And If You Know Your History aims to explain and highlight some of the incidents, matches, people, players, and situations – occasionally weird, occasionally wonderful – that combine to make Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club what it is.
The 1995/96 season was a depressing time to be an Albion fan. Boardroom battles, nose-diving form, and the spectre of playing ‘home’ games at Portsmouth had led to a real sense of doom in and around the Goldstone Ground.
Crowds had dipped to around the 5,000 mark. The Sussex public voted with their feet as the unpopular (the nice option) trio of Bill Archer, David Bellotti and Greg Stanley did their utmost to destroy the very fabric of our club.
But, this is a much bigger, and more complicated, story than we have time for here!
Back to Saturday 28th October 1995 and the fug was momentarily lifted during a home game in Hove. After three months on loan the previous campaign, George Parris signed on a free transfer from Birmingham City.
The tough-tackling midfielder made a name for himself at West Ham United in the 1980s, where his versatility made him a popular figure at Upton Park.
During the visit of Bristol Rovers, an Albion attack (unsurprisingly) came to nothing after the hardworking Parris had made yet another lung-bursting run into the opposition’s box, his momentum carrying him off the pitch in front of the South Stand.
The 31-year-old needed a breather and lent against a goalpost. The Gas custodian Andy Collett hadn’t realised George was enjoying a well-earned rest and proceeded to roll the ball out at his feet, as was customary in those days.
From absolutely nowhere, Parris sprinted back from his comfortable position leaning against the upright, darted in front of Collett, knocked him off the ball, took a touch and, before the keeper knew what was happening, stroked it into an empty net
‘Sneaky George’ was born.