Harty on Dick Knight’s ‘Mad Man’ book

GIVEN what’s gone on since that day in 1996 and Liam Brady stood in Hove Park with his newly-formed consortium, there was never going to be any grey area when it came to Dick Knight’s book.

Dick Knight
Dick Knight

Since my copy arrived in the post from the publishers on Saturday, every spare minute I’ve had, sadly not as much as I’d like, I haven’t been able to put it down.

It is a must for Albion fans everywhere, and, hopefully, will appear in many a Christmas stocking in a month or so.

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Having had my mentions in the missal flagged up, I apparently upset Dick on Saturday morning with a post on North Stand Chat, regarding my take on how the former chairman had recounted the episode of Micky Adams’s departure from the club in 2009.

Life’s full of knee-jerk reactions and, perhaps in hindsight, a wonderful thing, I might have chosen my words differently at the weekend.

So, for that, Dick I apologise. However, I’m still of the opinion that Dick’s recollection of events is different to how I remember them and how others involved recall them. Then again, that’s the wonderful thing about life, we all see things differently.

As for the club, I don’t think they see things in the same way. Clearly, Dick’s views were never going to be universally endorsed and while the ensuing “dirty linen washing” is mildly entertaining, I do wonder if some wounds are being opened that will never heal?

And to be fair, having read the book now almost entirely from cover to cover, there is apparently, in my opinion, one glaring omission, which highlights how bad relations had become. But, ultimately, if it had been revealed, it might have changed some people’s perspective over the whole matter.

At present, from the people I’ve spoken to, it’s almost 50-50. There is a groundswell of support for Dick, tempered by the view in some quarters of why he even considered writing the book.

His intention to sell his shares on to, in his words, real Albion fans, i.e, you have to buy the book and fill in a form, has gone down like a lead balloon at the club. However, despite hacking him off as I didn’t pay for my copy, I will be applying to buy a set amount of shares to cover the cost of a copy. Whether my application is successful remains to be seen, but I think Derek Chapman’s spin on the whole issue earlier this week might take some of the heat off me!

The most telling statement by Mr Chapman was “Dick saved the club in 1997 but Tony Bloom saved it again in 2005”, I know as much as that is almost a dagger in Dick’s heart and almost contradicts sections of the book, it is a hard fact.

The acid test is for people to buy the book and read it, despite my aforementioned reservation over the one specific issue, that’s what I would recommend.

Despite our latest spat, and we’ve had a few, Dick Knight is still someone I would want on my side in a crisis, because when I found myself in that situation, he was.

“Mad Man: From the gutter to the stars” – The Ad Man who saved Brighton – is published by Vision Sports Publishing and is available from all good book shops, priced £20, or buy online at www.visionsp.co.uk