Ian Hart: Brighton selling Lewis Dunk would be a huge own goal

Lewis Dunk
Lewis Dunk

The Harry Maguire saga still rumbles on and at the time of going to press it remains unclear which side of Manchester he could be heading but once that is resolved, with the reported record £80million fee, Leicester City will be looking to recruit a replacement.

As far back as May when the Matt Clarke/Lewis Dunk/Harry Maguire transfer triangle was first mooted, many speculated that both Dunk and the Albion would be made the proverbial ‘offer they couldn’t refuse’ if Maguire moved to the north west.

Obviously Clarke made the move from Portsmouth to Brighton and perhaps at that time had Maguire moved, Brighton might not have been able to turn down the rumoured £35-40million for Dunk.

But it’s all in the timing, June, early July, yes, there’s time to then get in, hopefully, an adequate replacement.

But with the start of the season just over a week away, for Albion to let Dunk go now - a pivotal member of the team both on and off the field - would be a huge own goal.

I appreciate every club is effectively a ‘selling club’ if the price is right, but the caveat for the Albion has to be as I previously said - the timing.

Thankfully as a well run club there is no pressure to sell, which hasn’t always been the case in the Albion’s history.

Unfortunately, as much as he was respected and revered by Brighton fans everywhere, it was time for Chris Hughton to go - 12 and a half hours without scoring a goal only tells part of the story.

Tony Bloom has gone slightly left field in replacing the manager, Graham Potter comes with a great reputation for attacking football but not at Premier League level.

I believe he will succeed, there will obviously be a few bumps in the road on the way but to reiterate, to sell one of your best players the week before the season starts is a non-starter.

It was Albion goalkeeping legend John Keeley’s birthday last Saturday, the likeable Londoner was an Essex Cabbie, having previously played for Southend as a teenager when he was spotted by Barry Lloyd in the mid 1980s.

He went on to be a huge part of the Albion’s promotion in 87-88 but it was the following season that he was involved in one of the most bizarre incidents at Brighton.

Kilo was out injured early in the season for the visit of Bournemouth to the Goldstone, in his absence reserve goalkeeper Perry Digweed was picked to play.

In the days before mobile phones, it was becoming apparent around 1.45pm that Digweed hadn’t got the message, which resulted in the call for Keeley to go out, but where was he?

Physio Malcolm Stuart eventually tracked Kilo down at the Stadium Pub on the Old Shoreham Road (now sadly a Co-op) he phoned the pub and at first John thought the barman was winding him up. When he eventually came to the phone to be told by an exasperated Stuart that he needed to get to the ground immediately, he replied “but I’ve had four pints and I’m next on the pool table’.

He made it down to the ground in time to run out at 2.55pm and despite his unusual pre-match liquid intake, played well. Unfortunately, the Albion still lost 2-1 but older fans will recall they lost the first eight games that season and in the other seven both Keeley and Digweed were sober.

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