Pools legend Brian Honour gives us his views following the arrival of Dave Jones as the new boss at The Northern Gas and Power Stadium.
Hello and welcome to my latest Blog here on the Official Website.
It was sad to see Higgy leave as boss last weekend because, I have to say, I was one of those banging the drum the loudest when he got the job. I felt like he would be a perfect fit for the Club and would get us playing attacking and entertaining football – and, to be honest, the signs in the early days were good.
As I said in my last feature here on the Official Website, the win at Morecambe last season was one of the best performances by a Pools side for many a year and it gave us such a good feeling about what to come under Higgy.
It’s disappointing it hasn’t worked out too because he’s such a top fella away from football and someone I really like. I think he will understand the same as everyone else though, that this is a result business and managers are under pressure if they don’t get those results.
Chairman Gary Coxall has made a very swift appointment to succeed Higgy and I have to say it looks to be a fantastic coup for the Football Club. Dave Jones has worked at this level before and worked his way up to the Premier League so he knows all about what is required to bring success to a lower league club.
People might argue he’s been out of management for a while but I bet he’s not taken his eyes off the game and he will have been watching games, learning new things and waiting for the right opportunity – and I think it’s good news for us that he’s chosen us for that next job.
He’s worked at the very top and that wasn’t through chance or good luck - it was down to hard work and it came on the back of a good grounding at Stockport County under the legendary Danny Bergara. That will have been a tremendous schooling for Dave and he went on to achieve great things at Edgeley Park both in the league and with some fantastic cup runs.
At the time Stockport were a very fit and physical side and I remember one game when we had drawn them in the League Cup. I think Dave was Assistant at the time and he might not recall – but I managed to score a last-minute winner from the halfway line!
People ask me all the time what my favourite Pools goal was and I think that has to be up there in terms of the feeling. It was the dying seconds and the ball sat really nicely for me and I just hit it. Golfers will tell you that they know when they catch a ball sweet and that’s how it felt when I struck the ball that day – it flew over the keeper who was off his line and in to the roof of the net! Nine times out of ten they’re over the stand and on the Coast Road to Blackhall but on that occasion I caught it bang on.
We had loads of great battles with Stockport over those years; they had some great players with the likes of Kevin Francis, Peter Ward, Andy Kilner and Jim Gannon. They were renowned for bringing players in from non-league and making them better – and it worked a treat for them. Dave helped turn them from strugglers to a club on the up.
Sometimes when people have worked higher as a coach, finding out about the old Fourth Division and what works in that league can be hard. Sometimes you have to adapt your philosophies to the league you’re competing in and I know that Dave Jones has that in his locker because he’s got the knowledge.
Sam Collins deserves credit for the way he set the team up on Saturday. He has his philosophy and, as I said in the Pools PlayerHD commentary, we have lots of very good technical players but we sometimes haven’t done well enough without the ball. Sam got those points across at the weekend without doubt because the work out of possession was excellent. I think Dave will come in and up that another level.
It was great to see some players who probably weren’t expected to be on the teamsheet at the weekend come in and play key roles in the win over Stevenage. The likes of Brad Walker and Rhys Oates really took their chances and they’ve got the shirt now and they’ve set the standard.
If we can maintain that level of work rate and endeavour under Dave Jones then I am really excited about the finish to the season and beyond.
I would like to wish him all the very best and urge all supporters to get right behind him.
Never Say Die.