Ben Burgess column: Would be terrible if Pool lost Ollie

Ben Burgess

Ben Burgess

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BEN Burgess talks Ian Holloway, racism and Pool’s Squires Gate training ground.

Stay or go?

Another week of football, and another week of speculation about Ian Holloway’s future. I know it’s a cliché but it really is just a part of the game, and I think everyone should be more concerned with getting back to winning ways on the pitch. When people excel at their job they will be coveted by others, but there’s no point in worrying about it until/if it happens.

The team have been really unlucky this week with two draws, in games they played well enough to win. From Ian Holloway’s perspective, he will be working hard to turn things round on the pitch, but he will have a tough choice if another club makes him a firm offer. I know from working with him that the whole Leicester ‘episode’ left him feeling deflated. That will play in the back of his mind, because there are countless examples of people making the wrong moves and coming really unstuck, both managers and players. Sam Allardyce’s move to Newcastle didn’t work fantastically and does anyone know where David Bentley has gone? There is a lot to be said for feeling happy and loved in your job and having players you can trust.

On the other hand, the possibility of a long contract and the security that brings to your family would tempt anyone. Plus, the likes of Blackburn Rovers could give him millions to spend and a squad that should go up even without a manager. I know things haven’t been great results-wise for the Seasiders over the last few weeks, but for me personally I think it would be terrible for Blackpool to lose Ollie. I’ve worked with a lot of managers and trust me there are some awful one’s out there. The free flowing attacking football could disappear, the funny post match quotes will be replaced by an endless stream of cliché’s.

I say give Ollie a long term contract, or if he does leave… step up Mr Thompson.

The womens’ game

Following blundering through long-winded racism trials that nearly split the PFA in two, not to mention turning everyone’s attention away from the actual game to what t-shirts the players wear before the game, this week, the FA have decided to provide some positive news. “FA announce 5 year plan to boost women’s football”. If I was involved in women’s football then I would probably refuse their bumbling help, but in reality the FA are investing £3.5million into the newly formed Women’s Super League.

Men generally dismiss the women’s game, saying they just prance around and can’t even kick the ball properly. Even Sepp Blatter made a comment about how to improve the female game; “Let the women play in more feminine clothes like they do in volleyball. They could, for example, have tighter shorts.”

Despite the advice of FIFA’s head honcho, the women haven’t had the recognition I think they deserve. There are problems with teenage girls not playing sport or doing enough exercise and any chance to improve children’s health and fitness by giving young girls role models should be promoted. There’s no getting away from the fact that their football is not up to the standard of the men’s professional game. Is this because they are not genetically programmed for football? I’m more inclined to think that it’s because they haven’t had the opportunities, coaching and facilities that boys enjoy as a natural part of early life. When this balance is corrected then we can judge women on the pitch.

I’m all for the promotion of the women’s game and as Team GB filled Wembley during the Olympics, I’m not alone in thinking this. Before everyone starts making comments about me talking rubbish, sit through a game or two, and get back to me.

A bit nippy out...

The change in cold weather and the fact I am now on playground duty reminds me of training at Squires Gate. When I signed for the Seasiders, I was shown round Bloomfield Road and told of all the wonderful plans to extend the ground etc. It’s always a bit of a concern when signing for a new club and they don’t mention the training ground. I soon found out why!

There have been countless times when we had to lip read during the “gaffer’s” meetings whilst a plane is taking off. The other issue is it’s a bit breezy. It was always amusing to see new players faces in winter when they literally can’t open the door to get on to the pitch because it’s that windy. Alan Gow’s first session with us was memorable, not just for his ability but also for the fact he was given only shorts and a t-shirt to train in when it was snowing. We all had trousers, gloves, hats and jackets on, whilst poor Gowser looked a bit bewildered. In fact the conditions were so extreme one morning that we invented a new weather category….”Snail”. - a mysterious combination of snow, sand, rain and hail stones (beat that Michael Fish).