Harty on England, Rangers and Worthing Town

SAME old, same old – never let the truth get in the way of a bit of old tabloid negativity.

The Sun informed us on Sunday morning that, although Roy Hodgson was going into the Euros with confidence, the FA had actually provisionally booked flights for the team after the group stages.

Clearly, someone at Wapping needs to check their facts. With the exception of the host nations, for obvious reasons, every participant in either of the major football summer tournaments is obliged to make similar provisional arrangements at the end of the group stages and after every subsequent knock-out match.

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That’s for the very fact that, without being rude, once you’re out of the competition the host nation want you out anyway.

And, in whatever circumstances, I can’t see any manager and his squad wanting to hang around, anyway.

As for the football, the opening game against France was a steady, workmanlike performance. A win would have been nice but, given the form of the French, we would have all settled for a draw before kick-off.

With the aforementioned low level of expectation, people appear to still be wary about the next two games against arguably lesser opposition. But I’ve still got a good feeling that we could surprise our rivals and still end up in the last four – our best showing since 1996.

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Even before the fixtures are published next Monday, HMRC have recorded perhaps the biggest “win” of the season by forcing Glasgow Rangers into liquidation.

I firmly believe that what has gone on north of the border was very much a test case for the tax man, and 25-30 years ago public opinion would have firmly been in the camp of the football club. But, in these difficult economic times, even your most passionate football supporter knows that we all have to pay tax and if we don’t there are consequences.

But, the big question is now how many of the 92 Football League clubs and possibly some at the higher end of the non-league pyramid are in trouble with the Revenue?

And, now Rangers appear to have gone with little public outcry, who will be next, and how many clubs will it be?

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Reports suggest that there at least 12 clubs that HMRC have serious issues with. Move forward 12 months and could we be looking at a lesser number than our current 92 league clubs?

And, finally, I would like to express my own gratitude and thanks to Ian Stewart and his lovely wife, Elvira, on the news of their stepping down from their positions at Worthing Town FC.

With the off-field team he assembled and their hard work and dedication, the new state-of-the-art facilities at Palatine Park will provide football for youngsters in our community for many years to come.

The knock-on effect that will have on the general development of the youngsters into adulthood is priceless. Frankly, other individuals could sit on the council for the next 20 years and have less impact.

Enjoy your “retirement”, old boy; you’ve certainly earned it, as has your good lady . . .

And, good luck to Tony Lelliott, your successor, another man with the right idea when it comes to youth sport.