Harty on . . . the transfer window and Harvey Sparks

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ROCKET science, it isn’t. If you’re playing well, winning matches and challenging for promotion, the fans will come to the stadium.

Aside from the money for their seats, they will buy programmes, tea, coffee, pints, pies, whatever.

Once the slide starts comes the inevitable realisation that, when you strip it all down, like most football clubs the length and breadth of the country, the Albion have a hard-core fan base, who are the only supporters they can really rely on through the not-so-good times.

That number is, by estimation, even allowing for the Amex feel-good factor and 23,000 current season ticket holders, between 8,000 to 14,000.

I could be wrong, I have been before, but then again I sincerely hope we don’t get into a scenario that finds us with only the core support in the stadium to prove my theory.

It brings to mind that age old phrase, cometh the hour, cometh the man.

Tony Bloom is a businessman. Not a day goes by when I don’t hear commentators or pundits on TV or radio saying next year is the season to be in the Premier League – ask any Aston Villa fan.

With what’s on offer regarding TV money, Chris Hughton has got to be given the best chance possible to challenge and ultimately achieve one of those three promotion places.

Quite simply, for all the talk we’ve had in previous years about buying this or that player, this transfer window is now the most important in the club’s history.

If Hughton is backed, and gets it right, I still believe we will be entertaining the likes of Arsenal, Spurs, City and United next season.

If this January is ultimately ineffectual, then we could yet see the empty blue plastic seat as the most common sight in the stadium this time next year.

n Now in my fifth season as Worthing under-18 manager, it’s been an incredible experience, good times and bad.

Like everyone else, I’ve made mistakes but ultimately it’s been thoroughly enjoyable.

A day in January, 2012, sticks in the mind. It’s the day that I phoned a young footballer, who had just turned 16 on New Year’s Day.

He’d been with the Albion as a schoolboy for a number of years, and it was expected that he would go on to get a two-year scholarship with the club on leaving Chatsmore High.

But it didn’t happen. For whatever reason, the Albion decided to let him go.

At the time, my contacts at the club said it was a decision that wasn’t totally unanimous but, all the same, he was out.

Naturally, the lad was devastated. In our initial phone conversation, he talked about giving up football altogether but somehow I managed to persuade him to give Worthing FC a go.

Last Saturday, Harvey Sparks played his 100th first-team game for The Rebels.

He is a prime example for all those cast aside by clubs at different levels that with hard work, dedication and certainly a bit of character, there is a way back.

Congratulations, Harv, here’s to the next 100!

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