In his weekly column Pool secretary Matt Williams gives you the inside track on a busy week of meetings, planning and transfer developments at Bloomfield Road.
Monday August 12
Having stayed in Newcastle following the test match on the Sunday, I head to breakfast and bump into Elliot Van Til who was an agent we worked with to sign Ludovic Sylvestre, Sergi Kornilenko and Roman Bednar.
He tells me that he is there with former Czech U21 defender Ondrej Celustka who is joining Sunderland on a season-long loan from Turkish side Trabzonspor. We discuss our requirements and he promises to call me during the week with some suggestions. Also at breakfast are the majority of the Australian cricket team and I stop short of asking them whether they have cancelled their rooms for that evening given the position of the test match!
I get to my desk at Bloomfield Road just after lunchtime and begin catching up on the various bits of administration that are required immediately after the game; I also forward the various scout reports from the weekend to the manager, Alex Rae and Adam Dixon our analyst.
The Football League insurance valuations for our players must also be submitted - basically there’s a pot to be split across the squad with a valuation ceiling for each player, it’s a difficult job ensuring each player’s worth to the squad is insured in an appropriate manner.
Ricardo Fuller sets off for his medical following an agreement in principle on personal terms.
Tuesday August 13
Draft contracts for Ricardo Fuller are prepared and sent for his approval, our contracts contain certain clauses that aren’t standard within football in particular pro rata appearance payment and summer payments, so I detail and explain the thinking behind the clauses and eventually by the close of play everything is agreed and prepared for Ricardo to sign on Thursday after the players day off on Wednesday.
Those players who haven’t played much first team football along with some triallists and second year scholars travel to Preston to take on North End’s reserve/development squad, once again Simon Grayson’s men record an emphatic win, but fortunately, there is no pitch invasion!
Having spoken at length with the manager and the League Manager’s Association, we respond to the FA in respect of Paul’s post match comments from the Capital One Cup tie.
However, following Paul’s comments after the Barnsley game relating to the charge, the FA add those comments to their case against him we have to send a second letter outlining the manager’s reasons for his comments on the Saturday. It isn’t the first time I’ve had to respond to these letters, both Ian Holloway and Steve McMahon enjoyed making their feelings about officials known as well!
Wednesday August 14
With Karl standing for election for the League Board we send what is almost a “Vote Oyston” letter to our fellow Championship Clubs, encouraging them to vote for Karl in the election for a Championship representative on the League Board. Karl is the only Chairman standing for election, although he faces competition from representatives from Brighton, Bournemouth and Leeds United.
I receive some footage and information from the family of Daniel Milton one of our first year scholars. Daniel is a Canadian Under 17 international and he is has been in Dubai for the last few weeks playing in the World Under 17 championships. The preparations turn to Saturday’s game with Middlesbrough, departure times and rooming lists are confirmed and our scout requests are sent. This week, we have people watching our next three opponents and a couple of games in League One for players that have been recommended to us.
Thursday August 15
Ricardo Fuller’s paperwork is completed and submitted to the Football League and FA, Fuller meets the press and they are impressed with his memory, he reminds us of the various times he has scored against Blackpool, particularly in the 3-2 home defeat the season Stoke were promoted, the Carling Cup tie where Pool lost in Extra Time. He also compares the Seasiders’ Tangerine shirt to the colour of his first club Tivoli Gardens and talks fondly about his time with them.
Mid afternoon, the club reach an agreement with Aston Villa for the loan of Nathan Delfouneso. “Fonzy” is well known and liked by everyone at the club and Paul Ince punches the air with delight.
I get an e-mail from one of the members of the clubs Ladies team, Ellie Whittaker who is climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in aid of Hope for Children, she asks if we can let her have a signed shirt as she is about £300 short of her target, I promise her that she can have a shirt and that we will promote the wonderful work she is doing via our website, the matchday programme and this article, so I would ask for you to spare a couple of minutes and a couple of quid to sponsor Ellie http://www.hopeheroes.org/ellie_whittaker
Friday August 16
Nathan Delfouneso arrives and completes the paperwork in sufficient time to be registered with the Football League for the game at Middlesbrough, he does the usual media interviews before joining the team for their journey to the North East.
The Manager has decided that the team will train in the North East and has arranged for them to use the fantastic facilities of Durham University.
I take a call from an agency asking whether we would be interested in having a “Foreign Beer Partner” I discuss the potential partnership with our Brewery partner Thwaites and they are happy for us to have further conversations with them which will hopefully be concluded before the end of the month.
With the team in the North East, I begin planning the trips to Bournemouth and Millwall exploring possible flights to Bournemouth and the train to Millwall.
The FA inform me of the results of their commission following Paul Ince’s comments about the referee at the Captial One tie with Preston, Paul is fined £3,000 and is warned about his future conduct; whilst we are disappointed at the size of the fine we are relieved that he hasn’t received a touchline ban.
Saturday August 17
It’s another trip to the North East and for those of you that have travelled across the A66 on a sunny day it’s a pleasant drive, however, it feels winter with rain lashing down from the minute we leave the Fylde.
Our mood improves when ‘Bash’ pokes home in the 83rd minute and we look set to extend our 100 per cent start to the season but in the depths of stoppage time Middlesbrough net an equaliser to earn a share of the spoils. We agree that seven points from a possible nine is a great start and we look forward to the back to back home games against Reading and Watford.
Sunday August 18
Football is on the menu again, this time with the ex players association arranging a fund raising fixture against Burnley ex players in aid of Alan Ainscow and Ian Britton who have recently been diagnosed with Prostrate Cancer.
Trevor Sinclair, Andy Morrell and Phil Clarkson stand out on the field and it’s also great to bump into the likes of Paul Stewart, Peter Suddaby and Mickey Walsh supporting the event.
After watching the second half of Chelsea v Hull I take a call from BBC Sport. I automatically assume it will be to discuss the latest rumour surrounding Thomas Ince as that’s what I’ve grown used to over the last few months, however on this occasion I am wrong! The journalist asks me to confirm claims made by Ian Holloway relating to a study of refereeing decisions made during Pool’s time in the Premier League.
While ‘Ollie’ is correct that there was a study done it wasn’t actually by a referees assessor. The study was done by broadcaster and journalist Tim Long and The Telegraph colomunist and former England rugby hooker Brian Moore had a full page on Long’s findings including a table showing the Seasiders finishing in 16th place.
We then discuss ‘small club syndrome’ and referees and I think every football fan will agree the ‘bigger’ clubs are favoured in the vast majority of fixtures, although our recent Capital One Cup tie showed that there can be exceptions to that rule!