Ben Burgess: Superhero Evatt and Shrew-perhero Akpa

Chesterfield's Ian Evatt battles with Blackpool's Mark Cullen
Chesterfield's Ian Evatt battles with Blackpool's Mark Cullen
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So, at what age do we stop wanting to be a superhero?

Whilst flicking through Shrewsbury’s colossal programme pre-match on Saturday, I stumbled upon a brief interview with their five-year old mascot. Favourite player: James Collins.

Score prediction: 3-1. What do you want to be when you’re older: Superhero.

That little boy found his superhero on Saturday in the form of the unpredictable Jean Louis Akpa Akpro, who put Pool to the sword twice in a dreadful five-minute collapse. Whilst poor Neil McDonald sounded post match like he wished he had the super power of invisibility, after describing his team as having ‘hit rock bottom.’

Which not many can argue with.

This defeat came against a Shrewsbury side who were desperately low on confidence after four straight defeats at home. What the Shrews do possess though is a good manager in Micky Mellon who has moulded a decent team with players full of League One experience.

Players who have scored goals at that level consistently.

Despite the Seasider’s line up looking adventurous, with the three strikers in from the start, they had no attempts at goal in the first half (compared to 11 from Shrewsbury).

Even in the second half, ex–Tangerine Mark Halstead was rarely tested other than the correctly disallowed goal.

I was fortunate to have a chat with Micky Mellon in his office before the game and he was a man full of confidence that his side would turn around their fortunes.

He’s driven them to League 2 promotion and dealt with the loss of some of his star players recently, but from what I saw on the pitch they played some good football and looked a real threat every time they attacked.

As I was leaving his office I noticed a quote written on his board: “Don’t look back, because we will never be going in that direction again.”

It’s a great positive quote, but for Blackpool fans going back five years would be like a dream!

On the subject of superheroes, Blackpool welcomed back one of their very own in the form of Ian Evatt on Tuesday.

Evo has done fantastically to more than prove that Blackpool made a huge mistake in getting rid of him after his long term injury. Who would have thought that just over two years ago when Paul Ince unceremoniously dumped one of Blackpool’s finest players, someone who fans loved, someone who’d grown into the rock in Blackpool’s defence, that his new Chesterfield side would find themselves nine places above the Seasiders in the same league!

But just as everyone was expecting an Evatt-assisted coast to victory for Chesterfield, Blackpool were finally sparked into life. Whether it was the stinging post match verdict from their manager on Saturday or a poor showing from Chesterfield, I’m not sure.

Either way the Seasiders produced a comfortable display that was easily their best of the season and their first win in front of the thousands of empty seats at Bloomfield Road. The three points have kept Pool in touch with the teams above them but there is no disguising that the squad still needs quality adding to it in various areas.

Is the Premier League really the best in the world?

After another mixed week in the Champions League, the age old question has popped up again.

Is the Premier League really the best in the world?

For me personally I have always felt that the English top division is the most ‘entertaining’ but evidence is pointing in the direction that the quality and tactical awareness is not quite matching the other leagues in Europe.

English football is generally played at a ferocious pace, whether that’s League 2 or the Premier League. Even when I coach kids at school or elsewhere, there’s a certain impatience on the ball.

As though they must get rid of it as quick as they can or that they must get to the goal as quickly as possible. For England to have any success in future years, players need to be encouraged to want the ball and not to be afraid to keep hold of it until there’s a pass on. How many times do you see Pique receive the ball for Barcelona on the edge of his box and play himself out of danger?

Or Pirlo drop deep to receive the ball with three players around him and still keep possession?

English teams and players are not a million miles away from being amongst the elite but there’s still a lot of work to be done.