Harty on . . . Bobby Zamora and Howard Kendall

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A WONDERFUL photo montage adorns the walls of the West Stand at the Amex. It marks Robert Lester Zamora’s goal against Halifax Town at the Withdean Stadium in December, 2000, (15 years ago!), along with marking the achievement of his other 82 career goals for the Albion.

The only problem being it’s now out of date, because 83 now reads 85!

Just whether it will be an on-going project for the sign writers or they will wait until the curtain finally comes down on Bobby’s Albion career remains to be seen. But the back-to-back winning goals against Leeds United and Bristol City will live long in the memory of the Albion faithful.

Saturday’s 89th minute winner at Elland Road against the ‘Champions of Europe’ (Steve Evans an interesting appointment) produced a goal celebration which, quite simply, I will never forget.

Kissing the badge can be quite a hollow gesture when exercised by a player who clearly is motivated more by things other than just football. How many times has a player kissed a badge only to leave the club under a cloud?

Zamora kissing the Seagull is totally different, because for those who were around last time he was here know what the club and its fans actually mean to him.

No kissing on Tuesday, instead another genuine gesture in beating the badge and the heart that beats under it. Stirring stuff and for all those, both on and off the field, who’ve been through so much, another Champagne moment.

I don’t think anyone could have envisaged the start to the season. The secret is for all of us to enjoy it but not get over excited about the promised land of the Premier League (just yet).

In Chris Hughton, we have a manager who has a track record of getting out of this division, so we certainly have the right man for the job.

Just one footnote, in the dark days at the Goldstone, if someone had said in 20 years’ time, Albion would be four points clear at the top of Division 2 (in old money) in a state-of-the-art stadium, I would have predicted sell-outs every week.

Not happening, too many empty seats, stayaways please see the ticket box office number below!

And, finally, I can’t let this week’s column pass without remembering the late Howard Kendall, who sadly passed away at the weekend aged 69.

Without doubt, the greatest manager Everton have ever had. He arguably could also have been one of the greatest in history of the domestic game had it not been for the Heysel Stadium disaster in 1985.

Had English clubs not been banned from European competition for five years, his Everton side would have gone on to conquer Europe at least once and almost certainly for a number of years.

That would, in turn, have attracted additional quality players, sponsors and almost certainly a super-rich foreign benefactor now almost common place in the higher echelons of the Premier League.

In the week that Marty McFly actually travelled forward in time 30 years ago, the ‘what if’ scenario must have ultimately haunted Kendall and others in and around Goodison Park for the last 30 years

I’d actually go as far to say that, if things had turned out differently, Everton might be as big, if not bigger, than the likes of United, City and Chelsea.

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