Back to the Eighties

RABBI BLUE AND WHITE STRIPES has been up in his loft

Here are some items from the match programme for the league game at home to Sheffield United on 6th March 1982. 

Who would have thought our trajectories would move in such different directions - well probably all of us I guess. 

I remember this game well as Bob Newton appeared before the game with his wrist in a plaster cast, there was a lot of trouble in the town beforehand and it was the only time as an adult that I'd travelled up to Hartlepool by train. 

We lost 3-2 with Phil Linacre and Paul Staff scoring for us. Some names that stick out for me in the Sheffield United line up are: Keith Waugh, ex-Sunderland; Bob Hatton, a much travelled but prolific goal scorer (215 goals in 617 games); Stewart Houston, ex-Manchester United and of course John MacPhail who was destined to eventually play for and manage Pools. 

The attendance was 4,145 - I watched the match from the old wooden stand, part of which was being lashed together by bits of rope. We stayed overnight and on the return journey a coach replaced the train between Hartlepool and Teesside. 

And here's the editorial, interesting for its mentions of several teams who are now in leagues greatly different than those they were in 38 years ago, including one team which no longer exists.

The arrival of Sheffield United for a Fourth Division fixture this afternoon emphasises that in football you can take nothing for granted. Five years ago they were in the First Division, seemingly sitting pretty with the big boys. Surely relegation to the Second Division was but a temporary setback? Well, as you will see before you this afternoon, that setback was rather more long-term, for United have slithered into Division Four for the first time in their long and proud history. 

And although they are having their best season for some time and fighting hard for promotion back at the first attempt, they have not found life easy in the "basement". Not that they should do. No club can ever afford to think that they are too good for any opposition, and clubs like Sheffield United cannot ever think themselves too good to go to Rochdale, Halifax or Hartlepool. 

They may well stand in our out-dated away dressing rooms and think of their own fine facilities, but success in the game is not achieved among the coat hangers and foot lockers but on the field, whether it be the Victoria Ground or Anfield.

Sheffield United have no more right to promotion than Bournemouth or Colchester, neither of whom have ever played in a higher grade than the Third, or Wigan, who in United's First Division days were still playing the likes of Goole and Worksop in the Northern Premier League.

And as if to serve as a reminder of the League's democratic stance, with pedigree counting for nothing in 90 minutes‘ play, fellow promotion candidates Bradford City and Bury were both respected members of the First Division and winners of the F.A. Cup in the early part of the century. Indeed. today is F.A. Cup sixth round day in 1982, and never before has the First Division found itself so poorly represented at this stage of the competition.

But then the magic of the Cup is its levelling capacity, and since the word ‘go’ this season, 1982 has proved itself to be the year of the underdog. Wouldn't it be a glorious boost for the ambitions of all the country's smaller sides if someone like Shrewsbury (who not so long ago were playing us in the Fourth Division) were to reach Wembley.

We had a lot of replies to the quiz in the Darlington programme. The losing captain in the photo was Graham Normanton, leading off the Horden team after their Cup tie with Blackpool here, and the first correct answer out of the hat was l0 year old Johnathan Chandler of Thackeray Road, Rift House. He won two tickets for today's game and is accompanied by his father.

Today's question: Who scored our goal in the 1 - 1 draw at Sheffield United last October? Two tickets v Bradford City stand as the prize, so answers to me c/o the Victoria Ground within two weeks please.

The 'Billy Horner's Viewpoint' column concentrated on Pools' dire financial position of the time, which reminds us that it quite frequently was (and is) thus, apart from that brief interlude when IOR was running the club.