Liverpool legend Jimmy Case became a Seagulls favourite too

norwich winner (4)JIMMY Case remains one of my all-time favourite Albion players.

Several of the best moments I can recall as an Albion supporter involve Case: the 1983 FA Cup semi-final belter against Sheffield Wednesday at sunny Highbury perhaps the most memorable.

The biggest disappointment was that Albion let him go so easily.

Younger readers may only remember his unhappy stint as manager when the misdirected club was in turmoil and he ended up holding the reins when Liam Brady just couldn’t take any more.

But rather than remember him as the man who took Brighton down to Division 3 in 1996, I remember the class act who arrived at the Goldstone in 1981 with a trophy cabinet the envy of many a footballer.

Although Brighton lost the sublime Mark Lawrenson to Liverpool as part of the deal that saw Case move to Brighton, they gained a player who had already got three European Cup winners’ medals, four Division 1 (Premiership equivalent) winners’ medals plus one each for winning the UEFA Cup, European Super Cup and the League Cup.

Case, born in Liverpool on 18 May 1954, was one of four children David and Dorothy Case raised in a council house in the city’s Allerton district.

He learned how to handle himself on a football field by playing in a tough dockers’ team but Liverpool picked him up from the local non-league club, South Liverpool. By then, Case had left school and was training to be an electrician.

He carried on those studies but after two years on Liverpool’s staff he made his first team debut in April 1975 in a 3-1 win over QPR. He scored his first goal in a 3-2 home win over Spurs at the beginning of the following season and, in what must have seemed a dream start, completed his first full season as part of a championship winning team, and as a goalscorer in the two-legged UEFA Cup Final win over FC Bruges.

The triumphs and trophies kept coming with Case enjoying the ride but by 1980-81 he was beginning to be edged out by Sammy Lee, and manager Bob Paisley didn’t look kindly on some of the off-field escapades Case was involved in with fellow midfielder Ray Kennedy.

Paisley said: “He had lost his appetite for the game in his last year at Anfield. It’s a hard stint working the right flank in our team and Jimmy had stopped getting forward and was looking to play early passes from deep positions. I think his legs had become tired.”

The move to Brighton might never have happened if Alan Mullery had got his way because he had already done a deal with Ron Atkinson to sell Lawrenson to Manchester United in exchange for two of their players.

But when chairman Mike Bamber pulled rank and forced through the Liverpool deal he had negotiated, Mullery quit and Case arrived on a five-year contract to find a new manager in charge in Mike Bailey.

It felt to me that Brighton were stepping up to a whole new level bringing in someone of Case’s stature, and so it proved.

In his first season at the Goldstone, Albion recorded their highest-ever finish among the elite – 13th.

I recollect heading to Upton Park for the opening game of the season to see Case make his debut against West Ham and Albion earned a 1-1 draw despite having Gerry Ryan sent off.

Case found himself in trouble with referees on way too many occasions that season. Although he came to the club with a hard man image, amazingly he had never previously been suspended for accumulating bookings.

But by December he had to sit out a two game ban, and when his bookings total reached eight by March, he missed another three games.

Case told John Vinicombe of the Evening Argus: “I am a face, and there is nothing I can do about that. I am known, and that might explain some of the things that have happened to me on the pitch.

“The last thing I wanted on coming to Brighton was to get suspended. Brighton didn’t give me a contract to miss games.”

For anyone who has not yet read it, Case’s autobiography, Hard Case (John Blake Publishing) is well worth a read, detailing through writer Andrew Smart a fascinating career.

Disappointingly, it has a few factual errors that doubtless the distance of time brought about. Nevertheless, Case says: “I enjoyed every minute of my time with Brighton.”

Particularly pleasing for him was to score with a thumping header past Bruce Grobelaar in a 3-3 draw with Liverpool at the Goldstone, and to be on the right end of Albion’s 1-0 win at Anfield that season.

Case enjoyed life off the field as well and admits in his book: “The inhabitants of Brighton and Hove were just a little more sophisticated than the Allerton of the 1970s and I was introduced to the many and varied attractions of decent food and fine wine. It was an education I really appreciated.”

His second season was to end in relegation, but, more famously, with Brighton’s one and only appearance in an FA Cup final. Case scored goals in the fourth, fifth and sixth rounds, as well as the semi-final.

The newspapers had a field day when Case’s winner for Brighton in the fifth round of the Cup at Anfield denied his old boss Bob Paisley the chance to wipe the board with trophies that season.

It seemed every national and local newspaper headline revolved around the likeable Scouser: ‘It’s Case for Champagne’, ‘Jimmy sets out his case’, ‘Old boy Case kills off Liverpool hopes’, ‘Amazing Case’, ‘Killer Case’, ‘Case packs a super Cup punch’, ‘Case for Cup win’.

The Daily Mirror made him their footballer of the month for February on the back of that goal with reporter Harry Miller declaring: “No single act did more to capture the imagination of the public than midfielder Case’s dramatic 71st minute winner on Sunday, February 20.”

Case himself had mixed emotions about it all, saying: “I had ten fantastic years at a remarkable club. That’s something that goes deep down.”

He also revealed how a good friend of his had been out of the country at the time of the game and sent him a postcard with only two words as its message: ‘You bastard’.

When he scored the only goal of the game in the quarter final win over Norwich, the headlines continued: ‘Case of bubbly’, ‘The odd Case of hero and villain’, ‘Seagulls have landed with champagne Jim’.

That belting free kick in the Highbury sunshine set Albion on their way to the 2-1 win over Sheffield Wednesday, earning a first ever  – and only – place in the FA Cup final.

He was no stranger to Wembley, of course, having previously scored Liverpool’s goal in the 1978 2-1 defeat to Manchester United, but unfortunately he didn’t repeat his earlier goalscoring feats in the 1983 final.

He played a key part in Albion’s brave effort to earn a draw against Man U and then had the agony of returning home that Saturday evening to discover his mother, who had been a visitor, had died in her sleep at the age of just 63.

It was to Case’s immense credit that he took his place in the side for the replay just five days later.

While relegation brought the inevitable break-up of the team, with Gary Stevens and Michael Robinson departing before the new season began, Case publicly declared his intention to stay and try to get the team back up to the elite.

However, once fellow Scouser Jimmy Melia had been replaced by Chris Cattlin, there was probably only going to be one outcome and eventually Case was sold to Southampton for £30,000 in March 1985.

For him, it was a great move because he was returning to the top division again. It turned out that he was Lawrie McMenemy’s last signing for Saints, but, on this occasion, the change of manager was to cement his place in the side. Chris Nicholl made him the club captain the following season.

In 1985-86, Saints reached the semi-final of the FA Cup (beating Brighton 2-0 in the quarter-final!) losing 2-0 to Liverpool after extra time. If Saints had won, Case would have been the first player to appear in three FA Cup finals with different clubs.

Over his six years at The Dell, Case played alongside Glenn Cockerill and Barry Horne and helped to bring on the careers of youngsters such as Matt Le Tissier, Alan Shearer and Jason Dodd.

But when Ian Branfoot took over as manager in June 1991, he dispensed with Case’s services within a matter of days and transferred him to Bournemouth, who were managed by Harry Redknapp.

After 40 league games for Bournemouth in 1991-92, he moved to Halifax Town managed by former Saint and, one-time Albion loanee, John McGrath, who was being assisted by another ex-Albion man, Frank Worthington.

But Case only played there for six months, moving on to Wrexham, where he helped them gain promotion from the 3rd Division at the end of the 1992-93 season.

He then turned out for non-league side Sittingbourne until, at the ripe old age of 39, Liam Brady brought him back to Brighton in December 1993, as a player/coach.

After his unhappy time as Albion manager, Case later managed non-league Bashley but is more often seen and heard these days on the after dinner speaking circuit or on regional football programmes. He also contributes to Southampton’s in-house radio station “The Saint”.

In July 2007, he once again donned a Brighton shirt, playing a cameo role alongside other past heroes in a brief curtain-raiser to Kerry Mayo’s testimonial game against Reading.

 

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Eric Young went from non league to the international stage via Brighton and Crystal Palace

1 Y strollingERIC YOUNG went on to have a lengthy career as a dominant centre back, and even made it onto the international stage, although he never really looked like achieving such heights in five years at the Albion.

His performances for Isthmian League side Slough Town between 1979 and 1982 drew the attention of plenty of league scouts – he played 144 games and scored an impressive 23 goals.

Albion manager Mike Bailey signed him from Slough in 1982 but he didn’t break through into the first team until the start of the 1983-84 season, making his full debut away to Blackburn Rovers in September 1983.

He took over Steve Foster’s number 5 shirt for 10 games and, although he subsequently had a spell playing alongside Foster, it’s clear he was viewed as his long-term replacement.

Relations between manager Chris Cattlin and Foster were strained and he eventually sold the iconic club captain to Aston Villa in March.

In the same month, Young scored his first goal in a 3-0 home win over Leeds United. In an eventful first season, he completed 35 games, scored twice and was sent off.

In Cattlin’s first full season in charge, 1984-85, Young consolidated his place in the back four, missing only a handful of games as he completed 39 league and cup appearances.

Young’s centre back partner more often than not was Gary O’Reilly, who also ended up going to Crystal Palace, before returning to Brighton for a second spell.

In that 1984-85 season, though, when the pairing was in its fledgling stages, Cattlin admitted he played Graham Pearce in between them “to allow the central defensive pair to learn their trade and settle down into a partnership”.

There must be something about Albion playing Newcastle in the FA Cup; in the 1985-86 season, Young scored in the first minute of the third round match at St James’ Park against a Magpies side that included Peter Beardsley and Paul Gascoigne. With Perry Digweed performing heroics in goal, the Seagulls won the tie 2-0 with a late goal from Dean Saunders.

Young was virtually ever present that season, playing 42 games in total.

In a 1-0 away win at Sheffield United in 1986, which I went to watch with @SnowyywonS, Young put in a sterling performance at the back.

Although he was booked for a challenge on Peter Beagrie, he had such a fine old tussle with that veteran striker Peter Withe that when the ex-Villa and Forest man was substituted 20 minutes from the end, Withe stopped to shake Young’s hand before leaving the pitch.

By then Young was playing under yet another manager; Alan Mullery having returned for what turned out to be only an eight-month spell.

With Albion finishing rock bottom of Division 2 in 1987, new manager Barry Lloyd was forced into a fire sale of the highest assets and Young went to Wimbledon for £70,000 (Danny Wilson and Terry Connor were also sold). Young had made a total of 147 league and cup appearances.

Although he missed out on Albion’s run through to the 1983 FA Cup Final, Young went one better by being part of Wimbledon’s winning team in 1988 as they beat Liverpool 1-0.

His central defensive partnership with Andy Thorn was highly effective but after 99 appearances for the Dons, he was sold to Crystal Palace for £850,000, where he subsequently resumed his partnership with Thorn.

He was at Palace for five years, making 204 appearances. After a falling-out with Palace manager Alan Smith, he joined Wolves on a free transfer where he played 31 games over two seasons.

Following a brief return to Palace, when he didn’t return to first team action, he returned to his non-league roots and spent four seasons at Egham Town before retiring at the age of 41 in 2001.

Although born in Singapore, because of his British citizenship Young was able to choose which home country to play for.

He chose Wales, not making his debut until the comparatively late age of 30, but going on to earn 21 caps. All but his first and last caps came during his time with Palace.

Before his professional football career had begun, he qualified as an accountant and that’s the job he now has with a Heathrow-based construction company.

 

Eric Young was often a subject for the Albion matchday programme front cover. Black and white shots show him in action and, after his move to Wimbledon, a FA Cup winner alongside goalscorer Lawrie Sanchez and goalkeeper Dave Beasant.

Ex-Man Utd ‘keeper Tomasz Kuszczak took ‘Pole’ position in Brighton’s goal

TOMASZ Kuszczak may only have been a back-up ‘keeper for Manchester United but in two seasons with Brighton & Hove Albion he established himself as one of the club’s best ever between the sticks.

Born in Krosno Odrzańskie in western Poland on 20 March 1982, he began his career with one of his country’s top teams, Śląsk Wrocław before crossing over the border to Germany to play for KFC Uerdingen 05 and Hertha Berlin.

He was capped at under 16, under 18 and under 21 level by Poland and, while never first choice ‘keeper for the senior international side, he made his debut in 2003, in a 4-0 win over Malta, and played 11 times for his country, the last time in 2012. He initially took over from Liverpool keeper Jerzy Dudek but, invariably, Artur Boruc and Wojciech Szczesny were picked ahead of him.

While visiting Krakow in 2015, in conversation with a taxi driver, I discovered Polish football followers were brutally unforgiving of a massive blunder Kuszczak made in a World Cup warm-up match between Poland and Columbia on 30 May 2006 when he conceded a goal directly from a long punt by the opposition goalkeeper, Luis Enrique Martinez.

By then, he had been playing in England for two years, Gary Megson (now back in temporary charge at The Hawthorns) having signed him for West Brom in 2004. He was reserve ‘keeper behind firstly Russell Hoult and then Chris Kirkland, and played just 31 games for The Baggies over two years.

However, when he did get a chance, in a game against Wigan Athletic in January 2005, he pulled off a spectacular save to deny Jason Roberts, which was subsequently voted Save of the Season by Match of the Day viewers.

In a curiously complicated transfer deal, Man U signed Kuszczak in the summer of 2006 in exchange for United’s former Albion loanee, Paul McShane, and young goalkeeper Luke Steele, but the first year of the arrangement was on a loan basis.

At United, he was behind Edwin van de Sar in the pecking order and typically mainly played cup matches or deputised when the regular no.1 was injured. In 2010, he collected a League Cup winners’ medal when United beat Aston Villa 2-1.

In five seasons at United, he played a total of 61 games but, by the time the 2011-12 season came round, Kuszczak was way down the list of United custodians, with David de Gea first choice, and Anders Lindegaard and Ben Amos ahead of him.

In February 2012, Kuszczak was loaned to then Championship side Watford, where he made 13 appearances. On his release from United in June 2012, he moved to Brighton.

Over two seasons with the Seagulls, he finally got regular playing time and completed 89 appearances in the two successive play-off promotion campaigns, initially under Gus Poyet and then Oscar Garcia.

One of the best insights into his time at Brighton and United came in a December 2013 article. Speaking to Sportsmail on behalf of Sky Bet, he told The Footballers’ Football Column: “I miss the Premier League a lot. The idea around moving to Brighton was to get more games and put myself on the market. That was important after six years at Manchester United where I didn’t play a key role in the team.

“I did have my chances there, but I sacrificed my time sometimes. I was sitting on the bench a lot. Ten matches a season wasn’t enough for me. I was really hungry for football and decided to change something in my life.

This move was all about giving me the opportunity of playing in the Premier League in the future. I would love to go with Brighton – that’s the aim. We’re ambitious and want promotion.

“It may sound arrogant but my place is in the Premier League. I came to England with West Bromwich Albion and enjoyed my time there, as I did at United. I want to be back in business in front of great crowds. I want my friends to be watching me on TV every week and have a chance of challenging the best in the world.

“People were interested in me when I wanted to leave Old Trafford, but that’s not surprising as a Manchester United player. There will always be interest.

“If you play for them it’s not an accident. If you join that club you’re talented.”

Of his time at United, he said:I knew I’d get my chances and Sir Alex Ferguson did give me them. They maybe weren’t regular games but I was part of some in the big competitions. Ferguson would always remember me and trust me.

“I came from Poland, where we always work hard and be positive. Lazy people never achieve anything. There is always enough time to improve yourself and you can achieve something every single morning. Yes it was frustrating, but I managed to control that.

“At Brighton the expectations at the start of the season were high. We’re slowly getting there now but there is still a lot of work to do.

“Oscar Garcia was brought in as our new manager over the summer and it takes a while for everyone to settle. Players need to understand new tactics and approaches – that is always the same when you have a new boss.”

Within days of Garcia’s resignation after the play-off defeat to Derby, it was announced Kuszczak was being released.

There were a number of unsubstantiated and colourful reasons as to why he wasn’t retained by Brighton, but Andy Naylor in The Argus said neither Garcia nor his replacement, Sami Hyypia rated his ability with his feet or his distribution skills.

For around six months, Kuszczak was unable to find a new club but then Kenny Jackett took him to Wolverhampton Wanderers where he played 13 games deputising for the injured Carl Ikeme.

Midlands rivals Birmingham City swooped to sign him in the summer of 2015, and he has been with the Blues since then.

Even though Harry Redknapp signed Brighton’s David Stockdale as first choice ‘keeper at St Andrew’s for this season, Kuszczak has found himself back in the first team since Steve Cotterill arrived as manager.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2526211/The-Footballers-Football-Column-Tomasz-Kuszczak-Im-Premier-League-keeper-I-not-sit-bench-Manchester-United.html#ixzz4wPFqt5N0

Pictures purloined from the internet show a shot that appeared in the Daily Mirror of Kuszczak with Man U boss Sir Alex Ferguson; skysports.com’s shot of him in Brighton colours and a Birmingham Mail image of the ‘keeper in an alternative Brighton kit.

 

Liverpool and England star’s dad, Mark Chamberlain, played for Stoke and Brighton

CURRENT Liverpool and England international Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain can look to his dad for his footballing genes.

Mark Chamberlain represented England himself – and also played for Stoke City and Brighton in a 20-year career that saw him play more than 600 games.

Mark and brother Neville (also a professional footballer) were born in Burslem of British Jamaican parents, Banny and Anastasia, who had moved to England in the early 1960s.

The brothers both started out with Port Vale and in August 2013 onevalefan.co.uk looked back on their involvement with the Valiants.

“The younger of the two brothers, Mark progressed through the junior ranks to make his debut as a substitute aged just 16 years and 274 days,” the site recalled. “It soon became clear that the winger was a special talent and he made his full debut later that season. Two days later he scored his first senior goal. His breakthrough as a first-team regular came in the 1980-1981 season when he managed ten goals in 36 games.”

Apparently, in their early Vale career, the brothers used to swap shirts at half-time to confuse the opposition. Neville, a striker, had a less illustrious career than Mark but was the club’s top scorer in the 1979-80 season.

Robbie Earle, one of Vale’s favourite sons, wrote of Mark: “He could do it all: Run, pass, shoot, make goals and score them.”

Vale’s boss during Chamberlain’s introduction to league football was former Southampton and Newcastle defender John McGrath, who had a brief loan spell with Brighton when they were struggling in the old Division 2 after the 1972 promotion.

Anyway, Chamberlain was beginning to get noticed in the fourth tier and in 1981-82 he was chosen in the PFA Fourth Division team of the year.

Chamberlain told the Daily Mail’s Matt Barlow in a 2011 interview how he ended up switching Potteries clubs and joining Stoke.

“John McGrath sent me in to speak to Stoke manager Richie Barker and told me to ask for a £15,000 signing-on fee and £200 a week,” said Chamberlain. “So in I went and Richie shakes my hand and says, ‘I’m going to offer you £200 a week and a £15,000 signing on fee’.

“I said, ‘No, you two have been talking.’ They started laughing, and said: ‘What do you want?’ I said: ‘Well, we’re fourth division. You’re first division. I’m on £90 a week, so let’s multiply it by four.’ It was quite basic in those days.”

Stoke paid £180,000 for Chamberlain (and goalkeeper Mark Harrison) in 1982. When his son joined Arsenal from Southampton the fee was £12million and on transfer deadline day this year, Liverpool paid Arsenal £35million for his services.

But back to 1982 and, in December that year, Chamberlain senior made his debut for England. Manager Bobby Robson sent him on as a substitute for Steve Coppell and he scored in a 9-0 rout of Luxembourg. Luther Blissett got a hat-trick and Coppell, Glenn Hoddle, Tony Woodcock and Phil Neal were also on the scoresheet, the other being an own goal.

His next outing for the national side didn’t come until September the following year, when he was again a substitute, this time replacing John Barnes in a 1-0 Wembley defeat to Denmark.

In the summer of 1984, he got five successive starts on a South American tour – one of which was the famous occasion when England beat Brazil 2-0 in the Maracana Stadium.

Barnes grabbed the headlines with that famous mazy dribble and goal, but the guy playing on the other wing for England was Chamberlain!

“’I didn’t do bad,” said Mark, interviewed many years later. “The pitch was poor and the Maracana was only half full, but that’s still about 80,000. Junior was at left back and Leandro was right back. They bombed forward but weren’t the best defenders and we both had good games.

“On the pitch, after the game, the Brazilian press were asking me and Barnsey if we wanted to come and play in Brazil. ‘You play like Brazilians,’ they kept saying.”

On a more sober note, in John Barnes’ 1999 autobiography, he describes how he, Chamberlain and Viv Anderson were racially abused on that tour by four National Front members who had booked the same flight as the England squad.

In the independent.co.uk, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain said of his dad: “He used to tell me that he’d walk home from school with his sisters, they used to get stones thrown at them. They had to fight and protect themselves, but you have to get on with it.

“That’s what he did. He used to go to England trials on his own, not knowing anyone. The other boys were at Aston Villa, Arsenal and Everton. He was at Port Vale. He had to overcome loads of stuff like that. That’s the sort of character he is. He just gets on with what he’s got to do and doesn’t worry too much about what everyone thinks.”

Chamberlain senior was interviewed about the Brazil game in June 2013, 29 years after he’d played there, because Alex was playing for England against Brazil to mark the official opening of the refurbished Maracana.

And he went one better than dad and got on the scoresheet in a 1-1 draw after coming on as a second half substitute. Not that dad saw it: he admitted to the press that he had dozed off in his chair in front of the telly and missed it!

“Playing for England and beating the mighty Brazil was a fantastic experience,” Mark told sponsor Vauxhall. “I’d have liked to have played a lot more for my country but I didn’t, but I enjoyed every moment of it.”

His eighth and final cap came as a sub for Bryan Robson in a 5-0 win over Finland at Wembley in October 1984.

The emergence of Chris Waddle and Trevor Steven brought his international career to an end and it’s interesting to observe from an interview he gave to mirror.co.uk, that he actively urged his son to leave Southampton for Arsenal because he didn’t want him to miss out on the opportunities he felt eluded him by not moving to a big club.

There was talk of him going to Arsenal himself, but it never happened and, he told reporter Darren Lewis, he blamed being with a club like Stoke for his only winning eight caps. He felt he was overlooked for players at bigger clubs.

He was certainly a fans’ favourite at Stoke. On the Stoke fans’ website, oatcakefanzine, one with the handle March said: “Chambo was probably the second most talented player in our club’s history after Sir Stan (Matthews). His skill, pace and crossing were all top notch.

“I organised a football tournament for young players in 1980. Chambo was a part of one of the teams taking part. He was so good it was unbelievable. I remember a game away at West Ham where he ran straight past the whole West Ham defence and the home crowd went silent in awe. I don’t remember that reaction to any other player from any club.”

However, in the 1984-85 season, Stoke finished bottom of the top division, 23 points off safety. Manager Barker went and new manager Mick Mills wanted to rebuild the side, so Mark was sold to Sheffield Wednesday for £350,000.

“There had been talk about Everton, Arsenal and Chelsea but that never happened,” said Chamberlain. “When I left Stoke, I went to Sheffield Wednesday and met Howard Wilkinson, and we never got on. I don’t know why he bought me.

“I was the best right winger in the country and he told me I couldn’t play. If I’m honest, I fell out of love with football after that.”

He scored eight times in 66 games for the Owls but he was to enjoy much greater success when he headed south in 1988, to join Jim Smith’s Portsmouth. Former Albion defender Guy Butters, who was also at Portsmouth at the time, speaks highly about the contribution ‘Chambo’ made to the side.

In six years at Pompey, Chamberlain played 198 games and scored 22 goals.

When Second Division Portsmouth got to the FA Cup semi finals in 1991-92, Chamberlain played in the 1-1 draw against Liverpool at Highbury but not in the replay at Villa Park.

His last year at Portsmouth was dogged by injuries and, having been out injured for six months, Smith released him. In August 1994, Liam Brady took him along the coast to Brighton.

In his programme notes, Brady said: “We have signed Mark Chamberlain because I think we needed a wide player with pace. Although Mark is the wrong side of 30, I think he has shown that he doesn’t lack pace.

“He has had his problems with injuries at Portsmouth over the last year but I think he has already demonstrated that he is still a very good player.

“We are looking at how he gets on over the next two or three weeks with a view to taking him on for the remainder of the season.”

The season was barely a couple of months old before he was sidelined for a month with injury, but he earned a contract and, over the course of that campaign, Chamberlain played 19 league games and five cup games. He scored twice, but it transpired it was not the happiest time in his career.

In a Stoke matchday programme article in March 2003, Chamberlain told Dave Coxon: “In truth I never enjoyed my time there. I didn’t seem to fit in, either on or off the field. After games I would sit there in the bar and nobody would come over to me. I think it was probably because I was not in the clique.”

After the unhappy spell at Brighton, Chamberlain moved the other direction from his Port Solent home and had two seasons with Exeter City, playing 67 games and scoring four times.

He went non-league and spent a season as player-manager of Fareham Town before taking up coaching at Southampton, and at a special needs school.

It was while he was a part-time academy coach at Southampton that he first introduced Alex to the Saints. He later became a coach at Portsmouth.

The younger of his two sons, Christian, 19, is on Portsmouth’s books, although he’s currently out on loan. Last season he played for Eastbourne Borough and this season he’s had spells with Poole Town and Oxford City.

If, like me, you wondered why the boys are Oxlade-Chamberlain, it’s because they use their mother’s maiden name at her request.

“She had a brother who died in a car accident and there were no more Oxlades so she was very keen to keep the name going and that was fine by me,” said Mark. “The boys have always been Oxlade-Chamberlains. I think they came from Norway, the Oxlades.”
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2045303/Alex-Oxlade-Chamberlain-Father-Mark-Arsenals-12m-wonderkid.html#ixzz4sj4JImUp

Pictures show onevalefan.co.uk’s shot of Chamberlain and his brother in their early Port Vale days, in Stoke’s kit, wearing England’s change strip, a Daily Express shot of him playing for Pompey, and a still from a YouTube interview.