Harty on the Premier League and Albion

CLEARLY, sooner or later the Premier League foreign club owners were always going to float the idea of a closed shop league with no promotion or relegation.

However, I’m surprised about some of the reaction. To me, it’s simple. The competition rules of the Premier League state the provision of promotion and relegation. And, if a club or its owner isn’t happy with that idea, then they should think about joining another league that will pander to their demands.

Even if it came to a vote, I doubt they’d get the required majority and, ironically, I think it will probably be good for the game in the long run as it will remind certain owners that you can buy the best players and, in turn, success, but you cannot buy the game itself.

Perhaps it will take the likes of Roman retreating from Chelsea and seeing the internal carnage that could leave, before a number of football fans realise that truly all that glisters is not gold.

As Corporal Jones would have famously said on more than one occasion “don’t panic”.

All the knockers and the doubters are already beginning to write the epitaph for the Albion’s season after a few indifferent results, which is probably more predictable than the dip in form.

It was never going to be a cakewalk, but with Gus Poyet signing his five-year deal, the Albion have got their man for the long haul.

Victory against the high-flying Hammers on Monday night will certainly paint a different picture. But, even if that doesn’t happen, go back one year, go back five years, go back 10 years and ask yourself, are the Albion in a better position now?

Rocket science it isn’t . . .

As a big fan, a small part of me was sad to see the curtain come down on Ricky Hatton’s boxing career but, then again, his health and well-being was far more important than any future contests.

He now has a new career as a promoter and trainer and also an after-dinner speaker and was on fine form on Monday night when he spoke at the boxing writers’ dinner at the Savoy.

His opening salvo set the tone: “I can’t guarantee I will be funny but what I can promise you is that this speech will last longer than my last fight.”

I can’t let this week’s column pass without a mention to the recently departed John Vinicombe.

To my mind, quite simply a journalistic legend and someone who I was fortunate to count as a friend.

From when I was co-editing Gulls Eye, to my stint on the BBC and writing this column, he was always there with advice and I’m pleased to say that earlier this year I got the chance to work with him once more when we recorded a podcast for the Albion, along with Tony Millard.

Using the stock phrase he always ended our conversations with, “Yaki Da, John. . .”

Top-class local amateur boxing returns this weekend when Adur BC put on an open show at the Lancing Parish Rooms with an 8pm start.

For more details, contact Dave Binns on 07803190313.