Nobby Solano signs for Hartlepool

This sees Nobby back in the North East as a footballer again, showing that this is the area he most likes to be in. Such a fantastic signing for Hartlepool as I am sure he has what it takes to play at that level and really push the club forward.

I plan on going to a game next season to see Nobby play again, I hope a lot more Newcastle fans have that same opinion. Which will be a massive boost for Hartlepool.


2010/11 Season Review

First season back into Premier League (where we belong, I must add) and obviously at the start of the season we were very much tipped to go straight back down. We did not really make many signings or at least proven in the Premiership players. We brought in James Perch who became quite the scapegoat amongst the fans. Dan Gosling on a free transfer, but would be out until at least Christmas due to injury. Sol Campbell who was already clearly past his best, and would just cost us money. But then an exciting new player would be signed on loan (but then permanent in January) Hatem Ben Arfa who looked fantastic but suffered a horrible injury when he had his leg broken after a Nigel de Jong tackle. So those being the new players brought in not really much was placed on them. We had to rely on the team who done so well making the Championship look easy the year before. Not forgetting of course our signing and possibly player of the season Cheik Tiote.

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Newcastle 3-3 West Brom

Last game of the season fell at St James Park, seeing West Brom being the visiting team. Already safe for the premier league next season. The game started as everyone would expect it, not really much happening and that last game of the season feel to it. Nothing to play for . . . well I think we should have played to get the highest league finish possible and bragging rights over our close rivals. At half time that looked very good, finishing in top half looked very much on being 2 up thanks to the third goal in three games from Steven Taylor and a Peter Lovenkrands goal from Scott Carson’s error.

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Referee first to get abuse!

After going to watch the under 12 boys team I have been coaching play on Wednesday night, it got me thinking how bad the referee being shouted at is. But it gets worse than that, the guy who was shouting was supposed to be in charge of the team. Yet every single little thing that happened on the pitch he was blaming the ref, and not quiet about it at all.

Why can’t people accept that players will commit fouls and give away free kicks? It’s just part of the game, a slightly mis-timed tackle will happen every now and then. The other team will get a free kick so get on with it right? Well that’s what players should be taught to do.

As the game progressed this guy seemed to get worse but not only towards the referee but to the players as well. Screaming at the goalkeeper to come out for the ball (that has to be the goalkeepers decision, someone shouting at the keeper is not going to help at all). He was always shouting at them for missing a tackle, with a massive basis towards his own son. In all honesty I was shocked at the behaviour.

Everything was starting to get more edgy as well, the boys were then starting to get wound up by the shouting from the sideline. This guy even blamed the ref for the players getting more on edge, don’t think so at all it was his shouting from the line which started to get them fired up and not in a good way.

If you take away all of that shouting mainly directed at the referee it had the potential to be a very good game. I am sure this is not the only grassroots boys game that has been spoilt by people shouting from the sidelines and it most definitely won’t be the last which is such a shame spoiling the game for the players (and the other parents who just want to watch their child play football).

I think The FA need to push the respect campaign even further and really have a bigger attempt at getting this side of the game sorted out. Having someone shouting at the ref from the sidelines is not creating a very good environment for the players to thrive from a footballing sense.

This then links me to attending premier league matches and hearing the majority of the crowd constantly shouting abuse at the ref. I guess this is the environment a lot of the people who stand on the lines at grassroots football are used to and take that same shouting to the games. I don’t understand the blaming of officials at the top-level either, yes they will make a few mistakes but why go and watch your team if you are just going to come out at the end blaming the ref for something no matter what the result?

Another thing about the grassroots game has to be when the offside rule is brought in, obviously the ref is going to miss some offsides. They do not have linesmen or that should be assistant referee’s to be helping them out with those. So just remember if they miss some for your team they will miss some for the other team as well. The play will move faster than the ref can at times, so they will not always end up in the best position (not due to fitness, just the speed the ball can be moved).

It all makes no sense why can’t people concentrate on the game and just let the ref control the games and get on with it. This does seem to be something more related to the men and boys game than it does for the women and girls side of football.

So as coaches we must coach the players to concentrate on playing the game. The ref will not see everything but we must focus on playing our game!

Type of boots?

A few things which have happened over the weekend got me thinking about the different type of football boots, or that should be more the different stud type in football boots. Specifically for the different surfaces playing on and that we must remember to educate our players about when to wear them!

Let’s face it we are now in a time when so many different boots are around how are parents of some players who do not have a football background know what they are really buying when their son or daughter say they want a certain coloured boot because they have seen their favorite player wearing them on the TV?

Don’t get me wrong I am not having a go at all the different colours and styles available now, as I love getting new boots and have so many pairs in all different colours. I love them! But I also know that you must have a pair with metal studs in for when the ground is very soft due to rain the more winter months. I have always been told by my dad that I should have at least two pairs with me when going to play a game. (He’s not happy with the number of pairs of boots I now have, but hey at least I can say he told me I needed to have the different type of studs.)

So over the weekend I had one of the girls wearing metal studded boots when the ground was rock hard, to make it worse she actually had moulded boots left in her bag in the changing rooms. Doh! That was my fault as I really should have checked before they left the changing room, but that highlights my point in having to educate the players in what type of footwear is appropriate and best for the surface they are playing on.

The introduction of more 3G (third generation) pitches across the country is another factor in choosing footwear. Some players wear moulded boots while others prefer to wear football/astro trainers whilst training or playing on the surface. I tend to wear my moulded boots.

So to my fellow coaches out there, what do you think?

Why the launch of the WSL is great for girls football!

The WSL launches today with the first game being shown live on ESPN from 5pm. Not only is this a massive stepping stone for women’s football it should aid the development of girls who play football too! If they are encouraged to watch the WSL of course! It is a must though, while obviously watching any football is good so they can see what to do (and at times, what not to do) in games. But now for the girls they can eventually watch women’s game easier with the TV coverage.

It is more important for them to watch the women’s games that it is the men’s games. Not that I am saying stop watching it, just watch all of it! But this will give them better role models in terms of what they can achieve from football.

Let’s hope that we see more games live on TV!