Harty on Michel Kuipers, Tina Cook and Olympic boxing

A FREQUENTLY asked question that’s been put to me over the last few weeks is, are testimonial matches a thing of the past?

Therefore, there is an argument to say that Albion must be unique as in the last few years we’ve had Kerry Mayo and Gary Hart reach the ten-year milestone.

Now on Tuesday (August 7), it’s the turn of popular Dutch goalkeeper Michel Kuipers, who is having a benefit game against Premiership side Reading at the Amex in a 7.45pm kick-off.

I had the privilege of being asked by Michel to be his committee chairman, a post I also had the privilege of filling for both Kerry and Gary.

Whilst a healthy crowd on Tuesday will certainly give Michel and his family a financial reward, I firmly believe it’s not just about that.

When Michel was told in 2010 that his contract wasn’t being renewed, while he accepted that it was part and parcel of football he was bitterly disappointed that he never got a chance to say a proper goodbye to the Albion faithful.

He gets that chance on Tuesday night and I only hope the crowd figure reflects his service to the Albion.

Another legend, Charlie Oatway, embarks on his own series of testimonial events at the club in September, marking over a decade of loyal service at the Albion, and I hope he also receives the recognition he so richly deserves from the support.

At time of going to press, Team GB still wait for the first elusive gold, although congratulations to our very own Tina Cook, from Findon, with her silver in the equestrian section on Tuesday.

Hopefully, Bradley Wiggins will oblige later this morning (Wednesday), although regardless of what colour it is, if he wins any kind of medal, with seven in total he becomes the most decorated British Olympian in history.

The powers that be can make things happen at the drop of a hat; therefore he should wait no longer and be knighted for his services to not only his sport but making the country feel better in very difficult times.

Last night I ticked another one of those boxes when I went to the Excel Arena to watch the boxing.

Testament to how the sport has developed in this country at amateur level over the last few years is the fact that back in 2004 when Amir Khan won his silver medal in Athens, he was our only boxer at the games.

This time around, we have seven male and three female fighters, all with genuine medal prospects.

Whatever the outcome in each category it will make interesting viewing watching all the various professional promoters vying over the next few months for the relevant fighters to turn professional with them.

My only hope is that lessons are learnt from 2000 when gold medallist Audley Harrison was handed a seven-figure TV contract by the BBC, which many will say was ultimately the undoing of him.

And finally, a footballing question for which the winning entry will get a signed Michel Kuipers testimonial poster.

From which club did the Albion sign Kuipers in 2000?

Answers by e mail to sport@worthingherald.co.uk, the closing date is noon on Saturday, August 11, and the winner will be announced in the following Thursday edition.