Is going to watch the Reserves becoming a pointless exercise, in more ways than one? Pete Sixsmith reports from a Little & Large show …
Reserve nights at Hetton are beginning to lose their allure for me. After a dispiriting 3-0 defeat on Tuesday, I am beginning to wonder if there are other things I could be doing like marking books or cutting my toe nails.
The current management team have a very clear policy with regard to Reserve Team football; it is there purely as a stepping stone for young players coming up from the Under 18 squad and it is used to test their suitability for future contracts.
Gone are the days of star studded second strings and exciting open games. What we have now are teams of desperate young men trying to show their coaches that they deserve another two years or that they should be allowed to move out on loan to a lower league club asap.
It means that we have to watch the current crop of 18-20 year olds without the distraction of Angeleri or Healey – and it is not pretty viewing. Three home games, two defeats and a goalless draw that will long be remembered as possibly the worst game ever seen.
This month’s visitors were Wolves, who are not in our section, but may be in our League. And there’s another thing; the Reserve League format is about as easy to follow as the various County Cricket competitions that litter the summer game.
We are in the same group as Liverpool, Everton, Blackpool and Blackburn, but in have not played any of them in the first five games. Wolves are in Reserve League South. Tottenham, Stoke City, Birmingham City, Fulham and West Brom are not running reserve teams this year, so there are three groups instead of two divisions and there are cross group games. We play Chelsea and West Ham in the New Year.
Pleased I sorted all that out for you and I suppose you will be wanting a detailed account of the beating administered to us by Wolverhampton Wanderers on Tuesday?
Quite frankly, we were awful and I could not see many of those on show going on to have careers at the highest level. Blair Adams did well at full back and we know that Jack Colback has potential. Add Billy Knott, recently released by Chelsea and there are three.
Of the others, the basic problem is that they are too bloody small. Luscombe, Cook, Laidler are all tiny and it was quite amusing watching 5’6” Laidler trying to outwit 6’3” Steven Mouyokolo. He looked a good player at Hull last year and he was very poised and balanced last night.
Ashley Hemmings was probably the smallest player on the Wolves side, yet he managed to score with a header, while I was also impressed with a tall, rangy full back called Scott Malone – no relation to Dick.
Once again the gilded youth were promenading around the ground and taking even less of an interest than usual. The crowd was just under 800 (including Mick McCarthy) and the conversation was up to its usual excellent standard. Unlike some clubs in this league we do encourage spectators to attend, but better stuff than this is required.
Liverpool are next up on November 2nd, but I won’t be there. Ardal O’Hanlon is at The Gala in Durham and I will be chortling away at Father Dougal rather than complaining about our lack of first team potential. It’ll probably end up 5-4.