Pools legend Brian Honour gives his views on the fixture list, the Ronnie Moore factor and the excitement ahead of 2015/16.
Hello and welcome along to my latest Blog here on the Official Website.
Now that the fixtures have come out we can all really start to look forward to the 2015/16 season and hopefully it can be just as dramatic as last term – but for much more positive reasons!
We say it every year – and so does every other club across the land – but we really want to get off to a good, solid start to the news season and for that reason it’s great that we’re going to be opening up on home soil for a change.
Especially this year when we’ve brought quite a few new faces in to the Club, it’s great that we’ve got that home fixture against Morecambe to give the supporters an early chance to see the lads in competitive action. Hopefully we can get off to a flyer too!
After that we’ve got the cup game at Fleetwood Town followed by a real cracker of a first away league game at York City on the second Saturday of the season. I remember it was early in the season a couple of years ago too – let’s hope that the weather is a lot better because it’s always a great day out and hopefully we can get a result too.
I’ve been in with the fans at York in the last two seasons but I am thinking about going along and doing the commentary on Pools Player at Bootham Crescent this season. Well, that’s what I am thinking at the moment anyway – I might change my mind as the game gets closer and I want to be on the terraces!
The fixtures coming out has always been a big thing during the summer albeit it wasn’t as hyped-up when I was playing, largely because there was no Internet or social media to publicise it. We basically had to wait until the Hartlepool Mail came out to find out who we were playing – and even then you didn’t know exactly what day you would find out.
You just had to keep buying the paper every day and then in one issue – usually somewhere around the middle of June – there they were, and you could start looking out for the big games and planning the season ahead.
Of course, the first thing I looked for back then was when we were playing against Darlington, then you’d look to see where you were around Christmas and Easter and what long trips you had to look forward to!
Obviously the Pools players in the upcoming season will have a load of travelling to do but, of course, it’s not too bad for them because they will travel in style and stay in very nice hotels. It can be a little different for supporters who are paying their own way and have to possibly take time off work – particularly for that Tuesday night game in Bristol in March which seems crazy to me!
When I was playing the Football League used to help us out a little bit by arranging for us to play both Torquay and Exeter in the same week so we could travel down, stick around and get both fixtures played without having to make the journey twice. And when Exeter or Torquay came our way they would play both ourselves and Darlington.
It’s a little harder when the division is so southern-based like League Two is next season and I know you can’t keep everyone happy, but I think there could certainly be a bit more thought given to the fans. They just seem to be pushed from pillar to post and be left to try and get to places midweek that is almost impossible when you have a job to get to the next day.
One thing I was pleased about on the fixture list was that we’re going to have a home game on Boxing Day – it’s amazing to think we haven’t had one since 2008 because it’s notoriously a big day for football and you traditionally get a very good crowd to watch. It would be great if we’re going well around Christmas time and we could get a real bumper crowd in The Vic for that Notts County game.
Everyone always looks at the last day with Hartlepool given the fact we’re famed for turning up in our numbers – and with plenty of fans in fancy dress! To get Plymouth again is a real test but our supporters never cease to amaze me and I’m sure it won’t deter them from travelling – especially if there is something riding on the game.
I think generally there is a really positive mood around the town and the Club at the moment. The way last season finished, coupled with the active summer we’ve had on the transfer front has got people excited and certainly those I have spoken to can’t wait for the new season to come around.
I am still getting flashbacks to that Exeter City game last season even now and I can’t wait to come back again and hopefully see a dramatic season at the other end of the table because under Ronnie Moore I certainly think it’s a possibility.
I’ve said it before that the way Ronnie has galvanised the Club and the supporters reminds me so much of the way Cyril Knowles came in to us in 1990 and helped us avoid relegation – and then the next season we went on and got promotion.
Ronnie has very similar qualities to Cyril and the job he did in keeping us in the League last season makes you think anything is achievable – and if we get off to a good start, why can’t we be challenging for a place in the top seven come next April? It’s definitely doable in my opinion.
I’d just like to wish all the fans a very happy summer – enjoy the break from football but I would urge you get back down to The Vic in your numbers for 2015/16. With your support who knows what can happen – I can’t wait!
Never Say Die.