Obituary: Adrian Thorne - 1937-2022

Adrian scored an impressive 44 goals in 84 appearances for Albion between 1958 and 1961.

By Luke Nicoli • 03 August 2022

Adrian Thorne leaves the pitch following his five-goal haul against Watford in 1958.

Everyone at the club has been saddened to learn of the passing of former Albion forward Adrian Thorne, aged 84.

In only his seventh Football League match, in April 1958, 20-year-old Thorne wrote himself into Albion folklore when he scored five goals – including a hat-trick inside the first ten minutes – in a 6-0 thrashing of Watford, which clinched promotion to the Second Division for the very first time.

Born in Hove on 2 August 1937, Adrian attended the Brighton, Hove & Sussex Grammar School in Dyke Road, and played for Brighton Boys and the Sussex county youth side before joining the Albion on his 17th birthday in 1954.

He went on to make his first-team debut in January 1958 at Southend United, while he was based at nearby Colchester on National Service, and scored in a 2-0 win.

Adrian went on to net an impressive 44 goals in 84 appearances, emerging as a real fans’ favourite along the way, and in 1960/61 he topped the club’s scoring charts with 14 goals.

Yet while his goalscoring record was impressive, he was never afforded a regular place in the side for any real length of time and he eventually put in a transfer request, joining fellow Second Division side Plymouth Argyle in June 1961 for £8,000.

In December 1963 Thorne joined Exeter City, scoring on his debut at the Goldstone of all places in a 2-1 win, before seeing out his playing days with spells at Leyton Orient, Cheltenham Town and Barnet.

He went on to become a schoolteacher, gaining qualifications in science and PE, but will always be remembered by Albion fans for the goals he plundered for his hometown club and, in particular, that heady night at the Goldstone when the Albion were crowned Division Three (South) champions.

We pass on our condolences to Adrian's family and friends at this sad time.