Well, the boys are back in training and the photos on the Club’s official website are pretty impressive – no obviously out of condition players (I do miss Nathan though!), and so the excitement begins to mount. It also means that it won’t be too long before my Summer Quiz draws to a conclusion.

But, before I provide the answers to last week’s questions I want to touch on another sport. Now, those that know me will acknowledge what an amazing, all-round sportsman I am and will recall how much I celebrated the announcement that surfing, climbing and skateboarding will make their Olympic debuts at the Tokyo 2020 Games. I had waited years for skateboarding to be recognised as an Olympic sport and now another dream comes true – BREAKDANCING – yes, BREAKDANCING! Breakdancing has moved a step closer to being in the 2024 Olympics after its inclusion was approved by International Olympic Committee (IOC) members.

Now, as many folk know, I was an early proponent of breakdancing – initially using the pavements outside venues such as The Devon and The Greensides and, of course, the gravel car parking area adjacent to The Woodcutter. I was probably aged about seventeen when I first started trying to spin on my head and shoulders; these early attempts often following sudden movements from the vertical to the horizontal. Looking back and comparing myself to the competitors of today I see that the only difference is the backing music; and I’ll be the first to admit that my musical choices (ranging from Suzi Quattro and Slade through to Cream and Peter Frampton) probably hindered my progress towards fame and fortune.

Anyway, a final decision on the sports’ inclusion will be made in late 2020 by the IOC executive board. Apparently Games chiefs want to introduce events that are “more gender-balanced, younger and urban”. Urban? “As well as being spectacular and creative, they generate strong engagement among young people,” said Paris 2024 president Tony Estanguet. “They also project the values that we hold dear in terms of openness and diversity.”

What a load of proverbials!

How can something which relies on subjective scoring be an Olympic Sport?

Anyway, fear not, with our summer signings we’ll be seeing Pools doing plenty of proper scoring this coming season.

So, the answers to last week’s questions:

31. During the 2016/ 2017 season we played one team three times and the score-line was the same in each game: which one of John’s favourite teams were the culprits?

Notts County! They beat as at home on 20 August 2016, our goal coming from Toto Nsiala Louis Laing played for the Magpies that day!

We lost to them in the Trophy on 31 August – Rhys Oates scored for us and they had Scott Loach and Louis Laing playing for them.

And we lost away in the league on 11 March 2017 with our celebrations being restricted to an own goal from Haydn Hollis.

32. What was the name of The Vic during the 2016/ 2017 season?

The Northern Gas and Power Station

33. On 5 April 2010 Pools beat Brighton & Hove Albion 2-0 at home with goals from Roy O’Donovan and Andy Monkhouse; why didn’t we get three points?

We played Gary Liddle in the 2-0 win over Brighton despite him being suspended and so suffered a £10,000 fine and three-point deduction.

34. Who went on loan from Motherwell to Notts County, scored against Pools, and then joined Pools after a spell with Inverness Caledonian Thistle?

Louis Laing – who left Pools in October 2018, joining Blyth Spartans before recently moving to Darlington (or Darlington Spartans as they are now known).

35. 10 December 2016 saw us suffer our heaviest home defeat since a 0-5 loss to Coventry City on 17 November 2012 in League One. Who did the damage this time?

Cambridge United – and if you haven’t had a look at the CFU website as suggested in Terrace Thoughts 36, give it a go – http://www.cambridgefansunited.org. There’s a lot that trusts such as our own can learn from Cambridge Fans United.

And so we move to this week’s five questions:

36. Who joined Pools from Huddersfield on loan in January 1977? He went on to play in seven games that season, scoring our goal in a 3-1 away defeat to Exeter City.

37. Who joined Pools from Huddersfield during the summer of 1978 and went on to appear in 49 matches during the 1978/79 season, notching on six occasions?

38. Who started in the first six games of the 1979/80 season, scoring twice, before being replaced by George Smith at No. 4 and leaving Hartlepool to join Crewe Alexandra?

39. Who subsequently replaced George Smith at No.4?

40. The player who replaced George Smith later suffered a broken leg – why did this cause upset Pools’ management?

And to my final (not so) quick points:

a. John’s football website of the week:- https://www.morpethtownfc.com/Morpeth Town’s first pre-season fixture is away to Blyth Spartans on 16 July – that’s assuming that Blyth has enough players, given how many are now at Darlington Spartans.

b. Financial Crisis of the week: Both Macclesfield Town and Southend again faced a High Court judge earlier this week….

Macclesfield Town paid their outstanding tax bill of £73,000 but the case on 26 June was only adjourned as another creditor, Egerton Youth Club, took over the winding-up petition. They are now due back in court on 3 July over a £20,000 debt relating to the club where they previously trained. It will be The Silkmen’s third court appearance in three months. The succession of hearings comes during a time of financial turbulence at Moss Rose, with players paid late in recent months.

Southend is another club who have become frequent visitors at the High Court – so often that ‘wags’ on the Oxford United forum reckon that The Shrimpers (what an awful nickname! Worse even than The Silkmen!) have their own parking space at the court. Whilst their cases keep getting adjourned one wonders how long it will before they fall over.

Another recent visitor to the court is Bangor City and I hear that a phoenix club is being discussed. These poor guys have suffered demotion due to off-field issues, a transfer embargo, and were recently threatened with a 42 point deduction! It was reduced to 21 points on appeal. This huge points deduction was for them using ineligible players – which puts into context our three points deduction over Gary Liddle.

c. Notts County watch: Notts County’s players have reported back for pre-season duty – but have been forced to wear last season’s training kit amid rumours of a financial dispute with PUMA. Nottinghamshire Live has reported that it understands that the club owes a six-figure fee to the sportswear firm which relates to a variety of kit the Magpies ordered last season. It is believed PUMA are now refusing to send any new kit until they have been paid. The club – which was once the oldest league club in the Universe – declined to comment when approached by Nottinghamshire Live.

d. Gateshead comment of the week: will Pools sign Tom White and will compensation be paid? No, it looks like we’ve lost out to Carlisle United – who have released Gary Liddle who had played for the Cumbrians on 98 occasions after joining them in 2017 from Chesterfield – he’d joined Chesterfield from Bradford and had also played for Notts County after being released by Pools in 2012. I was surprised when he was released and he is a player that I’d welcome back – but given the size of our squad, I can’t see any space or need for him.

e. The fans suffer again – I usually talk here about supporters suffering due to the misdemeanours of owners and the ensuing financial crises. And I generally have little sympathy for the Barcodes and their view that they are a great club and deserve success. But this week I do feel some sympathy for them and for the loss of the ‘Spanish Waiter’. And we know who is to blame.

f. So which groups of fans will suffer next? I do wonder how Darlington Spartans can afford their new manager and squad – but I very much respect their ownership model and hope they do well this season. John’s ones to watch still include the likes of Bury and Bolton Wanderers. The Shakers are in financial trouble, with players going public in May to reveal they had not been paid since February – although owner Steve Dale has said the players have now been paid up to March, plus half of April’s wages. Dale has offered to pay some of the club’s debts – including paying the club’s football creditors in full – himself in order to avoid a winding-up petition. Yet the club still owes £3.7m in loans secured on the club’s Gigg Lane ground, whilst their sports bar has also been mortgaged for £120,000 to a different loan company. Alongside this, £1m is owed in unpaid tax, national insurance and VAT, and trade creditors are owed £2.4m. However, should Dale himself pay the club’s debts, then according to EFL rules, that counts as an insolvency event, meaning a 12-point penalty will be incurred. If they are punished, it means two clubs will start the upcoming campaign on -12 as Bolton have also been hit with a points deduction. As mentioned in earlier Terrace Thoughts, Bolton have just 14 players on their books, including scholars, and they have not been paid since March. And there are still ownership issues at the club, with Football Ventures having previously been announced as the preferred new owner for the club by administrators, and the start of pre-season training has been delayed until early July! These fans are really suffering – as are the players and staff. Imagine being manager Phil Parkinson – unpaid, doubts over your personal employment, few players, unhappy players, inability to train…….

I met Phil Parkinson when he was the manager of Bradford City – it was in the gents of the Bradford Cedar Court Hotel. “John”, he said, “Weren’t you a breakdancer in your younger days?”

Righto! Have you renewed your season ticket? Have you paid your subs and made a donation to HUST? Please do both. You know it makes sense.

Pip Pip


Did you catch John’s thoughts on Cambridge Fans Trust and the fantasic work by the Motherwell Supporters Trust in last week’s Terrace Thoughts 36? Catch up here.

You can find all of his previous columns on the HUST website.

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