Harty on . . . Worthing FC’s new era and Brad House

ON TUESDAY evening at 7.30pm, Worthing Football Club will kick off a new era at Woodside Road, with the opening fixture on the 3G pitch against Northampton Town.

First for sports news
First for sports news

While the excitement builds about the new state-of-the-art surface, it doesn’t even scratch the surface of the journey the whole club has made under new owner George Dowell.

Quite simply, six months ago the club was going to the wall.

Despite some monumental ‘firefighting’ over the years by Morty Hollis and others, specifically in the last 12 months by John Whyte and Alistair McKail, the Rebels would probably have packed up before last season finished, with the indignity of having their record expunged on the league table, for the first time ever in 129 years.

Thankfully, when the balloon went up back in December, George, who had previously been talking about another 3G site elsewhere in the borough, came to the fore.

I would urge anyone with any interest in Worthing Football Club, or in the beautiful game in general, to come down to Woodside on Tuesday night to witness the transformation the club has undergone – both on and off the field.

But, while we all look forward, the past mustn’t be forgotten. Morty Hollis’s contribution to the club over half a century has seen him recognised with the life presidency role, as he is stepping down as a director.

Credit must also go to his daughter, Debs, who helped steer the ship through some very choppy waters, along with former chairman Lee Noakes and ex-director Julian Church who worked hard on, not only keeping things going, but with the original 3G planning application, which has resulted in the new pitch at Worthing.

With a new, vibrant, young management team of Jon Meeney and Gary Elphick, who are assembling an exciting young squad, the good times are set to return to Woodside Road, along, hopefully, with the crowds.

And, finally, that old adage about a set-back being merely a set-up for a comeback comes to the fore yet again.

Former Chatsmore Catholic High School pupil, Brad House, has signed a two-year deal with Premier League side West Bromwich Albion, after being released at the end of last season by Arsenal.

As disappointing as rejection is, Brad didn’t let it get him down and spoke to a couple of clubs before being invited up to the Hawthorns by Tony Pulis and clearly impressed him enough to be offered a deal.

It’s another classic example of how it is a game of opinions but how many young British players actually come through the Arsenal ranks nowadays?

And how many Gunners fans would like to see more?

It’s not just Arsenal, Manchester United in their time rejected David Platt, Robbie Savage and Peter Beardsley, while the Albion showed Ian Wright the door, and, many years ago, Coventry boss Jimmy Hill told Kevin Keegan he was too small to be a footballer.

To reiterate, it’s all about opinions, but it’s also about bouncing back, so good luck in the Midlands, Brad.

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