Harty on the Albion and the FA Cup

Albion's Leo Ulloa in action against Hull. Picture by Angela Brinkhurst
Albion's Leo Ulloa in action against Hull. Picture by Angela Brinkhurst

I LEFT the Amex on Monday night with very much mixed feelings.

On one hand, the Albion had taken part in a classic cup tie, which probably, on reflection, a draw was the fairest result. But, on the other, almost like when I left Wembley Stadium on May 21, 1983, had Brighton missed their big chance?

As in 1983, the Seagulls live to fight another day and travel to Hull on Monday night for the replay, which is also live on ITV4, for a game I still believe they can win.

Looking at Monday’s key moments, there’s an argument that had Ulloa’s header at the end of the first half gone in, at 2-0 up at the break it would have been a mountain for the visitors to climb. Then again, they had hit the woodwork twice in the first period.

If anything, we let them back in it during the second half. And our lack of apparent fire power against them having, arguably, four recognised strikers on towards the end of the game told a tale.

Even when it comes to working in the media, criticism of players is a delicate issue.

No-one pulls on an Albion shirt and doesn’t go out of their way not to try. A couple of times down the years we’ve had players play for the club who, in the cold light of day, the nicest thing you could probably say is they weren’t quite what we were looking for.

Unfortunately, we have yet another situation of this kind. Frankly, I won’t get anything out of destroying any player in print but, as a paying customer, what I will say is, if Jon Obika is the answer, I’m struggling to know what the question is.

Monday also saw, almost certainly, my one and only appearance on BT Sport. The TV station originally contacted me last week, originally wanting some kind of light-hearted piece, including me wearing a replica shirt.

From how they originally pitched, I had hoped this would include both friends and family in the interview but, when they eventually arrived on Friday, the whole thing ended up going totally the other way.

It was all quite serious – almost a cross between Magnus Magnusson’s chair and a French Art House film. Thankfully, the ‘dark’ lighting didn’t make me look a day over 60, and I’ve already had three enquiries about Hallowe’en.

At the point of the filming, we didn’t know who the Albion would possibly face in the quarter-finals. That question is now answered, with a visit of Gus Poyet’s Sunderland the prize for the winners of Monday’s replay.

It’s all the more reason for the Albion to win. Not only for the financial implications, with the prospect of a visit to Wembley for the semi-final, but also the return of one of the most, in his day, popular Albion managers of recent years, but also perhaps the most controversial.

I don’t buy into this ‘Judas’ school of thought. If we beat Hull, and I seriously believe we can, when Gus Poyet returns and sits in the away dugout, I will applaud him and certainly not boo. I will also, hopefully, join in giving Charlie Oatway, a genuine Albion legend, the reception he so richly deserves.

Then, hopefully, watch as the Albion move into the last four for the first time in 32 years...

But, first, it’s to Humberside on Monday and the Seagulls take on the Tigers. We could have won on Monday, but I’m still keeping the faith and going for a thrilling and extremely nail-biting 1-0 win.