The intense media concentration lately on anti-social on and off-the-field activities by professional footballers prompts me to recall when the spotlight was directed on the Albion.

Some instances of stepping out of line were little more than excesses of youthful exuberance. Nobody got hurt.

Other occasions were fuelled by drunkenness when complaints came from members of the public who had the misfortune to witness players breaking free from disciplinary restraints.

Footballers are no exception. It has happened to many of us. Any footballer worthy of the name must possess a spirit of adventure but a line has to be drawn somewhere and, in this respect, Albion's record over the time I covered the club, was pretty good.

It is not as if there is a rogue's gallery of Albion players having dragged the good name of the club into the mud although it has to be said that so far as brushes with the law are concerned the principal offender was a director who had a reputation for high-living before being invited to join the board.

Greg Stanley was, and still is for all I know, the life and soul of the party.

A millionaire, many times over, he became a director in 1985 with lots of lovely money behind him that he soon splashed about. Players attended parties at The Pebble Beach, the night spot he owned in Angmering and it was no secret that Greg liked a drink.

With four matches remaining at the end of the 1987-88 season Albion were going for promotion and lay fourth on the eve of the away game with Doncaster. Winning 2-0 lifted Albion up one place and two wins and a draw took them up with Third Division champions Sunderland.

All the week of the Doncaster match Stanley, then a director of the Fads DIY chain, had been in Yorkshire visiting his shops. The night before the match and accompanied by John Campbell, another director, Stanley put his boot through the window of a shop opposite the team hotel.

Maybe he intended to kick something else and his aim was off. But police were called and he appeared before magistrates. Stanley denied the offence but was convicted and fined £250 and ordered to pay £351 compensation to the shop, Martin Raymonds, and £146 costs.

The incident was not only embarrassing for Stanley; it placed Albion chairman Dudley Sizen on the spot. It was club policy to impose a lifetime ban on football hooligans found guilty of public order offences. Already there were 81 names on the list since the clampdown had been imposed the previous season. Would the club now condemn and ban the man who had given Albion an £800,000 interest-free loan the previous year?

Here was Stanley in the Goldstone dock with Sizen cast in the unwanted role of judge. And, all credit to Dudley, he came up trumps. With all the adroitness of a top advocate he ruled: "This is a personal matter for Mr Stanley. What has this got to do with football hooliganism? It is not a matter for the club."

By this time the next season was underway with Albion preening themselves in Second Division feathers. Greg Stanley played his part as benefactor by sponsoring the opening game against Bradford City, an arrangement, he claimed, that had been planned before his court appearance.

An Evening Argus leading article made the point that had the Doncaster window smasher been a 19 year-old with pink hair, jeans with the knees torn and a stud in his ear, would the club have acted differently. The opinion was that banning Stanley would have been ridiculous. He might have been foolish, but hardly qualified as a football rowdy.

A year later, however, there were complaints by residents in Arundel about the behaviour of Stanley who lived in the vicinity. They were awakened at 4am by the sound of smashing windows to the accompaniment of football songs.

Police were informed but took no action and later Stanley's solicitor said of his client: "He is a flamboyant character generous by deed and nature. His association with Brighton has resulted in an exaggeratedly high profile in his business and personal life. This has led to numerous allegations which are either untrue or wildly exaggerated and deeply hurtful."

And that was the end of the matter. Greg Stanley was never slow to reach for his wallet in Albion's interest but he was on the board when the folly of selling the Goldstone went through without another ground already secured.

The majority of discreditable incidents down to players are, more often than not, hushed-up or dealt with as internal matters to avoid publicity and harming the image of football. But once in the public domain clubs have no course but to come clean and throw the damage limitation switch.

There was such a closing of ranks when Albion first played in Division One and the party went to Manchester for an appointment at Maine Road.

Alan Mullery, the manager, did not include new signing Steve Foster or goalkeeper Graham Moseley. So they went along for the ride but were bound by club rules. These were broken when they got back late on the Friday night and Mullery put them on the first train home.

All credit to Foster at the time. He put his hands up, saying: "It got me thinking it was time I put my past behind me or I'd never make it."

The player who deservedly became one of the best defenders in Albion's history and went on to play for England, pleaded with Mullery not to suspend him. "I asked him to stick me in the side and I would show him what I could do."

After three defeats on the spin there wasn't much Mullers could do except put Foster on trust and he didn't miss a match for the next two seasons.

When Foster was reported following an incident at the Coral Squash Club in the summer of 1981, the Albion manager was then Mick Bailey and he took disciplinary action.

But what it was remains a secret. "It is a private matter and has been dealt with as such as far as we are concerned,"said Bailey.

The club was equally tight-lipped. The manager said Foster's membership had not been terminated but he was being asked to stay away. The door was shut still further when Nigel Williams, Albion's assistant secretary, said: "We don't want to talk about it and we have told Steve not to say anything either. We won't even comment on whether or not an incident took place."

Players today are, by and large, more professional than during the 1960s when Albion had a well-knit hard drinking school who were fit enough to have a skinfull but still get through training without turning a hair the next morning. However at least a couple sailed too close to the wind at Hartlepool in October 1963.

Manager Archie Macaulay and trainer Cyril Hodges retired for the night after checking all the players back into the hotel. But although it was lights out, Bill Cassidy and Keith Webber took in an extra draught of fresh air on the balcony.

And when a couple of women passed by in the street below their attention was drawn to a pair of flashers. Police were called and Archie awakened by an unsmiling sergeant and constable waiting to speak to the players. They, of course, pretended to be asleep and as the street lighting wasn't up to much, no positive identification was possible.

The incident was entered into the book as an uncoroborated complaint and at breakfast Archie was heard say to Hodges..."I'm certain it was Big Bill and Webber. They didn't fool me with all that snoring."

No harm done...nor were any protests heard when Albion returned from that First Division promotion clincher at Newcastle. As the charter train carrying the players headed south the champagne-fuelled celebrations turned into a love-in. The engaged signs on the toilet doors stayed in place continuously.

Individually, Albion have had some bad boys, but most were easily led. Micky Thomas wasn't so much of a hell-raiser as a young man whose domestic life created pressures that impinged on his job. He let Mike Bailey down three times by failing to appear for matches and proved to be a complete waste of a £350,000 fee to Everton who also had had problems with a player who seldom lived up to the gifts displayed as a teenager at Wrexham.

We were not to know it but the most serious of Thomas' problems were ahead of him when he left Brighton after one goal in 23 starts for a £200,000 move to Stoke so Albion were not the only mugs. In 1993, Thomas was jailed for passing counterfeit money but he was always a cheery soul and when he came out he joined the after-dinner circuit. His best quip remains: "I'm surprised I haven't been offered a job in football, especially with all the money I could make."

There was no questioning Robert Codner's talent. Manager Barry Lloyd was certain he had made a good signing and Codner at times looked the complete midfielder. Codner's problems seemed to be in his head and he was not popular with most of his colleagues at the Goldstone.

They didn't go much on a player who sometimes didn't turn up. In December, 1993 Codner spent three weeks in Lewes Prison for driving offences. He tried to make a comeback under Liam Brady but it didn't work out and Albion let him go.

In the light of the trials of the Leeds players all the above seems pretty trivial stuff.

Speeding offences are run-of-the-mill, except, of course, drink driving, and I remain unconvinced that there is a serious yob culture among professional footballers.

The vast majority are law-abiding young men trained to a high state of fitness and perfectly entitled to have a night out now and again. They don't all earn five-figure sums each week or indulge in violent behaviour.

The trouble is, with us Brits, give a dog a bad name and it sticks.