Unbelievable, Jeff!

A book review from KT POOLIE

Owing to a cock-up by my ex-publisher, my first book, Unbelievable, Jeff! (recollections by me, a fan, about some record-breaking things what have happened at Pools games), was not available in time for the Christmas sales. I shall now be setting up a stall outside the Raglan next Wednesday – and at just £39.99 a copy, Unbelievable,Jeff! is sure to be snapped up.

A fellow aesthete and part-time author was kind enough to return his copy of Unbelievable Jeff! with a note which I’m sure he won’t have minded me placing on the back cover:
“I weep for the lost trees. A banal, unconvincing, turgid and uninspired pile of putrefying drivel; at best, very nearly competent” – Stephen Fry

Here is a sample of Unbelievable Jeff! exclusive to Monkey Business ...

Worst Free-Kick Decision
Referee Walter Bungler made an extraordinary decision during the half-time interval of the Pools v Mansfield encounter in Feb 1983. Trailing 3-0 at the break, in a match they were to eventually lose 4-1, the Stags’ boss sent his players back onto the pitch five minutes early. Bungler, thinking he was late, raced onto the pitch, tripped over his untied shoelaces and collapsed into centre-half Bill Hardknut. Slightly dazed and embarrassed by the laughter from the terraces, Bungler issued himself a booking and awarded a free-kick to Mansfield instead of the usual kick-off.

Most Extra-Time
York City ran away with the Division 3 trophy in 1983 amassing a record number of points. In November the match against Pools became infamous for the extra time awarded by local referee, Geoffrey Boycott Rowntree. With 90 minutes gone the sides were locked at 2-2. Rowntree played on for 283 minutes explaining afterwards his watch was ‘running a little slow’. York skipper Freddy Truman Rowntree (a nephew of the official) scored from a fourteen-time retaken penalty seconds before the whistle went.

"stopper Baz Knapman changed his boots twice and moved his car which was causing an obstruction on Clarence Road"
Quickest Sending Off
The bizarre dismissal of captain Ray Kennedy during Pools’ match with Northampton Town in 1983 is recorded on page 121. Having recently arrived from Swansea, the ex-Arsenal, Liverpool and England midfielder was given his marching orders on his debut. The Cobblers kicked off, playing the ball back to the goalkeeper, who immediately launched a clearance into Pools' half. Bringing the ball under instant control in one deft movement, Kennedy glided past the onrushing centre-forward, ‘megged his opposite number and leapt over a two-footed lunge before threading an inch-perfect pass to Paul Dobson. The striker took five or six touches to bring it under control and scuffed a shot from the six yard box, hitting the corner flag.

Man in the middle, Kenneth Smugfellow, red-faced and breathless from his 50 yard run, brought play back to the Pools half. Despatching Kennedy to the stands for ungentlemanly conduct, Smugface explained his actions, post-match, “I dislike fancy-dans and Kennedy would do well to acknowledge the lower league convention to hoof it out of play.” There were exactly 0 seconds on his watch as Smugmug forgot to start it at kick off.

Lengthiest Time-Wasting
October 1983 saw Pools behind 1-0 to an early goal by Tranmere who deployed delaying tactics for the remainder of the first half, including a slow restart while the Whites’ stopper Baz Knapman changed his boots twice and moved his car which was causing an obstruction on Clarence Road. After a word from the Pools manager at half-time the referee, Timothy Tardy, agreed to clamp down on sluggish play in the second period. His chance came 2 minutes in when Knapman delayed once more, this time to take an “urgent” telephone call from his mam. The match official waited patiently then threatened the ‘keeper with a booking during a lengthy lecture which lasted for the remaining 26 minutes of the game. He blew the full time whistle as the belated goal kick was in the air.

Longest Injury
Pools faced a protracted journey to Torquay back in Dec 1983, a trip made all the longer by an extraordinary on-field injury to Torquay defender, Bobby Earnockle, early in the first half. Ambling over to collect the ball for a throw-in, Earnockle turned his ankle on a patch of overly wet grass. The Gulls physio, concerned by the pallor of the young fullback called for the team doctor. Twenty minutes went by while the linesman tracked him down to the club bar and directed him onto the pitch, where he arrived just before the two 25-stone St John Ambulance pitch-side helpers. Suspecting imminent kidney failure, the medic performed an emergency transplant in-situ, using an organ donated by a nearby fan. Three days, 8 hours and 47 minutes later, consultants from Torquay General declared Earnockle fit enough to move from the Plainmoor pitch via air ambulance and the match resumed, finally ending 0-0.

It later transpired the doctor was having an illicit affair with a till operator from Waitrose and had not been to a match for three seasons. He paid a young steward to act as stand-in and the hapless teenager had been too frightened of punishment to own up.

Tests later proved the removed kidney to be in perfect condition. Fortunately the steward had the presence of mind to preserve the removed organ in a nearby bottle of Lucozade and saved himself from further punishment by successfully inserting it into the fan, who expressed himself “pleased with the results, to be honest”. Together player and fan hold the World’s Unnecessary Cross-transplant survival record. The steward meanwhile underwent medical training and enjoyed a successful and lucrative career in France until 2010 when he was struck off for using B&Q budget mastic in hundreds of breast enhancement operations.

Lengthiest Journey
Medical identity cards were introduced ten-years later, following Lady Justice Gaga’s Kidneygate Inquiry which means the Torquay meeting is likely to remain the longest injury hold-up during a game. However, it is not the lengthiest overall journey which occurred in Pools’ match in the same season at Cambridge, when travel on the 15 mile stretch of the A14 between Cambridge and Huntingdon took just under 7 days at an average speed of 0.09 miles per hour.