Looks Good...


As MB comes out, the wagons are set to roll. And I’ve not known such optimism for a long time. We’ve come a long way since those dark days two years ago. Raj has certainly given his support to Craig Hignett and we can only hope that the new signings bear fruit.

All of the signings - whether permanent or on loan - should contribute to a promotion challenging season. We’ve a new goalie who comes with a very good reputation; Michael Raynes and Romoney Crichlow-Noble will make for a stronger defence; Gime Toure and Luke Molyneux should add to a midfield that hopefully creates chances and wins the ball in breaking down attacks by our opponents. And in midfield in looks as though we’ll finally see Luke Williams. How we could have done with him last season. And then in attack we’ve signed on a permanent basis Nicke Kabamba and brought in Augustin Mafuta. All of this means two things - firstly, there’s competition for places and secondly we might be able to plug a weakness that had bedevilled us for the past two seasons, namely that we’ve been exposed when opposing teams break out of defence. It also means that we’ll have a decent bench.

Even though there’s optimism it's still not going to be easy getting out of this league. Notts County were identified as a club who would immediately mount a challenge but their financial problems might rule this out. I would expect Chesterfield to mount a more serious challenge this season.

In terms of the National League generally, I cannot for the life of me see why the play-off final has to be played at Wembley. At the end of last season, AFC Fylde and Salford City attracted the vast total of 8,049 spectators – would it not have been easier on the spectators to have allocated a smaller ground nearer to two north-west clubs? Even though a lot of Poolies would disagree with me, I wouldn’t fancy travelling down to Wembley. Far better to allocate a suitable ground when the finalists are known and printing the tickets could be done in 24 hours and then dispatched to the clubs by courier. But all that’s too easy – so to avoid all the nonsense, Pools, get automatic promotion for heavens’s sake!!
"We’ve come a long way since those dark days two years ago."

Mind you, the National League aren’t the only ones who mess things up. The silver medal (assuming the National League gets the bronze) goes to the English Football League. On Saturday, 11th May, they staged three play-off games: Derby v Leeds, Aston Villa v West Brom (Championship) and Sunderland v Portsmouth (League One). The Villa v West Brom game kicked off at 12:30pm (presumably before the pubs opened). Derby v Leeds kicked off at 5.15pm and Sunderland v Portsmouth kicked off at 7.30pm. This late kick off would have precluded Portsmouth fans from getting home by train. Could the Sunderland v Portsmouth game not have kicked off at 3pm? Another case of fans being short-changed.

The gold medal for stupidity, however goes to UEFA. Why on earth drag two English teams to Madrid for the Champions League final? Again, why not wait until the finalists are known. As it was, ticket prices, air fares and hotel accommodation rates went through the roof. The exploitation that took place must have surely made Mafia godfathers seem reasonable and compassionate people. But what took the biscuit was the choice of Baku in Azerbaijan to stage the Chelsea v Arsenal game. No wonder lots of supporters refused to travel to one of the most inaccessible places in Europe. Aren’t I glad I support Pools!!

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