Showing posts from March, 2019

What Is the Cure for Hiccups?


Well, it was a hiccup last Saturday, wasn’t it?

Four undefeated games against Braintree, Leyton Orient, Boreham Wood and Ebbsfleet led us to believe that, at last, we were getting things right. Sadly, we had the hiccup against Bromley and whilst most Poolies accepted being beaten by a better side, it was the standard of refereeing that left a bad taste in the mouth.

I’ve always believed that FIFA make difficulties for referees but last Saturday was just downright incompetence of basic things. I’ve never known a home crowd chant ‘You don’t know what you’re doing’ so many times. Mind you, the assistant referee on the Neale Cooper side of the pitch wasn’t much better. There was one occasion where the ball was clearly about a foot over the goal line yet play was allowed to continue. If I could see the ball out of play with the onset of cataracts then just what the hell was he doing?

The National League must really get to grips with refereeing standards – if they don’t then interest from fans will ebb away. There was an expectation on Saturday that our gate would be between 3,500 and 4,000 but it fell to 2985. Was this just Pools or are people getting fed up with this grotty league and lowering standards. Don’t forget, National League, that Rome burned while Nero fiddled. Anything’s worth a try to improve refereeing – how about retired players or, dare I say it, women whistlers? Is there any chance of the hiccups being cured? Unfortunately, the omens are not good.

We have both injuries and suspensions. Carl Magnay is going to be out for some time and Michael Raynes won’t play again this season, having gone back to Crewe for rehabilitation. Then there is Luke James - how we could have done with him against Bromley. I guess he would have run them ragged. If that wasn’t enough, we now have Peter Kioso suspended for two games. And then we have up and coming fixtures – Sutton, AFC Fylde, Wrexham and Eastleigh are just some of the sides we tackle in March and they’re all above Pools.
"I’ve never known a home crowd chant ‘You don’t know what you’re doing’ so many times."

One weakness I’ve noticed with Pools is that we seldom threaten at set pieces. On Saturday, we were awarded a corner at the Corner Flag side of the ground and the ball sailed over the madding crowd for a throw-in to the opposition at the Cyril Knowles stand side. How about stationing someone to pick up the over-kicked corner – at least we'd keep possession and might be able to re-apply the pressure. Something for the training ground.

Finally, when the next MB appears, we will have had Brexit (or will we?) Discussion has revolved around the possible effect on overseas players and whether they will need work permits. All this goes over my head as it's an internal matter for the bog-standard Premier League – and to a lesser extent, the Championship, whereas many clubs like Pools continue to be composed only of British and Irish players.

Front Page

Managing in a Direct Way


They say you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear and the three managers who have graced Victoria Park this season can verify this.

A bunch of serial under-achievers are coasting along in mid-table in a league we should be walking away with. All hopes of a quick return to the Football League have long since gone down the toilet. We now have Hignett back in the hot seat despite previously claiming he did not want the job. But why would Pools or any National League side need a director of football. Even Manchester United have not got one.
"A bunch of serial under-achievers are coasting along in mid-table in a league we should be walking away with."

Hignett hardly endeared himself to the long-suffering Pools fans when he took over by claiming what they knew about football you could get on the back of a postage stamp. And then proceeded to make Xavi a regular in his team, bigging him up in the process. This put a huge question mark over Hignett's football knowledge. The Mill House elite know a crap midfielder when they see one, having had to watch a succession of them over the years and believe me the little Fat Fella is a crap midfielder. This might have been an attempt at Scouse humour from Craig but he is no John Bishop.

Hignett should try driving more slowly in his car and forget about postage stamps and put his effort into beating rubbish teams like Bromley at home. It is good to see Antony Sweeney being bought into the first team coaching picture as he is Pools through and through and a talented coach in the making.

Talking of coaches it would be nice to know what goalkeeping coach Ross Turnbull does during the week. When Scott Loach joined the club 18 months ago he was arguably the best keeper in the National League. This season he is a liability. Won't come for crosses, 6ft 4in and can't jump so what has Turnbull done to him. With Dimi Konstantopoulos due to be released from the Borer at the end of the season it would make sense to sign him on and release Loach and Turnbull. Dimi certainly would not need any coaching from any of that lot at the Vic.

With time approaching to sort out the retained list for next season it is to be hoped it is a proper clear out and not just five or six players going and some staying because they will accept lower wages. There will be a flood of players up for grabs in the summer and I would say 50% of them will be better than we have at Pools.

For the record the players I would keep are Peter Kioso, Liam Noble, Luke James, Josh Hawkes and I would also sign loan men Michael Raynes and Nicke Kabamba, and possibly a couple of promising youngsters like Luka Murphy and Josh Scott, before any other club can get them off us for a song.

The price for the upcoming game against Wrexham has been reduced to £10 for adults, and not before time. Charging on-the-day punters £20 to watch the shite that is on show is daylight robbery. I have seen more effort put in by players on the Rec than by some of the bozos wearing a Pools shirt.

Front Page


Front Page

North - South Divide


Don't know about the rest of you but I am looking forward to the 2019/20 season already. I am sure that when Craig Hignett, Raj, the players, those that are still with us that is, cast their eyes over next season's fixture list they will be delighted.

"Why?" you may ask.

Based on the league tables as they stand at time of writing, there will be a lot less travelling for Pools and their supporters then there was this season. That is unless Pools do something silly, such as manage to make a last gasp charge up the table and gain promotion to League Two via the playoffs (oh, how we laughed!)

Let's first look at the National League and anticipate the following:
With luck we could see the departure of Orient and Wrexham (or Sutton) as they move up to League Two.
Currently eight of the bottom nine clubs in the National League are from darn sarf or, in Dover's case, from France. Unless Chesterfield decide to press the self-destruct button we could see the likelihood of four Southern teams exit the National League in one job lot. I'll raise a glass to that.
Obviously two of these relegated teams will be replaced by two other southern teams from the National League South. All is not lost, as we could see a few old favourites from League Two such as Notts County, Morecambe, Macclesfield or Port Vale renewing their acquaintances with Pools but this time in the surroundings of the National League. The only dark cloud being Yeovil, who seem to be getting homesick and hellbent on joining the Division Two relegation battle to make a return to non-league football where they rightly belong ...along with Stevenage and Crawley.

The other added bonus is that two teams from the National League North will be joining Pools' fixture list. Chorley and, all being well, Spennymoor, who are currently only a couple of points off top spot of that league.

Should everything fall into place, it will redress the present geographical balance somewhat, as at present 15 of the 24 teams in the National League are from the south.

If my sums are correct, with all the above comings and goings that should see 4 additional teams from the north join the National League, all within a couple of hours' striking distance from the town.
"Currently eight of the bottom nine clubs in the National League are from darn sarf or, in Dover's case, from France."

Think of the benefits: less miles travelled over the season for both players and fans equals less costs for overnight stays and sundry expenses and more importantly no excuse for player or even fan fatigue.

I have to confess that, so far, I have only managed to take in four away games this season but with the near proximity of the grounds of our new northern neighbours it could encourage more fans to travel and roar our lads on to promotion. (I'll have a pint of what you are drinking!)

We could also see an increase in the number of away fans seen at the Vic. I know Spenny only brought 350 fans to Darlington this season but that is still ten times what the likes of Braintree and Havant brought to the Vic.

If, as I hope, Spenny do get promoted, it is only an eighteen mile trip to the Brewery Field, whereas the trip to our old rivals Darlow is 28 miles away thus making the Moors our new derby team.

The other major benefit to Pools and the fans alike is not having to watch these southern teams. To be fair I can't tell one from another: Braintree, Barnet, Bromley, Boreham Wood. To avoid confusion they should be forced to rename them: M25 United, M25 Town, M25 Athletic and M25 Wednesday.

My main grievance with southern sides, and let's not beat about the bush here, London Clubs, is their savvy. They are students of the art of gamesmanship so much so that they would put Don Revie's Leeds sides to shame. Time wasting, moaning throwing the ball away. In the ref's ear all the time.

Generally speaking, these teams have some very big lads playing for them but they still manage to fall to the ground at the slightest touch with an accompanying shout or a scream before they hit the deck to attract the referee's attention and then spend ten minutes getting treatment and rolling around in feigned agony. Then when they score, the scorer turns to the Pools fans with his hand to his ear.

If you can't beat them, then join them so Pools should possibly take a leaf out of their book and give them a dose of their own medicine.

Front Page

Moaning Minnies


Jake Cassidy got some flak recently when he said in the press that Hartlepool is a negative club and that the  atmosphere at the Vic can be poisonous.

You could argue that Cassidy had a bit of a grudge against the club when he made this statement. For one reason or another he himself was not exactly a fans' favourite so the feeling may be mutual, but when I think about it, he may to an extent have a valid point.

It has to be said that it is clearly noticeable that at times some sections of the crowd/individuals are far less tolerant of the team than in recent years. Perhaps this is down to the club's slow decline over the past 7/8 years and the level (I won't say quality) of football which was being served up week in and week out.

The one thing that stands out for me now is how early in the game some fans are on the players' backs or players are singled out for special attention.

At a recent home game after the P.A. announcer had given out the starting elevens you could see the tangible disappointment on the face of one fan who stands down in the front of the Town End, that Niko Muir was not playing.

He was devastated. His assigned boo-boy was not going to take to the pitch. In truth he has been on Muir's case for some time and as everyone predicted, including Monkey Business, because of his previous part-time status, at some stage Muir was going to struggle with full-time football and was inevitably going to run out of steam.

For this particular individual Muir could do no right and he was delirious with delight if Muir had given a bad pass or lost the ball, just to reinforce his case. I would love to see this fan's reaction if Muir scored a worldie. Probably walk out of the ground in disgust.

His afternoon did not end in disappointment as after 10/15 minutes or so he had found an alternative boo-boy in Liam Noble. Personally I think Liam Noble is one of the few decent footballers at the club and really should be playing at a higher level. On the day however, he was not having the best game of his life but was still giving it his all and wanting the ball.

Though not his fault, his first couple of diagonal 30-yard passes into space went out of play mainly because the wing back in question hadn't bothered to run into that space. Noble then delivered a succession of poor corners and free kicks and it was not just young fellow-me-lad in the Town End who was starting to have a go at the midfielder but other sections of the crowd as well.

Noble, not unlike like Ritchie Humphreys, always wants the ball even when things are not going his way; he will not hide when things are not going right and is still demanding it. As such, like Humphreys, he probably sees more possession of the ball over ninety minutes than any other player on the pitch which means by the law of averages he will make more errors which are all the more highlighted than for an example a teammate who hardly comes into contact with the ball or shies away from it when things are not going right.
"I would love to see this fan's reaction if Muir scored a worldie. Probably walk out of the ground in disgust."

At the end of this match the normally ebullient Noble left the field a tad crestfallen; you could almost hear him thinking "What on earth am I doing here? I don't need this abuse."

If it is bad for the seasoned professional I think the treatment to which some of our younger players are subjected is totally unfair, and this is what Cassidy is getting at, an example being Kenton Richardson. In one game under Bates, and just coming back from injury, he came on as an early substitute for an injured player and was like a square peg in a round hole as he was being played out of position. Nothing went right for the lad on the day; he did not know when to go forward or when to stay back but every error was followed by a boo or a groan or much worse from the Mill House side of the ground.

The lad is an excellent prospect for the future and has only just turned 19. With sub appearances included he has only played 30 or so games for the club and most of those last season in a very poor side. What many people forget is that the lad like many others at the club is still learning his trade.

What must he and other youngsters in the squad feel like before they leave the dressing room, knowing that some sections of the crowd will be straight on their case early on, highlighting even the slightest error. Even before a ball is kicked they must really be on edge. Worse still is what they are feeling 90 minutes later in the dressing room having been subjected to the unnecessary vitriol from the terraces.

Word gets around and many visiting players who have experienced the negative vibes directed at Pools players might be reluctant to sign for Pools if the club were to come knocking on their doors, owing to to the toxic atmosphere of the crowd within the ground that they would have to play before.

I admit that it is only a small element sporadically spread around the ground that are part of the problem but my main concern is not only how it has a negative knock-on effect on the team's performances overall but more importantly how it impacts the younger players.

One only has to look at Pools' home record - 10 wins in two seasons. I am sure that the fear factor instilled into the players through some fans has played its part in achieving this dismal record.

My message to the fans is, no matter how poorly Pools play, support and encourage them. Spur on our team and not our opponents and treat the players as if they were your own sons/grandsons who are playing (mmmm perhaps not!)

Taken from from the Book 'A Tenner and a Box of Kippers' There are a lot of nasty people in Hartlepool. There are several hundred nice proper people but the majority of them are nasty people. There are more of them at Hartlepool than anywhere else. Also from the same book, about Chris Beech getting abuse from the crowd. Chants of: "What are you doing out this half Beechy?" The result: Chris Beech was suffering a nightmare afternoon as everything he tried fell to pieces.

Front Page

Shopping List


Craig Hignett has recently gone on record stating that Pools only need to add three or four players and not seven or eight, to the current squad to become a force in the National League.

I would suggest that three or four would be a tad light unless of course he is also hoping to sign the players that we currently have on loan as well which would make that number look like seven or eight new signings.

The defence alone needs four new players, preferably with some height, as we have no full backs or a centre half and dare I say a keeper who can command his box and catch a ball.
"We need a quick, tough-tackling, holding midfielder who will move the ball forwards well as backwards and sideways, at pace."

We need a quick, tough-tackling, holding midfielder who will move the ball forwards well as backwards and sideways, at pace. Assuming that Pools sign Kabamba we also need cover for him as he is the only forward we have with height and presence who more often than not wins the ball in the air with his back to the defender, which is something that we have lacked for the last two seasons.

It is a bit early to be predicting who will be leaving the club but, excluding the loanees, but here is my list of who I would like to be with the club next season.

My Jury's out on Kitching.

As you can see from this list, allowing for Pools hanging onto the loan players that we have on board, it still leaves the squad well light and massively lacking in experience.

Reading between the lines I am guessing that Hignett is planning to hang on to a goodly number of the current squad which would be the case if he is only looking to bring in three or four new signings. On the other hand he might be alluding to 3 or 4 players signed on a permanent basis alongside a number of loanees coming into the club as well.

I hope that when the time comes that he is drawing up his retained list it will not be based on the players who have noticeably only recently started to up their games and play for a new contract but to look at those players who even though they might not have played well at times have still given their all for the cause.

Front Page


Front Page

A Great Point

Match report by RUNNING MONKEY

Pools 1 Leyton Orient 1 (National League)
Saturday 9 February 2019
Victoria Park

Orient, still sitting in pole position by one point after a really tough game at the Vic, should think themselves very lucky tonight. 

The consensus after the game was that we had just witnessed the best game at the Vic for a couple of seasons. It was tough at times for both teams but Pools can take a big pat on the back for taking the league leaders to the wire. Orient were a good side, well drilled with some exceptional players and a handful of what is commonly known around here as a "worky ticket" - someone who pushes the boundaries to the limit where rules are concerned. There is a video on one of the websites showing three Orient players arguing with the official after the penalty was given for a foul on Luke James.

The Orient players even argued with the ref on where Noble had placed the ball. Even picking it up and placing it himself and all this was to unsettle Noble who had come on as a sub just before the break. It could be argued that Noble should have left the penalty alone having just come back after four games but even on the radio tonight he said if asked he would take the next one even though he has missed the last three, He also missed this one after the distraction but in his interview he did not take the excuse and said he thought he would be stepping down from that penalty job.

The game was end-to-end and Pools had the upper hand in the early stages, playing some good football and creating chances. Kabamba was a handful and Luke James, Amos and Molyneux were all taking the game to the visitors. It is great to see a Pools centre forward receive the ball and hold it up as his team mates come in to back him up and this is the role played by Kabamba. We were wondering how long we could hang onto a striker who has scored three goals in three games but the word on the terrace is that he wants to stay as he is enjoying first team football and has been a revelation for Pools.

Despite our early advantage we went a goal down on twenty minutes when a deflected shot went past Loach. The ball should have been cleared but once again we did not react quickly enough to close down a player. The gifted goal lifted the visitors and they started to play some very good football; it was backs-to-the-wall and the Pools defence were immense in cutting out the threat with a great number of blocks on the line as the visitors pushed forward looking for a second goal. They were literally two inches wide of the far stick after a corner from the Mill House side was headed on and Donaldson and an attacker both fortunately did not connect when either of them could have slid the ball home.

Luke James made a great run into the Rink End box and initially I was shouting for a penalty until Kabamba, who was down on the turf, was the first to react and he slid the ball home to level the score with his third in three games.

Noble replaced Molyneux, who had been left in agony on the pitch in the Pools half as the visitors controlling the game refused to put the ball out of play. Loach put the ball out once he got hold of it and attention was given to Molyneux, who had a deep gash in his leg. Oddly he was booked by the ref and no one seemed to know why. If he had committed a bookable offence the ref would have stopped the game and given a free kick; he let the game go on and booked Molyneux once he got up after treatment. One theory was that he may have berated the ref for not stopping the game when he was in distress, but no one saw an offence by the player in a fifty-fifty challenge. Noble had stayed out during the break, getting himself ready to take on the fight.
"The consensus after the game was that we had just witnessed the best game at the Vic for a couple of seasons."

Luke latched onto a ball and set off on a run with two defenders hanging onto his tail and he was brought down in the box and with no hesitation the ref pointed to the spot. Sadly, the chance was not taken after the shenanigans I wrote about earlier as the keeper guessed the right side for the kick, but if that had gone in I am sure we could have taken this team; they looked shaky under pressure and it was an orchestrated bout of wrestling at every dead ball kick into the box and I can guarantee if you watch the replay you will see Luke James and Kabamba brought to the ground every time and the ref did diddly squat about it. Donaldson, who had a great game, set off on a run and slipped the ball to Hawkes and his inexperience let him down so it was a poor shot at the keeper when he had men free in the box.

Another chance went begging for Pools as Anderson, making a challenge in the box, was flattened and he had to go to hospital after the game as some of his teeth had been knocked out and the ref gave the free kick to the visitors.

It was a hard game for both teams but why are the visiting teams allowed to get away with bending the rules yet the home team take the bookings? We were refused two definite penalty shouts and this is the standard we are used to now. A great point taken against the top team will hopefully give us a boost in the up-coming games and secure a place in the middle of the table without the end of season clamour for points.

A few contenders for Man-of-the-Match today, which was good to see. Donaldson and Anderson were the shining examples for Pools but the lad who stole the show was the Orient defender Widdowson: he never put a foot wrong and was the most effective player both in attack and defence.

Front Page

After Boreham Comes Boredom

Match report by ALAN ESSEX

Ebbsfleet 0 Pools 0 (National League)
Tuesday 19 February 2019
Kuflink Stadium

A ground I’d never been to before, The Kuflink Stadium. Kuflink are apparently peer-to-peer lenders. 

According to the GOV.UK website “Peer-to-peer loans are an alternative investment providing opportunities for individuals to lend directly to other people or businesses without using a bank.” Sounds like the kind of scheme Gary Coxall may have been interested in a while back. I suppose this is considered progress - it is all new to me. In the past if you needed a loan you would go to a bank or building society, but so is the relentless march of capitalism.

I didn’t get to see much of the area, Kent being called ‘The Garden of England’. I would have liked to have seen oast houses, rolling hills, castles and even the local streets and shops but the area where Wallace and Gromit and I found ourselves was just several gigantic car parks and an enormous station terminal – Ebbsfleet International. In all honesty, several international airports I’ve visited have been smaller with fewer facilities. The walk to the ground was between some of the aforementioned car parks and along what I imagined was the outskirts of the industrial area, all that I could see was a Kia dealership.

The Kuflink Stadium is quite spectacular at National League level when approached from Stonebridge Road. A new metal and (mostly) glass facade along modern lines runs the complete length of the ground. The upper floor of the two appears to be given over to food and drink, they also put on entertainment, past events seem to be mostly tribute acts. The ground floor comprises offices and changing rooms.

The other side of this structure forms the backdrop to the new stand which is only 5 tiers deep, holding over 1000 seats. Opposite this is an old stand, fully seated, running about half the length of the pitch. This has several columns at the front supporting the tin roof. Behind one goal is another tin covered stand, all seated. Between these two stands is a standing area- think of the area between the Mill House and the Rink End stands. For some reason this area was crowded for the whole game despite plenty of room around the ground. The only excuse I can find for this is that it is directly next to the food and drink hut. The opposite end is an uncovered stand for standing only. They have no segregation and once paid and inside supporters of both clubs can move around at will.

By the way, if you think this is all boring, I haven’t even got to the game yet. The club itself has a fairly interesting recent history. At the end of 2007 the website ‘MyFootballClub’ entered a deal to take over the club. They had not set out to take over this particular club, they had set their sights higher, Leeds United, Arsenal and Nottingham Forest had been mentioned, there was an amount of surprise and disappointment when Ebbsfleet were named. Around 27,000 members from around the country agreed to pay £35 each providing £635,000 to take over the club, all with an equal share. I have no idea where the other £300,000 would have gone but assume it would have provided a nice cushion from financial woes. The members would eventually vote on all major decisions including team selection and transfers. In the meantime, Liam Daish their manager, continued to control who played and who remained at the club and who was brought in. It sounds like a logistical nightmare equalled only by the current Brexit turmoil. However, in May 2008, Ebbsfleet won the FA Trophy beating Torquay 1-0. They also won the Kent Senior Cup.

The first real democratic decision that was made was to transfer John Akinde to Bristol City for £140,000 with over 82% voting for this. This money allowed Daish to re-sign most of the squad and add Michael Gash for £20,000 from Cambridge City.

After a year, following a peak of 32,000 members, many did not renew. In 2009 they had 9,000 members where 15,000 was considered the break-even (around half a million pounds), a year later it was down to around 3,500 and the club were relegated from the Conference. The fewer members continued to run the club and they surprisingly won promotion back to the Conference at the first attempt. The club having financial problems then reverted back to a more traditional style of ownership. From 2013 they have been owned by Kuwaiti business KEH Sports Ltd.
"Noble’s drag back left a defender on his backside and stunned Noble so much that when it came off, he forgot to shoot."

I’ve been putting it off but here is the match report. After the weekend's surprising and most welcome win at Boreham Wood expectations were high for another good display. A couple of weeks ago who would have thought that Myles Anderson and Aaron Cunningham would be our central defensive pairing? What’s more who would have put money on not conceding after 2 away games?

Pools had to defend for long periods in the first half with Michael Cheek, a prolific scorer for his present club as well as previously Chelmsford, Braintree and Dagenham & Redbridge and Cody McDonald looking dangerous for the hosts. Pools were having to defend in numbers with Kioso moving inside to assist the 2 central defenders and Amos and Donaldson in the full back slots. With the remaining midfielders, Featherstone, Hawkes and Noble, also having to play deep. Our front pair of Kabamba and James didn’t have much joy in attack. Kabamba did have one clear opportunity but his weak shot, which was more like a gentle back pass, went straight to Ashmore, the rotund Ebbsfleet keeper (think of Martin Burleigh in his prime). Two similar opportunities for the home team from their right-hand side, inside of the penalty box, went past Loach’s right-hand post with the keeper beaten. McDonald went off injured on the half hour and Ebbsfleet didn’t look so dangerous after this.

After the break Pools came out much stronger but it was Ebbsfleet who had a couple of good chances although poor finishing, one shot went over the stand and the other hit the tin roof covering it, prevented the electronic scoreboard operator from being troubled. James was his lively self and a last-ditch block turned his shot into a corner. The 2 highlights of the game for Pools came in the last 10 minutes, Kabamba had a great shot that was magnificently saved by Ashmore tipping the ball round the angle of cross bar and post for a corner. It was good to see Ashmore and Kabamba deservedly congratulate each other. There was then a sublime movement between Noble and Featherstone interchanging short passes in the Ebbsfleet penalty area. Noble’s drag back left a defender on his backside and stunned Noble so much that when it came off, he forgot to shoot. A defender then managed to clear the ball.

A hard-fought draw between 2 equally matched sides on the night. Both defences deserved credit with just a few attacking highlights. Well done to Hignett for getting the team to up their game in the second half and for motivating a team that had been going through the motions a few weeks back.

Good to meet up with some of the ‘South East Poolies’ and a few other London based Poolies. Some supporters had come down for the previous weekend's Boreham match and stayed down. Total attendance was 1265 – as no segregation, impossible to know for sure how many Poolies – I’d say about 150, mostly exiles.

No Man-of-the-Match from me as they all played their part, albeit in a defensive manner.

Front Page

Just Not Good Enough

Match report by RUNNING MONKEY

Pools 1 Bromley 2 (National League)
Saturday 23 February 2019
Victoria Park

After a run of four unbeaten games, hope springs eternal as we take on Bromley who are just above us in the division. With a depleted squad Hignett had to switch the team but today we were just not good enough and the visitors just rolled us over making us look a pretty weak side. 

As the Ditchburn Poolie said: "We struggle against sides who bully us and today we never looked like threatening them at all."

We tried to play football but it kept breaking down as the visitors look as if they play a ten-man defence and break quick but it was more than that as they controlled the game and never let go. The first goal came from a foul through but like so many of the officials in the division they seem to run on a different set of rules to normal football and the sad thing is we have never learned the lesson yet. It looks as if the man in the middle will do his own thing and take no notice of his linesmen so they do not look for any misdemeanors such as the ball going out of play and the players taking throw ins with one foot on the pitch. Ok a poor excuse but it did lead to the first goal.

The second goal was a beauty and even the disappointed Pools fans applauded it. Coulson broke through the Pools back line to take a great ball over his shoulder and very smartly lobbed Loach who had no chance to reach the ball and they were two up going into the break.

Late in the second half Pools finally managed to put a bit of pressure on the visitors but it was still a struggle to get clean ball around their goal. Noble, who did nothing all day, managed to lob their keeper but it was too little too late as the visitors claimed the points.
"...some of the officials in this division do not like coming to Hartlepool. Well, I have got news for them: we don’t like them coming here either!"

It has to be said today's referee, whoever he is, was totally biased against the home side. It may sound like sour grapes but this feller was blatant throughout the game, giving the visitors so much leeway in tackles and man-handling yet the instant a Pools player put a foot wrong he clamped down on them in an instant. It was so bad that it was comical to watch. Two regular lady fans walking out with twenty minutes to go said “I am not watching this ******* so-called referee any longer.”

Three players were booked; even Hignett was booked in the last ten minutes. The visitors' number nine, chasing a ball in the first couple of minutes, bundled Kioso into the fencing at the Town End and it could have been classed as dangerous play and he was not even spoken too. This gave him licence to go for anyone on the pitch; in fact the ref did speak to him after he chopped Kabamba down on the wing and the ref pointed out three other offences around the pitch before letting him walk away without a card. He went to book a player for diving and even gave us a free kick then changed his mind and gave it the other way and booked Kabamba for a foul.

It turns out he was the same ref who turned down Pools' penalty claim back in October when Davies was brought down in the box in front of the Town End and he waved play on. I had heard before that some of the officials in this division do not like coming to Hartlepool. Well, I have got news for them: we don’t like them coming here either!

One punter said as he was leaving and I will give you a quote: “He was not a bad ref - he was totally incompetent."

Front Page

Any Other Business


Well, another up-and-down month as Pools start to look a different side, get an improbable 4-0 away win, and then return to looking like the same side again.

Ok, so that's nothing unusual for Pools, but with it coming just at the moment when the playoffs were still just about reachable with luck, we had a couple of weeks of excitement before that dream fizzled out. So now the loss of momentum, plus an injury/suspension crisis, means that we could yet again be fighting relegation.

As if life wasn't tedious enough with Brexit!

At the Bromley match we were looking round the ground for things of interest (Pools' performance wasn't riveting) and noticed this ad on the Mill House touchline.

It seems to be well endowed with apostrophes but we couldn't work out how many were surplus to requirements (although one definitely is!) So we looked it up online and it would seem that while historically "Cameron's Taxis" would have been grammatically correct, in modern usage that or "Camerons Taxis" would both be acceptable. The brewery does without the apostrophe.

Anyone who was unaware of the health issues causing Trevor Carson to miss much of the season at Motherwell may be interested to read his story here

Front Page