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ALBION AND MILLWALL FIVE-A-SIDE TEAM

17 March 2015


A five-a-side team comprised of legendary Brighton & Hove Albion and Millwall players over the years.

Tony Burns (Goalkeeper)
This keeper was signed by Albion boss Archie Macaulay from Arsenal in a £2000 deal in July 1966. Burns made his debut for the Gunners against Burnley in October 1964, going on to play 31 First Division matches. However, competition from Bob Wilson and Jim Furnell hastened his departure from Highbury. At Brighton, this tall keeper made 67 appearances but was released in March 1969. Burns went on to become Millwall’s goalkeeping coach from 1992 to 2006. He was appointed joint caretaker manager of the Lions alongside Alan McLeary in April 2006, but left the club to make way for new boss Nigel Spackman. In 2014, he was appointed senior goalkeeping coach at Gillingham.

Dennis Burnett (Defender)
A classy central defender who graced the Goldstone in the mid-1970s, as the golden years were taking shape. He had started with West Ham, then went to Millwall in 1967 in a £15000 deal. In six years he missed only one game and became the club captain, taking over from Harry Cripps. A £60000 transfer took Burnett to Hull in October 1973. He also had a spell with St Louis Stars in the US. Dennis joined Brighton in August 1975 and played a significant role as Albion finished fourth, even captaining the side at one point. His first-team chances were curtailed at the start of the Mullery era, due to the success of the Graham Cross-Andy Rollings defensive partnership. As a result, his contract was cancelled by mutual agreement in February 1977. After retiring, Dennis went on to be an assistant manager of Lancing in 1994.

Les Briley (Midfielder)
Les began his career as an apprentice with Chelsea, going on to sign professional forms in 1974 but left to join Hereford in 1976. He played in the club’s only season in the Second Division and went on to join Wimbledon in March 1978, during the Dons’ first season in the Football League. In 1978/79, he won promotion to the Third Division with Wimbledon before leaving for Aldershot in March 1980. With the Shots, he added to his growing reputation as a strong combative midfielder, before joining Millwall in March 1984 in a swop for Andy Massey. Briley make a valuable contribution as Lions skipper in the club’s rise from the Third Division to the First in the 1980s. Upon his release in September 1991, Les totalled 227 League appearances for Millwall. He joined Brighton, making just 17 appearances for Barry Lloyd, his former team-mate at Hereford. He is currently Millwall's Assistant Youth Academy Manager.

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John Byrne (Striker)
This popular and intelligent striker was a Republic of Ireland international who was in the squad for Italia ’90. ‘Budgie’ had three spells with the Seagulls, from 1990-91, 1993 and 1995-96. In the famous 1990/91 season, he formed a wonderful partnership with Mike Small as Albion unexpectedly reached the Play-Off Final. However, to the obvious sadness of Brighton supporters, he moved to Sunderland in October 1991 for a £225000 fee before joining Millwall a year later. In an interview with Sussex Life in January 2010, he mentioned his reading material, “The last book I acquired rather than bought was Peter Ward’s biography ‘He Shot He Scored’. I was invited to his book launch recently and received a free copy which Peter signed, From one great striker to another', which was pretty modest of him. Only joking. He’s a really top bloke and what a player. He was a real Albion legend.”

Tony Towner (Winger)
Along with Steve Piper, ‘Tiger’ was one of the few local boys-made-good to emerge into the Brighton first team in the early 1970s. Both were around for the start of the club’s halcyon days later on in that decade, “I played with some decent players there, people such as Peter Ward, Brian Horton and Ian Mellor. Alan Mullery was the manager when I left. He called me in one day and told me George Petchey wanted to sign me for Millwall, and that was that. I wasn’t in the side regularly at that stage so I thought it would be a good move. As it turned out, Brighton were promoted to the old First Division at the end of the season whilst Millwall were relegated to the Third.” Despite Millwall’s fall from grace, he is very well-respected by Lions supporters for his service to the club. He currently works for his own removals company in Brighton.

Pat Saward (Manager)
When Brighton lost 3-0 at the Den in Division Two in November 1972, it was an unhappy return for Saward, who had played for Millwall from 1951 and 1954. The defeat was Albion’s second to the Lions that season, having suffered a 3-1 loss at the Goldstone two months beforehand. The November defeat was the first in a dismal run of 13 consecutive defeats for Brighton in all competitions. It was a losing streak that vanquished the optimism of pre-season. Not only did Brighton finish bottom in 1972/73, the malaise continued in the Third Division with the team languishing in the relegation zone by October 1973. Saward was sacked. As he told the Evening Argus at the time, “I still cannot believe it has happened. But I will say nothing to knock the club, nothing at all. Of what happened yesterday, I can remember very little. The reason I have been sacked is that they say I can no longer motivate the players. What I need now is a holiday to get away from it all.” It was a sad end for Saward who had led a fondly-remembered Albion side to promotion from Division Three in 1971/72.

UPCOMING HOME FIXTURES

ALBION V NORWICH

FRIDAY 3RD APRIL, KICK-OFF 3PM


ALBION V BOURNEMOUTH

FRIDAY 10TH APRIL, KICK-OFF 7.45PM



ALBION V HUDDERSFIELD

TUESDAY 14TH APRIL, KICK-OFF 7.45PM



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