Ian Hart: Free-to-air cricket coverage is extremely important after England's dramatic World Cup win

England's World Cup winners
England's World Cup winners

It was quite simply the greatest cricket match ever played in the history of the game.

England’s thrilling super over victory over New Zealand in the World Cup final at Lord’s on Sunday had all the drama to rival any Hollywood blockbuster.

And all played out to a large TV audience due to Sky sharing live coverage with Channel 4.

England winning the World Cup will certainly help promote the sport and get youngsters involved who previously might not have even thought about playing the game, but free-to-air coverage is also extremely important.

Unfortunately you cannot get away from the fact of how much Sky TV have put into English cricket over the years, but it would nice to think in a few weeks, if the Ashes comes down to the last Test, terrestrial viewers might get another chance to watch a day’s live cricket on their screens.

As Harry Redknapp once famously quipped “If you want loyalty, buy a dog”, but I do wonder how the board of directors at Sheffield Wednesday are feeling? They appointed Steve Bruce as manager at Hillsborough back in early January, but let him stay in the Caribbean watching England play cricket, during the football season, allowing him to take up him duties at the beginning of February.

Fast forward to this week and Bruce resigns from his position a couple of weeks before the start of the season to become Newcastle manager.

In the cut-throat world of professional sport, should we expect anything different? Perhaps not, then again loyalty and integrity are vital ingredients of life.

Bizarrely the sting in tale is that, in my opinion and that of many people the length and breadth of the country - and in even in Newcastle itself - don’t think Bruce is all that as a manager.

So if his appointment heralds a relegation fight for the Magpies, then bizarrely, that might act as an advantage for the Albion in the upcoming season.

It doesn’t make it right, though, and probably still leaves some in South Yorkshire with a bitter taste in the mouth.

So Bostik only managed to stick around for two years as Isthmian League sponsors and now Worthing will start the season in the BetVictor Premier Division.

It does amaze me that whilst tobacco and alcohol sponsorship were banned a number of years ago, the government still think its acceptable to allow various sports to receive money from the betting companies when gambling is equally addictive as both cigarettes and drink - and ultimately ruins lives just as much as the latter and the former.

Worthing will now be required to openly advertise and promote a gambling organisation throughout the club, a club which attracts a huge number of young supporters. I don’t wish to preach but I’ve sat in therapy sessions with gambling addicts and their stories are every bit as shocking as drug users or alcoholics.

Yes the league needs sponsors to operate, but this country in general seems to adopt almost a blinkered attitude when it comes to the gambling industry.

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