Rebels have come a long way quickly

Despite the narrow 1-0 defeat, there are far more positives than negatives to come out of Friday's Sussex Senior Cup final at the Amex.

Friday, 27th May 2016, 8:00 am
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 2:59 am

I was privileged to speak on behalf of the club at the pre-match Sussex FA dinner in the Bupa Lounge and I touched on the surreal aspect of the whole occasion.

As has been touched on before, Worthing were days from going to the wall in December, 2014. I personally wasn’t sure we’d last another 28 days, let alone until the end of the season.

The support given to the club at the time by the Sussex County FA and specifically the chief executive Ken Benham was invaluable and will personally never be forgotten.

Thankfully, George Dowell arrived on the scene and the rest, as they say, is history. One of the things that struck me on Friday was how far we’d come in a relative short space of time.

It wasn’t that long ago, under a former managerial regime, we’d struggle to get 150 for a home league game, yet we sold nearly 1,200 tickets in advance for the final, not including the Worthing fans who paid on the gate on the night. And that’s not forgetting the huge percentage increase in the Woodside Road attendances this season, culminating in the two play-off crowds in excess of 900 and 1,800 respectively.

Another positive from Friday is the make-up of the Worthing squad. Nine players named in the match programme had signed for the club at the age of 16, which goes back to what Chris White, another unsung hero, wanted to do over five years ago.

Things are clearly moving forward, with the stand refurbishment sponsored by Bibby Finance and Ryman Premier football to look forward to. To paraphrase the words of Fat Boy Slim, we certainly have come a long way baby!

While even a week on it still hurts, Albion boss Chris Hughton is right when taking that well-known tune from Frozen and saying ‘Let it Go’ as we must now all look forward to next season.

Comings and goings are part and parcel of football but for me personally it’s an especially poignant moment with the Amex departure of the trio of Bobby Zamora, Gordon Greer and Inigo Calderon.

Some of the few remaining links with the halcyon days at Withdean and while the word legendary is often overused, these players will always have a place in the hearts of every true blue Albion fan.

I was also lucky enough to know both Bobby and Inigo away from the Albion through their sterling work with Chestnut Tree House. They proved that it’s not just about playing football, while Gordon came up trumps at the 11th hour with my Middlesbrough tickets, when all other avenues had been exhausted (So actually, GG, you are a legend in my eyes).

I wish them well in the future and I’m sure I speak for every Albion fan in thanking them for everything they did (even the red cards, Gordon!).

Love or loathe him, one thing you can’t do is ignore Jose Mourinho and now Manchester United and their fans look like they might get the chance to enjoy the roller coaster ride.

But could this be the last real blue riband job for the ‘ Special One’? There’s no doubt he has achieved success over the years but it’s clearly not without controversy. The media will certainly get their money’s worth, whether United will remains to be seen?

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