IN a brutal assessment of his Hartlepool United players, manager Neale Cooper today admitted: “I do not trust them with my livelihood”.
And the Scot has again warned that he will not entertain anyone who cannot deal with his approach of laying bare their shortcomings.
The Pools boss was ringing with sweat and visibly enraged when he emerged to talk to the press after last night’s pitiful 2-0 League One defeat at Notts County.
He had just torn into his under-performing side in the Meadow Lane dressing room, revealing that James Poole, Peter Hartley and Simon Walton, and others, were all on the receiving end of his fury.
And Cooper – whose team, still without a goal in three games this season, were second best from the off against Notts – did not hold back in his condemnation.
“I’m so upset,” he sounded, “My shirt is ringing with sweat. I’ve been in there ranting my head off – I promise it’s not for effect.
“I thought ‘bloody hell, what am I watching here? What am I getting from them?’.
“I’m honest. If players do well they get praised, if they get a bit of stick then deal with it, grow up.
“I’m not letting anyone ruin my livelihood – it’s too important to me.
“I swear to you, if any boys knock on my door and say they’re not happy – ‘see you later then’.
“I’ll put boys in who want to play for this club.
“I don’t want namby-pamby boys who you can’t shout at.”
Cooper’s rage was understandable.
Pools did not muster a single effort on goal as they followed up a decent performance during Saturday’s goalless draw against Swindon with the most lethargic of displays.
Francois Zoko escaped minder Peter Hartley to nod the opener into the bottom corner on 16 minutes. Neal Bishop fired a belated second four minutes from time.
Cooper added: “I want a team I can trust – I can’t trust these right now, I don’t know what I’m going to get.
“This just cannot go on. It’s unacceptable. We just gifted them goals – it was criminal. We hardly get a sniff at goal in games, but every ball which comes into our box they look like scoring.”
H Former Sunderland striker Stephen Elliott scored a cracking opening goal for Coventry last night – his first since signing for the Sky Blues from Hearts in the summer – but League One visitors Sheffield United rescued a point when new boy Nick Blackman pounced at the back post six minutes from time.
H Ex-Sunderland and Hartlepool midfielder Tommy Miller netted in Swindon’s 3-0 defeat of Crawley.
NOTTS COUNTY: Bialkowski, Kelly, Leacock, Liddle, Sheehan, Judge, Boucaud (Mahon 77), Bishop, J Hughes, Zoko (Labadie 33), L Hughes (Waite 88). Subs not used: Mitchell, Bencherif, Regan, Wholey. Goals: Zoko 17, Bishop 86
HARTLEPOOL: Flinders, Baldwin, Collins, Hartley, Horwood, Franks (James 88), Walton (Luscombe 75), Sweeney, Monkhouse, Poole (Murray 46), Howard. Subs not used: McHugh, Humphreys, Holden. Booked: Collins
Att: 4,913. Ref: Stuart Attwell (Warwicks)