I haven’t blogged often lately because I’ve been feeling a bit like a broken record, possibly affecting myself and others with my natural pessimism.
But today the chains are loosened and the smell of victory lingers sweetly.
Although looking at the mathematics Rovers might not even have needed a point yesterday, the unlikely scenario which ensued of Steve Kean’s team roaring into a fully-merited 3-0 lead at half-time, thus calming any but the most extremely volatile nerves, was like winning the Pools for Rovers supporters.
There was even the luxury, for me, of being able to drive back from Wales, journey timed to perfection to listen to the unfolding two hours of drama, relaxed after half an hour in the knowledge that we were safe for all money as the shimmering ocean lapped the shores around Llandudno, Colwyn and Rhyl.
There was a brief moment when Wolves got their second when the horror of a total collapse, a 4-3 defeat and winners for Wigan and Birmingham flickered in front of my eyes but news that Wolves were contentedly stroking it around like Rovers against United last week settling for the one-goal margin was music to the ears.
Whether Steve Kean has done enough to impress the supporters is still open to debate but there can be few complaints about the performances in the crucial final four matches. It can’t be said that the players weren’t giving their all, whether for him, the club or themselves.
Eight points from four unbeaten games at least means that if Kean is moved on, he isn’t tarred with the stigma of taking us down as seemed so very likely at one point.
Late in the day there were crucial performances and contributions from a few whose displays had been fitful to that point. Roberts found a couple of goals in his locker – his poacher’s effort at Wolves scandalously described by a BBC commentator too concerned with raising his own profile to actually watch a replay as “a lucky deflection.”
Brett Emerton, who I have described as Mr No End Product, laid an important goal on at West Ham and scored two beauties in the subsequent games.
The quality of his, and Junior Hoilet’s goal at Molyneux renders me even more puzzled why people don’t leave those “Goal Of The Season” and “Player Of The Season” polls until the end of the bloody season.
So we look forward to a summer of reconstruction. If the Venkys have been straight with us, there should be a decent level of investment,
A glance at the table tells you that you don’t need to spend unlimited millions to rack up a decent points tally and finish in a respectable position and if the Indians are taken at face value our ambitions are said to be even loftier than that.
The billion dollar question is whether Kean is the man to oversee the recruitment drive and the attempt to persuade talents such as Samba, Hoilett, the Jones boys and Robinson as the nucleus of a side with potential to be top eight or so.
Kean’s association with SEN and Kentaro still sits uncomfortably and his priorities occasionally seem strangely directed, as last week when during a press conference ahead of the Wolves game when he was at pains to praise the owners for providing travelling fans with free pies. Good PR has its time and place but that was not it.
At least the mystery duo, Rochina and Formica, should be seen fully tested and given their opportunity at Premiership level rather than traipsing out at Brighton or Doncaster. I look forward to truly seeing what the Latins can offer from the start of a campaign.
I make no apologies for insisting that the standard in the Premiership has fallen markedly. United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool are all inferior versions of sides of the past, Spurs reverted to ordinariness and only City improved significantly.
Everton as ever rallied to a respectable placing but as usual gave the rest a head start which they failed to take up. The fact that Fulham, eighth, and Bolton, 15th, are virtually indistinguishable from one another points to the mediocrity of those in between – Allardyce’s percentage stuff would surely have taken us into the top half.
It says it all to me that Bolton, so long critics’ favourites, finished, for all the mystifying talk of flowing football, just one place and two points above us, who would admit to having an awful season, courtesy of the final indignity of Sam’s tenure, a single moment’s lack of concentration late on at The Reebok.
The like of Coyle and Alex McLeish, a relegated trinket winner, are from time to time touted as brilliant young managers. Emporer’s new clothes, anyone?
Birmingham, who contribute little to the PL spectacle, won’t be missed. West Ham, with their unpopular triumvirate at the helm, unlamented.
Blackpool will be a loss – they were fun to watch and it was a good derby.
But by the end, I was getting tired of Ian Holloway’s “I’m dead mad,me” act, attempting to come over as Mister Clever (not actually that difficult particularly when your audience is a sorry clutch of cliche-spouting football press men).
Holloway’s chief folly was, for me, sending his Reserve side to Villa early in the season and losing to a last-minute goal. The way they were playing then Pool’s proper team would have won that game and survived.
It ill behoves Holloway to dismiss even one game out of 38 for a side whose fans deserved every league fixture to be treated as a cup final and his attempt to be cute might eventually have sealed his club’s fate.
QPR, Norwich and Reading or Swansea won’t quite bring the Burnley/Blackpool novelty value to the party although Rangers could be interesting with barmy Italian owners.
We had a lovely weekend to precede yesterday’s drama on Anglesey, so a break from the cricket for me which Mrs JimWilkz was well pleased with.
Well she deserved my undivided attention too, having obtained Roddy Frame & Band tickets for Liverpool in October and also booking us into the Hard Day’s Night Hotel for the evening.
For “Somewhere In My Heart” alone Roddy should be entitled to graze his sheep in any field in Britain, hang his washing across any street and knock on any door and be presented with tea and scones.
I can’t believe I’ve never seen him before and am looking forward to watching the genius at work – still as a Premiership football fan!