The connections between Albion and Leeds.
Leeds switched to an all-white kit in September 1960 to emulate the all-conquering Real Madrid side. The Yorkshire club had previously worn blue shirts with yellow trim. In 1970/71, Brighton and Hove Albion also wore all-white kits. Unsurprisingly, this look proved unpopular with Goldstone regulars, as it was very different from what they classed as a Brighton and Hove Albion home kit. As part of Pat Saward’s drive to build a stronger bond with supporters, he listened to them and brought back the famous blue and white stripes after a long absence in time for the 1971/72 campaign. The all-white look was tried again in 1974/75 under Peter Taylor, but only lasted a single season once again.
At the start of the 1988/89 season, Brighton and Hove Albion had a rude awakening upon their return to the Second Division, losing their first eight matches in all competitions. It took a second-half comeback from a 1-0 half-time deficit against Leeds United in October 1988 for Barry Lloyd’s side to end this dismal run. The Seagulls gradually improved and finished in 19th, nine points from the drop. Similarly, it was a slump in home form that was giving Leeds fans the jitters at the start of 2015/16. The side were without a win at Elland Road in their first seven matches. This included a 2-1 defeat to Chris Hughton’s Seagulls side in October 2015. Match-winner Bobby Zamora scored his first goal upon his return to the Albion with a great chip in the 89th minute. Despite the defeat, Leeds finally managed a home win the following month, against Cardiff, and improved enough to finish in 13th.
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In a surprise move around transfer deadline day in 1983, Brighton striker Andy Ritchie moved to Second Division Leeds United, with Terry Connor moving in the opposite direction. Richie had been the Seagulls’ player of the season in 1981/82 following his £500,000 move from Manchester United the previous campaign. However, he was in and out of form the following season, and thought a move would be beneficial, especially as team-mate Neil McNab had recently had a suc-cessful month loan to Eddie Gray’s team. For Connor, the move came out of the blue: “I’d never imagined myself playing for anyone else but Leeds,” he said. “I was born and bred in the city. My parents and friends live there, and really Elland Road was a second home to me. So it was a bit of a shock when I was told to fly to Brighton to discuss terms with their manager, Jimmy Melia. But once the fact had sunk in that Leeds were willing to sell me I decided to throw in my lot with the Seasiders.”
The relegation battles
Brighton played Leeds United in the Albion’s last games of 1980/81 and 1981/82. Steve Foster and Andy Ritchie got the goals at the Goldstone Ground in a convincing 2-0 win in May 1981 as Alan Mullery’s side ensured First Division survival by winning their final four matches. With nothing significant to play for, Leeds finished ninth place. The following season, it was Mike Bailey’s Albion side that was in a comfortable mid-table position while Leeds were battling to prevent a drop into the Second Division. Michael Robinson gave the Seagulls the lead with a beautiful hooked shot in the first half. However, two late goals from Gary Hamson and Kevin Hird gave United the victory. Relief was short-lived as the side still went down. It took ex-Brighton winger Howard Wilkinson to return Leeds to the top flight in 1990.
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