Harty on... Chris Hughton and Rebels

THE year 2014 ended on a high for Albion fans everywhere, with the appointment yesterday of Chris Hughton as the new first-team manager.

Readers will know that I made no secret of the fact that I was totally underwhelmed by last summer’s appoint-ment of the previous manager, Sami Hyypia. And I continued by way of these jottings to make my feelings clear that I wanted him out at any price.

Hyypia’s departure the Monday before last was followed by perhaps the best Christmas present Albion fans could have had, with the sacking of ‘head of recruitment’ David Burke.

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I feel Burke’s tenure at the club has, in part, been extremely negative and damaging to the Albion, for no other reason than his pitiful record in player recruitment.

The appointment of Hughton puts an end to that and, for me, ticks all the boxes. A Republic of Ireland international and London born and bred, he has extensive contacts and a proven track record in the Championship. He won it with Newcastle and got to the play-offs with Birmingham.

An amazing win at Fulham on Monday night lifted Albion out of the relegation zone.

With a decent budget and the manager over-seeing upcoming transfer window activity, 2015 is a much brighter prospect for Albion supporters, both in Sussex and around the globe.

n Unfortunately, due to a nasty case of man flu (still in the World Health organisation’s top ten illnesses), I missed the Worthing versus Burgess Hill Ryman League derby on Saturday.

Taking out the result, which I’m sure Adam Hinshelwood and his team will learn much from and despite serious financial issues, there are still many encouraging signs emanating from Woodside Road.

While the management team of Adam, Jon Meeney and Mick Fogden must take a lot of the credit for working in extremely difficult circumstances, I also think a number of other names should also get mentioned in despatches.

On Saturday, five of the starting line-up, along with two subs, were direct products of the Rebels youth team and were all under the age of 21.

That all comes directly from what Chris White put in place nearly four years ago and the hard work and determination of Wayne Wren, Steve Hoare, Tony Pendolino and Calvin Buckland in the youth team set-up, along with the tireless admin work of Roger Johnson.

Worthing FC will get through these bad times but it will be made easier if the local footballing public get behind them, week in, week out.

On Saturday, there were nearly 500 at the game. Hopefully, with the Albion away to Brentford, there will be another decent crowd this Saturday, for the visit of East Grinstead (3pm kick-off).

That is followed by the youth team re-starting their league campaign on Monday night at home to Horsham, with a 7.45pm kick-off.

A variation on a theme perhaps, but ‘use it or lose it’.

n And, finally, a happy new year to all of the readers, hopefully sporting-wise locally in 2015 will be infinitely better than 2014.