Harty on . . . Bobby Zamora, Paul Smith and Mo Farah

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THIS IS effectively my 42nd close season supporting the Albion and there’s still, to a degree, that eight-year-old little boy from Parkfield Road scouring the evening paper for news of potential signings.

Clearly, times have moved on and the significance of next Tuesday, June 30, is sometimes overlooked.

That is the date each year when the majority of players’ contracts run out. For example, Robert Lester Zamora ceases to be employed by Queens Park Rangers.

So, while, to a degree, there has been some transfer business – and the acquisition of Liam Rosenior from Hull is certainly, in my opinion, great business – we won’t really see any real movement until after July 1.

So, back to Bobby Z and his possible return, is he or isn’t he?

Bobby clearly knows that, in his early 30s, this is probably his last significant move. While some say there is no room for sentiment in football, a return to the Albion is almost written in the stars.

He can still cut it at Championship level and commercially his return would see kids the length and breadth of the county with Zamora 25 on the back of their replica shirts.

To a degree, I’m still that eight-year-old boy from West Worthing, in the fact that, as soon as this was suggested, I well and truly bought into it.

Like the rest of us, I’ve got to put my trust in Chris Hughton, not just with Bobby but the rest of the summer transfer business.

If it happens, it happens, and to paraphrase the words of Kevin Keegan “I would certainly love it”.

I’ve always been a big fan of boxing promoter Eddie Hearn, who followed in his father Barry’s footsteps, and has taken domestic boxing to a new level.

However, I seriously question the reasoning behind taking Paul Smith to fight Andre Ward in California last weekend.

In a catch weight contest, Smith came in over the weight and had to forfeit part of his purse in order to get the fight on.

He was then outclassed by Ward in every round and was handed a savage beating, which only finished when his own corner threw the towel in during the ninth round after Smith had his nose broken.

I’ve been privileged to have met Smith a number of times over the years and, outside the ring, he is a really nice bloke and very much a family man.

Yes, he’s a boxer, and he knows the risks when he goes between the ropes.

But there are levels and what I watched on Saturday night was a mismatch and something I didn’t think someone as clued up as Eddie Hearn would have been party to, whatever the financial rewards on offer.

The controversy of Olympic hero Mo Farah’s trainer Alberto Salazar is one of those situations that will unfortunately taint Farah’s gold medal success – however much people attempt to distance the runner from any wrongdoing.

I’ve no doubt in my mind that Farah is 100 per cent clean.

His medals were won fairly and his alleged missing of pre-Olympic drug tests are no more than an oversight.

Unfortunately, we have a section of the media, and not necessarily the sport section, who would be better placed in the times of the French Revolution, sitting at the foot of the guillotine knitting.

How sad that, in this day and age, Farah’s good old fashioned loyalty is deemed an error of judgement?

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