CENTRAL PARK raises an important issue... or two... or...

There are those who say that I am easily irritated, but I don’t think so. I will admit that there are certain things that go on in the world in general and in football in particular that greatly annoy me, and at my age I usually say so, generally by hurling abuse at the telly.

I’m sure it’s not just me that has noticed, but the amount of public emotion expressed seems to have taken off in the last few years, and I don’t like it. I’m not talking about people expressing grief at the loss of a loved one, but about people crying at sporting events. I can understand people being overcome by emotion at a time of triumph, like Bobby Charlton at the World Cup, but grown Englishmen crying because they have lost a football match is embarrassing.

I can remember seeing an old black and white newsreel of the1948 cup final with a little lad aged about four crying because Blackpool had lost. That was just about OK, but in those days if he had been not very much older he would have received clip around the ear and a lecture about keeping a stiff upper lip. Quite right too."leaving aside the fortunes of your own team, most of the pleasure to be had from the game is watching other teams fail"

If crying at losing a prize isn’t bad enough then what are we supposed to make about a grown man crying because the opposition has scored a goal? Before you ask, yes, this did happen in England. I was watching the sports news on the telly the other day when they showed a Manchester City supporter actually crying because his team had conceded a goal. The game was still in progress and, given the talent at their disposal, it was not unreasonable to suppose that his team still had a chance of at least equalising, and he was crying. Clearly he is a man who had never been taught how to cope with the vicissitudes of life (come along Kenneth, you know where the dictionary is by now). It was almost enough to make me want to see Manchester United win the title.

Mind you, despite what I have been saying, I have to confess that I was once very close to tears myself over a football result. It was when Bury lost a match in 1986, but I had a very good reason, they were the tenth match of a ten game accumulator and I would have picked up more than £300 for a 50p stake if they had won – I’ll always remember it, despite what the therapist says.

Now that Pools are safe and sound for the season, I can now smugly watch the efforts of less successful teams struggle to achieve promotion or avoid the drop. I will be able to urge them on, or not, and not have to worry about the effect their results might have on Pools. As I’ve said before, leaving aside the fortunes of your own team, most of the pleasure to be had from the game is watching other teams fail. I don’t suppose that it will come as any surprise to learn that I have my eye on two teams in particular who operate not a million miles away.

I almost feel ashamed of myself where one particular team is concerned. There was one wonderful late spring a few years ago when they missed out on a play-off place by a goal difference of one. Is it too much to hope that they will be relegated to the Blue Square (North) by the same margin this year? What a wonderful double it would be if Middlesbrough missed out on the play offs in the same way. I would definitely record the ‘Boro Hour’ if that happened.

Dean Lewington: an apology

In last month’s article I drew attention to the expected depredations to be perpetrated by the above mentioned full back of MK Dons. This was based on experience of his shenanigans in the past which I confidently expected him to repeat. All those people who had never seen him play before were looking forward to roundly booing him for the cad I had assured them that he was. Darth Vader had never had a build up like I gave this lad, to anybody who would listen.

What a letdown. Throughout the match he didn’t do one unkind deed and behaved like a perfect gentleman. During the match I thought he was just leading us on and would come out in his true colours when the need arose but, not a bit of it. I do hope the lad isn’t ill, and that he will soon be back to his ‘best’.

From the state of the League Two table it would look like a good bet that Crawley will be joining us next season. This isn’t something I am looking forward to after seeing the end of their recent game with Bradford.

I heard both managers interviewed after the game and the contrast was telling. Remember five players had been sent off after the match had finished. The Bradford manager sounded shell shocked and suitably ashamed, but made reference to Crawley’s reputation for pre, during and post match ‘aggression’. The Crawley manager by contrast clearly couldn’t give a monkey’s, and was conducting himself as though nothing much had happened. Those of you with only average memories will remember the reports of our games against Boston United in the early 2000s and the way they conducted themselves before, during and after those games, especially in the FA Cup in 2005. What’s the connection? That’s right, the manager. If they do come up it will be interesting to see if he manages to intimidate Mr Cooper.

So the dark days of the close season are almost upon us. What will I do to combat the withdrawal symptoms?

Well there’s England in the European Championship so that’s one week taken care of. What’s that you say, the Olympics? Don’t make me laugh. What a waste of money, even if we do manage to collect a barrow load of medals courtesy of a bunch of foreigners shipped in especially for the occasion (oh er Premiership anyone?). With the possible exception of Los Angeles in 1984 I don’t think any Olympic city has ended up with anything other than a clutch of white elephant stadiums and a heap of debt. I was distraught when we were ‘awarded’ the games in 2005. It was like being awarded a life time ticket for the ‘you know where Arena’ and being forced to use it. The French looked glum at the awarding ceremony but I bet they were having a little chortle off camera when they realised that we would pay for the games and they could come and watch them on a day trip by Eurostar.

I can just hear the last government now, ‘I’ve got a good idea; let’s spend a whole lot of money we can’t afford to give the rest of the world a couple of weeks holiday’. It’s like the Tall Ships on steroids. It is going to cost us somewhere in the region of 11 billion pounds just to see how good the Chinese pharmaceutical companies are.

Well they won’t darken my telly, and if that bloke with the Olympic torch comes down our street; I’ll chuck a bucket of water over him and put it out. Bah humbug.