Pools legend Brian Honour pens another Blog and tells us that the positive feeling around Victoria Park has got him very excited for the new campaign.
Hello everyone and welcome to my latest Blog here on the Official Website.
I was at the Sunderland game on Tuesday night and I have to say I thought we played well, especially considering we were up against a Championship side who I am sure have aspirations to get back in to the top flight at the first time of asking.
Overall, I thought our fitness levels looked very good and we certainly tried to play football in the right way; it was just a real shame that we missed out on getting a result because, although it doesn’t really count for much, it would have been well deserved.
It wasn’t just on the field that impressed me though, it was just the general feel of things around the place. I felt it as soon as I got out of my car. An optimism from people that has been missing in recent years.
There’s a new kit, a new pitch, new people in the dugout and from the car park to the ground I could sense something had changed and it didn’t feel like a club that had just been relegated because there was a positive attitude all over the place.
I went up and spoke to a lot of people in the Cyril Knowles Stand in the Executive Boxes and they were all upbeat about what is to come. I think there are a few factors behind that but the new faces that have come in to the squad always help and I reckon many fans are looking forward to hopefully enjoying their weekends more in the coming season.
Listen, I don’t think anyone is expecting us to steamroller teams but the general feeling I can sense is that we’re going to embrace the league we’re in and there’s a confidence we can start winning games more regularly. Let’s be honest, it’s been tough in recent years and if we can pick up three points more often than not then that makes for better Saturday nights and probably a spring in the step when you’re heading back to work on Monday morning.
It’s going to be a big change playing in the National League but it’s one I am excited about. We’ve scraped by, sometimes by the skin of our teeth, in recent seasons. It was all well and good to celebrate our Great Escape and other near misses but hopefully now this can be the start of a brighter chapter for the Club.
Sometimes in football you have to take a couple of steps back to create that platform to start moving forward again. Well, let’s hope we can do that because the early signs have been good and I think we’ve got a great chance of starting to get back on the front foot in the coming campaign.
I have been impressed with the new signings that have arrived at The Vic, I think Craig Harrison has recruited really well. I have seen Blair Adams on a few occasions and he’s stood out – he played for Coventry City when they won 5-0 at The Vic in John Hughes’ first game in charge and I remember wondering why he had to go there for regular football when we were on his doorstep.
Likewise, Conor Newton caught my eye when Cambridge United won at our place last season. He is an all-action, box-to-box midfielder who is full of energy so he’s another players who I am looking forward to seeing more of.
Just the fact we have some new faces to talk about breeds that excitement. Some of the lads brought in have played in this division before so they know what it’s all about, which is important. It’s a new start for them and for everybody really and I think you can tell by the Season Ticket sales that the fans are buying in to that too.
I have always known how passionate the Pools fans are but on the back of a few years of struggle, ending with relegation, it shows amazing loyalty for over 2,600 Poolies to get Season Tickets for the National League. It just shows you how much this Club means to so many people.
Even now I keep having flashbacks to the Donny game on the last day of last season because the atmosphere was simply incredible. If we can tap in to that in the new season then the fans can really be the 12th man for the team, no matter how clichéd that sounds.
I think everyone is chomping at the bit for the league football to kick-off again now. Pre-season is about fitness really and everything other than that is largely irrelevant. I have played in a Pools team which beat Manchester United 6-0 in pre-season then we couldn’t buy a win when the season started!
I think the only thing Craig will be a bit disappointed about is that we’ve picked up a few knocks and niggles during the early weeks. The other night seeing Liam Donnell and Rhys Oates come off was a blow because they can be two key players for us this season, in my opinion.
There’s certainly something about the Club though, as we move towards the big kick-off. If I was a player in that squad, I would be excited about what’s ahead. You’ve got a chance to help kick-start this Football Club, challenge for a medal and even for the opportunity to play at Wembley. The incentives are there and hopefully that can drive them all on because if they get going this season then they will see exactly what the Pools fans are all about.
I’m looking forward to being back behind the microphone for the live commentary of home games on Pools PlayerHD. I hope as many of you as possible can log-on and listen when we kick-off against Dover Athletic in two weeks.
Never Say Die.