Tolstoy Story


I don’t know if you have read Nick Loughlin’s piece for North East Sport News (December 13th 2020) but it is an excellent, insightful yet depressing article.

Entitled “Hartlepool United’s latest humiliation wasn’t a one off – accepting it is the hardest part”. It follows the defeat at Woking and highlights how far we have fallen.

Our decline is not just from the heady days of being near the top of the 3rd tier of English football but from the humble days of having to apply for re-election. It has happened over a period of time, a gradual erosion. The natural reaction every time is that we will rebound and at this level easily be able find success. It’s the same excuse we use for players - existing or incoming ones - that they will find it, if not easy at this level, at least comfortable.

Alas, this is sadly not the case; we have consistently been outclassed by teams we didn’t even know existed in parts of the country that we thought of as exclusively Stockbroker Belt.
"Raj Singh would probably want his money back the same way I want my lottery ticket money back when I don’t win."

I have subscribed to the live streaming for most home games this season and there does seem to be a lack of bite, authority, aggression, call it what you will. Then I was brought up in football terms watching the likes of Roy Hogan, Billy Ayre, Keith Nobbs, Bob Newton and Mark Lawrence. Referring back to Nick Loughlin’s article he mentions Nicky Featherstone apologising for putting in a strong tackle against Boreham Wood. It’s political correctness gone mad. When we have had a player with a bit of aggression they are moved on, I’m thinking of players like Michael Woods, Gus Mafuta and Liam Noble, our top scorer in the 2018/19 season.

Financial constraints are a constant barrier to attracting better players to Hartlepool but other clubs seem to somehow manage this. I realise the days of IOR are long gone and Raj Singh has had to dip into his pocket to keep the place going. He will obviously not be able to do this forever; he has said as much and that was earlier in the season when we were doing well. There was the rumour that people were interested in taking the club over and that these people were the Hollywood duo of Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney who eventually invested in Wrexham. Raj Singh would probably want his money back if someone wanted to take the club over, in the same way I want my lottery ticket money back when I don’t win.

Instead of chasing wealthy individuals I think the club should target large successful organisations. I don’t suppose Amazon, Apple, Elon Musk’s Tesla, Richard Branson’s Virgin empire or Bill Gates' Microsoft would be interested but what about The Walt Disney Company, the company that owns Pixar? I envisage an epic money-spinning drama combining Leo Tolstoy’s ‘War and Peace’ and Pixar’s animation ‘Toy Story’. Telling the account of the French invasion of Tsarist Russia and the rise and fall of the Napoleonic era, leading to the hanging of a monkey in Hartlepool. The monkey becomes infamous and to make amends the local town's football club use it as their mascot. Following the gradual demise of the football club, due to main benefactors IOR - ‘Increased Offal Recovery’ (slogan: 'We’ve got fingers in many pies'), the drama concludes with the signing of former star player Buzz Slight-Tear. Buzz is a talented player, unfortunately beset with a litany of injuries that have prevented him from playing for several years. After multiple false dawns he gradually overcomes his physical and mental scars to become the town's saviour.

Well, at least with Walt Disney we would get a genuine Mickey Mouse set up.

Apologies if I have upset anyone – there I go, sounding like a New-Age midfielder.

Be good to each other.

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