A New Day Yesterday


BILLY'S CONTRACT



At long last, many might say, the football season is drawing to a close.

For many of us it finished in January when Pools really had nothing to play for except their pride. A far cry from the sunshine in August when our hopes and expectations were high and now are broken and shattered throughout the country at places like Fylde, Bromley, Harrogate, Dover and on many occasions in Hartlepool itself.

Along the way we had many cringe-worthy moments. Easy in hindsight to say that the appointment of Matthew Bates proved to be a huge disappointment but based on his previous track record there was little argument that he was the man for the job. Some of his signings looked to have pedigree but Andrew Davies and Luke Williams, like Bates himself, proved to be injury prone. Players with a history of injuries, who are possibly looking for one last pay day, should in my view only be signed on a small retainer and then on a pay-as-you-play basis ...or pay-through-the-pain basis.
"Hignett cannot afford to rest on his laurels, as Bates seemed to do, and must realise that Pools are still a long way from being the finished article and promotion contenders."

Then of course we had the Money problem, thankfully not the money problem that we had last year but one, none the less, which left our team broke of footballing ideas. Looking back, I still cannot understand why he decided to apply for the manager's job in the first place, and a couple of weeks later felt that he should swap roles with Craig Hignett as director of football which at one stage Pools seemed ready to accommodate. Thankfully he left the club and was being hailed as a man of principle when he did not seek any of the compensation to which he was apparently entitled for leaving the club. Who sanctioned that contract?

I fail to comprehend how Pools would have had to pay compensation when he wasn't happy in the job he applied for in the first place. It would have been interesting to have seen that case go to a job tribunal. "M'lord I was unfairly dismissed from someone else's role." Still, out of every bad situation some good can be found as was the case with Pools: Craig Hignett was appointed manager resulting in the team's fortunes and style of football improving dramatically. Another result was that Raj made the role of director of football (man upstairs) redundant, thus another wage saved.

Hignett cannot afford to rest on his laurels, as Bates seemed to do, and must realise that Pools are still a long way from being the finished article and promotion contenders. At the time of writing Pools are 25 points off the top place and 15 points from the last playoff spot which is not good enough even with the squad of players that we have.

On a positive note by bringing in players like Holohan, Edgar, Kerr, Bale, Kabamba, Amos and Molyneux, Hignett can treat the remaining fixtures as a pre-season and if necessary drop some first team regulars to keep them on their toes and to run the rule over many of the loan signings we currently have on our books to see if they are fit for purpose.

The club, via the commercial department, needs to get closer to the fans again and vice versa. Compared to HUST, the club is doing very little in the way of sportsmans' dinners, golf days or a meet-the-manager /Raj evenings. I think that the club see HUST as competition but HUFC should do their own thing or possibly work in conjunction with HUST. They should also be looking at offering special deals on the corporate boxes as for most of the season the majority of them have remained empty. I am not suggesting that they run things at a loss but as my old boss used to say "1 per cent of something is still a lot better than 100 per cent of nothing."

It is probably too late to organise but the commercial department should have taken a leaf out of Darlington 1883's book and selecteded several football strips being considered for the first team next season and let the fans choose their favourite via an online vote. Then it could have been launched at an open day similar to the one which was held last summer. It is said that HUFC is considering moving the club shop to the front of Pools' offices which I think is an excellent idea but they really do need to look at extending their stock/range offer.

Hopefully with Raj's backing and Hignett's promising managerial skills (and so far, not playing Borer-style football) we are going in the right direction. Let us not forget that this time last year we nearly did not have a football club to moan about!

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