Brian Honour on the strength of character in the Pools squad, happier Saturday nights and this wekeend's FA Cup trip to South Shields.
Hello everyone and welcome to my latest Blog here on the Official Website.
I have to say that being a Pools has been enjoyable again in the past few weeks. I think we all know that the AFC Fylde game was a low point but the positive thing was the turnaround two days later when we went to Guiseley and battled, scrapped and fought for the three points. That win really has been a launch pad for us.
It might have taken a few weeks for the new players we’ve brought in to click but we’re on a run of just one defeat in nine so if we can keep going like that then we’ll continue to make progress and really start to climb the league table.
It’s great that we have scored a couple of last-minute goals in recent games too, not only because it won us points but because psychologically that gets in opposition teams heads when you get a reputation for scoring late. It also shows the character and spirit in the team to keep going until the bitter end.
On Saturday at Solihull Moors it would have been very easy for the lads to let their heads drop after giving away that late penalty and just accept that it was two points dropped. Instead they just dusted themselves down and went up the other end to get the winner and that shows that not only do they have ability but they have the mental toughness that will be required in this league.
I have said it before, this is a man’s league. It’s not a division for bringing kids through and developing youngsters all the time, you’re more often than not playing against big, strong men and you have to be able to stand up to that, complete and have the strength of mind to grind out results.
I think it’s certainly a nice feeling to be enjoying our weekends again at the moment. Too often over the last few years we’ve gone home miserable on a Saturday night but now you can go in to work on am Monday morning with a smile on your face and a bit of a spring in your step. All we’ve wanted is to start winning a few football matches and there seems to be a bit of a feelgood factor building now. I see a lot of kids with the football coaching I do and it’s great to see the Pools shirts back out in force now!
We’re looking ahead to a massive game this weekend at South Shields in the FA Cup. I know a lot of people who are involved in football at that level and watch a lot of game and, as daft as it sounds, a lot of them aren’t giving Pools a chance! I think the fact some are predicting a home win should say everything about how tough the game is going to be.
I have been to Mariners Park many times over the years as manager of Durham and Bishop Auckland, that was back in their Northern League Division Two days! It’s an intimidating place to go where the crowd are right on top of you and I am sure Saturday will be no different.
We’ve sold out our 400 tickets but I am pretty sure we could have taken ten times that if there had been the space because it’s a local fixture and I think it’s one everyone is very excited about. They’ve won against York and Darlington in previous rounds and they’re doing well in the league so they’re on the crest of a wave – but so are we and people shouldn’t forget that.
They have been getting decent crowds and they’re a big club but it’s still quite weird that people are tipping them to beat us. We’ve got to go there with no complacency whatsoever, show them the respect they deserve but also know we’ve got more than enough in the locker to get the result.
We will go there with massive confidence after the run we’ve been on ourselves recently, we have good players and we’re a big club so, without being too big-headed, we need to travel there with that belief and show how good we are. We’ve got the right manager, the right players and the right mindset at the minute so I think we can go there and get the win.
As I say, there’s certainly been plenty of excitement about the tie and the demand for tickets has been very high – I couldn’t believe it when I read that some people had been queuing through the night! They really were like Golden Tickets! But it’s the FA Cup and the prize is a place in the First Round so it’s no surprise that our fans are out in force – away from home in particular this season, the fans have been amazing.
I have been in this sort of situation before and if Pools can get on a run in the competition then Cup Fever will grip the town very quickly – it would be nice if that could happen this season. This is the first test on Saturday so let’s go and pass it with flying colours and see what happens after that.
Before I go, I just wanted to pass on my best wishes and condolences to the family and friends of my former Pools team-mate Les Mutrie. He was at the Club when I first started out with Pools and although he didn’t play a lot of games at that time he was still someone I knew and I was very sad to hear of his passing last week.
That’s all for now anyway – I’m lucky enough to be at the South Shields game this weekend so I look forward to seeing the lucky 400 there and to cheering Pools on to a win.
Never Say Die.