There are a number of connections between Albion and Rotherham.
Since 1928, Rotherham have often worn plain red shirts and white shorts as part of their home kit. They have also gone for the rather Arsenal-esque look of red shirts with white sleeves. Both these two favourites found their way into the Brighton & Hove Albion selection of change kit in the early 1970s under Pat Saward. In 1970/71, Albion donned red shirts if there was a clash of colours away from home. In the 1971/72 promotion campaign, Saward’s men wore red shirts with white sleeves as change colours.
The great season
1981/82 proved to be a successful season for both the Seagulls and the Millers. In Brighton’s four-year stay in the top flight, it was the only campaign where the club played without fear of relegation. Indeed, a UEFA Cup spot seemed up for grabs when Andy Ritchie’s goal beat Liverpool at Anfield in March 1982. By the end of the season, the Seagulls finished in 13th in the top flight, their highest-ever league finish. For the Millers, the new boys in the Second Division, an indifferent campaign suddenly came to life with eight successive league wins in February alone. Rotherham eventually finished seventh.
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Tony Towner was a Brighton boy who became a firm favourite at the Goldstone Ground following his debut in 1973. ‘Tiger’ played a significant part of the 1976/77 Division Three promotion season. He repeated the feat with Rotherham United in 1980/81, helping the Millers win the title.
Two Brighton players have gone on to become Rotherham managers: Jack Mansell, an Albion left-back from 1949 to 1952 who was in the hotseat at Milmoor from 1965 to 1967, and Billy McEwan, a midfielder who was at the Goldstone in 1974 before joining the Rotherham coaching staff ten years later. In 1986, McEwan was appointed manager. Former Seagulls defender Chris Hutchings also began his coaching career at Rotherham.
Both Brighton and Rotherham have reached the final of one of the two major domestic cup competitions. In 1961, the Millers were runners-up in the inaugural League Cup led by boss Tom Johnston. In 1983, the Seagulls reached the FA Cup Final at Wembley under manager Jimmy Melia.