trick on day1 in a Micky Adams inspired and motivated 6-0 opening to the Withdean era. Adams had got local boy Darren from Brentford and along with other imports, revamped Albion in front of 6000 each fortnight in north Brighton suburbs. Freeman completed 37 league apps, scoring 12 goals as a sort of aux centre foward. He was also booked four times before being sent off twice - all prior to middle of November! Hernia problems the following term of '00/01 curtailed Darren's record to 15 lg apps, with only 5 starts. He was forced to retire after pre-season of 2001. Many moons later he was manager at Whitehawk, when that club had a FA Vase cup run in winter of 2010. He hoped to oversee a team playing at Withdean in 2011 while new facilities were built at East Brighton.
Allocated no.24 in the 1999 inaugural season, due to late signing from Chester, Andy Crosby eventually established an effective c-d partnership with (no.27) Danny Cullip. This season of '99/00 was innovative, not only for beginning the Withdean era but also in serialising squad numbering and 5 subs on the bench. Anyway Crosby racked up 35 league apps (Cullip 32) against strong competition for div3 places. (no.5) Darren Carr got to 19, (no.4) Keith McPherson 25, (no.6) Gary Hobson 6 and (no.16) Ross Johnson 9. An enhanced Albion fit for a promotion challenge in '00/01, saw now no.6 Crosby on 34 apps vie with (no.23) Matt Wicks 24 to be alongside (no.4) Cullip 38. (no.5) Carr made merely 2 apps before disappearing. Cullip and Crosby collected a red card apiece but also champ's medals in May 2001. Andy certainly deserved his fourth tier accolade of impressed metal, so it was something of a surprise when Simon Morgan (no.5) came straight in at c-d for a div2 back-to-back promo push. Crosby was left out in the proverbial cold and like Wicks too, done a runner before winter proper. He moved back up north and enjoyed a half decent career playing for Scunthorpe, including a rearguard season struggling in the Championship. He became assitant manager there as Scunny bounced back from L1 via play-offs. in autumn of 2010, Crozza moved back south again to So'ton, joining old Iron boss Nigel Adkins in L1 management there.
WITHDEAN ERA 2000 - 2002
ADAMS assembled a group of players that enhanced those remaining in 2000 and went on to win dual championships, div3 in 2001 and then div2 for 2002. Peter TAYLOR who took over as boss in 2001 did very little to alter those personnel. For div3; Bobby Zamora and Paul Brooker signed permanently, also Richard Carpenter, Nathan Jones, Lee Steele (fwd), Steve Melton (mf), Matt Wicks (c-d), Michel Kuipers and Mark Cartwright (gk) initially. Senior pro Phil Stant and Mickey Thomas both later came down for the run-in. Youth team prospects Adam Virgo and Dean Hammond also got a squad no. Then next term for div2; Simon Morgan (c-d), Geoff Pitcher (mf), Dirk Lehmann (fwd) and Robbie Pethick (utility), then later Daniel Webb (fwd), Dave Lee and Junior Lewis (mf), Simon Royce and Chris Jones (gk) and also Phil Hadland and Wayne Gray (fwd). Kids from U19s Dan Harding and Dan Marney similarly received shirt numbers. Coach John Keeley was registered emg stand-by keeper.
Years 2-3 Squad 2000 - 2002
1 Kuipers (GK), 2 Watson, 3 Mayo, 4 Cullip, 5 Carr then Morgan, 6 Crosby later Lewis, 7 Freeman then Pitcher, 8 Rogers, 9 Hart, 10 Oatway, 11 Brooker, 12 Carpenter, 13/14 Steele, 14 Aspinall later Stant, 15 N Jones, 16 R Thomas then Lehmann later Gray, 17 Ramsay later Hadland, 18 Packham (GK), 19 Cartwright (GK) then Harding, 20 Melton, 21 Marney, 22 Virgo, 23 Wicks later Lee, 24 M Thomas then Wilkinson, 25 Zamora, 26 Pethick, 27 Hammond, 28 McPhee, 29 Keeley (gk coach), 30 Webb, 31 Royce (GK) later C Jones (GK).
Originally on-loan for a month from Bristol Rovers, Micky Adams brought Bobby Zamora to this club in February 2000. The lanky kid previously had a short spell at Bath and couldn't stop scoring. He notched on his debut in a Withdean draw, then got a hat-trick at Chester as Brighton turned a lacklustre season around. Dick Knight made a six figure offer for Rovers reserve in pre-season but this was rejected. Just before opening day of '00/01 campaign, Zamora joined BHA and negotiations included a hefty sell-on clause to clinch the deal. Bobby took no.25 and scored 14 goals by start of return fixtures in January 2001. He doubled that tally after his 20th birthday, before Brighton swept to div3 silverware in May. Our talisman said, 'we're all professionals - we get paid to do a job and we just go out there and do our job.' The following season '01/2 was similarly sensational. Zamora said, 'the way we're going I'd be silly to leave. We can step up another division quite easily.' Brighton had turned down a 1.2 million bid, much later allegedly upped to 2 mill from Cardiff and eventually got on with chasing consecutive promotions. Goals kept going into opponents nets and lots were coming from Bobby. He'd got to 15 in the league by New Year 2002, including a record breaking run of 10 in 10 games on the roll for all competitions. Peter Taylor replaced Adams and BZ said, 'it's a buzz for the team - you don't get to manage England without having ability and we're hoping he can carry on the good work.' At end of another fantastic season, Brighton won the div2 title and again Zamora got 28 league goals to boot. This included a fourth career hat-trick but most were singles that often tipped the balance in Albion's favour. Taylor said, 'he's not just a goal scorer, he's a hard-working forward that helps us keep the ball and helps us get it back.' Taylor had U21 coaching experience and Zamora had qualified to join those ranks. In '02/3 at higher level, Bobby was injured early in the season but came back to play a major part in the fight for div1 survival. He got 14 goals from 35 apps, not a bad ratio at all considering Albion's typical lower table negative goal difference. In July 2003 Bobby Zamora transferred to Spurs for 1.5 million. Things didn't work out there, although he continued in the Prem with W Ham. He then went to Fulham for '08/9. For us the boy done good. In Aug 2010 Bobby got an England app, coming on as sub at Wembley in a friendly. Not much later in the Prem he busted a leg and so revisited BHA for a L1 fixture at W'dean, hobbling on crutches.
In the winter of 2000, Paul Brooker arrived at Brighton on a 3 month loan. He was a fast raiding winger and had been with Micky Adams previously at Fulham. Paul said, 'he seemed to have this great desire to succeed. He took over as manager when we were in the third division and straight away we got promoted.' Bobby Zamora (no.25) also joined Albion on loan just prior to no.6 Brooker. An incredible 7-1 win away at Chester when both scored, revived slipping Seagulls springtime status after languishing in 18th place. Paul continued, 'my debut was an unlucky loss at Northampton, then I played in the last 14 games of the season and we were unbeaten.' Adams spent 25k to secure him permanently for '00/01 and their fun really began after Zamora transferred for 100k prior to opening day. Given the no.11 shirt, Paul played 41 times that term including a run of 17 subs apps. He said, 'at Plymouth I scored early in the game but we didn't realise how significant it was until we found other teams around us hadn't won, so we were up. In the end we finished ahead of Chesterfield - it proved to us we were the better side and deserved the title.' A second full season for those medal winners like Michel Kuipers (no.1), Richard Carpenter (no.12), Nathan Jones (no.15), Lee Steele (no.14) and Steve Melton (no.20) was bolstered by additions Simon Morgan (no.5) from Fulham and Robbie Pethick (no.26) once of Portsmouth. But Micky Adams left for Leicester soon after the start and Peter Taylor came in for '01/2. Brooker said, 'he didn't have to tinker that much. We carried on exactly as before. He didn't bring any new players in until we signed Junior Lewis on loan near end of the season. I thought we'd do ok but didn't expect us to win the title again.' In '02/3 at div1 standard, Brooker made 37 apps at higher level and revelled in finding more space to operate. On completion of that season when Brighton were unfortunately relegated, he moved to Leicester where Micky Adams had taken them back to the Premiership. It didn't work out for Paul or Mr Adams either and both ended up back in lower leagues. Paul Brooker came on as sub against Brighton at Brentford in '06/7. Bobby Zamora was at West Ham by then, still trying to find the net. Brooker tried non-league but dropped out of playing serious footy.
Albion stalwart no.12 Richard Carpenter, came to Brighton from Cardiff as a Y2k Bosman free transfer. Adams had tried to sign him previously but Chippy stayed an extra year in Wales. At an earlier time when B'ton were on the Goldstone skids, Carpenter was winning div3 promotion at Gillingham. In years following, when Albion erstwhile played home games up at Priestfield ('97-'99), he was at Fulham with Adams and yet more success. After another promotion at Cardiff, our man from Kent coasts and shores sidestepped a possible move to now div1 Gillingham - in favour of Sussex by the sea. Peter Taylor had meanwhile pushed Gills onward and upward but would no doubt, have appreciated Chippy's work ethic there. After taking over from Adams as B'ton manager in '01/2, he found out what might have been. He said, 'if he'd had real pace he would have played at the very top level.' Blimey, steady-on Mr T. Anyway, Carpenter definitely made the grade in div1, or Championship call it what you will, to soar to seven years with Seagulls.
Carpenter scored twice against Gillingham in Champ's contests at Withdean. In September of '02/3 he let fly a long range special, when we were two down and in need of a makeover at the back. The ball cannoned of both post and keeper before entering the net at speed. On Boxing Day in '04/5 Chippy did it again from 25 yards as was his party piece, to open his account for another Championship campaign. In '05/6 he only scored one and in some respects, it was a handful of vital goals from mid-field that had previously helped Brighton forwards - in both senses! Carpenter said, 'I'd like to thank the fans for their support over the years. They have always been good to me.' He moved on in '06/7 and played for Conference South side Welling Utd. The club is not far off that A2 dual carriageway to London, from a route through Gillingham. Perhaps he just prefered an immediate return to reside nearer his roots in hills, fields and green spaces of Kent, than to shut up shop in Sussex. B'fans said good luck mate and thanks for everything. In 2010-11 he made some apps for Darren Freeman's Whitehawk.
In 1999 Dick Knight wanted BHA to progress on and off the field and gave Micky Adams a futuristic 21st century brief. The brand new city of Brighton & Hove had approved land at Falmer for a community stadium and the club was hoping to submit a planning application asap. Adams added to his squad in Y2k with a number of quality signings necessary to raise the bar for a jump out of div3. In year one at Withdean, a left footed wingback Nathan Jones was sent-off playing for Southend. However Adams had seen enough to get him to sign for Brighton, along with likes of Zamora (no.25), Brooker (no.11), Carpenter (no.12) etc to replace those considered below par for a promotion challenge. Jones figured at no.15 and although a recognised left back, also played in midfield - completing 41 apps in '00/01 title winning campaign. He scored two in an early Withdean fixture with a BHA win 6-2 and the verbal Welshman said, 'the scoreline flattered Torquay.' His versatility as a sub allowed Adams 451 formation to be changed as per circumstances to keep a half decent run of results going. Having achieved a trophy and got to div2, Brighton attempted to repeat their charge up the leagues. Nathan said, 'if we all stick together, keep working hard and have a little bit of luck then we definitely do have a chance.' For most of '01/2 term, Jones was a first choice selection. Adams left in October 2001 and Peter Taylor took charge. It wasn't until the following February when Junior Lewis (no.6) was drafted-in to add extra driving force, that Jonesy and fellow midfielders Oatway (no.10) and Rogers (no.8) were often benched. A solid first eleven backed by options of bringing experienced men like Jones, stormed to a successive table topping season. In '02/3 Nathan Jones struggled to make an impact, merely getting 16 starts and 12 times as sub. With Steve Coppell attempting a miracle, he struck a fantastic shot at Forest for possibly goal of the season but otherwise didn't convert. Back in League1 Jonah was more in his element and racked up 36 league apps before Albion reached play-off stages. Nathan's self assessment prior to that Millennium Stadium special tie was, 'a Welsh wing wonder. It's great to be in my home town to play a final. A dream come true and wouldn't want to be here with any other group of lads in the world.' For a Championship campaign of '04/5 Jones found opportunities to figure in the sixteen limited. He made only 3 starts and 16 sub apps, so it came as no surprise to be released by Mark McGhee as Albion somehow survived on the last day. Nathan Jones popped up again as left back at League1 Yeovil Town, when Albion played 'em in '06/7, '07/8 and '08/9 also becoming Glovers asst mngr.
W'dean - FA Cup
Go to the Withdean era tab and click previous encounters for clubs shown with F in the list.
In early Nov '10 for FAC round1 at W'dean, we drew 0-0 against non-league Woking. At Kingfield for the replay, it was 2-2 aet and Seagulls flew on - 3-0 via penalties. R2 versus FC United, again at Withdean, resulted in 1-1 stalemate. We won the replay 4-0. In Jan '11, R3 versus Portsmouth, at Withy again, Seagulls flew 3-1. At end of the month we went to Watford in R4 and won 1-0. Up next were Stoke away for R5. Ooops, lost 3-0. Previous year for FAC r4, BHA visited Aston Villa in Jan '10 and got beat 3-2. earlier in r3 at New Year, we squeezed past Torquay 0-1 at Plainmoor. For r2 in late Nov '09 B'ton entertained Rushton & Diamonds winning 3-2. In r1 of early Nov, Albion went to Wycombe and drew 4-4. Back at W'dean replay we won 2-0. In '08, B'ton first drew 3-3 wiv Hartlepool at our place. Then went up to theirs and got done 2-1 in the replay. In Jan '08 BHA surprisingly went out of the FA Cup in round3 to Mansfield 1-2 at Withdean. We'd beaten Cheltenham 2-1 in r1 after a replay (1-1) and Torquay 2-0 away in r2 - see '07/8 archived reports. Dean Wilkins faced another 'first' in Nov '06 and didn't want to be knocked out by it. Over four previous seasons Brighton only had to compete in the FA Cup round1 once, in '03/4 as a League1 side. Our record in this prestigious competition is not great during the Withdean era, considering we were three times playing in your actual Championship. Albion had not gone beyond round3 and as in the League Cup, also tripped up against lesser sides - apart obviously from stronger ones. On FAC1 Saturday in 2006, Northwich Victoria from Nationwide Conference made the journey to Withdean, which is slightly further than Aldershot, Woking or Crawley and certainly vastly different in terms of a pure football ground. It was by all accounts an entertaining spectacle - 8-0 see '06/7 reports. Also click Stafford Rangers 3-0 (r2) and West Ham 0-3 (r3) from archive lists.
In the previous season '05/6, Coventry came to our comprehensive sports complex and snatched victory 0-1, to be included in the draw for round4. We'd fallen to a fellow tier two side in r3 while only a 6700 audience looked on. Brighton had suffered from what Mark McGhee called the Withdean effect, where even near 8000 sized crowds were left well short in more ways than one. Together with an equivalent to league relegation form, we feebly went out to that one-nil reversal. Goals had been hard to come by and writing was scrawled on an inadequate suburban stadium wall, 'wot, no goal scorer?' The truth remained that there wasn't any money to buy one. Micky Adams went back to his brand-new shiny Ricoh Arena, planned a sky blue Premiership future and felt sorry for old mates. Lewes District Council meanwhile sought a Judicial Review in the High Court and a black cloud of depression hung above Brighton & Hove on that dreary January '06 day in our winter of discontent. Go to Withdean era tab and select Coventry from previous encounters menu.
What a difference a year makes. A day out in London, even post Xmas & New Year is still to be savoured and Brighton fans had gone to White Hart Lane in '05 by the odd five and a half thousand. Spurs supporters hot-footed to Tottenham and 36,000 turned up, which at 30 to 50 quid a seat is an awful lot of dosh. Championship Albion took on Prem giants following some half decent results for '04/5, keeping us safely above the drop zone. Almost in reaction to dismal home surroundings, Brighton love playing in big stadia and often produce a relative rise in standard. Spurs allowed Seagulls time and space to soar and so we saw a very useful performance, in a r3 cut and thrust cup atmosphere. With eight minutes left it showed one apiece on the board and a replay was definitely on. Then a piece of brilliance from one of several Internationals in white and navy blue, gave those metropolitan big boys a path to progress. BHA got beat 2-1 but felt far from down and out. There was hope for a positive gathering of momentum, to go push ahead and establish in FL's second tier. See also Tottenham from Withdean era page and other teams shown with F in index.
In '03/4 it involved a round1 trip to Lincoln 1-3 in a colourful fall during November, a week after Mr McGhee had taken the manager's job and seen his div2 (L1) charges scrape a draw at autumnal Peterborough. A debacle similar to those old Goldstone FA Cup shocks prevailed as Imps ran in three for one against. An unimpressive FAC record thus continued in front of an incredulous new boss. He said, 'I think it unacceptable for any team to lose to another from a lower division'. Brighton had alarmingly lost their way when Steve Coppell resigned in October and seasonal changes were afoot. McGhee stated on recovering from a suckers knockout blow, 'I will look thoroughly at younger players in the club. If there are any good enough however young, I'll not be afraid of playing them'. So rolling dice had been thrown which we wished would subsequently reveal all the right numbers.
The first time Brighton had reached div1 or the Championship in '02/3, we were drawn away in round3 at Norwich 1-3, three weeks after pinching three points there in the league. It had been a bonus Xmas present on Boxing Day '02, when Albion survived a second half battering to lead a charmed life in our area. An action replay almost followed in the cup tie with Seagulls flying into a lead just after half time, rather than before as in that league match. Suddenly the tape broke and chances ended up in our net, where as they'd done everything but in the original festive meeting. In fact a floodlight failure had postponed a yuletide schedule from Sat 4 Jan to a Tue eve k-o contest, ten days later. Steve Coppell's philosophy assumed a level of performance would determine where the team would relatively be towards end of a very tough season. He was trying to turn relegation certainties into survivors and although making it happen, couldn't be expected to regularly go beat top ten outfits - especially in cup competitions.
Brighton had been on promotion parade for a second successive season in '01/2, when Peter Taylor was our gaffer. At the halfway stage we were in third place in div2 (L1), having slipped off top slot through a number of recent draws. FA Cup round1 had seen Shrewsbury dispatched 1-0 at Withdean. Another home tie for round2 resulted in Rushden & Diamonds going out by 2-1 and both scraps were witnessed by 5500, which was around 1000 less than for a Nationwide sponsored fixture. Championship consolidators Preston came down from North End to Sussex by the sea for a round3 work out 0-2. They had undergone a resurgence, rising from div3 (L2) in '96 to win div2 (L1) in 2000. In 2001 PNE reached a play-off final and were a kick in the shirt, or rather spot from the Premiership. Those who braved chilly weather in suburban B'ton on a Tuesday night, watched a clash of a good team against class opponents. On the Saturday before, Brighton had incurred only a third season's defeat up at Wigan, which came after a two week break due to prolonged South Downs snowfields. In order to make the grade at higher level, we had to demonstrate competitiveness. Albion missed a penalty when already one-nil down and bowed out to a late second soft giveaway to Lilywhites. Seagulls had been grounded by a higher flying outfit and also taught a valuable lesson in differences between desire and rigid examination, aspiration and apparent level of reality.
See Scunthorpe 1-2 (r2) in Withdean era list and Aldershot 6-2 (r1) in Clubs index for 2000 results. Plus double H&A bonus Peterboro (1-1) 3-0 (r1) and Plymouth (0-0) 1-2 (r2) from W'dn era list for ties and replays in 1999.
Post championship seasons, there was a desperate need for Wilkins young squad to play in and thereby experience as many knock-out rounds as possible. Round2 always beckoned like a December beacon, lighting a road to glory or premeditated giant killing. A heart-breaking defeat at Southend in the '06 League Cup, revealed what fate can unexpectedly twist into any competition - as long as you're still left in the next draw. Eat your heart out Adams! It may be jumping the gun but we really, really would like to start each New Year included on the list for round3. Somewhere filled with 30,000 plus seats would be quite a nice place to visit again for 5000 Brighton fans - like Villa, West Ham, or Spurs.
W'dean - League Cup
Go to Withdean era tab for all League Cup tie histories, shown with L against opponents.
Concerning the League Cup, BHA's run has been pedestrian to say the least. But hey, it's always an evening out - topical in late summer at Withdean. But in '10 we went to Northampton and lost 2-0. For '09 it was away at Swansea of all places to go west - they done us easy 0-3. In '08 Brighton first beat Barnet 4-0 in R1 at home. We next drew with Man City 2-2 aet for R2 at ours. And then won the shoot-out 5-3. Derby done us 1-4 in R3 at W'dean. For '07 BHA got ko'd in round1 at Cardiff 0-1 and in '06 initially got past Boston 1-0 at W'dean. Albion then went out in R2 at Southend 2-3 after leading by a single goal with minutes left to play. In '05 we saw an August night humiliation in R1 away to Shrewsbury 2-3, after being ahead with ten minutes left to count down. In '04 we bombed in R1 again, at home to Bristol Rovers 1-2, in a twist of fate. Although taking an early lead from a Butters nut, Albion conceded two inside half an hour to almost ludicrous defensive errors. A crowd of four thousand could then, for all the difference another hour made, have an early exit - just like our er, cup heroes.
In '03, prior to other LDV/FAC shenanigans, we reached round2. Brighton were drawn away first to Bristol Rovers, edging past them 1-0 at the Memorial Stadium. A spectacular over-head kick for the winner by McPhee, sent us into R2 - a memorable stat. Up at distant Middlesbrough and watched by ten thousand, Brighton went down 0-1 aet for a small taste of Premiership fare, Riverside style. The previous season '02 was also full of hope. BHA 'cruised' past Exeter 2-1 aet at Withdean R1, whilst in the midst of a league, long losing run. However, reality had set in when trounced by Ipswich at Portman Road for a September R2 elimination. Hammond, on only his second appearance, pinched an eighth minute lead. Virgo got to start a first game of that tumultuous div1 campaign. By half time Town were ahead and though the score remained unchanged Albion, local kid prospects and all knew yet more defeat at 1-3. A kind of reverse scenario applied to R1 of '01 at home, when in div2 we hammered then div1 Wimbledon (who?) 2-1, with two Zamora vital statistics. It fell apart when Prem outfit Southampton, came to our place and spanked us 0-3 - in those terrible hours of 9/11. On that day the world changed, a new order of events unfolded with each year and around this time, through football we remember.
In August 2000 B'ton met Millwall in the League Cup, over two legs home and away. Albion lost 1-2 at W'dean with 6000 present. Lions looked a good unit and smashed two in after mistakes in defence. Their quality of finishing was Championship standard and a real eye opener to BHA ambitions. Watson drove a free kick through an eleven man wall strung across their six yard box for a very bizarre score. B'ton worked at it but unfortunately couldn't level the tie. Team - Cartwright, Watson, Cullip, Crosby, Mayo, Freeman (Jones), Carpenter (Rogers), Oatway (Melton), Brooker, Hart, Zamora. For our equivalent league2 campaign of '00/1 B'ton were defeated in 3 of 4 initial fixtures, to end August in 21st, or the berth immediately above a bottom three. It was almost a spectre of those bad old years at Goldstone & Gillingham. Millwall were hoping to improve on play-off places from their last term 5th position finish.
Up at the Den, Albion showed they had got their act together at last. Over 750 die-hards pushed the SE16 London gate to er, 5200 - well, it was a work day in September. A first half wonder strike on the stroke of break-time put Lions one ahead. It was all Albion in the second 45 min, that they hoped to extend by another 30. Seagulls pulled one back from a Jones tap in, following up good work by Brooker 1-1. However, an equaliser wouldn't come but not for want of trying and lost 3-2 on aggregate. Team - Cartwright, Watson, Cullip, Wicks, Mayo, Rogers (Brooker), Carpenter, Oatway, Jones, Hart (Thomas), Zamora.
Seagulls flew through their league campaign on the back of that performance in docklands. A small step for the fledgling chicks but a giant swoop for the big bird eight months later. They eventually joined Millwall in a Championship equivalent in 2002. Millwall were also promoted in 2001, to division1 after a new manager came in and revamped their fortunes - yes, a certain Mark McGhee.
In 1999 it was div2 Gillingham, 0-2 home and same away. There is some fateful irony in that we'd been using their pitch previously, to play div3 home fixtures for those last two years. Incidentally, Peter Taylor got Gills promoted in 2000.
W'dean - FL Trophy
Go to the Withdean era tab and click previous encounters for clubs shown; A, D or J in listing.
At a convenient time near to the end of the last 20th century decade, Brighton came to play at Withdean as a division3 side. Millwall seemed to be a perennial division2 outfit and so never the twain shall meet, except for knockout competitions. In December 1998 Millwall hammered Horton's 'heroes' team 5-1, at Priestfield in the Auto Windscreens Shield. A little later, our Goldstone glory ex-player went off home to Port Vale and Jeff Wood took over, plus got the sack shortly after. Then Micky Adams began to knock a reborn Albion eleven into shape for the new millennium. Millwall arrived at W'dean to play on a night in December 1999. That occasion was an AWS round1 tie and was one of five straight home games in an extended fortnight. No true Brighton fan could forget the last match of that horrendous sequence, when Rochdale (5) incredibly won 4-3. About 5000 turned up on one of the wettest evenings a south coast venue could provide for pre-Xmas outdoor entertainment. Brighton had also lost an FA Cup round2 replay 1-2 to Plymouth (3), on the last night of November. Initially 10 days earlier, they'd drawn 0-0 down at Home Park. There were 7400 in the west country and 5700 at W'dean for our return tie. Previously in div3 fixtures, Lincoln (1) had gotten a 2-2 draw witnessed by that same 5700 faithful on a Tuesday night, seven days beforehand. Following this, on Saturday 27 Nov watched by a near 6000 sell-out, Northampton (2) gave us a footballing lesson and left a new sports complex worthy 3-1 winners. The only victory in that crammed period was against Millwall (4) 1-0, in front of a mere 2400 paying punters. Those stay at home types missed a real AWS treat. Hart grabbed a last minute winner, his first goal for seven appearances as centre forward. Team - Walton, Watson, Crosby, Carr, Hobson, Campbell, Rogers, Oatway, Aspinall, Hart, Ramsay. Round2 was away at div2 Bournemouth, where 500 B'ton fans saw Seagulls k-o'd 1-0 in front of 4300 at Dean Court - or Fitness First Stadium turned 90 degrees. See '07/8 archive for next 5 home fixtures in a row!
The AWS competition had morphed into LDV vans trophy, where Albion met more div2 London opponents by name of Brentford in round2 of Jan 2001. We'd previously got past Cardiff 2-0 (r1) at home during December 2000. Withdean had been a quagmire on New Years Day, when Southend dropped in to do a div3 double over us. B'ton's loss on the opening afternoon of that season was seen by massed ranks of 3500 away fans. At this corresponding reverse fixture home debacle, 6500 popped along to see footy farce on a mud pile. The pitch was re-laid and so Brighton took their homeless LDV tie over the Kew Bridge to get it done and dusted. Bees beat Seagulls 4-2 on penalties after 2-2 aet, when 2400 got into late, then later Griffin Park. But hey, we've never had much luck at their 'compact' place up river or generally in west London. In autumn of 2001 B'ton got to r3 under Peter Taylor. See Withdean era histories for Swansea 2-1 (r1), Wycombe 2-1 aet (r2) and Cambridge 1-2 aet (r3).
Check the LVD round3 result versus QPR in Dec 2003 for confirmation of progress, when BHA were again in this comp after home wins v Forest Green 2-0 (r1) and Boston 3-1 (r2). Brighton took 1600 to Loftus Road with 7500 there in total. Albion gave a good account of themselves but were knocked out 2-1. By some sort of footy coincidence McGhee had been appointed BHA manager a little over a month prior as div2 Brighton had just slipped up 1-0 at Bournemouth, then crashed 4-0 to Brentford on another futile night in the metropolis. We returned to Shepherds Bush for a div2 (L1) match in Jan 2004 with 1500 supporters in a 17800 crowd. Albion battered Rangers in a second half blitz, though couldn't get a goal to alter a losing 2-1 scoreline. Talk about history repeating itself in the Withdean era - see either A, D or J shown in club index under tab on Fatman Slims features page.
A couple of recent defeats in Nov '06, seen in the context of AWS & LDV k-o ties as above, probably didn't indicate a cause for concern in Bermondsey's JPT QF evening dust-up 1-1. Brighton and Millwall had seen enough of one another over the last couple of seasons to have penalties of huge portfolios. Historically we gave it a good go 3-2 on pens and that helped league form as a spin-off. Refer to '06/7 history and reports archives - also for Boston 2-0 (r1) and MK Dons 4-1 (r2). At least it's not too far into Sussex on the express train home, that's a bit of a knockout too. It all finally ended in tears at Bristol City 0-2 (s-f).
See Swansea 0-1 (s-f), Cheltenham 4-1 (q-f) and Barnet 2-1 (r2) reports for '07/8 JPT ties. In Aug '08 Albion didn't get a bye for round1 and went up to Northampton winning 1-0, which at least was different. Then there was a r2 tie at W'dean v Orient, drawing 2-2 and thus a pen contest. Albion won 5-4. We got Swindon at home next and done 'em 2-0 in the southern section quarter-final. It was up to Shrewsbury next for the semi. A 0-0 but got thru to final via shoot-out 5-4. Against Luton it was over H&A legs. At ours in Jan '09 we drew 0-0 - oh dear! Up at Ken Rd in Feb '09 it was 1-1. But B'ton went out on pens 4-3 - oh no! For '9/10 Albion got a bye in r1 and went to Orient for r2. We got done 0-1 to a v late goal - oh well! Then LO doubled the dose 0-2 at ours in r1 '10/11 - oh gawd!!!
The honourable Sir Richard Knight of Withdean, is now a legend and Life President but before May 2009 he was a very hard-working top banana. And apparently a bit of a visionary too...
What fictionally might have been as CHAIRMAN.
Not quite exactly ten years after Doncaster came to Brighton and played in that frantic very last game at the Goldstone Ground, they returned to what was then a springtime city. The venue for April 2007 was Withdean, which hosted a pretty ordinary mid-table run-in fixture in League 1. There was little to play for except pride in performance and thoughts that things can get better one day. Before too long many Brighton fans would be renewing season tickets for next season and also wondering where the last decade went. A win against Donny in the penultimate match of '96/7 had set up a final day relegation clash at Hereford and you know the rest. The following season Albion were again in deep trouble, playing home games miles away at Gillingham. It was only a truly dreadful run of results by relegated Doncaster that saved our record of seriously avoiding Conference football for two years running. For any number of previous seasons Brighton had been a div2 club with aspirations, if not expectations of higher achievement. That particular image was wrecked in the nineties and misplaced in the noughties. So did Rovers really do us a big favour way back then as they slipped out of the league? They have since played fixtures in 2007 at their brand spanking new Keepmoat Stadium and had nearly 8000 there when Bristol city visited during the run-in. Read into that mundane statement what you'd like to.
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In a twist of warp speed fate, Albion supporters read back pages of daily newspapers one hot day and recoiled in a horrific sweat. The summer of 1997 had turned into a nuclear winter wasteland, like remnants of ravaged, excavated Goldstone soil. BHA had surprisingly been voted out of the Football League at an emergency meeting for, 'failing to ensure the club would return to its populated catchment area.' Mr Knight and his consortium had all but officially taken over the Board, so proved powerless at an eleventh hour to stop rot at the top. Albion had been caught between the Devils and deep blue and white sea. Or put another way, appeared washed up by workings of satanic maladministration. Hereford were happily reinstated to div3. Brighton thus started the '97/8 season ground-sharing with Worthing until Withdean could quickly be updated to take three thousand people watching semi-pro outfits. Now nice Mr Knight already had a vision of a brighter future and motivated his team to work at providing plans for a new home. In a parallel universe, manager Steve Gritt had released many of the squad and elected to build a team fit to challenge for FL status once more. Due to vagaries of time and space, let alone income from bums on seats, a harsh reality took hold. Albion's struggles continued on and off the field and we were merely mid-table mediocrity by next May. Conversely we had 'carefully' consolidated in the Conference. The next campaign saw Brighton joined by Doncaster in lower league fare. In an epic meeting at Withdean, a 1-1 draw held old adversaries together in a north-south divide, to avoid a still lesser tier of north-south regional football. Donny lead from a first minute penalty and had resisted Albion pressure for a further 89 minutes. Then former Essex Senior League player Hart, forged forward as two minutes of stoppage time drew to a close. He was clattered by a big, red hoop-shirted dirty northern bar-steward but somehow chipped the ball over this fall-guys body. From angle of lines marking extremity of the area, OGH unleashed a left foot drive that beat Rovers goalie by sheer quality of pace, power and placement. Less than two thousand people pondered if this could possibly be the start of something big for the new millennium.
In 2002 Doncaster were the first club to visit Brighton's new ground at Falmer, the 'Forever Fans United Stadium.' One hundred years of Albion history had not terminated in a retail park in Hove but was rejuvenated on a Southdowns chalk slope with apparently full sustainability. B&H City Council had voted by 11 to 1 to approve building a 12000 capacity, very low profile modern arena outside boundaries of the new National Park but providing a stepping stone to access an area of outstanding natural beauty. Doncaster came, saw and conquered on that day but realised this magnificent structure was something they could build in facsimile in south Yorkshire - if they could just get back into div3. The Gods of Football duly deemed it to be so. Meanwhile Brighton had developed a competitive side through a prolific youth policy and use of Withdean as a reserve and U18 venue. Over a period they had specially established two successful teams in both the Combination and Youth Alliance leagues.
On the final day of this inaugural season Brighton hosted Hereford for FL honours. Leading goalscorer Zamora smashed a left foot volley from outside the area to seemingly break deadlock after an hour. The ball hit a post just as in May '97 and rebounded into play. Super sub Brooker raced-in and hammered the loose ball into an inviting net. Deja vu or what? Promotion was assured, while Hereford...
In a sort of flash forward, Mr Knight latterly had steered the club to climb several divisions of the pyramid and wasn't stopping for anything. Planning permission was sought to increase capacity of Falmer's FFU venue, to make it attractive to visiting Championship outfits and their travelling support. Doncaster had built their Keepmoat Stadium in the interim and last century Belle Vue was just another housing development opposite the racecourse. The government of an ever changing world decided there was no opposition case to answer at Falmer, where local politics had bled community services dry within borders of our landlocked County Town. They continued to tilt at escarpment windmills and refused to comply with terms and conditions of surrounding NP status. Their future seemed bleak as increasing visitor numbers swelled many a small town in Sussex. Construction work, including the Wembley style arch began for 2010 completion. It was all part of an old fan's dream but these can and do happen in reality if you maintain belief long enough. Truth is sometimes much stranger than footy-fan pulp fiction. Ask Dick Knight if you doubt it! You couldn't make it up. He didn't and look what really happened.
Withdean Era -
3 league titles; League2 - '00/01, League1 -'01/02 & '10/11. Promotion via L1 play-offs in '03/4. Four promotions in 12 years at Withdean. What a story.
Footnote: Dick Knight stepped down as supremo of Albion in the Community during the close season of 2013. He was also granted a Master of Arts by Brighton Uni for services to community projects.
Our Community Stadium CEO had quite a job on at Falmer.
Martin Perry, as Chief Executive of BHA, had responsibility for delivering Falmer. He once worked on McAlpine's special projects. He could not have anticipated how long a job babysitting a community stadium would be.
During the nineties quite a number of football grounds were well past their sell-by date. A new generation of stadiums was coming on stream and it seemed like a good idea at the time to try and get one. Towns and cities that many years previously had attracted large crowds, fell into this prime footy wish-list category. Brighton and Huddersfield were two such likely candidates - both urgently in need of an overdue makeover. When McAlpines were building a super, shiny stadium below heights of Kilner Bank, Huddersfield were just so desperate to play there. In conjunction with the Rugby Club, local council and Football Trust, they had made a plan almost come to fruition. In the '94/5 season Town upped sticks and moved in anyway, with three sides completed. At the end of that season Huddersfield were promoted via the play-offs to what is now called the Championship. That would have been thought very unlikely, had they been forced to stay at decrepit Leeds Road - which was then sold.
Brighton had been in similar difficulties by comparison, as the final twentieth century decade dawned. Albion had fallen on hard times and more so, from not establishing as an equivalent top ten Championship club. On relegation from the second tier in 1992, BHA 'remained' in div2 because they were renumbered on formation of the Premiership. The Goldstone Ground 'safety' capacity had been significantly reduced and search for a new stadium site was always 'ongoing'. The club appeared trapped, not only by unhelpful local authorities and sanctity of Green Belt but through self-inflicted abysmal financial management. Hove Council later also turned down a scheme for warehouses on the Goldstone site, that might initially have alleviated crippling debts and huge tax burden. By 1995 power had shifted into asset strippers clutches, who sold the Goldstone without securing an alternative home in Brighton & Hove. A new stadium remained all but a dream and sinking status of this football club was further eroded to become immersed in a total nightmare. After '95, Albion would not meet Huddersfield until 2001, when again we could only stand, stare and marvel at what might have been - little knowing what was actually still to come.
On 28 October 2005, Brightonfans.com were one of the first to announce 'Yes' - a verdict then just released by the ODPM, that upheld Falmer as the number one site for a community stadium. The case for Falmer hung in the balance after a first Public Inquiry. An apathetic anti lobby, presented as a pro-environment and conservation of ecology alliance, held sway with initial intractable Inspectors. In the second instant, they had to prove conclusively a viable alternative was forthcoming. Whereas in other localities a stadium would routinely be built at city limits, part of Brighton's problem was availability of land encompassed at the foot of surrounding South Downs. Further, an error in that paperwork granting planning permission left a loophole opponents could effectively exploit by seeking a Judicial Review.
In Sept '06 Brighton & Hove Albion may have lost three consecutive League 1 fixtures in a week but by October critically won a point of conjecture in an ongoing out-of-court battle of Falmer with Lewes District Council. A year after Prescott's verdict this undemocratic body guessed they could prolong legal processes as much as possible but were out manoeuvred by the FC, who instigated a preliminary hearing to circumvent formal High Court action. LDC realised the whistle was about to blow at the 90th minute for extra time and substituted their future protracted tactics, reverting to plan A. The government solicitor had previously offered matters be referred to Communities Minister Ruth Kelly, for inspection and consultation. This would include due consideration of all such questions LDC raised by way of challenge. Therefore a conclusive situation BHA and B&H city council actively encouraged, was available again as a method of categorically reaching an incontrovertible decision.
The gist of Lewes DC's current argument concerned the associated AONB. In a strange twist of fate, BHAFC applied first to B&HCC for planning permission within Unitary boundaries at Village Way. Clearly of necessity, adjacent land for an immediate transport 'drop-off' area was required, alongside the Droveway but fell into LDC's non-rural patch - although viewed seemingly an act of heinous bureaucratic provocation. This parcel has subsequently been grabbed by all those organisations the sub-county authority purport to represent like CPRE, to be passed around as 'prime downland' on a sensitive chalk slope. So a perceived audacious application to tarmac right up to a natural roadside boundary, was actually equally valid because proposed National Park limits were not originally established but open to public consultations. However, common sense did not prevail and a myriad of minor groups like the Society of Sussex Downsmen, fought to register remote ploughed up 'set-aside' as an integral field of regional recreational importance. Let's face it, there would be a bloody good carpark ready for expected out of county tourists, wishing to partake of a new NP promoted 'perfect' landscape. And remember, there would anyhow be an all year right of access to popular heritage in 'unspoilt countryside', as the ever trampled South Downs Way becomes some sort of back packers or mass ramblers' super highway to Brighton - not just a little busy beauty spot on alternate autumn/winter Saturday afternoons. Slight infiltration of the AONB didn't usurp the hold LDC attempted to justify but they couldn't stay elected ad-infinitum and eventually failed. Power exerted by those National Park civil administrators would make rescinding outdated byelaws the only true vocation of small town 'representatives'.
Martin Perry managed to retain his sanity throughout those above events and one day, which coincided with the anniversary of Withdean opening, received some really good news. His original experience of the Galpharm project helped with realising a vision for iconic Falmer. It was said he was the best signing Dick Knight ever made and not many in Sussex would argue. When Dick became chairman of BHA, he persuaded Martin to join the club full time and take responsibility for returning exiled Albion to Brighton. MP first had to sort out a homecoming to 'temporary' Withdean, then lead the team to plan for and build Falmer. Perry continued his lifes work at the Amex, with unveiling planning applications for increased stadium capacity and off-site car parking, plus development of training grounds in Lancing. Good job he was a true fan and not just a major construction professional.
Go to the Archive for Falmer tabs, to check out what happened during those years 1999 - 2011.
In mid March 2012, Perry stepped down as CEO to BHAFC but retained executive status as Managing Director. However he stayed as top banana of the Community Stadium Company until 2014 - in order to see completion of expansion to the Amex and provision of new training facilities for Brighton's Academy at Lancing.
Gory Years Managers '93-'99
PRE WITHDEAN ERA 1993 - 1999
Albion dropped from div2 to div3 at end of '95/6 when it was known all season that the Goldstone had been sold. So began the appointment of a series of managers leading up to the Withdean era.
year D Pt Fr Ag -GD Po ^ Manager -- Chairman - Home
93/4 2 59 60 67 -07 14 -- Brady - - - - - Stanley - Goldstone Gnd
94/5 2 59 54 53 +1 16 - - Brady - - - - Stanley - Goldstone Gnd
95/6 2 40 46 69 -23 23 R Brady/Case - Archer - Goldstone Gnd
96/7 3 49 53 70 -17 23 -- Case/Gritt -- Archer -- Goldstone Gnd
97/8 3 35 38 66 -28 23 -- Gritt/Horton - Knight -- Gillingham
98/9 3 55 49 66 -17 17 -- Horton/Wood/Adams Knight Gillingham
Liam BRADY ('93-'95) had a couple of seasons in div2 but could only finish in lower mid table. He resigned when his position became untenable. Jimmy CASE ('95-'96) lasted a year but couldn't stop a downward spiral. Steve GRITT ('96-'98) prevented the club going into oblivion but was Knight's first sacking. Brian HORTON ('98-'99) resigned before completing a year in the job, going off to Port Vale. Micky ADAMS came in soon after Jeff Wood ('99) appeared to be taking Albion too close to the drop again. So Knight fired him too.
The up and down nature of the incredible Withdean era does not exactly make it easy to compare consecutive like with like. Probably the best we can do is to grade each season appropriately as if they were for example, either big or small juicy morsels. In their own way all of these were a peach of a season, following trauma of loss of the Goldstone Ground and exile to Gillingham. Perhaps our background information should show respective range of sizing to appreciate over this last decade, fruits grown since a homecoming harvest.
year D Pt Fr Ag +GD Po ^ Manager - Chairman - Home
99/0 3 67 64 46 +18 11th - Adams -- -- Knight -- Withdean
00/1 3 92 73 36 +37 1st P Adams -- -- Knight -- Withdean
01/2 2 90 66 42 +24 1st P Adams/Taylor Knight Withdean
03/4 2 77 64 43 +21 4th P Coppell/McGhee Knight Withdean
06/7 2 53 49 58 -09 18th - McGhee/Wilkins Knight Withdean
07/8 2 69 58 50 +08 7th -- Wilkins -- -- Knight - Withdean
08/9 2 52 55 70 -15 16th - Adams/Slade Knight - Withdean
9/10 2 59 56 60 -04 13th - Slade/Poyet - Bloom - Withdean
10/11 2 95 85 40 +45 1st P Poyet -- -- Bloom - Withdean
The above represent seasons in the Withdean era when differences to mid to late nineties years are apparent. Micky ADAMS ('99-'01) created a new div3 side to kick-start the revival process at our converted north Brighton leafy suburb. Peter TAYLOR ('01-'02) took over and a div2 promotion challenge continued somewhat seamlessly. Mark McGHEE ('03-'06) was at the helm to steer BHA back to div1 via Millennium Stadium p-o final. Dean WILKINS ('06-'08) took charge with Albion back in League1 (div2) after McGhee was quickly relieved of duties. Brighton failed to reach p-os the following term and yet another manager perished. ADAMS ('08-'09) took the hot seat again for a very short second revolution. He'd failed by Feb and Russell SLADE ('09) came in with BHA in the drop zone. He got us out of it and became a hero. But he lost his job after only 8 months in charge. Gus POYET arrived with S American fanfare ('09-11) and did some sort of samba job to boot. Gus safely steered the club away from danger and next, in his first full year as a manager, gained a third title for BHA in twelve years at Withdean. That was amazing!
Well over a decade since those 20th century dark days and talk about ups and downs. For all its restrictions, Withdean hosted a period when the club was able to mount a push for Championship football. It had been a bit like, two steps forward and one back but was infinitely acceptable to those gory years at the Goldstone and then Gillingham. Withdean thus served a purpose and imagine what might yet be achieved, with fundamentals of a proper home and realistic finances in place. Apparently Tony Bloom is the man to deliver such miracles. He's got all it takes, money, ambition, calculated risk taking and above all, plenty of luck!
2 Goldstone Ground Managers
PRE WITHDEAN ERA
Early in '07/8 season the Albion gave a job to southern old-boy and ex-manager Barry Lloyd to go forth and find some new and exciting talent. He did this for three years as Chief Scout. Lloyd was BHA reserve and youth team coach in 1986 before stepping into the bosses job after nine months. His previous managerial career included a spell at Yeovil Town, when they successfully gained a place in the new national Alliance Premier League of 1979. Lloyd got Worthing up to speed in the Isthmian League then made a fateful jump into Football League. Following initial relegation to old div3, Lloyd rebuilt a Brighton side and got Martin Hinshelwood installed as chief coach. This useful partnership saw BHA once more get to within touching distance of original div1 by 1991. Barry Lloyd then became Managing Director, while Hinshelwood more or less ran the playing side. A sometimes volatile relationship with fans deteriorated over the next two seasons as Brighton fell to third tier football, while the Premiership took off. Albion were a selling club and basically Lloyd didn't have spare money to spend because high squad wages and growing debts took a toll from limited budgets. Increasingly this football club was in a desperate financial situation and fans perceived Lloyd as integral to an emerging debacle. A valuable asset in size and position of our Goldstone Ground, unfortunately was set against a background of claims by creditors and outstanding tax bills. By end of the 1992-3 season only sale of Brighton's goalkeeper averted a winding-up order. HM Inland Revenue offices were at Durrington and Lloyd personally delivered the face-saving cheque. In December 1993 he parted company with BHA and fans rejoiced. However he had done some good transfer business over several years and helped keep our club viable. There were also new stadium proposals, which perhaps received concerted and justified opposition but would not have left us homeless. A certain irony exists whereby those who relieved Lloyd of executive decisions quickly took BHA even further down a short Goldstone Lane to disaster. Hinshelwood and Lloyd kicked off a programme of developing youth players and that was something which continues to date.
BHA consistently turned out half decent youth teams since Withdean became our local pitch. A number of these kids came through to figure regularly in first elevens and they obviously have been coached to high technical specification. However we actually want to be a version of Championship hammers and not a mere League 1 anvil - hence another revised scouting regime. They say footballers brains are in their boots, well perhaps some of our baby-faced pro's and scholars should enrol for a psychology course at Sussex University. They'll be beating heads against a nearby red brick wall otherwise, as imported 'clever' players forever fill team-sheets on that aforementioned road to Falmer and beyond. Was it important young men of our county got heads into gear, apart from randomly racing around and using quick feet? Maybe ask Peter Taylor, he'd often deliberately thought U21 training things through.
BHA must be considered a true future Championship contender, although waiting time may depend on overall squad strength. There are plenty of smaller clubs that do gain entry to tier two but those similar 'Yeovils' of this country find it so much harder to stay put. Time would tell if class of '06/7 young pro's like Lynch, Cox, Robinson, Rents, Elphick, Fraser, Gatting, Sullivan, Fogden and Chamberlain could make a quantum leap themselves to FL divisions. Individually one of these should be around when we play Wolves, Ipswich or Burnley again. However it was highly unlikely they might ever represent one side collectively at any level, even if it was very close to home.
Brighton fans will recall a Sept 2004 visit to the City Ground alongside the River Trent, where there were flowers. Brian Clough had died a week previously and opposite Forest's club shop was a cellophane covered sea of blooms, all sorts of football mementoes, other trivia and also shirts. One of these was of blue and white stripes, as a touching tribute to his inspiring though brief excursion to the south coast, over thirty years before. The Chairman responsible for bringing such a big name to boost lowly Albion was Mike Bamber. Sadly, he too passed on but is remembered as prime mover and instigator of BHA's glory days. Clough deserted to Leeds after nine months of only popping over from the midlands, to stay in hotels and Brighton sued. In an out-of-court settlement, a year after raising Sussex hopes to fever pitch, the Messiah admitted letting down, 'the best Chairman I ever worked for'. Bamber had given Him total freedom, carte blanche but perhaps not enough money to eventually turn Albion into a full member of the elite. There was Boardroom talk over drinks, of a new ground but the Borough Council could hardly be described as being onside or remotely supportive. Inevitably it became a dream that slipped away but not finally put to rest. Of course, there will always be football's ups and downs over time. Bamber subsequently presided over our club in division 1 and a FA Cup final. Clough simultaneously took Nottingham Forest to a peak of European success. They were then reduced to League 1 status like little old us. Hey, it's still better than those gory days, ain't it? Although for decade after long twentieth century decade, an overriding assumption prevailed - Brighton definitely had potential.
Dick Knight has kept faith with Mark McGhee after seeing modern managers of Prem calibre like Micky Adams, Peter Taylor and Steve Coppell come and go. This FC had big ambitions, probably higher than those of on-the-make seventies and Falmer is very much top of a current agenda. Yes, potential was alive and well and living temporarily at Tongdean Lane, BN1 5JD, surrounded by beautiful parks, sumptuous residences and suburban affluence. Money abounds but seemingly for BHA, paid out as rent for a cramped, converted athletics arena and utility sports complex. The answer to our twenty first century conundrum is all to do with wrong location, relocation and right location. On 24 July 1999, Nott'm Forest were first visiting team to grace the pitch at leafy Withdean. However you wanted to view it, they were a big club and it had been a very long time since we'd entertained such a salubrious outfit. A tad downhill for the Reds since them on-the-up nineties, with relegation a huge shock. Nevertheless, possessing a fan base easily equal to most Championship upper class, they did get right back in there sooner, rather than later. Albion would kill to get half their average gate, although most of our long-suffering devotees are much more accepting of lower league fare than Forest faithful, who without mercy have 'murdered' a number of stop-gap managerial victims. If somehow finding out the mortal truth, Clough would maybe have a turn or two in his grave.
1 Goldstone Ground Player
PRE WITHDEAN ERA
Former Albion midfielder Alan Curbishley was once manager at West Ham, having replaced Alan Pardew when those blowing bubbles burst down at Boleyn Ground and Green Street was covered at length in tabloid brown stuff. Hammers had previously failed to somehow close out the FA Cup final of May '06, when a right old east-end knees up in Cardiff turned into a sickening second Wembley nightmare scene. It had been going from bad to worse since, whilst a new sugar daddy entered the Boardroom promising a sweet smell of success. Alf Garnet would have turned in his municipal grave, as even a hardened cynic might just believe, oi yeah, actually, money can buy everyfing.
Brighton played Charlton on 8 May 2001 in our own friendly cup final to celebrate winning the 3rd division title in our 100th year. It was also a testimonial for Malcolm Stuart and Jock Riddell, for years of 'over and above' service to Albion. Alan Curbishley had worked wonders at Charlton in their return to the Premiership that season and got them into the top ten. He had been at the helm since 1990, initially with Steve Gritt for a partnership that lasted five years. As an Albion player, Curbishley made 132 appearances before joining Charlton as coach. He had started at West Ham, coming through ranks of their Academy, so knew a bit about the place.
As a kid, Curbishley (whose name is Llewellyn) was spotted for potential and made an impact for both England schoolboys and youth teams. He was in the side for West Ham at the 1975 Youth Cup final. As a creative midfielder, he played nearly 100 times at Hammers and also got into England's U21 squad. In 1979 he went to Birmingham and enjoyed a successful spell back in division 1. A busted knee and moves to Villa and Charlton saw a slight blip but he helped Athletic up to top flite football. Barry Lloyd brought Curbishley to the Goldstone in 1987 and a go at Third Division tactics. However, he proved to be inspirational as a playmaker and Albion regained div2 status after that one season, with 84 points for 2nd place. As a manager, Curbishley twice took Charlton into the Premiership. After establishing Addicks there since 2001, he took leave of absence last term and sat back for an inevitable phone call from that fickle finger of fate. We assume having witnessed a lengthy stadium merry go round at the Valley, which included a short ground share with West Ham, Curbishley understandably passed on the unfulfilled Falmer farce, when instincts told him an old colleague was young enough to walk in his footsteps. Perhaps a lack of money shouldn't really be expected to buy everything.
In case you didn't remember, West Ham were once thrashed 6-0 at Reading. Big-time Charlies, Prem prima donnas and fragile super-egos were some of the more polite comments aimed in the direction of Hammers line-up. They'd allegedly put more effort into a wee small hours binge at Faces nightclub than that faceless performance over ninety minutes. Curbishley said, 'I'm very disappointed'. He had gone from hero to zero but was carrying a can for the big Bentley brothers who started believing their, WHU are you, 'oh wow, mega gees a week' hype. Big money and bling, arrogance and bad attitude had sent them on a downward spiral that even an eighty five million investment mighta failed to prevent crashing and burning like Icelandic lava in full flow. Meanwhile Curbishley had sixteen games to sort it. He did, so goes up there with Steve Coppell as a bloke Brighton fans admire, whatever happened while we were fleetingly in his still shell-shocked company. Btw, we'd also like given a little money just to buy something as well.
Alan Curbishley resigned from West Ham in September 2008. He said, 'the club made significant player decisions without involving me. I had no option but to leave.' He subsequently won compensation thru the courts and was available for the Albion job in 2009 but money isn't everything is it?