Tony Towner

Tony Towner Brighton & Hove Albion
Tony Towner

Tony Towner, born on 2 May 1955, made more than 400 appearances in the Football League player as a winger.

Tony spent much of the 1970s with his hometown club Brighton & Hove Albion where he made 183 appearances scoring 25 goals. He moved to Millwall in 1978 and then was transferred to Rotherham United along with John Seasman for a joint fee of £165,000 in 1980. £95,000 believed to be Tony’s fee. He also had a brief loan spell at Sheffield United before moving to Wolverhampton Wanderers for £100,000 in 1983, where he spent a season in top-flight football. He later played for Charlton, Rochdale and Cambridge United.

Tony was a skilful, pacy right winger and great crosser of the ball who formed a great partnership with another Rotherham legend Ronnie Moore. Tony was a key figure in Rotherham’s 1981 Division 3 winning side.

Peter Suddaby

Peter Suddaby Brighton & Hove Albion
Peter Suddaby

After spells as an amateur with Colwyn Bay, Skelmersdale United and Wycombe Wanderers Peter Suddaby began his professional career with Blackpool in 1970, and went on to make over 300 league appearances in a decade at the club. He made his debut for Blackpool on 23 January 1971, in a defeat at West Ham United in the fourth round of the FA Cup.

He made a twelve League appearances in the 1970-71 season, at the conclusion of which Blackpool were relegated to Division Two after one season in the top flight. In 1971-72 Peter appeared in all but the final league game of the season. He scored two goals – against Leyton Orient in a 4–1 victory at Bloomfield Road on 9 October 1971, and in a 5–0 whitewash of Watford, also at home, on New Year’s Day.

During a single-goal defeat by Fulham on 30 November 1974, Peter damaged his back and had to have a disc removed to alleviate the problem. As a consequence, he missed almost the rest of the 1974-75 campaign. Over the next three seasons, Suddaby made 102 league appearances. In 1975-76, he made 38 league appearances and scored four goals – two of which came in a 3–2 victory over Luton Town at Bloomfield Road on 4 October 1975.

In 1976-77, Peter was an ever-present in new manager Allan Brown’s team helping the club to a fifth-placed Division Two finish. The following season, 1977-78 Peter scored Blackpool’s goal in the opening league game of the season, at home to Oldham Athletic. He went on to make 39 more appearances in the league campaign, at the end of which Blackpool were relegated to Division Three for the first time. In 1978-79 under new manager Bob Stokoe Peter appeared in 42 of Blackpool’s 46 league games, scoring twice.

Peter’s final season at Blackpool, 1979-80 saw him start in fifteen of the first sixteen league games, before he was sold to Brighton & Hove Albion in November 1979. After 23 league games for Brighton, Peter had a short stint at Wimbledon before returning to Wycombe Wanderers in 1982 for his final spell as a player.

Gary Stevens

Gary Stevens Brighton & Hove Albion
Gary Stevens

Gary Stevens was born in Hillingdon, Middlesex and attended Thurston Upper School in Suffolk. He joined Brighton & Hove Albion in 1977. Gary made his debut as a 17-year-old on 15 September 1979, in the First Division as Brighton won 2–0 at home to Ipswich Town, the club which had released him as a schoolboy. A versatile defender who could also play in midfield, he made 26 appearances in his first season, scoring once, and remained a regular in the side.

In 1983, Brighton, already relegated to the Second Division, played in the FA Cup final for the first time in their history. Losing to Manchester United, 2–1 with three minutes of normal time remaining, Gary equalised, and teammate Gordon Smith missed an easy chance to win the game at the end of extra time, remembered for the commentator’s line “And Smith must score…” Brighton lost the replay 4–0, and Gary joined Tottenham Hotspur for a fee of “about £350,000”.

Gary made his Tottenham debut at the start of the 1983-84 season, again against Ipswich, but this time was on the losing side. He was a first team regular that season, making 40 league appearances and scoring four goals, and played on the winning side in the 1984 UEFA Cup Final scoring his penalty in the shootout, He was also in the side that suffered an unlikely 3–2 defeat to Coventry City in the 1986 FA Cup Final.

He was also capped seven times by England, and was included in the squad for the 1986 World Cup.

Gary left Spurs for Portsmouth in 1990 but persistent injuries forced him to retire in 1992.

Eric Steele

Eric Steele Brighton & Hove Albion
Eric Steele

Eric Steele began his playing career as a goalkeeper at Newcastle United in 1972, where he was part of the squad that won the Anglo-Italian Cup and won caps at England under-18 level. He then joined Peterborough United and established himself as first-choice ‘keeper, setting a record for most consecutive league appearances (124). That record would later be beaten by another Peterborough player, George Boyd (144).

Eric does however, continue to hold the most consecutive appearances in all competitions for the Posh (148). He later joined Brighton & Hove Albion (1977-79, 98 appearances), Watford and Derby County winning five promotions in 12 years with those clubs.

Wilf Smith

Wilf Smith Brighton & Hove Albion
Wilf Smith

Wilf Smith began as an apprentice in 1962 with Sheffield Wednesday signing professional forms in September 1963 after captaining both Sheffield Boys and England youth. In all he made 206 League appearances for The Owls, scoring four times and gained a handful of England U23 caps, before leaving to join Coventry City in 1970 for £100k.

Wilf made 151 Sky Blue appearances in a five-year stay, and went out on loan to both Brighton & Hove Albion (1974, 5 appearances) and Millwall (1975) in his last season with Coventry.

Bristol Rovers took him to Eastville for £25k in March 1975 for a 20-month spell followed by nineteen months at Chesterfield Town from December 1976.

Wilf played a total of 432 Football League games, and scored nine goals during his career before retiring at the relatively young age of 31 in the close season of 1978.

Peter Sayer

Peter Sayer Brighton & Hove Albion
Peter Sayer

Born in Cardiff, Peter Sayer began his career at his hometown club Cardiff City making his debut against Hull City in September 1974. He went on to play a further nine matches in his first season before suffering a broken ankle in a match against Southampton which kept him out for nearly a year, returning at the end of the following season to play a handful of games as Cardiff clinched promotion to Division Two. He established himself in the side the following year and helped the club to avoid relegation, as well as scoring the only goal of the game when Cardiff knocked Tottenham Hotspur out of the FA Cup in 1977.

Peter left Cardiff midway through the 1977–78 season for £100,000 to sign for Brighton & Hove Albion. He helped the Seagulls win promotion to Division One in his first year but, after starting the 1978–79 season as a member of the first-team, Sayer found himself replaced in the side by Mark Lawrenson. He remained at the Goldstone until the end of the season when he was sold to Preston North End for £85,000.

After finding it difficult to break into the side, he was loaned back to Cardiff in September 1981, playing four times and scoring during a 3–2 win over Luton Town. He eventually ended his league career with Chester City.

Gerry Ryan

Gerry Ryan Brighton & Hove Albion
Gerry Ryan

Gerry Ryan began his career at Bohemians on 9 February 1975 and after 14 goals in 53 appearances he earned a move to Derby County.

He later moved to Brighton & Hove Albion for £100,000 and played in the 1983 FA Cup Final against Manchester United before his career was ended in 1985 by a broken leg sustained in a tackle. Between 1978 and 1985 Gerry played 199 matches for the Seagulls scoring 39 goals.

Gerry played eighteen times for Ireland between 1978 and 1984. He made his debut in April 1978, when he played in a 4-2 win against Turkey in a friendly at Lansdowne Road. His only goal for Ireland came over a year later at the same venue, but it was only a consolation effort as Ireland lost 3-1 to West Germany in a friendly. Gerry’s last appearance in a green shirt came in 1984 when he played in a scoreless draw against Mexico at Dalymount Park.

John Moore

John Moore Brighton & Hove Albion
John Moore

John Moore started his professional career with local club Motherwell, but after only three matches moved south to English Fourth Division, Luton Town. John made 274 league appearances for Luton, as the club rose to the Second Division during his time at the club.

A loan spell at Brighton & Hove Albion in 1972, where he made 5 appearances, prompted his departure to Northampton Town in 1973. He made 14 appearances for Northampton before retiring from the game.

Ian Mellor

Ian Mellor Brighton & Hove Albion
Ian Mellor

Ian Mellor, a left-winger began his career with Manchester City. He played as a substitute as City won the 1972 FA Charity Shield. He then moved to Norwich City in 1973 for a fee of £65,000. The Canaries were struggling against relegation in their first season in English football’s top division when Ian joined. He played in the last eleven league games of the season and played his part in helping the club stay up.

He went on to score nine goals in 43 games for Norwich before playing for Brighton & Hove Albion where he was known as “Spider”. He made 150 appearances for the Seagulls between 1974 and 1978 scoring 35 goals.

In February 1978 Ian moved for £25,000 to Chester. He helped Chester finish fifth in Division Three in his first season and was on target in a Football League Cup giant killing against First Division Coventry City in 1978-79.

At the end of the season Ian moved to Sheffield Wednesday, securing a place in Wednesday history by scoring in the 4–0 defeat of Sheffield United, in the famous ‘Boxing Day Massacre’, here he remained until joining Bradford City in June 1982.

He spent two seasons with City before ending his professional career.

Neil Martin

Neil Martin Brighton & Hove Albion
Neil Martin

Neil Martin born on 20 October 1940, scored 100 league goals in both Scotland and England and won three full international caps for Scotland in the 1960s and 1970s.

Known for his strength, power, bravery and commitment, Neil scored consistently while playing for several clubs. He played for Alloa Athletic, Queen of the South, Hibernian, Sunderland, Coventry City, Nottingham Forest, Brighton & Hove Albion (1975-76, 22 appearances, 9 goals) and Crystal Palace.

Ernie Machin

Ernie Machin Brighton & Hove Albion
Ernie Machin

After unsuccessful trials with Bolton, Ernie Machin was playing for Nelson FC when Coventry City scout Alf Walton recommended him to Jimmy Hill, then the Coventry manager, and he became one of Hill’s first signings in 1962.

He made his debut against Millwall on 8 April 1963 and went on to make 289 appearances for Coventry, a figure which would have been considerably higher had it not been for long-term knee injuries. He was a key player in Coventry’s promotions from Division Three in 1964 and Division Two in 1967, scoring 11 goals in the latter season including several late winning goals and the first goal in the classic 3–1 victory over Wolves in April 1967.

After leaving Coventry in 1972 he spent two years with Plymouth Argyle and made such an impression that he was inducted into their Hall of Fame in 2004, and was also included in their Team of the Century.

Ernie finished his playing career with Brighton & Hove Albion from 1974 to 1976 making 72 appearances before returning to Coventry City as a coach in 1976.

George Cox Senior

George Cox Senior Sussex
George Cox Senior

George Cox, born on 29 November 1873, was an English first class cricketeer who played for Sussex. In the later part of his life he became generally known as George Cox Senior in order to distinguish him from his son George Cox Junior, who was also a successful player for the same county.

George’s first-class career lasted from 1895 to 1928. He was a useful right-handed batsman, with 14633 runs at 18.73, including two centuries. He was also a fine fielder, holding 552 catches, mostly close to the wicket. However he was chiefly noted for his left-arm bowling, in his first few years at medium-pace but thereafter principally orthodox spin. He took 1843 wickets at 22.86, with best innings figures of 9/50.

In 1926, at the age of 52, he took 17 Warwickshire wickets for 106 runs which remains the best match analysis for the county. He still holds a second county record, that for the last wicket. In 1908, he put on 156 with Harry Butt against Cambridge University. When Cox played his highest innings, 167 not out against Hampshire at Chichester in 1906, he and Butt added 116 for the last wicket.

After his playing days he became the official county coach. He was made an honorary life member of the club in 1937.

John McGrath

John McGrath Brighton & Hove Albion
John McGrath

John McGrath started his career at Bury from 1955 to 1960. He then spent the next eight years with Newcastle United following a £24,000 transfer, helping them to the Second Division title in 1964-65. In 1968, he joined Southampton for a £30,000 fee, where he would spend the final six years of his playing career, although he also played briefly for Brighton & Hove Albion in 1973.

In total John played 537 league and cup games in a nineteen-year career in the Football League.

Billy McEwan

Billy McEwan Brighton & Hove Albion
Billy McEwan

Billy McEwan started his playing with Scottish non-League side Pumpherston Juniors before joining Hibernian in 1969, making 60 appearances and scoring two goals for the Edinburgh club.

Billy left Hibs in May 1973 to join Blackpool, and went on to play for Brighton & Hove Albion (1974, 28 appearances, 3 goals), Mansfield Town, Peterborough United and Rotherham United whom he left in the 1982-83 season.

Bertie Lutton

Bertie Lutton Brighton & Hove Albion
Bertie Lutton

Bertie Lutton started as a youth team player for his hometown side Banbridge Town before moving to Wolverhampton Wanderers for a £50 fee in 1967. He signed for Brighton & Hove Albion in 1971 for £5,000 (where he made 30 appearances) and in 1973, for a £25,000 fee, for West Ham United making his debut on 10 February 1973 in a 1–0 away win at Norwich. He played for Northern Ireland whilst at West Ham making him their first player to play for that country.

He made only thirteen appearances for West Ham before moving to Horsham. He joined York City on trial making his debut for their reserve side in a 6-0 win over Halifax Town on 3 March 1975. Unable to continue his footballing career because of injuries, he emigrated to Australia where he went on to play for clubs in the National Soccer League and Victorian State League.