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.

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