What Is the Cure for Hiccups?


Well, it was a hiccup last Saturday, wasn’t it?

Four undefeated games against Braintree, Leyton Orient, Boreham Wood and Ebbsfleet led us to believe that, at last, we were getting things right. Sadly, we had the hiccup against Bromley and whilst most Poolies accepted being beaten by a better side, it was the standard of refereeing that left a bad taste in the mouth.

I’ve always believed that FIFA make difficulties for referees but last Saturday was just downright incompetence of basic things. I’ve never known a home crowd chant ‘You don’t know what you’re doing’ so many times. Mind you, the assistant referee on the Neale Cooper side of the pitch wasn’t much better. There was one occasion where the ball was clearly about a foot over the goal line yet play was allowed to continue. If I could see the ball out of play with the onset of cataracts then just what the hell was he doing?

The National League must really get to grips with refereeing standards – if they don’t then interest from fans will ebb away. There was an expectation on Saturday that our gate would be between 3,500 and 4,000 but it fell to 2985. Was this just Pools or are people getting fed up with this grotty league and lowering standards. Don’t forget, National League, that Rome burned while Nero fiddled. Anything’s worth a try to improve refereeing – how about retired players or, dare I say it, women whistlers? Is there any chance of the hiccups being cured? Unfortunately, the omens are not good.

We have both injuries and suspensions. Carl Magnay is going to be out for some time and Michael Raynes won’t play again this season, having gone back to Crewe for rehabilitation. Then there is Luke James - how we could have done with him against Bromley. I guess he would have run them ragged. If that wasn’t enough, we now have Peter Kioso suspended for two games. And then we have up and coming fixtures – Sutton, AFC Fylde, Wrexham and Eastleigh are just some of the sides we tackle in March and they’re all above Pools.
"I’ve never known a home crowd chant ‘You don’t know what you’re doing’ so many times."

One weakness I’ve noticed with Pools is that we seldom threaten at set pieces. On Saturday, we were awarded a corner at the Corner Flag side of the ground and the ball sailed over the madding crowd for a throw-in to the opposition at the Cyril Knowles stand side. How about stationing someone to pick up the over-kicked corner – at least we'd keep possession and might be able to re-apply the pressure. Something for the training ground.

Finally, when the next MB appears, we will have had Brexit (or will we?) Discussion has revolved around the possible effect on overseas players and whether they will need work permits. All this goes over my head as it's an internal matter for the bog-standard Premier League – and to a lesser extent, the Championship, whereas many clubs like Pools continue to be composed only of British and Irish players.

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