12 January 2016

The Goldstone Football Ground

Judy Middleton (2001 revised 2015)

copyright © J.Middleton
Early Days

There were two abortive attempts to establish a local football club before Brighton & Hove Albion was born. Brighton United lasted for two seasons from 1899 to 1900 and was then wound up while Brighton & Hove Rangers lasted from 1900 to 1901; the latter becoming the subject of an investigation by the Football Association. Incidentally, some of the early games were played at the Sussex County Cricket Ground while the Rangers’ home ground was at Withdean.

These two failures did not seem to dent the aspirations of John Jackson, founder of Brighton & Hove Albion. Perhaps it was all useful experience because he was the former trainer-manager of Brighton United and he was briefly involved with the Rangers too. Meanwhile, he earned his living as landlord of the Farm Tavern, in Farm Road, Hove.
copyright © J.Middleton
Farm Tavern
A New Football Club

The first meeting concerning the new club took place at the Seven Stars, Ship Street, Brighton on 24 June 1901. The club office was registered at the Hove Typewriting Bureau, 101 Church Road, Hove, whose manager, George Hannan, was a committee member.

The name chosen for the club was Brighton & Hove United. But the name failed to please everyone and indeed provoked fury from the amateur Hove Football Club because it seemed to suggest they had somehow merged with the professionals. The name barely lasted a month because in July 1901 it was decided the new club was to be Brighton & Hove Albion.

But why Albion? There have been several suggestions. Brothers Tom and Harry Gadd were involved with the club from the early days and they ran the Albion Hotel, 33 Queen’s Road, Brighton. Albert Grinyer was one of the first board members of Brighton & Hove Albion and he also ran the Albion Inn, Church Road, Hove. Tamplin’s owned the Albion Inn as well as Farm Tavern and in 1892 they purchased the Albion Brewery in Albion Street, Brighton. Later on, Tamplin’s invested some of their profits in purchasing 200 shares in Brighton & Hove Albion.
copyright © J.Middleton
Albion Inn
Brighton & Hove Albion’s first game was played on 7th September 1901 at Dyke Road Field, located at the top of the Upper Drive, Hove. By coincidence, the amateur Hove Football Club was also playing a fixture that same day on their new ground at Goldstone Farm.

Goldstone Meadow

John Jackson Clark (not to be confused with the John Jackson already mentioned) leased the field from large landowners the Stanford Estate. Mr Clark lived in a house in Fonthill Road called Goldstone House and he had established the well-known Clark’s Bread Company in 1887. In 1901 Hove Football Club agreed to rent the field for three years for £100 a year. They also agreed to pay him 50% of total gate receipts in excess of £200 each season. But more cautious members worried they would not be able to make enough money to honour the agreement.

In 1902 Hove Football Club reached an agreement with Brighton & Hove Albion to share the ground. After 1904 Hove FC began to stage their matches at Hove Recreation Ground, leaving the Albion in possession of the Goldstone Ground.

West Stand

In September 1901 Hove Council gave planning permission for a pavilion and dressing rooms to be constructed at Goldstone Meadow. The pavilion was a simple wooden stand at the west side of the ground with dressing rooms round the back. But it was large enough to accommodate 400 spectators. There was no seating of course and there were only around twelve steps for fans to stand on with the top one named Spion Kop after a battle of the Boer War. When an important game was being played, farm wagons drawn up behind standing fans provided additional space for spectators.

In July 1920 Hove Council passed plans provided by A. & W. Elliott for an extension to the west stand. Surprisingly enough, the west stand soldiered on for another 50 years until it was replaced by a new structure in 1958.

South Stand

The south stand was erected in 1910; it came from Preston Park where an agricultural show had been staged. The south stand too performed sterling service and lasted until 1954. It was replaced by a new stand but it was still only for standing spectators. On 19 April 1980 a blaze occurred in the south stand. Afterwards it was decided to take the opportunity to refurbish the structure as well as installing seating for fans.
copyright © Rock Brothers
Besides being a marvellous early view of the Goldstone Ground, this photograph is also an essay on transport because it seems that many supporters rode their bicycles to watch their home team while a few wealthier patrons arrived in their motor cars but the parking seems somewhat haphazard. The chimney of Goldstone Pumping Station can be seen in the background.

The North Goal

Behind the north goal there used to be a small pond, which remained there until the 1920s. A long pole with an iron ring was kept handy in case a good kick sent the football flying into the water and it needed to be fished out. When that happened, it cannot have pleased the players because an old-time leather football was heavy enough without a good dunking in a pond to make it heavier. It took a brave player to do a header when the ball was in that condition.

First Fixture at the Goldstone

Brighton & Hove Albion played its first match on the Goldstone Ground on 22 September 1902 and it must have been an inspiring game for fans because Albion scored no less than seven goals against Southampton Wanderers.

Early Years

On 27 May 1904 the club became a limited company and in the same year the famous blue and white striped shirt was adopted.

There were some teething troubles in 1905. In January of that year the club was reported to the Football Association for illegally approaching opposition players at a cup-tie. But it was not just the players who were in difficulty. In June 1905 the Council of the Football Association suspended the directors because they had neglected to keep their books up to date and no receipts for expenditure had been entered for several weeks.

In the 1909-1910 season Albion won the Southern League. It was Charlie Webb who scored the goal in 1910 that led to the Albion beating First Division Aston Villa by one goal to nil.
 copyright © Adrian Gault
Frank Washington the Landlord of the Kendal Arms (now the George Payne), the fourth gentleman from the left in the front row, was at the  Goldstone Ground for the Brighton & Hove Albion v Clapton Orient game in 1912
Albert Longtsaff from Shoreham spent an amazing sixteen years with the Albion as a professional player and scored 86 goals. He retired in 1922.

Charlie Webb holds the record for team manager as he held the post for 28 years. But he also played for the club and altogether his association with the Albion spanned some 40 years. Not surprisingly, club historians wanted such a distinction to be commemorated and so a slate plaque was placed on his home at 15 Frith Road, Hove, not far away from the Goldstone Ground.
copyright © J.Middleton
Charlie Webb and his Hove home at 15 Frith Road

Ticket Prices in 1907

Admission 6d

South Stand 1/-
Centre Stand 1/6d

Season Tickets

Centre Stand (gentlemen) £1-11-6d
Centre Stand (ladies) 12/6d
Centre Stand (children under 14) 12/6d

South Stand (gentlemen) 21/-
South Stand (ladies) 10/6d
South Stand (children under 14) 10/6d

Ground only 12/6d

The Great War

Charlie Webb had also served as a soldier and was well conversant with rifle drill practice. In 1914 he instructed the players in rifle drill but there was a shortage of weapons and the men had to improvise with wooden replicas.

In 1915 Albion management decided to close down for the duration of the war, as it was too difficult to keep going in the circumstances and many men volunteered. The Goldstone Ground reverted to its former status as a meadow and Mr Clark’s livestock grazed there once more.

It is sad to relate that the Albion lost four players plus Fred Bates, the groundsman in the war.

Jasper (Ginger) Batey played for the Albion in the two seasons previous to the war and he lived at 9 Leighton Road. On 4 January 1915 he joined the Army Cyclist Corps and was killed in action on 23 October 1916.

Charlie Dexter was also a new recruit to the Albion and lived at 6 Montgomery Street. In 1914 he enlisted in the 17th Battalion, Middlesex Regiment, which became known as the Sportsman’s Battalion. He suffered badly from being gassed whilst serving in France and was invalided home. He was discharged from the Army on 10 April 1916 and died on 27 June 1916.

Charlie Matthews had played for the Albion for longer than the previous two men. In 1911 he also joined the Territorials, 4th Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment. On 15 August 1915 he was killed in action at Suvla Bay in the Gallipoli Campaign.

Bob Whiting (nicknamed Pom-Pom) was a professional footballer and he played for Chelsea before joining the Albion. He lived with his family at 9 Coleridge Street. On 1 January 1915 he joined the Sportsman’s Battalion too. He was serving in France when he was killed in action on 28 April 1917, leaving a widow and three children.
copyright © J.Middleton
When the Hove War Memorial in Grand Avenue was unveiled on 27 February 1921, there was a floral tribute from Brighton & Hove Football Club bearing the message Their Last and Greatest Goal.

These men have been commemorated with a special plaque at the Amex Stadium, Falmer in recent times.

Charlie Webb also served in the Great War and became Captain Webb. In March 1918 he was captured by the Germans and became a prisoner of war at Mainz. It was while he was there that he received the offer to become manager of Brighton & Hove Albion, which no doubt cheered him up considerably. 

Aftermath

By the time peace was declared, the Goldstone Ground and the spectator stands were in a dreadful state; renovation work started in 1919.

During the 1920s the local photographic firm of Miles often took photographs of spectators, which were then made into postcards and sold as souvenirs. This one of a section of the crowd gathered to watch a cup-tie match in 1922 was a typical example. Although the match between Albion and Huddersfield was a no-score draw, it was described in the Press as a ‘wonderfully good game’. The match provided the club with a record gate of 22,241 spectators. The total takings came to £1,856-6s out of which £385-12s was swallowed up by entertainment tax. Albion player Little was injured accidentally during the game but carried on playing. When the team left the field, Little was found to have slight concussion and was ordered to bed.
copyright © J.Middleton
This excellent photograph of Albion spectators in 1922 is an example of Wiles’s photographic work carried out in his George Street premises. Note the solitary female wearing a hat adorned with white feathers. 
In 1926 the Albion became the owners of the Goldstone on a 99-year lease from the Stanford estate with the proviso that no structure should be built at the east end that might obstruct the view from Mr Clark’s house.
copyright © J.Middleton
In 1925 there was an impressive number of staff employed at the Goldstone. Behind the gentleman in the bowler hat and sporting a walrus moustache, stands the trainer Mr Nealms wearing a knitted waistcoat.

copyright © J.Middleton
This postcard must surely rank as one of the clearest of the many crowd scenes recorded at the Goldstone. The photograph was taken on 11 January 1930 and the opponents were Grimsby Town; the result was a 1-1 draw.

copyright © J.Roberts
Charles Bish, seated at the extreme left in this photograph, was an early Albion Season Ticker holder. 
This splendid vehicle took such supporters to away matches.
 In 1930 the Albion purchased the freehold of the ground and at last there was roofing over the terraces. The north stand was pronounced ready by January 1931.

Renovation had been a long scale task, which was not finally completed until 1938 – ironically just in time for the Second World War.

In August 1938 Sussex Police played a match against a team of German police from Wuppertal who gave the Nazi salute before kick-off at the Goldstone. The home team won 3-2.  

St Agnes’s Church

The church was dedicated on Saturday 18 October 1913. It also happened there was a match at the Goldstone Ground that day. The crowd poured out of the ground afterwards to find two stately processions progressing into the church with the Bishop of Lewes and the Bishop of Chichester. Many football fans turned aside to enter the church, which was already packed. The worthy representative of the Church Times was startled to hear a stocky football supporter declare he was from that paper and promptly appropriated the reserved seat.

It seems that when Brighton and Hove boys played at the Goldstone on the same day as Albion were having a home match, boys used to change their clothes in the crypt of St Agnes. When a reporter remarked that this arrangement must be a good source of income, the vicar replied that of course they did not make a charge, ‘My dear chap, we do try to be Christian.’

On Boxing Day 1929 there was such a good attendance at the Goldstone that the gates had to be shut because the ground was full. Frustrated latecomers climbed onto scaffolding erected against the west wall of St Agnes to try and see the game. But too many climbed up and the scaffolding collapsed, bringing down stone copings as well. It was a miracle nobody was killed although there were some injuries. However, those involved all made a quick getaway and the church authorities were unable to find out who was responsible for the damage.

A Cannon Ball

The year 1930 was a historic one in the annals of the Albion because at last the freehold of the Goldstone Ground was purchased from the Stanford Estate. The amount required sounds negligible in today’s terms because it was £5,120-16s but it did require a bank loan and reliable securities.
 copyright © J.Roberts
The local firm of Deane, Miles and Millar were responsible for this wonderfully clear photo. Unfortunately, unlike the earlier Miles cards, it does not include the date. Young Charlie Bish wearing his school cap is on the extreme left. 
He was born in 1926 and it is likely the match between Notts County and Albion took place either on 
26 October 1935 or 19 December 1936. 
As a result of a new confidence in being owners, several improvements were made to the ground. One long-overdue task was to carry out work on the old wooden West Stand, especially since Hove Council had been muttering about its dangerous state.

Another improvement was the provision of terracing behind the north goal and the supporters’ club set up a special fund to pay for roofing over some of it. Two matches were even staged at the Goldstone to assist in raising the money
 copyright © J.Roberts
Charlie Bish was also a spectator at this match between Northampton Town and Albion. He is to be seen in the centre 
of the crowd still wearing his school cap and his father Charles Bish stands nearby. 
The match is likely to have taken place either on 23 November 1935 or 3 October 1936.
On Hove Council’s insistence, the foundations for the north terracing were dug deeper than originally estimated. But an interesting discovery was made when a heavy ball of metal was unearthed. Mr J.W. Lister, Hove Librarian and Curator of Hove Museum, was of the opinion it was most likely a cannon ball. It was despatched to the Victoria and Albert Museum for their expert advice and they stated it dated from the late 18th century and probably not later than 1785. This was a time of general disquiet about the possibility of a French invasion and consequently Army manoeuvres were carried out along the south coast. One of the most famous Army camps was situated at Goldstone Bottom. The cannon ball was free from rust and it was heavier than a missile made entirely of iron; probably it contained an admixture of lead and metal. (Sussex Daily News 11/11/1930).

Second World War

There was some war damage when a bomb hit the north stand and it took staff a week to clear up all the mess. However, an even greater threat to the survival of the club was not German bombs but the threat of liquidation that occurred in 1940.

Albert William Hillman, Mayor of Hove, saved the situation by bringing in Charles Wakeling and Carlo Campbell, directors of Brighton & Hove Greyhound Stadium and their experience in business matters was invaluable. Hillman was a long-time supporter of the Albion, becoming a director in the early 1930s and by 1940 he was vice-chairman.

Hillman once lived at 65 St Andrew’s Road, Portslade and he joined Portslade Fire Brigade in 1904, becoming Chief Fire Officer a few months later; a position he held for 25 years. During his time in office the new Fire Station was built in Church Road, Portslade. During the Great War he acted as a special constable and by the 1930s he held the rank of Inspector for Hove County Division. He also served as a Portslade councillor and when he moved to 12 Princes Square, Hove he became a Hove councillor too. There was an exciting election in 1931 in Medina Ward when he defeated Major Phillips by two votes. In 1940 Hillman had the distinction of being elected Mayor of Hove for a 5th term of office but just two months later, in November 1940 he died. It came as a great shock because he seemed healthy and had made a good recovery from a setback in 1939 when his left foot was amputated because of blood poisoning.
copyright © J.Middleton
Portslade Fire Station, Church Road.
On 21 July 1945 Lady Baden Powell visited the Goldstone Ground where Brighton & Hove Division of Girl Guides were holding a rally.

Olympic Games

On 26 July 1948 the Olympic Games came to Hove when Afghanistan met Luxemburg in a preliminary tie at Goldstone Ground.

Into the Second Division
copyright © J.Middleton
Alec Whitcher (1889-1962)

An Albion highlight occurred on 30 April 1958 when the team joined the Second Division by beating Watford by six goals to zero. A crowd of 31,038 people watched the game and the enthusiasm was so great that the ground was still half-full an hour after the match had finished. Albion Chairman Alec Whitcher was photographed with the victorious team, all with broad smiles on their faces and glasses of champagne in their hands.   

Alec Whitcher

Although he is not a significant name in the long history of the Albion, I have to admit a personal interest because he was my grandfather; the only football match I ever watched was from the directors’ box at the Goldstone Ground. In his youth Whitcher had enjoyed playing football in the Isthmian League and had a lifelong interest in the game. He was connected with the Albion for some seventeen years as director and chairman and he was mainly responsible for building the west stand.
copyright © J.Middleton
Cartoon left is from December 1945 depicts Alex Whitcher in Father Christmas gear presenting his cheque to Stanley Rouse, secretary of the Football Association. Cartoon right comes from Soccer Calling and is characteristic of Reg Carter’s work. Those who are familiar with the Beano might recognise the style.
During the 1940s he wrote four football-related books, which became best sellers. From his first book Soccer – The Ace of Games he donated the £302 profits to the F.A. Benevolent Fund. Then followed Soccer Calling! and The Voice of Soccer. From the profits of these two books he donated £1,000 to the Albion. There was some talk of establishing a Whitcher Fund for new players but probably the money was just absorbed into the general funds. The talented artist Reg Carter (1886-1949) drew some charming illustrations for the books. They were great friends and lived near each other in Haywards Heath. They also performed the duties of A.R.P Wardens during the war together.    
copyright © J.Middleton
Sportsman’s Club
was the last of Alec Whitcher’s
books and was published in 1948.
The 1960s and 1970s

In 1961 floodlighting was installed at the Goldstone at a cost of £13,523.

List of Club Officials and the cover of the Supporter's Handbook for the 1961-62 Season.

The seagull logo was adopted in 1977 and supporter Lee Philips was supposed to have thought up the chant Seagulls.

In 1978 Albion missed out on promotion to the First Division on a difference of just nine goals but on 5th May 1979 they beat Newcastle 3-0 and joined the First Division. The team arrived back in triumph and toured Brighton and Hove on top of an open double-decker bus. They finished up at Hove Town Hall where the Mayor of Hove and the Mayor of Brighton welcomed them and there was a civic reception in their honour. Enthusiastic crowds greeted the team all the way.

In 1979 the west stand extension was put up, popularly known as the lego stand; it lasted until 1985.

In April 1980 fire damaged the south stand and the north stand was demolished in the summer after being declared unsafe.

In May 1983 another civic reception took place after the FA Cup Final Replay. Although Albion lost to Manchester United by 4-0, it was rated as a good game.

In June 1991 Albion made their third appearance at Wembley where they lost their match against Notts County. But around 32,400 fans made the journey to support them, in contrast to the average gate attendance of 8,386.

Sir George Robey (1869-1954)

In 1903 George Robey played for the Albion team in a friendly with West Norwood. He was serious about his football although people expected him as a professional comedian to be funny all the time. But he scored the first goal for Albion and his team went on to win 3-0.

copyright © J.Middleton
This postcard of George Robey and his children 
Teddie and Eileen was posted in 1906 
with happy birthday wishes.
In fact, Robey was something of an all-round sportsman and loved football, rugby, athletics, cricket and tennis while in later life he took up golf. He also enjoyed making violins and painted pictures to a sufficiently high standard to be exhibited at the Royal Academy.

George Robey enjoyed a long career starting off with his first appearance on the Music Hall stage at Oxford in 1891 and he continued touring until 1952. He adopted his trademark clerical-style coat and thick, dark eyebrows quite early on in his career.

He had a magnificent voice and never needed to use a microphone, not even in the Royal Albert Hall. He used to sing a famous duet with Violet Lorraine If You were the only Girl in the World. Other popular songs of his were Another Little Drink wouldn’t do us any Harm and I Stopped, I Looked, and I Listened.

He loved the works of Shakespeare and knew great swathes of text off by heart. Many people remember his role as Falstaff in the 1935 film of Henry V, which starred Laurence Olivier.

In 1948 George Robey moved to Hove and lived at 52 Rutland Court, New Church Road. Unhappily, moving to a flat meant he had to divest himself of some 200 items of period furniture and antiques; he was a collector of Chinese porcelain and a connoisseur of Japanese antiquities. Like Vesta Tilley after her retirement following a long career, George Robey would automatically take out his make-up box every evening. His last appearance was in Bertram Mills Christmas Show in 1953. In the same year George Robey was the oldest member of Hove Civil Defence and to celebrate he entertained his fellow members to a function at the King Alfred.

Robey’s final residence was a Spanish-style house at Arundel Drive East, Saltdean. He was knighted on 16 February 1954 and died on 29 November 1954.

Other Comedians

In January 1956 Fred Emney who had an impressive girth led the Albion players out onto the pitch to the cheers of the crowd. He was clad in an extra-large pair of shorts, the striped Albion shirt and his trademark flat cap. He was often photographed wearing a monocle and smoking a large cigar.

Jimmy Tarbuck played at the Goldstone twice, once in the 1960s and again in January 1971.

Norman Wisdom was an Albion director from 1964 to 1970 and once led the crowd in the singing of Sussex by the Sea wearing his famous ill-fitting suit with cap at an angle.

The 1990s and the demise of the Goldstone Ground

In the 1990s Brighton & Hove Albion was running into serious difficulties. They wanted to expand and find a larger football ground elsewhere. In 1991 Waterhall Valley was mooted as a possible site while later in the year they cast their eyes upon Toad’s Hole Valley.

But the club was also in debt and by December 1991 it was stated they were losing £1,000 a day. By November 1992 the total debt was put at just under £3 million and because some £400,000 was owed in taxes, Albion faced the possibility of being wound up.

In December 1992 the High Court granted the Albion a stay of execution and this was extended in February 1993 when the club had still not paid up. By July 1993 Inland Revenue was losing patience; Albion was given until 3rd November 1993 to pay an outstanding £583,000 to cover debts to PAYE, VAT and a local building firm’s bill.

Since the Albion’s overdraft was over £2 million, they were unlikely to be given any more credit from the banks. In order to present themselves as more credit-worthy, the idea arose they would submit plans to re-develop the Goldstone and thus gain an idea of the market value of the land.

Hove councillors were led to believe that this was only a credit-rating ploy and although their attitude might seem naïve in retrospect, nobody ever considered the directors would actually sell the land without first securing an alternative ground.

Albion and Wyncote Developments submitted the first application jointly in August 1992 but Hove Council turned it down. However, the voting margin was narrow. In January 1993 Hove Council voted 15-13 against the plan but in June 1993 they gave planning permission for the Goldstone Ground to be turned into a non-food retail park and garden centre.

In August 1995 it was revealed that the 4.9 acres Goldstone Ground had been sold for £7.4 million to Chartwell Properties, part of Kingfisher Group that also owned Woolworths, Comet, B & Q and Superdrug.

The day after the news broke, five non-executive directors claimed they had not been informed and read about it in the Argus. It seems that in 1993 they had sold their shares to a new company called Foray 585, which owned the Albion while Bill Archer and Greg Stanley owned all the shares. It was also revealed that in November 1993 the non-profit clause had been removed from the original 1904 constitution.

All this was bad enough news for furious, loyal Albion supporters but worse was to come. In December 1997 Chartwell sold the site to Abbey Life Assurance for £23.86 million and of course not a penny of that sum would be re-invested in football.

A New Ground

Meanwhile, there was the continuing saga of where Albion’s new ground would be situated. In December 1993 it was suggested that six acres between Crawley and Gatwick airport might be a suitable site; in December 1995 an ambitious £32 million stadium and sports complex in Toad’s Hole valley was revealed to a sceptical public; in June 1997 Albion came up with a new set of plans for a £25million sports complex at Waterhall Valley. Finally in April 1999 a site at Falmer was said to be ideal. A futuristic-style stadium was envisaged with a sweeping roof line to imitate the shape of the Downs and enough seating to accommodate 25,000 fans. These were the four main contenders but other sites were suggested over the years including the Greyhound Stadium, land at Shoreham Harbour and land adjacent to Brighton Railway Station.

Quite how Albion was going to afford any of them was open to question, especially when in 1996 it was revealed they made a record trading loss of £911,000 in the previous financial year. Some creditors had been paid off such as £1.3 million to Barclays Bank and £1.9 million to the Co-op Bank. But the club had to pay capital gains tax on the sale of Goldstone Ground and there cannot have been much left in the kitty.       

Goodbye to the Goldstone Ground

Chartwell allowed the Albion to stay at the Goldstone Ground for another year because of all the difficulties and the last match was played on 26 April 1997. Some 11,500 tickets were sold and a further 1,000 people gathered outside for the historic occasion because there was no room inside. After the game finished, fans poured onto the pitch to carry off pieces of Albion turf as a sad souvenir.

No Home

Brighton & Hove Albion was obliged to play their home matches at Gillingham. They did not return to the Brighton area until 1999 when the club began to play at Withdean Stadium. Even this move was fraught with difficulties because local residents were a formidable opposition and finally the Government had to give permission for matches to take place there.

A further cause of disquiet to Albion fans was the Noel Bennett clock affair. Noel Bennett was a lifelong supporter of the club and when he died aged 84 he left £500 in his will to pay for clock to grace the Goldstone Ground; it was installed in 1994. It transpired that the club had sold it for a mere £50 to Worthing Football Club.

Exhibition at Hove Museum

From 16 September 2000 to 12 November 2000 a highly successful exhibition of Albion memorabilia was staged at Hove Museum. It included old badges, programmes, cigarette cards and postcards, including an image of bulldog mascot Rose from the 1920s. There were also cups and medals plus a beautiful stained-glass roundel of a seagull lent by the Bamber family. A large chunk of nostalgia was to be found in an original turnstile gate still sporting its chipped blue paint, which the firm of Bailey made in around 1910.

There was further fascination from the written reminiscences of various fans. For instance, Rosemary Deacon related how in the 1930s her father would take a carrier pigeon in its basket to away matches. The pigeon would be despatched to fly home with the half-time score.

Another story related to the first time a match from the Goldstone was televised in colour. Zealous groundsman, Frankie Howard, went about covering up bare patches with green emulsion paint.

Another memory related to the Haywards Heath Band that regularly played Entry of the Gladiators followed by Sussex by the Sea before the teams came out onto the pitch. Perhaps it was a co-incidence that Alec Whitcher, one-time chairman, lived at Haywards Heath.         
copyright © J.Middleton
This photograph was taken in 2009 and shows the site where once the late lamented Goldstone Football Ground used to be.
Sources
Argus
Carder, Tim & Harris, Roger Albion A-Z. Who’s Who of Brighton & Hove Albion (1997)
Carder, Tim & Harris, Roger Story of Brighton & Hove Football Club (1993)
Daniels, H.G. Hove with its Surroundings (1909)
Encyclopaedia of Hove and Portslade
Hove Great War Records, Hove Library
Middleton, J. Hove in Old Picture Postcards (1983)

Copyright © J.Middleton 2015
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