The connections between Albion and Blackburn.
In 1991, UK sports brand Ribero launched new kits for both Brighton and Blackburn Rovers. For the Lancashire side, it was the second design in two seasons from the kit manufacturer, with white and baby blue halved shirts giving way to white and cyan quarters. It was a smart and striking transition, but unlikely to stir the wrath of traditionalists amongst its supporters. For the Seagulls, it was a different story, with the stripy blue and white shorts earning much notoriety amongst the Goldstone faithful. Raphael Meade and Mark Gall were amongst the new arrivals at the Goldstone who wore the new kit.
The promotion winning side
Albion’s 1971/72 side clinched promotion to the Second Division playing an enterprising brand of football under Pat Saward’s guidance. The team included two players who would go on to play for Blackburn. Dave Turner joined Rovers at the end of the season, but knee problems meant he retired on the eve of Blackburn’s 1974/75 Third Division championship winning season. Ken Beamish scored six crucial goals in just 12 games for Brighton in 1971/72. Three years later, he helped Rovers to promotion. In all, he scored 16 goals in his two-year spell with the Ewood Park side.
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Blackburn currently have three ex-Brighton players in their squad. In January 2016, Rovers signed Elliott Bennett, whose assists and goals were instrumental in the Seagulls’ League One championship winning side of 2010/11. Captain of that great team was Gordon Greer. He was released by Brighton at the end of the 2015/16, rejoining Blackburn having had a two-year spell with the Lancashire club from 2001 to 2003. Finally, Cardiff City winger Craig Conway had a successful loan spell at Brighton in 2013 before joining Blackburn the following year.
The departure from the second tier
At the end of 1991/92, Brighton and Blackburn both left the second tier, in opposite directions. Backed by the millions of Jack Walker, Rovers won the play-offs under Kenny Dalglish, ending a spell of 26 years outside the top flight. Three years later, the Lancashire side were crowned Premier League champions. For the Seagulls, it was a sadder story, as the Sussex side were relegated having been in the play-offs just 12 months previously. It was a much happier time at the Goldstone in 1978/79, when goals from Teddy Maybank and Andy Rollings helped Mullery’s high-flying Brighton to a 2-1 victory over Blackburn in April 1979. It was the final home match of a season when the Seagulls reached the top flight. Rovers slipped to the Third Division at the end of the campaign, but returned to the Second after one season.
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