Any Other Business


Well, this season is one of ups and downs. Last month Pools were just one place and not many points above the drop zone, and now they are going like a train and more-or-less safe, with the team unbeaten in 6 and Carson unbeaten in 4. 

The fact that (apart from Rob Jones's one and a half matches), the turnaround has been achieved by the same players who struggled a few weeks ago* makes some telling points, but in what proportion they would apply we cannot say. Is it Craig Hignett's influence and coaching or had Ronnie Moore's readiness to slag off the players lost them to him. Certainly it has to be said that the squad now looks more like the one we thought Ronnie had assembled last August.

Being a lower-league manager requires skills in recruitment, motivation and coaching. The current situation tells us that Ronnie Moore may have a good eye for players but isn't a great coach or motivator. The fact that Pools' good form ended and Boro's began when Craig Hignett crossed the Tees in Colin Cooper's time, together with the current revival, suggests that he has what Ronnie lacked. It remains to be seen however if he has the necessary recruiting skills, but going on his only signing to date, Rob Jones, he has made a good start.

* The team which won at Leyton Orient was only one player different to that which had played in the Stevenage game that got Ronnie sacked six weeks earlier (Featherstone replacing Richards).

Well done to Pools' president Jeff Stelling, whose ten days of marathon walks to Wembley from football club to football club have been raising both awareness of Prostate Cancer and thousands of pounds in aid of its charity, Prostate Cancer UK. And well done also to Pools' chief executive Russ Green, who gets a lot of stick from Poolies when things aren't going well, and may not look that fit, but he accompanied Jeff all the way. 

If anyone wants to help this excellent cause (Prostate Cancer will no doubt affect some of our readers during their lives), you can help Jeff and his fellow marchers to raise more than £300,000 by sponsoring him via JustGiving, or by texting JEFF to 70004 to donate £3 now. Prostate Cancer UK receives 100% of your donation.

Andy Capp creator Reg Smythe reportedly told a colleague that Andy was inspired by a man he saw at a Hartlepool football match who pocketed his flat cap when it started raining.

"You don't think I'm going to sit in the house all night wearing a wet cap?" he told a young Smythe. 

That came from an interesting article about Reg on the BBC Tees website:

The brother of Billy's Contract was in the timber trade with Christopher Brown, Robert Lauder, James Graham, Teesside Furniture and Harcros to name but five (They all either went bust, closed down or burnt down!). He went to Reg Smythe's house one day to measure up for some roof trusses for an extension. He knocked on the front door and Mrs Smythe answered it and told him to go round to the back door - to the tradesman's entrance. The visitor was dumb-struck as this was the house from which the cartoons spewed forth depicting the common working man. In fairness he found that Reg Smythe himself was a lovely chap, and he used to drink in The New Inn on the Headland.