August Review - SuddickTheKing
Following on from the somewhat downbeat feelings I had in July, as usual my spirits rose with the prospect of the opening day of the season. I decided to ignore the lack of progress on the stadium, the lack of everything I wanted to buy in the shop, the shambolic ticket office, the lack of signings etc etc and tried hard to put my positive head on. I put down our somewhat indifferent pre-season results to the theory that Larry was swapping and changing to get everyone match fit and that he was looking at different partnerships on the pitch in all areas. Results were not the most important thing. 'Trust Larry' I kept saying to myself!
So, Leicester away. The opening day of the season and there we were at the sun drenched Walkers Stadium; 26,650 people and Championship football - this was something I had waited 29 years for... and boy was it worth it! Leicester looked like we did 12 months ago - eleven individuals - whereas we were a team. Our football in the opening 25 minutes was excellent for two thirds of the pitch with Hoolahan particularly catching the eye. Despite Rachubka pulling off some fine saves in the second half when we were predictably under the cosh towards the end, we were not just sitting back and thoroughly deserved the three points. They hit the bar, we hit the post; they put the ball into the box a lot but we had our chances too especially Fox's shot whistling over an unguarded net from 25 yards.
Huddersfield in the Carling Cup were despatched with a professional performance and the most satisfying thing for me was that in the second half we looked a division above them.
Bristol City proved yet again that if you have the quality in your ranks, some of them will shine and so it proved. Despite being the better side for most of this game, 'Pool were only ahead by one goal and when Kaspars was turned inside out by Trundle you knew what was coming. Despite a brilliant parry by Rabs, the lethal Scott Murray slotted home. This was a very good game and I'm sure the Brizzle fans thought they deserved a point.
Molineux next up but such a famous name was soured by the outrageous admission fee of £27. This is second division football don't forget, and it certainly deterred many 'Pool fans - myself included - from making the journey. Alas, despite another very good performance the different worlds clubs like Blackpool and Wolves inhabit were clearly illustrated for all to see when the home side brought on a player who cost £1.5million. Freddie Eastwood then showed us just why they paid it.
Derby County in the Carling Cup and Pride Park the venue. Despite tickets only costing £15 the home side could only manage to muster around 7,500 fans who were outsung and outshouted by the fantastic travelling Tangerine Army - nearly 1,000 for a 'second rate' cup competition on a Tuesday night. The game started abysmally and at half time I was wishing I'd stayed at home to do the washing up! Then suddenly it burst into life as a series of substitutions by both sides brought the teams up to strength and we had game on. Excellent drama with Gorkss the unlikely hero, culminating in a penalty shoot out which we won. A well deserved win too.
Hull City were the visitors last night in a televised game. A very tough encounter between two evenly matched teams. Perhaps a draw would've been a fair result - I thought so - but winning is what it is all about and we got the points. On the night there were several below par performances notably Gnashers who has so far been in fine form; GTF who scored but contributed little else; Kaspars who was run ragged down the left; Wes who kept turning into trouble and tried to beat one man too many; and even Andy Morrell wasn't his usual self. Yet the work ethic shone through and we won. Determination, effort, grit, dogged defending and the odd bit of quality all contributed to the victory and one can only marvel at this amazing team mentality Larry has created.
So, one month in and it is 4 wins, 1 draw and 1 defeat which is a fine start by anyone's standards. I still feel we need Wilkinson to complement the decent defence we already have; a physically dominant playmaker (Foxy is neat on the ball but is too lightweight for this division), an out and out pacy right winger and a Brett to put away the chances that would surely have beaten Wolves and Bristol.
Off the pitch I'd like to see something happening at the South end and the shop really needs someone in charge with business acumen. Is it really impossible to have home and away shirts in popular sizes on sale in June/July so that people can get them for their summer hols? How can we be out of stock of scarves, kit men for the back windows of cars, club ties etc in August?! Do we not have female supporters because there's very little merchandise specifically for women. I thought Normund Malnacs was here to run the rule over the entire operation and help to bring some of VB's talent for making money into play? Come on BFC, we are a Championship club - let's start behaving like one.