Harty on the Albion and Stan Collymore

WITH a bout of insomnia, I ventured downstairs early on Saturday in time to catch the Albion on ITV4 in the Big Match Revisited.

This week’s edition was a TVS special hosted by a youthful Fred Dinenage, from the Easter weekend of 1983, and featured the Albion entertaining Spurs at a packed Goldstone.

The Seagulls ran out 2-1 winners, and I hope it’s not that long before they are beating Spurs in a league fixture again. In the game, full-back Chris Ramsey found himself in receipt of a red card which ruled him out of the FA Cup semi-final against Sheffield Wednesday at Highbury two weeks later.

Such is technology that when Fred “signed off” I went onto YouTube and watched highlights of the semi, now an unbelievable 29-and-a-half years ago!

It was quite simply a day I will never forget, thousands of Albion fans descending on North London by various modes of transport for one of the greatest occasions in the club’s history.

Ironically, Sheffield Wednesday are the opponents at the Amex tomorrow night (Friday), and it gave me the realisation that the club has gone almost full circle and beyond.

Tomorrow, the Albion take on their opponents at the Amex, with the same level of support they had at Highbury in ‘83. The only difference being that these are not, hopefully, butterfly supporters, but the fans that turn out at the Amex, week in, week out, and see the club enjoy one of the top 10 season ticket fanbases in the country.

Given that the other leading sides in the Championship don’t play until Saturday, if the Albion record another home win they will start at the top of the pile on Saturday morning. And with a mouth-watering meeting of Poyet and Zola’s respective sides at Watford on Tuesday, the rollercoaster ride of a season is already truly underway.

l Stan Collymore is exactly what it says on the tin – brash, controversial and opinionated, which is why he enjoys the media profile he does. But I feel I must take issue with a comment he made on TalkSport on Tuesday night after England’s World Cup draw against Ukraine.

“Forget tennis grand slams, summer Olympics, Paralympics, that’s all now forgotten after tonight’s performance”.

Well, sorry, but I beg to differ, and while I love football as much as the next person, I sometimes think some people involved in and around football need to take a serious reality check. A disappointing World Cup qualifying point will not take the shine off Andy Murray’s historic victory in New York – hopefully, the first of many Grand Slam titles for perhaps the greatest British tennis player of all time.

It will also not dampen the memories of what many are calling the greatest ever Olympic games, and the great role models for our youngsters that will evolve from it.

But it’s perhaps Collymore’s comment about the Paralympics that needs pulling up the most.

If any of us needed a serious reality check in not just sport, but our lives in general, then watching the events of the last couple of weeks in London has done just that.

Sadly, I have experience of what devastation meningitis can bring. For young Johnny Peacock to lose a leg at five years old and then embark on the journey which culminated in his 100 metres gold medal is perhaps one of the greatest stories in British sporting history.

If Stan thinks a bore draw at Wembley will erase our memories of the last few weeks, then he certainly needs that all-important reality check.