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SMITH: CUP FINAL WAS SUCH A SPECIAL DAY

15 March 2018

The Argus
Albion's players celebrate with Gordon Smith after his opening goal at Wembley Stadium.

Ahead of Saturday’s Emirates FA Cup quarter-final against Manchester United, former Brighton & Hove Albion striker Gordon Smith reflected on the club’s special occasion at Wembley Stadium in 1983.

The Scotsman opened the scoring for the Seagulls in the FA Cup final against United, and although the game finished 2-2 before losing 4-0 in the replay, Smith looked back on a memorable experience.

He said, “It was fantastic. I’d been in six cup finals for Rangers, and that was a team that was used to being in cup finals - but the FA Cup Final was something Brighton had never been in before.

“It was so special, the build up to it and everything else that was going on, it was amazing. I was even on Top of the Pops on the Thursday night!

“We’d done the song but Top of the Pops couldn’t play it because the sales were mainly regional, but Jimmy Case and I were on and it was amazing to be on the show.

“We’d been out on a few occasions singing the song at different venues for the fans. The community was just taken over by it. We got relegated that season and it was almost as if nobody had noticed.

“The atmosphere was fantastic - I’d played in a few big games but it’s hard to beat that one. Almost 100,000 people at Wembley against Manchester United.”

United were the favourites heading into the showcase final at England’s national stadium, but Smith revealed the mind games his team-mates played on their opponents before the match.

“Most of our guys were experienced players, we’d all played at a good level, and we said ‘lets talk to them in the tunnel and give them a bit’.

“We started speaking to the Manchester United players and they could hardly talk to us. They couldn’t believe it, we were like ‘how are you getting on guys, are you looking forward to it?’.

“It was total mind games. We wanted to take the Mickey a little bit and just chat to them. We got the exact reaction that we thought we would.”

Chris Hughton’s team have beaten opposition from three of the top four leagues en route to Saturday’s quarter-final, and Smith reflected on the difficulty of Albion’s 1983 cup run.

“It was quite a strange one, because we’d played a top-league team in every round until the semi-final. We then played Sheffield Wednesday who were in the old Second Division, so the pressure was on us.

“That was probably the most pressurised game we had in the whole cup run, because in every other game, nobody fancied us.

“We had the Newcastle replay, hammered Manchester City at home, Liverpool away, Norwich - it was a great run and nobody was expecting it.”


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