Any Other Business


First of all, we wish all our readers a happy, prosperous and healthy New Year, and a better decade in most respects than the one that we've just left behind.

And for Pools the start of the new decade looked much like the last one, with the festive programme being pretty much a shambles.

Now that Dave Challinor has got his feet under the table he's been seeing the size of the problem he faces, which seems to boil down to having a lot of players who are talented in some respects but lacking in others. So he's been trying them out, dropping them then reinstating them to yet again display the same faults.

Perhaps the playoffs are now a big ask but this manager looks as if he'll be able to eventually set up a competitive team for next season.

VAR has been getting a lot of stick of late. 

While nobody is criticising the role of VAR in resolving "was the ball over the line" issues, the use of VAR for offsides has turned into farce.

The fundamental point to be made about the offside rule is that until VAR came along it was completely down to one man's interpretation of two simultaneous events, only one of which he'd see (unless he had eyes like Marty Feldman) and so he'd have to make a presumption about the other, which maybe would happen 50 yards away from the first. So for a century or so referees have been deciding offsides by educated guesswork and fans and players alike have lived reasonably happily with it. Because of that, referees have been able to make those instant decisions many times during a match and kept games flowing, but bringing VAR into it has brought the chance to do what no human can, to look in 2 directions at once. And just because the technology is there to do it, too many stoppages have been the result.

I suspect that after this season's trial, VAR will be quietly dropped from analysing offsides, or there will be a limit on VAR reviews in a game.

Wallace and Gromit, being a fan of Swedish heavy-metal band Sabaton, found and passed on a connection between the band and Hartlepool. The band love military history so much that when they heard that the museum on the site of the UK’s only First World War battle was in financial trouble – Heugh Battery Museum in Hartlepool – they created a special T-shirt design and raised £4,000.

That's another rock connection to the town to add to Janick Gers of Iron Maiden (who is a Pools fan) and Meat Loaf (who was also one - but only for about 5 minutes!)