In the week where Manchester United broke the world transfer record by bringing back a player they previously let go and neighbours City spent nearly £50million on a centre-back who apparently isn’t good enough to play in arguably the worst-ever defeat by the English national team, the League Cup arrived on the horizon.
Without a sponsor for the first time since the 1980-81 season, the Albion’s run kicked off with a home tie against League Two Colchester United. Clearly the rail strike and being one of three home games in eight days were a factor but a crowd of under 7,000 was ultimately disappointing.
Despite advancing into the next round with an emphatic 4-0 win, financially on the night it was disaster. Basic match costs and the thousands of missing fans will probably mean the Albion lose an estimated £250,000.
Maybe the EFL, the Football League in old money, should think about a total revamp of the early stages of the competition?
Financially, there’s little doubt that if the fixture had been reversed it wouldn’t have made a loss, so would it not help clubs at the lower end of the domestic game if they were all guaranteed a home fixture in the first round of the competition?
By the time this column goes to print, Albion will know who their second round opponents will be. Hopefully an attractive but winnable home fixture will help the club claw back some of the losses from Tuesday.
In other Albion events, in last week’s column I was speculating and ultimately getting excited about the impending arrival of Alex Pritchard from Spurs.
Unfortunately, or fortunately if you look it at another way as £8million for a Tottenham reserve is a lot of money, it didn’t happen. Hijacked by Norwich, aided by the player’s agent, it again reiterated the game has moved on light years since the late Jimmy Hill fought so hard to make Johnny Haynes the first £100 a week player.
Now, 55 years on, the players, backed up by the agents, all but have the whip hand, good or bad, and everyone’s got an opinion on it. It’s here for the duration and on an Albion theme we now have the potential £7million transfer of Dale Stephens to Burnley on the agenda.
Starting my 44th season watching the club, I’m aware players come and go, so if that kind of money is on the table the Albion would be stupid to turn it down for a player they spent £600,000 on not so long ago .
n Locally, Worthing FC return to the Ryman Premier Division for the first time in almost a decade with a trip to Hendon on Saturday, before Tuesday’s Woodside opener against Metropolitan Police.
With a forward-thinking and ambitious owner backed up by an exciting management team, the club have really turned the corner. I’ve been fortunate (if that’s the word) to have been there through the recent good times but also desperate times not so long ago.
There have been many pivotal moments, none more so than George Dowell saving the club from extinction. I also recall the last Thursday in November, 2013, when the removal of the then manager was engineered and I sat in the car park of the Downs Crematorium in Brighton and made the call to Jon Meeney to bring him back to the club.
Adam Hinshelwood followed not long after, and the rest, despite a few bumps (!) along the way, is history. Starting with Tuesday night, now is the time for the local footballing community to continue getting behind the Rebels as what has been achieved so far is only just the start.
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