Any Other Business


Another August gone,

and like in most of the last hundred or so, excited expectation turned quickly to glum realisation that yet again we'd be disappointed, the perennial lot of Poolies. Many of the hundreds of players in Pools' squad seemed to be either already injured or soon would be.

Then things turned around with three wins on the trot and suddenly the excited expectation has made a return. And this time Pools seem to have at last found out how this league works, having learned the unwritten rules that you don't succeed in it without big defenders, fast breakaways ...and gamesmanship.

As a long-exiled Poolie in Southern England,

I've tended to only see Pools either on a rare trip home or when they had equally rare matches near me. Otherwise my following of them has been mainly by accessing what little information I could gather at the time. That in the 1970s meant having the Footy Mail posted to me each week and listening for the night match results on the radio. 

Then when fanzines and the internet came along they opened up new avenues. But then the various websites, including the official club sites and local and national newspapers started cashing in by either charging us fans or bombarding us with ads and so things seemed to go backwards for a while. Match commentary was available for a fee on Pools' club website and also from BBC Tees, but only on a radio somewhere near Teesside.

Sent in by Wallace & Gromit
But this season is a revelation. The Pools match commentary is now free, and the BBC commentary is now on the internet, although that's only available online if Boro aren't playing at the same time. Nevertheless, having a choice of commentaries is a great improvement on watching the BBC website text feed, which, in the National League, if there aren't any goals, bookings or subs could comprise: "Match kicks off. Half time. Match restarts. Full time." Added to that, the Mail and Echo websites are now less aggressively irritating their visitors.

Well done to all involved for keeping us exiled Poolies more in the loop.


This picture, taken at the Vic 38 years ago this month by Keith Middleton, shows the decrepit old stand  which replaced the one bombed in the First World War, and behind it the Egton, a ship built in Sunderland for which there was never very much work and thus she spent her last 10 years tied up in Hartlepool before being scrapped. 

For younger readers, the row of white letters was a legacy from the days before mobile phones, the internet and even public address systems. A list of matches also being played that day would be printed in the match programme, each identified by a letter, and during the interval each half-time score would be shown next to its appropriate letter, using numbered tiles hung on hooks. How quaint it seems, even tho those of us who remember it!

Like many others I suspect, I remember the Egton just always being there. The only other ship I remember often seeing was the "Boctok 5" (or "Vostok 5" in English characters, named after an early Russian manned spacecraft), a smart Russian ship which used to bring pit-props for the collieries. And as Ditchburn has pointed out, quite a few of those pit-props turned out for Pools.

Bolton and Bury

Announcements were recently made on successive days that Bolton Wanderers had been rescued from winding-up while neighbours Bury were expelled from the league after both had been involved in circumstances with which we are all too familiar.

There remains the suspicion that more effort was put into saving the more famous club.

It seems that, in these days when presidents and prime ministers tell blatant lies and when the Amazon jungle can be deliberately destroyed, all with impunity, the whole world has lost its moral compass. A few little men being allowed to use perfectly legal fiddles to screw over some little football club is now nothing out of the ordinary.
Which one will be next?

And finally...

This was found and submitted by Wallace & Gromit:

Forest Green are a notorious away day in League Two. The Gloucestershire club became the world's first 100% vegan football club in 2017 and while they must be applauded for their environmentally friendly approach, they are wide open for some niche chanting.

The Walsall faithful delivered on Saturday when a visiting Forest Green player was on the deck receiving treatment, singing: "That vegan b*stard, he's eating our grass!"

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