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PARALLEL LINES: NORWICH

29 October 2016

The connections between Albion and Norwich.


The kit
Umbro, Admiral, Adidas and Errea are manufacturers who have supplied the kits of both Brighton and Hove Albion and Norwich City. Some of the more controversial designs came from Ribero in the 1990s. The Surrey-based company kitted the Seagulls in striped shorts in 1991-1993, before unveiling a pinstriped effort with blue sleeves. From 1992 to 1994, Ribero supplied the Canaries in a yellow home kit with patches of white and green. While it caused consternation to traditionalists, it also coincided with a glorious period for the Canaries, culminating in a famous UEFA Cup campaign.

The formation
The spirit of enterprise was alive and kicking at the start of the 20th century. In 1901, John Jackson called a meeting at the Seven Stars Hotel to found Brighton and Hove United, a club which took the name of Brighton and Hove Albion before a ball was kicked. A year later, Norwich City were formed following a meeting at the Criterion Cafe in Norwich. Both sides frequently contested matches in the Southern League up until both clubs’ entry into the Football League in 1920.

The exodus
In 1984/85, Norwich City won the League Cup, beating Sunderland 1-0 at Wembley. The Canaries’ squad that season included Mark Barham, Gary Rowell and Mark Farrington, three players that were subsequently snapped up by the Seagulls. By contrast, the Brighton side of 2009/10 included Andrew Crofts and Elliott Bennett. The latter went on to play a significant part in the League One promotion campaign under Gus Poyet the following season. Both left for Norwich City before returning to the Seagulls, Crofts in a permanent deal in 2012 and Bennett on loan in 2014.

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The managers
Archie Macaulay was appointed Norwich City boss in April 1957. In 1959, City very nearly became the first Third Division side to reach the FA Cup Final, but lost to Luton in the semi-finals. Following the Canaries’ promotion to the Second Division, Macaulay took over at West Brom in 1961. He joined Brighton in April 1963. Some 49 years later, Chris Hughton agreed to manage Norwich City, and was in the job for two years until April 2014. His next job was with the Seagulls, joining the club in December that year.

The relegation battle
Both clubs were in grave danger of dropping out of the First Division in 1980/81. Despite Norwich City beating the Seagulls 3-1 in February 1981, the club managed by John Bond finished 20th and went down. Alan Mullery’s Brighton side won the home fixture 2-0 at the Goldstone, in September 1980, with Michael Robinson and Gary Stevens on the score sheet. Albion escaped the drop by winning the last four games of the season.

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