September 06, 2013

Still Fed Up

says CENTRAL PARK 


I didn’t really want to write anything this month because those of you who actually read these offerings must be as heartily sick of things as I am, so why would you want to read the same old moans just expressed in a slightly different way?

On the other hand if I were to write a hugely optimistic up-beat article predicting a promotion push then I would rightly be dismissed as a crackpot, with no grasp on reality. Rather like a man who believed that the financial fair play rules were introduced to help teams like ours to prosper.

So what can I say except...

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

For the benefit of those of you who did not enjoy the advantages bestowed by an education at the Henry Smith School (with in my case the added bonus of a year sitting beside an attractive girl who knew twice as much about French as I did and who was happy to share her knowledge) the foregoing translates as ‘the more things change the more they stay the same’. Who would have thought that Hartlepool United, with a poorly performing team at the bottom end of the fourth tier of English football and no money to improve it, would, sixteen years after having been taken over by a hugely successful international oil company, have a poorly performing team at the bottom end of the fourth tier of English football and with no money to improve it?

Despite the many good times during the last sixteen years it now feels like they never happened, a bit like when the last day of the summer holidays arrived when you were at school, the previous six weeks seemed to have gone in a flash and all the fun you had had was no consolation for what faced you tomorrow.

I can empathise with Father Jack of Craggy Island, who in his one moment of sobriety despairingly exclaimed, ‘oh no; I’m still on that bloody island aren’t I?
"...we really do have to start putting some positive results together soon, before Colin Cooper’s post match interviews begin to sound like the briefings of Comical Ali"
That’s what I feel like now. Here we are again, normal service has been resumed. The last time we were in this position was under the chairmanship of the late Harold Hornsey who had risked all he had to keep the club going and who through no fault of his own had reached a point where the club was about to be swamped financially. Towards the end of his stewardship we knew that he had nothing left to offer in the financial sense and he did his best ensure the survival of the club he loved by allowing the present owners to take over.

Despite the huge amounts of money put into the club by IOR, and some excellent performances this enabled the team to produce on the field, we still find ourselves in real danger of dropping out of the league altogether, just like when they arrived.

How did things come to this – yet again?

Well it seems pretty obvious. You only get what you pay for, and over the last three or four years despite IOR's continuing financial support in respect of essential off field activities, money spent on the recruitment on the playing side has been woefully inadequate. I know all the reasons given for the lack of money being spent, they have been explained clearly by IOR over the last few years and have been debated quite extensively on the Poolie Bunker message board. However I retain the belief that if IOR really wanted to spend money on the team then they could easily do so without breaking the letter of the law. Mind you, all this is said on the blithe assumption that IOR have the money to spend. I don’t know the state of the oil industry so I could be asking for money they just don’t have.

Nevertheless, unless IOR's policy in this regard changes significantly, and soon, then I can see no alternative to our relegation from the Football League; and, as Mrs. Slocombe would have said, ‘I am unanimous in this’.

I have friends and acquaintances all over the world, who if they were asked to agree on one thing about me it would be that I like to be right. As I have often remarked about myself, ‘I would rather be right than rich.’ Mind you, I have not yet been put to the test on that. However, for once in my life I would dearly love to be wrong, and this concerns the outcome of the present season. I don’t know if I am just being overly pessimistic so that I can prepare myself for the worst, with the small consolation of saying ‘I told you so’ if that transpires, or whether I really have read the signs correctly and that this team is headed for relegation to the conference. Judging from the comments on the Bunker I am far from being alone in my pessimism.

There will be pessimists all over the football world thinking and writing in similar vein (think of those poor souls who follow Arsenal for example; one game played and they are convinced that they will not finish higher than fifth in the Premier League – oh the shame). Some will have more cause for concern than others but in our case we know that the team that played last season clearly demonstrated that it was not good enough for the division it was playing in, we didn’t even come close to salvation despite the goings on in February, which in my view were an aberration, the other eight months of the season being the norm. That team has not been strengthened, although I accept that it would be churlish not to acknowledge the efforts of Burgess who has shown definite signs of promise; but then again, if he really plays well he will be taken back to his parent club to do a job for them. I know management need to sound up beat and find silver linings and all that, but we really do have to start putting some positive results together soon, before Colin Cooper’s post match interviews begin to sound like the briefings of Comical Ali.

Still, before this turns into another diatribe about the team, the chairman and anybody else who I can possibly blame for our plight I will leave this world and escape into a more congenial place. I therefore have two choices; the future or the past. Which seems to be the more pleasant? Well I can’t imagine anything good happening in the immediate future so the past it is then.

So here I go, re-living all those wonderful triumphs of years gone by.

Well that didn’t take long did it?

Like most condemned men I still cling to a sliver of hope – no matter what the facts. I am writing this before the Fleetwood match so if on 7 September you see a man, who is obviously old enough to know better, tap dancing along Church Street, swinging an umbrella and singing ‘Singing in the Rain’ like Gene Kelly, then you will know that there have been a couple of unexpected results culminating in a victory at Victoria Park. The birds will be chirping and all will be right with the world, until the next week.