Harty on... Bale, the Albion and youth football

UNDERNEATH the furore and excitement of Gareth Bale’s world record transfer from Tottenham to Real Madrid, there’s something that doesn’t quite morally add up.

I’m not referring to Bale taking the reported £300,000 a week – good luck to him – he’s a young man with a family and if he can make them financially secure for the rest of their lives, then so be it, or even Spurs, for that matter, who appear to have re-invested the vast majority of the fee with some exciting acquisitions.

No, my concern is actually where some of the money has come from to finance the deal for Real.

The most apt word to describe the financial situation in Spain cannot be used in a family newspaper.

Unemployment runs at nearly 30 per cent and the country’s banking system is forever receiving bailouts from the EU.

One of those banks that is propped up by Europe is the same bank that finance Real Madrid, so, in effect, a proportion of Bale’s transfer fund, and I understand previous deals involving Modric, Beckham, Kaka and Ronaldo, comes from European funding.

To put it into some kind of context, imagine if one of our top Premier League clubs were effectively bankrolled by Lloyds Bank, which is 38 per cent state owned?

What kind of a stink would there be?

With Spain’s national finances in a serious condition, to think that the national bank will still be able to hand out huge sums of money to buy a footballer, with little evidence of ever getting paid back, given Real Madrid’s past track record, puts you in mind of Marie Antoinette and pieces of cake.

As for the Albion’s transfer activity during the window, despite last-ditch and ultimately almost disrespectful attempts by Ian Holloway to prise away some of Albion’s brightest talents to Crystal Palace, I actually feel that after some shrewd dealings by Oscar Garcia, the Albion are potentially stronger across the squad as a whole, than they were last year.

Only time will tell, but I do hope supporters are patient. Gus Poyet had nearly four years to get to where he did, some fans want Oscar to do it in three months.

The youth football season starts locally this Sunday and, again, as a town there are in excess of 1,500 youngsters under the age of 16 playing soccer every weekend.

Having run a team right from under-seven through to under-16, I know the enjoyment that players of all abilities will get from the next five months, win lose or draw, and I’d like to wish everyone involved with all of our local clubs all the very best for the season.

On the subject of youth football, unfortunately the Worthing senior side exited the FA Cup last weekend but the Rebels under-18s are in FA Youth Cup action this Monday, playing at home to near neighbours Littlehampton in the first qualifying round.

Kick-off is 7.45pm and the Herald-sponsored season ticket offer also applies to this game.