Albion Nostalgia: When Liam Brady guided Brighton to victory at Huddersfield during a traumatic season

The front cover of the programme when Brighton played at Huddersfield in 1994.
The front cover of the programme when Brighton played at Huddersfield in 1994.

Over the years, our 28 visits to Huddersfield have produced just nine victories and 14 defeats. In recent years, it has been a difficult place to go to, and who can forget the 7-1 mauling we received back in August 2009.

For this week’s column, I’m taking you back to 1993/94 – a traumatic season for Albion, for many reasons.

We started the season badly and by the end of November, found ourselves just one place off the foot of the table. Manager Barry Lloyd then left the club ‘by mutual consent’ and fans were left wondering who was going to take charge. There was also turmoil in the boardroom and we faced High Court hearings and winding-up orders throughout the season.

The new manager turned out to be Liam Brady, one of the most talented footballers of the previous decade. His influence was felt right through the club and the team started playing with more consistency. This led to an increase in crowds and things were definitely on the up.

At the end of February we had recovered to 16th place and made the trip up north to Huddersfield in good spirits. Team-wise, manager Brady kept much the same personnel from the midweek loss to Bristol Rovers.

Nicky Rust continued in goal and he was to go on to be our only ever-present player that season. The back four was made up of Stuart Munday, Colin Pates, Steve Foster and Paul McCarthy. In midfield, the injured Jimmy Case was replaced by Mark Farrington and he was partnered with Dean Wilkins, John Crumplin and Ian Chapman. Up front, Robert Codner partnered the prolific Kurt Nogan.

For Farrington in particular, it had been a difficult season. He had made only sporadic appearances under Lloyd but Brady was committed to give everyone a chance. “I brought Mark Farrington back into the side. As far as I am concerned the slate is clean with everyone at the club and I am prepared to look at each and every player and Mark has done particularly well (in the reserves) and shown a good attitude”.

Codner too, was enjoying the clean slate offered by the new manager. He spent most of January out of the side and came back a more consistent player.

Albion took the game to Huddersfield, to counteract their physical, direct style of football. Neil Warnock’s team were well drilled, as you would expect, and it was no surprise when Gary Clayton put them ahead. Albion hit back and the equaliser from Foster was no more than we deserved.

The second half was a different story, with the Seagulls midfield taking control. Farrington repaid the manager’s faith by scoring the second and Codner put matters beyond doubt with another.

We climbed as high as 11th in April, but eventually finished 14th. This represented real progress after the nightmare start to the season and hopes were high for the following campaign.

Alas, new board member David Bellotti, along with directors Greg Stanley and Bill Archer, decided to take the club in another direction.

More Albion programmes, fanzines and handbooks can be viewed at www.seagullsprogrammes.co.uk

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