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My Albion memories: Neil Horrocks

We asked for your Albion favourites and today Neil Horrocks, who saw his first game 30 years ago, tells us about his.

By BHAFC • 30 April 2020

Neil Horrocks

When was your first game? What was the score? What can you remember about the game?

It was Brighton v Hull City in the old Second Division on Wednesday 24th October 1990. There were only 5,354 at the Goldstone but it still felt incredible. Looking back, it was the success of the England team at the 1990 World Cup that made me want to go to a match. We lived in Littlehampton, which is close to Portsmouth territory, but being influenced by my parents reading the Evening Argus I decided to follow Brighton. My dad was a teacher in Worthing and managed to get a couple of tickets through the school youth club. He can still remember the look of awe on my face when I, as a 12-year-old, saw the floodlit pitch for the first time as I walked up the steps into the South Stand. We won 3-1, and I was hooked.

Who was your first Albion idol?

In that first season whilst it was Mike Small who was scoring the goals the player I most admired was John Byrne. He always gave his all. I remember it was from his run on goal, and being injured in a foul, that Dean Wilkins then scored the direct free-kick against Ipswich that sent us in to the play-offs. He played an incredible 51 matches that season, and I was desperate for him to score in the FA Cup final for Sunderland the following year so that he would have scored in each round.

What is your favourite Albion game and why?

Many stand out. For sheer pantomime it has to be the 3-1 defeat of Palace last season - Zaha playing the villain, Duffy seeing red, Andone scoring with a run from the half-way line and then looking confused. Another game that really sticks out was the defeat of Sheffield Wednesday in the promotion season in 2016-17. The remarkable double save from the penalty by David Stockdale after Glenn Murray had been sent off, going on to win it against the run of play with ten men and Wednesday having two of their own sent off as well. That was the first time I believed we were going to be promoted.

Which season stands out as your favourite?

It has to be the promotion from the Championship season in 2017. Whilst the home matches were good, the atmosphere at the away games was incredible. Being behind the goal at QPR when Pocognoli scored that direct free kick was incredible. BBC Sussex's Johnny Cantor described it as ‘bedlam’ behind the goal and he wasn't wrong. Fantastic times to be an Albion fan.

Which are your favourite Albion home and away shirts?

It's hard to pick out favourites so if I could pick out the most memorable the 1991/92 striped shirt and shorts when we were sponsored by TSB were quite something. We looked like deckchairs running around the pitch. On a similar theme, the pink strip we wore at the play-off final the previous season was certainly different too.

What is your all-time Albion XI?

Perry Digweed; Wayne Bridge, Lewis Dunk, Danny Cullip, John Crumplin; Vicente, John Robinson, Anthony Knockaert, Charlie Oatway; John Bryne, Bobby Zamora.

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