Harty on managerial changes and Albion’s training ground plans

NO REAL football fan likes to see a manager lose his job, and I include Messrs Adkins and Freedman in that category, but I wonder what odds you would get on table-topping Albion getting their next two opponents’ managers the sack?

Birmingham City are first up at the Amex on Saturday teatime, straight off the back of an horrendous 5-0 home defeat against Barnsley in front of a half empty St Andrews.

If a rampant Albion give Lee Clark’s men a footballing lesson on Saturday could the likeable Geordie be the winner of the Championship sack race, now Steve Kean has appeared to stave off the axe at Blackburn for another week?

And if Clark manages to hold on to his job, might the arrival of Paul Jewell’s under-pressure Ipswich Town on Tuesday prompt more speculation about a dismissal?

Times certainly change, and clearly chairmen’s patience isn’t what is was. Go back 24 years, the Albion then back in the second division after promotion the previous season, lost their first eight league games, and two league cup ties to Southend before Barry Lloyd’s men got their first points with a home victory against Leeds United in early October.

The Albion board didn’t sack him, the club found their feet and avoided relegation and within three years Lloyd took an Albion side to within 90 minutes of promotion to the top flight. A story that probably nowadays falls on deaf ears in board rooms up and down the country.

Councillors on Adur District Council look set to give the Albion the go ahead for the club’s new training ground at Lancing, which is great news for not only the locals but the county in general.

Not only will it give the Seagulls a state-of-the-art training facility, which I hope will help propel the club forward to the Premier League, it will also help the club create a top academy for young footballers and provide a huge boost for the local area.

Local people will have the chance to use the facility, with use of two pitches and class rooms for an estimated 30 hours every week.

Meanwhile Albion will also spend more than £1.4m improving sports facilities elsewhere in the Adur district, including the installation of a floodlit all-weather pitch, possibly next to the Sussex FA headquarters at Culver Road.

On top of this, during a difficult economic period, it will see an additional GDP of £1m per year to the Lancing economy (£2m during construction phase), there’ll be opportunities for local firms to land big building contracts, and it will create 100 jobs for local people.

There is a small minority of Mash Barn residents who are opposed to the scheme, and while I appreciate some people don’t like change, the positive impact this can have on Lancing is absolutely huge.

I would also point out, that the area of land on which the training ground would be housed is sure to be developed at some point soon, and as those living next to the Goldstone Ground in 1997 will vouch, it could be much, much worse than lots of green football pitches.

And finally, on the back of their impressive County Cup win at Sidley, Worthing under-18s entertain Surrey’s Farnham Town in the second qualifying round of the FA Youth Cup at Woodside Road on Monday, 7.45pm kick off.

It’s almost 18 months since Chris White approached Wayne Wren and I to run the team, and it has been a learning curve, but days like Sunday and hopefully nights like Monday show we’re moving in the right direction.

With a great bunch of local lads playing attractive football, I hope the local footballing public come out and support us in their numbers as we try to progress towards the first round proper and the chance of a league club opponent.