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1930s
But the best run in the Cup came in 1932/33. The club had to compete in the qualifying rounds (because secretary Albert Underwood had neglected to apply for exemption) and thrashed the local amateurs: Shoreham 12–0, Worthing 7–1, Hastings & St Leonards 9–0, and Barnet 4–0. In the first round proper Albion defeated Crystal Palace, then beat Wrexham, Chelsea from the First Division, and Bradford (P.A.) to set up a fifth-round tie with West Ham United. The Hove crowd numbered 32,310, a record which was to stand for 25 years, and witnessed a 2–2 draw, but the “Hammers” won the replay 1–0 to end the Sussex interest after nine ties and eleven matches!

Nearly There
Throughout the club’s time in the Third Division (South) there was just one place available for promotion, but Albion only seriously challenged for the first time in the late 1930s. As the nation recovered from the Depression which saw Goldstone gates fall to an average of just 6,309, so Albion’s fortunes rose. In 1936/37 they finished third, then fifth the following season, and third again in 1938/39.

The Board had planned for the future by announcing plans for a “colossal” new West Stand in 1936, but the structure remained firmly on the drawing-board once more.

Wartime Troubles (2)
In 1939, Europe went to war for the second time in 25 years. At times football – especially the Albion – struggled to survive. Only a takeover by directors of the Brighton & Hove Greyhound Stadium (inspired by Albert Hillman, the mayor of Hove) saved the club from financial ruin in 1940. The new men, Charles Wakeling and Carlo Campbell, stabilised the position and enabled the Albion to battle on.

On the pitch, Albion competed in regional competitions under the auspices of the Football League for most of the period. Unregistered “guest” players were allowed, but even then it was sometimes not possible to turn out a full side and members of the crowd were enlisted to make up numbers. One such memorable occasion was on Christmas Day 1940 when Charlie Webb travelled to Norwich with just one professional and three juniors; Albion lost the game 18–0!


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