Fan Profiles: balltofeet

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Vital Hartlepool take a look at our best supporters and ask them a few questions about the club they love

Its time for another Fan Profile and this week it’s a lengthy entry from balltofeet.


Little Thorpe hospital between Peterlee & Easington

Schools Shotton Hall Peterlee

Exiled In Maidstone

Occupation Headteacher

Marriage Status
Married 2 children Harriet 9 William 6

Favourite Food
Chicken Bhuna

Music Tastes
Pet Shop Boys, Disco Divas of 1980`s,

Cricket, classic cars and I now coach my lads football team as a proper FA certificate holder

Favourite Current Pools Player
Gary Liddle

Best Ever Match
1978 Pools 2 Crystal Palace 1

Most Disappointing Game
Millennium play off final and any game played in the Docherty period,

Favourite Pools Player Of All Time
This is an impossible one. When I first went it had to be Willie Waddell long side burns and a taste for goals, and then came a barren spell although I liked Kevin Johnson`s left foot and Jimmy Shoulder`s in swinging corners. Next up was Malcolm Poskett, 10 goal Bill Ayre was good and so was Chris Simpkin at the back although far too old, but my first real hero was of course the barrel chested Sir Robert of Newton followed by Keith Houchen. However in 1980 I thought we signed an underrated Phil Brown who was genuinely good playing with a bunch of losers. I could not help but admire how a man so limited as Roy Hogan began to OK I remember him taking penalties, but having zero vision. In the same team of 1983-4 I liked Nigel walker when for the first time ever we looked as if we had a side to challenge for promotion, but it went pear shaped as Alan Shoulder double vision prevented him from banging in the goals.

The 1980`s then dried up until Paul baker arrived with a hat full of goals in his first three months. At last we had a genuine big target man who could score as opposed to one like Alan Waddell who could not. Maybe some of the finest moments were in 1991-1992 as Joe Joe Joe Allon, Bakes, Dalton, little Jackie Honour & MacPhail produced a promotion team with a lad in goal who I occasionally went to the pub with as a student in Sheffield – Flapper Cox who was best mates with a lad on my degree course. Brian Cox was one of the quietest people of all time! The surprise surprise under Alan Murray we played some good stuff with MacPhail, Dean Emerson who was brilliant for a season and the magical first touch of Andy Saville led us to the top three by new Years day 2003 and win on match of the day against palace then we went into decline and the early to mid 1990`s were the same as the decade before in the 1980`s and 20 years before in the early to mid seventies and to think about it the Scotty mid first millennium decade. Of today`s players Nelson stands out as does Ritchie Humphreys. To name my best player it would have to be Brian Honour if only he had 2 yards more paces. My wife has seen him play only once, a league cup game against Stockport in 1993, and she too thinks his 35 yarder, in a poor game, is the best goal she has ever seen.

Best Thing About Supporting Pools
The togetherness and crack from all the fans. How people around Britain have changed their opinions. Honestly I used to keep quiet about supporting Pools as we were so poor, but now the kids at school know and I am proud to tell them. I even did a special assembly the next day after we had beaten Tranmere away to get to Cardiff with local authority inspectors in the hall who liked the passion behind it all. To be honest it is the same sense of excitement going to a game home or away as I had when I was 9 and 10. In the last few years I have become more of a realist, but no matter that we are a small club it is my team and no one can take that feeling away from you. I honestly believe we are some of raucous and most influential fans on our team in the country – when we encourage and sadly when some open criticise players it gets to them badly as they can hear every word. No one likes being told they are rubbish when they are at work – and believe me HUFC has employed some rubbish over the years.

Favourite Season
Cooper`s first season I think is the best of all time, Len Ashurst last when we escaped re-election in 1972 with 7 straight home wins and crowds of 6,000 also stands out and 1992-3 when I thought we looked good with Robbie Mc, Dalton & Honour. Ultimately the Cooper team was the best I have seen and gave some of the best performance I have seen.

Hopes For Next Season
For once I would like us to gain massive national publicity with an amassing FA Cup run and 2 Premiership scalps after a draw at the Vic with the travelling hordes causing Motson to remark Humphreys, still Humphreys oh my word he has put them in dream land as Pools reach the quarter finals.

Thanks to balltofeet for that excellent profile, if you’d like to take part in the next couple of weeks before the season starts please email me at vital.hartlepool@hotmail.co.uk

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Vital Hartlepool Editor