January 06, 2017

Pools' Tactics So Far This Season

Pools' Tactics so Far This Season


RICHIE BARKER'S DIVING HEADER



I am writing this a couple of days after our horrific exit to Port Vale in the 2nd Round of the FA Cup. 

I am absolutely furious with Pools, not just yesterday but over the last few games. Though the 4-0 defeat was hard to take, it was not an embarrassment to go out to Port Vale. We have to remember that Port Vale were in a division above us. So if we had have beaten them, it technically would have been a shock if a club such as ourselves had won. Having said that, when the draw was made, I did think it was a winnable tie. So to hear in Mr Hignett's comments afterwards saying things like "embarassing" and "spineless" was terrible. 

 I know fully well how much bad results in the Cup can really increase your chances as a manager of your job being in trouble. Today is the 2nd anniversary of our embarrassing FA Cup exit at the hands of Blyth Spartans, chosen by the BBC to televise, Alan Shearer in their dressing room (oh dear), and all that.  We were 1-0 up and cruising towards Round Three, when we conceded two late goals. It was such an embarassment to go out to them, that that was Paul Murray's last game in charge at Pools. After what happened on Sunday, Mr Hignett could easily have gone as well.

I unfortunately was there the day Pools were mullered by Stevenage away. It is somewhat of a bogey team for us, judging on past results. However, Pools looked utterly spineless that day, and in my opinion, as Hignett said at Vale, we were right too boo them off. On these occasions, they are simply not fit to wear the shirt. The fans deserved a lot better in these circumstances. We all deserve a lot better.

I believe we've had some really good results so far this season. The fact we managed to go to Carlisle, Doncaster and Plymouth and come away from there all so disappointed not to win was incredible. But that's the thing about this club. We don't fear anyone regardless of position. However, regardless of that, it all seems rather futile to go to somewhere like Plymouth and get a draw, yet not be able to beat Newport at home.

 I would like to have seen us win more games than we have, specially at home. There was an amazing statistic floating around a couple of months ago about the amount of points Pools had thrown away so far this season.  The Grimsby away result was probably the best result so far this season. Accrington, Cheltenham and Stamford get an honourable mention. The problem is that we've had many results this season in which Pools have shot themselves in the foot: at home to Notts County and Newport, and away at Doncaster, Barnet (partially our fault, should have won), and at Preston where only a last minute goal lost us the match.
"The Grimsby away result was probably the best result so far this season"

I believed Pools had a massive opportunity in the Port Vale game. Win this tie and they would have been in the 3rd Round of the World's Greatest Cup Competition. More kudos for the Club. More prize money. But I did not hear any reports suggesting that Pools could have been proud of their performance at Vale Park. However to hear words like embarassing, there was utterly no way the club could have put on a positive spin.

Now I admire our new Chairman, Mr Coxall, who is one of the nicest people you could ever wish to meet. He himself wants to see the club succeed. However, I just wonder, if things continue to deteriorate in the way they have, does he really have the kahunas to make the decisions needed, should, by the time you read this, Mr Hignett is in serious danger. Because I believe we need to start getting some kind of results as soon as we can. If we don't, I believe Mr Hignett won't be with us at the end of January, even earlier if that bad.

I really wanted to go to the Doncaster away game. Doncaster have one the most modern football stadiums in League 2. However, I was unable to attend, so I decided to order a copy of their match day programme. I like buying programmes from the matches I attend, as I'm always interested in what the other clubs in our league think about us a club. Among the usual couple of pages about the Pools squad for this season there was a small article about key players in the Pools team, presumably the key players in the Pools team to watch: TOP STOPPER went to Trevor Carson.  DEFENSIVE ROCK went to Toto Nsiala!!!!!! MIDFIELD MAESTRO went to Nicky Featherstone. DEADLY STRIKER went to Amond.

Now I'm sorry but if Toto's meant to be our Defensive Rock, then quite frankly I'm Shirley Temple. I have heard very few positive reviews about him since he came to the club. I mean nothing personally, however, I do not believe he should even be at the club. I have heard too many reports of too many worrying defensive performances that have involved him somewhat this season. I have heard little good news about him, though he did score once.

Now this is the most surprising thing. I went on the BBC Sport website to check the team Pools put out at Vale Park, and I was horrified with what I found: Carson, Bates, Jones, Toto, Carroll, Laurent, Deverdics, Woods, Alessandra, Amond, and then FEATHERSTONE!!!!! Now, unless I'm very much mistaken unless I have not guessed Mr Hignett's formation for the Cup tie, that seems to indicate to me that Nicky Featherstone on Sunday was playing upfront. Now someone has to ask the question there: What was Nicky Featherstone, a midfielder according to BBC, doing in a traditionally attacking role? The responsibility for this surely lies at Mr. Hignett's door. Surely, you could look at that team and judge that Mr Featherstone was being played out of position. And surprisingly the more games this season that have featured the likes of Harrison, Donnelly, Jones, Paynter and Amond, and Nicky back in midfield, the more points we've won from them.

And here's a worrying thought to end: no Hartlepool United manager during the last few seasons has kept his job beyond the middle of December.