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The Opposition View - Hartlepool


  • Thanks, Vital.

    Seems generally fair feedback.

    Roughly the umpteenth week running that opposition fans have commented to some degree unfavourably on the sportsmanship of our team. With my limited exposure to other teams in the league, and only having been a regular fan for a couple of seasons, Wycombe don't seem notably niggly, over-physical or dishonest. But the fact that most opponents seem to comment on it makes me wonder. I've seen other posters talk about the unattractiveness of our playing style, but do we have a view about the manner and spirit of our play?

  • Right from the kick-off yesterday the locals were baying and howling if Wycombe took more than a second to take a throw-in or whatever, so they had clearly formed an opinion before the match even started. This, I think, may have encouraged a couple of our lads to bait them by delaying a few kicks and throws somewhat and I have to admit to chortling loudly about how wound up they were getting, although I know other Wycombe fans would prefer if our team just got on with it.

    The two instances that had them complaining the loudest were both actually due to genuine injuries: Akinfenwa going down after scoring, when the defender does appear to have caught the back of his leg and he later had to be subbed, and Pierre, who had to be subbed right away, so it wasn't all play-acting.

  • @Uncle_T Trouble is we have played like this for a few years so its nothing new is it. We have an ongoing reputation that will take a while to shake off.

  • Thanks for the replies.

    From my observations, I'd say that we are not at all bad for feigning injuries. I struggle to remember our trainer coming on at all this season.

    Similarly to Uncle_T's observations, I can only recall three players going down on Tuesday against Plymouth. Luke obviously got a bang, took it like a man and got up after a few seconds without either moaning at the ref or getting the trainer on even though it obviously hurt, Paris went down lateish and got up again reasonably quickly (though with a bit of a moan: he needs to grow up significantly in the way he speaks to referees, it seems to me) and Beany went down in the last few minutes, but, again, got up without undue delay or drama and was, it seems, actually injured by it enough to be unavailable on Saturday.

    That said, when we get ahead, we unquestionably take our time over various things but no more than any other team I've seen be ahead of us. It's a bugbear of mine about the game generally.

    Are we a more-physical-or-dishonest-than-average team?

  • We are (as far as I know) runaway leaders in the yellow card table with over a hundred of them. Must be some sort of indicator.

  • edited March 2017

    @micra Not quite:

    League Tables - Discipline - English League Two - All - 2016/2017
    Position Team Played For Against
    Total Per Game Fouls
    per Card Total Per Game Fouls
    per Card
    Yellow Red Pts Fouls Yellow Fouls Yellow Red Pts Fouls Yellow Fouls

    6 Stevenage 37 83 2 87.0 456 2.24 12.32 5.49 65 2 69.0 469 1.76 12.68 7.22
    18 Crawley Town 37 82 1 84.0 489 2.22 13.22 5.96 71 1 73.0 476 1.92 12.86 6.70
    23 Newport County 36 79 3 85.0 477 2.19 13.25 6.04 45 2 49.0 390 1.25 10.83 8.67
    11 Wycombe 37 76 3 82.0 530 2.05 14.32 6.97 64 3 70.0 418 1.73 11.30 6.53
    22 Cheltenham 37 72 4 80.0 480 1.95 12.97 6.67 61 3 67.0 408 1.65 11.03 6.69

    Not too clear but see

  • Try this one which is the Football Associatons Not good reading i'm afraid.

  • 6th of 24 on league matches points per game (total points surely irrelevant given difference in matches played). Not great, not terrible.

    The reputation is sadly widely spread, partly no doubt justified partly not helped by team overperforming especially away in recent seasons.

    Being blunt about it, if you have a better way of consistently overperforming against a very low budget, answers on a postcard to Mr Howard.

  • Assuming that generally, the player does not actually pay, I wonder how much this is costing the club? Probably small beer in the overall budget over and above what any club might expect to pay as a norm.

  • 2 yellow cards per game over 50 games doesn't seem to far off average to me, especially with the increasingly odd refereeing we get each week.
    I actually think we've got slightly less reliant on the darker arts of the game this season. I do though remember three players staying deep in the Spurs half tieing boot laces after our third goal rather than celebrate with the rest. That is taking it to a pretty high level.

    The derailing tactics tried again on this thread are far more of a worry to me.

  • O'Nein's bookings are getting pretty samey now. He loses a player in the centre of the park and pulls them back. Some say thats a good booking to take for the team but maybe it's a tactical thing we need to look at if he is getting out of position too often.

  • At the risk of being criticised for derailing the thread, what on earth are Accy up to though? A dismissal at least every fifth game... I have to say I'd rather be us than them.

  • We have given away considerably more fouls (543) than any other team (Crawley at 514 are next), which means that looking positive side despite a high number of yellows our fouls per card ratio looks fairly middle of the road at 7.05.

    That high number of fouls seems mostly (although not entirely) because of Akinfenwa, or at least the way Akinfenwa is refereed. He has given away 51 fouls, which is 21 more than the next fouliest Wycombe player, Pierre.

  • Hardly at all, Chris to be honest. Even if Akinfenwa had committed no fouls at all, we would still be second on total fouls and third on fouls per game.

  • Is there a record of how many fouls Bayo has had given in his favour?

  • You're quite correct - we would have a high number of fouls in any case. But the Akinfenwa effect is considerable none the less.

  • I only see home games...obvious Timewasting and motionless ball boys irritate me...but I do not see we are any worse than anyone has been noted we got a reputation three seasons ago that seems to have stuck. As for Akinfenwa...if we got a foul every time he was held back or jumped on and the ref let's it go the figures would be better. If we had the best record and were fourth from bottom people would be questioning commitment.

  • Certainly cements our top of the league status, Chris. But unless a more conventional target man centre forward would have committed less than 23 fouls, which feels unlikely , we would still be shading crawley for the Champions spot.

  • @Right_in_the_Middle . It was I that started the conversation about the team's playing style and reputation for sportsmanship. I did so in response to reading the Hartlepool fans' comments: the subject of the thread. Is it this that you are referring to as derailing tactics?

  • Derailing tactics? I like the sound of that.

  • Three of Stanley's reds have been Scott Brown, who's currently serving a five match ban. We don't have anyone like that in the team. How many of our reds have been for two yellows?

  • @HCblue No. You weren't the reason for my comments.

  • @Right_in_the_Middle said:
    Is there a record of how many fouls Bayo has had given in his favour?

    I think it's none (or maybe 2). When I introduced this topic I merely had in mind the fact that we have topped the hundred mark for yellows. I read the excellent Vital previews for every match and look in eager anticipation that our opponents will have received more yellows than we have. I don't recall that having been the case at all this season.

  • In my opinion we are more niggly tactical fouls rather than potential leg breaker straight red cards which I see regularly on the highlights of other teams. Perhaps it is this that gets other fans backs up the fact that we are sly and devious rather than outright cloggers?

  • @Dev I'll bite (I do like a derailed thread). I'm assuming Crewe and Exeter aren't exactly swimming in cash and are arguably over-achieving

  • On the more general issue, is it just me but are we doing a lot more jersey tugging (in the middle of the pitch) than we used to? Or are we just not as good at it as we used to be?

  • We're certainly not a dirty side, but we are niggly. Luton are probably the dirtiest team I've seen this season and they seem to be gaining a bad reputation. I remember reading Portsmouth fans complaining about their tactics. I was stunned when I heard the Luton manager complaining we were over physical when we played them a while back, after they'd had 5 booked and 1 sent off.

  • Nathan Jones is extraordinary. And that is not a compliment.

  • I can never quite quantify other team's fans seemingly putting us on the same level as Westley's Stevenage.
    They seemed to make every single battle for the ball a borderline foul, not to mention the infamous "half way through every half fake injury to allow a re-shuffle"

  • A significant proportion of football fans have extremely short memories and can only see things in purely black and white, therefore we are the dirtiest team that has ever existed and if you disagree they'll thqueam and thqueam and call Talksport.

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