Brighton and Hove Albion team photograph from 1914.
Joe Wilson was born in High Spen, County Durham, in 1909. Joe played football for Spen Black and White, Winlaton Celtic and Tanfield Lea Institute before signing for Newcastle United, initially on amateur forms, in 1933. He impressed for their Central League team, and turned professional in September 1933. He made his senior debut on Christmas Day 1934 and scored in a 6–2 defeat of Hull City in the Second Division, and played regularly through the second half of that season.
However, he fell out of favour, playing in only 14 matches in 1935–36, many of which were in positions other than his preferred inside right, and was made available for transfer at a fee of £500. He spoke to two Third Division South clubs, Cardiff City and Brighton & Hove Albion, and chose to sign for the latter; the fee paid was £450.
Joe impressed with his pace and his ability on the ball, and was a regular in the side, although not always at inside right. In the three seasons running up to the Second World War, as Albion finished third, fifth and third, Joe missed only nine matches in league and FA Cup. During the war he served as a Physical Training Instructor and when duty permitted, appeared for Albion in the wartime competitions.
He resumed his career with appearances in all ten of Albion’s 1945-46 FA Cup matches and 39 of their 42 fixtures in the first post-war league season. He then retired as a player and was appointed assistant to trainer Alex Wilson. When Alex Wilson left the club in 1952, Joe succeeded him as trainer, a post he held for 18 years. In 1963, he had a brief spell as caretaker manager between George Curtis’s departure and the arrival of Archie Macaulay. After five years as chief scout, he retired in 1974.
Joe played 353 matches for the Seagulls between 1936 and 1947 scoring 49 goals.
Jack Williams was born in 1906 in Wolverhampton, and played local football for Wednesfield Rovers before signing for Second Division club Wolverhampton Wanderers in November 1925, initially as an amateur. He made only three league appearances, in the 1927–28 season, and moved on to Gillingham of the Third Division South.
After three months and nine appearances, he moved on again, to Brighton & Hove Albion, where he was very highly rated. He was a regular in the side, and played 48 appearances in all competitions before a serious injury sustained towards the end of the 1929–30 season ended his career at the age of 23. He left the club in 1931 and joined the Brighton police.
Stan Webb was born in Portslade-by-Sea in 1906. He worked at the local gasworks, and played football for his works team and for Sussex county League team Hove before turning professional with Brighton & Hove Albion in 1924. He spent the next season with Tunbridge Wells Rangers of the Kent League, and made 24 first-team appearances for Albion in 1925–26. He then lost his place to the experienced Skilly Williams but regained it in late 1928, and was undisputed first choice goalkeeper until the arrival of Joe Duckworth, with whom he enjoyed a rivalry for the position until Duckworth moved on in 1932. Stan made his 234th and final first-team appearance for Albion in 1934, returned to Tunbridge Wells Rangers in 1935, and finished his career at Southwick.
Peter Trainor was born in Cockermouth, Cumberland in 1915. He began his football career with Workington of the North Eastern League and joined Preston North End in 1937, but never played for their first team. He moved on to Brighton & Hove Albion a few months later, and soon established himself in the team, but the outbreak of the Second World War and consequent abandonment of competitive football for the duration meant he was into his thirties before the resumption. He played occasionally at centre forward after the war, but then lost his place entirely and went back to Workington at the end of the 1947–48 season.
Peter played 94 matches for the Seagulls between 1938 and 1948 scoring 5 goals.
Charlie Thomson was born in Perth, Perthshire in 1905. He played for St Johnstone YMCA and for Scottish League clubs Alloa Athletic and Falkirk where he spent four seasons, before moving to England to sign for Brighton & Hove Albion in 1934. He was a first-team regular for five years and made 191 appearances for the Seagulls.
Charlie joined Exeter City in 1939, and played in the first three matches of the 1939-40 Football League before competitive football was abandoned for the duration of the Second World War. He then returned to Scotland where he played for Dundee United in the Eastern Regional League and was on the losing side in the Scottish War Emergency Cup, won by Rangers. After the war, he rejoined Exeter City before going back to Scotland.
Bert Stephens was born in Gillingham, Kent in 1909. An outside forward, Bert began his career at amateur club Ealing Association and joined Third Division South club Brentford in February 1931. He made just six first team appearances for the club and scored one goal, before his departure at the end of the 1934-35 season. Bert spent much of his time with Brentford in the reserve team, with whom he won two London Combination titles and the 1934-35 London Challenge Cup.
Bert joined Brighton & Hove Albion in June 1935. He was Brighton’s top scorer in the 1936-37 season, with 26 goals in all competitions and again in 1938-39 with 17 goals. After competitive football was suspended in 1939 due to the outbreak of the Second World War, Bert remained with the Seagulls. He retired in 1948, after scoring 86 goals in 180 league games and at the time he was Brighton’s second-highest goalscorer. Including his tally in wartime matches, Bert scored 174 goals for the Seagulls between 1935 and 1948 appearing in 366 matches.
Reg Smith was born in Rotherham in 1903. He played for Midland League club Scunthorpe & Lindsey United before joining Brighton & Hove Albion in 1923.
Although the team had considerable strength at full back at during the 1920s, Reg averaged 20 league matches a season for the seven seasons he spent in the first team, and was appointed captain for 1929–30. An injury early in that campaign effectively ended his professional career, although he remained on the club’s books until 1931.
Reg then played amateur football for Shoreham.
Harold Sly was born in Appley Bridge, Lancashire in 1904. He played football for the Rover Company’s team before joining Birmingham, however, he never started a match for the club in the English Football League and dropped back into the amateur game with Tamworth Castle.
In 1927 he joined Gillingham of the Football League Third Division where he spent two seasons but never secured a regular place in the club’s first team, He then moved to Brighton & Hove Albion where he made 24 appearances between 1929 and 1933 before joining French club FC Sete.
Tommy Simpson was born in Dundee in 1904. He played junior football for Dundee Osborne before signing for Dundee United in December 1923. He became a regular in the side, and made a major contribution to their promotion to the Scottish First Division in 1924–25.
After more than 100 appearances in league and cup competition over three-and-a-half seasons, he left for Brighton & Hove Albion for a £250 fee. He played 30 times in the Third Division South in 1926-28 scoring 6 goals the before returning to Scotland where he joined Montrose.