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Withdean's Greatest XI Vote - Strikers

With the end in sight for Brighton and Hove Albion's time at Withdean Stadium, we've decided to put together a poll for the Greatest XI to pull on the stripes during our 12 year stay - with this weeks vote being for the two centre forward slots.

Strikers. They score the goals. They take the glory. And they are arguably the most important commodity in a successful football team.

When it comes to naming the Albion's Greatest Withdean XI, it is fair to say that one of the strikers spots is all but guaranteed - a certain Mr Bobby Zamora. But we've had some great other forwards down the years, from Leon Knight to the other 20-goal man Glenn Murray.

This shortlist has been particularly hard to produce, so much like the Grand National we've gone for a massive field of fourteen from which you can select your TWO best strikers to pull on the stripes at the Theatre of Trees with only one thing guaranteed - the likelihood is that one of them will be partnering Bobby Z!

Please remember you can vote for the TWO strikers you thought were the best to play for the club at Withdean.

Gary Hart 1999-, 372 appearances, 45 goals
Gary Hart makes his third entry into the polls with the position where his Albion career began - centre forward. His pace made him a dangerous player up-front and he was an ideal foil for his first Withdean striker partner Darren Freeman before he got moved into his more customary position of right midfield. Hart always viewed himself as a centre forward, and he played a key role when he got the chance to move back into attack alongside Lloyd Owusu, setting up many of the big mans goals as the Albion secured an unlikely escape from the drop in 2009 thanks in part to their partnership. Hart will quite rightly go down as an Albion legend.
Darren Freeman 1999-2001, 54 appearances, 12 goals
Freeman made an instant impact after joining his home town club in the summer of 1999, scoring a hat-trick on his debut against Mansfield as the Albion celebrated their first game at Withdean with a 6-0 victory. He finished the season as top scorer with 12 goals, including scoring the first professional goal in English football of the 21st century with his strike in a 4-2 win over Exeter on New Years Day 2000. A spate of hernia problems restricted his involvement the following season before he was forced to retire in 2001 at the age of only 28, leaving fans to question just what he could have offered the club in the prime of his career.
Bobby Zamora 2000-2003, 119 appearances, 82 goals
Zamora netted six goals in six loan games from Bristol Rovers in 2000, prompting Micky Adams to splash out £100,000. What followed was two seasons in which he broke the 30 goal mark, firing the Albion to consecutive championships in Division Three and Two. An injury plagued final season saw him still manage to net 15 times despite relegation from Division One, after which he moved onto Tottenham Hotspur for £1.5m. Zamora's goals ranged from tap in's to unbelievable strikes to cheeky scoops from 30 yards. Since leaving he has established himself in the Premier League, played in FA Cup and Europa League Finals and represented England.
Adam Virgo 2001-2005, 2008-2010, 134 appearances, 13 goals
Just like Gary Hart, Adam Virgo makes his third appearance in the polls as a centre forward. A result of one of one Mark McGhee's more bizarre out of position experiments, with Albion struggling for goals following their promotion to the Championship in 2004, right back Virgo was deployed as a target man. It worked as his first two games up front yielded the clubs first two wins in the division, and he went onto finish the season top goal scorer, in the process earning a £1.5m move to Scottish giants Celtic. Virgo returned to the club in 2008 and although used predominately as a defender from then onwards, he still had the odd forray up front.
Leon Knight 2003-2006, 106 appearances, 30 goals
Arriving on-loan from Chelsea as Zamora's replacement, Leon Knight had soon done enough to secure a permanent move to the Albion for around £100,000. Despite being only 5'4 and having what could best be described as a questionable attitude, Knight netted 23 goals in his first season - one of only three players to break the 20-goal-a-season mark at Withdean - including the penalty that won the Division Two play-off final against Bristol City to earn promotion to the Championship. Knight struggled for goals at the higher level, although he was not helped by manager Mark McGhee playing him out wide, and he was eventually sold to Swansea in 2006.
Jake Robinson 2003-2009, 123 appearances, 13 goals
A rare forward product of the Albion youth system, Robinson became the clubs youngest ever scorer when he netted against Forest Green Rovers in the LDV Vans Trophy in 2003 at the age of 16. Despite possessing obvious talent, he had to wait until the 2006-07 season to become a first team regular under former youth team boss Dean Wilkins, during which he underwent arguably his best career form, netting two hat-tricks in the space of a fortnight away at Huddersfield and home to Northwich Victoria in the FA Cup. Lacking consistency, he found himself drifting from striker to winger, and a series of discipline issues eventually lead to his release in 2009.
Chris Iwelumo 2004, 10 appearances, 4 goals
Iwelumo arrived on-loan from Stoke as the Albion looked to gain promotion through the the Division Two play-offs and the big Scot had a huge part in helping the club to succeed in their aim. He scored a magnificent 25-yarder on his debut away at Chesterfield, adding another 3 goals in a further 7 appearances. With his height and aerial ability causing all manner of problems for opposition defences, he was the perfect foil for little Leon Knight as the two struck up a dream partnership, with Iwelumo earning the penalty that allowed the Albion to win promotion in the play-off final. He turned down a permanent move to Withdean that summer, moving to Aachen in Germany.
Colin Kazim-Richards 2005-2006, 33 appearances, 6 goals
Kāzım Kāzım, as he is now known, arrived at Withdean from Bury following Albion fan Aaron Berry winning the Coca Cola "Buy a player" competition. A player with undoubted talent, he finished his one and only season with the club as top scorer as the Seagulls ended up being relegated from the Championship with virtually all of his goals being out of the wonder goal handbook. Despite his ability, questions arose surrounding his attitude which eventually lead to a transfer request being submitted after he began the 2006-07 season on the bench with moves to Sheffield United and Fenerbache following, ultimately leading to Turkish international.
Alex Revell 2006-2008, 59 appearances, 13 goals
Arriving from non-league Braintree for £8000 in the summer of 2006, Revell netted on his Albion debut away at Rotherham and established himself as a regular in the starting line-up for his 18 month stay at Withdean. Whilst a limited player in terms of talent, you could never doubt his commitment as he chased everything and always gave 110% in every game. His Withdean highlight was without doubt a hat-trick against AFC Bournemouth in the first game of 2007 and shortly afterwards he was sold to Southend United at the closure of the January transfer window for a fee of £150000, representing a massive return on the Seagulls investment.
Bas Savage 2007, 36 appearances, 9 goals
Bas Savage had just two career goals in 62 appearances when Dean Wilkins signed him on a free at the end of the 2007 January transfer window. By the time he had played 8 games for the Albion, he had scored 4 times and gained cult hero status for his trademark moonwalk celebration and his sheer entertainment value. Savage had the bizarre ability to bamboozle opposition players with his often clumsy style and was surprisingly effective in front of goal. His run of form at the end of 2006-07 helped keep Brighton in League One and they were firmly in the hunt of for a play-off place when his contract expired in January 2008 on which he headed to Millwall.
Nicky Forster 2007-2010, 118 appearances, 51 goals
A £75000 summer signing from Hull City in 2007, Forster took a bit of time to get going in an Albion shirt but once he did there was no looking back. He was appointed club captain following the departure of Dean Hammond in January 2008, and ended both his first and second seasons as top scorer despite suffering a set of niggling injuries. A class act, Forster was still able to show that Zamora-esque quality of mixing the easy goals with the difficult strikes and most fans were upset to see him leave following a contractual dispute in January 2010 and a falling out with Gus Poyet that lead to a loan move to Charlton before his contract expired last summer.
Glenn Murray 2008-, 115 appearances, 51 goals
Murray became one of the most expensive signings for years when Dean Wilkins signed him from Rochdale in January 2008 for £300000. He has done more than enough to justify the fee in his three years at the club so far, including ending last season as top scorer and joining Bobby Zamora and Leon Knight in the list of players who have broken the 20 goals in a season mark since we have moved to Withdean. His career-best haul this year has played a massive part in the Seagulls promotion bid as they look a different team on the occasions Gus Poyet has left the marksman on the bench, and every Albion fan will be hoping he agrees a new contract for next season.
Lloyd Owusu 2009, 14 appearances, 7 goals
With Glenn Murray and Nicky Forster out, caretaker boss Dean White bought in Lloyd Owusu on-loan from Cheltenham in a bid to ease the clubs striking worries. It was an inspired move as his seven goals in 14 games had a massive hand in ensuring that the Albion avoided the drop into League Two and without him it is probably fair to say the Seagulls would be in the bottom division right now. The big striker also became a popular figure at Withdean for his "raise the roof" goal celebration. Unfortunately, Owusu turned down Russell Slade's offer of a permanent deal in the summer of 2009 to try his luck in Australia with Adelaide United
Ashley Barnes 2010-, 36 appearances, 13 goals
Originally arriving on-loan from Plymouth Argyle last season, Barnes impressed with a couple of goals towards the end of the campaign with Glenn Murray injured that eventually persuaded Gus Poyet to pay out around £100,000 for the young forward in the summer. He has been in equally fine form this season and while missing a plethora of chances over the course of the campaign, has still hit double figures to help bear the load of his strike partners Murray and Chris Wood. Still only 21, Barnes is learning the game and should go onto top his Withdean achievements at The Amex next season as he appears to be a firm part of Poyet's plans for the club.

 

The poll closes at 3.30pm on Tuesday 26th April 2011. Let us know who you are voting for and why

 

 

 


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