Poignant visit to the Amex for Horton

Albion legend Brian Horton in his playing days

Albion legend Brian Horton in his playing days

First published in Sport
Last updated
by , Chief sports reporter

Brian Horton is not the envious type.

He has no regrets about his 44 years years in football - but Albion's clash against Doncaster Rovers at the Amex tomorrow will emphasise a 'might have been'.

Horton never had the chance to manage Albion in Brighton. Fate decreed the legendary former captain's spell in charge was in the late 1990's, when the club was on its knees and groundsharing with Gillingham.

So it will be a poignant occasion for Horton, who turned 65 this week, at the stadium in his capacity as Doncaster's assistant manager.

He has been to the Amex before, to watch a game and for Alan Mullery's tribute night last year, but never to work.

How times have changed. In just under a year at the helm Horton turned Albion from League Two relegation candidates into play-off contenders in the most challenging of circumstances before returning to Port Vale.

Swapping Albion for Port Vale? With due respect to the Seagulls' recent FA Cup victims that would be unthinkable now.

It would never have happened back then either if Horton's reign had coincided with the return home - even to Withdean.

Horton said: "Had the club still been at The Goldstone I could have gone back to Brighton to live for the rest of my life.

"It really was that special to me and it was a sad day when I had to make a decision on Brighton or Port Vale.

"Credit to Dick (former chairman Dick Knight) and what they did to get Brighton back to Withdean. My Sunday team played there, so that wouldn't have been too bad.

"But it started a revival for me I think, getting people like Martin Hinshelwood and Dean Wilkins back in to get the youth policy going and they turned the corner."

Crowds at Gillingham rose during Horton's reign from often less than 3,000 to sometimes more than 4,000.

He said: "It was hard to maintain the spirit. We had players living in Brighton, Southampton, London. I remember a game that we won, which was an early kick-off. They had to leave home at goodness knows what time to get there.

"Special credit to the players and fans for doing what they did. I don't think many teams' supporters would do that, get that many numbers to Gillingham. It was incredible."

Comments (20)

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5:05pm Fri 7 Feb 14

dave from bexill says...

A true Legend
A true Legend dave from bexill
  • Score: 24

5:19pm Fri 7 Feb 14

Joel'sGrandad says...

Yes,a true legend and an inspirational skipper. Possibly the best ever. UTA
Yes,a true legend and an inspirational skipper. Possibly the best ever. UTA Joel'sGrandad
  • Score: 22

5:24pm Fri 7 Feb 14

Falmer Wizard says...

A great player,Captain and manager,great to note he is still in the game,all the best Nobby!
A great player,Captain and manager,great to note he is still in the game,all the best Nobby! Falmer Wizard
  • Score: 22

5:33pm Fri 7 Feb 14

falmer seagull says...

The most dynamic midfielder to ever wear the Albion colours! Nuf said.
The most dynamic midfielder to ever wear the Albion colours! Nuf said. falmer seagull
  • Score: 13

5:50pm Fri 7 Feb 14

Dolph Ins says...

And huge credit to those of you who were the 3-4,000. I only ever went there as an away supporter. There are quite a few league teams who would be very happy with 4,000 so just proves how amazing the Seagulls support is
And huge credit to those of you who were the 3-4,000. I only ever went there as an away supporter. There are quite a few league teams who would be very happy with 4,000 so just proves how amazing the Seagulls support is Dolph Ins
  • Score: 14

6:07pm Fri 7 Feb 14

taman says...

I remember his debut at the Goldstone who against ecapes me, anyway
.my brother and i found ourselves standing next to two Port vale lads who had come all the way down to watch him play "you have a great player there" they kept saying ... how right they were
I remember his debut at the Goldstone who against ecapes me, anyway .my brother and i found ourselves standing next to two Port vale lads who had come all the way down to watch him play "you have a great player there" they kept saying ... how right they were taman
  • Score: 10

6:23pm Fri 7 Feb 14

tug509 says...

Traveling from dorset tomorrow ,not my normal part of the west ,but would be happy to share fuel for a ride !!.
Traveling from dorset tomorrow ,not my normal part of the west ,but would be happy to share fuel for a ride !!. tug509
  • Score: 0

6:27pm Fri 7 Feb 14

farside says...

True Albion great. Hope he gets a fantastic reception tomorrow.
True Albion great. Hope he gets a fantastic reception tomorrow. farside
  • Score: 10

7:37pm Fri 7 Feb 14

brightonup says...

What a wonderful player and great great role model!
What a wonderful player and great great role model! brightonup
  • Score: 6

8:17pm Fri 7 Feb 14

mikeygit says...

Noby Horton a true legend--I hop the crowd give him a standing ovation!!!
Noby Horton a true legend--I hop the crowd give him a standing ovation!!! mikeygit
  • Score: 7

9:19pm Fri 7 Feb 14

Never_Wrong says...

We could do with a player like Horton right now........until Crofts returns anyway!
We could do with a player like Horton right now........until Crofts returns anyway! Never_Wrong
  • Score: 3

11:29pm Fri 7 Feb 14

Clean Sheet says...

Yep, I always enjoyed watching Nobby. When he was on the park you knew that Brighton would work their socks off for a win.
Yep, I always enjoyed watching Nobby. When he was on the park you knew that Brighton would work their socks off for a win. Clean Sheet
  • Score: 3

2:36am Sat 8 Feb 14

Hector66 says...

for once everyone agrees - inspirational leader, exemplary attitude, perhaps the finest professional who ever played for us in terms of attitude and commitment. A role-model for any young player today.
for once everyone agrees - inspirational leader, exemplary attitude, perhaps the finest professional who ever played for us in terms of attitude and commitment. A role-model for any young player today. Hector66
  • Score: 4

8:36am Sat 8 Feb 14

Piglet1 says...

Top player most influential midfielder I have seen at Albion.
Top player most influential midfielder I have seen at Albion. Piglet1
  • Score: 1

8:38am Sat 8 Feb 14

Sir Prised says...

... and he lived in a bungalow on my estate, so far from a Beckingham Palace ! Oh for the days when football really was a game of the people.
... and he lived in a bungalow on my estate, so far from a Beckingham Palace ! Oh for the days when football really was a game of the people. Sir Prised
  • Score: 2

8:43am Sat 8 Feb 14

Chi Gull says...

A goalscoring midfielder too, from a mostly defensive position. Great energy, great leader and inspiration. Looked at home in the top league, having played his early career in the lower leagues. Great player. Also brought passion and hope as manager during our very difficult time at Gillingham.
A goalscoring midfielder too, from a mostly defensive position. Great energy, great leader and inspiration. Looked at home in the top league, having played his early career in the lower leagues. Great player. Also brought passion and hope as manager during our very difficult time at Gillingham. Chi Gull
  • Score: 4

10:20am Sat 8 Feb 14

Steveg1958 says...

Comments on here say it all, the best Captain the club had, inspirational, drove the team on and lead by example. I hope he gets a standing Ovation today and they mention him just before kick off. He deserves it, Legend is used too easily these days, but this guy and Peter O'Sullivan were he best.
Comments on here say it all, the best Captain the club had, inspirational, drove the team on and lead by example. I hope he gets a standing Ovation today and they mention him just before kick off. He deserves it, Legend is used too easily these days, but this guy and Peter O'Sullivan were he best. Steveg1958
  • Score: 1

10:36am Sat 8 Feb 14

upsidedowntuctuc says...

He walked out on the club for Port Vale 'Mouth watering' he said at the time at the prospect of managing such a magnificent club
His own fault I'd say with hindsight Nobby was Nuts!
He walked out on the club for Port Vale 'Mouth watering' he said at the time at the prospect of managing such a magnificent club His own fault I'd say with hindsight Nobby was Nuts! upsidedowntuctuc
  • Score: -3

6:42pm Sun 9 Feb 14

bob marley quotes says...

exellent and inspiring piece of information, I had come to know about your site from my friend nealesh, jaipur,i have read atleast nine posts of yours by now, and let me tell you, your site gives the best and the most interesting information. This is just the kind of information that i had been looking for, i'm already your rss reader now and i would regularly watch out for the new posts, once again hats off to you! Thanks a lot once again,Regards, bob marley quotes
exellent and inspiring piece of information, I had come to know about your site from my friend nealesh, jaipur,i have read atleast nine posts of yours by now, and let me tell you, your site gives the best and the most interesting information. This is just the kind of information that i had been looking for, i'm already your rss reader now and i would regularly watch out for the new posts, once again hats off to you! Thanks a lot once again,Regards, bob marley quotes bob marley quotes
  • Score: 0

8:43pm Mon 10 Feb 14

raggers says...

Not only was Nobby an inspirational leader and captain, good goalscorer from midfield and with a "never say die" attitude, he was and presumably still is a really nice bloke. Also got involved with local football on a Sunday. Top man.
Not only was Nobby an inspirational leader and captain, good goalscorer from midfield and with a "never say die" attitude, he was and presumably still is a really nice bloke. Also got involved with local football on a Sunday. Top man. raggers
  • Score: 0

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