May 12, 2017

New Bedfellows

NEW BEDFELLOWS



by BILLY'S CONTRACT




Forgetting about the what if's, maybe's and might have been's, Pools are now in the National League and we have to accept that. The reality is, as Lincoln, York, Grimsby and Luton have discovered, it is not going to be an easy league to get out of. Wrexham have never got out of it.

It is a very easy league to get into from League Two. Let's face it Pools are here so  what of next season? Like many fans, since the Doncaster game I have been contemplating the future and after getting myself in a medative state by painting a fence that actually did not need painting, but was a very therapeutic experience none the less, I came out the other side in a very positive frame of mind ...albeit with the back of the fence that now needs painting!

Taking on board comments from other fans whose clubs have dropped down to 'The Conference' or have previously being in this division we can take heart. Firstly we need to install a manager as quickly as possible and one who knows the lower leagues like the back of his hand,one with with plenty of contacts. It goes without saying that Pools need to have massive clear out on an industrial scale, of the deadwood that is currently wearing the shirt of Hartlepool United. These players need to be replaced by hard-working battlers and warriors that possess leadership qualities.

I read that a 20-goals-a-season, big, burly centre forward is a must - think that big unit at Lincoln - and a centre half who can stop people scoring goals and takes no prisoners is essential. One non-league fan advised that this is a man's league and not one for the boys as they, with the odd exception, would not be up to the physicality of the game or have the stamina to cope with the some of the playing surfaces.

Hopefully some money will be available to the new manager from the inevitable sale of Nathan Thomas to purchase a couple of bruisers. Like it or not Pools are going to be one of the big teams in the National League with one of the best stadiums and largest supporter bases. Every team in this division would like to get one over on Jeff Stelling's boys. Therefore it is important that Hartlepool United and its fans show their respect and not strut around like Billy Bigknobs as if we own the place or wearing T shirts emblazoned with 'Just passing through' on the front, or saying 'We'll be back' (as we might not be) because it will only make the task of returning to the Football League even more difficult.

Don't forget the Majority of the teams in the National are full-time professional. I think less than half a dozen are part-time. We are not dealing with the plucky part-timer window cleaners, postmen and delivery drivers that are featured in the romance of the FA Cup. Those are in the next division down where our old friends Darlo reside.
"look at our stay for however long in the National League as a whole new adventure"

Like our old home in League Two, most of our opponents are based in London and the Home Counties, so in terms of travel it's much the same as last season - 10,500 miles approx. Locally Flyde will replace last season's Blackpool trip and there is the possibility of a jaunt to one of our old stomping grounds: the Shay stadium, home of Halifax, or perhaps even Chorley, whichever of the two wins the play off.

On the plus front we will have a proper derby (Durham) match with Gateshead, which will delight my son as he only lives 200 yards away from the International Stadium. I am sure most home teams will welcome Pools fans with open arms as we fill their coffers with our large travelling support. On the downside it might not always be possible to get tickets for some of the bigger matches due to crowd limitations at some of the smaller venues. The reverse would be the case for Pools, who would be seeing a loss of revenue as with very few exceptions many teams in the National, due to their size or location, do not carry a big away support and quite a lot of matches are played on Tuesday nights, making travelling a bit of a chore.

So do not expect to see the Rink End ram jam full on a regular basis. In the plus column Pools will not have to play in the farce that is the EFL Trophy. thus saving their money on floodlight bills. Also in the plus column is that Pools qualify for the FA Trophy, which could possibly be our best chance of getting to Wembley, as York, despite their problems, have done so this season. The advantage being that you're playing your peers as opposed to teams from a higher division.

Like all Pools fans my major concern is the financial (straits) state that Hartlepool United are presently in and this will have a major influence on how the team performs overall. Yes, we will receive a parachute payment along with transfer fees for Thomas and possibly Amond and Carson. The latter two I would like to see stay at the club.

The wage bill will be greatly reduced by having a smaller squad and with a lower wage structure but it will be interesting to see where all this revenue ends up. Back at the club or in the directors' back pockets. It is encouraging that the HUFC Trust is having discusions with Pam Duxbury about possible fan ownership however they can only take the club so far. It was informative to read that Darlington 1883 and Newport County, both trust-run clubs, are now looking at external investment to carry them on to the next stage as it seems their respective trusts have taken them as far as they can.

For any Poolies who are still down in the mouth, let me say this. What is done is done. Put recent events behind you and look at our stay for however long in the National League as a whole new adventure, with new places to visit, new beers to be quaffed, new friends to be made and new stories to tell. They reckon that the Fish n' Chips at Harry Ramsden's next to Guiseley ground are worth the trip down alone.

Unless it is on a Tuesday night, I can't wait for my first visit to Solihull Moors which up until recently I was always under the impression was called Solihull Motors. I thought it had some connection with British Leyland!