By Ian Hart
There’s a very good chance that if those legendary balls in the velvet bag had kept Manchester City and the Albion apart in the FA Cup Semi Final draw, the Seagulls might have made it to the Cup Final in May, but perhaps would now be plying their footballing trade in the Championship.
As in 1983, swapping top flight football for a day out at Wembley, and having lived through the whole experience as a wide-eyed teenager, I can assure any young fan reading this it was very much a case of short-term gain for extremely long-term pain.
Thankfully Chris Hughton’s men lost in the semis to City, and their Premier survival, albeit by the skin of their teeth, owed as much to the actions of Fulham and Palace against Cardiff as to the Albion creeping over the Premier League finish line.
Which is why, despite the dreadful 90 minutes of FA Cup fare at the Amex, I wasn’t that disappointed when the Albion went out to Sheffield Wednesday at the first hurdle on Saturday.
Whilst I don’t buy into this school of thought that points-wise the Albion aren’t really that better off than at this point last season, the early cup exit is in my opinion part of the foundations for the Albion to now push on for comfortable Premier League survival.
Another part of those foundations would be an active January transfer window, granted it’s clear under Graham Potter the Albion do play the kind of attractive, attacking football, we never saw under a Hughton, but quite simply the Albion WILL NOT SURVIVE this season with just Neil Maupay and Aaron Connolly as their front line options.
It almost looks a shoo-in that Glenn Murray will depart the Amex, and to be fair to the player, he’s served the club well and if he needs regular football at this stage of his career, then he should leave the Albion with everyone’s good wishes.
The only caveat being that the Albion must sign a proven striker before the window shuts at the end of the month.
It doesn’t represent a gamble for Albion owner Tony Bloom, it’s almost a pre-requisite for top flight survival.
Unless things move very quickly, the new man won’t be on the roster for the trip to Everton this Saturday, although Murray might almost certainly will, and all the time he’s at the club he still has a part to play.
A point on Merseyside, is not impossible, so, with my prediction hat on, I’m going for a 1-1 draw at Goodson.
So after the nearly four decades at the Lakeside, the annual BDO World darts moves to a side room at the 02, where a combination of high ticket prices resulting in low ticket sales, have created an atmosphere more akin to a Doris Stokes tribute night.
As a darts fan initially bought up on the Embassy, before in 1993 the acrimonious spilt, which saw not one but two World Darts tournaments over Xmas and into the New Year its a sad sight.
Ultimately, Barry Hearn and the PDC have delivered everything that Bristow, Taylor, Lowe and the rest of the Rebels asked the BDO for in 1993.
The BDO is effectively, semi professional darts, in footballing terms the Conference against the PDC’s Premier League level, granted a large of players will make the move up in time, but charging PDC level prices for BDO fare at the O2 has been a recipe for disaster.
The BDO must identify what level their product is and cut their cloth accordingly, there clearly is room for both, but only with the right form of promotion and packaging.