The Goldstone, remembered
Agangly David Beckham made his Manchester United debut there in a 1992 League Cup tie, but mention the Goldstone Ground on the South Coast and you’ll stir up nastier memories. And that’s a shame, given Brighton & Hove Albion’s near-century of history there from 1902 to 1997. Sorry, Becks, no blue plaque.
The previously low-flying Seagulls reached Division One in 1979 and the FA Cup final in 1983, beating Manchester City 4-0 in the fourth round – but then they plummeted. Before that, an increasingly creaky stadium was most famous for one of then-manager Brian Clough’s worst defeats: 8-2 to Bristol Rovers in 1973.
“The Goldstone was a very odd ground,” admits Albion supporter David Taylor, who says he practically grew up in the place. “Everyone seemed really close to the pitch but I don’t think it was ever that intimidating – bar the last few years, when the atmosphere did become pretty angry.”
That’s because the owners sold the site with no replacement having been sorted. In a dramatic final game there, Brighton beat Doncaster 1-0 to help secure their league status, prompting a pitch invasion.
“Everyone was just smiling and hugging,” says Taylor. “I ended up taking a lump of grass and a wooden seat home with me.”
Albion lodged at Gillingham’s Priestfield Stadium for two seasons and then used Withdean athletics stadium for a further 12 years before moving to the plush Falmer Stadium (renamed The Amex) in 2011. The Goldstone site became a retail park, which Seagulls fans initially boycotted. “Plenty of people shop there now,” admits David. “But I never have and I never will. I won’t even look at it if we ever go past there.”
As grudges go, it’s a pretty thrifty one.