Do not rule out automatic promotion for Albion

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After the signing of Bobby Zamora on August 3 last year I doubted the Albion would be able to surpass that on my birthday this year, 30 years and 264 months, but at the time of going to press, it looks like they will.

The reported £8million signing of Tottenham’s Alex Pritchard is both exciting and in some ways daunting. Who would have thought 21 years after the former owners of the club sold the Goldstone for just over £7million, that all these years later the club would pay out more for one player than what the old ground was worth?

It’s par for the course, Manchester United fans must have conflicting thoughts having to pay £100million for a player, Pogba, they effectively let go previously. But it confirms what we’ve probably known since the arrival at the Amex, that the Albion are now at a level never seen before by supporters, clearly chasing the Premier League dream.

After last year’s near miss, the squad travel to Derby on Saturday to start the new campaign. Without wishing to be the kiss of death, I couldn’t let this week’s column pass without my annual prediction.

I actually don’t buy into this school of thought that Newcastle are already home and hosed in the Championship before a ball has been kicked. It’s a long season with many twists and turns, I firmly believe in Chris Hughton the Albion have the best manager in the division and, subject to any last minute squad departures, I also think we have one of the best squads in the league. Therefore, if we can stay injury and suspension free, do not rule out automatic promotion, in the same way that all the massed ranks of the Albion football widows should book any holidays during the play-off times.

Staying with football, in my five years running Worthing under-18s, I was privileged to work with some great young players. Aside from the football, one of the nicest lads I managed was Ben Pope, so I’m sure I speak for everyone in the footballing community when I say I wish Ben a speedy recovery from the serious injury he sustained at the weekend.

With the Olympic farce continuing, I was buoyed at the weekend to enjoy good old traditional English sport with an exciting game of cricket on Broadwater Green bet-ween Broadwater’s 2nd XI and Goring’s 3rd XI.

Within their side Goring fielded two young ladies, Ella Waddy and Emily Marchant. No doubt the first players to play on the Green in 1771 would have raised an eyebrow but thankfully times have changed. All 22 players contributed to a great game, both ladies were viewed by the Broadwater side as opponents in the same way as the other nine Goring players, a refreshing outlook at a time when sport elsewhere is under the microscope for all the wrong reasons.

Staying on the cricketing theme, on Wednesday, Worthing CC take on the Lashings XI in a 20/20 match at the Manor Ground in aid of St Barnabas House. Within their ranks, Lashings boast some legends such as Gordon Greenidge, Tino Best, Saqlain Mushtaq and, playing as a special guest, Sussex fast bowler Tymal Mills.

General admission is by way of donation to St B’s but there are some corporate hospality tickets available at a reasonable £60 each, which includes lunch and tea in the VIP marquee, along with an auction, raffle and after dinner speech from Test Match Special’s Henry Blofeld, which is worth 60 quid on its own. The marquee bit starts at noon, with gates opening for the game at 2pm. For more details contact Tim Dunn on 07974 830781.

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