IT was somewhat ironic that on the day (April 23), I celebrated 40 years since my dad first took me to watch the Albion, on Easter Monday, 1973, against Portsmouth, the club lost one of its true legends, when Tony Grealish sadly passed away at the age of 56 after a brave fight against cancer.
With Steve Foster suspended, Tony led the Albion out at Wembley in 1983, even sporting a headband in homage to his missing skipper. And, but for Gary Bailey’s last-minute save, could have been the first Albion captain to have lifted the FA Cup.
I’m sure Grealish will be honoured prior to Saturday week’s final home game against Wolves with a minute’s applause, and how fitting with the Albion on the cusp of the play-offs, that they might yet return to Wembley 30 years on. And what better way to remember an Albion great, than by getting to the Premier League?
I cannot condone what Luis Suarez did at Anfield on Sunday afternoon but I do find myself agreeing with Gus Poyet when he talks about double standards in our domestic football.
You would think any biting incident would be totally unacceptable in football but, then again, I then find myself exercising a degree of the double standards Gus refers to.
Back in the 1999-2000 season, the Albion, then in the bottom division, travelled north to Darlington and midway through the first half Charlie Oatway was sent off for biting an opponent.
It was classed as violent conduct, Chas received a three-game ban and came to become an Albion legend, two championships and a play-off win as a player, another championship as a coach, with more to come?
Charlie was, and remains, passionate about his football, probably in the same way as Suarez. The gold fish bowl that is the Premier League and the fact that, forget Shankly, Paisley, Dalglish, Cilla and the Fab Four, outside the city boundaries, there is not a lot of love for Liverpool around the country. Suarez only has to step out of line and the timber is being assembled for a set of gallows.
Is what he did any worse than what John Terry said to Anton Ferdinand on that pitch at Loftus Road? Or Wigan’s Callum McManaman’s horrendous, potentially career-ending, challenge on Newcastle’s Massadio Haidara recently?
The ref clearly missed the incident on Sunday, Suarez and Livepool moved quickly to admit guilt and in the club’s case discipline the player.
A three-game ban is enough, anything more, and at the time of going to press there’s still no decision, does, in my opinion, smack of a witch hunt against an individual player, rather than an across-the-board policy.
Thanks to everyone who took the time and trouble to turn up and watch the charity game at Woodside on Sunday. Along with a 4-2 win for Worthing against a very competitive families for children side, there was another Rebels landmark with two Lelliotts, Paul and son, James, donning the red shirt. The late and much-missed Jim would have been a proud man.
The Rebels youth side, still in contention for a runners-up spot in the league, finish their campaign with two cracking home games – tonight (Thursday) against Lewes 7.45pm kick-off), before Peacehaven are the visitors on Monday, again a 7.45pm start.