Harty on England versus France and Rebels

GIVEN the obvious circumstances, as a football game it was almost a non-event but as a global event it was perhaps one of the most significant friendly football matches in the history of football.

The England versus France game at Wembley on Tuesday gave us some of the most poignant images connected to sport this country has ever seen.

From the respect shown to the French national anthem, including many English supporters joining in the singing of it, to the rightly observed minute’s silence with both sides joining together in a show of unity.

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It’s just a shame that not quite everybody in the stadium was there to witness the historic events. Watching the footage on TV both late on Tuesday evening and again on Wednesday morning, it’s clear to see that a large number of the red corporate seats in the centre block were unoccupied, only later to be filled during the game.

With the events in Paris on Friday still in everyone’s minds, just how people can choose to stay in corporate hospitality rather than pay their respects beggars belief?

Perhaps if they stopped serving alcohol 30 minutes before kick-off, that might get people into their seats in time?

n I didn’t watch the England game as I was at Woodside Road for the re-arranged Rebels versus Dorking Wanderers game that was previously abandoned earlier in the season due to floodlight failure.

As a result of footballing protocol and naturally also out of respect to the supporters, Worthing operated an admission policy of free entry to any of the 165 who attended the previous game and then everyone else could make a donation, rather than pay the standard admission charges.

In the absence of our hard-working match secretary, Charlie Silver-Burr, I had to present the team sheet to the referee and, once I’d done that, I went and worked on the gate.

I always knew, given what they’ve had to put up with over the years, the Worthing faithful were a special breed but I have to say I was overwhelmed by both the honesty but more importantly the generosity of everyone coming through the turnstiles on Tuesday night.

Lots of people who watched the original game insisted on paying again, despite being offered free entry. And the levels of donations were almost on parity with what they would have paid on a normal match day (except for one bloke, in his 20s, who handed over a lone 20p piece!).

Granted the result wasn’t what the Woodside faithful wanted, but a near 300 crowd on a night when the England game was live on TV and the wind was blowing a hoolie, was again testament to the fact that the good times are returning to Worthing FC.

With the Albion on TV live on Sunday at Burnley, hopefully the crowds will return to Woodside again this Saturday as the Rebels entertain fellow promotion candidates Whyteleafe.

And, if fans want the ultimate double header football fix, they can get to the ground early as the 12.45pm lunchtime Premier League clash between Watford and Manchester United is on BT Sports in the bar.

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