Makes a Change from a Load of Old Cobblers!

GREAT GRANDAD SHOUTY looks at the Vic and beyond

The very creditable draw against Northampton Town proved that Pools have got what it takes to achieve a mid-table position. Coming to Pools on the back of ten wins on the trot there must have been a sense of foreboding as the league leaders hit town. Yet, Pools were able to match them and so give us Poolies much more confidence.

The form of Nathan Thomas is encouraging but Poolies have made two assertions about him : one, that he must learn how to score goals and, secondly, he must remember that its footy he plays and not rugby. His miss against Yeovil was a howler. He left their right back for cold and we all waited for the back of the net to bulge – but it didn’t as Yeovil fans ducked for their safety as the ball flew over the bar. Nathan’s profile indicates that he’s scored twice against Pools – how about doing that for us!!! Still, on the law of averages he’s going to get on the score sheet; in the meantime, just worry opposing defences and win some penalties.

Shame about the late goal against Luton. How many times has that happened this season? I reckon about four so four draws rather than four defeats would have put us in a far healthier position. Realistically, we’re still better off than at this stage last season, so lets go up and up and, as the Northampton game proved, there won’t be too much old cobblers.

Northampton themselves, and Wycombe for that matter, have both experienced time near the bottom of League 2 and both came back to mount promotion challenges. Wycombe’s fate was sorted out on the last day of the season two years ago – they survived and Bristol Rovers went down. And, now, after getting back into the Football League, Trigger’s lot are mounting a promotion challenge.
"realistically, we’re still better off than at this stage than last season"

As we look to our safety, there’s one club who face an uncertain future and that’s Horden Colliery Welfare, who were made to vacate their ground following a legal case in Newcastle. According to a press release from Horden Parish Council (owners of the ground), they were owed money in rent and there are energy bills outstanding. Horden CW’s future is obviously in doubt and I was only too happy to sign the petition to Horden Parish Council asking them to help save the club. In some ways, Horden CW’s fate is a sign of the times. At one time, the colliery welfares were supported by the mining industry and I’ve no doubt that Horden's was an example of this. Now, of course, the mining industry is no more and clubs like Horden CW have had to become free-standing organisations with all the consequent difficulties. I hope they stay in business – it would be a shame if they folded. An amenity in Horden would be lost – surely the ground isn’t being earmarked for a housing development.

Another sign of the times came with the news that Middlesbrough’s away game, scheduled for Saturday 12 March, had been switched to the following day, kick off 3.30pm. This kind of thing shouldn’t come as a surprise – after all, our beautiful game has been taken over by television and supporters are the last people to matter. As one wag pointed out the other day, referees no longer decide when a game kicks off. That is governed by, for example, Sky, and depends on when their adverts finish. Still, if Middlesbrough have aspirations to getting in the bog-standard Premier League then they had better get used to being messed around.

Just over three months to go before the EU referendum and it's maybe a good time to reflect on the effect that Europe has had on the game. The most important effect is the Bosman ruling, which, of course, gives freedom of movement within EU clubs. It meant that Premier League clubs now sign a proliferation of players from Europe whose names we can’t pronounce and even remember. As well, there has been an adverse effect on the performances of the England team – something the Football League warned about in the 1960s when pundits wanted overseas players in the League. At least with Pools we can be proud of the fact that most of our players are British born. Even the Daily Mail congratulated us on that.