Staff Room

BILLY'S CONTRACT on the Hignett era

I read in the press that Craig Hignett had said "A lot of the players here have not been coached before", which is quite a damning opinion of Ronnie Moore's management tenure.  I also read several months back that Ronnie Moore, more or less had said the same thing about the coaching set up he inherited shortly after he took over the managerial reins, which was also quite a damning opinion laid at Colin Cooper's as well as Craig Hignett's doorstep.

If we take what both Hignett and Moore said as gospel that would mean that the Pools players have not been coached for the best part of two years - and it shows. You only have to look at some of the players whose progress seemed to stall under Ronnie Moore. I'm thinking of Duckworth, Fenwick, Jones and, in particular, Brad Walker and Scott Harrison, whose careers have taken a massive backward step. It could be that their faces did not fit, or that, with the exception of Harrison, they were players that Ronnie inherited and he did not take a shine to, or perhaps some of them were the bad boys of the dressing rooms. Who knows what goes on behind closed doors, particularly dressing room closed doors.both Let's hope that Craig Hignett can get some of them, if not all of them, back on track.

It is good to see that that Craig Hignett has been allowed to externally recruit his own backroom staff rather than be told he has to make do and mend with the personnel currently at the club. That is the same reason why Phil Brown never took up the managerial role at Pools, as he could not bring in his own backroom staff. It is unusual, particularly at this level, with resources being at a premium, that Hignett is talking about not only having both a coach and a number two also, which can only bode well.

When I heard of the appointment of Curtis Fleming as coach I thought "here we go again." Think Stephen Pears, and that it was a case of jobs for the boys of the old Boro network. However, thinking that he had been out of football since he retired from the Boro, I was surprised when I 'checked form', and learned that up until recently he was head coach at Crystal Palace and Bolton, so hopefully he will bring something to the table ...and not the bottom of the table either!

It will indeed be interesting to see who will become Craig Hignett's second in command.

And what of Craig Hignett's appointment. I for one was all for it and think that he is the man for the job. Since leaving Boro he has been seen regularly at The Vic so some of the levels of incompetence that we the fans have witnessed won't come as a complete surprise to him. He knows the club pretty much inside out which can only help. What does seem remarkable is that, when he left Pools to join his beloved Borer, both clubs' fortunes changed virtually overnight. Pools' declined whilst Borer's reached new highs.
"we desperately need a midfielder of the quality and style of a Tshibola"

Concerns, I have a few. He recently stated that he felt no need to bring in loan players as there was enough quality in the squad to get us through, and that he was happy with the midfield players that he has on the books. To my mind, and the minds of many others, that is where the problem lies: we desperately need a midfielder of the quality and style of a Tshibola. Concern number two is about whether or not he has the contacts in the game to bring in players from clubs other than Middlesbrough, almost the sole source when he was here under Colin Cooper, and from whom we got some right dross. It might be that Curtis Fleming could be the man with the contacts, or Hignett's new assistant, whoever that will be.

IN OTHER NEWS Is it a coincidence that the appointment of Ed Balls as a director of Norwich City coincides with their slide down the Premiership league table? This despite bringing in eight new players at some considerable cost during the January transfer window. Goodness knows what state the economy would have been in if he had indeed become Chancellor. Pass me another sausage roll Delia.

Comment, unintentional or otherwise, heard in the Town End during a recent home game. "Nice tackle Bates."