Harty on Albion’s new signing rumours, Charlie Oatway, boxing and the Olympics

AT THE time of going to press, the “marquee” Albion signing has not materialised, despite rife speculation.Given the rumour mill, I sincerely hope it eventually does take place because, from what I’m hearing, it will certainly raise excitement levels in and around the Amex.

One signing which will give hope to every aspiring youngster in the county and beyond is that of Charlie Oatway Junior, who has been awarded a contract with the development squad.

Clearly, with Charlie Jnr’s family connections at the club, there have been whispers in certain quarters about nepotism and jobs for the boys.

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This is so far from the truth, it beggars belief. But just for the benefit of all those putting their two-penneth in, Charlie Oatway senior had no input in the decision at all. It was made solely by Gus Poyet, with advice from both Martin Hinshelwood, before he left the club, and Luke Williams, head of the development squad.

To reiterate what it does do – it shows that there is a path back to pro football even after you may have dropped out of the system. Testament to this is both Bradley Lewis and Harvey Sparks who were both let go by the Albion but now find themselves in Worthing’s first team set-up at 17 and 16 respectively, with every possibility of getting another chance at the higher level.

It was boxing’s version of a tale of two cities, London and Las Vegas, on Saturday.

For all the hype and their initial behaviour outside of the ring, David Haye and Derek Chisora served up an entertaining heavyweight contest, which now finds me in a bit of a quandary.

Having previously said in these pages that, after the abortive trip to Hamburg 12 months ago, I wouldn’t watch Haye live, even if he was fighting on Broadwater Green, I now think that he may have redeemed himself and a proposed clash with the other Klitschko, Vitali, back in the fatherland, is something I would certainly consider going to.

As for Amir Khan, after his emphatic defeat by Danny Garcia, I think both him and his family have got a lot of thinking to do. Shrewd management has set him up financially for life, but with what appears to be now a suspect glass jaw, can he really mix it at the top level?

And if the answer’s no, then even at 25, retirement has to be the sensible option.

With just over a week to go before the Olympic opening ceremony, the excitement is mounting. But without wishing to be a spoilsport, I was actually hoping one particular thing would happen before the games got under way.

I consider myself fairly broadminded and easy going but, like most people, I do have boundaries. So part of me wanted the Argentinian hockey captain, who made the training/propaganda video of him training on the Falklands War Memorial, to be detained on his arrival at Heathrow and cautioned under the public order act, before being released to take part in the games.

His gesture, regardless of whether he was prompted by his own government, was offensive, so, I believe, as a nation, we should have taken some kind of action once he arrived on British soil.