Harty on Rebels, Kevin Pietersen and the Albion

Action from Rebels' match with Whyteleafe
Action from Rebels' match with Whyteleafe

IT WAS a fitting end to football on grass at Woodside Road on Saturday with Rebels’ entertaining 2-0 win over Whyteleafe.

There was equally as much entertainment off the field in the Rebels Tavern, with anecdotes getting a most welcome airing from a number of club legends.

Ray Knight brought some programmes that made fascinating reading, while Vince Taylor, the second oldest surviving player in the club’s history – Vince informing me that Ron Wood is the oldest – recounted a tale of a trip to Chesham.

He said that George Burstow drove the reserves in a coach to Chesham United then, due to injury, had to play at centre-half, promptly broke an arm and then managed to get the coach back as far as Guilford, driving with one arm while a team-mate changed the gears.

The Rebels round off their season with the first return to Guernsey since October, 2013, and the unsavoury incidents which initially saw the club charged by the Ryman League and fined £10,000, which was later reduced on appeal.

As bad as it was at the time, bizarrely, in my opinion, the goings-on in the Channel Islands that fateful day, ultimately saved the club.

If it hadn’t happened and the subsequent departure of an individual from the club, I firmly believe that Worthing FC would either now be bankrupt or ‘looking forward’ to playing in the new County League structure in front of less than 100 supporters.

Thankfully, however unpleasant it was at the time, that’s now history and without Guernseygate and its subsequent fall-out, George Dowell wouldn’t have come to the club either, so clearly every cloud does have a silver lining.

n As Sean Connery’s ill-fated Bond return in 1983 told us ‘Never say never again’, and, as the Ashes Series looms, I get the distinct feeling that we could be gearing up for a return of the Enfant terrible of English cricket, Kevin Pietersen.

For all his faults and whether or not it was time for him to go, I felt the way his dismissal was handled typified everything that was wrong about domestic cricket.

Granted he’s not everybody’s cup of tea and, apparently, if he was made of chocolate he’d eat himself. But the public witch-hunt after the last Ashes debacle and the fact that it appeared he was blamed for almost everything was nothing short of scandalous. However bad a person is purported to be, do they deserve that kind of treatment?

But, if now, as many are predicting, England start badly in the first Ashes Test, how much egg will be on the face of the ECB if KP, on the back of a sustained media campaign, makes his return to the fold for the second Test?

n And, finally, the Albion survive and I don’t have to wear a Palace shirt at the Splash FM party. But, please, one request, no lap of honour after Saturday’s final home game against Watford.

Given the, at times, farcical goings-on at the club this season, it’s both insulting and patronising to the loyal supporters who clearly have been short changed this campaign.

Hopefully, lessons have been learned and now the club moves on to realise its Premier League ambitions in the not too distant future.