Pools legend Brian Honour looks back on his debut 32 years to the day since he first pulled on the blue and white shirt.
Hello everyone and welcome to my latest Blog here on the Official Website.
I actually got told that today is 32 years to the day since I made my debut for Hartlepool United – I can’t believe how quickly the time has gone. It’s actually also 28 years to the day since I scored in the win against Sunderland at Roker Park. I always like to mention that one…
Looking back on my debut for Pools, it was a really hectic few weeks and things moved very quickly for me. I had actually been playing for Peterlee Newtown at the time and was unemployed but Billy Horner came and watch me play in a game at Tow Law and then invited me in for a trial the next week. And the week after that I was playing in Pools’ First Team – I hadn’t signed a contract or even talked about money!
My brother John told me it was crazy to go and make my debut for Pools without having a deal in place – I could have broken my leg or anything. But I just saw it as a chance to get back in to the game and it was a chance for employment because getting a job back in the mid-1980s was an absolute nightmare. I ended up playing for Pools on the Saturday then went back and played for Peterlee in a League Cup tie against Spennymoor on the Wednesday – can you imagine something like that happening these days?
I was really nervous going in to the game for Pools because it did feel like Last Chance Saloon. Truth be told, getting a job was so tough. All of my mates were out of work with everything connected to the Miner’s Strike and if I had managed to get myself a job – and goodness knows I was trying – then I probably wouldn’t have risked it to go on trial at Pools.
I had just got myself a push bike – I couldn’t drive at that point – and every morning I used to get up and pedal myself all over the place looking for a job. I was literally knocking on doors everywhere I went just asking if there were any jobs going and if I could fill in an application. I was up at the crisp factory, the Council – I even applied for one job as a grave-digger. Honestly, it was getting quite desperate and the Pools chance just opened a door for me at a time when so many had been slammed in my face so I took it with both hands.
I wasn’t fazed by going in to train or play with Pools; I knew that my time playing in the old Northern League had built me up physically and mentally. I was a different person and player from the one let go from Darlington by Cyril Knowles and I knew the daily training I had been doing while playing for Peterlee would mean I was probably fitter than most of the professionals at Pools. It was that fitness that probably made me eye-catching playing in the Northern League, I was super-fit.
The game I debuted in wasn’t so memorable for the result because we lost 3-0 and – even though it was my first game for the Club – I still remember it more for something that happened to another player. We had a lad called Craig Farnaby playing and he missed the biggest sitter I have ever seen in my life!
It was in front of the Town End and right in the middle of the goal with nobody in his way whatsoever from five yards out – but he somehow managed to blast it over the bar. It would have been in Morrisons’ car park these day. The poor lad was constantly reminded about it because the picture of the miss was on the front cover of every home Matchday Programme for the rest of the season for some reason! It must have been a job lot on covers or something!
It’s funny because I played all those games for the Club and people naturally ask me about my debut and the one thing I remember about it is Craig Farnaby’s miss! Thankfully for me, after that I signed a short-term deal which turned in to a two-year deal before the end of the season and the rest, as they say, is history.
Talking about the future, I was delighted to become a grandfather for the first time eight weeks ago when my daughter Laura gave birth to little Roman. He’s absolutely brilliant and the whole family is thrilled – so hopefully one day he’ll pull on a Pools shirt and play for the Club, but if he doesn’t then he’ll definitely be a fan. His dad is a Sunderland fan and our side of the family leans more towards Newcastle so we’ve made a pact that we’ll bring Roman up as a Poolie!
I got this photo of him recently in his Pools gear from the Club Shop and I think he looks every inch the striker – he’s even got a look of my celebration at Roker Park if you put a tuft of hair on his head and a little tash! He definitely looks like he’s got the technique and nothing would make me prouder than seeing him pull on the blue and white stripes when he’s older. Watch this space!
Back to the current team and I think Dave Jones has probably seen the good the bad and the ugly already with a win, a defeat and a draw during his time in charge. That’s probably a good thing because you learn more about your players when things are going against you so he will be analysing everything and trying to make it better, and I am sure he will do it because he has vast experience.
Good luck to the lads at Mansfield Town this weekend – let’s bring home some points.
Never Say Die!