New Signings


How is it that whenever Pools sign a new player his press release photo is always taken seated, mid-way up the Cyril Knowles stand, face quarter turned to the camera with a Pools scarf strung around his neck? 

I am convinced that the seat which is used for the pose has been replaced at least a couple of dozen times from the amount of new and loan signings' backsides that have sat on it for the photo shoot. It must get worn out very quickly. Either that or it is marked as reserved with red and white barrier tape surrounding it as well as flashing beacons and marked 'Exclusively for new signings only.' 

It would make a welcome change if the club could come up with some other alternative than the standard pose. The 'stance' which really annoys me is that of a footballer wearing his new club's shirt but being still in his jeans and wearing a watch. Worse still, is a player in full playing kit but still wearing his watch.

My alternative poses would be to have a new player in day to day situations such as:
- Filling his car up with fuel at Morrisons,
- Coming out of Greggs with a steak bake in one hand and club scarf in the other, 
- Leaving a newsagent with his Pools dut worn at a rakish angle whilst viewing the centre page of Playboy, which is in fact concealing an edition of the Railway Modeller magazine. 

A great publicity shot would be a bewildered-looking player with nose glued to Verrills' frontage viewing their closing times. 

It has to be said that Claudio Ofusu  recently broke the mould as, after putting pen to paper, and the obligatory photoshoot in the Cyril Knowles stand, we find him on the Victoria Park pitch along with Tony Sweeney holding a scarf between them in mid-air at near enough the outdoor social distance of 1.5 metres away from each other. Please Pools, more of this. 

Talking of which, what do we make of our new signings? Liddle, Shelton and Timi Odusina we all know about and it was certain as far back as last season that they would be joining the club. All good additions. Gary Liddle to my mind should be club captain.
"The 'stance' which really annoys me is that of a footballer wearing his new club's shirt but being still in his jeans and wearing a watch."

Most of the other signings are unfamiliar names. David Challinor has gone on record as saying that Josh MacDonald is a player who 'excites'. Mason Bloomfield and Tom Crawford, Challinor knows from their days with him at Fylde. In my view if they are good enough for Mr Challinor they are good enough for me.

Claudio Ofusu from what I have seen in pre-season videos looks to have pace, puts himself about and has an eye for goal. Dave Parkhouse, on loan from Sheffield United, has an impressive goal scoring record at Derry City and hopefully he can carry that into the National League. 

I think that the pick of the bunch is left back David Ferguson - a position that really has not been filled since the days of Hugh Robertson. My Darlo-supporting mate really rates him. He has nearly 200 games under his belt and, unlike his predecessor Mark Kitching, can defend as well as having an eye for goal. I stand to be corrected but I think he also had eleven assists last season with York.

The majority of Dave Challinor's signings are in the 22-24 age group and, with the exception of Shelton and Ferguson, are all over six foot tall, Bloomfield being six foot three. Another plus is that the bulk of these signings have played and are familiar with National League football so with the added height, pace and youth, let's hope some of them have acquired the nous to con referees, cheat, feign injury as well as time waste, because, along with skill and flair, these attributes are a must to get Pools out of this horrible league.

One signing I am unsure of is that of Rhys Oates. Obviously Challinor will know all about him what with Morecambe being up the coast from Fylde but players as well as managers returning to their old stamping grounds tends to have a poor record of success. Nobody can argue that in his previous tenure with Pools that Rhys Oates gave his all and worked hard, but that is about it. His goal scoring record of 25 goals in 175 matches is far from prolific. He spent a fair part of his time at Morecambe either out injured, on the subs' bench or being subbed. The one thing I have noticed watching pre-season videos is that he has bulked out somewhat. I really hope the lad does well; perhaps National League might be his level.

Dave Challinor said he would like to bring in a further three players. A proven goals scorer must be high on the list of priorities as well as a player who is constantly in the referee's ear.

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