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Word Of Honour: Fire In The Belly

3 May 2017

Pools legend Brian Honour says the players need fire in their bellies and ice in their heads for this weekend’s huge game against Doncaster Rovers.

Hello everyone and welcome to my latest Blog here on the Official Website.

What a big weekend awaits. I have never been in the situation as a player where it’s quite as drastic as it is on Saturday. I’ve been involved in relegation battles but it’s never come down to anything like this.

From a players’ point of view, I think it almost becomes irrelevant what they do during the week – it’s literally all about Saturday at 5.30pm when they have to perform, it’s as simple as that.

I have played for different styles of managers over the years. Alan Murray was quite calm and just told us to keep doing what he had been doing. Then there was Cyril Knowles who built everything up to a crescendo during the week to the extent that you were almost frothing at the mouth by the time you got on the pitch!

In terms of today’s game I don’t think you would get away with the full Cyril approach but you need a bit of that fire in the belly but a cool head as well. We can’t have the players going hammer and tongs at it and get someone sent-off because then it would be more difficult for us. You need fire in the belly and ice in the head. A bit of Alan Murray and a bit of Cyril Knowles, if you like.

The fans have done their bit. They’ve been behind the lads from the first day until the last. They were there in numbers at Cheltenham Town on Saturday and Leyton Orient before that. At the risk of repeating myself, I would just ask everyone to come and support the lads this one last time. I know it’s going back to the well but the lads need that support, it can give them the lift they need.

There are so many permutations floating around in my head that could happen on Saturday. Both teams could win and both teams could lose but it would be heart-breaking if we didn’t get the win and then we discovered that Newport had slipped-up. That would be criminal so we have to do our part of the bargain and concentrate fully on that.

It’s a tricky one to weight up looking at the two sides’ fixtures. On the face of it you would say that Notts County is the easier game but they have been in great form in recent weeks and can go to Newport in a relaxed frame of mind and play their football. On the other side of the coin, Doncaster are going for the title but they have not been playing well lately so that gives us a boost.

I can tell you one thing for sure though – I would give anything to be out there with the Pools shirt on for this game. Having said that, I am not sure how long I would last. I see people calling for players of the likes of myself, Roy Hogan and Bob Newton but we just used to kick people a lot and that’s not allowed now is it? Haha.

To be honest, I am not sure I would even get past the handshakes these days! I mean, what’s that all about? You’re supposed to go and shake hands with the left-back, wish him all the best and two minutes later boot him in to the Mill House terrace? “Welcome to Hartlepool, mate!”

I would love to be rolling my sleeves up and going in to the battle this weekend though. Let’s be serious, someone could be a hero here. There is someone in our dressing room who has the potential to go down in history on Saturday. Look at Jimmy Glass’s goal – it was twenty years ago now but people still talk about it all the time so hopefully someone in our squad can have a similar impact for us.

Everything about the game adds that bit of spice. The situation we’re in, the situation they’re in, the live Sky cameras being there, the huge crowd that will be in attendance. My brother John is over in Tenerife and he’s told me that he’ll definitely be finding somewhere to watch because it’s his club too. There are so many scenarios and that just adds to the drama.

I remember two years ago I was stood in the press box with Simmo and we both had tears in our eyes after pulling off that Great Escape. We’ve been through every emotion in the last few years and I still don’t know what to expect from this ninety minutes on Saturday. Hopefully we’ll be jumping for joy and running across the pitch like Bob Stokoe in 1973 – that’s the kind of positive thoughts in my head. Let’s get the win and see where it takes us.

Thank you to the fans the loyalty and support you have shown during what has been a turbulent season. Your support can’t be questioned because you’ve been through the mill again but we have one more round to fight now and players, staff and fans all need to get together and have a right go.

Never Say Die.

Brian.

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