Legends

Gary A Stevens

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Nationality

Grease joined Brighton and Hove Albion in 1977 and made his debut as a 17-year-old on 15 September 1979, in the First Division as Brighton won 2–0 at home to Ipswich Town, the club which had released him as a schoolboy. A versatile defender who could also play in midfield he made 26 appearances in his first season, scoring once, and remained a regular in the side.

In 1983, Brighton, already relegated to the Second Division, played in the FA Cup Final for the first time in their history. Losing to Manchester United 2–1 with three minutes of normal time remaining, Stevens equalised, and team mate Gordon Smith missed an easy chance to win the game at the end of extra time, remembered for the commentator’s line “And Smith must score…” Brighton lost the replay 4–0, and Stevens joined Tottenham Hotspur for a fee of “about £350,000”.

He was also capped seven times by England, and was included in the squad for the 1986 World Cup squad.

Stevens left Spurs for Portsmouth in 1990 but persistent injuries forced him to retire in 1992. He had never fully recovered from a knee injury suffered in November 1988 when tackled by Vinnie Jones. The tackle was extremely reckless as Vinnie Jones slid into the back of Gary Stevens and followed through (much to the disgust of all on the pitch). At the time of the challenge, Gary Stevens was stood on the touchline and Vinnie Jones could easily have made a challenge from the side and played the ball out.

Following retirement he worked as a presenter for Sky Sports, and for Talksport radio in the UK, although he has since left the station.

Michel Kuipers

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Kuipers started his footballing career with Door Wilskracht Sterk, before moving to England in 1999 to join Bristol Rovers, where he spent 16 months.

In June 2000 he joined Brighton and Hove Albion on a free transfer, and quickly established himself as number one and became a firm fans’ favourite because of his quick reactions, stops and outgoing style. Kuipers suffered several career-threatening injuries during his time at Withdean, being injured in a car crash in 2003, and a severe shoulder injury in 2005.

Michel twice left the club on loan during his time at Brighton. He joined Hull City on loan during the 2003–04 season (before his return to Albion and subsequent car crash) and joined Boston United on loan during the 2005–06 season, to regain match fitness after recovering from his shoulder injury. In 2008, he played a big part in Brighton’s upset victory against Manchester City in the League Cup, saving Michael Balls’s effort in the penalty shoot-out.

In the 2007/08 season he was ever present in the goal playing all 46 league matches. This good form led to a new two-year contract that expired in June 2010. On 19 May 2010, he signed for fellow Sussex club Crawley Town Kuipers’ career with Crawley did not start well, being sent off twice during the first month of the season against Grimsby Town and Forest Green Rovers.

FDM joined the 2012-2013 season team during his testimonial match at The Amex on Tuesday 7th August.

Gary Hart

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Nationality

Got to be deserving of legend status after serving the club loyally for some 13 years through the whole of the clubs worst years.

Famously, he was signed from Stansted for a grand and a bag of training kit! He appeared in the stripes over 350 times scoring 40+ goals. Versatility was the key to his longevity at the club after playing in many positions under God knows how many managers. Dean Wilkins released him at one time and Micky Adams brought him straight back again. He was awarded a testimonial upon his release where he went on to play for Eastbourne Borough and made his farewell in the first ever game at The Amex including scoring the very first goal at the stadium! A player that the younger generation of fans will always be a hero to.

Gerry Ryan

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Nationality

This Ex Irish international signed from Derby for £100k was another of the late 70’s stars that took us to the promised land.

He is one of a number of players that played right through the glory years including the FA cup final in 1983. His football career was cut short by injury after he broke his leg while playing against none other than Crystal Palace in 1985. During his time with us he played for his native country 18 times scoring once.

After his career finished he remained in Sussex and took on The Witch pub in Lindfied until suffering a stroke in 2007.

Steve Foster

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Nationality

Steve Foster was born 24 September 1957,  in Portsmouth, Hampshire.

He started his career at Portsmouth in 1973 and played for the club until 1979 when he joined Brighton. Whilst at Brighton, Foster won three caps for England and was a member of England’s 1982 World Cup squad and was also part of the Brighton team that reached the final of the 1983 FA Cup although he missed the first game of the final through suspension.

After five seasons at Brighton, Foster was sold to Aston Villa in March 1984 however, after only eight long months at Villa Park, he was transferred to Luton Town in November 1984. At Luton, he became a rock in central defence, and captained the Hatters to the 1988 League Cup. He left Luton in 1989, and later played for Oxford United, before returning to Brighton, where he spent the last four years of his career.

Peter Ward

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Nationality

Even after all these years we still sing songs about him…

“He shot, he scored, he must be Peter Ward, Peter Ward, Peter Ward….He Shot he Scored………..”

We signed him from then non-league Burton Albion back in 1975 for £4k, making his debut against Hereford. scoring after just one minute. It was in the 1976/77 season that he really made his name scoring a club record 36 goals during that season. Peter did get a call up for the national side but only made a 5 minute cameo appearance earning his one and only cap. He helped us reach the top division for the one and only time in our history, but moved on soon after to Nottingham Forest in a muti swap deal involving Garry Birtles going to Man Utd, Andy Ritchie coming to us and Wardy going to play under Brian Clough. Things never really worked out for him under Cloughie and we had him back on loan for a short spell before he ended up playing in the American league. He still lives in the USA but when back in the country he does drop by to check out our games. I remember watching him play in the flesh as a young boy and absolutely idolised the man. Thanks for the memories Peter.