Brighton and Hove Albion in parallel to England in international tournaments

Posted On 11 Jul 2021 at 3:26 pm

As the nation prepares for the biggest match in 55 years, Brighton and Hove News look back at how Albion were faring as England played in previous tournaments.

Back in the 1950s, Albion were stuck in Division Three South as England competed in the World Cup in 1950 and 1958. The Seagulls had, though, managed to get themselves into Division Two by the time England qualified for the 1962 finals in Chile but they were relegated at the end of the domestic season.

When football first came home in 1966 the Seagulls were back in Division Three. And they were there when the Three Lions first took the European Championships seriously in 1968, when they lost a semi-final to Yugoslavia. And they were still there in 1970 when West Germany knocked England out in the quarter-finals in Mexico.

When England failed to qualify for the 1974 World Cup and the 1976 Euros, the Seagulls were still in the third tier.

But by the 1978 World Cup, when England failed to qualify again, this time for Argentina, Alan Mullery’s men had just narrowly missed out on promotion to the old Division One (now the Premiership).

When Ray Clemence suffered the effects of tear gas at Euro 1980, Albion were still in Division One enjoying the greatest period in their history until then. So much so that after their highest finish so far in a League season, a Seagulls player represented England at the 1982 World Cup finals. Steve Foster played a group game against Kuwait in Spain.

By 1984, when England failed to qualify for the Euros in France, the Seagulls had dropped back to Division Two (now the Championship.) They still there when Steve Penney represented Ireland in the 1986 World Cup in Mexico. England lost in the quarter-finals again, this time to Argentina.

The disaster of the 1988 Euro finals in Germany at least saw Albion promoted back to Division Two, having been relegated in 1987.

They were still in Division Two in 1990 as England reached the semi-finals in Italy. And as England were failing in Sweden at Euro 92, Albion were also plunging back to Division Three, where they stayed for England’s no show in USA 94.

The Seagulls were centre of attention for a while prior to Euro 96, but not in good way. The York City “riot” at the Goldstone Ground cast doubts on England’s ability to hold an untroubled tournament in April 1996. But the finals, held in June and July, came close to being a triumph.

Albion had dropped to the fourth tier by the 1998 World Cup and were still there for the 2000 Euros. They managed to get back up to Division Two, by now rebranded Division One, before the start of the 2002 World Cup in Japan and Korea.

Alas, the Seagulls were back in the third tier for the 2004 Euros, although they gained promotion before the tournament started, but were again back in the third tier for the 2006 and 2010 World Cups.

Since the 2012 Euros, the Seagulls have been in a new stadium and in the top two tiers of English football for every tournament England have qualified for.

And since the 2018 World Cup, Brighton and Hove Albion have been a Premier League side, having gained promotion in 2017. The club have had a host of players representing their countries, including Ben White, who is in the current England squad, and goalkeeper Robert Sanchez, who is in the Spanish squad.

A successful 2021-22 season will see Albion encounter a very different 2022-23 season, with the 2022 World Cup finals due to be staged in Qatar in November and December next year.

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