Harty on the Albion and youth football in the town

FROM a negative situation, the Albion could find a number of positives from Saturday’s 1-0 defeat against Burnley.

Down to nine men inside 15 minutes, and I have to say, while I didn’t see the Vincelot incident, Ashley Barnes’s red card was warranted, although I felt the Burnley captain, Chris McCann, should also have seen red for his part in the proceedings.

Playing two men short for more than 75 minutes was always going to present an uphill struggle but, in the end, a poor Burnley side were fortunate to come away with a win as the Albion probably created more chances with nine players, than they had for the last three games with 11.

The defeat was made all the more “entertaining” as I was accompanied by Worthing’s number one Burnley fan, Berni Cozzi, fresh from his Friday night karaoke triumph in The Stage, where his rendition of Cliff’s Miss You Nights had punters weeping openly.

On Saturday, after the red cards, the key for me was the use of Craig Mackail-Smith. While I don’t want the Albion to become a throwback to the notorious Wimbledon hump, bump and thump style, putting the ball over the top to CMS on occasions does create opportunities and it’s clear to see he much prefers playing that style.

The bottom line was Saturday’s game was far more exciting than the last two the Albion had previously won at home – the fans were entertained. Food for thought, Gus?

With more children, both boys and girls, playing competitive football in the town than ever before, youth soccer is really on the up in Worthing and, judging by what I witnessed on Saturday, it can only get better.

The partnership between Worthing Borough Council and Worthing Town FC regarding the development of Palatine Park was both ambitious and forward-thinking but will reap great rewards for all concerned.

For the council, it answers a lot of questions about its commitment to investing in Worthing’s youngsters. Clearly it has put money in to a project that will benefit a large number of local youngsters for many years to come.

For the club, their drive and belief will certainly pay dividends.

While on my tour, my initial thoughts and that of Ricky Sopp, who was with me, was that the infrastructure and facilities at Worthing Town would attract all the best players and they would almost become THE club that boys and girls wanted to play for.

This was partly dispelled by club chairman, Ian Stewart, who re-iterated the club’s on-going “football for all” policy. And, while these facilities would no doubt attract better players, they still want to offer football for players of all abilities.

So, what of the other clubs in the town, Dynamos, Minors, United and others?

I believe this project can be a template for others. What’s to stop the likes of Lee Noakes at Dynamos, Mark Sanderson at United and Trevor Henson at Minors, now sitting down with the council and looking at entering into similar partnerships at other venues within the borough?

The over-riding theme is that this is a great step forward for the town in general, and that can only be a good thing for all of us.

And, finally, could I take this opportunity to wish all of the readers a very happy Christmas.