Harty on... the Albion’s FA Cup exit at Hull

HAROLD Wilson said that a week was a long time in politics – so far as the Albion and football go, it’s been like an eternity.

Having left the Amex the Monday before last in reflective mood after the draw against Hull, at the final whistle this week I felt totally deflated.

I’m old enough to know that defeat is part and parcel of the game we all love. But it’s the manner of the defeat that is the issue.

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Through my fanzine and media work over the years, I’ve been fortunate to have access to a number of Albion managers. Thankfully, for possibly my sanity and his ear drums, and on Monday night in particular, I don’t have that relationship with Oscar Garcia.

To play arguably your third choice goalkeeper in one of the biggest games in a generation is seriously questionable.

Talk of continuity and retaining the FA Cup status quo is bordering on naive, as Harry Redknapp once said “If you want loyalty, buy a dog”.

Aside from the woeful performance from Peter Brezovan, who I do not think will ever play for the club again aside from famine, plague or injury, the first half Albion performance was memorable for all the wrong reasons.

Like many others, I can’t remember a worse one for many years. Things improved in the second half but I think Hull were all but home and hosed and just going through the motions.

But it gets better. On our return to our various devices, a number of supporters receive an email from the club’s commercial department that had supporters checking the date wasn’t April 1.

Fans rightly commented on the ill-timed communication on North Stand Chat and, clearly, it struck a chord with the powers that be as an apology from a senior member of staff was posted online.

But what now for Oscar Garcia?

Clearly, the honeymoon period is well and truly over and the paying public are beginning to ask serious questions in apparent numbers.

A large number of that paying public are being asked to renew their season tickets in the not too distant future.

On a positive note, a look at the league table clearly indicates that all is not lost.

As does history, which tells us a couple of years ago Reading came from nowhere to win the league. That’s a bridge too far for the Albion, in my opinion, but playing the strongest available team, week in, week out, might still see the Albion squeeze into the final play-off spot.

The season does truly start at Millwall this Saturday.

Victory in South East London, followed by back-to-back home wins against Reading and QPR, and the Albion faithful will all truly say we will have been to ‘Hull and back’ inside a month.

On a more positive note, congratulations to Worthing’s very own Harrison Reed.

He’s enjoying life in the Premier League with Southampton and has now been called up into the England under-19 squad.

And, finally, the on-going weather has placed local football club Arundel in crisis.

Given what the club brings to the local community and the town in general, I hope the local authority, i.e. Arun District Council, will be giving Bob Marchant and everyone else at the club as much support as they can in these difficult times.