Football catch up.

GOOD luck to John Hughes after being appointed as the new Hartlepool manager.

Let’s hope he can improve their situation at the bottom of League One.

And let’s hope he is given time to turn the club around.

For me, that’s been one of the biggest problems over the years at Victoria Park – a lack of continuity.

They go through managers like a hippy gets through joss sticks. They have been far too quick to get the gun out and pull the trigger over the years.

Some of the sackings have been bizarrely timed, and some of the appointments have been leftfield.

Hughes was a surprise choice after Phil Brown appeared set to land the job.

Brown had an affinity with the club after starting
out there as a player and he is a North-east lad.

But that doesn’t mean that he was necessarily the right man, and Hughes isn’t the first to head south from Scotland looking to make an impact.

There’s me for a start – an unknown Scot heading south all those years ago. And I like to think I made something of an impression. I’m still here!

Who’s to say that Hughes won’t go down as a Hartlepool legend.

He beat my old Boro team-mate Colin Cooper to the job, and clearly Coops is keen to manage a team. People ask me what makes management material and it’s a difficult one to answer.

I was with David O’Leary in the Republic of Ireland set-up, and he was the nicest man you could meet.

He obviously had an inner steel and went on to great success at Leeds.

But I don’t think there is one personality fits all in management.

Different conditions, different circumstances. They can all play a part.

It will be interesting to see what the future holds in the dugout for Hughes and Coops – and for that matter Brown if he gets back in somewhere.

OTHERS around him might be getting the headlines, but for me Grant Leadbitter has been one of Boro’s unsung heroes this season.
Sometimes simplicity is best. He’s not over the top or flashy, he just does a good, reliable job.

He can tackle and pick a
pass and very rarely gives the ball away to the opposition, which is the biggest crime in football.

Full marks to Mr Leadbitter.

FAIR play to the Boro and for the fans for making the Sheffield Wednesday game such a memorable occasion.

And full credit to the players for delivering the three points on the pitch.

A 28,000-plus crowd shows that there is a genuine appetite for football on Teesside.

Getting that number through the turnstiles is no mean feat in the current financial climate.

And it was a televised game as well, which makes the turnout even more impressive.

The timing had to be right of course. The team are delivering on the pitch, so the cut-price ticket deal was always going to be appealing.

Season ticket holders get an
early bird reduction before the season starts, so the pricing doesn’t really alienate your most loyal supporters.

And if you’re a season ticket holder, what would you prefer? A half-empty stadium or a packed one?

At least there was a great atmosphere. And at least having a few extra people sitting around you provides a bit of a wind buffer!

Let’s be honest, it was about time the Boro woke up and smelled the coffee and got the wider public back on board.

There’s been far too many PR own goals over the last 10 years and more.

But you can sense an increasing reconnection at the Riverside now between the fans and the club.

There is a genuine feelgood factor now. You can sense it in the air.

The buy one, get one free offer for the Bristol City and Huddersfield home games is another cracking deal.

Boro are winning games and have a great record, and at this stage of the season you always get a feel for how a league is going to develop.

You can’t get carried away of course – it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

Cardiff City will be a test on Saturday. Top of the table clashes always are, especially away from home.

But Boro have had some great results there in the last couple of seasons and why can’t they keep up the good work this weekend?

Cardiff play a similar brand of football to the Boro.

They like to get the ball down and pass it, so styles should gel and it should be an entertaining game, one for the purists.

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