Peter Harburn

Peter Harburn Brighton & Hove Albion
Peter Harburn

Peter Harburn was born in Shoreditch in London in 1931. As a youngster, he was on Brentford’s books before he joined the Royal Navy in 1946. While serving in the Navy, he played for Portsmouth as an amateur, but never played for the club in the League.

Described as “a gauche amateur with Portsmouth, who had the happy habit of scoring via almost any part of his anatomy that the laws allowed”, he moved on to Brighton & Hove Albion, and turned professional with the Seagulls in February 1956 having bought himself out of the service. A few days later he was mistakenly named in the Great Britain squad preparing for the Olympic Games, for which, as a professional, he was ineligible.

In his first full season with Brighton, he scored 27 goals, including a sequence of 8 goals in 8 consecutive matches, a club record not beaten until 2001. The following season, 1957–58, Brighton finished as Third Division South champions. Peter recalled the team were expected to take an attacking approach: “We scored 114 goals in our promotion year and I remember the manager Billy Lane telling us that when you see the whites of the goalposts whack it.” He and Dave Sexton were joint top scorers with 20 goals in all competitions.

Harburn asked the club for an extra £1 a week, but was refused, and in July 1958, he was sold to Everton for a fee of £6,500. The player himself thought he “wasn’t ready for that quality of football”, and he made only four appearances at the top level, scoring once.

After five months of the season, he moved on to Scunthorpe United in January 1959 for a fee of just £4,000. He scored in each of his first two games for Scunthorpe, and finished the season with 8 goals from 15 games, a return that “proved instrumental in the fight to avoid the drop” from the club’s first season in the Football League Second Division.

He played in the first five games of the following season, without scoring, but was deemed surplus to requirements after Harry Middleton’s arrival from Wolverhampton Wanderers. He finished his Football League career with two seasons in Fourth Division with Workington. He went on to Southern League club Chelmsford City where he scored 12 goals from 37 appearances.

Peter played 133 matches for the Seagulls scoring 65 goals.

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