It's Off the Field as Well

GREAT GRANDAD SHOUTY ponders the coming weeks and months

Well, folks, here we go again. Saturday, 6th August sees the start of the new footy season. Its also the first day of competitions in the Olympic Games. I know which is the most important for me. 

Well, we’ve had a good close season for Pools – an early and business-like approach to signings, rather than waiting until the last minute when competing clubs had snapped up the available talent.

Off field matters have been just as important. Firstly, there has been the matter of new-style season tickets and the attempt of Pools to be dragged into the 21st century. There was, of course, a delay to adapting the turnstiles to a new computerised system with the result that Pools had to send out tickets for the first two matches. New computer systems always seem to bugger things up. I always remember when Pools – along with other clubs – installed a new software system for ticket issuing at the start of the 2006-07 season. It was implemented at the last minute and caused mayhem in the ticket office. My motto would always be ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’.
"I doubt whether most Poolies refer to Victoria Park when going to a match."

Secondly, there was the news that Victoria Park will be re-named The Northern Gas and Power Stadium. I’ve no doubt that Poolies will be divided on the change but the reality is that other clubs are doing the same and it will bring in much needed cash. We don’t have the luxury of regular Sky and BT Sport. I doubt whether most Poolies refer to Victoria Park when going to a match. I always say ‘I’m going to Pools’ and I suspect there are many more like me. The signposts leading into Hartlepool always refer to Hartlepool United FC so the council are not going to get their bowels in an uproar over the change of name – unlike Newcastle City Council when Mike Ashley changed the name of their ground from St James’ Park to the Sports Direct Stadium.

We’re going to have a change of format for the Football League Trophy. Pools, of course, are grouped with Sunderland Academy, Rochdale and Notts County. I have my doubts as to whether this revamped competition will attract more interest. I always prefer competition to be one-off games, followed by a draw for the next round. Maybe, Sunderland Academy coming to Pools might bring in a few more punters – but Rochdale and Notts County won’t do the same. It will be interesting to see if the proposed fans’ boycott at Portsmouth is effective.

Speaking of Sunderland, it was ironic that Big Sam’s last Sunderland game came at Pools in the friendly game. Opinion is divided as to whether he’s the right choice as England’s manager but in simple terms he can’t do any worse than any of his recent predecessors. England’s performances at Euro 2016 were certainly depressing; fortunately, we had Wales and Northern Ireland to cheer on. Their players seemed proud to wear their national shirts and the enthusiasm of their fans knew no bounds. There is something rotten about the culture of the FA; certainly, they’re not popular within FIFA and UEFA – and the failure to stage World Cups could be something to do with that.

 Anyway, let’s hope we have something to shout about this season. Enjoy yourselves!!