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10 June 2017

The Argus
Gordon Smith in action against Wolves.

Brighton & Hove Albion’s 1980/81 First Division campaign – their second in the top flight – began with Wolverhampton Wanderers visiting the Goldstone Ground, and there were a number of changes made ahead of the opening day fixture.

The 50-year-old North Stand had been demolished in the summer after failing a safety test, while the Seagulls turned out with a brand new look, as they ditched the traditional blue-and-white stripes for an all-blue strip.

British Caledonian appeared on the front of Albion’s controversial new shirt, as they became the club’s latest sponsor, in a three-year deal worth £180,000.

Also gone was the ‘Sussex by the Sea’ anthem that welcomed the teams onto the pitch, with the ‘Rocky’ theme song taking over the tannoy, as less than 20,000 supporters turned out for the game.

The Seagulls made two £400,000 acquisitions that summer, as Gordon Smith and Michael Robinson arrived from Rangers and Manchester City respectively, while Ray McHale also signed from Swindon Town.

Mark Lawrenson, Steve Foster and Peter Ward all signed long-term contracts before the season got underway, with the latter picking up his first full England cap for a brief appearance against Australia that May.

On a blistering day in Sussex, Smith turned up the heat on Albion’s opponents, as he struck a debut goal for the Seagulls following a goalless first half.

Victory was sealed when John Gregory doubled Albion’s advantage – leaving them sixth in the league table, which would prove to be their highest position that season, as they went on to finish 19th.

ALBION: Moseley, Gregory, Lawrenson, Foster, Williams; McHale, McNab, Horton; Ward, Smith, Robinson.


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