Video of the Day: Newcastle United vs Brighton & Hove Albion, May 1979
On Saturday lunchtime in East Sussex, Brighton & Hove Albion slipped considerably in terms of their aspirations of getting into the Premier League when a last minute Burnley goal cost them two points against the league leaders and the momentum in the race for the other automatic promotion place with Burnley. Brighton have only spent one period in the top flight of English football before and that came between 1979 and 1983, ending shortly before the team appeared in the FA Cup final for the first – and still only – time in its history.
Tomorrow evening, they travel to the West Midlands to play Birmingham City for a match that they must win if they are to push Burnley and Middlesbrough all the way at the top of the season, and this morning we’re travelling back in time to May 1979 and a match which secured the club’s first ever trip to top flight. The last Saturday of the 1978/79 season wasn’t the last day of the season. A savage winter had left many clubs playing catch-up with their remaining fixtures, but Brighton went into the match at the top of a remarkably tight Second Division table, which had just one point separating the top four clubs.
A win on the last day of the season would secure promotion, and with, perhaps, an element of sadism, the Football League’s fixture schedulers sent Brighton on a three hundred and fifty mile journey north to Tyneside to play a Newcastle United team that began the day in ninth place in the table and with little of significance to play for bar pride. The title would prove to be beyond them – that, somewhat ironically, would be snatched by rivals Crystal Palace bu one point with the aid of their games in hand – but it would prove to be a happy journey back to the south coast for the thousands of Albion supporters who made that tortuous journey to Tyneside. The commentator for Tyne-Tees Television – his last game as a regular commentator before going into semi-retirement – is Kenneth Wolstenholme.
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