Manager. Former Millwall, Aston Villa Huddersfield and Eire international and Coventry assistant manager who joined the Albion in the summer 1970. After guiding the side to promotion the previous season, he appeared to dismantle the side prematurely, putting Henderson, Turner and both Napiers on the transfer list. During a traumatic season, a bid to restore order to the side led to Saward to get his players to get a hair cut: ‘Let’s face it – abnormally long hair looks terrible. I want the boys to present a more clean-cut image of the professional footballer.’ A refreshing of the side by the manager in Spring enabled the side to find their feet, and the Saward won the ‘Manager of the Month’ award for March after a stirring fightback. That month, the team won four and drew one of six matches. Indeed, at the end of the season, Saward commented: “I personally believe if the season had gone on for another month we would have saved ourselves.’
Goalkeeper. Born Seaford, Sussex. Age 27 (until 7 Oct ’72). Goalkeeper. Born Seaford. Spring-heeled keeper who made up for his lack of height with his agility and positional sense. He joined the club in September 1961 direct from school after representing East Sussex schoolboys. Made his debut for the Albion in the final match of the 1961/62, a Division Two game with the side already relegated. A decade on, in 1972/73, Powney was again part of an Albion side relegated from the second tier. He kept a clean sheet in his 300th League appearance for Brighton, a 2-0 win at Huddersfield in October, the only away success of the campaign. Made 37 League appearances despite suffering a broken nose colliding with a Carlisle forward in the 1-5 defeat in December. Speedily returning for the next game. Nevertheless, he was dropped briefly in favour of loan signing Tommy Hughes in February. However, in a topsy-turvy season, Powney was restored to the side after Hughes returned to Aston Villa.
Goalkeeper. Born Stepney, London. Age 20 (until 18 Jul ’73). Tall, young keeper who joined the Albion for £1,000 from Chelsea in July 1971 following a successful loan spell. He provided capable cover for Brian Powney yet was unable to get a decent run in the side. His first game of the season was in the club’s nervy 2-1 victory over Exeter in the League Cup in August when a header by future Albion player Fred Binney past Dovey had given the Fourth Division side a shock lead. Just like in the two previous seasons, in 1972/73, Dovey played just twice in the League, in the 0-4 defeats at Preston in November and Sunderland in January. When Tommy Hughes joined the Albion in February, Dovey was once again below his former Stamford Bridge team-mate in the goalkeeping pecking order. With limited first team action, Dovey was placed on the transfer list in March and was released at the end of the season to pursue a career in insurance.
Goalkeeper. Born Dalmuir, Clydebank, Dunbartonshire, Scotland. Age 25 (until 11 Nov ’73). Former Scotland Under-23 international who began his career at Chelsea in 1965. He made just eleven League appearances at Chelsea, where he was understudy to Peter Bonetti. His career at Stamford Bridge was effectively finished by the televised 5-2 defeat by Leeds in January 1970 although, on closer inspection, he was hardly at fault with the goals. Joined Third Division Aston Villa in a £12,500 deal in May 1971 and played sixteen times in 1971/72 for the Midlands side as they pipped Brighton to the Division Three championship. After losing his place to Jim Cumbes, he joined Albion on loan in February. Kept a clean sheet on his Albion debut, a 2-0 victory over Luton, that arrested the dismal run of thirteen successive defeats. Kept his place for the next two matches, both defeats, before returning to the Midlands. Pat Saward wanted to make the deal permanent but could not afford Villa’s asking price.
Defender / Midfield. Born Yapton, Sussex. Age 23 (until 21 Sep ’71). Dynamic player with excellent tackling skills and very much at ease in providing the impetus for attacks. When Portsmouth’s reserve team disbanded, he joined Brighton in July 1966. Had a baptism of fire which he passed with flying colours, when successfully marked Rodney Marsh in December that year. Over the next few seasons, established himself as a regular in the side, impressing with his versatility and occasional long-range goal. While his forward running was not so much in evident in 1972/73, Templeman had another fine, consistent season despite Albion’s slide back towards Division Three. Used mainly as right-back, he also played at the centre of defence and midfield too. Scored in two successive matches in September, against Fulham and Luton Town.
Defender. Born Salford, Lancashire. Age 21 (until 18 Feb ’73). A tenacious right-back able to make his presence felt in both defence and midfield. Joined Manchester City, signing as a professional in October 1968. Howell played for City’s reserves in the Central League before joining Bradford City in July 1971. He became a regular in the Yorkshire side, missing just three games in 1971/72 although the season was a disaster as they finished bottom of Division Three. Came to Brighton in a £17,500 deal in August 1971, making 32 League appearances in Division Two, switching to a defensive midfield role in December until the last day of the campaign, However, the fortunes of his new club was not much better, as he experienced a second successive relegation season.
Defender. Born Bridge of Allan, Stirlingshire, Scotland. Age 25 (until 5 Jun ’73). Albion stalwart who seemed to be coming to the end of his time at the Goldstone Ground during the start of the 1972/73 campaign. A small, reliable right-back who had been a fixture in the side since 1968 until losing the number two shirt to Bert Murray in the latter stages of 1971/72. Now faced competition from the versatile John Templeman and new signing Graham Howell, he had to wait until a 4-0 League Cup humiliation at Third Division Bristol Rovers in September 1972 for his first game of the campaign. Made just two League appearances for Brighton during 1972/73, the last a resounding 5-1 crash at Carlisle in December. Joined Reading on a free transfer in June 1973.
Defender / Midfield. Age 21 (until 14 Nov ’72). Born Irlam, Lancashire. Strong, powerful player who made four League appearances for Coventry before being snapped up on loan by Pat Saward in September 1970. Joined Albion on a free transfer and displaced club captain John Napier at the heart of the defence in the last twelve matches of the 1971/72 promotion season. In 1972/73, he made just fourteen League apperances. While first choice central defender when the campaign kicked off, he damaged his knee in the match at Nottingham Forest in August and faced a second cartilage operation. Returned to the side in December and was appointed the new club captain, aged just 22, with Saward presumably hoping his physical presence and determination would inspire the rest of the side. However, he lost the captaincy after a surprise transfer request later on in the campaign.
Defender. Born Lurgan, Co. Armagh, Northern Ireland. Age 25 (until 23 Sep ’72). This committed, tall centre-back was snapped up by Brighton for £25,000 from Bolton in August 1967. His partnership of with Norman Gall had formed the nucleus of the defence for the previous five seasons before being surprisingly dropped in March 1972. Took languishing in the reserves without a murmur. With Ian Goodwin first choice to partner Norman Gall at the onset on the new campaign, Napier played the first five matches of the 1972/73 season, mainly in midfield. Joined Bradford City in a £10,000 deal in October 1972. A full Northern Ireland international, having played for his country in 1965.
Defender. Born Exminster, Devon. Age 26 (until 7 Apr ’73). Classy, experienced left-back who could pack a terrific shot. Strong defensively and also able to move forward to support the attack. Starting as an outside-left, he became a professional with Exeter City in September 1963, playing 104 League and Cup matches for the Devon side before joining Portsmouth in May 1967. Now converted to a left-back, and latterly even midfield, Ley played 184 League games for the Fratton Park side, becoming popular with the crowd. Indeed, he was once voted England’s most attractive player in a Football League Review poll. Famously scored a thirty yard belter with his left-foot against Arsenal in an FA Cup replay at Highbury in 1971. As Pat Saward looked to bolster his defence with proven Second Division-calibre players, Ley moved to Brighton in a £25,000 deal in September 1972. The cultured defender made 31 League appearances in the 1972/73 season. Was memorably sent-off for retaliation in the volatile FA Cup tie with Chelsea in January.
Defender. Born Wallsend, Northumberland. Age 29 (until 30 Sep ’72). Long-serving defender who was a rock in defence for much of the time since he joined Brighton in March 1962. However, was put under much more pressure by the speedy attacks of Second Divison forwards in 1972/73. Made 32 League appearances during the campaign. Was transfer-listed when he fell out with Pat Saward after the 3-0 defeat at Millwall in November when the manager publicly criticised his performance. Nevertheless, he kept his place until late December. After two months out, he returned to the side in March, which coincided with Albion’s best form of the season, five wins and two draws in seven matches.
Defender. Born Manchester, Lancashire. Age 33 (until 23 Aug ’72). A vastly experienced player with England Under-23 honours who developed into a no-nonsense, uncompromising centre-back. Yet at Bury, where he signed as a professional, he began a much more constructive, polished defender. Joined Newcastle in 1961 with the Shakers getting £24,000 plus Bob Stokoe in return. After initially struggling, McGrath’s game was transformed into a rugged, abrasive style by Joe Harvey, contributing immensely to the Magpies winning the 1964/65 Second Division Championship. When he joined Southampton in February 1968 after a £30,000 bid, he became a cult hero at the Dell, cementing his reputation in Division One as one of the toughest defenders in the game. In the twilight of a long, distinguished career, McGrath was signed by Saward to toughen up the defence. The Mancunian played three times for the Albion in December 1972 but all the games were lost, including a 5-1 hiding at Carlisle in his final match for the side.
Defender. Born Harthill, Lanarkshire, Scotland. Age 28 (until 21 Dec ’72). Experienced defender with a no-frills approach to the game. He began his career at Motherwell, making just four League appearances before joining Luton Town on a free transfer in May 1965. Moore became a huge asset to the Hatters, playing a significant role in the club’s promotion from Division Four to Division Two in the late 1960s. With John Napier set to leave the Goldstone Ground, he was signed by Pat Saward on loan in October 1972 to shore up the leaky defence. In his first Albion match, Moore played exceptionally well as sweeper in the away win at Huddersfield. While lacking in pace, his reading of the game helped the Albion to a run of one defeat in five before he returned to Kenilworth Road.
Defender. Born Brighton, Sussex. Age 18 (until 2 Nov ’72). Tall, homegrown central defender with strong tackling and good work-rate. He gained junior honours with Brighton and Sussex Boys and, in September 1972, signed professional forms with the Albion. When John Moore’s loan spell from Luton ended, Piper was given a League debut against Burnley in November 1972 as Pat Saward tried to find an answer to the defensive mistakes that were hampering the side. Had to wait until the turn of the year to get another match, playing seven consecutive matches before getting injured against Hull in March. Piper gallantly played on despite fracturing his nose and cheekbone in that match but he was out of action for the next six weeks. Returned for the last two matches of the season.