• Brighton's Top Flight Records

    With just four days to go until Brighton’s first Premier League season gets underway, we take a look at the club’s top-flight records and achievements from our only previous stint in the ‘old’ Division One.

    DIVISION ONE RECORD

    Albion were promoted to the top tier of English football for the first time in 1979 and survived for four seasons. During this time, we played 168 league games, winning 27.98% of our games, with 43.45% of matches ending in defeat. The club’s overall top flight record to date is: P168 W47 D48 L73 F182 A244

    Brighton have managed to achieve a respectable home record every season, with just a two-point swing separating their best and worst seasons, but our away form has been disappointing, with over half of these games ending in defeat.


    Jimmy Hill’s proposal of three points for a win began in the 1981/82 season. The points total here for 79/80 and 80/81 have been adjusted to 3 points for a win for comparison purposes.

    Brighton's highest finish was in 1981/82 when they ended the season in 13th place. During this season we also achieved our highest ever position in the Football League pyramid, when a 1-0 victory at Wolverhampton on the 22nd September 1981 took us up to fifth place.

    GOAL, GOAL, GOALS

    Life in the top division began with an emphatic 0-4 defeat by Arsenal at the Goldstone Ground, but this was not the heaviest defeat. Albion lost 5-0 on two occasions, just 18 days apart at the start of the final season in Division One. Losing at West Brom on 1st September and at Luton Town on 18th September (we also lost 4-0 at Notts Forest on 4th September, which took Albion's total to 14 goals conceded in our first three away games).

    However, Brighton have managed to spank a handful of opponents, with three 4-1 victories at the Goldstone Ground coming against Coventry City and twice versus opening day visitors Manchester City. We have also managed four 3-0 victories including, notably, home and away wins against Crystal Palace.


    Brian Horton leads Brighton out as the team are welcomed onto the pitch by Gully's Girls' mothers, before thrashing Manchester City 4-1 at the Goldstone Ground on 29th December 1979. Picture credit: The Goldstone Wrap

    The highest number of goals scored in an Albion top flight match was 7, when we lost 4-3 at Everton on the 13th December 1980 with O'Sullivan, Ritchie and Robinson getting Brighton’s goals, while Eastoe x2, McMahon and Varadj secured the victory for the Toffees.

    GOOD TIMES AND NOT SO GOOD TIMES

    Albion's best run in the top flight came at the end of the 1980/81 season when the club managed to win four consecutive games between 18th April and 2nd May 1981 - Palace (a*), Leicester (h), Sunderland (a*) and Leeds (h). This saw the club shake off the poor form of just two wins and eight defeats in the previous thirteen games, to see the Seagulls soar up the table as we escaped the final relegation place to finish 18th.

    *This is the only occasion Brighton have managed to win consecutive away games in the top flight.

    The best sequence of home wins is three, which has been achieved twice. The first time was in December 1980 with victories over Sunderland, Aston Villa and Crystal Palace. The second run was during the final season in Division One when we defeated Arsenal, Sunderland and Birmingham in September 1982

    The Albion’s worst run of defeats was towards the end of our best Division One season, losing five consecutive games between April 12th and May 1st 1982. The defeats came away to Aston Villa, Notts County, Middlesbrough and Sunderland, with the only home game in this run coming against Manchester United. This dip in form saw the club fall from 10th to 13th place in the table.

    As mentioned above, Albion's form at the Goldstone Ground was very respectable in the top-flight. We have lost consecutive home games on just two occasions. The worst run being a four-match losing blip in Oct-Nov 1980, with the next worst run at home being two defeats in Oct-Nov 1979. Other than that, the Goldstone faithful only ever endured one disappointment before seeing their team bounce back to win a(the) point(s) in their next game.

    The club record for away defeats is ten games, which started at the end of 81/82 season with seven losses (longest run in a single season) and continued with three more at the start of 82/83.

    There have been two occasions during these four seasons when Albion endured a ten-game sequence without winning any matches. The first time being in the debut season when we drew six and lost three games between January and March 1980. The second time was during the final Division One season where we lost six and drew four between December 1982 and February 1983.

    There has also been a twenty-one game run when the club failed to win an away game, which started with eight games at the end on 1981/82 and continued for thirteen games in 1982/83, until Albion won the sole victory on the road that season at Swansea.

    PLAYER ACHIEVEMENTS

    Michael Robinson is The Albion’s top flight leading goal scorer with 37 goals. Robinson has also scored the club’s highest number of League goals in a single season when he scored 19 times in 1980/81.



    Peter Ward and Michael Robinson share the club’s top-flight record for scoring in consecutive games. Ward set the record in December 1979 when he scored in three matches running, beginning with a hat-trick at Wolves^ and then at home to Crystal Palace on Boxing Day and three days later against Manchester City.

    Robinson matched Ward’s achievement the following season when he scored against Sunderland (h), Everton (a) and Aston Villa (h) in December 1980.

    ^Peter Ward and Gordon Smith are the only players to have scored a hat-trick for Brighton in Division One. Smith scoring his away at Coventry in October 1980.

    CLUB SEQUENCES IN DIVISION ONE

    Brighton have scored in twelve consecutive games, but this lasted for two seasons. The record for a single season is eight, which we have achieved three times, twice in 1980/81 and once again at the beginning of the 1981/82 season, this was the continuation of the twelve game run.

    Some pundits are predicting that Chris Hughton's Albion currently have a lack of cutting edge upfront. Back in the early eighties we failed to score 15 times in 79/80, 10 in 80/81, 14 in 81/82 and 15 in 82/83, with the club never going more than two games without hitting the back of the net.

    Albion's clean-sheet record has been decent to date, with 14 in 1981/82 being the best record. We also managed to foil opponents 13 times in 79/80, 10 in 80/81 and 8 in 82/83. The record for consecutive shutouts in three, which Graham Moseley achieved when keeping out West Ham, Arsenal and Coventry in January 1982.

    TOP FLIGHT ATTENDANCES

    Currently Brighton’s highest attendance is 52,641 at Old Trafford, when Manchester United beat the Seagulls 2-0 on 6th October 1979. The following month The Albion enjoyed their, soon to be topped, biggest home attendance when 29,682 fans flocked to the Goldstone Ground to watch Bob Paisley’s Liverpool win 4-1 thanks to three goals in the final 25 minutes.

    The lowest turn out to watch Brighton was 7,349 at Meadow Lane in April 1983, as Notts County won 1-0 to all but seal relegation for the Seagulls. The lowest attendance at the Goldstone Ground was 9,845 when Steve Gatting scored the winner against Birmingham in September 1982.

    As the season progresses we will discover if Albion have anyone capable of breaking the magical 20 goal barrier and surpassing Michael Robinson's club record, or if any of the other records can be broken and in certain instances avoided (the club have yet to lose to Crystal Palace in the top division).

    I would just like to finish by recommending Goldstone Rapper’s excellent website SeagullsTV, which was the main source used for the research in this article.


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