Old Pals' Act


Thankfully we are at the end of another season of inglorious failure which our manager justifies by saying "Halfway or thereabouts is what we were looking for."
If he cares to look at the final league table he will see we finished in 17th place - our lowest league position in the club's history.

With one of the most unfit squads it has been my displeasure to watch we ended up coming second best to teams of part-timers who looked infinitely more fit than our bunch of talentless losers. Indeed our first manager of the season Mathew Bates thought 70 minutes training a day was sufficient for our lot. No wonder we ran out of steam.

Giving Bates the job was a massive mistake and a case of not what you know. Likewise the case of Raj Singh bringing in his mate Craig Hignett, first as director of football and then manager. Not forgetting that when Bates was in charge he brought in his two mates Ged McNamee and Ross Turnbull who are still at the club with no signs of improvement forthcoming.

The idea of the Old Pals Act and jobs for the boys has been rife at Victoria Park for far too long now, well before Mr Singh took over and we really need to look a bit further away even though when we did for a manager Richard Money we got our fingers burned. Most people agreed with giving him the job but it seems that his time as a football manager was long gone which is a pity because in his prime would have been a real asset to the club.

The jury is certainly still out on his successor Hignett who hardly shone at the job first time around and is still liable to make some baffling decisions. His worst one was bringing Conor Newton on at left back to see out a game only for us to concede two goals in the last three minutes to lose the game. And the form in the last five games when it was back to the bad old days until we overcame the ten men of Salford in the final game. In these we saw Xavi starting every game with Josh Hawkes, Liam Noble and Gavan Holohan sitting on the bench.

Hignett keeps spouting off that he wants to get a tall midfielder, who is mobile and can tackle yet plays the little fat feller as an ever present with the obvious results. Hignett certainly needs some back up or preferably goes back upstairs if Mr Singh can't get rid of him. I would like to see someone like Darrell Clarke or Gary Bowyer or Keith Hill given the job.
"Hignett must take this chance to clear the deadwood and not just get rid of the odd player here and there."

I welcome the move to give Antony Sweeney more responsibility and would make him first team coach or assistant manager. I believe he has a big future in coaching and we may have a gem right under our noses. No mention yet of season ticket prices for next season which will no doubt take a bit of selling with the dross we have on show. And the £20 charge for pay on the day needs to be looked at. We are Hartlepool not bloody Liverpool as Tommy Widdrington would say.

At the time of writing the retained list has not yet been announced and once this has been revealed we will have a good idea of what to expect for next season. Hignett must take this chance to clear the deadwood and not just get rid of the odd player here and there. For the record these are the players I would release:
Scott Loach,
Kenton Richardson,
Ryan Catterick,
Carl Magnay,
Myles Anderson,
Mark Kitching,
Ryan Donaldson,
Conor Newton,
Paddy McLoughlin,
Lewis Hawkins,
Jake Cassidy.

Of the loan players I would try and sign Nicke Kabamba and Luke Molyneux. Obviously the money will be tighter next season with the parachute payment gone and the Academy to be closed down which is not a bad thing while we are still in this jumpers-for-goalposts league. There will be any number of players looking for clubs this summer and it is hoped we have some decent ones sorted out. Because more than one more season in this league doesn't bear thinking about. Leyton Orient managed it this season without spending a fortune but they had two experienced men in charge, Justin Edinburgh and Martin Ling. 

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