Harty on Adam El-Abd leaving the Albion

ANOTHER landmark in the Albion’s club history ended last week when Adam El-Abd left the Amex for Bristol City after 11 years service to the club.

Personally, I was sorry to see the player leave. I’ve always been a fan of his robust style and off the field he was a thoroughly nice person and a credit to both himself and the club. But, ultimately, he needs regular football and clearly, in the eyes of the management, he was that far down the pecking order that a move away from Brighton was the only sensible option.

And, although now departed, I sincerely hope that there is some kind of agreement in place for him to have a testimonial at the start of next season, to mark his long and loyal service to the club?

With his exit after 300 league appearances for the Seagulls, I do seriously wonder if he will be the last player to achieve this feat? The likes of Norman Gall, Brian Powney, Graham Moseley, Perry Digweed, Kerry Mayo, Gary Hart and Michel Kuipers, who all received benefit matches at the club, are very much part of football’s past.

Because of the Bosman ruling and freedom of contract, along with the fact that most managers have a job expectancy of no more than three years, I think it will be very rare for a player to remain at any club to play that amount of games over a decade.

Looking at the team that will line-up at Port Vale on Saturday, how many will still be with the club in 2024?

You could argue the likes of Jake Forster-Caskey and Solly March are young enough, but it depends how you do as a club in the next 10 years.

I’m sure that, in that time, we will have at least flirted with the Premier League. My hope is that we actually stay there, so then the aforementioned players would have had to have carved out a successful career as proven players at the highest level. I’m not saying they can’t but, at this stage of their careers, it’s some prediction.

That is why, in some ways, El-Abd’s departure was a sad day for the club. Things change, that’s part of life, but something about our club might never be the same again.

As I said, I was lucky enough to have met him off the field and he was Brighton through and through. Good luck Adam and we hope to see you back at the Amex for the recognition you so richly deserve.

The number of ‘diehard’ fans I’ve spoken to this week who aren’t making the trip to the Potteries this weekend for the FA Cup clash with Port Vale makes me wonder if we are still waiting for a mass outbreak of cup fever.

With the Albion’s season very much at a pivotal point, qualification for the fifth round of the greatest cup competition in the world is paramount. So talk of Oscar Garcia putting out a weakened side is, hopefully, a little bit wide of the mark.

As much as I’m looking forward to seeing the legendary Micky Adams again this weekend, a great reception from the Albion fans is all he will get, as I’m going for a 2-0 Albion win.