Ian Hart: People should write Albion off at their peril

It's viewed by many as one of the defining moments of Muhammad Ali's career.

Friday, 17th February 2017, 6:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 1st March 2017, 9:01 am
Action from Albion's draw with Ipswich on Tuesday evening. Picture by Phil Westlake (PW Sporting Photography)

At the end of the first round in Zaire in 1974, Ali went back to his corner but didn’t sit down, instead looking over at his opponent, George Foreman, a man younger than him, stronger than him and more powerful than him.

He looked as if to say, this is my defining moment, this is where I can be remembered as what I’ve always claimed to be, The Greatest. The classic footage shows he nods to himself and then turns to conduct the crowd in the ‘Ali Bomaye’ (incidentally, that translates into Ali kill him!).

Are Albion now on the cusp of their very own Ali moment? Is now the time that they must look into their opponents eyes as The Greatest did more than 40 years ago?

As with Ali in 1974, the knockers and the detractors have been quick to write the Albion off after this minor blip. I woke yesterday (Wednesday) to hear Paul Merson telling the listeners on TalkSport that he strongly fancied Huddersfield to catch the Albion in the quest for the second automatic promotion place.

The campaign still has a long way to go and there will still be a number of twists and turns. It’s now not just about ability but also mental strength. I had the pleasure of meeting legendary Albion boss Alan Mullery, and he spoke about the 1980-81 season. With Brighton seemingly dead and buried and all but relegated from Division One, the team recorded four straight wins at the end of the season to survive.

Mullers said that was more about mental attitude and belief, back then it was 42 games a season, only the one sub and much smaller squads. Mullers said a number of the players were effectively dead on their feet but still went that extra mile, I take a lot of similarities between back then and Chris Hughton’s squad’s current situation.

People should write the Albion off at their peril because I, and thousands of others, still believe the Albion can do it. A couple of bad results over a fortnight or so doesn’t turn the Albion into a bad side. A point at Barnsley would be a bonus, before the back-to-back home games against Reading and Newcastle, our very own Rumbles in the Jungle.

The word legend is often overused but in the case of Omar Bugiel’s place in the history of Worthing Football Club, it could yet prove to be extremely apt.

To talk about the great players of Woodside Road is subjective, was Micky Edmonds a better striker than Micky Streeter? Who was the better defender Raynsford or Richardson?

Older supporters will still eulogise about the likes of Reggie Bowles, Vince Taylor, Ray Knight and Wild Hugill.

It truly is a game of opinions.

As Bugiel departs to Forest Green, he immediately makes club history with the biggest transfer fee received. His legacy is not only his natural ability but the fact he’s without doubt one of the most popular modern day players to play for the club. It’s not that long ago that with the club facing possible extinction, then manager Adam Hinshelwood, his backroom staff and the entire squad saw out the last four months of the season after the wage budget disappeared overnight as part of drastic cost-cutting measures.

Bugiel, more than anyone, could have walked away and picked up serious money elsewhere in the Ryman League. But he didn’t, and the loyalty shown by both him and everyone else at that time makes them not only part of Worthing FC folklore but proves that it’s not always about the money.

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