Brighton & Hove Albion’s first league encounter with Leeds United came in September 1960, when two Ian McNeill goals secured a 2-1 victory in the Second Division. In the matchday programme, the recently relegated Yorkshire club were described as sporting a blue and gold kit.
In March that season, Don Revie became player-manager following the resignation of Jack Taylor. The legendary Revie enacted many changes, and not just to the kit, that ensured that Leeds were a mighty force in British football by the time he took over as England boss in 1974.
Brighton’s manager Brian Clough cut short his summer holiday in Majorca to open talks with Leeds chairman Manny Cousins regarding the vacant managerial position at Elland Road. Here is a photo of Clough arriving at Heathrow.
However, when the possibility of joining Clough at Leeds arose, his assistant Peter Taylor said, ‘Count me out’, and stayed with Brighton for two more seasons.
Under Taylor’s successor, Alan Mullery, Albion enjoyed a meteoric rise up the Football League in the late 1970s. They joined Leeds United in the top flight in 1979, taking part in a 0-0 stalemate in October, in Eric Steele’s last match for the Seagulls. Here is the matchday programme.
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By the return fixture, in February, a 1-1 draw, Terry Connor had broken into the Leeds side. Indeed, the young striker was a substitute in his side’s 2-0 defeat at the Goldstone the following season as Albion secured First Division survival in May 1981.
In the 1981/82 campaign, it was Leeds that were fighting against relegation. Despite the services of seasoned internationals such as Brian Flynn, Frank Worthington and Eddie Gray, the side had fallen from grace since the 1970s. Seagulls striker Michael Robinson gave the home fans at Elland Road the thumbs down as he opened the goalscoring in May 1982.
Leeds fought back to win 2-1 but it wasn’t enough to prevent the side from dropping down to Division Two at the end of the season.
The following season, in March 1983, Terry Connor joined the Seagulls and Andy Ritchie switched to Elland Road in a straight swop. Here’s Shoot! Magazine’s account of this eye-opening transfer deal.
Later on in the decade, in October 1988, Garry Nelson and Kevin Bremner scored for Brighton in a 2-1 victory over Leeds to arrest a dreadful start of eight successive defeats in the 1988/89 season.
Howard Wilkinson took over as manager at Leeds that month, eventually leading the club to becoming champions of England. More importantly for Brighton supporters, their former winger also signed Mark Beeney and in doing so, helped Albion fight off a winding up order.
Towards the end of Wilkinson’s first full season at Elland Road, in 1989/90, the two sides played out an entertaining 2-2 draw at the Goldstone, with Mervyn Day, future Scouting and Talent Identification manager at Brighton, getting stuck in the goal net before the game!