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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...

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

The journalist

Writer: Eamonn Moore  Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Saturday November 13 2010

Time: 8:27AM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
I think that this is a very sensible and reasoned article. Like the majority of Premier League managers who have stood behind Ollie the thought of the authorities interfering is just not needed. As long as the players are in the squad I see no problem.
SFC Forever
Report Abuse
13/11/2010 14:30:00

Rubbish-The Premier League has a duty to ensure all teams field their strongest teams for the sake of fairness and transparency. Although some may deem it too subjective, any fule should know 10 changes is going to incur the curiosity of those tasked with maintaining the rules. Don't tell me Holloway doesn't know his strongest 11. And he ought to apologise to Pat Murphy, a gent of a reporter, who didn't deserve the incoherent tirade he received for merely asking the questions.
Report Abuse
17/11/2010 17:17:00


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