Any Other Business


Things have been looking up on the playoffs front and Pools now find themselves tantalisingly close. While some recent successes may not have been 100% convincing, nevertheless it's the points that matter, and Pools keep racking them up.

We've been looking at the upcoming fixtures and Pools potentially have one of the easier run-ins, playing only two of the teams in the top half whereas Barnet have to play seven, and Notts County have to play Harrogate no less than three times, two of them being the home and away legs of the FA Trophy semi-final. No doubt they'll agree to play their reserve or youth teams in those games but it all adds to the pressure, though easy-looking fixture lists never quite work out that way. It's going to be an interesting couple of months!

Billy's Contract has again been out and about with his camera ...or maybe just his phone.

This time he spent a couple of hours visiting his old haunts on the Headland, and when he happened upon that venerable old Headland institution which is possibly more talked about than any other, he found it open, and felt he had to take this picture.

Verrills is probably the best-known chippie in all of Hartlepool, and gets more mentions in Monkey Business, Pools message boards and the like, than all the rest of the town's fast food outlets put together. And it's been around for decades. In fact some say that the monkey's last meal came from Verrills (he refused the malt vinegar, preferring the red wine variety, apparently.)

Now the cause of Verrills' fame isn't its longevity, the quality of its chips or even its iconic position, standing alone, separate from any other shops. No, what makes it different is the perception that it's rarely open, which is what gets it talked about most.

Billy's Contract points out that the picture shows a sign in the window which says "Staff needed (must be over 18)", and he notes that it fails to mention the obscure opening hours.

Well, we can now reveal that Verrills does indeed have regular opening hours, even if we can't verify whether they always stick to them, as there's another sign visible on the door showing them. So here they are:
Monday: 1-1:15pm *
Tuesday-Friday: 11am-1:15pm and 4pm-5:45pm
Saturday:  11am-1:15pm

It may be that some people might be used to chippies being open until 2pm and throughout the evening 6 days a week (sometimes 7), but not on the Headland they aren't, thus probably giving rise to Verrills' reputation among non-Headlanders for rarely being open.
(And I have to say the only meal I've ever bought there - I found it open once and had to try it - was very good!)

[*  "1" may be a mistake and perhaps should be "11am" ...but this is Verrills we're talking about - Ed.]

Long-time Pools (and Stoke City) fan Rob
Cocker has been getting himself some headlines over the last few years for one of his other hobbies - visiting as many pubs as possible.

So far he's visited more than 11,000 on his travels, and obviously following two clubs in different divisions is an advantage in his quest. You  could just Google him or you can read more about Rob and his hobby (when he had only visited a mere 10,000 pubs) here:

When asked which are the best pubs he's visited, he says he always includes The Rat Race ale house (the tiny one at Hartlepool Railway Station) among them.