It’s been over eight years since former Brighton & Hove Albion captain Gordon Greer made his debut for the club — we caught up with the Scotsman to speak about his nightmare start to a successful season that followed.
Greer was handed the armband after making the switch from Swindon Town to the Withdean Stadium in 2010, but things took a while to get going after the defender’s debut dismissal against Rochdale on the south coast.
He said, “It was a terrible start for me at Brighton — I was sent off on my last game for Swindon, which meant I’d miss a couple of games, but then I got sent off again on my first start for Brighton.
“I then had a niggly injury that I just couldn’t shake for a couple of months, so I never really got going until maybe late October.
“It was a really difficult time for me and my family — my wife was eight-and-a-half months pregnant, so it was all a bit of a rush moving down.
“I loved the manager, fans and players, but I just didn’t get off to the best start. Sometimes that happens in football.
“I wouldn’t say it took me a while to settle in, it was just a bad start after getting sent off and injured. But it wasn’t long until things began to turn around.”
Despite Greer’s patchy start to his Albion career, the Scotsman came back into a side that were eight matches unbeaten leading into their October visit to The Valley.
“We started well and picked up a few good results,” he continued. “I came back into the team and we played four matches in quick succession.
“We won convincingly against some decent teams, we beat Charlton 4-0 and Peterborough 3-0, both away from home, and they were both good sides that year.
“The manager was desperate for me to get into the team because our style was to get the ball, keep it and pass it. I remember playing against Charlton in my first game back and we played so well — it was one of those games where everything went to plan.
“On the back of that, we went on a great run, beating Peterborough at London Road and it should have been more — Elliott Bennett missed a penalty.
“The way that we played was brilliant for League One. Casper [Ankergren] was important at the back and the centre-backs were always trying to create angles to receive the ball. From that moment on, we never really looked back.”
The Seagulls raced to promotion, winning all eight of their matches in March, but another red card for Greer ruled the defender out of Albion’s promotion-clinching and title-winning games against Dagenham & Redbridge and Walsall respectively.
“I was always a player that played on the edge, always involved in the game and moaning at the referee and my team-mates,” Greer honestly admitted.
“I was sent off against Sheffield Wednesday towards the end of the season in the 90th minute and it was never a red card.
“It was a bit of an anticlimax, because we got promoted and I was a big part of it, but on the games where it really counted, like the Walsall performance and the home game against Dagenham & Redbridge, I wasn’t playing and that was really disappointing.
“I didn’t feel properly part of the celebrations because I wasn’t on the pitch. However, we always wanted to get into the Championship and I look back on that season with really fond memories.
“We won the league and I got in the Team of the Year. The lads were brilliant and it was a pleasure to be part of the squad. We had a successful way of playing and that allowed us to beat teams quite comfortably.”