January 06, 2012

Those buggers at FIFA are at it - again!!

but GRANDAD SHOUTY is keeping his eye on them



Just as I was beginning to contemplate the Christmas holiday – and Pools’ three matches – so FIFA come up with another cracker (and I don’t mean the kind you pull at Christmas). FIFA will now ban emergency loans from the 2014/15 season on the spurious grounds that they breach rules governing transfer windows. If that is the case, wouldn’t it have been better to have amended the transfer window rules?

Despite the best efforts of the Football League, FIFA remained unmoved and so we’re stuck with another cock – up. As Paul Kelso wrote in the Daily Telegraph (21/12/11), “The move will hit the 72 Football League clubs who rely on emergency loans to cover unexpected injuries or weaknesses in their squads outside the two transfer windows”. Kelso also pointed out that Harry Redknapp is a proponent of the loan system, admitting that it helps him keep young players happy who are not in the first team. In other words, it can help develop young players’ careers.

For clubs like Pools, the loan system can be a boon.We don’t have the luxury (or the resources) in having a big squad; consequently, when a crisis arises there’s the option of tapping into the loan market, rather than bringing in players from the youth squad who have yet to play first team footy." There is, of course, the business about bringing the game into disrepute - FIFA by their very existence do just that."

Many of our loan signings are best forgotten about but astute management brought in four players who are still remembered by Poolies. Remember Daryl Duffy who came on loan during our one season in League 2? His goals helped to kick start an unbeaten run which is still remembered to this day; then there was Graeme Lee who came on loan from Doncaster Rovers to plug a weakened defence; then there was Roy O'Donovan whose goals kept us in League One two years ago; and finally, there was Jake Kean who came on loan to solve a goalkeeping problem. Those loans helped Pools but were of benefit to the players who came to help us out.

As I mentioned in last month's MB, I take the view that transfer windows are a restraint of trade and the sooner they are abolished the better. Loans from one club to another are the same as 'secondments' in business and seem to me to be quite natural. There is, of course, the business about bringing the game into disrepute - FIFA by their very existence do just that.

Just before Christmas came the news that the BBC are to axe the Football League Show on Saturday evenings. Although I don't watch it (its on too late for an old 'un) I do catch up on the BBC Website. Already, some of the clubs (one was Crawley) are expressing the view that the decision could affect their revenue streams, particularly sponsorship and advertising. It beggars belief that the BBC can make a decision of this kind when they're paying pundits millions. Everything in football seems to be working against the smaller clubs and what the powers that be should realise is that the strongest part of a tree are its roots.

Its been a depressing time at The Vic since Sheffield Wednesday beat us at the beginning of October, hasn't it? Obviously, in terms of possible crowd reductions, Mick Wadsworth paid the price even though he did some good work at Pools. Its now down to Neale Cooper to motivate the players and get the home record back on track. There's no doubt that he shows enthusiasm for the job in hand.

My abiding memory of Neale Cooper was in 2004 when Hugh Robertson scored his wonder goal against Luton Town. For most of a match, he and Martin Scott would stand at each side of the technical area like predators waiting for the kill. When Robertson's goal hit the net, Cooper and Scott met in the middle of the technical area and did a touchline jig. It certainly wasn't Strictly Come Dancing but their enthusiasm matched those of the fans. Incidentally, the Luton manager in that game was Mike Newell - 'Newell, Newell what's the score?' came from the Town End.

There were, of course, other applicants for the Pools job but I was left wondering if some of them might have been using Pools as a staging post prior to loftier heights. Still, we've got someone who believes in the club and that's the main thing. Best of luck. By the way, if you want to see a picture of him with a full head of hair, get Alex Ferguson's autobiography from the library. There's a great picture of him from his Aberdeen days.

Something else which has probably been occupying Poolies' thoughts is the crisis at Darlo and, at the time of writing, it could be that they may not survive. It seems so long ago that we played each other in the derby matches, particularly the last one at the Thingmy Arena. The carnival atmosphere was even prevalent before the Poolies reached Darlington as the motorcade stretched to around forty five coaches.

In the home derby match, Pools even went to the extent of engaging a mezzo - soprano by the name of Keedy who's main claim to fame is that she recorded Jerusalem in 2005 with the Ashes - winning England cricket team. 'What did they get her for?' asked my grandson. 'Well', I explained, 'its pre - match entertainment'. He came back with 'Well, we've never had anything like that at Pools before'. 'Don't you think its about time we had some culture at Pools?' He had no answer to that one.

The game against Sheffield United on 31 December brought back some memories. In 1992, Pools were due to play Sheffield United in an FA Cup fourth round tie and in the days preceding the game there were fears that Pools may have been forced out of business by the Inland Revenue. Luckily, Pools were saved by a loan from the council and staved off the winding up order. In that tie, Pools put up a very creditable performance, losing 1-0 to an Alan Cork goal. They paid the price of paying too much attention to Brian Deane and leaving Cork as the spare player.

Things come round in strange ways. At the time, there were two divisions between Pools and Sheffield United; in the 2011/12 season we're playing in the same league. Eventually, of course, Harold Hornsey came in to steady the ship and this was continued by IOR. I know we're losing money but the support of IOR is there to the benefit of everyone. At least our players aren't like those at Darlo- they know they'll get their wages at the end of the month.

In my pre - season forecasts, I suggested that Sheffield Wednesday would be up there among the leaders but never gave a mention to The Blades. They now seem to be challenging Wednesday for an automatic promotion spot, along with Huddersfield. I still haven't given up hope of Pools getting to the play - offs. We've always been nearer to the sixth spot than the twenty first. Consistency will be the name of the game and hopefully we can look forward to an interesting few months. Keep the faith!!