Harty on the Albion, football in pubs, Thunder and Rebels

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THE Albion FA Cup dream is over for another season, but our collective disappointment was tempered on Tuesday night with another emphatic home win, 4-0 versus Plymouth, coupled with the Albion’s League One promotion rivals all dropping points on the same night.

I had the pleasure earlier this week of recording an Albion podcast, in which I interviewed two local media giants, John Vinicombe and Tony Millard. It was probably one of the most fascinating interviews I’ve done.

For all their detractors, both know their stuff, have been there, seen it and done it when it comes to the Albion. But Tony still took the time to state when the interview was concluding that the football that Gus Poyet’s men are playing now is the most attractive he has ever seen an Albion side play in 50 years of watching the team. Coming from “Mr 0898” himself, that is praise indeed.

Could the name of Portsmouth pub landlady Karen Murphy become as synonymous as Jean Marc Bosman in the world of football?

Her recent victory over Sky Television for the use of a cheaper foreign satellite dish in her pub could have far-reaching consequences for football across the board.

In layman’s terms, Sky charge an average in excess of £1,000 per month for full football and other sporting coverage. If pubs and clubs are allowed to use far cheaper forms of dishes for virtually the same coverage then, ultimately, Sky’s revenue will decrease and, in turn, so will the size of the amount they put into football.

As a result of the case last Saturday, the Warwick was able to show the Albion game at Stoke live, via a Greek broadcaster. Prior to Mrs Murphy’s victory, that just wouldn’t have been allowed.

Harold McMillan famously once said “You’ve never had it so good”. One wonders how the big clubs, and perhaps, significantly, the smaller clubs will survive when the substantial handouts from the TV companies, up to £30million a season for some Premiership clubs, are slashed!

Critics might say that, like the banking sector, football has almost lived in its own bubble for many years. Have the actions of Mrs Murphy down in Portsmouth been the pin that will ultimately burst that bubble?

It’s not pleasant to see the current situation at Worthing Thunder. Part of life is about ambition, and you have to commend anyone who tries to go up to the next level.

Can a town the size of Worthing sustain profitable top-flight basketball?

My heart says yes. Unfortunately, when it comes to my head, the jury is still out, but I wish everyone at Thunder all the best in their ongoing efforts.

And, finally, with the Albion away, and the commander-in-chief making plans for Saturday night, I’m looking forward to going down to the Fans’ Day at Woodside Road this Saturday, when the Rebels take on Merstham (3pm kick-off).

Like Thunder (apart from on Saturday), Worthing have issues when it comes to spectator numbers. The crowd of 87 against Rye in the Senior Cup was extremely disappointing, given where the final of that competition will be played in July.

So, I hope the weather is kind and the fans turn out in their numbers and get behind Chris White’s men.