From Tamplin's Ale to Dutch Courage! Brighton's journey from the fourth tier and near-extinction to European nights against Ajax has been simply remarkable
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From Tamplin's Ale to Dutch Courage! Brighton's journey from the fourth tier and near-extinction to European nights against Ajax has been simply remarkable

Jan 10, 2024
  • Brighton have spent most of their existence in the League’s lower reaches
  • But now they’ll play at the Johan Cruyff Arena against Dutch giants Ajax 
  • CLICK HERE to buy these pictures – and many more – from the Daily Mail archive  
  • Liverpool’s Luis Diaz is extraordinary – Listen here to It’s All Kicking Off 

Who would have thought in 1963, when Brighton were relegated to the Fourth Division, that 60 years later they would be travelling to Amsterdam to face four-time European Cup winners Ajax?

The Seagulls have spent most of their 122-year history yo-yoing between the second, third and fourth tiers, and didn’t reach the First Division until 1979.

Even in the 1990s, Brighton came close to extinction amid shoddy ownership and financial strife, spending two seasons playing their ‘home’ games at Gillingham’s Priestfield Stadium and almost dropping into non-league.

Last season’s sixth-place finish in the Premier League was a new high-water mark and Roberto De Zerbi‘s men have already beaten Dutch giants Ajax at the Amex in their debut European season.

Ahead of Thursday’s reverse fixture, we delved through the Mail Sport picture archive to bring you the best images from Brighton’s amazing journey.

The Brighton team pose for their 1955-56 team photograph in front of a prominent advert for Tamplin's Ale. Back row L-R Billy Lane (manager), Dennis Gordon, Ken Whitfield, Ian McNeill, Eric Gill, Peter Harburn, Tom Bissett, Glen Wilson, Joe Wilson (trainer). Front row L-R: Albert Munday, Des Tennant, Jim Langley, Dennis Foreman, Frank Howard

The Brighton team pose for their 1955-56 team photograph in front of a prominent advert for Tamplin’s Ale. Back row L-R Billy Lane (manager), Dennis Gordon, Ken Whitfield, Ian McNeill, Eric Gill, Peter Harburn, Tom Bissett, Glen Wilson, Joe Wilson (trainer). Front row L-R: Albert Munday, Des Tennant, Jim Langley, Dennis Foreman, Frank Howard

Brighton players take flu medicine to ensure they're fit and well for a 1961 FA Cup tie against Burnley. After a 3-3 draw on the south coast, they lost the replay 2-0

Brighton players take flu medicine to ensure they’re fit and well for a 1961 FA Cup tie against Burnley. After a 3-3 draw on the south coast, they lost the replay 2-0

Peter Taylor speaks with his players on the Goldstone Ground pitch in 1974. Taylor arrived at Brighton as Brian Clough's assistant in November 1973 and became manager when Clough moved to Leeds United the following year

Peter Taylor speaks with his players on the Goldstone Ground pitch in 1974. Taylor arrived at Brighton as Brian Clough’s assistant in November 1973 and became manager when Clough moved to Leeds United the following year

Brighton goalkeeper Brian Powney signs an autograph through his car window in 1973

Brighton goalkeeper Brian Powney signs an autograph through his car window in 1973

Brighton goalkeeper Dave Hollins makes a save to deny Preston's Tommy Thompson in 1960

Brighton goalkeeper Dave Hollins makes a save to deny Preston’s Tommy Thompson in 1960

Groundsman Frankie Howard prepares the pitch at the Goldstone Ground

Groundsman Frankie Howard prepares the pitch at the Goldstone Ground 

The champagne flows as the Brighton players celebrate promotion to Division Two in 1977

The champagne flows as the Brighton players celebrate promotion to Division Two in 1977

The view from the balcony of flats overlooking Brighton's Goldstone Ground back in 1973

The view from the balcony of flats overlooking Brighton’s Goldstone Ground back in 1973

At least Brighton don't have to take on this man! Ajax legend Johan Cruyff trains at Highbury ahead of his team's European Cup tie with Arsenal in 1972

At least Brighton don’t have to take on this man! Ajax legend Johan Cruyff trains at Highbury ahead of his team’s European Cup tie with Arsenal in 1972

IT’S ALL KICKING OFF! 

It’s All Kicking Off is an exciting new podcast from Mail Sport that promises a different take on Premier League football, launching with a preview show today and every week this season.

It is available on MailOnline, Mail+, YouTube , Apple Music and Spotify

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