Harty on... the Albion, Rebels Youth and Raiders

YOU could almost say that the Albion are as unpredictable as the late, great, Oliver Reed.

Brighton v Ipswich. Picture by Angela Brinkhurst
Brighton v Ipswich. Picture by Angela Brinkhurst

There were dire back-to-back home defeats, followed by two draws in the north of England, before taking on champions-elect Leicester City in their own back yard and thrashing them 4-1.

This does put an almost fragile and still, in my opinion, unlikely play-off challenge back on track because, having followed the Albion for in excess of 40 years, the aforementioned unpredictability is lurking.

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On paper, you could argue that of the five Albion games left, all of them are winnable.

Charlton, Blackpool and Yeovil at home, and a visit to Huddersfield, before finally finishing off the league campaign with a trip to Nottingham Forest.

Leicester City are head and shoulders above any other team in the Championship, yet, over 180 minutes against the Albion, they have shipped seven goals and surrendered all six points.

So, if Oscar Garcia’s men can do it, not once, but twice, against the best team in the league, why the classic inconsistency elsewhere in the division?

Answers on a postcard please, because I’m still baffled by it all.

I have to admit that, going into what turned out to be a bore draw against Barnsley, I still wasn’t convinced that Garcia was the long-term answer to the Albion’s on-going progress.

Then came Tuesday, and all of us, as Albion fans, the eternal optimism rears its head.

It was 23 years ago that the Albion became, up to that moment, the team with the worst record over 46 games to get into the play-offs. A fact re-iterated several times on the Millwall clubline after we knocked the Lions out on a memorable night at The Den.

Nearly a quarter of a century later, while the Albion’s record reads better than back then, from not being convinced in any way shape or form a week ago, the football fanatic inside me finds myself looking up rivals’ fixtures in the small hours, much to the amusement of the commander-in-chief.

Harold Wilson was right, a week is a long time, in both politics and football.

Worthing Youth had their Ryman League Cup semi-final last night and there’s a full report on the website.

Many thanks to Geoff Raynsford, of 5 Rings Telecom, Carl Hancorn, of Kardinal Care, and Jeremy Silverthorne, ace jeweller, for their kind matchday sponsorship and continued support, among others, for the boys.

Courtesy of Mike Sheil, at the George & Dragon, I visited Roundstone Lane on Saturday for the usual eclectic mix of good food, great company and some exciting rugby.

Despite Worthing’s league defeat to Blaydon, which almost certainly means relegation for the Raiders, the glass is still very much half full at Worthing RFC.

Regardless of whether they are demoted this season, it’s still a very vibrant club, with a positive outlook. Barring a series of ‘Devon Loch’ collapses from other clubs in the league, they will go down but I’m sure they will come back from this set-back.

Regrouping in the lower division and maintaining the strong fanbase they have cultivated will mean when they do get promoted again, hopefully next season, the lessons learned from this campaign will make the whole club stronger as a unit.