POOLIE IN NOTTINGHAM on recruitment 

 The current atrocious form has seen many a Poolie clutching at straws. It is painfully obvious that the majority of the current squad is far from comfortable at this level, and it is easy to look at the tricky opposition winger who has just ripped through the defence for the fourth time in ten minutes and think “that’s exactly the kind of player we need.”

Chances are you will mention this to someone you are watching the match with, and they will quickly bring you down to earth with a comment along the lines of “can you honestly see him signing for us?” The simple and sad truth is that they are almost definitely right.

Over the years we have seen many decent players turning out against us, for ‘small clubs’ like us – Walsall, Orient, Colchester etc, who you hear of signing for another team. It’s always another team. Why is this?

For starters we have never really been a desirable destination for your average lower league footballer. The ‘joke’ team tag we seem to be doing our best to win back isn’t really something to encourage a potential signing with, even if they do have a great sense of humour.

Wages are obviously another factor, although it has to be said that there was a period under Turner’s first spell in charge, when we did sign some quality players on reputedly high wages for the time. However, we will never be able to compete financially on an even footing with a club like Sheffield United or any other of the ‘big’ teams we’ve turned out against over the last few years.  "The ‘joke’ team tag we seem to be doing our best to win back isn’t really something to encourage a potential signing with, even if they do have a great sense of humour."

Then there is the geography thing. A few years ago Roy Keane was famously stated as saying that it was difficult for him to sign top players because of the perceived lack of things for their Wags to do in the north east. Whilst Sunderland are a much bigger club than Pools, the point remains the same. The north eastern conurbation is relatively isolated from the rest of the country, and whilst we all know it has a great deal to offer, folk from other places don’t.

Over the years we’ve had a few players in on loan from Newcastle, Sunderland and Boro, with mixed success. Despite Pools being on their doorstep, there are still plenty of them who head further south to try out their luck lower down the league ladder. What I say is bollocks to them. If they don’t fancy playing at Pools for whatever reason then we don’t want them.

Maybe it’s a colder climate, perhaps it’s because the town isn’t stuffed full of boutiques for their bewers to spend their earnings in, possibly it’s because we don’t have a fancy modern stadium – whatever the reason, if a player doesn’t have his heart in it, then they are not right for the club. I don’t care how far away a player comes from (look at the success we enjoyed with a certain Aussie striker), as long as they can cope with the sea air and everything else that Pools throws at them, then they’re in.

Hopefully John Hughes will be given permission to perform a rather large clearout in the summer, which means the dead wood will need to be replaced. I for one hope he is able to pull in a few gems to get us out of the fourth tier at the first attempt, although I imagine there will be much speculation about plenty of players who “would never come here.”