Pools legend Brian Honour looks ahead to this weekend's game and reflects on some classic encounters with York City.
Hello and welcome to my latest Blog here on the Official Website.
Obviously we’ve had some disappointing results since the turn of the year and for me it’s had a similar feeling to the start of the season when we were playing well but not getting the goals our performances deserved.
I honestly can’t say we’ve played badly in the last few games and it’s like a mirror image to what happened in the first month or so. I’ve heard Colin say on a few occasions that it’s about finding a little bit more care and attention in both boxes because what we’ve been doing in between there has been good. I'm sure the form will turn soon though, we just have to keep behind the lads.
This weekend we have York City coming to The Vic and it brings back all the memories from a great trip down to Bootham Crescent earlier in the season, during which I was right in amongst all the Poolies.
There were over 1,400 of us down there that day and I have to say I loved mixing with the Pools fans on the train on the way down and back, though some of them had had a few by the time we got back to Hartlepool!
Looking back, it was two teams playing that day who were perhaps a little low on confidence but I think the following we took just brought back to me how much the team and the Club means to the people of the town.
There is a lot of love and affection for the Club and even though we all got drenched – I think it was about 9pm on the Grand Central home before we all dried out!
To be honest, I think if we were away at York this weekend we would probably take the same following again because the support we’ve had over the last few seasons when we’ve struggled has been amazing.
Over the years there have been many memorable games with York, though we haven’t had a great record at their place. One of my best memories was scoring the last time we won at Bootham Crescent, it was quite a spectacular strike which went in off the crossbar too back in 1988.
I also remember playing them in the FA Cup the year previous to that and we drew 1-1 at their place before beating them on a rock-solid, bone-hard pitch at The Vic in the replay. Paul Baker scored in both games as I recall, and we ended up drawing Luton Town in the next round who were Division One at that time.
York obviously isn’t Darlington but there is still that little bit of edge and needle between the two clubs and if you go through you’ll find quite a few players who have played for both teams because of the short distance between us.
I have to say it was one of the saddest moments when John Bird left Pools to go and manage York in 1986. We were flying at the time and we’d just beaten York away – and beaten them well – and I think because of how well we played they ended up poaching John.
He was a big influence on my career so it was a big blow when he announced he was leaving. I remember it was about two weeks after that York game we were at Doncaster and had just finished our beans on toast to sit down for a team meeting. He told us the team and talked about the game and then ended by saying “Oh, and I might as well tell you that I’m leaving to be York manager after today’s game”.
It was a big shock but we had to go in to the Doncaster game and try to stay focused when our minds were probably elsewhere to be honest. I think he came in and offered money to Pools to try and take me to York but the Club turned it down, though he did sign Tony Barrett and Kevin Dixon from us in the end.
Before I go, I’ve had a question in from somebody on Twitter which I thought I’d answer…
What fancy dress are you wearing for Skegness next weekend for your 50th?
@paulstiv14 via Twitter
Haha, well it is my 50th coming up in February so the weekend of the Scunthorpe game I’ll be missing from The Vic because we’re having a little celebration in Skegness. There are a few family and friends going down so I’m looking forward to it and on the Saturday night it’s fancy dress night!
I’ve decided to go as Super Mario – and I think my nephew Jack is dressing up as Luigi! I know four of the lads are going as a pack of crayons as well – just a long tube and then pointed hat so that’s going to look great when a pack of crayons walk in to the bar! It should be fun.
Anyway, that’s all for now but if you have a question for me for next time just send it through to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll do my best to answer it.
Up the Pools!