When Andy Rollings and Steve Govier joined Brighton & Hove Albion from Norwich City in April 1974, the two defenders attracted a fee of £25,000. In Viva Brighton magazine, ‘Rollo’ reminisced about how Brian Clough promised to make him into the ‘new Roy McFarland’.
Rollings’s last home match for the Seagulls came in October 1979, as Albion lost 4-2 to the Canaries. At the time, Alan Mullery’s side were struggling to get to grips with the demands of First Division football. You can see footage of the match, including the defender’s sending off after retaliating to being fouled by Justin Fashanu.
Fashanu was a thorn in Albion’s side the following season, scoring in a convincing 3-1 win for City at Carrow Road in February 1981.
Despite this defeat, a late purple patch helped Brighton to escape relegation on the last day of the 1980/81 campaign, while City went down.
When the two sides met again in December 1982, much had changed at the Goldstone. Manager Alan Mullery had gone, and so had his successor Mike Bailey. In came chief coach George Aitken and chief scout Jimmy Melia in temporary charge. They got off to a flyer with a scintillating 3-0 victory over Norwich in a memorable debut for their reign.
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Of course, it was not the only match between the two sides at the Goldstone that season. In March 1983, Brighton hosted its first ever FA Cup quarter final. For the occasion, the club did itself proud with a commemorative matchday programme at a price of 50p. Again, it was a Brighton win, with Jimmy Case on the scoresheet again.
A couple of months later, Albion’s final match in the top flight came at Carrow Road, with Norwich exacting a revenge of sorts, overcoming Melia’s men 2-1.
Chris Cattlin took over as Brighton manager in October 1983, steadied the league form and very nearly led the side back to Division One in 1985. For 1985/86, he even signed Justin Fashanu for the Albion cause. Jim Read has written an insightful biography of the controversial striker’s life. This includes a detailed account of Fashanu’s time on the south coast.
The transfer was not a success, however. The Seagulls suffered a slump in form in October 1985, shipping fourteen goals in three matches. This led to an infamous streamer flown by a plane before Brighton’s match with Norwich City in early November. This stunt in the sky called for a managerial change.
Brighton came away with a creditable 1-1 draw with the East Anglian club. However, there was no denying the clinical nature of Seagulls striker Terry Connor’s diving header in the return fixture in April 1986. Unfortunately, the goal, immortalised in Danny Baker’s ‘Own Goals and Gaffs’ video, went past a startled Perry Digweed in the Albion goal!