MATCH REPORT: Current Pools players cost managers jobs

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THIS group of Hartlepool United players cost managers their jobs.

Mick Wadsworth, Neale Cooper and now, before his tenure had even begun, Micky Barron.

Antony Sweeney said as much, “How many more more people have to take charge? We could have any manager in the world right now and it wouldn’t work”.

Barron himself hinted at it, “How many more times can you say ‘this has got to stop’? Mick said it, Neale said it, but it keeps happening.”

And Cooper, the latest casualty, was in doubt as to the reason behind his demise, “A lot of players let me down and they know it”.

This, however, represents a new nadir.

It had the feel of a protest performance, except the manager has already gone.

It was unprofessional, void of quality and spirit.

It was barely deserving of a wage.

And so it was not the most outlandish suggestion when one fan asked for a refund from those who had ruined his day.

For it is not a word we use lightly, but Pools were an embarrassment to their football club and, indeed, profession.

This current vintage needs ripping up, they have coasted for too long.

Good players have regressed, average players are being outclassed and outfought by lower-league opponents, while some players never were good enough and never will be.

From the concession of the first goal – a clever, well-crafted effort lifted into the top corner by Scott Boden on 16 minutes – Pools were a beaten side, headed out of the FA Cup and all three knockout competitions at the first stage in consecutive seasons.

And this against a side beset with their own woes.

One Chesterfield official later said “we could not believe our luck”.

Really? One of the most alarming aspects is that this was not a surprise, and Barron agreed with this sentiment.

Was it a shock to see Evan Horwood allow Drew Talbot to wander into the area and draw back for Mark Randall to tuck home a second?

Was it a shock to see Simon Walton fail to pick up Craig Lay and so allow the midfielder to fire a third?

Was it a shock to see the by-now confidence-robbed Jack Baldwin lose track of Terrell Forbes as he headed a fourth?

Was it a shock to see Sam Collins dragged out of position and Peter Hartley fail to intercept a routine throughball to gift Jack Lester a fifth?

And was it a shock to see the defence put up no resistance whatsoever as Danny Whitaker weaved into the danger zone and squared for Craig Westcarr to smash a humiliation-inflicting sixth?

There is no need to answer.

Sweeney had interspersed the fourth and fifth with a brave header for his first of the season.

And he, you have to say, was the sole player to emerge with a scrap of credit.

Across the backline Pools were woeful, Barron later questioning their desire to defend and application of their profession – strong words.

Steve Howard, Paul Murray, Ritchie Humphreys all looked like veterans unable to compete with energetic and hungry opponents.

And as for Walton, at 25 years old you have to wonder how much longer he has in the professional game.

Now in employment at his 11th club, it is easy to see why so many have taken a gamble on the £1m teenager yet quickly moved him on.

Unfit, unproductive and unhealthily vocal for a player of such minimal influence, his place in the side must now be under threat.

Afterwards, Barron refused to defend any of his number.

He was honest yet clearly hurting.

For this is a man who, after unveiling a new system and style of play which had so impressed seven days earlier, was in with a real shout of landing the manager’s role on a permanent basis.

Sadly, his hopes were extinguished by his players, for never has the need been greater for outside influence.

The new boss needs no connection with any of this bunch, he’ll have to get rid of the majority of them for starters.

Whether he survives long enough to undertake that much-needed and long-overdue overhaul we can only guess.

For this group of players cost managers their jobs.