Williams: Liverpool win on par with our Forest victory

Albion legend believes result at Anfield is one of the best in the club's history.

By Charlie Hanson • 05 February 2021

By The Argus
Albion celebrate the winning goal against Nottingham Forest, an historic one for the Seagulls.

Gary Williams believes that his own career highlight was matched by Albion's win at Anfield on Wednesday.

The former defender wrote his name into the club's history books with a late winner against reigning European champions Nottingham Forest in the 1979/80 campaign in front of 25,000 at the Goldstone.

Up until Wednesday night, that was widely regarded as the greatest result in Albion's history, but the 66-year-old can see why that team's achievement might now be knocked off top spot.

“It's a difficult one because it was the best moment of my career, to bang one in in the last minute against the European champions,” Williams reflected. “But I really believe Wednesday is a similar thing. Brighton have gone there, when Liverpool have only suffered one defeat at Anfield in 69 games, and won.

By The Argus
Gary Williams lets fly against Nottingham Forest, a goal he describes as 'the best moment of his career'.

“Let's say the two days are on par with each other - two fantastic days in the history of the club.”

The victory over Jurgen Klopp's men stirred up old memories for Williams.

“I was thinking about that Forest game off the back of Wednesday night, it was a fantastic result. It takes me back.

“I know Brighton were struggling for results at the start of the season and so were we that first year in the First Division, we were right down at the bottom.

“We had a lack of confidence and belief. If you're playing professional football you're obviously a good player, but confidence makes up so much of your ability.

“But Gerry Ryan gave us a 1-0 win at Forest in November 1979 and it was huge for us. It was like the Alamo, backs to the wall. Similar to Liverpool, Forest had a two-year unbeaten home record and they were also the European champions.

By The Argus
Gerry Ryan scored in the 'backs to the wall' 1-0 win at the City Ground in November 1979.

“We had just come up from the second division and most of that team was made up of players who had played in the second or third tiers. But we came away from that game saying to each other 'we're not a bad side, we're actually a good side'.

“From then on for the second half of the season we were virtually top four in terms of our form – our results picked up and it was all to do with confidence from beating Forest at their place.

“When we beat them at home it was more of an even game, it wasn't backs to the wall. We played well that day and to do the double was unbelievable.

“For the current players the results they've had in the last few weeks are going to give them that shot in the arm. They'll look at themselves in the mirror and think jeez we are a good side'. It will give them fantastic belief.”

Williams fondly recalls his famous goal, even if he used to get asked whether he meant it.

“I used to get asked if the goal was a cross! It was the last few minutes, it had been an even game. We went on the last attack of the game and I was in a bit of a strange position as a left-back because I had followed the play just for that last couple of minutes.

“Peter Ward backheeled it to me and Brian Horton said 'hit it', and if Nobby told you to do something you did it.

“It's one of those where you know it's going in the top corner. It was against Peter Shilton and on TV when Match of the Day used to show one main game, a brilliant moment.”

Gary doesn't think he's quite got it in his locker to recreate the goal, having recently had a knee replacement.

“I am a delivery driver now and I've been off for a bit as I had a knee replacement. I am eight weeks into my recovery and have got to have the other one done soon. Hopefully I will be able to walk a lot more comfortably once I have recovered. I don't think I am ready to play on Saturday put it that way!

“I have watched Brighton a lot on the TV. The football they play is great, they're fearless at the back and the win at Liverpool wasn't a fluke. They play the proper way and I am really pleased for the club.”