Well, we are just over a week away from the HUST match against Micky Barron’s Hartlepool United Legends at Seaton Carew – this being my penultimate set of Terrace Thoughts I’m not going to shout at the clouds about why this isn’t at The Vic – or make any other comments – I’m simply going to celebrate the work of HUST and, in particular, the Great Michael Barron.
Everyone involved in HUST should be applauded and respected – as I’ve said before, these folk are volunteers and are doing their best to safeguard a ‘thing’ that we all love – in, and because of, mysterious ways. So thanks to all of them.
And they – together with Michael Barron – have put together next week’s match – hopefully the first of what will become an annual fund raising event. So next week, in my final set of witterings, I’ll take a brief walk down memory lane, looking at the exploits of some of those legends. But today I want to focus on our very own Captain Marvel.
Born in Chester-le-Street in 1974 Micky Barron started his career at Middlesbrough at the age of fourteen. Despite spending four years at the club, Micky only made three appearances and found his chances of breaking into the first team limited. This forced him to look elsewhere and he was allowed to go on loan to Hartlepool United. Micky made his debut for us against Carlisle United. During his loan spell Barron made 14 appearances. Middlesbrough then released Barron and he signed permanently for Hartlepool.
Micky started out as a centre back but converted at first to sweeper and then moved to right back. Often described as an accomplished or consummate defender, I personally feel that some folk under-estimate the contribution that Micky made to Pools.
Between 1996 and 2008 he started 397 games for Pools, came off the bench on 12 occasions and was team or club captain for much of his playing career with us!
And he was the guy who kept Jon Bass out of the team between 2001 and 2003.
He was in the Hartlepool side that had three consecutive Football League Third Division play-off semi-final defeats before winning promotion in 2002–03 but being pipped to the league title by Rushden & Diamonds.
He led out Pools in our League One play-off final in May 2005 against Sheffield Wednesday – you’ll all remember the day – even if you weren’t born – a late equaliser eight minutes from time denied us our first ever promotion to the Championship – we went on to lose in extra-time 4–2 in front of a crowd of 59,808 at the Millennium Stadium. But more on that day out next week.
To celebrate 10 seasons with the club, a series of events were held such as testimonial dinner with Bobby Robson as guest speaker. Micky could only attend the later stages of the dinner as he was involved in a reserve team match while trying to make his comeback from injury. That illustrates the quality of Micky as a player, a professional, and a bloke.
I’ve recently re-read ‘From Tears to Cheers’, Ritchie Humphreys’ promotion diary – and that brought back so many happy memories – the good times rolled on and on. In the book Ritchie describes Micky as a good talker and leader on and off the field – and a really nice bloke – what strikes me about that season, as described in the book, is how well the team got on together, and some of the awesome guys who played for us then – and who we’ll get to see in action next weekend.
Ritchie tells a great story about Micky in his recollections of our game at Swansea City on 7 September 2002. Pools were drawing 2-2 and the board had gone up for two minutes of injury time. Pools had a corner and Ritchie rushed to take it – and put it straight into the hands of the Swansea keeper. He launched the ball downfield and Swansea could have grabbed a late winner.
Micky had a go at Ritchie – about being more professional, about not throwing away what they had worked hard for, and so on. Ritchie argued that they should be trying to win these games.
The ‘discussion’ continued in the dressing room – Chris Turner – the then manager – said “Micky you are spot on. We could have gone away with nothing”.
Ritchie writes that he realised that Micky was right – we had a corner to take, but that we should have been prepared for a counter-attack, and of course Micky wanted to win too – Ritchie apologised. Two ‘big men’ – no dummies, no repercussions, just simple professional respect.
Ritchie might of won many of the awards and accolades during that period – but let us not forget that Micky Barron was the leader of the team for much of that successful era.
He might have been a tad shy in front of the opposition goal but he literally shed blood for the cause, he was always involved and he never let the fans or the team down. Thank you Micky – you are a true legend.
Have you bought your HUST Dubai trip raffle tickets yet? Support Pools and get a holiday in Dubai! Genius!
Only one more Pip Pippity Pip Pip to go.
HUST: Micky Barron’s HUFC Legends team will be playing a Pools Fan team at Hornby Park, Seaton Carew on Sunday 13th October, Kick off 2 pm. Entry to the match is £2 for adults and £1 concessions payable on the gate and we hope to see as many Poolies there to support the event. Find out more here.