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Word Of Honour: A Frustrating Season

3 May 2013

Pools legend Brian Honour reflects on the past campaign and tells us how much he enjoyed his playing return on The Vic recently!

Hello and welcome to my final Blog of the season here on the Official Website. 

I'd like to start by thanking everyone involved with the Play On The Pitch fans game that took place at The Vic last week - I was on the Away Team and I have to say I enjoyed every single minute of it. 

It was worth all the aches and the pains and the bumps and the bruises because even just thinking back to playing on that pitch again excites me - even though I'm just about recovering from it now! 

It was brilliant to be able to mix with supporters and the game was played in a great spirit; I think the fact it finished in a draw helped with that and I thought it was probably a fair result. 

People said afterwards that I didn't give the ball away once during the ninety minutes - but that was only because I couldn't run with it so had to get rid of it! But that's the way I used to play, I like to keep it simple because football is a simple game perhaps over-complicated by players and coaches at times. 

There was one point in the game where I got within thirty yards of goal and thought about letting fly but it was on my left foot so I thought I would pass it on and let someone else try for glory! 

Moving on to the more serious matter of Pools and their relegation from League One, I think we were all extremely disappointed with the way things turned out in the past season. 

Certainly if you'd told me during pre season after the games with Sunderland and Middlesbrough that we would get relegated I would have said you were bonkers. I felt like we had signed some good players and Steve Howard's arrival seemed to be that final piece in the jigsaw for me - I was hugely encouraged by his signing, especially after the Sunderland game and the way he played against Titus Bramble. 

I wasn't shouting from the rooftops about promotion or anything like that but I was quietly confident that we could have a good season and I think most fans were feeling optimistic about our chances too. 

Unfortunately it's just not worked out and we struggled from the start - we had such bad opening day at Crewe when were beaten 5-0 and I genuinely think that had a massive and horrible impact on the players and their confidence. 

I think I've been to around 80% of the home games this season and I don't think I've seen us outplayed too many times, except the Coventry City game. I've not come away from games thinking that the opposition were brilliant on too many occasions and I think that makes our struggle even more frustrating. 

If you look at the top six of the division as it finished I think we picked up points against most of them during the course of the season so it shows we weren't a million miles away. 

However, Brian Clough used to say that it's not what happens in the middle of the field that determines football matches - where the money is made is in both boxes and unfortunately that's our downfall in a nutshell. We've not created or scored enough in the final third and we've conceded sloppy goals and been hurt by set-pieces and penalties too many times. 

Relegation isn't a nice feeling for anyone. I suffered it as a player in 1993/94 and even though I was injured for a lot of that campaign I was still at the Club and still felt it as keenly as any other. 

Back then it was at the start of the financial problems and young players like Nicky Southall, Denny Ingram, Paul Thompson and Antony Skedd were thrown in to the First Team instead of being nurtured along. We lost Paul Olsson and Paul Cross to Middlesbrough around Christmas time and we just didn't have the experience to stay up or the money to come bouncing back. 

The players weren't getting paid - we would hang around at the ground waiting for bags of pound coins after games - and things on and off the pitch were in a terrible state which was the point at which Harold Hornsey came in and steadied things. 

This time around I know that the Club is not in such financial turmoil; we're a well-run outfit and we'll be much better-equipped to go back in to League Two next year and hopefully have a good season and be at the right end of the table. 

I'll still be keeping busy over the summer months - obviously when the schools break up it's extremely busy for me with the coaching schools and in June I'm starting a new coaching project at The Sports Domes in Seaton Carew. 

I am squeezing in some time for a family holiday in July when I will go and visit my brother John who has a bar in Tenerife these days so I am looking forward to that. 

But before you know it, the season will be upon us and I'll be back down at The Vic and in the press box ready to commentate for Pools Player on the new campaign. 

I am not going to make any bold predictions about 2013/14 but I just want to come home on a Saturday night with a smile on my face more often because we all know how good a win can make the weekend. 

Keep the faith. 

Brian. 

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