Brian Horton is taken back a few years when he watches Albion these days.

Not just because they are following in the footsteps of the team he captained by maintaining a place in the top flight.

But also because of the style they play and the man who has got them playing it.

Back in 2004, at about this time of year, Horton took charge at Macclesfield as they headed towards non-league.

He put a three-man defence in place and used Graham Potter at left wing-back.

Macc stayed up and went on to challenge for promotion the following season.

Now he watches his former player employ the same system with the Seagulls in the top flight.

And he likes what he sees.

Horton told The Argus: “I had Graham as a player at Macclesfield Town and he played left wing-back for me.

“So I know he has played with a three at the back and wing-backs.

“It’s a system that I liked and used when I was there with him.

“We were good at it. We got in the play-offs with it.

“He likes that system and he likes to play out from the back.

“I went to Macc when they had seven games to go and were going out of the league.

“I went in and immediately went three at the back or five at the back.

“We won four and drew one out of the seven and stayed up.

“I got some new players in.

“The next season we finished in the play-offs and lost to Lincoln.

“I think he was a full-back before that, as I remember.”

Horton skippered the Seagulls as they reached the elite for the first time back in 1979.

But they adopted a different approach to now.

He said: “It’s hard to compare the teams because we never played three at the back with Alan Mullery.

“We were always 4-4-2 and we were always an attacking team.

“Alan would never set up a team to go for a draw.

“I’m happy that I was never asked to play with ten behind the ball, which a lot of teams are doing now.

“I don’t understand that. I would rather lose attacking then lose being defensive.

“But I think Brighton are positive if the wing-backs get forward.”

Horton can, however, see one obvious comparison between then and now when looking at individuals.

He said: “The standout for me if we are comparing players is Lewis Dunk and Steve Foster.

“They are both capable on the ball, both really good in the air.

“Both captains. I was captain but Fozzy became the captain later on.


“If the current system would have suited anybody, it would have been Mark Lawrenson.

“He used to come out with the ball all the time.

“Me being a midfield player, he would go past me occasionally so I would just fill in.

“He was fantastic at bringing the ball out, one of the best there has ever been.

“You need attacking full-backs, which we had, so it would have suited them.

“But we always played with a flat back four.”

It was put to Horton that Adam Webster is the most like Lawrenson in terms of style.

He replied: “Webster is a good player. They have got some good players. I like Bissouma.

“The biggest thing you need is that striker to get 15 to 20 to 25 goals a season.

“The club under Tony Bloom has become unbelievable.

“The training ground, which I’ve been to, is fantastic, the academy, the ground is fabulous.

“Tony Bloom and the people who work there, the directors and the staff, have done unbelievable, incredible.”

Horton does some work at Manchester City and is also enjoying the chance to connect with fans of his old clubs via social media.

His concise contributions on Twitter are proving popular with supporters.

He said: “I had good times at all my clubs.

“Port Vale as player and then a manager.

“Huddersfield not so much because I wasn’t there so long.

“But Hull City twice, five years, promotion, then assistant manager and promotion to the top division in the first year.

“I had a good time at Oxford.

“Kevin Maxwell was chairman but that was hard when Robert Maxwell died and I had to sell my best players to keep the finances afloat.

“That was probably one of the hardest times I’ve had in management.

“The most frustrating one for me and the hardest decision I had to make was when Brighton were playing at Gillingham with no training ground.

“We were in the play-off positions when I left and, if that had been under normal circumstances, I probably wouldn’t have gone.

“It was one of the hardest jobs I had, getting players.

“Some were living in London, some in Southampton, some in Brighton and we were playing in Gillingham so it was tough.

“I’ve always had a special relationship with the Brighton fans.

“All these clubs I’m tweeting about, I’m not one of these who are bitter over something that happened there.

“I had such a good time playing I don’t think there is any reason to be bitter.

“I want them to all do well.”

Horton was pictured on Twitter by friend Laura Wolfe, of the North West Football Awards, studying Albion’s game at Old Trafford on Sunday evening.

“I don’t think they have got the results they have deserved,” he said of the Seagulls.

“At United it was a controversial penalty which, in my option, WAS a penalty.

“I know you get those through the season anyway. When you are doing well you normally get the decisions.

“When you aren’t, you think everything is against you.”