Harty on Beckham’s Olympic exclusion and Vicente

DAVID Beckham’s exclusion from the GB Olympic squad seems to have prompted a wave of hysteria with football coach Stuart Pearce almost branded some kind of criminal for daring to drop “Goldenballs”.

Regardless of how much Beckham did in the initial bid to bring the games to this country, the BOA gave Pearce a job to pick a squad to win a prestigious football tournament, not for a series of high-profile exhibition games.

All three over-aged players, Giggs, Richards and Bellamy, chosen by Pearce, are still consistently performing at Premier League level – something Beckham hasn’t done for a number of seasons.

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Talk of thousands of current football ticket holders now not turning up because of the decision, is just that, talk. Beckham’s omission will not affect attendances in any shape or form.

At any sport and at any level, picking a squad on sentiment is a dangerous road to embark on. Pearce should be commended for sticking to his guns and should now be left alone to get on with the job he was given.

If the BOA really want to honour Beckham for his efforts, let him join the torch relay into the stadium on the opening night of the games.

While on the subject of the Olympics, I was pleased to read that the games have come in under-budget and it’s estimated that the event will bring a welcome boost to the British economy.

That almost flies in the face of what appeared, at times, to be an army of critics who have slated the organisation of the games since they were first awarded to London back in July, 2005.

The impasse over Albion’s star Spanish midfielder Vicente is almost becoming a major distraction away from the club’s pre-season preparations.

As I understand it, the main sticking point is that Mrs Vicente is not keen to move back to England with her new-born baby.

Petticoat management or an emotional smokescreen hiding the intentions of other clubs?

I personally feel it’s the latter, rather than the former. Given that this is a one of the nicest parts of the UK you could live, I think she would live wherever her husband asked her to.

I firmly believe that behind all of this is his agent and perhaps a club, who all but believe they have his services in the bank.

Ideally, common sense will break out, although that’s not always the case in football, and the player will return and take part in what could be one of the most exciting seasons in the club’s history.

Off-the-field, one of the most “exciting” events will be how they reckon they can get an estimated 40 per cent of the support who travel by train to the Amex when we play Millwall on Boxing Day – and there are no trains!

One of the town’s most successful ever Sunday football teams, Durrington Sunday, managed by the legendary Wilf Hugill, are holding a reunion at the George and Dragon on Sunday, July 15, from 2pm. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the first time the club won the prestigious Sussex FA Sunday Cup.