Peter Grummitt (Goalkeeper)
Peter was signed originally as a loanee by Brian Clough following Brighton’s infamous 8-2 defeat to Bristol Rovers in December 1973. Known for his bravery and agility, the former Sheffield Wednesday and Nottingham Forest shot-stopper is still hailed by many Albion supporters as one of the finest ever keepers at the club. Indeed, an outstanding performance at Blackburn Rovers the following season led Peter Taylor to declare, ‘The way this man is playing, he must be one of the best in the country.” However, injury marred his time on the south coast. An accidental collision with future colleague Ricky Marlowe, then of Shrewsbury, ended his first season prematurely in March 1974. Three years later, in March 1977, Grummitt’s knee injury against Tranmere put paid to his career.
Willie Young (Defender)
This Scot was well past his best by the time he arrived at the Goldstone on loan from Norwich City to deputise for the suspended Steve Gatting in March 1984. Making his Seagulls debut against Manchester City at Maine Road, he was one of a trio of Youngs (including Alan and Eric) playing for Brighton that day. Willie’s final appearance was in the horrendous 5-1 defeat at Portsmouth, when the Albion defence shipped five goals in 13 minutes. As John Vinicombe wrote in the Evening Argus: “Young had not let the side down in his previous three loan appearances, but Mark Hateley, ten years his junior, gave him a terrible runaround.”
Danny Wilson (Midfielder)
Such was the dire financial situation at Brighton in the mid-1980s, the club could barely afford the asking price for this loan signing from Forest. He eventually cost a bargain at £45,000. In January 1986, his unhappy spell at the City Ground played on his mind, “When I left Nottingham Forest, it hurt. I had not fulfilled the ambitions I set myself in the First Division. Brian Clough insisted on using me as a wide player, virtually a winger, which I am not. I didn’t play welt consistently enough and was low on confidence. When I left Forest for Brighton, I felt as if I had failed. Going back to the First Division with Brighton – this time as a central midfield player – would compensate for all my disappointments first time around.” Wilson did find his way back to the top flight, when the Seagulls sold the Northern Ireland international to Luton Town at the end of the 1986/87 season.
Peter Ward (Striker)
Wardy’s electric performances for Brighton were crucial in the club’s march from the Third Division to the top flight in the late 1970s, before leaving for Nottingham in October 1980. Not known for his heading ability, the Forest forward came back to haunt Brighton by nodding in the only goal in February 1982. Even so, Peter’s time with the Reds was not a success and he came back to Brighton on loan that October. In the famous FA Cup run, he scored the winner against Newcastle in the 3rd Round and then tormented Mark Lawrenson in the shock victory at Anfield. Hoping to get an extension to his loan to Brighton in order to have a chance of Wembley, Clough replied, “Son, I’ve never been to a cup final and neither will you.”
Justin Fashanu (Striker)
The troubled forward suffered at the hands of Clough’s less than nurturing managerial style following his £1million transfer to Forest from Norwich City in August 1981. However, the burley centre-forward wreaked a revenge of sorts on Clough in a pre-season friendly between Brighton and Forest at the Goldstone in August 1985. In a 5-2 victory for the Seagulls, Fashanu had a hand in four Albion goals as his power continually terrorised the Forest defence. After the match, Brighton boss Chris Cattlin gave cautious praise to his side while Clough refused to be interviewed.
Brian Clough (Manager)
Despite his astonishing triumphs for Nottingham Forest in the late 1970s, delivering the League title in 1978, followed by two League Cups and two European Cups, Ol’ Big ‘Ead may not be the best man to get the best out of this five-a-side team. After signing Willie Young in 1981, he appointed the Scot as captain before stripping him of that role. In the City Ground hotseat, he also fell out with Wilson, Ward and Fashanu, not to mention his management partner Peter Taylor. Even so, when he tried, the legendary boss could be the epitome of charm and good grace, lavishing praise on Brighton after their shock 1-0 victory at the City Ground in November 1979.