Harty on English football and Worthing Harriers

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THE fallout from England’s World Cup exit rumbles on, with various theories being offered up as the reasons for the failure to get past the group stage for the first time since the 1958 finals in Sweden.

Have we got too many foreigners in the Premier League ultimately stifling the development of our younger English players?

I pulled up an interesting stat the other day. On the opening weekend of the first ever Premiership weekend in 1992, out of the three starting line-ups, i.e. 33 players, between them, Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City fielded only five non UK players.

How many foreigners did those three clubs field in the final match of this season?

And, related to that, does the now predominantly foreign ownership of our top clubs, rather than the local businessmen of yesteryear, mean that the likes of City, United, Chelsea and Arsenal really don’t care how our national team get on?

Despite American ownership, Liverpool have a larger representation in the England squad than the other clubs, so they might be the exception to the rule. Only time will tell if Brendan Rodgers’ on-going selection policy will be a success.

After the winners lift the trophy on Sunday, it won’t be long before the next lot of FIFA world rankings are published.

Whether England slip to their lowest place ever remains to be seen, and it’s perhaps ironic that the likes of Costa Rica and the USA will find themselves well above England.

Despite the amount of foreigners in our domestic game, you could still argue that, on paper, no player from either of those squads should be good enough to still get in England’s strongest line-up.

To re-iterate what I said in last week’s column, there was a degree of bad luck and with the first European Championship qualifier only a couple of months away, England get the chance to make amends fairly quickly – and hopefully consign the nightmare of Brazil to the dim and distant past. One way forward perhaps would be our FA making sure that at least six players in every starting line-up comes from the UK. Just how you will get the Russians, Shieks, Yanks and other assorted foreign owners to agree to that, well, that’s another story.

Congratulations to two of the next crop of emerging local athletes at Worthing Harriers, Jimmy Seacombe and Jake Binns.

They have both achieved personal bests in their respective events, under-17 100 metres and 200 metres, at the recent Sussex Schools Championships.

Both lads have clearly benefitted from a ten-day training camp over Easter in Gran Canaria, with their coach and Harriers chairman Gavin Stephens, and they now look forward to the National Schools Championships in Birmingham.

At this point, it’s only fair that I declare an interest as Jimmy is the son of a very old mate of mine, Sid.

He originally played football with Worthing United Youth before, after being encouraged by his teachers at St Andrew’s, went along to Worthing Harriers.

He is a clear example to local youngsters who might want to give athletics a go, as opposed to the other traditional sports.

Harriers are based at Worthing Leisure Centre and welcome potential athletes of all ages.

And, finally, full marks to the individuals who see fit to not let the cricket season pass without vandalising the covers down at Worthing CC’s Manor Ground.

Mindless cretins is an apt description and I only hope you really get a lot of enjoyment out of doing what you do.

Worthing is clearly a better place for having you live here . . . not!