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PARALLEL LINES: PRESTON

13 October 2016

The connections between Albion and Preston North End.


The kit
Despite some experimentation with red and white stripes and halves in the 1880s, Preston have stayed true to the Lilywhite look for most of their history. The club switched from Bukta to Adidas in 1977. The same move to manufacturers was made by Brighton three years later. In 1981/82, in an away match at Birmingham, the Seagulls inexplicably wore a white Adidas away shirt, with navy shorts, which bore a strong resemblance to the Preston home kit that season.

The unbeaten runs
In 2015/16, Brighton were unbeaten in their opening 21 matches in the Championship. The run was one short of the total in which Preston North End were undefeated throughout the inaugural Football League season of 1888/89, earning the Lilywhites the nickname of the Invincibles.

The World Cup legends

Preston have been managed by both Bobby Charlton and Nobby Stiles, two World Cup winners with England in 1966. Charlton was player-manager when Albion suffered a 4-0 home defeat against his side in October 1974 in Division Three. When the Lilywhites visited the Goldstone again in September 1978, Stiles was now the boss. He found the Seagulls a much greater force to be reckoned with, as Alan Mullery’s Seagulls side triumphed 5-1.

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The pundits
Mark Lawrenson and Michael Robinson are two Republic of Ireland internationals who began their careers with Preston North End. The two Brighton stars eventually joined Liverpool, winning the European Cup in 1984. After their playing careers ended, both men began careers in the media with Lawrenson becoming known for his appearances on Match of the Day. Meanwhile, Robinson made his name in Spain, presenting the cult television show El día después for 14 years from 1991 to 2005.

The swap
When Gary Williams moved to Brighton in July 1977 for £50,000, former Goldstone favourites Graham Cross and Harry Wilson moved in the opposite direction. Williams had just won the Lilywhites Player of the Year award and proved great value at the Goldstone, contributing greatly to the club’s promotion push in his first season. He made 34 league appearances at left-back as Brighton finished fourth in the Second Division. As for Cross, his 40 appearances in 1977/78 for North End added experience to the defence as the Lancashire club mounted a successful promotion bid.

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