Terrace Thoughts 35, 14/06/2019

The World of Football was put into some perspective last week – and I’m not referring to any of the dire England performances (on or off the pitch). No, I’m referring to the sudden and tragic death of Justin Edinburgh, the former Tottenham defender who had only recently led Leyton Orient back into the Football League. He was just 49; having previously managed Northampton Town, Gillingham and Newport County, he had overseen the rebuilding of Leyton Orient in less than twenty months.

I saw a tweet from @Hangus 99 which I’ll repeat – as it can’t be bettered:

Days like today, football has no colours.
Days like today is when fans forget their rivalries.
Days like today we all come together.
R.I.P Justin Edinburgh
My/Our thoughts are with you and your family at this time.

Moving on. I recently came across an article from 2015 entitled ‘20 Inspirational Jock Stein Quotes Every Celtic Fan Must Read’ – one quote which immediately caught my attention, and made me immediately hark back to some Pools’ related conversations in recent years is:

“Without fans who pay at the turnstile, football is nothing. Sometimes we are inclined to forget that. The only chance of bringing them into stadiums is if they are entertained by what happens on the football field.”

So, there you go Mr Maguire; easy, isn’t it!

Another quote which resonated with our recent history is, “There is no excuse for a professional footballer not to be 100% fit”.

One quote with which I initially agreed – and then I thought about a certain recent chairman was, “We all end up yesterday’s men in this business. You’re very quickly forgotten”. No, Mr Coxall, we’ll never forget you.

And tales of The Yorkshire Mafia and of one new (way back in time) signing getting to know the wife of another ‘very well’ came to mind with this Jock Stein quote, “The secret of being a good manager is to keep the six players who hate you away from the five who are undecided”.

“I enjoy being manager here, because I like the people who support us”. I could imagine the great Neale Cooper making a comment such as that – but perhaps not Messrs Busby or Houchen.

There were a number of other quotes which could refer to any football club – and, in many ways, to many other areas of life – such as, “There’s nothing wrong with losing your temper for the right reasons”.

And two for Craig Hignett – “The best place to defend is in the opposition penalty box” – and next time he has a Royal Mail type moment, he could try, “We do have the greatest fans in the world but I’ve never seen a fan score a goal”.

And the one that I do disagree with – particularly in lower leagues – “If you’re good enough, the referee doesn’t matter”. I’m afraid that, however good a team or player might be, an awful official can wreck the game. Anyone remember Mike Peck, the teacher from Kendal? Or Carl Boyeson?  I remember, as a relative youngster, being immediately deflated if I read Peck’s name in the programme – we were doomed – and being so elated when he eventually was jailed for something totally unrelated to football.

Mike Peck! He could have put just about anyone off football for ever!

Anyway, without further ado, let’s move onto the answers to last week’s quiz questions:

21. John MacPhail dropped himself after the 2-0 home defeat to Cambridge United on 15 January 1994 – who did he replace himself with?

Phil Gilchrist – a classy centre half who played in 99 games for Pools before being sold, with us once again ‘cash-strapped’, for £100,000 to Oxford United in 1995. He went on to Leicester City for £1,500,000, West Brom and then Rotherham. He returned to Oxford United in 2006 – when they had fallen down the leagues and into the Conference – and now they are back in League 1 – proving to us all that it can be done!

22. Which team beat Pools 5-0 on 5 March 1994 – and how is this relevant to our coming season?

Stockport County – who, having celebrated promotion from National League North, join us in the National League this year – and we need to ensure that we beat them back to the EFL.

23. Who, during the 1994/95 season, told the Pools squad, “You lot are the lowest of the low. You can’t get any further down than this poxy little club”?

Sandy Clark – a former Hearts coach who was invited to Pools for a few days in an advisory role by the then manager David McCreery. Personally I applaud Houchen’s reaction (TT34).

24. Which team beat Pools 8-1 on the final day of the 1993/94 season?

Plymouth Argyle

25. Who joined Pools during the 1995/ 96 season, from Tow Law Town, on the recommendation of Middlesbrough coach Gordon McQueen?

The almost legendary Mr Steven Howard – and more about him in a future Terrace Thoughts…..or perhaps not.

And this week’s questions…..

26. Who did Liam Donnelly join after leaving Pools in June 2018?

27. Peter Hartley left Pools for Stevenage in 2013 – after spells with Plymouth Argyle, Bristol Rovers and Blackpool, who did he play for last season?

28. Who did Trevor Carson join after leaving Pools in June 2017?

29. Which club did Rob McKinnon join on loan in 1990?

30. Which club did Rob McKinnon sign for in January 1992?

And to my final (not so) quick points:

a. John’s football website of the week: http://priceoffootball.com/ – Remember the days of football players who became postmen when they retired, jumpers for goalposts, rattles, and kits made by Admiral? This website has nothing to do with these. Since football became big business, the financial numbers involved at the elite end of the game have multiplied rapidly. This blog aims to take a look at some of those numbers, whilst also keeping an eye on what is happening at those clubs where Maseratis, supermodels and holiday homes in Barbados aren’t associated with your left back.

b. Financial Crisis of the week: Bury FC are due to appear before the High Court next week and have now started issuing notices of potential redundancy to staff. This is a club which won promotion last season, changed owners and the new owner reached virtual ‘hero’ status by Christmas 2018, and who is now vilified across social media. And we think being a Poolie is bad for your health!

c. Notts County watch: most folk know my views about the oldest club in ‘the universe’ and so, putting aside my hope that Notts County survive the Summer and donate six points to our promotion campaign, the attached in the Nottingham Post of 11 June 2019 made me smile:

Notts County supporters can protect themselves from losing money on season ticket purchases by paying with credit cards.

With the new season just eight weeks away, the Magpies are still threatened by the possibility of administration or liquidation.

On Monday, the Post reported that the National League were understood to be concerned about the lack of progress with Notts’ takeover and with the identities of those looking to buy the club.

An upcoming High court hearing on July 10 could see the club fall into administration or be liquidated over a £250,000 unpaid tax bill.

If the worst case scenario of liquidation happens, legal protection is available to supporters should they make season ticket purchases with credit cards, and card companies have no choice about it.

d. Gateshead comment of the week: I’ve been following the slow motion train crash that is Gateshead FC all season and I, like many others, hope that the Heed fans now have the opportunity to stabilise and rebuild. Yet again we see a situation where the fans – and the staff – have suffered due to the actions of owners – another lesson for the authorities in how not to manage our beautiful game. Or is it – are we blaming the authorities too quickly? Overall I think not, but the following post on the Heed Army forum is worth a read:

I can see that there is some criticism of the National League’s handling of matters during the period in which the previous owners were in situ.

The situation was far more complicated than it’s possible to explain here, but you may be assured that the league did everything possible to help the club, something it endeavours to do with all of its members.

Each season, the primary objective of the league is to ensure that all of its member clubs complete their fixtures.

This starts with a full budget review and in the event that the budget does not gain unconditional approval, sanctions are imposed. In Gateshead’s case this took the form of a £200,000 bond.

Had that bond not been in place, there was clearly considerable risk that the previous owners may have walked away mid-season leaving the town without a club.

Once the season was over, the league’s action to suspend the club’s licence was a major factor in bringing the previous regime to an end.

Bear in mind that the application of rules has to be directed at a club and not individual owners means that penalties for breaches don’t disappear when ownership changes.

In Gateshead’s case, the range of penalties available for the various breaches committed by the previous ownership could have seen the club sent much further down the pyramid than the NL North.

The league, in concert with the FA, appear to have taken a positive view of the new ownership in deciding where to pitch the penalties.

Disappointing as the loss of national division status is, it could have been much worse.

One step back is often followed by two forward. Let’s put the last ten or so months behind us and take a positive view of a future which the efforts of so many has secured.

A fair and informative piece of writing and, I’m sure that you’ll agree, worthy of being reproduced here in full. But, whatever, it is the fans who suffer – always.

e. The fans suffer again – Coventry City will now be playing at the home of Birmingham City! I remember going to Highfield Road and thinking that it was a dump – and they then moved to the Ricoh (with a brief sojourn in Northampton) and now they are homeless. Well, Highfield Road might have been a dump, but it served as their home for 106 (pretty much successful) years! The Sky Blues supporters are obviously complaining about the behaviour of the landlords (Wasps RUFC) and their owners – SISU (a London based hedge fund) – this is understandable but maybe unfair – as, if were not for SISU, Coventry City would have ceased to exist some years ago and, since rescuing the club, SISU has invested loads of money without any sort of return (outside of a few prawn sandwiches on match days). Whatever, it is the Coventry fans, like those in Gateshead, who suffer the most. But again, what has the FA been doing?

f. So which groups of fans will suffer next? John’s ones to watch include Hamilton Academicals, Rochdale, Derby County,  Bolton Wanderers, Berwick Rangers and Notts County. Oxford United are off the list for now – having just settled a £240,000 claim from their landlords! But let us not forget to celebrate success stories like Newport County – or lose sight of the fact that we could be next. So, with no disrespect to, or implied criticism of, Mr Singh, we need a strong and financially robust Trust – have you paid your subs and made a donation to HUST? Please do. You know it makes sense.

Pip Pip

John

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.