Harty on... the Albion and Gus Poyet

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ONE of the privileges of this column is that I can ostensibly write as an Albion fan. However, while I fully accept the highs and lows being a Brighton supporter brings, I certainly get no enjoyment from having to give my opinion of the goings-on at the club in the last week or so.

Firstly, whoever left their excrement in the Crystal Palace changing room at the Amex prior to the play-off semi-final has no place in a civilised society, let alone being part of Brighton and Hove Albion FC.

Bizarrely, the culprit will probably find themselves in Palace folklore. I’m convinced his (or her) actions spurred the Eagles on to victory – something which Ian Holloway has more than alluded to when he said that whoever did it did him (Holloway) the biggest favour ever.

Given the Fort Knox security at the Amex, when, or if, the culprit is ever exposed, I would be very surprised if they turn out to be a member of the general public, which probably makes the incident all the more sinister and adds fuel to the numerous conspiracy theories currently doing the rounds.

Having seen the club on the brink of extinction in the 1990s, while the suspension of Albion boss Gus Poyet is not as bad as that, it is still very damaging for the football club and its long-term future.

The relationship between a football club chairman and his manager is much the same as a marriage. Sadly, as we all know, not all marriages are successful.

Unfortunately, I have had a number of friends who have experienced divorce, some have been amicable, some, because of the nature of their partners, extremely acrimonious. As things stand now, what’s going on at the Albion is the latter

When Gus Poyet arrived in November, 2009, the Albion were in danger of being relegated to the bottom division of the football league.

In his time at the club, with the backing of Tony Bloom, with the new stadium, he has transformed the Albion into the best-supported club outside the Premier League.

All parties should be adult enough to realise that, despite the tremendous progress made, the relationship is now stale, and it’s time for Poyet and his management team to move on.

What I’m not comfortable with is the various side issues almost being used as smokescreens, including Charlie Oatway, one of the most genuine people I have ever encountered in life, let alone football, being dragged into the situation and ultimately being hung out to dry.

In my opinion, what needs to happen, and sooner rather than later, is:

1: The current suspension is lifted and all investigations dropped. Then Gus Poyet and his management team immediately leave the Albion by mutual consent, with whatever severance packages that had previously been agreed in their contracts.

2: Any pending agreements, such as testimonial matches, etc; should be honoured.

3: Tony Bloom appoints a new manager, equally as talented as Poyet, in the next two weeks (not Harry Redknapp, please).

And then we can all move on.