Ronnie, Ronnie Moore
There’s a lot to like Hartlepool United for. First of all their manager is Ronnie Moore.
Moore was a Rotherham legend in the 80’s, signed by Lennie Lawrence when we didn’t have a bean, with the fan’s contributing the bulk of the money. Somewhere in my parents loft is a certificate proclaiming that my £1 donation helped buy him.
Moore sacked by Tranmere Rovers last season due to illegal betting – he won £3.93 on an accumulator – took over at dead and buried Hartlepool United in December. Pool were 10 points adrift of safety in March with the Conference staring them in the face for the first time in their 94-year history.
Yesterday they beat Exeter 2-1 to secure their league status.
Secondly their fans are brilliant, and on Saturday they will be heading to their closest rivals Carlisle dressed as Bob Marley to create another party scene on the last day of the season. Remember we had the honour of hosting Pools fans at The Valley dressed as Oompah Loompah’s in 2011 and then a year later they joined us for our title parade dressed as Smurfs. That was a day that will last long in the memory helped by those great Pools fans.
The following season they were at Crawley dressed up as penguins and then last year the Monkey Hangers had an even longer journey, almost 400 miles, to play Plymouth, this time suited and booted as Thunderbirds.
Sadly equality campaigners Kick It Out are trying to throw cold water over this Saturday’s fun by saying that “blacking up” is racist. Of course it is, but wearing a stripey hat and a dreadlocks wig should be taken in the fun that it is meant and I hope Carlisle and Pools fans have another great day out.
Talking of ex-Addicks. Anyone remember how bad Simon Francis was in his time at The Valley? Well not only did the Cherries snag a certain Frenchman, they also took the best right-back in The Championship, who may well add a second promotion this week in the three years since leaving us in January 2012.
Francis always had something going forward, I thought, but defensively he was a liability. Obviously Eddie Howe has corralled Francis attacking ability but has improved his positional and defensive game. The big difference though is the atmosphere around the two clubs at the time Francis played for them. Just shows what confidence can do.
Finally on the ex-Addicks topic, congratulations to Charlie MacDonald and Lee Cook, member of Barnet’s squad that won promotion back to the Football League yesterday.