Fifty Year – Fifty programmes

My last blog post celebrated the fact that it will soon be fifty years since I saw my first Brighton and Hove Albion game. That game triggered my passion for collecting football programmes, particularly those of my beloved Seagulls. Over the years my collection has grown and, following a crazy idea 10 years ago, you can see scans of my programmes at Seagulls Programmes

People often ask me about my favourite programme and I always give the same answer. It’s the one that accompanied that first game, on 28th August 1968. As well the sixteen pages in the programme, Albion also provided the Football League Review. That made 32 pages of news and information on Albion and the Football League. Looking back to that game, got me thinking about my favourite programme from each of the fifty seasons since then.

They may not be programmes from crucial games but they all mean something to me, so here goes. I’ll start with the programme that started it all off.

Page 01 torquay (1)1968/69 v Torquay United 28 August 1968.

Obviously the place to start. The beginning of my journey that has brought joy, pain, despair and a fair bit of misery along the way.

The programme cover shows a drawing of one of the iconic Goldstone floodlight pylons, behind an image of Brighton beach that is almost unrecognisable from what is there today. The aerial photo shows the West Pier in all it’s glory, with the Palace Pier in the background. In the far distance you can see Rottingdean Cliffs, with no Marina in sight.

Page 02-03 (1)Inside, Manager Archie Macaulay offers a ‘cordial welcome’ to Torquay United, before talking about some of the changes he had introduced at the start of the season. He looks forward to some ‘interesting and attractive football’ as the season progresses.

The team listings are presented in a familiar Albion format, with the teams shown surrounded by adverts for some famous local products and services. Among those is an invitation to ‘kick off to a good start for a stay in Brighton’ at The Salisbury Hotel on the seafront. The Hotel is now called The Brighton Hotel but there is a link to the past, as you can dine in the Salisbury Restaurant.

Page 04-05 (1)Next we have an action from the previous week’s game. Albion midfielder John Templeman is shown scoring in the game against Oldham Athletic. Opposite this are the pen pictures of Torquay United.  Robin Stubbs is listed as a Centre Forward, signed from Birmingham City in August 1963. Somewhat disappointingly, there is no mention of the fact that it was his complimentary tickets, given to his brother (and my Godfather) that led to me going to the game.


Page 06-07 (1)Elsewhere in the Torquay player details, we see an Inside Forward (Attacking Midfielder would be the modern description) by the name of Fred Binney. Born in Plymouth in 1946, Fred joined Torquay United in 1966 from non-league Launceston. His career didn’t really take off until he moved the short distance to Exeter City. After scoring 28 goals in the 1972/73 season, he became one of Brian Clough’s last signings for Albion, when he moved to The Goldstone in May 1974. He went on to play 85 times for us, scoring 44 goals.

Also in the Torquay team was a defensive partnership of John Bond and Ken Brown. They both went on to have a successful managerial career and played a part in Albion’s run to the FA Cup Final in 1983. Bond was manager at Manchester City when they were beaten in the fourth round and Brown brought his Norwich City team to Hove for the quarter-final.

‘Goldstone Gossip’ conjures up images of nuggets of behind the scenes information but the reality is nothing like that. We hear that George Dalton, recovering from a broken leg, is to present the prizes at Moulscoomb Adventure Playground, and that skipper Nobby Lawton recently appeared on Radio Brighton recently.

Page 12-13 (1)Nobby is featured in ‘Albion Spotlight’. He started his career at Manchester United at the time of the ‘Busby Babes’ and made 36 league appearances for United before moving to Preston North End in March 1963. He captained them in the 1964 FA Cup Final and played 143 games for the Deepdale club before Archie Macaulay brought him south to act as Albion’s ‘midfield general’. He made a total of 127 appearances for us, scoring 16 goals. He once scored an incredible 40-yard goal against Shrewsbury Town in February 1969.

Page 16 (1)The back cover of the programme advertised something that is still going strong in Hove. Greyhound Racing at Nevill Road offers ‘Bars, Buffets, Restaurant, Cocktail Lounge and All-weather comfort’.

Albion’s programme was heavy on content with a relatively small portion of the content given over to advertising. What there was, was geared almost exclusively to local companies and products. This was the same for most clubs and means that the Matchday programme provides an almost unique snapshot of life in the city at the time. From Albion’s programme we can see that there are restaurants and hotels that are still here today, along with some landmarks that are sadly no longer with us.

So, one down and 49 to go. A look at the programme from our League Cup tie with Wolverhampton Wanderers in September 1969 will be next.

Thanks for reading.

Thanks also to the absolute mine of information contained in Tim Carder’s two essential Albion books

Seagulls! – The Story of Brighton and Hove Albion FC  and Albion A-Z – A Who’s Who of Brighton & Hove Albion FC   


About seagulldroppings

I'm a 59-year-old father of four and Brighton and Hove Albion fan. I live in enemy territory, in Southampton, but am a season ticket holder at The American Express Community Stadium. This blog may not necessarily be about football, but there's a strong chance it will be.

Posted on August 5, 2018, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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