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PARALLEL LINES: WOLVES

18 October 2016

The connections between Albion and Wolves.


The kit
From November 1986, Wolves ran out in a kit manufactured by Spall, wearing old gold shirts featuring some snazzy shadow stripes, a popular design during the middle part of the decade. In the summer of 1987, Brighton and Hove Albion also adopted Spall as kit manufacturers. The Seagulls away shirt also included shadow stripes, but the yellow worn by Nelson, Bremner and co was much more evocative of new gold than old.

The fall and rise

The 1980s were turbulent for Wolves. Beset by financial problems, they suffered relegation from Division One in 1984, dropping into the Fourth Division by 1986. Under Graham Turner, the club enjoyed a rapid renaissance, winning the Fourth and Third Division championships in 1988 and 1989 respectively. Brighton also suffered a fall from grace, heading from the Second Division in 1992 to the basement division by 1996, very nearly exiting the Football League a year later. However, after the rot was stopped, successive promotions under Micky Adams in 2001 and under Peter Taylor in 2002 restored the Seagulls’ place in the second tier.

The 3-2 defeats
Despite the final result, the 3-2 home defeats that Brighton experienced against Wolves in cup matches in 1969 and 1979 are fondly remembered. The League Cup tie of 1969 under Freddie Goodwin was a classic with goals from Allan Gilliver and Eddie Spearritt giving mighty Wolves a run for their money. Ten years’ later, the clubs’ FA Cup encounter saw Mark Lawrenson score a superb solo goal, one of the greatest ever seen at the Goldstone.

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The golden streak
From December 1979 to September 1979, the Seagulls enjoyed a run of nine straight wins over Wolves. The sequence began with Peter Ward’s hat-trick at Molineux in a 3-0 victory. It also included a 5-1 success in May 1985, with two goals from Frank Worthington, plus Steve Penney, Alan Biley and Terry Connor also on the scoresheet.

The glory
Wolves and Brighton have enjoyed some vintage seasons in the past. In 1958, while Stan Cullis’s famous side won the First Division title, Albion became champions of Division Three (South). In 1977 and 1988, Wolves also won the Second Division title and the Fourth Division championship. Those campaigns were also successful promotion campaigns for the Seagulls. Ward hit 32 league goals as Albion finished runners-up in Division Three in 1976/77, before Garry Nelson’s 22 league goals 11 years later helped the Seagulls to the same position.

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