Remember when Wigan Athletic had yet to acquire league status? Former Brighton & Hove Albion skipper Brian Bromley did, before he sadly passed away in March 2012. The midfielder was winding down his career when he made 23 appearances in the Northern Premier League for the Latics in 1975/76.In his heyday, he had been an unstoppable force in the latter half of Albion’s Third Division promotion campaign in 1971/72.
When Bromley departed the club in 1976, young Danny Wilson replaced him. Following a transfer to Bury in 1977, the promising Wigan-born midfielder had spells at Chesterfield, Nottingham Forest and Scunthorpe. When he joined the Seagulls in December 1983, he scored a couple of goals in a 3-1 victory over Cardiff City on his debut at the Goldstone. Here is the matchday programme.
His manager at Wigan had been Ian McNeill, who went on to experience glory as the Latics entered the Football League in 1978. Older Brighton & Hove Albion supporters may remember McNeill as a smart playmaking inside-forward from 1959 to 1962. Here’s the Glaswegian in the front row, second from left, in an Albion team photo that appeared in Charles Buchan’s Football Monthly.
McNeill served Chelsea as assistant manager from 1981 to 1987. At Stamford Bridge, one of the Blues players he helped to develop was Chris Hutchings, who was the Latics boss briefly in 2007. Both were on duty for Chelsea in an infamous match at the Goldstone in 1983.
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It took until October 1987 for Brighton to meet the Latics in a league game. Just 2,392 supporters saw the 3-3 draw in which Dean Wilkins scored his first-ever goal for the Seagulls while Kevin Bremner got a couple. In the return fixture at the Goldstone in April 1988, Alan Curbishley bundled in the only goal to help Barry Lloyd’s side’s promotion push.
A far more eye-pleasing winner for Albion came from striker Steve Cotterill’s head in October 1992, in another 1-0 victory.
Cotterill’s two-month loan spell at the Goldstone ended with that match. His replacement, Kurt Nogan, was a two-goal hero that season, capitalising on a heavy touch from keeper Nigel Adkins to secure victory at Springfield Park.
Wigan were relegated to the basement of the Football League at the end of the 1992/93. By April 1997, under the leadership of John Deehan, the Greater Manchester side were on the up, winning the title that season. By contrast, Brighton were bottom of the Football League. Still, it didn’t stop the Seagulls from recording a priceless victory in the penultimate match at the Goldstone.