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PARALLEL LINES: BRENTFORD

10 September 2016

The connections between Albion and Brentford.


The kit
Towards the end of the 20th century, both Brighton and Brentford played in kits manufactured by sports apparel company, Super League. In August 1997, the Seagulls ran out in home games at Priestfield Stadium in striped shirts notable for a large horizontal blue band down the middle of the shirt. The company then provided more traditional stripes for both clubs in the 1998/99 campaign. Brentford’s deal lasted for another season, whereas Albion switched to Errea in 1999.

The top flight
Both clubs reached the first division from the third division in just three seasons. In 1935/36, Bees boss Harry Curtis kept faith with much of the side that had clinched promotion, but the first division debutants were mired in a relegation dogfight by Christmas. However new signings Bobby Reid, Dai Richards and David McCulloch significantly strengthened the side, and so much that only two league games were lost after Christmas.

Brentford finished sixth in the Football League, their highest-ever placing. Similarly, when Brighton made their top flight debut in 1979, they struggled to survive, but some great form around Christmas turned the tide. The 16th position achieved in Division One in 1979/80 is the second highest ever finish for the Albion.

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The managers
Both clubs have been managed by Micky Adams and Steve Coppell. Adams was player-manager at Griffin Park from 1997 to 1998 before arriving at Brighton following a spell as Nottingham Forest caretaker boss. In 2002, Steve Coppell took charge at the Seagulls having resigned from the Bees at the end of the 2001/02. Rejuvenating the side, he very nearly guided the Seagulls to safety.

The players
In addition, many ex-Brighton players have gone on to become the manager at Brentford. Jimmy Sirrel, an Albion inside forward from 1951 to 1954, started an illustrious managerial career with a spell at Griffin Park from 1967 to 1969. Left-back Mike Everitt played at the Goldstone from 1968 to 1970, before becoming the Bees boss in 1973.

Ex-Seagull striker Nicky Forster was caretaker manager at Brentford in the last three months of the 2010/11 campaign. By contrast, Billy Lane scored 82 goals in 112 league games for the Bees from 1929 to 1931. He began a highly successful ten year stint as Brighton and Hove Albion boss 20 years later.

The rugby
Brentford have recently issued a statement declaring an intention to play in a 20,000-seater community stadium both for professional football and rugby, and have entered into talks with London Irish. This echoes the versatility of the Amex, where Albion’s ground was used to stage two matches in the Rugby World Cup in September 2015: South Africa v Japan, and Samoa v USA.

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