Brighton fans must enjoy Alexis Mac Allister while they can as Chelsea, Tottenham, Arsenal and La Liga giants loom

Alexis Mac Allister is the first ever Brighton and Hove Albion player to win the World CupAlexis Mac Allister is the first ever Brighton and Hove Albion player to win the World Cup
Alexis Mac Allister is the first ever Brighton and Hove Albion player to win the World Cup
Ian Hart: Albion’s World Cup winner is a far cry from those bleak days back in 1997 at Shrewsbury

When Brighton took on Shrewsbury Town on December 20, 1997 at Gillingham, there were 1,917 hearty souls witnessed a dire 0-0 draw, but could any of the crowd leaving that desolate stadium five days before Christmas predict that in 24 years and 364 days time the Albion would have a World Cup winner in their roster?

I was actually there that day – not one of the 1,917 as the inhabitants of the press box don’t count towards the match attendance – but I can take an educated guess that no one coming back from Kent would have predicted that.

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But in Argentina’s Alexis Mac Allister the Albion do indeed have their first ever World Cup winner, and yet more testament to the fact of how far the club has come on since those desperate days a quarter of century ago.

But even in such unprecedented circumstances there’s an opportunity for the small minority of doom and gloom merchants to spread their bad tidings.

“He’ll be off at the first chance” or “Potter will come calling once the transfer window opens”

To be fair, all fairly predictable. Mac Allister’s impressive showing for the World Champions has clearly to a degree put him in the ‘shop window’, but as supporters let’s just all enjoy the moment, a moment so unlikely in the dark days of the late 1990’s… anyone suggesting it could have been possibly locked up for their own good.

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I’ve no doubt Alexis will attract interest not only from one of the Big Seven in the EPL, but also the leading lights in Serie A and La Liga, but that’s why you have players under contract, and Mac Allister’s currently runs until 2025.

So what is the going rate for the young midfielder in the Argentinian starting line up? Probably a lot more than it was when Aston Villa recorded their fortunate away win at the Amex on November 13?

But we all need to expunge those thoughts from our minds, and like I’m sure Alexis is doing back in the ‘old country’ just enjoy the moment.

I do hope when he does return to the Amex, possibly as early as the game against Arsenal on New Years Eve, the club and its fans give our very own World Cup winner a fitting ‘welcome home’

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Before that it’s a trip to Southampton on Boxing Day for the resumption of the EPL, clearly the post Christmas programme has never taken on such a different angle before, but I take Albion to hit the ground running and win the M27 Derby 2-0.

There is no doubt that with the Amex, the fanbase, the current squad complete with our very own World Cup winner, Brighton are now the biggest club on the South Coast by some distance, and will remain so for the foreseeable future. A far cry from those wretched trips to Kent 25 years ago.

A wonderful feeling for everyone connected with the club, and it only leaves me to sign off for 2022 by wishing all the readers a very Merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous new year. See you all in 2023.