Johnny Cantor: Promotion hope for Albion’s men and women

Johnny Cantor
Johnny Cantor

Okay, so it wasn’t the best. The swirling wind and rain, another nil nil and a frustrating night as Albion, and others faltered in the promotion race.

Expectations were high at home after four straight wins. Previous to Tuesday’s draw, the blank at Preston was a fair result and the majority of fans who snoozed their way to Euston on the 6.17pm out of Lancashire seemed relatively content.

However, there was a fair bit of disgruntlement after the final whistle at the Amex. There’s still many reasons for Seagulls fans to be positive with ten games to go.

As the former Spurs (and Sheffield Wednesday) manager David Pleat said to me on air, the club and the dignified manager deserve to go up. The infrastructure is there and overall the experience is exceptional, if the traffic behaves.

There is also an excellent matchday programme and I particularly like the regular Retro section but this week it was nice to see the club celebrating International Women’s Day. The interviews with key personnel who make things tick behind the scenes were interesting and it’s nice to know what those faces you see around the stadium actually do.

I have always been an advocate of the women’s game too and proud to be able to say I have commentated on England women. There may well be more opportunities in the future to describe games as the Albion’s women’s side go from strength to strength.

Promotion is as real a possibility for them as it is for the men. The ladies are top of the table and nine points ahead of Charlton, who have three games in hand. Neighbours Lewes could do them a favour by denying the Addicks a win on Sunday.

It must be hugely frustrating the team must replay their fixture against Blackburn in the FA Cup after naming seven rather than five subs.

As Sir Alf Ramsey said, you’ve beaten them once, now go out and beat them again. Another Albion, affiliated to West Brom, await in the next round and James Marrs’ team certainly have a decent chance of pulling a big team in the quarter-finals if they maintain this season’s form.

Derek Chapman has spearheaded the push at the club for the women and it seems to be paying off.

Meanwhile, the men are more than likely to face another play-off campaign after finishing low down last year. In Chris Hughton, they have a much-admired manager and a recruitment team that has delivered a squad to challenge for the top two.

It is going to be a nervy few months for both the men and women’s teams, as well as the supporters. There may not be much the team can do about the weather but there is much to admire and could possibly be much more to celebrate in the sunshine in May.

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