Harty on putting things into perspective

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PUTTING things into perspective – a 3-1 home defeat to Newport County in the League Cup is not ideal.

Then again, it’s not the first time the Albion have fallen to lesser opposition at this stage of the competition, they did it at Swindon last year.

With 24,000 season ticket holders, it’s clear the competition isn’t exactly high on the Albion’s fans’ list of priorities with, allowing for the contingent from South Wales, under 8,000 home supporters attending the game.

We’ve come back from worse and, unbelievably, I heard mutterings at the Amex about Oscar Garcia, who no doubt will put out his strongest available team against Derby on Saturday and three points and a move up the Championship table will make Tuesday night’s debacle a dim and distant memory.

An old cliché, I know, but it is only a game, something re-iterated by events off the field last week.

Sadly, in the space of 12 hours last Tuesday evening/Wednesday morning, the local footballing community lost two very special people, two individuals I was privileged to call friends.

On Tuesday evening, Phil Everest finally lost his brave fight. As I said, I was fortunate to count Phil as a friend. Not just in football, but in life, Phil was one of the most genuine and supportive people I have ever met.

With his own setbacks in life, something he never moaned or even referred to, he was an inspiration to everyone he ever came into contact with.

I recall the time he took me to watch his beloved Arsenal at the Emirates against Blackburn, an awful goalless draw (sorry, Phil), and given the content of the car journey both to and from North London, I would have willingly exchanged the 90 minutes ‘football’ to listen to Phil waxing lyrical about the state of both The Gunners and football in general.

Sadly, the following morning, as reported elsewhere in this newspaper, my friend Roy Chuter tragically passed away.

Like Phil, Roy was another unique and likeable character, his wordsmith skills make me look like a graffiti artist, and I’m sure if he’d had the breaks, he could have ended up writing in the nationals.

Roy, who at one time was Albion programme editor, was pivotal in the fight to save the Albion from the mid 1990s and his reply to the club solicitors after they fired a warning shot over something he wrote in Gulls Eye is the stuff of legend.

With the original letter containing a plethora of grammatical and spelling errors, Roy’s opening gambit to the legal firm was “I think someone may have stolen some of your headed paper”.

The near 8,000 supporters who did bother to turn up on Tuesday paid Roy the ultimate Albion tribute of a minute’s applause after a very poignant and fitting poem from Roy’s close friend, John Baine.

Phil and Roy, my life has been the better for knowing you, I certainly won’t forget the pair of you.

And, finally, as I know both gents gave me a lot of support down the years with various charity football matches, a quick mention for a game this Saturday, 5pm kick off at Shoreham FC, in memory of local footballer Carl Mason, in aid of Diabetes UK.