January 04, 2013

Unhappy New Year


BILL THE BIRO on shattered hope


First of all I hope you all had a great Festive Season with just enough presents, mince pies and alcohol.

I'm sure, like many Poolies, one of your highlights will have been the Pools result at Bramall Lane. As one of our occasional contributors remarked "Where did that come from?"

And I bet that like me, many (make that all) Poolies were then thinking "Have we turned the corner? Are we still in a chance of escaping the drop?" So there then followed a few days of excitement. The interest had returned. The next few matches were against mid-table or struggling teams, so we could stack up a few points fairly quickly. Any team that could beat the league leaders away must be much better than the league table showed, right? Even if they were cast adrift at the bottom. Just catch up with the pack, then momentum would take us to safety."Any team that could beat the league leaders away must be much better than the league table showed, right? Even if they were cast adrift at the bottom"

Of course, all that enthusiasm and excitement drained away when an uninspiring Preston took all the points at the Vic on New Year's Day. Same old Pools. Same old odd (and late) substitutions by Hughes, and optimism vanished almost as soon as it had arrived.

The reality, exposed in the glare of hindsight, is the fact that Bramall Lane was one of those things that happens at this time of year. The bottom club were arriving at the league leaders, having just been tonked by struggling Carlisle. Add to that the fact that this match was not only a festive one, but also a historically significant one (150th anniversary to the day of the very first match at Bramall Lane), and this meant that the occasion was going to be a late Christmas present for Blades fans. So, just as we Poolies were expecting a result in double-figures, so too were almost 20,000 people in Bramall Lane. And the Sheffield players.

I'm sure Danny Wilson will have told them that this match was a potential banana skin, but footballers seem to so easily fall into "just turn up to collect the points" mode. A few days later  QPR, the Premiership's equivalent of Pools, won at Chelsea, showing that these things aren't that rare. No doubt some Premiership clubs will go the same way in the third round of the FA Cup, as usual.

So there we have it. Bramall Lane was just a flash in the pan. The league table didn't lie. We really are that bad. And doomed. First day of the year and hope gone already. Not a good start. Ah well, as the song says, "Things Can Only Get Better."

They can, can't they?