Positive v Negative


I am beginning to think that Craig Hignett is joining a vast number of football managers and fast becoming a serial whinger.

Pretty much the first month of this season that was all he did. Granted 'Pools were not pulling up trees, but listening to him or reading his interviews was depressing to say the least. What must his team talks be like?

First it was referees. Yes we all know at National League level the quality of referees, with very few exceptions, ranges from the dire to the comical.  Most are inconsistent and some are downright awful and not fit for purpose but it is the same for every team in this league.

Craig Hignett, like most other managers whose team has just won by a significant margin despite the referee having an abysmal game, never seem to comment on the officials' display or glibly dismiss it. On the other hand, lose, and all hell breaks loose. Then we had his rant about social media and the keyboard warriors. He stated that he does not look at or read what is put online but clearly he does as he had taken umbrage about something or other to make comment on it in the first place.

After the home defeat by Bromley, Hignett put on his Carol Kirkwood head and it was all about the windy conditions that prevailed. Unless they were windproof surely it must have been just as bad for Bromley as it was for Pools on the day. Hartlepool players should be well acclimatised to the wind as it is pretty much blowing a gale from the North Sea every other day of the week.
"Basically he sent a message to Fylde that we fear you and he might as well have run up the white flag."

The best was yet to come when the manager felt that Ben Killip's and Fraser Kerr's form had suffered because they were struggling to adapt to playing in front of large crowds, only being used to playing in front of a few hundred spectators at their previous clubs. Surely they must have played in away games such as at Wrexham, Chesterfield and Pools, who have decent sized crowds.

I would argue that any player worth his salt would want to play before a big crowd. I would also argue that playing in front of smaller crowds can be equally as intimidating if not more so as if an individual fan is dishing out grief to a particular player or team it can be heard not only on the pitch but throughout the ground. Subsequently I was fully expecting Hignett's response to restrict the crowd limit to 637 for a couple of home games then gradually increase the limit until Killip and Kerr felt comfortable. I think Hignett was out of order making this statement in the first place as if true it does not reflect greatly on the players themselves in terms of their confidence. Goodness knows how they would perform in front of the television cameras in full view of the nation. In the plus column both players have grown in stature having found their feet ...and hands.

I don't know if negativity is drummed into players at the Borer at an early age as a matter of course but if one considers Cooper, Bates, Harrison and indeed Hignett, they all appear to sup from a half-empty glass when compared to the opposite end of the scale, to the likes of Neale Cooper, Danny Wilson, Ronnie Moore and Chris Turner who tended towards the half-full glass. I know which managerial group's team I would rather watch.

Against Fylde, Hignett more or less admitted that Pools' tactics were set up to keep them at bay and hit them on the break as he felt that Fylde are a top team and will be one of the promotion front runners (not the case to date). Hignett's plan worked for a short while, one nil up then sit back and hit them on the break which we did but crucially we sat back even deeper. Eleven Pools players in their own half defending corners and then the inevitable happened:  it was two all in the blink of an eye. Even then with only a few minutes remaining Fylde kept pushing forward for a winner and if Pools had a corner Fylde put three men up front which tied up four Pools defenders. Fundamentally, Hignett's game plan was flawed. Far too much respect was afforded to the opposition which gave them the momentum to pick up a point. Basically he sent a message to Fylde that we fear you and he might as well have run up the white flag.

If the team were managed by someone with the optimistic ebullient nature of say a Neale Cooper or a Danny Wilson, Pools would have been set up to have Fylde on the back foot from the moment they set foot in Fortress Victoria Park, where no prisoners are taken. As such the main objective by Pools' opponents would be to keep the scoreline down to a respectable level.

So come on Mr H, without going gung ho, go shake off those Borer shackles like sitting back, defending deep and playing on the counter; let's have a more positive adventurous attitude and at the Vic at least play like the home team not the away team.

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