WHERE THERE’S HOPE: Six-pointers are a real Curle ball

James Poole celebrates after scoring the opening goal against Notts County. Picture by FRANK REID
James Poole celebrates after scoring the opening goal against Notts County. Picture by FRANK REID

I ONCE mocked a fellow radio guest for saying “this game literally is a six-pointer”.

I didn’t realise they’d re-written the laws of the game during the course of our broadcast.

Imagine, though? Six points for a win?

Well, between the two of them, the Press Association and BBC managed to make real such a scenario last weekend.

My boss, who shall remain nameless (Roy Kelly, for those who know him), fell foul of their generosity.

“Pools are off the bottom!” he Tweeted, later to be ridiculed by a host of Pools followers.

He even rang me, annoyed, “Why hasn’t your copy mentioned that Pools are off the bottom of the league?”.

I shot him down before hurriedly checking the BBC League One table.

He was right – Pools had overtaken Portsmouth.

I quickly retraced Pools’ campaign (not an enjoyable pursuit), totting up their points tally.

It soon became apparent that, as reward for Saturday’s 2-1 win over Notts County, they had been granted six points – how kind.

Indeed, every team who won at the weekend were awarded six points.

Anyway, after much deliberation, we amended our tables for Monday’s Mail and thought little else of it.

But spare a thought for Keith Curle, the Notts County boss who was sacked in the wake of the defeat at Victoria Park, for it appears he fell foul of the skewed league table.

A statement on their website confirming his dismissal read, “Notts have won just two of their last 11 games in all competitions, a run that has seen them drop to 12th in the npower League 1 table.”


Hardly disastrous I think you’ll agree – even less so when you consider they were actually 10th!


I’M getting used to John Hughes.

I was asked a question on BBC Tees’ journalist panel during the week, “will Pools look to bring in any loan players now the window has re-opened?”.

I returned my verdict - “I think they’ve got to be careful.

“They’re being offered a lot of young players from the North-East clubs but do you really want them coming in to a relegation scrap?

“It’s maybe best to stick with their own young players who know what it’s all about.”

The same presenter put the same question to Hughes at Maiden Castle yesterday morning.

“I’ve got to be careful with what I bring in,” he returned.

“I’ve been offered a lot of young academy players.

“I can’t ask them to get us out of this situation.

“So I’ve made a conscious decision to stick with our young guys who have a feel for the club.”

After yesterday’s interview I remarked to Hughes that I was beginning to sound like him and could probably answer his questions for him.

Everyone laughed, apart from the manager.

Maybe I don’t know him that well after all ...


IT’S Swindon Town for me tomorrow – scene of my first-ever away match as a young football fan.

It was 1991 and my dad was working in nearby Berkshire at the time.

Newcastle United were playing at the County Ground and so we went along.

It doesn’t hold happy memories.

It was a game made infamous for crowd trouble, darts and coins being thrown into the away end.

Having dodged the missiles we did manage to see five goals – but it was Swindon who emerged 3-2 winners.

Newcastle’s downfall was entirely of their own doing, however, John Anderson (someone I’d later call a friend and colleague) giving away two penalties, a fact of which I’ve never been shy in reminding him.

Anyway, I return to the Wiltshire venue tomorrow hoping for a more pleasant afternoon.

Avoiding darts and penalty concessions will do for starters!