Harty on Liam Bridcutt, the Ashes and Rebels

LIAM Bridcutt’s written transfer request to the Albion on Tuesday morning wasn’t exactly earth-shattering news, as it was probably the worst kept secret in and around the club since Gus Poyet took over at Sunderland.

As a fan myself, I can understand that some fans are upset at the news, but talk of branding Bridcutt as a Judas figure is a little bit wide of the mark.

Yes, he’s had his head turned, almost certainly by former fans’ hero Poyet, but in the 113-year history of the club, he’s not the first and I doubt he will be the last.

It’s part and parcel of football, whether or not the grass will turn out to be greener at the Stadium of Light remains to be seen?

Neutral observers might raise an eyebrow at the player swapping a promotion challenge for a relegation fight but, then again, putting himself in the Premier League ‘shop window’ might put him in line for another move if Sunderland go down.

He cost us nothing and, hopefully, with some hard bargaining from Messrs Bloom and Garcia, Poyet will have to pay £3million to get the player to move north. Whichever way you look at it, with a possible replacement in Rohan Ince at the club, that represents extremely good business in under three years.

Will we miss him?

Almost certainly yes, but only in the same way we missed Mark Lawrenson, Peter Ward and Bobby Zamora when they left the club in big money moves.

History shows us no one is bigger than the club, not the three aforementioned players, Mike Bamber or Dick Knight.

Keeping a player who doesn’t want to be here, however good he’s perceived to be, is counterproductive, so Bridcutt will leave, hopefully with our good wishes, the Albion will bank a nice big cheque and, hopefully, use it on bringing in another great young prospect.

It’s hard to comprehend that, back in November, a 5-0 Ashes whitewash by the Australians was 66-1, and with parts of the colony apparently being awash with Asian Gentlemen, with a penchant for betting syndicates, rumours of a fix were always going to surface.

Fear not, though, Ashes cricket is not corrupt, England were just rubbish, and against only an above average but competent Aussie team.

That’s not taking anything away from Michael Clarke and his team, but there were several points throughout the five-match series when had England had anything about them, a different result might have been more than a possibility.

With the Ashes series currently all but holding up Test cricket when it comes to TV deals and sponsorship, England get a chance to win the urn back in just under 18 months.

But with management and star players already embarking on a very public, and ultimately damaging spat, it’s going to take a transformation right up there with Clark Kent in a phonebox to have any chance of restoring some pride and credibility to English cricket.

And, finally, two games at Woodside next week well worth a look.

On Monday, the youth team start their 2014 programme (eventually) with a league game against Eastbourne Town (7.45pm kick off).

Then, on Wednesday, it’s Senior Cup action for the first team with Newhaven, managed by the ex-Woodside management team, the visitors, again a 7.45pm kick-off.