Harty on the Albion, Les Rogers and Charlie Oatway
CLEARLY, the Southampton/Portsmouth local TV bias cannot stretch to Ceefax.
When I came home on Tuesday evening from yet another Albion home win, 1-0 against Notts County, I put up page 325 on my screen which showed me the current League One table which has Brighton 10 points clear of second-placed Huddersfield, with two games in hand, and 12 points in front of Southampton, although a crumb of comfort for our south coast rivals is that at least we haven’t got any games in hand on them.
I’m not using this column to crow in any shape or form. I’m emphasising how important it is, and I know more than most, how you should think very carefully before you say something into a microphone.
Back in November, Saints boss Nigel Adkins was interviewed after the Albion and his side had played out an exciting goalless draw at St Mary’s.
When asked the question did he see Albion as promotion rivals, he replied along the lines of “provided they can keep up with us (Southampton)”.
Oh dear, oh dear. Well, unless the Albion collapse like Devon Loch by the time Adkins and his team arrive at the Withdean on Easter Saturday, it will all be over bar the shouting and the Albion, subject to other results, could be celebrating their third championship, and fourth promotion in 10 years.
Mr Adkins probably knows it’s quite a walk to the dug-outs at Withdean, I do hope he will be able to keep up with Gus Poyet as they stride across to their seats.
It’s international weekend again, and Fabio Capello continues to see out his inflated contract, so it’s an early kick-off for the Albion at home to Swindon, while there are two games of note at Woodside Road this weekend.
On Saturday, the Worthing Football League, sponsored by Ian Hart Funeral Service (the name rings a bell), take on the Somerset County League in the first round of the FA National Inter League Knockout Competition.
It’s a 3pm kick-off, ideal for all those who can’t face watching England.
Sunday sees a charity game in aid of St Barnabas in memory of a very special person, Les Rogers, whose connections with football stretch far and wide but were specifically with the youth set-up at the Albion.
An Albion legends XI, including Gus Poyet, Mauricio Taricco and Charlie Oatway, will take on a Les Rogers XI with a 1.30pm kick-off, followed by an auction, with some really impressive lots which are listed on the hospice website, in aid of St Barnabas, who looked after Les in his final days.
I was privileged enough to call Les a friend. He was quite simply a gentleman in every sense of the word, and without wishing to offend Morty and co down at Worthing, I hope Sunday sees the biggest crowd at the ground this season.
And, finally, the chance to win a signed copy of Charlie Oatway’s book “Tackling Life”.
Since initially meeting him on his signing at the Albion in 1999, I am privileged to say that Charlie has become a friend of mine.
When it comes to charity work locally, specifically Chestnut Tree House and St Barnabas, nothing is too much trouble for him.
His book charts both his eventful life and career, and is well worth a read.
To win a signed copy, please answer the following question – from which club did the Albion sign Charlie Oatway in 1999?
Please email your answer to [email protected] by noon on Tuesday, and the winner will be announced in next week’s column.