Alan Mullery was appointed Manager in the close season.
Rivalry between Brighton and Palace reached the highest so far as both teams finally managed to gain promotion in an exciting season which also saw a three match clash in the FA Cup which Palace finally won 1-0. A total of 128,533 spectators watched the five matches.
The 'Match of the Day' cameras went down to the Goldstone and saw Peter Ward score his first brace as Albion whipped in five second half goals in a 7-2 victory against York City. Next month Peter Ward scored 4 goals and Ian Mellor a hatrick as Brighton piled in seven second half goals without reply against Walsall. Mansfield T were champions and Peter Ward scored arguably the best ever solo goal against them in a 3-1 win. His total goal count was a new record with 32 in the League Division 3 and 36 overall. He was the leading scorer in the entire Football League.
The average crowd of 20,183 was excellent for the old Division 3. Brighton
went further in the League Cup than ever before. In a Round 2 replay they
defeated leading Division 1 club Ipswich 2-1 at the Goldstone in front
of 26,748 supporters, which was Albion's first win against a club in the
top division for 43 years. Peter Ward demolished Division 2 West Bromwich
2-0 at the Hawthorns before Brighton entertained 1974-75 League Champions
Derby County in Round 4 before an all-ticket capacity crowd of 33,500 and
despite Peter Ward scoring after 37 seconds were held to a 1-1 draw. Brighton
lost the replay 1-2 before a 25,880 crowd.
In the close season Alan Mullery made the first six figure transfer
when Mark Lawrenson was acquired from Preston N E for £112,000. Three
teams went up to the top division and Brighton spent most of the season
chasing champions Bolton W, Tottenham Hotspur and Southampton. A massive
crowd of 48,613 saw the 0-0 draw at White Hart Lane. Brighton won the return
match at the Goldstone 3-1 in a match interrupted on two occasions for
14 minutes and a further 5 minutes when fighting that spilled on to the
pitch. Tottenham visited Southampton in the last match of the season with
both teams needing a draw to go up. The match finished 0-0 and Brighton
missed out on a first ever apparance in Division 1. A total of 97,281 spectators
saw the last 3 League matches at the Goldstone. Forward Teddy Maybank was
signed for over £200,000 but he did not prove to be a success.
Brighton fought out a promotion battle with their great rivals Crystal
Palace, as well as Stoke C and Sunderland, with West Ham U in with a chance
should the leading group slip up. Crowd violence by visiting fans marred
the clash with West Ham United when Brighton lost 1-2 in front of 32,634
spectators. Brighton finally won promotion in the final match at St.James
Park, Newcastle, with 3 first half goals, and accompanied by 10,000 travelling
fans. Palace pipped them for the Championship. Albion scored 73 League
goals and this attacking football was possible because of Mark Lawrenson's
outstanding play at the back.
Joe Kinnear (Wimbledon)
Alan Curbishley (Charlton)
John Gregory (Aston Villa)
Danny Wilson (Sheffield Weds).
Gregory">John Gregory (Aston Villa)
Danny Wilson (Sheffield Weds).