Harty on the Albion, Hyypia and boxing

DESPITE the initial euphoria of debutant Darren Bent’s opener on Saturday, two replies from visitors Fulham had me leaving the Amex on Saturday feeling extremely deflated.

Darren Bent celebrates scoring against Fulham. Picture by Angela Brinkhurst
Darren Bent celebrates scoring against Fulham. Picture by Angela Brinkhurst

Listening to the BBC Sussex fans’ phone-in on the way back, I’m clearly not alone and, with the apparent ostrich-like behaviour of the club hierarchy, I can’t work out the club rationale over the whole situation.

Unless something drastic happens, it appears the Albion are all but sleep walking into League One.

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There were questionable tactics and substitutions by Sami Hyypia or, in one case, lack of them. If you’re chasing a game which is, in effect, a relegation six-pointer and you have a striker, Sam Baldock, on the bench that it was rumoured you have paid £2million for, why not bring him on?

But it’s not the tactics, the substitutions or even the uninspiring radio interview after that’s the real question. I really do wonder about the whole manager recruitment policy back in the summer.

Yes, as we all know Hyypia arrived at the Amex with an impressive playing CV but his managerial credentials, specifically his previous appointment at Bayer Leverkusen, was anything but impressive.

I’m struggling to see what the club saw in Hyypia that, six months on, the rest of us can’t?

Given what’s at stake here, and with Paul Barber’s ambitious ‘Premier League Ready’ plans, the current situation cannot go on. As previously stated in this column, I don’t like seeing anyone out of work but I’d rather see Hyypia unemployed fairly soon than the Albion go down.

And, as encouraging as high-profile loan players are, coming to the Amex, does it merely paper over the cracks, which will almost certainly reappear after they’ve returned to their parent club?

In short, the club have seriously made a mistake with this manager. If they leave it too late in acting to rectify this situation, it could be too late to salvage anything from this season for the Albion.

And that could yet prove to be the biggest set-back the club has had, since losing the Goldstone Ground almost 20 years ago.

So, at least after the Fulham debacle and after partially drowning my sorrows in the hostelries of Broadwater, I had a night of top-class boxing to enjoy.

It was a somewhat late night, as Frank Warren’s Excel Arena promotion went on well into the wee hours and, at the end of it all, there was almost a feeling of an anti-climax.

Chris Eubank Junior fought a great six round fight, the only problem being his opponent, Billy Joe Saunders, boxed for all 12 rounds of their contest.

Despite his first defeat, I’m sure Chris Junior will return a better fighter, having learned from the experience.

And Tyson Fury probably would have got a better contest from Derek Acorah, rather than Chisora.

Did I regret not buying a ticket for the event as I climbed the golden stairs at Chez Hart on Saturday night shortly after 1am? Not a bit of it.