September 05, 2014

It's Going To Be a Long, Cold Winter!!


It's Going to Be a Long, Cold Winter!!


GREAT GRANDAD SHOUTY looks at things


As I write, its played five - won one and lost four. Hardly a good start to the season and its one which hardly inspires confidence. 

I did think that as Bury had lost their opening home game we might see Pools overcome them in our first opener. The sad fact is that Bury played us off the park and David Flitcroft seems to have brought together a useful side on limited resources. As I saw it, Bury employed three basic principles:

1. That players move quickly into space.

2. That the most effective way to start off attacks is to pass the ball along the ground to one of the players in space.

3. That the opponents' goal is in front of you.

Pools, I’m sorry to say, rarely did any of those things and were taught a sharp lesson. How often was the ball hoofed out of defence/midfield - only to land at the feet of a Bury defender - and so Bury were able to build up another attack and so put the defence under pressure again. The way things are going the Vanarama Conference beckons and a quick look at the table reveals its not an easy league to get out of. It took York, Luton and Oxford a few years to re-establish their league status and the current league indicates a number of clubs who have been relegated from the Football League - for example, Bristol Rovers (who haven’t set the league alight), Grimsby, Wrexham, Lincoln and Torquay - to name but a few.

What even makes it worse is the transfer of Luke James to Peterborough. I find it incredible that we should lose two players - Jack Baldwin and Luke James - on the last days of transfer windows . OK, I don’t blame the two players for wanting to better themselves but there’s something wrong somewhere. The transfer of Luke James means that we now have no way of signing replacements on a permanent basis and are having to rely on loan signings who might not fit the bill. It means now that we have no recognised goal scorer and it's difficult to see where goals are going to come from. "The way things are going the Vanarama Conference beckons and a quick look at the table reveals its not an easy league to get out of."

I don’t think there’s ever been so much pessimism around and I suppose we have to aim any criticisms at performances on the field and off it as well. By a quirk of our holiday arrangements and the Football League fixture list I’m going to miss the two home games against Shrewsbury and Tranmere. I’ll be keeping in touch with events but I’m not optimistic. I’ve always been one for saying ‘Keep the Faith’ but find it difficult to do so now.

One of the options that Colin Cooper looked at was obtaining the services again of Christian Burgess on loan from Middlesbrough. However, any such possibilities came to nought as Burgess was signed initially on loan by Peterborough and then signed permanently on a four year contract. Despite the disappointment, it was nice to see Christian Burgess acknowledge his season long loan at Pools. Speaking to the Peterborough Telegraph, he said, “The season I spent at Hartlepool was crucial in my development. The Football League is so different to the development football I was used to playing. It was a great experience and I enjoyed playing alongside Jack (Baldwin) as we were both learning the game. I needed to learn a few tricks of the trade” Who knows, but for Christian Burgess we might be in the Conference now. Best of luck -you could be in the Championship next season.

One of the issues that has recently been raised is the question of bringing back standing areas in the Premier League and Championship. Apparently, this came about because of a commitment by the Liberal Democrats to include something in their 2015 general election manifesto. Although the re-introduction of standing areas might bring down prices for punters it's something which needs to be very carefully thought out. Personally, I’d be against any such move - seating areas are easier to steward and, of course, safer. The only time I go in the Town End is for Johnstone’s Paint Trophy matches, and you’ve got plenty of room to move around. The Hillsborough disaster must always been in our minds and it’s the memory of this that would make me nervous of any changes. Let’s hope the Premier League and Football League stick to the status quo.

Turning away from Pools - how about our former manager, John Hughes? As I write, his club, Inverness Caledonian Thistle, sit proudly at the top of the Scottish Premier League. Although Celtic will no doubt win the SPL again, it’s a credit to the club and they may well be knocking at the European door next season.