March 01, 2013

Promise Unfulfilled


POOLIE IN NOTTINGHAM on big-money transfers


The recent performances by Jack Baldwin have apparently drawn the attention of some 'bigger' teams than Pools. It's not surprising really given his ability and age. What would surprise me though is if he gets snapped up by a Premiership club, even one of the also-rans like Stoke or Sunderland. It just doesn't seem to happen these days.
" what kept us going through the dark and penniless days of the past was the hope that every year or two we could nurture a talent who would go onto better things, bringing in a few bob to keep the bailiffs at bay"
Some of you may remember the transfer of a young Don Hutchison from Pools to Liverpool, at a time when the 'other' Pool were still the biggest team in the country, the equivalent of today's Manure. He walked pretty much into their first team, enjoyed a decent career with Liverpool and other teams in the top flight, even winning plenty of caps (and captaining) Scotland.

Not so long after that, Joe Allon was snapped up by Chelsea, who although in the top flight were nothing like the moneybags pack of rarfs like they are today.

It's really hard to imagine something like this occurring now. Blame the Bosman ruling, TV money, the number of overseas players now prevalent throughout the leagues, or the increasingly sharp tactics of the larger clubs when it comes to hoovering up young talent, but the fact remains the once common practice of lower league players making a dream move to the top tier seems to be a thing of the past.

In recent years it's difficult to think of any players that have gone from Pools to a team in the division above us, let alone the top flight. Tommy Miller, Jon Cullen, Boydy, Dimi, and Tommy Butler are the only ones that spring to mind. We've never really been a production line of talent in the same vein as Crewe (who has?), but what kept us going through the dark and penniless days of the past was the hope that every year or two we could nurture a talent who would go onto better things, bringing in a few bob to keep the bailiffs at bay.

I have long held onto a hope that the financial bubble within football would burst dramatically, but another part of me thinks that it will just grow even more distorted, with wealth becoming increasingly concentrated at the top. If this proves to be the case, even less money will trickle down to the smaller clubs in the form of transfer fees, thus the vicious circle goes round.
Whatever happens in the future, it is just good to see some young lads finally getting their chance to impress. Not since Cooper's first spell at the helm have we seen so many youngsters in the first team. Whilst not all of them are up to scratch, some should make the grade, and if the long-overdue clearout finally does take place this summer, they really will have to step up to the plate.
Who knows, we may even see a star in the making find his way to the 'other' Pool again - although it is much more likely to be Blackpool in all honesty.