POOL’S dream of playing in Europe looks as if it’s over.
Ian Holloway’s team are fifth in the Fair Play League, behind Manchester United, Tottenham, Fulham and Chelsea – who lead the way with the best disciplinary record in the division.
United and Chelsea are already in Europe. But with Spurs set to miss out, it’s between the Seasiders, Harry Redknapp’s men and Fulham for the final European slot that topping the Fair Play League brings.
Pool are well behind both Tottenham and Fulham heading into the final two games – which means that unless their rivals rack up the bookings and red cards in the next fortnight, Holloway’s men will miss out on a Europa League spot.
While that is a disappointment for the fans, Holloway won’t be unduly disappointed.
The Europa League starts in July, which means Pool would have had to start their pre-season much earlier than normal.
“That wouldn’t be ideal,” said Holloway, when asked about the possibility of Europe recently.
“My lads have been working and playing non-stop for the last 18 months because they reached the final of the play-offs, and then had to start the pre-season for the Premier League a few weeks later, so they’ve not really had any time off.
“They need a proper summer off and a chance to rest. I know the fans will see it differently to me, but if we got to Europe, we wouldn’t be able to do that.
“If we don’t get into Europe, at least the lads will get some time off, which is what they need and deserve.”
Meanwhile, Pool are neck and neck with Sunderland at the top of the Behaviour of the Public Fair Play League.
This is based on the behaviour of fans at both home and away matches, and the winning club will receive £20,000 from the Premier League.