Uncertain Times at the Vic


In these unprecedented pandemic times there has been a lot of movement at Victoria Park. Amongst all the comings and goings some loyal workers and untalented footballers have left the club and we have seen some new faces arriving. High profile departures have included chief executive Mark Maguire and long-serving media manager Mark Simpson. A number of players have departed most of whom will not be missed although striker Gime Touré and midfielder Gus Mafuta are the exceptions. 

Touré was always going to leave as it was obvious he did not get on with manager Dave Challinor and Mafuta appears to have gone because he was the highest earning player, and incidentally one of the best ones. I must admit it doesn't look good that Mafuta goes and we still have Nicholas Featherstone at the club. I fail to see what Challinor sees in this guy. Can't run, can't tackle and useless at headers. 

In addition to last season's loan signings Mark Shelton, Gary Liddle and Timi Odosina returning we have Rhys Oates back at the club. A striker who had an inauspicious first spell at the club, finds it difficult to hit the onion bag but runs around a lot. A new face is Martin Jesper who appears to be running the club on a daily basis. And physio Buster Gallagher is a welcome returnee to the club. Should never have left in the first place. Let's hope he can work his magic on Luke Williams. One thing is certain, with a fit Williams in the side we will be nearer the top than the bottom.

With October 3 looking a likely start to the National League the club has started selling season tickets and after the first 1,000 were sold another 500 were made available. What the temporary capacity at Victoria Park will be is up to the council. But 2,500 looks the likely figure to start with. It may be there will be some live streaming of matches which will be useful to fans who can't get to the games.
"How we could do with a manager now who could get us promotion"

The live games on TV have been a big help during the months of lockdown and giving people their fix of football. Also of interest during lockdown were the "Switch of Play"podcasts produced by Mark Simpson and Micky Barron. featuring former Pools players. They contain some amusing and informative stories from yesteryear and what the boys got up to. Even Joel Porter took part from Australia. Perhaps the oddest participant was former owner Ken Hodcroft. I found the arrogance of the man who sold the club down the river to a bunch of shysters not once but twice quite unbelievable. That is not to mention the managers he got rid of. Neale Cooper, Danny Wilson and Mike Newell. Indeed Newell was shown the door after getting the club promotion. How we could do with a manager now who could get us promotion. It all seems a long time ago now as we sit mid-table in the National League. 

With the new season almost four weeks away we are short of a right back, centre back and goal-scoring striker,. There was talk of a real big-name striker being on his way to Pools but nothing has materialised. The talk was that it might be Danny Graham, just released from Blackburn and looking to return to his native North-East.

Unless he is prepared to take a massive drop in wages to return home there appears to be zero chance of him turning up here. A return to his former club Sunderland looks the most likely option.

I would just like to finish this month by saying how sad I was to hear of the death of Ernie Phythian in South Africa, Pools' best-ever striker. Goals were his game. RIP Ernie.

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