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Rival fans in ‘bitter old goat’ jibe at reporter

A veteran football reporter accused of being a “bitter old goat” for playing down praise for an opposition goalkeeper says he’s “sticking to his line”.

Alan Poole, of the Coventry Telegraph, received criticism from fans of Notts County in the Nottingham Post after covering their clash with Coventry City.

The game saw County goalkeeper Roy Carroll showered with praise, which Alan described as “somewhat over-egged”, after deciding to play just 17 hours after appearing for Northern Ireland in Romania.

In a piece written for the Telegraph after County’s 1-0 victory over Coventry, Alan questioned whether Carroll had really undertaken an “amazing feat”.

He wrote: “We know that goalkeepers have their own mental pressures but in the course of 90 – or indeed – 180 minutes they don’t expend that much physical energy, do they?

“I’d have been infinitely more impressed had we been talking about a box-to-box midfielder.

“And Carroll didn’t exactly have to back-pack his way home, did he?

“I’m guessing he wasn’t crammed into cattle-class for the return flight to the UK so even if he isn’t one of those fortunate souls who can snooze on planes he would have been able to top up his energy levels.”

However, County supporters took to the internet to voice their outrage which led to the Post then carrying a piece detailing their complaints against Alan.

Comments accusing Alan of “massive sour grapes” and describing him as “a bitter old goat” were among those to appear.

In response, Alan said: “I am, indeed, an old goat and I accept that some of my attitudes might belong to a different era but I’ll stick to my line that the logistics of Roy Carroll’s return journey were somewhat over-egged to make for a good headline.

“By way of a name-dropping contextual example I’ll pass on a story that Ron Atkinson told me when I was writing an obituary for (footballer) Frank Large in 2003.

“Frank had dropped down to semi-pro status by the time he signed for Kettering Town and Big Ron explained ‘he worked on the building sites and I remember him coming in one day when he had dropped a hod of bricks on his foot and broken his big toe.

“‘He knew we were a bit short, so he just cut a chunk out of his boot to make it a bit more comfortable so he could play.’

“And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what you call going beyond the call of duty.”

The Post story can be viewed at