1970 – 1971

Kit Napier

seagulls.tvForward. Born Dumblane, Perthshire, Scotland. Age 26 (until 26 Sep ’70). A classy entertaining forward, tall and lean, blessed with tremendous skill on both feet. Sometimes looking lazy yet deceptively quick and had tremendous goalscoring ability. His marksmanship peaked in 1967/68 when he hit 24 League goals. Began his career at Blackpool in 1960, before spells at Preston, Workington and then Newcastle United. Signed for Archie Macauley’s Brighton in September 1966 for a fee of £8,500, scoring twice in a 5-2 win over Peterborough, and becoming a crowd favourite. Naturally an inside forward, he could play on the wing or through the middle as well. Had a dangerous inswinging corners with either foot. Albion’s top scorer in 1970/71 with eleven League goals in 43 League appearances. Got on the scoresheet in each of the Easter games, against Aston Villa, Reading and Bradford.

Paul Flood

seagulls.tvForward. Born Dublin, Co. Dublin, Eire. Age 22 (until 29 Jun ’71). A neat and organised footballer with a turn of pace. He played for Bohemians in Dublin and had a brief spell at Coventry before arriving at the Goldstone Ground in June 1967. Capped for the Republic of Ireland at schoolboy, youth and amateur levels. A popular fringe player who could play left-wing or left-back, as he did when he had an extended and impressive run in the side in the first half of the 1968/69 campaign. Injuries did for his career and it took until the 0-0 draw with Port Vale in October 1970 for Flood to return to the side. Made four appearances in the 1970/71, scoring in his last match, the 2-1 home defeat to Barnsley in December. After being on the transfer list during the season, was released in May 1971.

Willie Irvine

seagulls.tvForward. Born Carrickfergus, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland. Age 27 (until 18 June ’71). This Northern Ireland international was a natural and instinctive goalscorer who was excellent in the air and had two good feet. Scored 78 goals in 125 League appearances for Burnley in the top flight before transferring to Preston in 1968. Joined the Albion on loan in March, hitting the net on his debut in the 3-2 win against Fulham, before grabbing the winners in consecutive matches against Shrewsbury and Burnley. His six goals in fourteen League appearances earned him a richly deserved £7,000 permanent transfer to the Goldstone Ground in July 1971 as Saward added new class and punch to the Albion strike-force.

 

Allan Gilliver

seagulls.tvForward. Born Swallownest, Yorkshire. Age 25 (until 3 Aug ’70). Tall, ungainly striker who provided nuisance value up front. Scored 22 goals in 46 League games for Huddersfield, before joining Blackburn in a £30,000 deal in 1966. However, £12,000 of this had to be returned to Rovers as it became apparent Gilliver had a slipped disc. Earmarked as a replacement for Charlie Livesey, he was signed for Brighton from Rotherham in July 1969 on a free transfer. While not particularly skilful, he impressed as top scorer with sixteen goals in 1969/70, being in the right place at the right time. However, he scored just eight times in 1970/71. One of these was the winner at Halifax in September before Albion went on a barren spell of six games without a goal! Joined Lincoln in February with Brighton receiving around £10,000.

Colin Woffinden

seagulls.tvForward. Born Hove, Sussex. Age 22 (until 6 Aug ’70). A strong and skilful player with an eye for goal. Had trials with the Albion, Lincoln and Crawley before participating in another six-month trial at the Goldstone Ground from October when he broke into the side. Starting with his debut, the away clash with Gillingham, Woffinden made four substitute appearances for the Albion in 1970/71 campaign, getting the last goal in the 4-0 thrashing of Cheltenham in the FA Cup. After leaving the Albion, and moving into a midfield role, he returned to the Goldstone with both the Walton & Hersham and Leatherhead sides that caused the FA Cup upsets of 1973/74 and 1974/75.

 

Peter O’Sullivan

Winger. Born Colwyn Bay, Denbighshire, Wales. Age 19 (until 4 Mar ’71) A free transfer from Manchester United in April 1970, Freddie Goodwin’s last signing for the Albion was a revelation, thrilling the Goldstone crowds with his lightning pace and skill. Made his League debut in the 1970/71 season’s opener against Torquay in August but his individualistic approach displeased manager Pat Saward. Was dropped after two games in favour of Wilkinson and asked for a transfer. Was restored for the return game with Torquay in October, making the number eleven shirt his own for the rest of the campaign. His form led to being called into the Welsh Under-23s side in January.

 

Howard Wilkinson

seagulls.tvWinger. Born Netherthorpe, Sheffield. Age 26 (until 13 Nov ’71). A smart and direct outside-right who could skin a full-back for pace and put in a good cross. An ex-England youth international who joined Sheffield Wednesday in June 1962, making his First Division debut in the 1964/65 season. After 22 League games and three goals, he arrived at Brighton in July 1966. After an injury in December that year, he never fully re-established himself and was often substitute. With his propensity for hugging the line, Wilkinson was rarely a goal threat himself. Indeed, he made fifteen League appearances in 1970/71, scoring once. Found first-team chances limited by the emergence and form of Peter O’Sullivan. Given a free transfer in May 1971.

I’m willing to admit I was naive. In my first three or four games I’d be on the ball trying to beat three or four players. Pat would get hold of me saying, ‘You don’t play like that!” Peter O’Sullivan