Harty on Kevin Phillips and the Albion

SATURDAY’S 2-2 draw at the Amex was not without irony as Blackpool’s two-goal hero, 38-year-old Kevin Phillips, had the chance to join the Albion this summer before he headed north.

One of Gus Poyet’s over-riding qualities is his honesty. I don’t mean that in a patronising way, but over the years I’m sure a number of managers both at the Albion and other clubs haven’t adhered to the same code.

In fact, one former well-known player once told me, he wouldn’t hang a dog on the word of . . . . . (make your own minds up).

As I understand it, the offer from the Albion to Phillips was better than the Seasiders. However, Phillips’ role at the Albion was to be that of an impact substitute, so, therefore, places in the starting XI would be limited.

No-one can blame Phillips, at 38, wanting to get as much football as possible and being Ian Holloway’s first choice at Bloomfield Road was probably going to be more attractive, and it certainly paid dividends on Saturday.

Another former club of Phillips, Sunderland, fared worse on Tuesday, as they became the first top-flight club, and certainly not the last, to lose at the Amex.

Exciting times on the field, yet very much work in progress off it.

After nearly 40 years of supporting the club, with the advent of the new stadium I decided with a couple of friends to join the 1901 club, which offers corporate facilities to fans on a match day.

I had previously been a member of the Executive Club at the Goldstone with my old mukka Pete Kennard. That was almost like Arthur Daley’s Winchester club with a football match thrown in, and I did a few special days out at Withdean, so the 1901 facility is light years from anything we’d been used to at Brighton.

Let’s not dress it up. It’s not cheap, but after a hard week at work, providing the commander in chief, and her various counterparts, have got enough housekeeping money, we’re all entitled to a bit of pampering at the Albion.

Sadly, as things stand at the moment, I think a number of 1901 members are somewhat disappointed.

For a start, the speed of the bar staff makes the Pakistani over-rate look acceptable, and it was all compounded by events on Tuesday.

Closing bars on a whim, quoting non-existent and incorrect licensing laws, and I know because my mate Pete Mott, who sits next to me at the Amex, is one of Worthing’s most experienced and successful licensees, will ultimately alienate you with your customers – the customers who, you hope, will re-new next season and for many seasons after.

Perhaps we should have made more noise because over in the West Stand, in the Profile Lounge, the bars re-opened 20 minutes after the final whistle after a “heated debate” between staff and punters.

It’s very frustrating because the football on the field is top-class, but some of the service off it is anything but.