A five-a-side team comprised of legendary Brighton & Hove Albion and Middlesbrough players and managers over the years.
Peter Taylor (Goalkeeper)
This Nottingham-born keeper made 86 appearances for Coventry before joining Middlesbrough in the summer of 1955. Over the course of the next six years, Taylor totaled 140 games for Boro’. At Ayresome Park, he met striker Brian Clough for the first time, which, according to writer Ashley Hyne, ‘changed the course of British football history,’ due to their managerial exploits together in future decades. After a short stay at Port Vale, Taylor embarked on a managerial career at Burton Albion from 1962 to 1965 before becoming Clough’s assistant at Hartlepools (now known as Hartlepool). Loyally, he went on to take the Brighton hotseat from 1974 following the departure of Clough to Leeds. When he resigned from the Goldstone in 1976, he told chairman Mike Bamber, “I’m going; I’m a failure.” Bamber’s reply was typically erudite, “If you call this failure, then I want more of it.”
George Aitken (Defender)
Aitken is another ex-Boro’ man who went on to manage Brighton. He signed for Middlesbrough as a professional in June 1946 by boss David Jack. After a debut against Fulham in 1951/72, Aitken made 18 appearances in the First Division but chances were few and far between, leading to a transfer to Workington, where George established a reputation as a strong and commanding centre-back. He made 262 League appearances for the Borough Park side before retiring in 1960. After some coaching and managing at Workington, along with spell at Watford, Aitken arrived at the Goldstone in 1976 to join Peter Taylor as trainer-coach. Despite Taylor’s departure, George gave the Seagulls 10 years of great service including a spell as joint-caretaker manager, alongside Jimmy Melia, from December 1982 to March 1983.
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Gary Rowell (Midfielder)
After a long spell with Sunderland, and a short one with Norwich, this attacking midfielder arrived at Middlesbrough in a difficult time for the club. He was top scorer with ten Second Division goals in 1985/86 but the club, facing financial ruin, were relegated and had to offload this key player. When Albion landed Rowell in the summer of 1986, it wasn’t the first time Alan Mullery had tried to sign the talented midfielder for the Seagulls. As the midfielder said, “I respect the boss for what he achieved in his own playing career and with Brighton, in his first spell here as manager. I’m delighted with the move. I found it to be a very friendly club and people have gone out of their way to make us feel at home. Now I want to repay the club by playing well for the team.” Sadly, things did not work out. A toe injury effectively finished his career and his contract was paid up in February 1988.
Brian Clough (Striker)
Clough had a field day on Brighton’s first-ever match in the Second Division. He plundered five goals in Middlesbrough’s 9-0 thrashing of the Albion in August 1958. Not only that, this super-sharp marksman scored another three in the return fixture at the Goldstone that December, in a 6-4 win for Boro’. Even so, he was on the losing side when he next visited the Goldstone, in April 1960. Despite his goal for the away side, Brighton won 3-2 thanks to a double from Keith Abbiss. Sensationally, Clough and Taylor arrived in 1973 to manage the Albion following the sacking of Pat Saward. He declared, “It’s tougher here than at Hartlepool where they didn’t expect anything. Now we have a reputation, but there are no fairies at the bottom of Brighton pier. There are only sixteen professionals here. Only one goalkeeper, one trainer, one secretary, one groundsman; in fact, one of everything. That puts Peter and me in the majority, for they have two managers.”
Mark Barham (Winger)
This right-winger who was a product of the Norwich youth system before making his debut as a substitute in a very difficult 5-0 defeat against Manchester United at Old Trafford in November 1979. He was given another chance later in the campaign, playing the last three matches before blossoming as a regular in the following season. Barham went on to win two England caps in 1984, the League Cup in 1985 and the Second Division championship in 1986. By 1988, his career was in decline after an unsuccessful spell with Huddersfield. He joined Middlesbrough in November and played just four games in his eight months with the club. It took a successful trial session at the Goldstone in 1989 to rejuvenate his career and he served the Seagulls well under Barry Lloyd over the next two and half years before being released.