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.
Joe Pointon played for non-league football for Leek Wesleyans, Leek National, and Congleton Town before signing with Stoke He did not feature for the “Potters” however, and so crossed the Potteries divide to join Port Vale as an amateur in April 1923. He played six consecutive Second Division games during the 1923-24 season, filling in for the regular number 7 Jack Lowe. He played four games during the 1925-26 season, but was released upon its conclusion.
He moved on to Luton Town, Brighton & Hove Albion (1928-29 16 matches, 5 goals), Torquay United, Bristol Rovers and Walsall.to He was Torquay’s top scorer during the 1929-30 Third Division South season, with sixteen goals.
Geordie Nicol was born in Saltcoats, Scotland, and played in Scottish Junior football before joining Manchester United in January 1928. He moved on to Brighton & Hove Albion in May 1929, and was their leading scorer in the 1930-31 season with 31 goals in all competitions.
He had a season in the Irish League with Glenavon before returning to England to play for Gillingham and then for French club RC Roubaix.
Billy Henderson, a right-back began his career with his local side Whitburn from whom he joined Brighton & Hove Albion where he made 2 appearances in 1919-20.
He then moved to Aberdare Athletic and played 19 league games in Aberdare’s first ever season in the Football League (1921–22). He left Aberdare mid-way during the season, in January 1922, to join West Ham United in a £650 transfer and was part of the West Ham team that won promotion to the First Division.
He also appeared in the famous White Horse Final, the first FA Cup final to be held at the brand new Wembley Stadium, during the 1922-23 season. He was an ever-present for the Hammers during the 1923-24 season. He retired because of ill health after the 1928–29 season, having played 183 times and scored one goal, the goal being scored in the FA Cup against his old club Aberdare in 1924.
Billy Moffatt was born in Bellshill, Lanarkshire, in 1897. He played junior football for Bellshill Athletic before joining Bo’ness of Division Two. He captained the team to the quarter-finals of the 1922-23 Scottish Cup, in which they performed well in a 4–2 defeat to Division One club Motherwell despite being handicapped by an injury to Billy.
In 1925, he signed for English Second Division club Portsmouth.club He soon established himself in the team, and was ever-present in the 1926–27 season in which they were promoted to the First Division, He took his appearance total to 138 before being released in 1930 to join Brighton & Hove Albion then of the Third Division South.
He was already 32 years old, and Albion used him as a standby player to cover at right back at and wing half. In his first season, he contributed to a run of 16 league matches unbeaten that remained a club record until 2015. After two seasons and 23 appearances, he left the Football League for non-league football.
Herbert Jones began his football career, whilst still a part-time plumber, with his hometown club, Blackpool, making his debut on 16 December 1922, in a goalless draw against Hull City at Bloomfield Road. He went on to make a further fifteen league appearances during the 1922-23 campaign, in what was Bill Norman’s final season in charge of the Seasiders. Under new manager Major Frank Buckley in 1923-24, Herbert made 28 league appearances. He also featured in Blackpool’s two FA Cup ties that season.
The following season, 1924-25 Herbert appeared in 34 of the club’s 42 league dates. He again appeared during the club’s FA Cup run, this time helping them to the fourth round. They were knocked out by Blackburn Rovers by at Ewood Park by a single goal in front of a crowd of 60,000.
Blackburn approached Blackpool the following season, 1925-26 with a view to signing the defender. Blackpool accepted the £6,000 offer, and in mid-January he moved east across Lancashire. Herbert went on to play 247 league games for Rovers spanning from 1925 to 1934. He won the FA Cup with the club in 1928.
He then joined Brighton & Hove Albion in 1934 for a season, making 43 appearances.
He finished his career back on the Fylde with Fleetwood Town.
Dai James was born in Aberdare in in 1899. He joined his hometown club, Aberdare Athletic in 1921, ahead of their first season in the Football League, and went on to make 171 appearances in the Third Division South playing at centre half, wing half and all the forward positions in a five-and-a-half-year stay.
He moved to Brighton & Hove Albion, in December 1926, and made a further 32 appearances scoring 9 goals before being released at the end of the 1928–29 season.
Brighton & Hove Albion players from 1938-39.
From left to right: Peter Trainor, Bob Vasey, Jack Philbin, Freddie Green, Jack Atherton, Albert Day.
Brighton and Hove Albion team photograph from 1935.
23rd February 1924
A crowd picture from a match between Brighton & Hove Albion and Manchester City on 23rd February 1924.
11th January 1913
Brighton & Hove Albion supporters waiting to join the motor coach to a cup match against Portsmouth on 11th January 1913.
27th August 1921
A few spectators and their cars at the game between Brighton & Hove Albion and Southend on 27th August 1921.
29th October 1910
A crowd picture from a match between Brighton & Hove Albion and Queens Park Rangers on 29th October 1910.
Brighton and Hove Albion postcard from 1907.
12th November 1910
A crowd picture from a match between Brighton & Hove Albion and Luton on 12th November 1910.
31st January 1914
Souvenir Brighton & Hove Albion postcard from 1914.
A Large Crowd
A crowd picture from a match between Brighton & Hove Albion and Plymouth Argyle on 26th February 1910.
Souvenir Brighton & Hove Albion postcard from 1933.
15th February 1930
Souvenir Brighton & Hove Albion postcard from 1930.
2nd February 1924
Souvenir postcard of cup tie between Brighton & Hove Albion and Everton on 2nd February 1924.
8th January 1921
Souvenir postcard of cup tie between Brighton & Hove Albion and Oldham on 8th January 1921.
15th January 1910
Souvenir postcard of cup tie between Brighton & Hove Albion and Southampton on 15th January 1910.
Goldstone Ground c.1909
An unidentified game at the Brighton & Hove Albion Goldstone Ground around 1909.
30th April 1921
Match between Brighton & Hove Albion and Watford on 30th April 1921.
Brighton and Hove Albion team photograph from 1901.
The photo is taken from the 1953-54 Brighton & Hove Albion Annual.
Costing £250 in May 1938, Atherton arrived at the Goldstone from Preston North End, having joined the Deepdale staff at the age of sixteen in May 1934. His opportunities with his home town club were limited, though, and he made their First Division side on just four occasions in four seasons. He couldn’t win a regular place on the South Coast with the Albion either, despite scoring a brace of goals against Notts County in only his third outing. Jack didn’t play senior football during the war years, but Albion retained his registration until May 1947 when he was put on the transfer list. There were no offers and Jack never again appeared in the Football League.
Jack played 10 matches for the Seagulls in 1938-39 scoring 2 goals.
Souvenir Brighton & Hove Albion postcard from circa 1912.
Dennis Gordon was born in Bilston, Staffordshire. He attended Southfield School in Oxford, and played first-team football for Headington United from the age of 14. After serving with the RAF during the Second World War, he returned to Oxford, took a job as an audit clerk in the Borough Treasurer’s department, and resumed his football career with Oxford City. He was also on the books of Tottenham Hotspur as an amateur, and played for their reserves. When that registration expired at the end of the season, West Bromwich Albion signed him on amateur forms; two days later, he received a letter from Tottenham Hotspur offering him terms for the new season. He soon made his senior debut, and over the next four-and-a-half years he scored 10 goals from 27 league appearances. At the end of the 1951–52 season, he was placed on the transfer list.
Gordon signed for Brighton & Hove Albion for a £3,500 fee. He was not a regular in his first season with the club, but missed only nine league matches over the following five years, and scored twelve goals as Brighton won the 1957-58 Third Division South title. He shared the outside-right position for the next two seasons, and was released on a free transfer in 1961. He played non-league football for a further five years.
He returned to local government work in Brighton’s Corporation’s Housing Department. Dennis died in Jersey in May 1998 at the age of 73.
Gallaher’s cigarette card featuring Joe Leeming of Brighton & Hove Albion.
Preston, Lancashire born left back Joe Leeming started his football career with junior club Turton in 1896 before joining First Division Bury, for whom he made his Football League debut against Blackburn Rovers in April 1898. From the following season he was an ever present, playing mainly centre half or inside left until he switched to left back from 1905, and he stayed a total of 11 seasons with The Shakers. During that time he won the FA Cup twice with Bury, playing in their 4-0 victory over Southampton in the 1900 Final and scoring twice (playing as a forward) in their record 6-0 thrashing of Derby County in the 1903 Final, both staged at The Crystal Palace. In November 1899 he was selected to play for The Football League against The Irish League in a 3-1 victory at Burnden Park, Bolton, but he never played for England.
He scored 20 goals in 280 appearances for Bury before joining Southern League Brighton & Hove Albion in 1908, where he became the club captain and played a further six years, most notably he helped Brighton win the 1909-10 Southern League Championship, and also was a member of the Albion team that won the 1910 FA Charity Shield when they beat League Champions Aston Villa 1-0 at Stamford Bridge that September. In the five years that the Charity Shield was contested by the winners of the Football League and Southern League between 1908 and 1912, this was the only occasion on which the Southern League Champions prevailed. The victory remains Brighton & Hove Albion’s only national honour to date.. In 1914 he returned to Lancashire to join non league Chorley before retirement, having played 193 matches for Brighton without ever scoring.
He was the father of the footballer Clifford Leeming, who went on to play for various clubs including Bolton Wanderers, Bury and Tranmere Rovers.
7th October 1911
Match between Brighton & Hove Albion and Southampton on 7th October 1911.
Wilfred “Tim” McCoy
Wilfred “Tim” McCoy was born in Birmingham in 1921. He was nicknamed Tim, after the Western film star, Tim McCoy and was generally known by that name. His football career appeared to have ended prematurely when the outbreak of the Second World War and a call-up to the Army prevented him from taking up a trial with Bolton Wanderers. However, when he was posted to Preston Barracks in Brighton, he appeared in wartime matches for Brighton & Hove Albion in the 1940–41 season.
After the war, he signed for First Division club Portsmouth. As backup he made just 18 league appearances in two-and-a-half seasons, and moved on to Northampton Town. He captained the team, and helped them finish as Third Division South runners-up in 1949–50. In January 1951, he returned to Brighton & Hove Albion where he was a regular in the team for nearly three years. He left at the end of the 1953-54 season, and went on to play non-league football for Tonbridge.
He then worked as a representative of an electrical appliances company and lived in the Woodingdean area of Brighton. He died in the city in 2005 at the age of 83.
Edward Martin was born in Greasley, Nottinghamshire. He played for Selston Amateurs and Heanor Town and had an unsuccessful trial with West Bromwich Albion before signing for Brighton and Hove Albion of the Football League Third Division South in September 1932. He was a first-team regular in the last four seasons before the Football League was suspended for the duration of the Second World War and helped the Seagulls finish as runners-up in 1938–39. Martin served in the Army, and made guest appearances for Portsmouth and Bournemouth before resuming his Seagulls career in the 1945-46 FA Cup, He played no more league football through injury, and went on to work as an electrician in a Nottinghamshire colliery.
Edward died in Selston, Nottinghamshire, in 1990 at the age of 79.
Jack Stevens was born in Broomhill, Northumberland, As a young man, he was a professional sprinter who won the Morpeth Handicap Sprint. He began his Football League career with Ashington, for whom he appeared twice, and was on the books of Manchester City without playing first-team football, before joining Stockport County in late 1932. He became a regular for Stockport over the next 18 months, was ever-present in the 1933–34 season, and appeared on the losing side in the inaugural Third Division North Cup Final. Stevens then signed for Brighton and Hove Albion. Appearing infrequently in his first season, he missed only five matches in the next three. He remained with the club during the first season of wartime competition before joining the Manchester Police.
Len Darling was born in Gillingham. He played non-league football before joining his hometown club, Gillingham, of the Football League Third Division South, in 1933. After one season, during which he made 14 league appearances, he signed for Brighton and Hove Albion, where he established himself as a first-team regular. He made 141 league appearances in the pre-war period, served as an ARP ambulance driver during the conflict (as well as playing for Brighton and as a guest for Bournemouth & Boscombe Athletic i the wartime competitions), and played a further 58 league matches after the resumption. He also coached in schools and acted as trainer to the England Youth team. After football, he worked as a schoolteacher. Len died in Felixstowe, Suffolk in 1958 at the age of 47.
Ernest King was born in Brockley, London. He played non-league football in Dorset before joining West Bromwich Albion, initially as an amateur, in 1928. He turned professional the following year, and played for the club’s reserves, but not for the first team, and moved on to Brighton and Hove Albion in 1931. He was a regular in the side from 1932 to 1937, playing in either full-back position, but suffered an injury in October 1937 that forced his retirement. He went on to keep a hotel in Weymouth, and died in Dorset in 2001 at the age of 93.
Robert Farrell was born in Dundee. He began his football career with junior club Dundee North End before joining Dundee in 1926. According to the Dundee Courier, he was a “tall, well-built lad” who could “fill any position in the forward line, having played in junior circles on the right and left wings with equal success.” He made four Division One appearances in his first season and twelve in his second, but was given a free transfer at the end of the 1927–28 season. Reports of his joining Dundee United proved premature, a trial with English First Division club Portsmouth came to nothing, and in September 1928, Farrell signed for another English club, Brighton and Hove Albion of the Third Division South.
Farrell soon established himself at outside right Brighton’s first team, and continued in place for most of the next ten years. Stan Hurst took over the position during the 1938–39 season, and Farrell retired at the end of that campaign. For much of the 1930s, he had spent his summers as twelfth man and baggage master for Sussex County Cricket Club. He became landlord of a local pub, served in the RAF during the Second World War, and was still in the licensed trade at the time of his death in 1971 at the age of 65.
A crowd picture from a match between Brighton and Hove Albion and Swindon in 1921.
Birmingham born left back and centre half Frank Brett joined Manchester United from Redditch Town in February 1921 making his Football League debut that August at Everton, but when United were relegated Brett joined home town club Aston Villa the following summer after 10 appearances for The Red Devils. At Villa he had a year in the reserves without making the first eleven. He joined Northampton Town in the summer of 1923 and spent 7 seasons with The Cobblers, being ever present in 1926-27 and 1929-30, making 273 appearances and scoring 4 goals. In the summer of 1930 he moved to Brighton & Hove Albion where he was the club captain, leading them to FA Cup giant killing wins over the likes of Chelsea in 1933, and he made a further 143 appearances over the next 5 seasons for them before leaving in 1935, joining non league Tunbridge Wells Rangers and subsequently Hove in 1937 before his eventual retirement.
Wishaw, Lanarkshire born centre forward Jackie Cheetham joined Brighton & Hove Albion in 1925 from Broxburn United making his Football League debut at Plymouth Argyle in February 1926, making 8 appearances before joining Eccles United in 1927. He played for Hurst in 1928 before joining Swansea Town, where he scored 8 goals in 15 games during 1928-29 including a goal on his debut against West Bromwich Albion and 4 further goals in his next 3 matches. He scored twice in 10 further appearances during 1929-30 before joining non league Connah’s Quay & Shotton in 1930, playing for Ashton National the same year and Hyde United in 1931, before returning to Football League action with Accrington Stanley in 1933. He top scored with 18 goals in 41 appearances during 1933-34 including 4 goals against New Brighton in March 1934, but he played only 2 further matches in 1934-35 before returning to non league football firstly with Stalybridge Celtic later in 1934, then with Witton Albion in 1936.
Langley, Oldbury born full back Bert Chamberlain played football for Langley St Michael’s in 1920 before joining Cradley Heath in 1921, from where he signed for West Bromwich Albion in 1922, making his Football League debut at Tottenham Hotspur that November. However he found opportunities limited at The Hawthorns and played only 3 times over two seasons. He joined Brighton & Hove Albion in 1926 but again found it difficult to make the first eleven, making his debut at Gillingham in October 1927 and playing 9 times for The Seagulls before a move to non league Dartford in 1929. He later played for Shoreham in 1930.
Bedlington born full back Jim Rutherford joined Ashington in 1919 after the end of the First World War before joining Brighton & Hove Albion in 1920, making his Football League debut that November against Swansea Town and making 32 appearances for the Seagulls before moving to play in the United States in 1922.