Dapper ‘Dubbers’ delivered £240,000 profit when Brighton sold him to Watford

Brighton & Hove Albion’s promotion from the old Third Division in 1987-88 earned two of the squad places in that season’s PFA representative team; one quite naturally was top goalscorer Garry Nelson, the other was defender Keith Dublin.

Also in the same XI was Fulham’s Leroy Rosenior, father of current day Albion utility man, Liam.

Dublin was an ever-present during that successful Seagulls campaign having joined in August 1987 from Chelsea, where he had played 50 league games (plus one as a sub) between 1983 and 1987.

Born in High Wycombe on 29 January 1966, Dublin became an apprentice at Stamford Bridge in July 1982 and signed professional 15 months later.

When regular left back Joey Jones was injured, he made his first team debut in a 3-1 home win over Barnsley. It was the penultimate game of the 1983-84 season, and the last at home as John Neal’s team won the Second Division Championship.

Dublin also caught the eye of the England selectors and played six times for the under 19 team.

At the time, Dublin, or Dubbers as he was known, was one of the few black players emerging at Chelsea, following after Paul Canoville and Keith Jones.

Canoville wrote in his autobiography with Rick Glanvill, Black and Blue: How Racism, Drugs and Cancer Almost Destroyed Me (Headline Publishing Group, 2012), about some atrocious treatment they all received – and not just from the terraces!

“When Jonah and then Dubbers made the step up, they no longer trained with the reserves but with the first team,” said Canoville. “That made three black faces and, on more than one occasion, there were altercations with one player who obviously had a problem with black men.

“It was always dealt with properly, but, as if the colour wasn’t an issue. Of course it was. Back then, casual, institutional racism was displayed at almost every level of the club – not so much that you would quit over it or kick up a rumpus, but enough to make you feel different and an outsider most of the time.”

Canoville added: “Dubbers was strong, athletic and fast. But as soon as either of them made a mistake, the crowd was on to them, slagging them off. There wasn’t the same open racist abuse I received, but still the tolerance threshold was low, as much in the coaching staff as the crowd.”

Dublin played 28 games in the top division for Chelsea during the 1986-87 season, but with competition for the left back spot hotting up in the shape of future England international Tony Dorigo and Clive Wilson, he decided to move on.

Brighton manager Barry Lloyd went back to his old club to snap up Dublin for £35,000, and what an investment as he was ever-present at left back in the promotion season. In fact for the latter part of that season, three of the back four were ex-Chelsea defenders: Gary Chivers at right back, Robert Isaac centre back, and Dublin at left back.

Dublin used to travel down daily to training with Chivers and although defending was their first priority they had a friendly rivalry over who could score the most goals. Dublin chipped in with five in that first season but Chivers regularly went up for corners so won the little private wager in the following two seasons.

The promotion was a great experience for Dublin who said in an interview in the matchday programme: “There’s never been anything like it for me obviously, and it’s going to be a long time before anything can top the day we clinched second place. It might never happen.

“Probably the best thing was getting a few goals along the way as well because that had never happened to me before.”

As young Ian Chapman gradually made the left back berth his own, Dublin switched inside to centre back.

Dublin welcomed the competition for his place from Chapman, explaining: “I think it’s good when you’ve got someone chasing your place, snapping at you all the time to get in the first team.

“Ian’s been quite a good mate of mine since I arrived and you have to always remember that being dropped or selected ahead of someone else is what football is all about.

“It keeps me on my toes, and if you can have six or seven players in the team in the same situation then that’s the best thing possible at any club.

“Ian’s facing the same scene now as I was experiencing at Chelsea.”

It was not unusual to see Dublin selected as man of the match and several programmes featured pictures of the obligatory post-match presentation by the sponsor to the very nattily-dressed defender. Dublin admitted in another profile piece that clothes and shopping were hobbies.

Meanwhile, on the pitch in 1989-90, his consistent performances at the heart of the defence earned him the Albion player of the season accolade.

After 132 appearances in three seasons with Brighton, the Seagulls cashed in on Dublin’s prowess by picking up a £275,000 fee from Watford in the summer of 1990.

With goalkeeper John Keeley departing for Oldham for £238,000 at around the same time, fans feared another frustrating season was ahead. But they were in for a surprise.

While Dublin joined a side that would struggle, at first under former Chelsea striker Colin Lee, then ex-Tottenham legend, Steve Perryman, Brighton surprised the critics and ended the season at Wembley.

Indeed Watford finished fourth from bottom of what was then Division 2, while Brighton sneaked into sixth place with that memorable last game win over Ipswich Town, beat Millwall over two legs in the play-off semi-final and then went down 3-1 to Neil Warnock’s Notts County in the play-off final.

The following year, with future England goalkeeper David James emerging, Watford turned around a disappointing first half to the season and eventually finished 10th.

Dublin was an integral part of Watford’s defence for four years, making 168 appearances, although it appears not all Watford supporters appreciated him.

The amusing Watford fans’ website, Blind Stupid and Desperatehttp://www.bsad.org/ – recalled this among other memories: “The fondness with which Keith Dublin is remembered, the way that fans still tell tall tales of remarkable own goals, insanely cavalier defending and sporadic heroism with broad smiles and genuine affection, demonstrates that perfection isn’t the be-all and end-all for supporters.”

At the end of the 1993-94 season, which had been a struggle against relegation from the First Division under manager Glenn Roeder, Watford did a swap-deal which saw striker Tommy Mooney (yes, the same Mooney who famously missed the Swindon shoot-out penalty against Brighton in 2004) and midfielder Derek Payne join from Southend United and Dublin going in the opposite direction. He spent five years at Roots Hall and amassed a further 179 games.

He subsequently moved to Colchester United, but only played a couple of games, and ended his career in non-league, initially with Farnborough Town and then Carshalton Athletic.

In an Argus article in 2010, they discovered Dublin was busy in ‘retirement’ running soccer camps at home and abroad, and according to wfc.net, Dublin worked in a family property management business after his footballing days were over.

Footnote: Perhaps Dublin set a trend for Albion left backs named after Irish places, with the double whammy Kerry Mayo following in his wake some years later!

1 Dublin1a Dublin portrait2 Dublin header3 Dublin Argus cut4 Dub mom5 dub another mom

 

 

• Pictures from my scrapbook show portraits of Dublin that appeared in the matchday programme; action shots (one from the programme and one from the Argus) and a couple of man of the match presentations

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Gary Lineker’s former strike partner Alan Young scored 12 for the Seagulls

 

Gary Lineker’s former strike partner at Leicester City had a good goals to appearances ratio for Brighton & Hove Albion.

Sadly, Scotsman Alan Young only managed 26 appearances in his one season (1983-84) with the Albion, although his 12 goals meant he finished second top goalscorer behind Terry Connor.

His brief Brighton career got off to a great start with a memorable debut goal, an overhead kick to net against Chelsea at the Goldstone. Young twice scored braces for the Seagulls but his season was injury-hit and, with manager Chris Cattlin bringing in his old pal Frank Worthington for the 1984-85 season, Young was sold to Notts County.

In more recent times, Young courted controversy as a radio pundit sharing his opinions about Leicester, and in 2014 BBC Radio Leicester dropped him from his role supporting commentator Ian Stringer.

Back in September 2013, Young was berated online for his criticism of winger Anthony Knockaert. Foxello, on ja606.co.uk, wrote: “If there’s one thing that annoys me more than just about anything else at this football club, it is that grumpy, nasty egotist Alan Young and his never-ending agenda against certain members of the football club.”

The correspondent bemoaned: “Knocky is now the butt of every joke, and the object of every jibe Young throws out…. It’s almost as if he doesn’t want us to have skilful players who occasionally misplace a pass due to their advanced vision, and just have hoofers and cloggers like in his day.”

So let’s take a look back at ‘his day’. Born in Kirkcaldy on 26 October 1955, Young was football-daft and showed sufficient promise to earn Scottish schoolboy international honours.

His boyhood favourite team was Raith Rovers, whose star player at the time was Ian Porterfield, who famously scored the winning goal when Second Division Sunderland beat Leeds in the 1973 FA Cup Final.

Surprisingly overlooked by Scottish professional clubs, Young was playing as an unattached player for Scotland Schoolboys against England at Old Trafford when Oldham Athletic scout Colin McDonald, a former Burnley and England international goalkeeper, noted his promise and persuaded the young forward to head south of the border to begin his professional career.

In five years at Boundary Park he scored 30 goals in 122 games, and, to a large extent, learned his trade from old pro Andy Lochhead, a prolific goalscorer in his day for Burnley, Leicester and Aston Villa.

In the 1978-79 season, Young netted a hat-trick against Leicester which caught the eye of fellow Scot and former Rangers boss, Jock Wallace, who had taken over at Filbert Street and was building a team with his fellow countrymen at its core.

When Young joined Leicester, and played alongside his boyhood pal Martin Henderson, it began a love affair with Leicester that endures to this day.

In three years at Leicester, Young scored 26 times in 104 games, eventually forming a partnership with the emerging Gary Lineker. TV’s favourite football frontman was generous enough to pen the foreword to Young’s 2013 autobiography, Youn9y, and said of him: “He was an old-fashioned, aggressive centre forward. He possessed, though, a delicate touch and finesse that belied his big target man status – the perfect partner for a nippy little goalhanger trying to make a name for himself.”

Young scored on his full debut for City in a league cup game v Rotherham and followed it up with two on his league debut at home to Watford.

The only time Young was sent off while playing for Leicester was, ironically, at the Goldstone Ground in 1981, at Easter, which was the second of four games at the end of the season that Albion won to stay in the top division.

Young was dismissed for two bookable offences, the first for clattering into goalkeeper Graham Moseley and the other a clash with Steve Foster, although, in his autobiography, he says Foster play-acted a knee injury, which the referee bought. Foster even teased him about it when he joined the Seagulls two years later. In that Easter 1981 fixture, Young’s teammate Kevin McDonald was also sent off, Brighton won 2-1 – and Leicester ended up being relegated together with Norwich and bottom-placed Crystal Palace.

Back in the old Second Division, Young did his cartilage in a game on QPR’s plastic pitch which he says was the beginning of the end of his career, because his knee was never the same afterwards (years later he had a knee replacement).

He also had the disappointment of losing to Spurs in the 1982 FA Cup semi final, although he maintains if a certain Chris Hughton had been sent off for two fouls on Lineker, it might all have been a different story.

Before the next season kicked off, Jock Wallace, the manager he idolised, decided to move back to Scotland to manage Motherwell and his successor at Filbert Street, Gordon Milne, swiftly chose to pair the emerging Alan Smith up front with Lineker, signalling the exit for Young.

Managerial upheaval was to become a familiar cause of Young’s departures in the years that followed, too. But I am getting ahead of myself.

Ian Porterfield, his footballing hero from yesteryear, had taken over as manager at Fourth Division Sheffield United and, although he didn’t really want to drop down the leagues, the Blades were a big club so Young moved to Bramall Lane.

A year later, though, after Brighton’s relegation from the elite in 1983, striker Michael Robinson was sold to Liverpool so there was a centre forward vacancy – and manager Jimmy Melia chose Young to fill it.

The fee was either £140,000 or £150,000 depending on which account you believe, but Young was happy because he pocketed a £20,000 signing on fee (four times what he had received only a year earlier when moving to Sheffield).

His first involvement with the squad was on a close-season tour of the Balearic Islands, but he also picked up an injury that was to dog his season on the south coast.

While Young had a lot of time for Melia, when Cattlin took over it was a different story and, in his book, there are plenty of colourful expletives used to describe exactly what he thought! He also castigates physio Mike Yaxley – “the most useless physio I have ever worked with” – although he says the team spirit was very good…seemingly fuelled by long post-training ‘sessions’ in Woody’s wine bar.

He said: “The football was very enjoyable there and never more so than when Jimmy Case and I were playing together; I loved playing with Jimmy.”

For a short time in that 1983-84 season, Albion had three Youngs in their squad, none of whom were related. Along with Young the forward, there were centre backs Eric Young and on-loan Willie Young.

When Cattlin decided to bring in his old Huddersfield teammate Frank Worthington the following season, Young was on his way, this time to Notts County. The manager who signed him was the former Liverpool and Nottingham Forest defender Larry Lloyd, but his tenure in the managerial chair was very short so, once again, Young found himself playing for a manager who hadn’t chosen him.

In two years at Meadow Lane, Young scored 12 in 43 games for County. He moved on to Rochdale where the Leeds legend Eddie Gray was in charge, but injury took its toll and he only scored twice in 28 games in the 1986-87 season before retiring at 31. He had scored a career total of 89 goals in 349 appearances.

While there were a few non-league appearances, he eventually landed a job back at Notts County in the early days of community football schemes. He made a success of the job, obtained his coaching qualifications and eventually they combined the community scheme with the centre of excellence.

Brighton fans will be interested to know that among the young lads who emerged during Young’s time there were Will Hoskins and Leon Best. The star player, though, was Jermaine Pennant.

Young has fond memories of Neil Warnock’s time as County manager, because of his interest in the work being done at grassroots level. However, the mood changed when Sam Allardyce took over.

Allardyce initially cut Young’s salary and then showed him the door. “I can’t and I never will forgive Sam Allardyce,” he said.

Away from football, Young has had a tempestuous love life – read the book to gather the detail – and has three sons and a daughter. While he also had spells working for Chesterfield and Leeds, he dropped out of the game and then had a very dark period dominated by heavy drinking in isolation, including a time living alone in a caravan on the banks of Loch Lomond.

Eventually a return to England and his break into radio punditry brought him back from the brink.

In 2013, his autobiography Youn9y was published, the sleeve notes describing the story of “a talented, brave striker who played at the highest level of the domestic game but also experienced human misery at its lowest once his playing career was over”.

The notes add: “Youngy doesn’t just recount the good times of his playing career; he also offers valuable insight and moments of perception and understanding of some of the darkest days of his life.”

After four years as match summariser, in 2014 BBC Radio Leicester dispensed with his services and replaced him with another former Fox, Gerry Taggart.

However, Young still gives his opinions about Leicester on the community radio station Hermitage FM.

Pictures show a shot of Alan on Brighton seafront from an Albion matchday programme; the front cover of his autobiography; in the Hermitage FM radio studio from Twitter.

 

 

When Manchester City legend Joe Corrigan played the clown in Brighton

Brighton fans often enter into a debate about who was the best goalkeeper ever to play for the club.

Although he was past his best when he joined the Seagulls, former England international Joe Corrigan would certainly be a contender.

Corrigan was, quite literally, at 6’4” a giant among goalkeepers and a colossus for Manchester City at the highest level before a second tier spell with Brighton towards the end of his playing career.

He subsequently became a top goalkeeping coach and amongst the ‘keepers he worked with was another former Seagulls favourite, Tomasz Kuszczak, when at West Brom.

After taking over from Harry Dowd, Corrigan was a near permanent fixture in goal for Manchester City between 1970 and 1983.

But for his career coinciding with Peter Shilton and Ray Clemence, he would surely have won more than the nine England caps he accumulated.

In total Corrigan made 592 appearances for City, a club record for a goalkeeper, and he was City’s Player of the Year three times.

In 1983, at the age of 34, Corrigan was sold to American club Seattle Sounders for £30,000, but he stayed in the US only a few months, and, in September that year, returned to England with Brighton.

Unfortunately for Joe it was at that turbulent time when, although Jimmy Melia was still the manager, chairman Mike Bamber had installed Chris Cattlin as first team coach behind Melia’s back.

Within a matter of weeks of the 1983-84 season starting, Melia was fired and Cattlin took over.

Corrigan was not impressed. In his 2008 autobiography (Big Joe, The Joe Corrigan Story) he declared Cattlin “the worst manager I’d ever played under” although he described his teammates as “a terrific bunch of lads” and he seemed to enjoy a decent social life on the south coast.

For instance, at the annual players Christmas ‘do’ – if the account in Jimmy Case’s autobiography is anything to go by.

Corrigan became big pals with Case during his time at Brighton and the Scouse midfield favourite recounts in Hard Case (John Blake Publishing), a time the players went out on their Christmas ‘bash’ in Brighton wearing fancy dress.

Corrigan wore white tights and a tutu and at one point stood in the middle of the road directing traffic while his teammates crossed –  beckoning cars facing a red light to go and stopping cars that were on a green light. “I am still not sure how he survived that incident without having his collar felt,” said Case.

“Joe is a big, soft lad with a heart of gold but he has a painful way of showing it.”

One of his party pieces was to catch people off guard with a short jab in the ribs or arm. One playful punch landed on physio Mike Yaxley broke two of his ribs!

Case described Joe as “a star performer on the pitch and a bloody clown off it”.

Corrigan played 36 times for the Seagulls, including performing heroics in the famous 2-0 1984 FA Cup win over Liverpool, when goals by Terry Connor and Gerry Ryan meant the Seagulls dumped the mighty reds out of the cup two years in succession (following the 2-1 win at Anfield during the 1983 run to the cup final).

Sadly, as revealed in Big Joe, The Joe Corrigan Story, his time with Brighton ended on a sour note and when Cattlin opted for Perry Digweed as his first choice ‘keeper for the 1984-85 season, it all turned publicly ugly.

The club fined Corrigan for speaking out of turn to the press but Corrigan successfully got the fine overturned thanks to help from the PFA.

As it became clear he would never play for Brighton again, he went out on loan to Stoke City and Norwich but then back in Brighton Reserves sustained an injury to his neck that ended his career.

Corrigan retired from playing and went on to become a goalkeeping coach at a number of clubs, including 10 years at Liverpool, then spells at Celtic, Middlesbrough and West Brom.

When at 60 in 2009 he brought down the curtain on a 42-year career in the game, Tony Mowbray, manager of West Brom at the time, told the Birmingham Mail’s Chris Lepkowski: “Joe has been a pleasure to work with. His knowledge and experience have been a big help to me and I’ll be sorry to see him go.

“He’s a great character, a true gentleman and everyone at the club wishes him a long and happy retirement.”

Corrigan told the Mail: “Everyone says you know when the time is right to retire – and I feel this is mine.

“I’ve had just over four great years at this club and want to say a massive thank you to the Albion fans, who have always been very supportive of me and made me feel really welcome.

“The staff and players – particularly the keepers – have also been a pleasure to work with.

“Ironically, my final home game here will be against Liverpool, a club where I spent ten happy years, and we went to City two weeks ago, which obviously is always a special occasion for me.”

1 Joe punching2 Joe diving3 Joe shouting4 JC w GR SG EY

 

 

  • Pictures from my scrapbook show Corrigan punching clear of Chelsea’s David Webb, diving headlong to deny Chelsea’s Keith Weller, letting his teammates know his thoughts, and in an Albion squad line-up alongside Eric Young and behind Gerry Ryan and Steve Gatting.