It's Not Rocket Science - Oh, It Is!


Albert Einstein is recorded as having once said something about 'Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results',  which in itself is a fitting epitaph for Craig Hignett. 

I admit I was delighted when Gary Coxall appointed Craig Hignett as manager but I have to say I was equally delighted when he left the club, if for nothing more than to keep the damage down to a minimum and giving someone else the opportunity to repair or carry out a 'bodge' job on the damage already done.

By his own admission Hignett agonised over formations and team selections and on numerous occasions he would put square pegs into round holes to accommodate the player rather than have the team balance right. Some of his statements were also worrying such as when he said that 'We are not looking over our shoulders at the teams below us'. I required smelling salts when I first heard that as I recalled the previous season the Tranmere manager saying near enough the same thing when Rovers had a little run going for them and they climbed a couple or three places away from the relegation spots, only for them, a few weeks later, to be overtaken by Ronnie Moore's Rasta army and Tranmere stayed rooted to the bottom of the league for the rest of the season.

Pools are now in a similar situation to that Tranmere were in at the time of their manager's boast and like then the majority of teams below us are starting to pick up a little bit of form and most of them have a game in hand over Pools (Accrington have two), so complacency is the last thing that we need at the club.
"what makes this more worrying is that some of the teams that beat us were very poor indeed"

The other thing that raised my hackles was when Craig Hignett and indeed some of his players said on several occasions in the media that 'There is little to separate the sides in this division and anyone can beat anyone.' However, Pools did not seem to be in the business of beating anyone on a regular basis. At the time of writing our defeats are almost double our wins and what makes this more worrying is that some of the teams that beat us were very poor indeed.

At the risk of repeating myself (see back issues of The Bizz) it was Hignett's style of football which boiled my pee. Always, always sideways and backwards and on many occasion a promising attack on the edge of the opposition's penalty box would end up with the ball being passed back to Trevor Carson. Allied to this was the 'all eleven men' back tactic when defending a corner, without one Pools player loitering with intent on or about the halfway line in an attempt to pick up a clearance or at the very least occupy the attention of a couple of defenders and prevent them from pushing forward.

We had this week in and week out. It was like Groundhog Day. The same thing over and over again, played without pace or incisiveness but plenty of predictability so that even the poorest of our opponents had us sussed by half time.

In his last match as manager I watched as once again an attack fizzled out and the ball came back to the keeper. I turned round on the terrace and in desperation, and to my mates' astoundment and that of those behind me, I started pounding my hand on the crush barrier behind me and shouting 'No, no, no', which was more than Craig Hignett was doing.

It may well be that Hignett wanted to play a certain style of football but did not have the players to carry this off. That being the case he should have tried something different rather than proving Einstein's statement over and over again.

It is not as if it is exactly MC squared that we are talking about. Karanka at Borer is in the same mould - they stick to their principles, or have no other plan, or are just too plain stubborn to admit that they have got it wrong. Sadly, Craig Hignett, along with the likes of Colin Cooper and Paul Murray, are unlikely to get a first team management role again at league level and at best it will be a backroom/youth team coach job behind the scenes, due to their failure at the Elephant's graveyard that is better known as Hartlepool United.

Unlike New York, New York, If you fail here you can fail anywhere. Mr Einstein please note.