Brighton & Hove Albion are preparing for the first FA Cup semi-final in 36 years, and one man who is set to be at both games is the club’s finance assistant, Edward David.
Edward reflected on his memories of that last famous semi-final date at Highbury back in 1983, when goals from Jimmy Case and Michael Robinson secured the Seagulls a place in the final.
He said, “I remember on the day that me and two friends met in Shoreham and got on one of the club’s charter trains for the princely sum of £4.50 to Highbury and Islington, and from there we walked to Highbury Stadium. Arsenal were playing Man United in the other semi-final at Villa Park.
“It was a hot day, we played in all yellow, and the Albion fans stood at the Clock End. All the balloons went up before kick-off, and it was a fantastic day.
“I remember it being a fairly hard pitch and the ball was bouncing around a lot. I thought we were always going to win it and that we were the better side. We had some top players up front with Michael Robinson Jimmy Case and Gordon Smith. In defence we had the likes of Steve Foster, Gary Stevens, Tony Grealish and Steve Gatting too.
“It was a hard-fought game and I remember Jimmy Case’s free kick that opened the scoring at the Clock End. They equalised and Michael Robinson made it 2-1 in the second half. It was then chaos afterwards because I remember him wearing a silly hat and manager Jimmy Melia ran on the pitch! Happy days.”
Ed attended the 1983 semi-final as a fan, whereas on this occasion, he will be heading to the ground after being inside the club for all the build-up to the special day, and spoke about the differences he is expecting since the side’s last FA Cup appearance at Wembley.
“I’ve been asked to steward a coach from my local town, so I’m doing that, but I’ve got tickets with my family. I will have a similar view to what I had for the 83 final at Wembley, because I will be sat quite low down in the ground [back of the benches in the old stadium].
“There’s a big buzz about what’s going on behind the scenes in terms of the administration that’s gone into it, and we’re going into the Boxpark, which has only recently been opened on Wembley Way. It never existed back in 1983!
“Back then you would just head up Wembley Way to the stadium and into your seat. Now there are lots of shopping outlets, but back in 1983 it was just car parks from what I remember.
“But the main difference from 83 to now is there’s no queuing at the ground for tickets. You would maybe queue five hours to get one from the ticket office and the camaraderie was quite good then.
“Then you would buy merchandise from the club shop at The Goldstone, as there was no internet in those days.”
Finally, the Albion stalwart gave his pre-match thoughts ahead of the big day on Saturday and spoke about a potentially lucky omen heading into the contest against a quadruple-chasing City side.
“They are famously going for the quadruple, and in 1984 when Liverpool were going for it when we beat them 2-0 at The Goldstone in the FA Cup fourth round and stopped them doing it then.
“They may also have one eye on their game against Tottenham next week. All I can say is that there are over 33,000 fans going to Wembley to cheer on the team and I hope they just give it a jolly good go.”