Hartlepool 7 Swansea 1

Saturday, 13 April 2002, 0:00
4 mins read

Home >Story Index> Hartlepool 7 Swansea 1

Report By Steve Thomas

Whoops. That’s the last time I wake up to a lovely morning and think, "Oh yes, I can get another ground ticked off on my list, seeing as it’s such a nice day…" A lesson learned for me there, I reckon. There’s been a distinct lack of match reports on the list, and there’s a good reason for that: nobody could ever write one frank enough. Truth is, we were abject. Pathetic. Utterly uncommitted. Passionless. (Add in an adjective of your choice here… you get the drift. An adverb would add weight. Actually, I’d like to see some alliterative suggestions on the list.) As someone posted, it could have been more, in fact it could have been about 15. A result like this has been coming for weeks, it could have happened at Rushden but somehow it didn’t. I hope I’m not being overly optimistic but I believe that this particular cloud will prove to have a silver lining because it should serve to underline what we have been saying on-list and privately for weeks if not months: the squad as it stands is not up to the job, it is complacent and in some cases, players are in the wrong job!! It’s a cliché, I know, but if I was as useless at my job as some players in this squad are, I’d get the boot pronto. I am sure you will be able to read in excruciating detail about the events of the match in WoS and the SWEP, so I shall merely turn to the team today: Jones – Hopeless, not fit to fill Freestone’s boots. At fault for more than one goal. May have played his last game for Swansea and deservedly so. de Vulgt – Out of his depth. A candidate for an early release. Seemed to be content to give the ball away at every opportunity. O’Leary – As captain, struggled to keep hold of a demoralised team, probably a combination of his relative inexperience and youth. I would stick with him as captain, for the time being at least. Didn’t disgrace himself with his playing performance. Todd – Deservedly substituted, but then I could say that about virtually everyone. Presented the ball to the opposition too often. Howard – Poor again. Too content to let opponents turn him. Romo – Another who has most likely played his last game. Missed a sitter in the first half and should have been taken off earlier. Phillips – Had brief flashes of adequacy, but again too willing to give the ball away and then give up on the chase. Mumford – Took his goal well but struggled to make an impact on the game. Note to coaching staff: He’s a big lad and should be able to impose himself a bit more. Casey – Not on the pitch long enough to make a contribution to the débâcle. Sidibe – Looked uninterested for long periods. His mind is clearly on other things, such as his next club. Thank you and goodnight. Brodie – Appalling again. Hot favourite to leave in the summer. Running around for 90 minutes with no prospect of winning the ball does not a professional footballer make; I remain astonished that he gets paid for what he does. A candidate for the worst player ever to wear a Swansea shirt. (Again, others’ thoughts welcomed as a new thread for the list.) Freestone – Not even St Roger of the Onion Bag could have prevented today. Cusack – So much to learn… it’s enough to turn a man to drink. Sharp – Was anything but. Another with little to offer the club. Coates – Probably the best performance today but that is no honour. Set up a few moves and was largely tenacious and alert, but football is a game for 11 men, not one. Williams – Ponderous and uncommitted. Needs a boot up his harris and occasional prodding with the knowledge that he is actually getting paid to play football. Wo/Men of the Match: The 100 or so of us stupid enough to part with £12 after a hellishly long journey and not to leave early. Get your map out again and check it, but it took us 3 hours from Coventry (not wholly within the speed limit) and I doubt the supporters’ coach got back to Morriston Cross much before 1am. This was by far the most inept performance I have ever seen from a Swansea team – and I’ve seen a few since that first game back in May 1983 in the old First Division – but as I said earlier, I think this will convince the manager and Board that drastic changes are necessary if the club is to progress. If alarm bells are not ringing, they should be. It is not good enough to claim the "end of season, nothing to play for" defence. Get ready for a clear-out in the summer, but in the meantime, here is a poser for the pessimists to mull over: who the hell is going to replace them? There are reasonable foundations for a decent team here, but there is a lot of rubbish with it. As at Rushden, the negative chanting from the Swansea end was unpleasant and maybe unnecessary – we were there to SUPPORT the team, not barrack it – but again, it was honest, heartfelt and deserved. In fairness to Cusack, at least he had the balls to come over to the away end to apologise after a truly pathetic performance, where the team capitulated as soon as the going got tough at 1-3 a minute into the second half. No amount of moaning will change the fact that this is our heaviest defeat since the 1930s (note to Statto: check?) and that it was thoroughly deserved. As I said above, this result will force some hard choices on the management – and not before time – but its timing, so close to the end of the season, will allow time for mature reflection and reconstruction before the start of next season. (Imagine the panic measures we’d have taken if this had been the first away game next season, not this season’s last…) There are only 17 weeks to go, but that should be enough time… PS If any of today’s team are reading this, their apologies to add to Cusack’s would be welcomed, as would contributions to petrol and admission monies.

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