Out With a Whimper

GREAT GRANDAD SHOUTY sums up the season

So our march towards the play-offs was blunted. Obviously, expectations at the beginning of the month of March were quite high but the three defeats against Oxford, Mansfield and Cheltenham virtually consign us to a mid table place. What cost us in the end were injuries and this was something I warned about in last month’s MB.

Still there have been encouraging aspects this season and I would list them as follows:

The emergence of Michael Duckworth as an attacking full back. Pity he was one of the injuries in March.

Sam Collins’ return to the side after the transfer of Jack Baldwin to Peterborough. And then we thought that he’d be coaching the reserves all season.

The signing of Marlon Harewood. Not only has he still got plenty of ability but he took some of the weight off Luke James.

Luke James’ ability as an out and out striker. Those who said he shouldn’t have been keeping the bench warm last season have been vindicated.

Colin Cooper’s ability to tap the loan market - particularly with local clubs. His signing of Luke Williams, Matty Dolan, Christian Burgess and Jack Barmby were certainly beneficial to Pools. In particular, I was always impressed with Burgess - he formed a good partnerships with Jack Baldwin and Sam Collins. Pity we won’t have him next season.

The emergence of Bradley Walker in midfield. Showing a maturity beyond his years, he should be a pivotal member of the side next season.

Performance of the season:

In the league, it would have to be the 1-0 win against Plymouth. Down to ten men after 25 minutes, Pools have never fought so hard to hang on.

Surprise of the season:

The 5-0 win against Bradford City in the JPT trophy. That game proved we could score goals.

The 1-0 win against Sheffield United at Bramall Lane also in the JPT. This was part of Sheffield United’s bad spell and led to the husband of a work mate of mine pacing round the house uttering the words, “Things are desperate. We can’t even beat Hartlepool now!"

What then of the downsides? I suppose we could mention the following:

Tony Sweeney. More often than not, failed to make an impact when coming off the substitutes bench. And there were his two serious injuries. A case of not being retained? A pity - he had much to offer coming through from midfield in his best years.

Niall Rodney’s failure to make an impact. He certainly tried but it didn’t come as a surprise when he was released at the end of March.

Jack Compton’s failure to live up to his early promise. He seemed to lose a lot of his impact after the sending off against Plymouth.

The thought that somebody might come in and nick Luke James for a paltry sum.

So that’s the 2013/14 season folks - the good outweigh the bad! What can we look forward to? Luton are obviously coming up from the Conference but who will accompany them? Could it be Gateshead who look as though they might reach the play offs? Hope so, it will give us a local derby game. Even nearer than York. So far as League One relegation goes, perm any four from Notts County, Stevenage, Tranmere, Carlisle and Crewe - and as I’ve mentioned four of those clubs have ex-Poolies in their ranks.
"Things are desperate. We can’t even beat Hartlepool now!"
Saturday, 12 April will, of course, be the day when our game against Chesterfield kicks off at 3.7pm so that we can remember the 96 who died at Hillsborough 25 years ago. After all the campaigning , it now looks as though the families will at last get justice. Its been a long, long road and fans everywhere will be watching developments.

This summer, of course, sees the World Cup in Brazil and the FA have, of course, began their rip - off early by flogging World Cup replica shirts for £90. Bloody hell - they will surely have to be stuffed with diamonds for that price. Keep your money - after the World Cup they will be in the summer sales at knockdown prices. Or better still, spend your hard earned money in the Pools shop. It’s a far more deserving cause. Additionally, so far as the World Cup is concerned it didn’t take long for the government to do a u turn on bars and pubs staying open later when England play late night games. Will the drinkers have anything to celebrate? Don’t hold your breath!

Anyway, folks enjoy the summer break. May you have an enjoyable holiday - and don’t get too stressed out going round the usual retail establishments. Text