Ben Burgess column: Harsh realities of League Two life

Ben Burgess
Ben Burgess
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A week that promised so much ended with just one point for Blackpool. After the fantastic home wins over Exeter and Bolton Wanderers, the Seasiders were fully expected to get results at Morecambe and Barnet.

Sadly, the unpredictability of League Two struck Gary Bowyer and his men and he’ll now be aware that nothing comes easily in this division.

In both games Pool were pegged back, and the defeat to Morecambe was particularly disappointing with it being a local derby.

There were some positives to take from the games as Brad Potts continued his marvellous start to the season, a goal at Morecambe and a man of the match performance against Barnet shows what a difference a new manager can make to a player.

Last season we only ever saw glimpses of the surging runs Potts is capable of, but since Bowyer has come in and given him the freedom to play further forward and not to be shackled with defensive duties, his game has flourished.

Unlike in the dire defeats of last season, Blackpool are attacking and scoring goals and Mark Cullen’s strike was expertly taken from the edge of the box unfortunately the 94th minute equaliser from Barnet was particularly cruel.

I have played for Barnet manager Martin Allen and when his teams throw everything at you it can be relentless, high balls, long throws and an absolute fight in the penalty box.

When Wycombe come to Bloomfield Road on Saturday it will be a less physical game and I fully expect to see the boys in tangerine run out comfortable winners.

Away from the goings on at Blackpool, I’ve been thoroughly enjoying the fantastic action in Rio at the Olympics.

Hearing so many stories of sacrifice, hard work and resilience from the athletes makes you appreciate their efforts even more.

Great Britain have had a very successful games, currently lying in second place in the medal table.

This has not always been the case and in games gone by we’ve only managed a single gold!

So what’s changed so much that the British have gone from being the laughing stock of the world into a powerhouse that achieves better than far larger populated countries? The answer is all in the detail.

They’ve employed experts in their fields, they have the best physios, they have the best data analysts but the most important aspect is their willingness to push the boundaries and challenge conventional methods.

Just listening to Chris Hoy in the BBC studios talking about training methods and the marginal gains they make by changing the smallest of things in the cycling, makes you realise the detail they go into.

It could be the skins they wear, the way they sit, even the fact that some cyclists now use chalk on their hands instead of gloves. It’s the same with the rowers and the gymnasts.

With the Team GB rise from rock bottom to heroes I can’t help but think now would be the time to strip back the national football team, seek experts advice and challenge things that are just so often taken for granted in football.

Many players and managers can be far from receptive to new ideas and as a result will always be stuck in mediocrity.

One man who does love to challenge the norm in football is Pep Guardiola.

He practically created a new blueprint in how to play exciting, attacking and most importantly successful football at Barcelona.

He moved central midfielders back into defence so they could use their passing skills to build attacks from the back.

He asked his central defenders to split wide to receive the ball.

At Manchester City he has already decided that England’s number one goalkeeper, Joe Hart, is not comfortable enough on the ball to fit into his style of play.

I also found it fascinating to see in his first game how he asked his full-backs to play in a central midfield role when the team’s in possession.

It may not have worked too well against Sunderland but he is challenging the norm and pushing boundaries.

Not too many others in football can say that.