Wolves - Home, Withdean Era
Season 7 (H) 1/11/05 - 1-1 ~ Frutos
Mark McGhee had been boss at Albion for two years and over 100 matches. He said, 'I want to be the manager who takes us into that new stadium.' Adams, Taylor and Coppell had all baled out due to proper home-related subjects and hadn't done too bad as a result. McGhee actually wanted to stay prior to that recent positive Falmer announcement. He considered it a life-changing event also saying, 'I feel really excited about the whole prospect.' Brighton and their enthusiastic manager were in for a few debilitating shocks by the time another year had passed.
Henderson in his last game on loan from Villa, nearly kept a clean sheet. He blocked a shot 10 minutes from time but a rebound fell to a lone wolf who snapped up the morsel. Until then, B'ton had led from five minutes before half time. A killer second goal always seemed to be a missing ingredient to make a competitive performance into a winning one. Otherwise we could draw with anybody and invariably did. Albion ran out of puff and couldn't deal with a sub demonstrating fresh legs as Wolves rallied. McGhee countered by shoring up mid-field and tried to grind out victory. Up front it all rather fell in a heap, where we looked a little lightweight to say the least.
Henderson, Hart, McShane, Butters, Reid, Carole, Nicolas, Hammond, Frutos (El-Abd), Kazim-Richards, Knight (Robinson).
Champ's P 17 . W 2 D 10 L 5 . F 17 A 22 . Pt 16 Po 22
Season 6 (H) 14/9/04 - 0-1
Brighton & Hove Albion were skint again and Dick Knight had sent begging letters to everyone on an extensive mailing list for Sussex and way beyond. The Alive and Kicking appeal was underway to raise a sum to go toward eliminating a 2 million pounds deficit. In addition bucket collections and other donations were required for the Falmer for All campaign activities, to commence a seafront march a week later. Des Lynam said, 'Albion are in a league of their own with unique problems, It's a miracle the club has survived and I urge Seagulls fans to rally round.' To further heap on bad news, Dean Blackwell retired following a season out with a serious knee problem. Dave Lee also left the club and was one of a number of players destined to forsake the full time game over this fateful season.
Butters, who for an older pro had kept his fitness overall, was replaced when injured after an hour. By that time of the evening Albion had been struggling to get back into a match, where they trailed from 22 minutes. McGhee had brought on McPhee after 55 minutes and reshuffled three times to accommodate changes. He said, 'sometimes you have to do things in an unorthodox way. We're constantly thinking about possibilities, We're not just standing watching the game.'
A late quest for an equaliser failed as Brighton repositioned utility men to less than optimum results. We had not scored in the first half when superior and paid a price for conceding against run of play. Albion chased the game to an extent, where 433 and then 424 was employed at the death. Trouble was, it became more of an uphill task once reaching the 18 yard line - or final third for those anxious adjacent blocks A & B, or at the other end, H & J.
Kuipers, El-Abd (McPhee), Cullip, Butters (Harding), Mayo, Hinshelwood, Nicolas (Jarrett), Hammond, Currie, Knight, Virgo.
Champ's P 8 . W 2 D 2 L 4 . F 6 A 11 . Pt 8 Po 20
Season 4 (H) 8/2/03 - 4-1 ~ Zamora, Blackwell, Brooker, Hart
A once big-time club came to visit, although they were only scrapping for a play-off spot with many others with aspirations down to halfway in the table. It would have been nice to have a crowd of nearly 9000 but the good news was, B&H council had just approved increased capacity for '03/4 at Withdean. The Public Inquiry into B&H Local Plan at Falmer plus a community stadium, was to commence shortly and would be expected to last several weeks before submissions to the Secretary of State. The whole process was anticipated to take up to nine months, until a decision by John Prescott. Little did supporters of the club realise how the democratic process would be usurped, by an amalgamation of environmentally and NIMBY groups that would spin it out for many years. During that time BHA was increasing its already active initiative for community work, with places like the Study Support Centre being a resounding success. They were backed by local businesses and educational bodies who introduced other schemes and projects, to raise standards for young and old alike.
The squad was to change as well, while Albion tried over the next four seasons to establish a Championship side. By the time Brighton eventually redeveloped a team from its abundant youth policy, only Butters played as a regular, although Hart and Mayo remained on strength and Oatway on the books. The others transferred, left as free agents or retired through injury. Zamora went onto Spurs but scored here after 31 minutes. Blackwell was forced to give up playing - not before notching one on 44 min. Brooker, who tried his luck at Leicester, added a third on 47 min. Hart scored a fine solo effort to complete the rout by 67 min. Coppell said, 'the game was important in view of Wolves current run of form which has been outstanding. We are fighting a war for the future prosperity of the Albion on two fronts. Both out on the pitch and in the Town Hall, success is vital on both counts.'
Roberts, Watson, Pethick, Cullip, Blackwell, Mayo, Brooker (Oatway), Carpenter, Rodger, Hart, Zamora.
Div 1 (Champ's) P 31 . W 5 D 8 L 18 . F 32 A 51 . Pt 23 Po 23
Wolves - Away, Withdean Era
Season 7 (A) 22/4/06 - 0-1
Brighton conceded a penalty, when with a tad over half an hour gone McShane handled a corner kick. He had been voted player of the year and if McGhee ever got lucky from Fergie, then this loan signing was probably top of his wish list. Molineux is an ok place for a bit of end of season spring time footy, so no real surprise to see nearly 700 Brighton fans attend such a non-event. As usual Albion threw a game away by missing chances and went home with nothing to show for 90 minutes of so-called work. Based on what Wolves had failed to achieve as play-off potentials, relegated Albion could feel hard done by. However, we'd not been up to par for a majority of matches and paid the price when meeting regular Championship fare. Many of these clubs had risen like B'ton from a lower order, to consolidate in the second tier. Unfortunately it had proved just a little too difficult for us to establish there as a competitive side, given well documented constraints of operating as a pseudo Conference outfit. Brighton fans treated this experience as a day out from dreary Withdean and had balloons, beach balls and other er, inflatable shapes doing rounds in a pukka stadium's singing away end. One thing seemed noticeable on travels, expectation from supporters of big clubs was massive and none of an accepted 'sleeping giant' attitude of bemused Albion devoted. When we hit League 1 running, the boot would sure to be on the other foot.
Henderson, El-Abd, McShane, Hinshelwood, Lynch, Reid, Nicolas, Frutos (Carole), Mayo, Kazim-Richards (Hart), Noel-Williams.
Champ's P 45 . W 7 D 17 L 21 . F 38 A 66 . P 38 Po 24
Season 6 (A) 28/12/04 - 1-1 ~ Hart
This fixture was that extra one squeezed in between Xmas and New Year. Brighton fans went off to Molineux and thought it could have been worse. We seemed to have a half decent record there and they weren't exactly top ten in the table so far. 1300 Albion followers drifted into Wolverhampton to join a crowd of 28500, where we were the Palookaville blue and white outfit. Poor boys had come up from the deepest south.
Hart opened the scoring on four minutes with a typical touch in close, as of old in lower league days. Wolves came back and equalised at 33 minutes. From then on we were mostly on the defensive and reshuffled from the basic home formation to 532. There was a lot of clearing of lines thereafter but we looked fairly solid. In truth Albion liked going to ex-Prem stadiums, often played well and supporters got a fantastic away atmosphere generated. The greater the home crowd and occasion, the more Brighton fans responded accordingly. We nearly always thought we could something from such fixtures. Watching route one did have compensations in similar surroundings.
Mark McGhee said, 'I felt we were terrific in gaining a 1-1 draw. We thoroughly deserved our point. Our tactics were to go there and not be beaten. It was important for us to score so early in a game in which we knew we were going to come under a lot of pressure. At one each that still left us with a hard job on our hands but I think we defended as a team and worked hard as a team. We frustrated them all afternoon and matched everything that they did. Our tactics and effort were excellent and our reward was justified.'
Kuipers, Reid, Hinshelwood, Virgo, Butters, Mayo, Oatway, Carpenter, Harding (Hammond), Hart (Knight), McCammon (Jones).
Champ's P 26 . W 8 D 5 L 13 . F 20 A 34 . Pt 29 Po 20
Season 4 (A) 11/11/02 - 1-1 ~ Zamora
Shock, horror, Brighton & Hove Albion anchored at the bottom of div1 had shown signs of movement, by going to Wolves with a win as their last result. They had previously gone 12 games without a point before adding to a meagre total of 4 and now needed only one to actually double their tally. It was a Monday night at Molineux due to TV commitments and 23000 west midlanders turned up, plus 600 Albion devoted. Moly was a Premiership ground and briefly had a Prem team, although Champ's seems to be their 21st century mean level. A lot of Chairman weren't born readymade millionaires and hanging on to big-boys toys and dreams takes a lot of dosh - ask Mr Knight. Apart from away trips to Portsmouth and Palace, Brighton fans were new to pukka stadiums with big crowds and atmosphere. We had been to nice venues like Reading, Stoke and to a certain extent QPR, Huddersfield, Burnley and Watford but this was the real 30k capacity deal. We also wanted more in future.
It was Armistice Day but no one gave us a hope of beating the proverbial bullet. Unbelievably in 'heads above the parapet' action, Zamora mortared 'em with one lobbed from distance. A battling performance followed from 15 minutes after going over the top and we deserved not to be defeated. Albion had a five-man rearguard that held all attacks until Wolves hunted down a chink in our lines, a quarter of an hour prior to cease-fire. Kuipers bravely saved, stopped, parried, blocked and handled all without thought of safety precautions or wearing of a tin hat. Steve Coppell described one incident at a skirmish as, 'one of the best double saves I have seen.' Wolves battered us in the second half bringing enfilading fire to bear and big guns to boot. Brighton stood firm against the onslaught, matched 'em man for man while taking Ingimarsson prisoner to be converted to our cause at a later date.
Kuipers, Watson, Pethick, Cullip, Blackwell (Hinshelwood), Mayo, Hart, Carpenter, Rodger (Oatway), Zamora, Barrett (Sidwell).
Div 1 (Champ's) P 16 . W 2 D 2 L 12 . F 15 A 33 . Pt 8 Po 25