Showing posts from December, 2014

Any Other Business

 This simple quiz devised by KT POOLIE reveals your true allegiance

EVERY club’s supporters think they are the best. Only Poolies know the truth, of course, but are you really a Poolie? 

Take our scientifically verified quiz based on five probing questions which will prove beyond doubt where your allegiance lies.

1. Do you think Pools are hopeless? 
a) No, I don’t, most of the players are honest lads doing what they can to earn a living doing something most would jump at the chance of. Things have been worse.
b) Not all of the players, no. I slag them all off before their first game to keep them on their toes and let’s face it if they were any good they’d be playing elsewhere.
c) Yes. I’ve never seen them play but my knowledge and love of football is superior to others. I need to see aesthetic beauty to appreciate the game.
d) Good local players can’t get a job at Pools for the likes of Greek goalkeepers, Dutch wingers and now Italian defenders. Let’s have a quota system.

2. Do you think Pools would be better off as a feeder club?
a) No. I prefer to see us giving young players a chance, especially local ones. Loanees have their place but the whole transfer/loan window is ridiculous.
b) Yes, anything to keep the club competitive. Even being a Boro nursery beats the current position. c) Yes, it’s the natural order of things. Those clubs with the richest Middle East chairman deserve to mop up all the players.
d) Yes, as long as we guarantee local players a place over European migrants. A kind of British football apprenticeship is needed.

3. Do you think every opposition side gets “lucky breaks” when they come to Pools because no one likes us?
a) Yes, and I also think the standard of refereeing leaves a lot to be desired. Then there’s the travel and the authorities – it is all conspired against us.
 b) Of course not. Over the season luck and bad decisions even themselves out. I don’t believe that but I’m just saying it to sound vaguely reasonable. Bastards.
c) No. That’s ridiculous. Obviously things need to be weighted to favour the better sides, like direct entry into the 3rd round of the Cup.
d) Yes, it’s embedded in the European Treaty and is another reason for tell Frau Jean-Claude Juncker to clear off. And why has she got a man’s middle name?

4. Have you ever used the term “Sort it out Turner/Wadsworth/Barron/Cooper/Barron/
Hughes/Cooper/Murray?” * 
a) No. The doctor says I must keep calm. That kind of behaviour gave me a strangulated hernia during the Bobby Moncur season.
b) Yes, I use it all the time, win, lose or draw. But to be fair, never in the first two minutes. Give the young ‘uns time to settle, is my philosophy.
c) No, although I can get frustrated like any fan. I don’t usually leave the box for the second half anyway.
d) No, those names seem alright to me. And anyway the phrase is Kick ‘em out... * Delete as appropriate. [Note to Editor: If things change again before publication, please amend]

5. Do you think there is something intrinsically depraved about picking a club to support based on its success when you have a hometown team?
a) Yes, I find it deeply embarrassing.
b) Sort of, although my lads wear Newcastle shirts for dress-down Fridays – I do worry about bullying! And of course I have a Barcelona shirt for me holidays.
c) No, it’s just in my nature to gorge on only the finest things. I see joy in Liverpool of the 80s then Man Utd and now Chelsea.
d) No, although everyone should support Engerland. And until we leave the EU, its important for player's to be able to speak are language good.

How did you score?
Mostly ‘a': You’re an older Poolie, who has watched some awful 1970s Hartlepool teams. Slightly deluded, your heart’s in the right place.
Mostly ‘b': You’re probably a younger Poolie. In a few years time you will look back at the current team with fondness while searching for directions to Barwell FC.
Mostly ‘c': You’re not a Poolie. You follow one of the teams in the Premier League. Check the current table to see who it is.
Mostly ‘d': You’re a UKIP supporter who’s clicked on the MonkeyBizz link instead of the Daily Mail’s survey: How should we treat the scrounging immigrants?

The Imitation Game

Things ...Can Only Get Better?

The WAGGA MOON view of things

It looks like things have got to get even worse before they get better. Paul Murray has got a gigantic job on his hands and he is going to need all the help he can to get us out of this mess. 

We are now discovering just how bad a manager Colin Cooper was. No wonder he was in his mid-40s before he was given a chance in management, and it was only a football expert like Ken Hodcroft who thought he would make it. 

We have Stuart Parnaby, who has played 40-odd League games in seven seasons, surprisingly enough out for the rest of the season. His Borer loanees have gone back to their parent club and won't be missed. But it is four of the players who were kept on in the summer that are the biggest concern. Albeit at least two of them were kept on by the Deadly Duo of Hodcroft and Green. Collins and Austin, way past their sell-by dates yet still embarrassing themselves every time they turn out for Pools. "We are now discovering just how bad a manager Colin Cooper was"

If there was a world "running backwards and not getting a tackle in and then waving your arms about when your opponent has scored" championships then Collins would win it hands down. Time for the Donkey Sanctuary, my old chap. 

Austin, who fancies himself as a penalty taker, yet couldn't score in a brothel with £50 notes sticking out of every pocket, needs to concentrate on marking his right winger instead of going AWOL or better still go back to darLOW. 

Jon Franks has had more chances than most and still gets a game when a blind man on a galloping horse could see he will never make the grade. 

But perhaps the most serious non-performer is Flapper Flinders who is getting worse game by game. He is almost guaranteed to throw at least one goal a game in. Making him captain has certainly not improved his game and that is where Stephen Pears comes in. Brought in as assistant manager to Cooper he made no impression whatsover. Now under Murray he is demoted to goalkeeping coach yet is doing nothing to get Flinders to play any better. Let's see how Jon Maxted our new goalkeeper performs as we need someone reliable in goal and at present Flinders is far from that. 

It seems management and owners are all agreed that new players were essential. And Murray to be fair has been allowed to bring eight in.

He quickly found the squad was young and old with not enough in the mid range, 24 to 28, and said this must be rectified. Bringing in Schmeltz, Featherstone, Lanzoni and Fenwick moved towards addressing this anomaly, but while we needed a new striker and centre back he bought in two untried teenagers, Adam Campbell and Joe Ironside up front and a 21-year old midfielder Matty Dolan. 
Surely it should have been a 25-year-old striker like Ched Evans or a less controversial player and a centre half of similar age. 

If Matty Bates can come good at centre back then all well and good but against Wycombe he showed how nervous he was to have a keeper like Flinders behind him. Indeed the whole defence seems to have no confidence in him. 

We have a plum FA Cup tie to come on Friday night against Blyth Spartans with a nice little TV cash boost to go with it. We must make no mistake and give them the hiding that is coming to them and then hope for a tasty third round tie to come. Newcastle away would suit me and also keep one of their biggest fans, Ken Hodcroft, happy. Who knows, he might even splash some of the cash on a few new signings. Not young untried kids but players with League One or Championship experience who are ready to join the Poolie Revolution. 

Lunatics and Asylums

BILLY'S CONTRACT on management

I have finally come to the conclusion that it must be |H'Angus and not IOR who are running Hartlepool United Football club. Actually, I take that back, as our simian friend would probably do a better job and actually have more business acumen and logical forethought than the people who are currently in charge.

Firstly lets look at the appointment of Paul Murray and Willie Donachie as the new management team. According to the Sheffield Mail Paul Murray was introduced to Willie Donachie for the first time on the day that he was appointed manager.

Paul Murray said that until he shared a car trip with Donachie to run the rule over York at Wimbledon he knew very little about his new number two and that the journey acted as a 'getting to know you' exercise.

Surely anyone appointed manager of a football club gets to choose their own second in command and not someone who has been foisted on him by the owners.

It may well have been a case of the owners not been able to chose between the two and this being in IOR's eyes the best compromise. I hope that this is not a case of poor management by poor management. "What will football fans from the rest of the country think when they see a half-empty ground with the home side being outshouted and possibly outnumbered by the away fans? "

It may also have been a case of telling Paul Murray if he did not accept Donachie as his assistant there were another (so we are told) 70 other applicants in the frame who would.
My initial reaction to Paul Murray's appointment was one of concern as I felt that we needed someone with more experience to get us out of the mess that we now find ourselves in. Perhaps Willie Donachie will offer that experience but for IOR to decide who our assistant manager should be is almost interfering with pitch side matters. Soon they will be picking the team.

Pools arguably got the pick of the second round draw of the F.A.cup in entertaining (and I use that word very loosely) Blyth Spartans at home. A real money spinner if ever there was one and even allowing for the live T.V coverage almost guaranteeing a full house.
I dare say, assuming that we got through to the third round and drew a premiership club, we would get a similar gate ...that is, until the powers that be got involved.

I was guessing, allowing for the cameras being present, that Pools would settle on the admission price on the gate of £12 top whack and £6 for concessions. It took an age for the prices to be announced and the longer the delay, the more obvious it was that some deluded person/group IOR/Commercial dept or even Blyth decided on £20 per head with £10 for concessions. 

If this price point came from Pools it shows a total disregard for their loyal fan base as well as an amazing lack of business insight on a grander scale than that of Gerald Ratner when he said at their AGM that the products in his jewellery stores were, and I quote 'Crap'.  As a result, in a very short time, Ratners disappeared off the high street altogether.

As a consequence of this pricing structure I know of half a dozen or so Poolies who are going to give the match a miss. I have been told that Blyth have sold their allocation but there could have been even more of their fans present. My son, who works in Newcastle t,old me three of his office mates who follow The Spartans could not wait to get to the match but once they saw the price tag have now elected to watch the spectacle on the T.V.

What will football fans from the rest of the country think when they see a half-empty ground with the home side being outshouted and possibly outnumbered by the away fans? Worse still, what impact will such a low home support have on the morale of the team? (That is, if they have any left after recent performances,)

I am guessing for this derby match that there will be around a crowd of 3,500,to 4,000 top whack, when it should be in the region of 5/6,000. I am sure that the food and club shop franchises won't be best pleased with this outcome and if I was a director of Cameron's brewery who are now supplying the clubs alcoholic beverages, I would be having words with Pools' Commercial department regarding the loss of this potential revenue stream.

Both sides pick up £72k for the privilege of being on the telly. I am guessing that, based on a crowd of 3.5k, gate receipts would be around £53k, shared equally between both clubs. The victors get an additional £27k for progressing through to the third round. So if Pools do manage to see off Blyth Spartans they would pick up in excess of £152k excluding other income such as Corporate hospitality, alcohol and programmes sales etc. Not a bad pay day.

It could and should have been handled so much better (does smell of IOR doesn't it!) It has left a bad taste in many supporters' mouths with the general feeling that we are being taken for a ride by greedy owners who no doubt will be spouting off about the VAT that they have to pay.

Hopefully I am completely wrong about the above and that IOR will prove me wrong.
As for me, will I be standing on the terraces for this cup encounter? But of course I am Poolie til I die. On the other hand others might argue that I am soft in the head!


What annoyed me most about the home defeat to Wycombe was...

Not the fact that we never had anyone on the far post either in defence or attack.

Not the fact that the lad Campbell on loan from the Mags was subbed after 50 minutes because he was ineffective but that he had to get home to finish his paper round then his homework.(I thought he was one of the lads from the half time penalty shoot out who managed to sneak on the pitch and get a game for 'Pools.)

Not the fact that the announcer embarrassingly played Tom Harks over the Tannoy when Marlon scored to make it three one with a few minutes left on the clock

but ...Jonathan Franks.


The Ten-Month Itch

Darlo Here We Come!!!


The prospect of reviving derby games against Darlo (or should I say Darlington 1883) seems to come closer as week follows week.

Two home defeats on the trot by the score of 3-1 puts Pools in an even more dangerous position at the bottom of League Two. Already, a gap is starting to open up between Pools and the safety positions and I can’t see it getting any better. It seems as though whenever we go 1-0 down we all sit back and wait for the second goal. Heads seem to go down and there’s no heart. 

Paul Murray has attempted to improve things by bringing in new blood but any replacements seem to be no better than the players they replace. As one Mill House Terrace punter shouted to a steward at the Wycombe game, “You’re getting paid to watch this crap!” Even then, we had a lifeline against Wycombe with the award of a penalty - which we fluffed and I think there was an expectation that it would be missed. 

Wycombe, of course, nearly went out of the Football League themselves but look where they are now. And the same with Northampton. They looked odds on for relegation out of the Football League last season but have now got themselves into a decent position. Pools, on the other hand, have gone from bad to worse .The one encouraging aspect of Pools’ play under Paul Murray is the wide role which he’s given to Marlon Harewood - probably the one player who caused Wycombe any problems. "It seems as though whenever we go 1-0 down we all sit back and wait for the second goal."

Pools are fortunate in that they’ve banked money from season ticket sales. Pay at the gate and I would imagine the attendances would struggle to reach the thousand mark. If I’m correct, I think the Wycombe game was a first for Pools in that we had a female referee’s assistant. Running the line alongside the Mill House Terrace, the young lady performed very competently and came through the ordeal very well. I would think that having run the line there, she’d have no problem anywhere else.

Hope you’ve all got over Black Friday - that’s to say if you took your life in your hands and visited the supermarkets. Although not directly relevant to footy there are side issues which need addressing. As you’ll all be aware, footy clubs have to pay police costs for security within grounds and a number of clubs, including Pools, have complained about the amount they’ve been charged. Yet, if you’re a supermarket and your actions cause a near riot you get the police for nothing. After all, it’s the stupidity of the supermarkets who cause the problems in the first place. Why should they get away with it when clubs have to pay through the nose.? If I were the Football League, I’d demand a meeting with the Home Office as soon as possible.

Lastly, numerous press reports reveal that Mags’ owner, Mike Ashley, is taking a big interest in Glasgow Rangers. Crash, bang, wallop - that’s half a million more votes for the Scottish National Party.

Funny Old Game

As I Seen It - York City (h)

RUNNING MONKEY sees a collapse

Pools 1 York City 3
League Two, 
Victoria Park, 

21st October, 2014

A six pointer today, a decent crowd of around five thousand with the away end full it was a big game as both teams were struggling, and with the visitors just above Pools it was the ideal opportunity for us to, if not move up, at least get some much needed points on the board.

The visitors were not very sporting, almost scoring in the first minute. They really looked up for this game and for the first fifteen minutes they were all over us. The Ditchburn Poolie commented on how composed the visitors were and the urgency in their game was commendable as they pressured us from the off. 

The old failings of looseness on the ball losing possession easily, or not making your pass were the prominent features of the Pools side early doors. We did have a good claim for a penalty but was a ref from L***s going to give Pools a break against a Yorkshire side? The Ditchburn commented that not many of the local refs ever gave us a break so why should we hope a Yorkshire man would? 

Walker with a deft swerve made himself some room and headed into their box and his shot on the run was a good effort. Pools seemed to steady the ship and started to make inroads on what has to be the worst back four I have ever seen at the Vic. The two full backs in particular were an absolute disgrace; wrapping their arms around passing players and hauling them to the ground was their equivalent of making a challenge for the ball. I know I should not condemn officials but I was so annoyed with the opposition tactics that were let go by them that I have decided to add a rating for officials to my report, and this shower score three out of ten, and I am being generous. 

Pools did get their act together and started playing some good football, putting pressure on the opposition. Fenwick pounced onto a ball but his effort was just wide but he looked handy. The Ditchburn just commented that he was just putting himself in the shop window. But give the lad his due he was trying. Marlon on the other hand was just being Marlon - he won one header that I remember but his effort just trickled to the goalkeeper. "By the half hour mark we looked to be the only team in it"

By the half hour mark we looked to be the only team in it. I was going to say shots were raining in on the opposition but the Ditchburn said that was a bit over the top. Marlon did have a hand in the opening goal laying a ball on for Fenwick to slide the ball past the keeper. Nothing more than we deserved as we looked like a team at times. In the next attack Fenwick again in good position was man-handled off the ball and the officials once again looked the other way. He was causing problems and led the Pools attack and was unlucky meeting a cross into the box but his header was over. But again the defender was playing the man and not the ball. 

Pools ran the game till the half time whistle and most fans were buoyant at the state of play and looking to take them in the second half. "BUT" and there is always a but where Pools are concerned, despite the pressure and the chances against a reasonable side we did not make it count when we had the chance. 

The old failings of not-tight-enough marking at set pieces let us down and York scored a good goal from a corner that should have been cleared. The signs were there, Pools were getting caught out and started to look a little ragged under pressure and that pressure never stopped as York took control of the game. 

Any chances we did make lacked any threat and the confidence of the visitors grew, and kicking towards their fans they soon added another from a set piece, which set off a flurry of substitutes. 

Pools were hoping for some respite but it was not to come as York scored a third goal which wrapped the game up for them and made a few Poolies very angry at the total collapse after the first half. 

Murray must have been fuming at this result after such a good start. One other point was Duckworth went off with an injury so I hope he recovers for the next outing. Ironside and Campbell came on but it was too late for them to alter anything in this game as York just closed the door on Pools. 


As I Seen It - Southend (a)

ALAN ESSEX says "The Only Way Is Essex"  -  well he would, wouldn't he!

Southend 1  Pools 0 
League Two, 
Roots Hall, 
15th October, 2014

Now that’s strange, I’m sure Southend had been planning to move away from Roots Hall for several years now, but here they were still playing at their old ground surrounded by residential properties in the same place as ever.

Of course if they ever move a certain quaintness and charm will be lost forever and they would possibly suffer a period of decline where they try and balance financing the new ground with paying players. This is a club who up until last year had received 5 winding up orders in 4 years.

Southend’s new ground is planned to be in partnership with Sainsbury’s. That’s Sainsbury’s whose recent financial results show a pre-tax loss of £290m for the first half of its financial year. As a result Sainsbury’s have stated they will reappraise whether to go ahead with future developments, which includes 40 new shops (Graham Ruddick, Daily Telegraph, November 13th 2014). I suppose it’s possible that the new Southend / Sainsbury’s proposal may be one of them. Still that’s not our worry.

More pressing a concern for Pools is our current league position and the fast fading chances of avoiding the Conference.

The expectations leading up to the game were a bit more positive than the reality that followed. Southend had lost the previous week at home to Chester, 14th in the Conference and had not won in their previous 4 home games. Pools had just beaten a Premiership side (ok, ok, East Thurrock, 14th in the Ryman Premier League, two leagues below the Conference). I hope you’re all keeping up; we’ll need to know all of this guff soon!

Pools line up had Wyke and Harrison returning after missing the cup tie plus Matt Crooks added to the starting line up. Dropping out were Jones, Richards and Harewood. Scott Fenwick was on the bench for the first time.
The Southend mascot, ‘Sammy the Shrimp’

As you’d expect, Southend started the brighter and Worrall, playing on the left wing, was terrifying our defence. The Little and Large pairing of Payne and Corr in the centre and support in midfield from Timlin all looked like causing problems for our defence. Fortunately the end results were shots straight at Flinders. Worryingly for Pools clearances by our 2 centre backs Collins and Harrison were woeful with simple short passes going to the opposition in dangerous areas. I can understand why defenders don’t just hoof the ball upfield but it would have been the safest option if they cannot pass or play the ball out comfortably, which clearly on this display neither could.

For a ten minute spell midway through the first half Pools started to look like a half decent side, whether this was Southend tiring or a gradual gaining of confidence, I’m not sure but things looked more promising. Featherstone who I thought along with Wyke had been anonymous up until now had a shot comfortably saved and Franks, buoyed by his 2 goals against ‘Premiership’ opposition was looking sharper than the last couple of times I’d seen him and had a good shot just over the bar.

Southend then came back into the game and shots over and at Flinders plus one clearance from Duckworth on the line from a cross come shot didn’t bother the score.

The second half began where the first had left off with Southend threatening and my 2 ‘men of the match’ Worrall and Timlin both having shots over the bar and saved respectively. We’re not bottom for nothing I’m afraid, with careless passes and easily-lost possession going to the opposition far too often. Walker, who has undoubted skill, was guilty of this and on one occasion losing the ball in his own half nearly resulted in a goal for Southend. Another instance saw Featherstone easily losing the ball to Worrall, on the right this time, running half the length of the pitch unchallenged to put the ball comfortably past Flinders after 65 minutes. Our 2 centre backs whilst doing a good job defending continued to misplace passes and try to play the ball away when neither was capable.

Pools did seem to sense the urgency of the situation at this point and Wyke had a shot on target well saved by Bentley in the Southend goal. Further good chances from Franks twice and Walker all went just wide of the keeper's right-hand post. Pools made substitutions with Richards coming on for Crooks and Fenwick for Schmeltz, both in the 56th minute, the formation changing to 4-4-2. Harewood replaced Wyke with 10 minutes left. Worrall nearly got his and Southend’s second but shot wide. One shot from Southend went over the 2 tier stand behind the goal and hit the block of flats some way behind – quite a feat I’d say.

For the final 10 minutes Pool’s had little attacki"Are these players for the future? ...Maybe they will find our level and maybe we will find theirs!"ng possession and Southend comfortably held on for their win.

An improved performance compared with the recent defeat at Cambridge but the same outcome. Pools man of the match for me was Michael Duckworth by miles.

Of the new players Schmeltz, like many new arrivals over the years at Pools showed enthusiasm but little in the way of constructive contribution. His recent record shows that he was released by Sparta Rotterdam (second tier of Dutch football) despite having a year left on his contract. He then signed for SC Veendam but became a free agent when they went into bankruptcy. He then signed a 2 year deal with Oldham but was released after 7 months having been on loan at Shrewsbury for the last month.

Nicky Featherstone is much smaller than I had imagined but lacked the tigerish impetuosity of say a Roy Hogan and took a long time to get into the game; when he did he gave away the goal. Featherstone’s recent record shows him playing for another H.U.F.C., Hereford United, during the 2011 / 12 season, the season they were relegated to the Conference. He then played at Walsall for 2 seasons making 55 appearances before signing for Scunthorpe on non-contract terms and has recently been playing for Harrogate Town in the Conference North.

Scott Fenwick too took a long time to get into the game but showed a few good touches later on – of course, a few good touches are not enough for us. Fenwick has been playing for Dunstan UTS and prior to that Durham City both Northern League, Division 1.

Are these players for the future? Well, they’ve all been dropped in the deep end straight away and on the performance I’ve seen are lacking at this level. Maybe they will find our level and maybe we will find theirs!

Players who are out of contract or from a lower league are probably all we can attract now and are not what we need to get us away from the foot of the division.

I’ve seen Paul Murray’s post match review and can’t disagree with a word of what he says. In all honesty I feel sorry for him as on recent showings he just hasn’t got the resources available to play with the determination he wants and in fact displayed when he was playing.

Time is running out and we are being cut further adrift from the pack. Our goal difference is twice as bad as the team above us (Tranmere), confidence is understandably at rock bottom, the players we’re bringing in are from non league and lack the fitness and skills required to get us out of this bother and the senior players seem to have given up and are looking at alternative careers. I was disappointed with Sam Collins’ performance as I’ve always thought he was a slow but solid rock (not that I’ve ever seen a fast rock) that had a calming influence but he looked lacking in motivation – my guess is that he’s dispirited in not being given longer to prove himself as the manager, especially as the replacement has no more experience and has fared no better. Collins’ league record – played 3 won 1 lost 2; Murray’s record played 3 drawn 1 lost 2.

And finally a note for the Ditchburn Poolie. The referee, Patrick Miller was very good – I couldn’t fault one decision. He consulted with his assistants when required and appeared to follow their advice. See how bad it’s become - I’m now writing about and complimenting match officials!!!

Funny Old Game

As I Seen It - Wycombe (h)

Same again from RUNNING MONKEY

Pools 1 Wycombe Wanderers 3
League Two, 
Victoria Park, 

28th October, 2014

I don’t think anyone was expecting much today due to our current poor form, and the fact we are chopping and changing the team by the hour.

I was late again today coming in just after the start as a neighbor asked for a lift to town as his wife had set the engine on high boil so he was hoping to rescue his motor.

With the new boys making a start it did look like a new look team, Matty Dolan back and Lanzoni, along with the diminutive Campbell in the starting line up. As I was late in I was surprised to see the Ditchburn Poolie ‘excited'; well as excited as he could be when Pools had lost the last six league games and here we were taking on the top of the division.

The Ditchburn was not excited by the team or the football but the fact we had a female lino on the Millhouse side. The young lady was reported to have made a pass at the Ditchburn and his hopes were high, He was planning going ten minutes early to catch up with the flag waver down near the gate but in his words "she may have to leave early to do the washing up in the refs room."

This game was really a non-event for most of the first half, with Pools having no real threat and Wycombe taking the game to Pools who were making hard work of breaking down the opposition defence.

Wycombe had the advantage of kicking down hill first half and were making inroads on Pools and looked threatening every time they got the ball. It was pressure all the way for Pools as we again just hoofed the ball clear or invariably just gave the ball away too easily.

Ned made a great save low down as a ball was blasted in but shortly after they went one up as they were given a free header at the back post and fingers were pointed between the defenders as to who left his man.

We were given a chance to make amends as Marlon, chasing a ball into the box, seemed to slip on his arris right on the dead ball line and the ref, who was stood twenty yards away, pointed to the spot. I thought we were very lucky but people closer than me said it was a stupid tackle; he was going nowhere and the defender took his legs from under him.

As usual there was a little argy-bargy as to who was going to take the kick. Fenwick - or Kenwick as the official site called him - took up the ball and Marlon, who seems to have a penchant for giving orders, took it from him. I was about to abuse him when he gave the ball to Aussie, After a couple of minutes of jostling and gamesmanship from the visitors Aussie stepped up and put the ball in the Mail office car park, So I went back to abusing Marlon for his decision. Kenwick should have taken it as his tally from the spot was good.

Half time, and the talk of getting even was limited, given the way we were playing. The forthcoming cup game was more pressing and one punter claimed he will not be at the Vic on Friday but will be hiding behind his sofa, as on this form the country will not be rooting for the underdog but expecting Blyth to progress to the next round if we give them chances like we did Wycombe today."Half time, and the talk of getting even was limited, given the way we were playing."

It is sad when you read on the official Pools site that “Wycombe were not put under any pressure and our players lacked any belief.”

Franks had come on for Walker, who we thought was improving his form and was unlucky to go off. But sadly Franks always needs to take that extra touch and he got caught out leaving about five attacking players surging down on Ned’s goal. The result was another blocked ball dropped for a Wycombe player who hit it straight past Ned making it two nil.

Like last week there was worse to come as the opposition with their tails up were showboating, taking the ball to the corner flags and teasing Pools. Showboating might be a bit harsh but they did play some good football once they were on top.

A free header again was allowed by our defence and it was game over as some fans that were streaming out after the second goal stood and jeered our players. OK you pay your money and are entitled to voice your opinion but I watched as a couple of lads stand two yards from Richards and lace into him with a tirade of abuse. In my book that is not being what I call a fan, He was far from being the worst player today.

At the death Marlon’s goal was little comfort after seven defeats in a row, I feel sorry for Murray being in this position, some of his signings look to be better quality but because of the loan system we get players settled in and they move on - for example Harrison, Wyke and Brobbel, all good players we have now lost the use of.

The sad fact is that after last season the owners, whoever they are, should have moved Cooper on, as it was obvious to all that he was not up to the job.

Christmas shopping could be blamed for the attendance, 3053 but I would suggest the big gate we have next Friday could be a swansong for Pools.

Funny Old Game

Any Other Business


Bill the Biro tells us that on the day that many of you watched Pools capitulate to Wycombe, he went to his local concert hall to see a comedian, the well-known "German Comedy Ambassador," Henning Wehn, he of the strong German accent and widely-spaced eyes.

That same day he had noticed that Henning was the celebrity predicting the results of that weekend's Premier League matches, in competition with Mark Lawrenson on the BBC website (they drew - 8 points each.) He already knew that Henning had a connection with the aforementioned Chairboys, so was prepared to do a bit of heckling should it be required. During the show Henning asked if there were any Spurs fans in the hall, but mysteriously ignored the possibility of Poolies (or in fact Chairboys) being there.

Henning's Wycombe connection came about because he found himself in need of a marketing job 12 years ago, and decided to write to all 92 English league clubs (of which we won't be one for much longer!) and Wycombe were the club that gave him a chance, and he stayed with them for a couple of years. As a result Wycombe's result is always the first one he looks for on Saturdays.

Presumably Pools weren't too keen on taking on a German after that business of non-payment of compensation for their grandstand.

A Christmas Pantomime

Once upon a time a young man found an old lamp. He thought he'd clean it up and started rubbing it, and a genie appeared and told him he could have three wishes. So after he'd received a millionaire's fortune and lots of oil wells, the genie then asked him what his third wish was.

He thought for a while and said "I'd like to own Hartlepool United." John Hodcroft's final wish was granted, but sadly he'd now used up all his three wishes, so there wasn't a happy ending.

As you will all know, December 16th is the centenary of the German Naval Bombardment of the Hartlepools, when more than a hundred people were killed, mostly on the Headland. 

It's hard to grasp both how long ago that was yet also how recent it was. Many of us will have known people who experienced the terrifying event. Perhaps thinking of them and what they went through will put into context next May's highly probable exit after 90-odd years in the Football League. Shots raining in from German boots can't be compared to those coming from German 11-inch guns.

And finally it only remains to wish all our readers a Merry Christmas and an especially Happy New Year, one that hopefully doesn't include games against Forest Green or Southport.