Tag: Hartlepool United

FA Cup Third Round Preview

Another FA Cup Third Round has come around, and again the biggest clubs in the land have to get down and dirty against teams that they don’t usually have to come up against. With the Premier League looking like it will go to the wire again this season, more managers will be tempted to take their chances and field weakened sides this weekend. The wisdom of this is, of course questionable. From a practical point of view, Reading’s experience of last season demonstrated that picking half a first team in the Third Round and getting knocked out as quickly as possible doesn’t make a jot of difference if your form is in free-fall. Still, let’s take a moment to enjoy (then) Reading striker Dave Kitson’s comment on the last subject from last January: We are not going to win the FA Cup and I do not care less about it, to be honest. Who says that romance is dead, eh? Just as a quick coda to Kitson’s Premier League odyssey with Reading last season, let’s just bring ourselves up to date with how that all turned out. Reading were relegated at the end of the season, and Dave Kitson was transferred to Stoke City at the end of last season. So far, he has failed to score this season in the Premier League. Quite aside from any practical considerations...

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In Praise Of… Brian Clough

The unveiling of a new statue of Brian Clough in Nottingham last week seems like as good a time as any to to take a quick look back at the career of arguably English football’s greatest manager. It’s probably fair to say that the managerial achievements of Brian Clough will never be repeated again. He took two clubs from the middle of the Second Division to be the champions of England, and one of them went on to become back to back champions of Europe. Moreover, he went on to keep the second of these sides in the top division for a decade and a half afterwards while other, arguably bigger, clubs had to spend periods in the Second Division or lower. Brian Clough was always likely to become a manager. His playing career is often overlooked, but was exceptional in its own way. He scored 241 goals in 274 league matches for Sunderland and Middlesbrough before a cruciate ligament injury to his knee ended his career at the age of just twenty-seven. Such a goalscoring record was remarkable even for that time, and it’s plausible to say that, had he played at a bigger club, he could have achieved much more as a player. After three years out of the game, he took up management at Hartlepool United with Peter Taylor, and it would be his relationship with...

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