Harty on . . . Albion’s unbeaten run ending and Rebels

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AS unpleasant as any defeat is, come the end of the season I actually think the Albion will be able to take far more positives than negatives out of Saturday’s 3-0 home defeat to Middlesbrough.

The unbeaten run was always going to come to an end, so if it turns out to be to the eventual, and potentially runaway champions, then that’s some kind of consolation.

Ultimately for me, Saturday’s defeat showed a number of chinks in the armour and, in my opinion, could yet be a watershed moment in the Albion’s history.

I think, with the correct investment in the January transfer window, we can go up, and that’s the whole crux. Tony Bloom makes his money by gambling and this probably represents one of the biggest gambles of his career.

If it works, the Albion will find themselves in the top flight, where I believe they will stay up, stabilise and become a mid-table side. Then that’s where they have to get the next part right, because that’s exactly what Charlton and Fulham did for a few seasons before it went horrendously wrong.

If we replicate the first bit and avoid the second, we will have cracked it. But we’ve got get up first so, hopefully, an exciting transfer window beckons?

On the subject of change, it was quite ironic that Worthing found themselves entertaining Guernsey the other week. As a director, it was my first meeting with the directors of the Channel Islanders since that fateful day in 2013.

Any worries or concerns I might have had were soon alleviated and it was as if nothing had happened, the events were mentioned but, bizarrely, in a positive way.

There is no doubt that if the events at Guernsey hadn’t happened, I’m not sure where the club would be now, possibly even defunct. What happened on that flight ignited positive changes at the club, which have ended up two years later with George Dowell now running a club light years away from where it was on that day.

When the new board of George, Calvin Buckland, Harry Shiel and myself took control in April, we knew there was a gargantuan task ahead. To have stopped the Rebels going to the wall on at leat two previous occasions, Morty Hollis deserved a knighthood rather than the life presidency but the time for change had come.

Having both George and Calvin full-time at the club, running in tandem with the very successful Worthing Football Centre, is the key.

Certain goals were set and, at present, they are very much on track. A young management team getting the side playing attractive foot-ball, not just at first-team level but right throughout the club.

The crowds are up, the recent youth team attendance of 1,154 was the second largest in the whole of the FA Youth Cup third round and, even more significantly, included former regulars who had become disaffected with the previous goings on. In turn, with a new transparency and the knock-on of restored confidence and feel-good factor, the sponsors have also returned, headed by Greg Blurton’s Rabbit Group and his five-figure three-year shirt sponsorship.

Along with crowds, it appears that the smiles have returned to Woodside Road and Sunday sees another innovation, with the switching of the Boxing Day game to 24 hours later.

I firmly believe, despite the contrary from some detractors, that we will see the biggest league crowd of the season, with the added charity aspect, raising money for a cause very close to many of us.

So that’s it, no more for 2015, I’m off next week, so it just leaves me to thank you all for reading each week and I hope you all have a very merry Christmas and a happy new year. See you in 2016.

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