Ian Hart: It has been the best and worst of times

Whilst it wasn't quite on a par with Sydney Carton climbing the steps of the guillotine but there's been a touch of 'It was the best of times, it was the worst of times' in the last two Albion games.

On Saturday a complete demolition of Reading, despite the Royals having 63% of the possession, saw the Albion return to the top of the Championship, a mouth-watering ‘starter’ before Tuesday night’s main course against second-placed Newcastle.

An electric atmosphere at the Amex with a sold out crowd, everything hopefully the Premiership will deliver, week in week week out. There’s the argument the Albion had a degree of good fortune early on with a penalty award. Was Glenn Murray fouled?

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The age old soundbite, “I’ve seen them given for less”, immediately springs to mind, arguably Murray had an even better shout for a spot kick turned down in the second half, but made no mistake putting the Albion ahead.

What ebbed and flowed after that was to my mind a real dogfight, both sides had chances but ultimately as early as 60 minutes I stated to the person sitting next to me that one goal was never going to be enough, unfortunately I was right, two late goals, one extremely lucky, by the Magpies turned the game on its head and moved the visitors back to the top of the Championship.

In the cold light of day, one game in February does not decide the season, yes it puts Newcastle in the driving seat, but with 36 points on the board still to play for, it’s not all doom and gloom for the Albion.

Without wishing to roll out the usual cliche, but it really is now a test of character.

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The Albion now have back to back away games against Forest and Rotherham respectively, where a four-point haul is a real possibility, couple that with Newcastle also being on the road, against play-off chasing Huddersfield and Reading, the Championship table could look completely different this time next week.

David Haye and Tony Bellew lock horns at the 02 this Saturday in an intriguing heavyweight contest, it a mouthwatering fight which effectively sells itself on its own, unfortunately both fighters have embarked on a hyped back story the like seen more in American professional wrestling.

(Spoiler alert) What goes on in the WWE isn’t real, they class it as ‘sports entertainment’, it clearly gets ratings and makes a number of people an awful lot of money. Some of the hysteria created by Haye/Bellew bandwagon this week, has been more akin to the time honoured antics of Hulk Hogan and the rest of the crew, at times detracting from the actual boxing match.

Promoter Eddie Hearn is constantly stirring the pot, a classic example was letting the, very noisy Liverpool Bellew supporting public, into Monday’s press conference, which resulted in Haye losing his cool and calling sections of the crowd offensive names.

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Totally out of place and not wanted in a civilised society, it will get Haye into hot water with the British Boxing Board of Control, whilst for the Ringmaster Hearn, a few more PPV purchases.

I wonder what the legendary, and much missed, Sir Henry Cooper would have made of it all?

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