Harty on England and Albion’s TV coverage

GIVEN that treason is still the only offence they can hang you for in this country, I will choose my words carefully. But I’m actually relieved that England went out to Italy on Sunday night, albeit through the age-old, frustrating route of elimination by penalty shoot-out.

At the start of the tournament, with the low level of expectation, I think everyone would have been more than happy with topping the group and then not going out in open play, with the spectre of the Germans waiting in the semi-finals.

I might be wrong but, had we beaten Italy, I’m pretty sure, with the form the Germans are in at the moment, we might have been on the end of an unpleasant result tonight (Thursday).

As it is, Roy Hodgson can return home and regroup in time for the World Cup qualifiers that start in September.

Whether or not Sunday, or the tournament in general, spelled the end of a number of international careers remains to be seen, but I still maintain that Hodgson is currently the best man for the job.

And, hopefully, the popular press will give him a chance, rather than the character assassination some of his predecessors have had to endure over the years.

l While on the subject of treason, just what is going on at BBC South Today?

A leaked internal e-mail (well done, that man) to the press reveals, due to editorial changes after the digital switch over, that neither the Albion or Crawley will be featured in the sports bulletins broadcast to West Sussex.

Instead, Southampton, Portsmouth, Bournemouth and Reading will be the featured teams.

Having worked for the BBC for more than 11 years, I have on many occasions had to defend them. This, however, is indefensible. It is frankly a joke, and smacks of some executive who doesn’t know one end of a football pitch from the other, sat in a comfy office in Southampton.

Almost 25 years ago, after the Heysel disaster, the then sports minister Colin Moynihan brought in membership cards and every club enrolled its supporters.

The Albion card cost a pound and I think, at its peak, they had in excess of 20,000 members. Barry Lloyd later told me that taking out the Brighton and Hove postal district, the overwhelming majority of supporters came from West Sussex.

A quarter of a century on that has not changed, the Albion are supported county-wide, clearly, some chinless wonder in Southampton doesn’t realise this.

And they wonder why they get so much flak over the licence fee?

l Having run a team from under-seven right up to under-16, it’s part and parcel of a team that players come and go, especially, it appears, when the boys start at senior school and forge new friendships.

Worthing United under-14’s B team, a great bunch of lads, who play in the B division of the Arun & Chichester League, have a number spaces for the coming season as a result of such movements and invite new players to join them.

If anyone is interested, please contact Steve Tupper on 07846 354228.