Des Lynam: Perfect XI
Played for Brighton during the twilight of his career, it was great to see such a big name at the Goldstone. One of the last non-glove wearers, he would have played many more times for England if it hadn’t been for the two greats, Peter Shilton and Ray Clemence.
The one who went on to play for Spurs, not Everton, but his most memorable moment was scoring an 87th-minute equaliser in the 1983 FA Cup Final against Manchester United. That took it through to extra-time and the “Smith must score...” moment. It was a once-in-a-lifetime chance and I’d taken the day off to watch the game with my mates. Smith didn’t score, of course, and we lost the replay, but it was still a great day out.
Famous for wearing a headband, but he was also a very good, no-nonsense centre-back. Missed the 1983 Cup Final with injury before returning as captain for the replay, which we lost 4-0, but I don’t think you can blame Steve. He played for England at the 1982 World Cup while still at Brighton.
A truly great defender who would have walked into the England side of that era, if he hadn’t chosen to play for the country of his mother’s birth, the Republic of Ireland, when he was 19. We were promoted to the old First Division soon after he joined and relegated soon after he left. He went on to a formidable partnership with Alan Hansen at Liverpool, and in the studio.
Your younger readers probably won’t have heard of him, but Langley was a very stylish attacking full-back, who played for Brighton in the old Division Three South in the late-’50s. He really made his name at Fulham, though, where he won promotion to the old First Division and played alongside the likes of Johnny Haynes, not just for the club but also for England.
The Welshman was a real journeyman and a bit of a rascal, but I always enjoyed watching him, even though he only played 20-odd games for Brighton. Had a great left foot and could always produce a bit of magic, which he did famously for Wrexham against Arsenal in the 1992 FA Cup when in his late thirties.
Another midfielder who played until a ripe old age, Jimmy first came to Brighton from Liverpool in 1981, with Mark Lawrenson going the other way. He made his name as a hard-nut midfielder at Anfield but he had great vision too. He was still somewhere near his pomp when he played for us. He returned briefly as manager during the mid-‘90s. We were relegated, but I think most fans remember him fondly.
Because he’s more well-known as a manager these days, people forget what a good player John Gregory was – good enough to play for England a handful of times in the early-’80s. You’d probably call him an ‘industrious’ midfielder, who was good going forward and defensively. He played both his seasons for us in the top flight before joining QPR, where he won his England caps. He’s now back at Loftus Road as manager, of course.
Another from the 1983 team, he was a fleet-footed, old-fashioned winger with an eye for goal who we signed from Derby County. Ryan also played for the Republic of Ireland.
He scored in the first minute of his first game for Brighton in 1976 and went on to score 36 goals the following season – the highest in England that year. Later he was sold for £400,000 to Nottingham Forest in 1980. He played for England Under-21s, scoring a hat-trick on his debut, but only made one five-minute appearance for the full side as a substitute. He was small but had great pace and is still a local legend.
His goalscoring record for Brighton was amazing. After he’d scored six in six on loan from Bristol Rovers, he almost single-handedly won us successive promotions. Now plays for West Ham.
A quality keeper from the mid-’70s.
Spurs’ Double-winning centre-forward had a brief but prolific spell with Brighton.
Northern Ireland’s 1982 World Cup hero was another who joined us in his twilight.
The left-back was another ex-Spurs man.
Welsh international, headband-wearing centre-half.
Had an unsuccessful spell at the Goldstone in 1973-74 but I think he deserves a second chance to work with some better players!
Interview: Louis Massarella. From the February 2007 issue of FourFourTwo.