Now then, I know my stamps. Oh yes. Show me a Penny Red and I’ll show you a good back three.

And I say it like it is. That performance at Chorley was simply unacceptable. Sure you can argue that we’d then had two wins and two draws out of the last five games – but hold on, Chorley had been beaten 6–1 by Solihull Moors and 4–1 by Maidenhead United in the two previous games – including a goal from the one and only Mr Jake Cassidy! And then they concede five at Notts County. And we didn’t manage a shot on target until the 89th minute! And why wasn’t Luke James put on earlier and why take off Gime Toure? Baffling I say, baffling. Can I tempt you into buying a limited edition Orange Free State 1905 2d stamp?

We, the fans deserve and expect better.

And then, what happens on Monday? Good to see the back three and two wing back model work and we score four – and Liam Noble had a great game – but, come on, the first thirty minutes were dire and, with only ten men, they looked stronger during the final fifteen minutes.

I’ve a rather tempting six stamp block of Transvaal 1907 1d, lightly cancelled by part Germiston station cds dated ’26 AU 1907’. I know me stamps, I do.

And when I say the fans deserve and expect better, I am sure that Raj does too. And how long will his patience last?

Now, my old chum Mr Ashton has been waffling on about the likes of Bury and Bolton for ages – and few have listened to him – but it’s happened. We, the wider footballing and stamp collecting communities have lost one of our own. Sure the National Press woke up to it at the eleventh hour, but we true fans should have accepted that this was going to happen many moons ago.

What has happened at Bury is a tragedy – and so wrong on so many levels. And what will undoubtedly become of Bolton during the next year or so will be the same – only bigger and messier. And then who is next?

Sure we can blame the authorities. And the greed or misguided actions of a few. But isn’t the whole professional model about to implode?

And we’re standing there on a Saturday, being told that we have no right to criticize, having paid out our hard earned to support the reasonably well paid professionals. I wish I could spend this morning trotting around a tailored lawn in my free kit; but no, I’ll be nose to the grindstone, chasing down a rare collection of early Malay parcel stamps.

So, we have clubs failing, following them falling under the control of a local ‘benefactor’ of some form. Now, and I’ll close my 7th edition of the Ireland Stamp Catalogue and be bold – what is Raj but a local benefactor? But before anyone tries to lick the back of one of my prized possessions, let me emphasise that many ‘local benefactors’ are ‘good people’. Where would the Borer be without Steve Gibson? What about Jack Walker at Blackburn Rovers? Oh, hold on. What happened at Ewood Park after Jack Walker?

And moving on I really do wonder if this isn’t another reason why we all, across the wider footballing community, shouldn’t push for effective fan representation on boards? There has to be greater control over owners – how about a bond or guarantee system? Owners, or prospective owners, must prove their financial capacity by depositing a significant sum with the EFL or whoever. And the local community must have effective Board representation.

But I’ve pretty much lost faith in the footballing authorities – to sanction Bedale FC for the kit which has raised a substantial sum for charity is simply laughable. By Heck it is.

I find myself wondering if Chris Matheson MP isn’t a bit of a philatelist on the side – what he is trying to do is excellent and John Ashton has previously talked about his work at length – so I’ll not repeat his mutterings on this.

But, whilst we wait for Matheson’s Bill to progress through Parliament we can’t just sit back and wait for our inevitable promotion push. We do need a Plan B for the day that we all fear – the day that Raj turns in his collection of Commonwealth stamps.

And this gets me round to applauding the continuing efforts of Hartlepool United Supporters Trust. Tonight’s special lottery prize has generated increased ticket sales – have you bought yours yet?

And what about the opportunity to show off your stamp collections on 13 October? Massive respect to the likes of Michael Weir and Ronnie Harnish in organising the Legends fund raising match! Get yourselves along to marvel at our players of the past – James Brown! Kevin Henderson! Humps! Tinks! Wow. And double wow!

But sorry – why isn’t it being held at Fortress Vic? How much could the club have generated in food and beverage sales? Along with showing support for HUST and the youth set-up at Hartlepool United. The youth set-up – the future of the club! Madness, I tell you, it’s madness.

Anyway, well done to Seaton Carew FC for supporting HUST. Now then. On the subject of Fortress Vic, what is its name now? I see that the ‘Super 6’ placards still adorn the perimeter fencing……………..

I found myself rummaging through Ronnie Harnish’s LP collection this week – not a stamp in sight in Chez Ronnie – and, believe it or not, I came across some original vinyl pressings by that old beat combo, Amen Corner. Quite impressed I was. But then I opened the large blue LP case marked ‘Sheena; The lycra years’. Oh dear oh dear. The complete collection of Sheena Easton!

Right, I need to get myself off for a wee bit of rumpty tumpty, as we specialist collectors call it, at The Savoy. Old John will be returning next week – probably to bore us with some interesting facts about the Legends team.

Torquay tomorrow. It’ll be a thumping home win or a stunning away victory – I’ll not be wrong, I’ll not be wrong. And I do like to present my collection on hingeless pages with mounts……………

Edward Stanley Gibbons at your service.

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