Harty on the Albion, Raiders and Thunder

WELL, despite being accused of being Albion blinkered over the years, I do actually enjoy watching two teams play in a game, so even though the result wasn’t what I wanted, the game on Saturday between Albion and Saints was certainly entertaining.

The pre-match soundbites from both camps certainly gave the game a little bit more edge. I had written last week that I’d hoped that Southampton would give the champions a guard of honour on to the Withdean turf.

It didn’t happen, the real reason we’ll never know. But perhaps current Saints first-team coach Dean Wilkins’ treatment by the Albion board at the end of his reign as manager in May, 2008, might have more significance than previously credited.

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It was clearly very much a case of after the Lord Mayor’s Show so far as the Albion were concerned. A defensive error gifted them a half-time lead but when Saints finally equalised, even the most diehard Albion fan would have to admit that there was only going to be one winner.

Having said that, the Albion had done their “winning” in the previous matches and this Saturday they will receive the League One trophy as the curtain comes down on the Withdean.

With three championships and a play-off final win in a decade, does that make the Albion the most successful domestic club side outside the Premiership over the last 10 years?

Cleary, there will be a Herald-reading statto with a definitive answer, so I await confirmation.

l I am very sorry to see that Worthing Raiders coach Will Green is standing down after overseeing the most successful period in the club’s history.

The club has drastically moved forward, both on and off the field, and whoever they get to succeed him will inherit one of the most sought-after coaching jobs in the county.

l It appears that common sense has prevailed at Worthing Thunder with the decision to drop down the basketball leagues.

In the end, clearly market forces dictated the decision.

The Thunder story is a testament to re-building a club from the floor after Christian Hamilton took the now defunct Worthing Bears over to Brighton thinking he could fill the centre every other Saturday.

Back then, that didn’t work, and you really knew that Thunder were up against it with the amount of travel costs and the fact the crowds just didn’t get out to the Leisure Centre in sufficient numbers to sustain top-flight basketball.

But, perhaps the most telling aspect was the Sky TV deal.

In a time when Mr Murdoch gives some of the top football clubs in this country in excess of £30million a season, the basketball teams actually have to pay to be on the TV. With a “deal” like that, Thunder were always going to face an uphill struggle.

If they get back to familiar surroundings, with a viable level of support, I’m sure the sport will have a healthy future at the Leisure Centre.