Brighton’s season isn’t over – we may even go unbeaten at home to Manchester City, Aston Villa, Chelsea and Manchester United

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While all the Albion’s critics and detractors will be almost salivating at the apparent dip in the Seagulls’ fortunes at the end of what has been a landmark season, saying it is ‘petering out’ is a little wide of the mark.

It’s simply not in RDZ’s vocabulary, and with six games left, including trips to Bournemouth and Newcastle, it’s the four remaining homes games that still, despite the injury crisis, the various frustrations and disappointments, really whet the appetite.

Manchester City, Aston Villa, Chelsea and Manchester United, four Amex encounters in the greatest league on the planet and reiterating the Albion’s continued place at domestic football’s top table.

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The aforementioned detractors will no doubt be predicting four straight defeats, no points out of a possible 12, but think again. I know the Harty weekly Albion prediction went by the wayside by way of its obvious predictability, but the Albion will win at least one, maybe two of these games, and don’t rule out them remaining undefeated in all four.

Roberto De Zerbi and Pep Guardiola go head to head at the Amex next week | Getty ImagesRoberto De Zerbi and Pep Guardiola go head to head at the Amex next week | Getty Images
Roberto De Zerbi and Pep Guardiola go head to head at the Amex next week | Getty Images

But with the Albion having a weekend off due to Manchester City’s FA Cup involvement, locally attention turns to Woodside Road, Worthing, where the Rebels’ final National League South home game against Weston-Super-Mare, is mouthwateringly poised, with a home win guaranteeing Worthing a lucrative home semi-final in the play-offs a week on Sunday.

As for the Albion, it’s been a truly momentous season for Worthing, and with no Albion game a bumper crowd is expected at Woodside Road.

But there’s a million dollar question doing the rounds of the Worthing footballing public: Is it too early for Worthing to go up to the National League? But I would also ask – is there ever a right time?

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Like many footballing quandaries, it’s full on wrestling match between the heart and the head. Whilst effectively only one promotion away, in reality the National League Premier is a completely different ball game both on the pitch and – financially – off of it.

The first hurdle, so to speak, would be the transition from part time to full time, which as Eastbourne Borough have proved is a potential minefield.

A person far better versed than me in all things non-league recently told me that according to Companies House, two seasons ago the minimum annual loss for any club in the top division of non-league was £90,000, and that’s a hell of a jump from Worthing’s current cost of operations. And that’s two years ago – prices haven’t exactly gone down since!

Worthing have a fanbase the envy of many across non-league football, which will continue to grow.

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A move away from Woodside Road is unlikely given the complexities of the ownership of the freehold, so the existing ground will clearly need further development.

Obviously you can’t look a gifthorse in the mouth, so if they were to win the play-offs, they’d need to tackle the challenge ahead of them full-on. On the flip side, it’s also a marathon not a sprint.

So let’s embrace the next couple of weeks, while acknowledging that ultimately promotion in 12 months, even 24 months, could be better for the long-term future of the club. But in the meantime, as many of you who can, get down to Woodside Road on Saturday, and then, hopefully, Sunday week.

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