With El Abd Goes the Withdean Era

So the last time I posted it was a farewell to Bridcutt who hasn’t left yet. Never did I think I would be posting a goodbye to stalwart Adam El Abd. He goes with massive thanks.

Adam: Thanks for always giving every ounce of effort you had. Thanks for patting everyone you ever annoyed on the head. Thanks for “examining” Andy Carroll. Thanks for giving us one of my favourite ever football songs. Thanks for being one of us. Most of all thanks for appearing in that God Awful fly on the wall documentary. You were the only thing on it worth watching.

The club as I know it is dying a little. The final clear out of the Withdean era is upon us. With Dick Knight gently eased out and now Barnes and El Abd sold the club is unrecognisable even from the one that won League One under Poyet. The reserve goalies remain and, er, that’s about it. I bet they’re even trying to get Casper to give up smoking.

There is a choice to be had here. To want to succeed we have to try to go up. To be “Premier League Ready”. However much we as fans respect Adam could you see him as a first choice Centre Back in the Premier League when he’s third choice now? I have seen tweets claiming he was better than Greer and I despair at them. Being a fans’ favourite is one thing but you’re never going to displace the club captain, especially when he has a better range of passes. It’s a cliché I’ve seen many times in the last few hours but, at this stage in his career, Adam needs to play regularly.

Since the transfer that other Withdean stalwart Tommy Fraser has been on the wind up on twitter. Fishing trip it may be but there is a touch of bitterness. The sub text is “if only I could have played at the Amex.”

When I walk in to the West Upper on a match day I see a lot of fellow fans that I know or recognise. Most from the Goldstone. Many from Withdean. These faces have got older and filled out a bit but they have been part of the club since I started going. The fans will never change but the club has inexorably. Losing one of us may hurt but it reinforces the choice we have between the past and future.

I’m with the future. At the moment it’s a little like seeing a band you loved in a dark pub in front of twenty people have a number one album and start to play stadiums. You want to scream “sell out”. The papers that are Too Cool For School do scream “sell out”. But deep down you know it’s best all round, that new eras are inevitable, that it’s better to be successful than dead.


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