HARTY: On youth football and local boxing

IF you thought the administrator had his work cut out at Portsmouth, spare a thought for the fixtures secretaries for all our local adult and youth football leagues.

As we enter March, some teams find themselves looking to have to play over half a season in the next few weeks.

I think you would have to consult Sir Laurie Claydon's almanac and go back to the winter of 1963 to find a campaign more decimated by the weather.

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As I'm not involved with the adult side I cannot really comment but, on the youth front, there have been calls from certain quarters to abandon leagues.

Ken Benham at the County FA took the unprecedented step of scratching a number of the age groups in the County Cup. But, really, with the backlog of fixtures, he had little choice and, although a couple of teams considered warm favourites in the respective ages were smarting a little, basically it all came to down to commonsense.

But the leagues are somewhat different. What everyone has to remember is that all the teams took money from the respective parents for the season last summer. I know fees differ from club to club but I've always been of the opinion that what clubs charge for youth football locally is very good value for what is provided.

Especially, as in my case, when you have a daughter who enjoys dancing and horse riding. I can assure you the cost of youth football equates very favorably against these two other pastimes.

So, by the very fact that this money has been taken almost six months ago, and in some cases clubs have played as little as half a dozen fixtures, you cannot just suddenly abandon leagues and leave parents feeling short-changed for what they've paid out.

The other aspect is, that with all this inactivity, it's paramount that the youngsters get back to playing football.

Otherwise a number could lose interest and come signing-on time next season, you could find a lot of clubs struggling to field teams this September.

We cannot alter the weather. What we must remember is that we have more children playing youth football in this town than ever before and what the local clubs do for these youngsters in the development, both on and off the field, can only be good for the future of the town.

Therefore, we all need to prepare for a feast of football in the next few weeks and remember all the hard work that goes into the administration of our local leagues.

Adur Boxing Club's recent dinner show at the Charmandean Centre raised almost 2,500 for the Lauren Jones Foundation and the club hope to put on another show in October at the same venue.

Like the youth football, the boxing is an important development in our local youngsters and, given the potential loss of the gym in Shoreham, Adur are working hard to find a new home.

As previously mentioned in this column, it might transpire that Adur come over to Worthing, as I know council leader Paul Yallop is working hard in trying to find them a new base within the borough.

He sees both importance and benefit to the local community that a Worthing boxing club could bring so, excuse the clich, but watch this space.


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