Winters World

by Scott Thornberry - 12th October 2009

winters world


After more planning and practising for the proposed new radio show that hopefully will start in November, it was off to the Evening Gazette offices in Middlesbrough to do our second “Talking Boro” article of the season.

I was joined by my fellow panellists; the newspaper's Andrew Vickers, Philip Tallentine, Eric Paylor, BBC Radio Tees’s Gary Gill, Boro supporter John Brookes and, most importantly, Boro legend and Celtic supporter Bernie Slaven.

After the previous day’s Old Firm game, it was nice to see Bernie and have his life for a couple of hours.

The meetings are always lively to put it mildly, with a lot of passion about the Boro.

The results of our deliberations will appear in the Gazette each night for a week.

From there, it was back down to Humberside again. I was speaking at Grimsby Gold Club with comedian Ged Stone. It was only a small function, but nevertheless a good night.


It was my perfect sort of day racing, followed by football.

Our horse Ibrox had been entered to run today, but it was withdrawn when it appeared that the going was likely to be too firm. Sod’s Law, it pissed down all morning but it was too late for us.

A few winners made a pleasant change and then, in confident mood, I continued on for the early kick-off at Victoria Park with Hartlepool in JPT trophy action at home to struggling Grimsby Town.

I was not expecting a big crowd and therefore was not disappointed as less than 2,000 turned up.

This competition obviously gives our lower league clubs the chance of Wembley glory and as the competition progresses, the interest and crowds increase.

To say that the game and the evening was a disappointment is an understatement. Grimsby took a two goal lead and whilst Pools created plenty of chances, they seldom looked like taking any of them.

The result was hardly going to encourage Poolies, who have already been expressing disquiet at the home performances.

The more important game was to come on Friday evening against Brentford though, when victory would see Pools heading towards the play-off places.


After over a year of pain, I hoped that my visit to see the consultant at the Musculo-skeletal unit in Stockton to discuss my MRI scans might bring some good news.

Twenty-five years of running round football pitches has taken its toll, with arthritis in the spine and discs that will have to be treated by strong anti-inflammatory tablets, massages and, worst case scenario, an operation.

As well as that, all the driving has left my back shot so a visit to see Peter Ayton in Norton cured that problem at least.

I think I am suffering from that incurable disease called old age.


I really look forward to Hartlepool’s press conferences. Chris Turner is a true football man and the conversations after the official conference are always enlightening.

He remains upbeat and confident and just hopes that Pools can start to take the chances they are creating.


I do not like Friday night football, especially when it means that I cannot go.

Another speaking event in Oldham for Broadway Celtic Junior Football Club meant that I had to miss Pools' game with Brentford.

It is farcical on travelling supporters to have these games on a Friday.

For those who did turn up, they witnessed another game when the home side failed to take all three points, and for the second time in four days, they failed to score.

I understand that the team were booed off at the end.

In the topsy turvy League, the weekend’s results meant that Pools dropped to 15th in the table.

At Oldham, despite the Credit Crunch, 200 people jammed into the St. Herbert's Parish Hall. We even had an MC who was Peter Kay to a tee. His wheel tappers and shunters style certainly kept the evening interesting.

Once again, I was working with Leslie Gibson, the comedy impressionist. If you are having a do, check this guy out. He is original, and as well as impersonating footballing personalities, his impressions of Kevin Webster and other Coronation Street characters are hilarious.

It was another late night but the kids benefitted as a few grand was raised to fund the teams.


Thanks to the home internationals, I had no football to go to today.

Darlo were away at Dagenham, which was to end in an inevitable defeat.

I was surprised to see Noel Whelan, who I chatted to a couple of weeks ago at Coventry, back in action. His lack of match fitness probably contributed to his early withdrawal through injury.

Desperate times and when a young player from Liverpool even turns down the chance of getting regular first team football at the Arena, then you realise just how difficult the task of retaining league status is going to be.

I would say that it is virtually impossible but stranger things have happened at sea, so it will be interesting to see who else is brought in this week before next Saturday's home game against Shrewsbury.

I usually wake on Saturdays in a hotel room to The Morning Line. It was going to be a wise move today as I picked out a 7/1 and 8/1 winner and also an 11/1 third.

It gave me something to watch in the afternoon sandwiched in-between a hospital visit to see my physiotherapist, Ron Gomer, and watching the Rugby League play off final between St. Helens and Leeds Rhinos.

It proved to be, as it usually is, a much more entertaining and eventful game than football.

It was amusing though that even with video technology, there was still controversy over a try.

Our evening was to be spent in the company of friends Jon & Leslie Sotnik, the former CEO at Darlington. Great company, good food and plenty of plonk, but then they made me watch that shit X Factor or whatever it’s called on Sky plus for the first time.

Cheryl Cole apart, it does nothing for me. I would rather have watched Boro’s Sean St. Ledger scoring for Ireland personally, but you have to keep the peace every now and again.

The other news on Saturday was Fergie’s excuse of an apology for his comments the previous week about former colleague, referee Alan Wiley.

I spoke to the Sunday Times about this and it seems to me that his feeble words a week after his original outburst were merely an attempt to perhaps reduce the punishment that is likely to come his way.

The feeling against him from referees and their union suggests that Fergie may not be getting everything his own way in the future.


At last, a quiet week, with no mid-week matches.

Next Friday, I am back in Lancashire for a Sportsman’s Dinner for a local rotary club.

On Saturday, I have been asked to be Craig Hignett’s guest in one of the hospitality suites for the Boro v Watford game.

The next Phone in show will be on air on Saturday 24th October after Hartlepool v Tranmere Rovers on Radio Hartlepool. The show will be on 102.4FM from 5-6pm.

So Poolies will have the chance to get their views off their chests immediately after the game.

You can ring me on 01429 275111, contact me to let me know your views by email, or text me on 60300 starting your message off with "hart".

Don’t forget, there will be the chance to win tickets for Hartlepool’s next home game.

Enjoy your week.


Add your own in our forum

wylam_rangers - 12th October 2009 18:41:56

We seem to be missing a whole week of Jeff's life! He was at the Arena v Macc but I've not seen any comment on that.

Perhaps he spent the week with his old mate Windass40 and it's taken him this long to reboot his head :lol: :lol: :lol:

RUMPLESTILTSKIN - 12th October 2009 18:49:34

He does appear to lost interest in us poor folk. Nice to read he is so positive about our chances of staying up - Plonker. :roll:

comeondarlo - 12th October 2009 19:12:50

Maybe he's glory hunting.

beatroute66 - 12th October 2009 20:09:05

"I really look forward to Hartlepool’s press conferences. Chris Turner is a true football man and the conversations after the official conference are always enlightening."

You mention this every week, Jeff - it surprises me as his pre & post-game interviews are *almost* as dull and as cliche-ridden as Todd's were.