AN ALBION fan has unearthed some never-before-seen pictures of the 1983 FA Cup final team.

Michael Middleton, 72, from Westdene, Brighton, has shared his rare photographs of Jimmy Melia’s Albion squad heading to Wembley to take on Manchester United.

On that occasion the Albion, led by manager Melia, and boasting the likes of Gary Stevens, Jimmy Case and Gordon Smith, as well as captain Steve Foster for the replay, drew 2-2 with Manchester United at the old Wembley Stadium.

The match is infamously remembered for the quote “and Smith must score”, as striker Gordon Smith missed a last second strike that would have won the cup for Albion.

The Seagulls would go on to lose the replay, which took place five days later, 4-0.

Photos and videos of that day have been seen and shared among Albion fans for decades.

But Michael has a collection of pictures that have never been seen by the public – until now.

And Michael has his mother to thank for them.

The pictures show the Seagulls boarding a helicopter in Croydon and heading to Wembley for the match.

Michael said: “The team landed the helicopter at Riddlesdown High School [in Purley], which happened to be my wife’s old school.

“Coincidentally. my mum was one of the school governors.

“Her friend was the school photographer and knowing I was an Albion fan he gave them to me.”

Michael went to both finals in 1983 but in April he hopes to be seeing a better outcome as the Albion end their 36-year wait for an FA Cup match at Wembley.

Fans have been celebrating all week after making the FA Cup semi finals.

The Seagulls came from two goals down to claim a penalty shootout victory over Championship side Millwall.

Tickets went on sale this week, with fans clamouring to claim their spot to watch another piece of Albion history.

Michael, who is a former Brighton and Hove City Councillor, says he will be attending the game, and hopes that there will be even more photos taken to capture

another moment of Seagulls history.

He said: “You always hope to see your team at Wembley.

“We went to the Millennium stadium in Cardiff [for the 2003/04 play-off final] and that just wasn’t the same.

“It’s a great occasion and it’s not every day you get a trip to Wembley.”

Brighton and Hove Albion take on Manchester City in the FA Cup semi final on Saturday, April 6.

The match kicks off at 5.30pm and will be shown live on BBC One.