Deer or Dear?

Something from our deerest contributor JANE AUSTEN'S ALLEGRO

It goes without saying that even allowing for the generous parachute payments, the forecast loss of income through lower gate receipts and less away fans making the journey to the Vic, HUFC has already seen a substantial loss on its much-needed income stream even before a ball has been kicked. The club's precarious financial position is well documented and as such we are in a situation where every penny counts. 

The recent friendly match against Sunderland saw just over 4,700 fans in attendance. I worked out that allowing for concessions the gate receipts would be around £40,000. No doubt Sunderland took their half of the takings and who could blame them as pro-rata they are in a worse state financially than Pools, being in debt to the tune of £90-100 million. Sunderland however are not our concern. The £20k picked up from this match might not sound a lot but the club shop would have to sell 526 adult replica shirts to match that figure.

I am guessing that with the sale of Lewis Alexandra and Trevor Carson, plus the compensation due from Crewe for Brad Walker, the club will have netted a further £100,000. That figure will also be supplemented in part by many of the high wage earners having since left the club. With luck this will allow some breathing space before the season begins and hopefully keep the taxman and the other creditors from the door. Ideally a successful Hartlepool United side could make this task easier with the additional revenue they could generate.

Pam Duxbury has to be congratulated for her sterling efforts, not only in keeping HUFC from the hands of the administrators but by securing a three year sponsorship deal with Hartlepool company Utility Alliance, worth in the region of £240,000. It would be good to see other local and national companies based in the town and surrounding areas supporting the club in some capacity, even in a minor way to assist reducing the burden of debt.

Carlisle United now have a hardy band of volunteers who turn up at the club on nominated days to do odd jobs around the ground such as tidying up the terraces after match day, minor repair work, or painting various buildings etc. Their chairman said their help is vital in securing the future of the club. I think 'Pools should consider introducing something similar along the same lines. I am sure many fans would like/love to help their club. I think that this is something the Trust should take up with Pam Duxbury

I might be wrong but I always felt that the club shop never fully realised its true potential, particularly after it had been contracted out to Nike. Most of the stock consisted of 'Pools home and away strips and then odds and sods of polo and tee shirts, nearly always in Pools colours. There is only so much blue a chap can wear. When Gary Coxall was still with Pools there was talk about him bringing the shop back in-house. I felt that this could be a risky move particularly if you are not familiar with the clothing trade. If you don't get the get the quality right, the range, the colours, design and price,  you could be left with a lot of slow moving stock on the shop floor which equals dead money, which then has to be written off.

I believe appointing BKL as offical team kit and clothing suppliers to be a step in the right direction. I see that they have now got their name over the club shop so I am persuming that they have been given the franchise to run it as opposed to the club. Although it is early days and the shop is far from fully stocked I thought the quality of what was on display was a bit hit and miss. Some of the jackets similar to what Craig Harrison is always pictured in looked good and were sensibly priced. However the quality of the navy Polo shirts looked cheap,until you see the price tag of £30. You would not expect to pay that figure for an Adidas shirt. My main concern on two counts is the quality of the embroidery of the club's new logo. On some of the polo shirts I viewed it is obvious that the 'hoops' used to secure the garment prior to embroidery have been put on too tight and as such you can see the circle outline of the hoop within the garment. This cannot be removed.

To be fair, the Hart/Deer/Doe/Bambi/Caribou or whatever it is looks fine (still a bloody awful badge though), but it is the the text which is poorly replicated. It is too thin for starters making the writing on the logo look spindle like and in some cases causing the thread to disappear into the weft and weave of the fabric because of its lack of thickness. One shirt I viewed had the first letter 'O' in the word Hartlepool resemble the letter 'C'. In several examples on display the excess white thread is hanging from the shirt and has not been trimmed off once the embroidery process has been completed. Should the loose thread be pulled by the unsuspecting wearer the embroidery is ruined and cannot be repaired.
"There is only so much blue a chap can wear."

Perhaps the clothing had been rushed out to meet a deadline prior to the club shop's reopening but in the event some basic quality control is required if they are looking for repeat sales. We were informed that one of the main reasons for the change of the club's logo was that it was a difficult motif to replicate in art form but it would appear that BKL is having a similar problem with the new club badge.

In a former life, having worked in the clothing/embroidery trade myself for a goodly number of years can I offer some well meaning advice:

For the would-be customer:
Examine the embroidery very carefully prior to purchase.

For BKL:
Find an alternative embroidery supplier. There are several really good ones on your doorstep. I hope BKL do get things right as we need a successful club shop to bring in much-needed revenue for the club. I've got to say that I very much like both the home and away shirts BKL are providing to HUFC. There is only so much you can do with striped shirts, you only have to look at the Mackems' new tops (yuk!), but this blue and white one is a winner.

My first sighting of Pools' new away shirt was at the Billingham Town friendly. I had to do a double take as it was difficult to identify our players. It was almost like camouflage - the players blending in with the dull grey skies and the backdrop of Billingham. It put me in mind of the time Southampton thrashed Man United by four or five goals. Sir Alex did not blame the defeat on the referee or on indeed his team's inept performance, or that on the day Southampton played them off the park. There was no mention at all of not enough 'Fergie time' being allocated. However as far as the United Manager was concerned the defeat was firmly and squarely the fault of the club's new grey away shirts, as several of the United players claimed that they could not see their team mates on the pitch.

I have just thought of a money-spinning branded item of clothing that BKL could stock in the club shop. Not the Tommy Hilfiger range but the Dave Jones catwalk range. Off the shoulder black acrylic jumpers. No need to worry about embroidering them just a dash of tomato sauce and egg stains down the front for that man-on-the-move look. For an extra £4.99 you could also purchase a contrasting white tee shirt for that man-ran-out-of-town look.

Talking of football shirts, have any of our readers caught sight of the Borer's effort? In a word, awful. You can't miss it. The shirt itself is not the worst you will see, but the lettering of the sponsor's name is in block capitals almost two foot high, ruining the thing. It is not so much a sandwich board but a billboard promoting the local pawn broker. A great advert for the new Team Valley area.

Finally, here's a rejected suggestion for the HUFC new badge. It was going to have a motto, the original text of which would be written in Latin, and had been inspired by Homer Simpson: "Doh! A Deer" (with apologies to Julie Andrews).