YEP Says, June 21: Theft that leaves club at heart of community praying for a lifeline

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...and why we can’t afford inspirational teachers to be stifled.

FOR the last week or so our eyes have been turned toward the World Cup in Brazil – even if they have been mostly obscured by our hands or a cushion during England’s games.

But while the national side’s defeat to Uruguay all but sealed their exit, a team far closer to home have been left facing an even more desperate scrap for survival.

Middleton Park FC is staring down the barrel of closure after thieves broke in and stole £3,000 worth of equipment – including 140 brand new footballs and hundreds of pairs of club-branded socks.

The club’s secretary, Wayne Dixon, says it could spell the end because the club runs on such a tight budget.

It had saved up for a year to buy the balls, which the shameless thieves are apparently now hawking round the local estate.

How galling it must be for all those who have given their time and energy to running the club, which started life just 10 years ago.

Right at the heart of the community, it nurtures talent and encourages hundreds of youngsters to enjoy the game.

Grassroots clubs like Middleton Park FC play such an important role in our local areas, only for this to happen. Let’s hope the club now gets the support it needs to keep going.

Don’t stifle our inspirational teachers

The rise of Andy Haldane highlights the importance of having inspirational teachers as role models.

The Bank of England’s chief economist credits Peter Bates, his teacher at Guiseley School, for injecting so enough life into his lessons to capture his imagination.

As such, the Yorkshireman’s illuminating back story serves as a salutary reminder to Education Secretary Michael Gove not to stifle the creative talents of those teachers whose natural enthusiasm must be allowed to take precedence over the demands of the Government’s latest diktats.

Without it, Mr Haldane’s talents would be lost to banking – and the country.

1990: Vinnie and Batts in action against Luton Town.

YEP Says: Our man Vinnie is a coup for Leeds