Out with the Old and in with the New


It is always the same isn't it. A manager is given the old heave-ho by his club and his replacement comes in and gets a result. Much the same happened when Sam Collins took over as caretaker manager following Craig Hignett's departure from the club. Not only did Collins' side get a win on the day, against Stevenage, but the style of football differed,  not forgetting a change of personnel, particularly on the bench. 

It's apity Craig Hignett did not tap into some of big Sam's ideas - he might still be here. From the half dozen or so games Collins has had over the years as a caretaker boss (I think his record is five wins a draw and one defeat but I stand to be corrected on that),  which is pretty impressive to say the least. Based on that alone he had to be one of the bookies' favourites for the role of permanent Hartlepool manager.

On this occasion I was pleased that the job went to Dave Jones (yet another bloody Scouser), purely and simply because of the precarious situation in which Pools once again find themselves, and much as when Ronnie Moore joined the club an external appointment needed to be made, a fresh pair of eyes so to speak, and with contacts throughout the game. Having said that I think it is only a matter of time before Collins gets his chance in management.

After the welcome two nil win against our bogey side Stevenage the media were all going crazy about the performance that the team put in and how it might now be no longer be necessary to dip into the transfer market after all due to the untapped talent within the club.

I was not comfortable with all this hype, particularly the match ratings which the Mail handed out after the Stevenage victory, which would have been seen as over-generous even to the Liverpool side that pulled back a three-nil deficit against Milan in the Champions League final known as The Miracle of Istanbul. Most of the Pools players were awarded an 8 but Rhys Oates, who was rightly acclaimed as Man of the Match, was given a 9. He was good but not that good. If he had not missed the penalty would he have been awarded a 10?

Brad Walker had a reasonable game but came off after an hour and he was given an 8 or a 9 as well. Unbelievable Jeff. It has to be said that 'Pools did play a lot better than in previous matches and for a change we beat a side that was worse than ourselves. Let's not forget that Stevenage hit the woodwork twice and missed two open goals so the win was not as comfortable as it looked.
"the pitch looked as if it had held the Welsh Heavy Horses Ploughing Championships the night before"

Dave Jones got to see the real Pools the following week down at Newport. Yes, perhaps the game should never have been played and the pitch looked as if it had held the Welsh Heavy Horses Ploughing Championships the night before but it is the same for both teams. Some argued that it was an advantage for the home side but I don't accept that as Newport had signed twelve players during the transfer window and many of them had not seen, let alone set foot on that pitch before the game with Pools.

Basically they were a bigger and more physical side and bossed and bullied Pools. You only have to look at Newport's second goal where they had three free unchallenged headers before the ball went into the back of the net. No Pools player got close or even attempted to get close. 'Men against boys' should have been The Mail's headline on the sports page on Saturday night.

Dave Jones's number one remit is to retain Pools league status and I am sure if he does this he will then be given a contract. Even at this early stage I am sure that Jones has already made his mind up about a few of the players in his squad and no doubt has pencilled a few names down on the end-of-season free transfer list. 

If I were in Dave Jones's shoes I would be absolutely brutal about which players I would let go; I no longer have time for sentiment. In fact it would be quicker and save time if I listed those players that I would keep: Carson, Bartlett, Donnelly, Amond and, if he is still here at the end of the season, Nathan Thomas.
I would cut the size of the squad down by a third and go for quality rather than quantity. I think only Chelsea have a bigger squad than Pools and they are in the Premiership for goodness sake. With these savings and the money we get in for Nathan Thomas I would bring in some tall, quick and experienced players and one or two nasty lads.

If possible I would try to bring in Sean Kavanagh on a permanent deal. He is one of the few actual footballers that we currently have at the club but I think he could find a club a division or two above Pools. Anyway let's see what happens next Saturday and bring on Yeovil Town, another one of our bogey teams whom we have only beaten twice in our last ten meetings. Still, records are there to be broken.