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Brighton's Best Beards

Beards are a dying art form. Long gone are the days when footballers would grow ragged facial hair, looking like true warriors on the pitch. They've become another victim of the clean-cut, media savvy game that football has become in the 21st Century with the sort of mane that Steve Foster used to sport consigned to history.

The death of Albion's FA Cup Final captain Tony Grealish was met with great sadness at WeAreBrighton.com. Not only was Tony a great player and captain, but he also had a great beard. This lead us to ask, which players had the best fully grown facial hair in the history of Brighton and Hove Albion?

After trawling through the archives, this is the result - the top ten of Brighton's Best Beards.

1) Tony Grealish
1981-1984, 121 appearances 8 goals

One of only three men to lead the club out at Wembley and the only Albion player to have captained his country. A holding midfielder, he was only 26 for the Cup Final yet his beard, light brown or sometimes even ginger in appearance, was so bushy and developed he looked well into his 30s.
2) Steve Foster
1979-1984 & 1992-1996, 332 appearances
15 goals
More famous for his white headband than his beard, he was a mainstay of Brighton's Division One defence before returning in less happy times when he listed the highlight of his time at the Goldstone as seeing David Bellotti chased from the Directors Box. His beard was jet black, big and menacing.
3) Martin Chivers
1979-1980, 6 appearances 1 goal

Scored 13 times in 24 appearances for England and arrived at the Goldstone for a six game spell at the age of 33 in March 1979 to help maintain the Division Two promotion bid in the absence of the suspended Teddy Maybank. His ginger beard was curly like his hair leaving a startling resemblance to actor Seth Rogen.
4) Mick Ferguson
1984-1986, 21 appearances 7 goals

Big things were expected of the target man when he arrived at the Goldstone in 1984 but he failed to live up to expectations, with five of his goals coming in seven games and a largely anonymous time of it otherwise. This was more than made up for by a bushy beard featuring a thin moustache with a massive wrap around.
5) Inigo Calderon
2010-, 122 appearances 12 goals

The only modern day player to make the list, he bought the welcome return of the beard to the Albion when signed in January 2010. Since then, his facial hair has matched his swashbuckling play from right back with the under chin piece and moustache accompanied by stumble around the sides to complete the Jesus look.
6) Kit Napier
1966-1972, 291 Appearances 99 goal
s
Fourth on the all time scorers list, the Scottish forward was a skillful ball player who has a big favourite during his six year spell at the Goldstone, scoring at least ten goals a season Despite wild hair that fanned out at the sides, he kept a finely trimmed beard, sometimes even dabbling with the moustached look.
7) Chris Ramsey
1980-1984, 37 appearances 0 goals

Hard tackling full back who was sent off five times in 37 games for the Albion and a member of the side who reached the FA Cup Final. Reckless on the pitch, he was far from it when it came to a beard that had such wild growth that it spanned his entire cheek bones.
8) Paul Clark
1977-1982, 93 appearances 9 goals

"Tank" was known for his bone crunching tackles, fierce shooting and a swashbuckling style in either defence or midfield during the Albion rise to the top flight. A rarity in the list in that his beard was straw coloured, he also combined it with a moustache and country western sideburns to great effect.
9) Mark Lawrenson
1977-1981, 177 appearances 81 goals

Remains one of the best players ever to pull on the Brighton shirt, he helped the club into Division One before leaving for Liverpool for 900,000 where he won every trophy going. Although more famous for having a moustache, he often went the whole hog, sporting a dashing dark beard with a small soul patch under the chin.
10) Brian Horton
1976-1981, 252 appearances 41 goals

Captain during the clubs most successful period as we climbed into Division One for the first time. A popular player who popped up with plenty of goals from midfield, he sported a goatee style beard with a stubble accompaniment which, when combined with a combover, produced a startling effect.