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15 September 2016

The connections between Brighton and Burton.

The kit
From 1973 to 1976, Burton Albion wore a mustard yellow shirt featuring a black winged v-insert collar. Paired with black shorts, this was the home kit that the prolific Peter Ward donned when playing for the Brewers in the Southern League Premier Division. It was a popular look for many clubs during the decade, both in and out of the Football League. Indeed, when he made his debut for Third Division Brighton, at Hereford in March 1976, Wardy wore an identically designed Umbro shirt with black collar and trim. The only difference is that Brighton’s change shirt was mainly green, and yellow was saved for the shirt number.

The legend
Peter Ward made his Burton debut against Tamworth in the Birmingham Senior Cup in September 1974, scoring a hat-trick in a 4-1 victory. Such was his goalscoring exploits, he and team-mate Frank Colligan were the subject of a £2,000 bid from Brighton boss Peter Taylor. The deal fell through. In May 1975, Taylor eventually got his man at double the price after watching the young striker at Maidstone. In his autobiography he wrote: “The pitch was bad; Burton, who had turned up with a scratch side, were bad; and Ward was bad - yet he still showed a few class touches, enough to make a £4,000 gamble.” The star striker eventually scored 95 goals in 227 appearances for the Seagulls.

The players
Burton, Brighton and Nottingham Forest. These are not just the clubs that featured Peter Ward, but also striker Chris O’Grady. Chris joined Brighton in July 2014, making 31 league appearances for the Seagulls. He went on loan to Forest in September 2015 for the remainder of the campaign. The Nottingham-born forward is currently on loan at Burton for the whole of the 2016/17 campaign.


The managers
Peter Taylor began his managerial career at Burton Albion in 1962, leading the Brewers to the Southern League Cup in 1964. He left a year later to become Brian Clough’s assistant at Hartlepool. The pair shocked the football world by arriving to take charge at Brighton and Hove Albion in November 1973. Clough left in summer 1974, but Taylor stayed on for another two seasons, signing many of the players who became part of Alan Mullery’s vintage side of the late 1970s. Ken Gutteridge, Ward’s boss at Burton, went on to become Taylor’s trainer at the Goldstone, and his insistence led to the striker’s arrival in Sussex.

The cup tie
Although this is the first time these two Albions have met in the Football League, they faced each other in the League Cup in September 2014. The Seagulls ran out 3-0 winners with Rohan Ince, Kazenga Lua-Lua and Craig Mackail-Smith scoring the goals. Burton had already beaten Wigan and QPR in rounds one and two, but the Seagulls won the right to face Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane in the last 16.

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