Harty on what lies ahead in 2011
THIS year could prove to be a vintage one in sport locally.
First and foremost, regardless of what happens on the pitch, the Albion will finally move into the Amex Stadium at Falmer.
At the time of going to press, a home win last night (Wednesday) against Charlton Athletic, would put the Seagulls six points clear at the top of League One going into the New Year.
From that potential position, you would have to say that it’s the Albion’s league to lose now. However, it’s not that easy. There are still many points to be won and lost, although I personally believe that in Gus Poyet the club have the best manager in that league and with the relevant investment in the January transfer window, starting at the Amex in the Championship is more than just a pipedream.
The Albion’s move to a new state-of-the-art permanent stadium could have a knock-on effect with local football.
The Albion haven’t had a five-figure home crowd for almost 14 years, April 97 being the last. Just how local football attendances will be affected if they are getting 20,000 each week remains to be seen.
As for our own local teams, things appear to be moving in the right direction. Serious cloth cutting has been the order of the day at most clubs, and as a result, Worthing, under Chris White, enter the new year with hopes of another play-off appearance but without the usual financial black cloud hanging over them.
As for Lancing, another club with great potential but careful housekeeping, an exciting last 32 tie in the Vase beckons – a great achievement for not only the club, but Sussex football in general.
Therefore, should it not be the time when the local community really gets behind the Lancers?
There is no question that the team will be better prepared for the game with an overnight stop in Derbyshire but, clearly, the club cannot overstretch itself.
Couldn’t local firms and companies all chip in and help towards the cost of a hotel? I’m more than happy to start the ball rolling with £50 from my company, let’s hope others will follow suit.
Before wishing all of my readers a very happy New Year, I will touch on the subject of youth sport in general.
Besides the Albion winning the league, and all our non-league sides doing well, one hope I have for 2011 is that the local authorities finally wake up to the fact that by investing in sport and our local youngsters it will ultimately create good grounded young adults which, in turn, will make Worthing and the neighbouring locality a better place to live in.
In 2011, I hope someone in authority realises it’s not always about pounds, shilling and pence. All the time the kids are playing sport, or singing or taking part in drama, provided it’s not making the council a loss, then it’s the way forward. Excessive hire charges for pitches, training facilities, rehearsal rooms, etc, will ultimately drive youngsters away from these activities and, in some cases, who knows what.
Not exactly rocket science is it . . . Happy New Year.
Finally, a fickle bunch these Aussies.
The Boxing Day Test stated at the MSG, with a record crowd, but by the time the home side had been skittled out for 98 and Strauss and Cook had reached 150 without loss for the first wicket, the England skipper hit a boundary and as the camera panned over to the rope, and there it was, rows and rows of empty seats.
So much for the record crowd.