Any Other Business


Welcome to the first Monkey Business of its 28th season, once again independently offering praise and criticism where it's due, remembering the (rarely) good old days and having a laugh at football generally, and Poolie things in particular.

This season we haven't changed the format, other than revising the cover to reflect the new home shirt, but we hope to occasionally try some new things, so watch this space.

The big news over the summer has been the referendum, which was a monumental own goal by David Cameron, because he'd lost touch with the people. So his legacy is to be forever the joke prime minister, who not only couldn't remember which team he supported, but also took the country off to an uncertain future by mistake. Perhaps he should have realised it wasn't his best year when Aston Villa (if that is indeed his team), were relegated a few weeks earlier.

We received this image (from Wallace and Gromit) of an unnamed Scottish newspaper's reaction to the appointment of Sam Allardyce as England manager and of David Moyes as his successor at Sunderland. So that's an opinion from the one home country that failed even to get to the Euros in France. Still, that meant that they never had to face the Icelandic banana skin, and presumably will have enjoyed our embarrassment at slipping on it.

But, to be fair, the Scots probably know more about going downhill than any other nation, since their football has been doing it for decades.

So Russ Green has now left Pools. There has been much comment about him over the years, with many blaming him for just doing his job, because he happened to be working for someone whose policies they didn't like. Whether he only stayed on with the new owners temporarily to smooth the changeover, or whether the recent tax problem, or even not being able to face any more long-distance walks with Jeff Stelling had any bearing on his departure, we don't know, but we wish him well in his new position of chief executive at Rochdale. Anyone who was involved in getting us our day in Cardiff is ok by us.

I suppose we all knew it would happen one day but nevertheless it's a sad day when it does, and after 130 years of being named after Queen Victoria, Northern Gas and Power have paid for their name to replace that of our dear departed queen. West Hartlepool RFC built the ground in Victoria's jubilee year of 1886, which is why it was named in her honour. Obviously, the new name won't last as long, changing every few years to something equally characterless, but no doubt we Poolies will just completely ignore it, and the Vic will always be the Vic to us, just as the Mill House and Cyril Knowles Stands, and Town and Rink Ends retain their old names among fans, most of whom neither know nor care what their official names are.

We at Monkey Business now have a dilemma. Should Vicki , our agony aunt (whose pseudonym derives from the previous name of the stadium), have to change her name too? Dear Nora perhaps? Perhaps not!

Finance is the driving force behind the change of stadium name, and likewise, finances also dictate that the new pink away strip will be gone before long too. This one rivals last season's hi-vis yellow for dazzling your eyes.

Wouldn't it be better if Pools played away in a slightly less loud strip, possibly even a camouflage strip, so that Nathan Thomas could lurk out wide without being spotted, rather than being glaringly obvious to every defender? On second thoughts, nobody would be able to spot him give him the ball, would they! Other than by accident.