Brighton and Hove Albion Football Club Official Website
Brighton and Hove Albion Football Club Official Website
Brighton and Hove Albion Football Club Official Website
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Albion Centenary Evening Of LegendsAlbion Centenary Evening Of Legends
Monday, 21 May, 2001  4:38pm
Albion celebrated their centenary, and the players and staff who have represented the club in those 100 years, with a Centenary Evening of Legends at the Brighton Centre on Friday 18 May.

After a dinner provided by King's Cuisine, Des Lynam showed what a great professional he is by overcoming a few teething troubles with the equipment with his customary good humour. He ran through the club's early years, starting with its formation in the Seven Stars pub in Ship Street, Brighton, on 24 June 1901. There were video interviews with people who recall the old days of the club, such as Joyce Watts, daughter of Charlie Webb, who played for and managed the club from 1909 to 1947, and scored the winning goal in the 1910 Charity Shield victory over Aston Villa.

Glen Wilson also appeared on video, remembering the fifties and the great side of 1958, which won the Division Three South title. Many of that team were at the Centenary Evening, including Roy Jennings, Des Tennant, and Dave Sexton, and were interviewed by Des.

Harry Baldwin, goalkeeper from 1939 to 1952, was also interviewed. He's nearly 81, and was one of the 24 players and managers profiled as Albion Legends in the souvenir magazine.

It was great to see Bobby Smith, a footballing legend everywhere he played, getting up on stage to talk about the 1965 Fourth Division championship side. He's been of poor health of late, but he was there alongside Jimmy Collins, Norman Gall, and Jack Bertolini. Norman was also on hand to remember the 1972 promotion side.

Interviewers Paul Hayward and Peter Brackley took obvious delight in their work, and none more so than when Peter Ward made his appearance alongside his old striking partner, Ian 'Spider' Mellor. Wardy had flown over from his Florida home especially for the event. With video clips of some of their finest moments, they recalled the mid-1970s with relish, especially remembering the seven goals they scored between them in 28 minutes against Walsall in 1976.

Gordon Smith was also there to talk about the 1983 Cup Final. He'd travelled down from Scotland for the evening. To merriment from the 1500 fans present, he apologised for missing 'that' goal in the dying moments of extra time.

Garry Nelson, Ian Chapman, and Barry Lloyd represented the successful Albion sides of 1988 and 1991, while Steve Gritt and Robbie Reinelt got a special cheer for their part in saving the club from the Conference in 1997. Robbie is currently with Braintree Town, where he scored over 30 League goals in 2000-01 and helped them to promotion.

The finale was fitting indeed - the under-17 squad, who won their title, were welcomed on stage before Dick Knight introduced the first team, one by one, and finally the championship trophy. Two workmen, looking suspiciously like Ivor Caplin and Lord Bassam, carried a specially-made trophy cabinet onto the stage, and Gordon Smith was called up again to place the trophy in its new home. A nice touch, and a lovely evening - well done to everyone involved in it.

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