Happy 30th to Naylor of the Argus

Eighteen managers – and that’s just the permanent ones – four home grounds, and three divisions – with the Premier League looking likely to increase the number to four in August.

Andy Naylor has seen it all as chief sports reporter of The Argus, following the fortunes of his home-town club Brighton.

Naylor, 53, recently celebrated his 30th anniversary on the paper and after Albion’s last home game, the 2-1 defeat by Newcastle, manager Chris Hughton presented him with a shirt signed by the players.

“To call it a roller-coaster journey would be an under-statement,” says Naylor, who started out covering local football and tennis and the career of Chris Eubank, before he replaced the late John Vinicombe as chief sports reporter in the mid-1990s.

FAREWELL: Brighton’s last match at the Goldstone Ground (Ross Kinnaird /Allsport)

“Since the demolition of the Goldstone and almost going out of the Football League 20 years ago, I’ve reported on three title-winning campaigns, two relegations, one promotion via the play-offs, and three failures in the play-offs.”

He adds: “As in any industry, there have been some unsavoury characters, but the good have far outweighed the bad. Sadly, my 30th anniversary coincided with the death of one of the good guys, former Brighton central defender Paul McCarthy, aged 45, from a suspected heart attack.”

Naylor admits that the “job has become progressively become more difficult in the age of the internet and clickbait.” He adds: “Simply repeating stories, unchecked, from other sources, which are often untrue, is not a form of journalism I am familiar with or want to be familiar with. I still strive to maintain my own and my newspaper’s integrity in an increasingly challenging environment.”

To call it a roller-coaster journey would be an under-statement

Brighton’s four home grounds during Naylor’s reporting careers are the Goldstone, a Gillingham groundshare, Withdean (dubbed the Theatre of Trees) and the Amex.

Those 18 ‘permanent’ managers include Micky Adams (twice), Brian Horton, Steve Coppell, Mark McGhee, Gus Poyet and Sami Hyypia. “I’m still in touch with a lot of them,” says Naylor.