Tuesday, 18 December 2012

True Colours - Part Two

For those of you have followed this blog for some time, you may remember a post about the truly appalling kits that have graced Hartlepool United over the years. For those of you didn't then play catch up here. As someone who doesn't really care for replica kits, I sometimes see one and have to grudgingly admit that they're wearing a fine looking shirt - and it's time to celebrate them here (instead of me bloody moaning all the time...)

1991 Home - Promotion Special
This simplistic looking kit is fondly remembered as it was worn during the 1990-91 promotion triumph, only the second in Pools history since Brian Clough guided United to second place in the 60s. This all white affair looked very classy and although I don't know who made it, I know for certain it wasn't Hummel, even though the arrows on the sleeve are certainly a rip of Denmarks finest. The photo below is a special version worn at the Brian Honour testimonial in 1996.
Don Hutchison

1995-98 Home - Argy Bargy
This is my favourite Pools kit of all time as it was the one they were wearing as I started following them. A superb blend of light blue and white meant that I could compare Hartlepool with Argentina (in colours at least, not playing style). Made by 1908 Gold this classy kit ended up spanning nearly three seasons (and just as many managers). In 1998 local rivals Middlesbrough wore a similar design as an away kit - they do say imitation is the best form of flattery.
Stephen Halliday
1998-99 Away - Striking Gold
New makers Super League struck gold with this superb retro looking kit. Gold/amber in colour with black trim this kit looked very much like a subbuteo kit from days gone by. Seldom worn it was sadly never brought out in replica form - very disappointing for two young early teen fans in me and my step brother - we loved this so much we wanted it to become the new home kit.
Tommy Miller
1999-00 Home - Times They are A Changing
With new owners and manager Chris Turner at the helm it was out with the old and in with the new. The new millennium saw United throw off the shackles of forever being relegation fodder, and become a professionally run outfit that was ready to challenge for promotion. And we did so in this quality looking shirt, sponsored by local brewery Cameron's. Pools got to the playoffs for the first time in their history in this, only to get beat in the semis by bitter local rivals Darlington. Only lasted one year this kit. A shame.
Paul Stephenson
2004-06 Away - Nice Nike
Hartlepool were riding the crest of a wave in 2004. Promoted the year before and consolidated by finishing in the playoffs, a superb array of new Nike kits were brought out in 2004. All of them, including the keepers superb. The home affair simple blue and white stripes, the keepers plain green or black, the third kit (worn in Playoff final defeat to Sheff Wed) was basically Man United's home kit and my personal favourite was the all navy blue away one. With the Nike being based in neighboring town Peterlee, they probably thought it was best to supply us with decent kits or risk have the factory burned down by angry Hartlepudians.
Humphreys and Konstantopolous
2006-2008 Home - Half and Half
Too be honest Pools kits have been made by Nike since and the home one sees very little change to it. Thin stripes to thick and back but with a zig zag edge etc. but the American firm know not to tinker with the classic royal and white combination. This half and half effort was a smart one although linked with dark days at Pools. The club were relegated in 2006 and found themselves in the basement division, but also in 2007, having won promotion again, joy turned to dispair when winger Michael Maidens was tradigically killed in the car accident...
Maidens RIP
 2008 Home - Centenary
Nike went back to basics with plain white with blue shorts for the clubs centenary season in 07/08. A simple kit in the colours as the original club in 1908, and coincidentally similar to the 91 promotion kit, Poolies snapped this up with gusto and talk of more triumph to follow. However united struggled to produce in it, despite a bright start, and narrowly avoided relegation. Remembered best for the giant killing of Premiership Stoke City with a two nil victory in the FA Cup 3rd round.
Stoke Who?

Monday, 10 December 2012

Yorkshire Tweed Cap

Picked up a smashing Moon flat cap from the local M&S outlet today. Based in Guiseley, Leeds, Mr Abraham Moon & Son have been making fine tweeds since 1837, to rival those of that well known Outer Hebrides brand. And they now provide their fine wares to high street staple Marksies (the biggest distributor of Moon Tweed in Britain), but also do a bit of collaborating on occasion with the more discerning designer pallets - D&G and Ralph Lauren being two most recently.

Been after a flat cap for awhile, as quite like that 'cap and crombie' combo. Tried and failed with a Harris Tweed bakerboy and missed out on Connoisseur's Villain cap, and so was pleased as punch to get this blue/black cap for £8.99. A Good Northern piece if ever there was one, were once seen as the uncool old codgers head warmer as he fancied pigeons, raised whippets, and hacked and coughed at non league games - all whilst he supped his bitter with yellowing nicotine stained fingers. Now though the cloth cap is a worldwide symbol of cool and to prove it here's some snaps of icons of mine wearing said garment, both of the tweed and cloth variety...
Del Boy (David Jason) - Only Fools

Paul Newman
Bill Murray
Shaun Ryder
Jamie Foreman
Ade Edmondson
Danny Reagan (Donnie Wahlberg) - Blue Bloods

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Last Pub Before Norway

Newbiggin-by-the-sea in Northumberia. A deceased Victorian seaside town home to high unemployment and a, quite frankly, frightening sculpture of 'The Couple' looking out to sea. It's also home to the 'Last Pub before Norway', namely the Cresswell Arms. Perched right on the edge of the Town, just shy of the Haven caravan site situated on the dunes, the Cressie isn't a looker and anyone without a local accent would probably turn round and go home thirsty. But there's a warm atmosphere inside, the locale being of the more mature in nature, and the ale is more than passable. There's also a good view of the North Sea battering both members of the couple like a third party in the bedroom. May as well get another round in, 'cause it's a bloody long way to the next boozer...

Monday, 3 December 2012

Wimbledon v Franchise MK

The FA Cup tie that should never have been if the FA had done its job in 2002. The soul of a South London community ripped away and relocated 70 miles north in Milton Keynes, twinned with Middle Earth. A disgusting and unfeasible idea that somehow came true. An appalling excuse for a football club, taking the heritage and history of Wimbledon FC to get their place in the Football League, and then throw it away once established. Merton Council became the proud owners of replica FA Cups and the like and they kindly passed them on to the breakaway club - AFC Wimbledon.

AFC have since become everyone's second favourite team. A football club run like what a football club should be run like, by the fans for the fans. They've been used as a template for other supporters fed up with their lot (FC United) or fans who's clubs require rising from the ashes of going bust (Halifax, Chester etc.). Starting out at the lowest level they've fought their way back into the Football League within the decade since formed.

 And yesterday the two entities that were once Wimbledon FC came together in the FA Cup second round. Myself, like countless others, tuned in to ITV as an honoury Womble for the day. Many actual Wimbledon fans boycotted the event, unable to face the scene of the crime. Many did make the journey and were in superb voice - no mean feat given many were wearing smog masks to protect them from toxic MK. The AFC directors themselves refused their seats in the directors box and took up residence behind the goal with the other real dons fans - all in it together. The disgusting Franchise MK fans, many of whom were no doubt 'loyal' Spurs/Arsenal/Man U fans before the 'club' formed in 2004, adopted the Millwall chant 'No One Likes Us'. True. And no one likes Millwall. But, unlike you lot, no one wishes their families dead.

It was a decent game. AFC the plucky underdogs had the spirit of the crazy gang on their side. The veteran goalkeeper Sullivan calm and assured, the defence strong and resolute, the wingers nippy and dangerous and the forwards brave and daring. MK making me feel sick with their ex semi pro Scouse James Corden lookalike boss Karl Robinson (bet he's a hit with the ladies) and well organised team. They scored first and grudgingly it was a beauty. In a game that was 50-50, a 25 yarder from Gleeson curled past the keeper and knocked the wind out of AFC just before half time. ''You're getting beat by a Franchise'' chanted the MK parasites.

They were still reeling after the break and looked short of confidence as Franchise turned the screw and looked to go on to win. 42 year old Neil Sullivan, who's career has come full circle after being an original Wimbledon player, made a string of decent saves to keep MK away. Things looked bleak. And then AFC broke away and scored. A cross in from the lively right winger was met by a diving head from Jack Midson. Cue a mini pitch invasion from the Wombles who'd spent the best part of ten years waiting for that goal.

Unfortunately for them, The club, fans everywhere and football in general, the celebrations were short lived. MK Dons scored a winner in the 89th minute. The underhand club scored in the most underhand way. A deflected backheel found its away past the keeper and crashed into the net. Cue delirium from a bunch of soulless wankers and cry's of anguish from every decent football supporter worldwide...

Now that the tie is over, all the best to AFC Wimbledon in whatever competition they're in and let's go on ignoring MK Dons until they go under. Don't acknowledge them.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Ten Reasons Why I hate Soccer AM...

1) Helen Chamberlain - She isn't, or never has been, that fit. People fucking rave about her, although I'm guessing it's mainly by the under age drinking brigade, who's parents have paid to put Sky in their bedroom, and can therefore have a cheeky hungover shuffle under blankets to her after a Friday night binge. Hell's Bells! Plus there's no doubt she's a big football fan. Would you want that in a woman? I want a lass who doesn't realize, or turns a blind eye to, what goes on on a Saturday afternoon. I don't want arguments about suspect offsides or refereeing decisions with me lass. She should be talking about nondescript womanly things that mean the world to her kind and not that much to us, as you drift out and give the telly your focus, occasionally agreeing when it sounds like she requires a response... "Are you fucking listening to me?!" That's a lass. Not a fucking gobshite Torquay United supporter. Oh, and she drives a better car than you in her Austen Martin, which she seems to mention at least twice in an episode.
Erm...she's not that fit

2) The word 'Soccer' is in the title - Welcome to Britain, don't use that word.

3) It's A Shite Baddiel and Skinner -Follows the Fantasy Football League mantra but at least that was on late so they could be rude and say naughty words, thus providing the odd giggle. Plus that finished many moons ago. They had the foresight to realise FFL was growing old and outdated and put a bullet in its head. There's no such luck with Soccer AM. Yet.

4) Celebrity Guests - From trendy teen bands or cult television programmes proving that Soccer AM has it's finger on the cusp of what's hip and now. But they're usual boring as fuck, attempting to add to the atmosphere with funny comments that no one finds funny. What is funny however is that they always support tMan Utd/City, Liverpool, Chelsea or Arsenal. 

5) Pat McGroin / Hairy Strikers / Frankie Frier - Unoriginal. Unfunny.

6) The Full Kit Wankers of the week - Blackburn Rovers, Aston Villa, Crew Alex et al. They've all been on. Eight of your clubs twatty supporters who wear the full kit with no shame - and at least three of them are usually fucking massive. They make a bit of noise and grunt/cheer during the interviews to ensure the 'banter' reaches fever pitch. They also get to sing about how great their support is for their club, although by the looks of some of them Soccer AM is the only awayday they've ever been on.
Millwalls Finest

7) Tim Lovejoy - Obviously he's not on it anymore but Soccer AM gave this cretin the platform to carve out a career in TV. Once upon a time it was just the armchair fans who subscribed to SKY who were stuck with him, but now the prick is exposed to the nation on terrestrial channels. Arrogant and ignorant, this child of the Premier League calls himself a massive football supporter, but openly admits he's clueless about anything going on below 20th place in the EPL. Has been interviewed many times and always says the same, that big money, foreign owners and expensive import signings are good for the game. By game he means the top division. Was allowed to preach this opinion from his pedestal for too long, spokesperson for the glamerous Premier League and modern football. A puppet for Sepp Blatter, footsoldier for Roman Abramovich etc. When he left Soccer AM he stated that hardest thing ''Is the thought that I might no longer be influencing the game'' - with statements like that he deserves his gay sit in with Simon Rimmer on whatever fucking channel is showing them cook shite on a Sunday.

Love's Rimmer

8) Anyone Presenting Who Isn't Tim Lovejoy - There's people who have sat next to Helen instead of him, trying to actually emulate the cunt.

9) It's Pointless - Another one of Sky's measures in their reinvention of football, along with early kick offs, Monday night fixtures, Gary Neville deconstructing goals and moves with painful and needless accuracy, and Sky Sports News. One of those 'glamerous' extras we must live with to watch the beautiful game whilst Sky has it in the palm of its cold hard hand.

10) It Goes On and On - It's on a LONG fucking time. Instead of watching that shite, why not do a few jobs in that time for the missus to get in her good books, and then use that window gained in the afernoon to spend a fiver and go watch your local non league club?