Memories of 71/72

No news this last week of any activity on the Seagulls, so not a lot to say for the 'Scene'.

I could continue my moan about the ridiculous state of affairs reached on the big money transfers and silly money salaries – but I did that last week!

However, I can tell about a trip down memory lane. Amongst some old papers I came across an Albion special brochure covering 1971/72. It was a great season ending with Brighton being promoted to the Second Division (today's Championship). There are some well-known names and it's amazing that it all happened 37 years ago!

The campaign started in August 1971 with 10,371 at the Goldstone to see the Albion beat Bradford City 3-1 with the goals came from Kit Napier, Willie Irvine and John Templeman. September brought a win by the same score against Bristol Rovers. Napier scored again along with Bert Murray and Bertie Lutton. Also scoring for us that month was the Albion legend Peter O'Sullivan. After 17 games we were seventh in the league.

In October, Napier scored his 100th goal for the club with a towering header into the south goal at the Goldstone against Shrewsbury. Halfway through the season Brighton had moved up to fourth. Above us were Aston Villa and Bournemouth. The Hampshire seaside team had a 200,000 signing (that was big money then!) Ted MacDougall playing for them and he scored at home in a 1-1 draw in front of a 22,550 crowd.

At the Goldstone the crowd was an amazing 30,538 and they saw Napier and O'Sullivan score in a 2-0 win. Bournemouth dropped out of the promotion race but Villa were in it to the end.

Other names on the score sheet were Ken Beamish and Brian Bromley. Manager was Pat Saward and stalwarts of the team were "Sir" Norman Gall, Eddie Spearitt, Dave Turner and perhaps the best keeper in the third Division, Brian Powney. In front of over 15,000, Brighton thumped Plymouth 3-0 to move up to third in February.

Early in April Albion beat Wrexham 3-2 to go second. There were crunch games as the season came to a dramatic end. We beat Aston Villa 2-1in front of 28,833, and Torquay 3-1 with a 27,628 crowd. The Bolton game was shown on ITV but was a disappointing 1-1 draw.

Rotherham were beaten towards the end of April leaving us needing a result in the last game of the season against Rochdale. In fact it ended in a 1-1 draw which made promotion certain.

It was John Templeman who hit a terrific left-foot shot for the goal that took the Albion back to the second Division.

It was a fantastic season with tremendous crowds at the Goldstone. The black and white pictures show the Goldstone ground packed full, the local adverts on the "new" West Stand (Caffyns of Preston Road, Hanningtons, Coulson Motors, Fords of Lewes Road, F. Terry & Son – remember any of these?).

The champagne shot after the final game includes Joe Wilson (coach and scout), Glen Wilson (ex-captain and youth coach) and Frankie Howard (grounds man and ex-legendary left winger). And all this before we became the "Seagulls"! Happy days!

I fibbed about no news! Martin Perry has stated that the stadium project IS on track. Good news! Pre-season games have been announced. The Albion start with a visit to Havant & Waterlooville on Tuesday 14th July; Then they are off to Stevenage and AFC Wimbledon.

It is a Sussex affair at Crawley on 24th July followed by a trip to Torquay on Tuesday 28th July. I might just make that one? League opponents prior to the start will be announced later.

Finally it is confirmed we start the campaign at Withdean on Saturday 8th August against Walsall.