Ian Hart: Mind games or a well-timed reality check?

Chris Hughton. Picture: Getty Images
Chris Hughton. Picture: Getty Images

So are the Albion in a relegation fight?

Chris Hughton seems to think so – or does he?

In the wake of the 0-0 stalemate against Watford on Saturday (which I missed, although a mate described the first half as possibly the worst 45 minutes of football he’d seen at the Albion in nearly 30 years), Hughton stated in press reports that he thought the Albion were in a battle at the wrong end of the table. Mind games or a reality check?

Clearly the Albion are nowhere near mathematical safety.

However, as the table stands they sit in 13th on 27 points – five points above Cardiff, who occupy the last relegation spot. Of the seven sides below them, the Albion still have five of them to face at the Amex. That starts with Burnley this Saturday, while a visit to Palace in March means there are 18 points up for grabs against the bottom seven.

In arguably the best league in the world there are no easy games and, as we all know from various successful and, unfortunately, unsuccessful Albion relegation fights down the years, every game is a cup final.

By stating this, Hughton is clearly putting down a marker for his squad after the capitulation at Fulham and two points dropped at home on Saturday. A timely reminder that more often in a season one particular team drops like a stone.

I’m still confident it won’t be the Albion in the relegation places come the end of the season. In fact, the current position of 13th is probably where they will end up (as predicted in this column back in August).

But Hughton again highlights how he is the greatest manager in the club’s history with this simple but effective statement.

Haydn Potter epitomised everything that was good about Sunday football.

As manager of Clifton, his team’s success on the pitch arguably put them up there with AFC George as one of best Sunday sides to ever come out of Worthing in the history of the Sussex Sunday League.

Unfortunately, as park football appears to be in decline, the likes of Haydn will probably never been seen again. His theme tune, born out of his legendary team talks – The Monkees’ I’m A Believer – resounded around Clifton during many post-match celebrations. Sadly Haydn passed on a couple of weeks ago, but he will long be remembered by the Worthing footballing family. His funeral takes place at Yeovil Crematorium next Monday, 11th, followed by a celebration of his life at Wincanton FC.

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