One From My Inbox
We don't normally publish emails, but every now and then we get a cracker and earlier this week I received in my inbox a passionate defence of Ian Holloway's actions against Aston Villa from a good mate of mine; Jonathan Fitzgerald.
Now he's a Man United fan, but don't hold that against him as he makes some very pertinent points. Jonathan, the stage is yours...
Brilliant interview by Ollie (the manager, not the octopus).
Whilst there is certainly a case for Ollie learning to control himself a bit more, he's once again absolutely right. You declare your squad of 25 players by submitting it to the FA at the start of the season. How you then use those players is entirely up to you within your own circumstances and demands. It's not as if Blackpool rolled over and got thrashed against Villa, they nearly got something out of the game. How ridiculous would it be if a team made 10 changes, drew or even won a game, and still got charged?!
So - what is the FA's criteria here? If they based it on the 'number of changes' from the previous game, that would be a joke - there's no official limit set, some of the changes may have been enforced, others may be changing BACK to previously unavailable first-choice players, or you might just be really lucky and have a very strong squad where you aren't sure about your first 11 so want to give lots of players the chance to play. Or, if you just want to protect key players for bigger games ahead, that's up to you as a boss and is sensible 'management' of the tools you have to do your job.
Or will the FA base it on whether the changes brought the game into disrepute/affected the value of the game from a fans' perspective? How do you define that? A narrow 3-2 defeat - no. How about a 3-0 defeat, but the 'weakened' team played really well and those 3 goals only went in during the last few minutes? Or a 1-0 defeat in which the 'weakened' team were appauling, but so were the opposition? It's so subjective, you just can't do it, you can't draw a line anywhere!
Or will the FA base it on whether the opposition complain? Villa didn't - and had no right to after the game they were given. On the flipside, if you played against a weakened team that WERE rubbish and you thrashed them, what's the motive for complaint? So then other teams in the league might complain - the same teams that could then do exactly the same thing themselves at a future time.
Any charge in my view would therefore be totally flawed. That is all. Goodnight.
What do you think of Jonathan's viewpoint? As always, you can debate to your heart's content on our messageboard...