Harty on... England and Christmas reading

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HAVING watched it on catch up late into Tuesday night because of my commitments at Woodside Road (see below) collectively, we can all breathe a sigh of relief as England are Brazil bound, and as a nation we don’t have to endure another barren World Cup summer like we had in 74,78 and 94.

With England, however clear-cut things eventually pan out to be, there is always an element of uncertainty, and while we can now look forward to next year’s summer tournament, I hope we don’t get enveloped in a wave of expectation.

If you judge world football on the same scale as the Premier League, I think it puts both the team and the abilities and capabilities of Roy Hodgson into context.

Whether we like it or not, and regardless of these sometimes strange and inexplicable world rankings, as a footballing nation we are not, at present, a Manchester City, United, Arsenal or Chelsea.

As things stand now, with clear issues over the number of foreign players playing in our league, we are, in footballing terms, in my opinion, West Bromwich Albion. We are a tight, well-organised outfit, capable of winning big games – Old Trafford – and of holding other top teams – a recent 1-1 draw with Arsenal – but probably two or three class players short of really consistently competing at the highest level, and by that I mean consistently getting to the semi-final stage of every major tournament.

As a club manager, Hodgson did very well at the Hawthorns, which bodes well for his international exploits.

Whether or not we already have, or he can unearth those ‘key’ players in time for next summer, remains to be seen, but one thing is for certain, like the Albion, supporting England is never dull...

n After last week’s reported blip, Worthing Football Club’s youth sides both bounced back in emphatic fashion.

The county side winning comfortably, 5-1, in the rain at Wick on Sunday, while the Ryman side progressed to the next round of the League Cup with a polished 5-1 performance against Eastbourne at Woodside on Tuesday night, in front of a paying crowd of almost 50, which when you bear in mind England were live on ITV, is a testament to the football the young Rebels play.

This Monday, supporters will get the chance to see next year’s potential intake, managed by Calvin Buckland, when they take on the county under-18s in a trial game, which is a 7.45pm kick-off.

n It’s that time of the year when everybody who’s anybody is getting a book out to catch the pre-Christmas market. This week at Herald towers I was in receipt of a copy of Ricky Hatton’s book, which I will be reviewing in the next couple of weeks, but suffice to say on my initial look at the book, like his style in the ring, the Hitman doesn’t hold back, and his book touches on all of his reported troubles, both in and out of the ring.

Another book publication I am looking forward to is that of former Albion chairman and current club president Dick Knight.

I say look forward, but with almost a caveat. Some years ago, I looked forward to Chris Eubank’s autobiography, but that wasn’t for me.

So, Dick, the Albion faithful need the missal they crave, warts and all...