Hartlepool v County
They like to hang monkeys, they like to burn flags, and they always seem to beat us at their place - it’s anyone’s guess what to expect on County’s 69th trip to Victoria Park
Saturday 3 December 2022
Good morning County fans! A safe journey to the few hundred making the trek to the north-east today, and to the rest, I hope you’re enjoying today’s edition of The Scarf My Father Wore with a brew and a Saturday morning lie-in.
Congratulations to Matt Keogh from Cheadle Hulme, the winner of a bottle of Rum & Reggae in yesterday’s prize giveaway. Today, we’ve got FOUR prizes to give away, and we’ll be doing the draw live from Bredbury Hall tonight! Something to look forward to anyway if today’s Hartlepool goes tits up, as County trips to Hartlepool usually do. (We’ve won one of our last ten there.)
To give all subscribers a fair chance, each winner will be chosen by a random number generator, which you can watch live on Twitter (@countyscarf).
Finally, today’s edition is sponsored by The Site Supply Company. A big thank you to Steve Cree. Check out hivis.net if you need any workwear or high visibility clothing, and get 10% off all orders with the code TSMFW.
We’re giving away four prizes in our December giveaway tonight (live from Bredbury Hall!) including a superb A3 print of Paddy Madden from acclaimed artist and illustrator Stanley Chow. Subscribe for free to be in with a chance of winning.
Des Junior loves writing about County. But he can never be arsed doing match previews. They’re a bit dull, aren’t they? Paddy Madden’s out for two games with an ingrown toenail…blah blah blah…tomorrow’s referee has handed out more cards than Moonpig…blah blah blah…County haven’t won at Birmingham since 1672.
Fortunately, he has a number of fellow County content providers to call upon. Here’s their thoughts ahead of our first trip to Hartlepool since a 4-0 defeat in December 2020, played behind closed doors during Covid.
Jon Keighren, Stockport County
December feels like a huge month for picking up points. Our next three games are against teams in the bottom four, before we face mid-table Crewe and Walsall over Christmas. How many points do we need if we’re serious about a play-off push?
Christmas is always a critical period of any season simply because of the volume of games over a short period, and for that reason it does represent a real opportunity to make significant strides in terms of league position. The manager will no doubt have a points target in mind, but I would be more than content to see County pick up ten or eleven points from the next five games. We are already serious about a promotion push, we are the form team in League Two and Dave Challinor is a serial promotion winner, so the omens are good as we prepare to enter 2023.
Nick Lee, The Scarf Bergara Wore
Hartlepool fans set fire to a Dave Challinor flag last year when he left. Without wanting to condone arson, do we want them to do the same on Saturday? Might warm us up a bit because a December trip to Hartlepool sounds horrendously cold.
I wouldn't stop at the flag to be honest. I want it to go full Game of Thrones with fire in the sea and everything. I'll be able to feel the warmth from Tuvalu, where I shall be watching the game from.
Ian Brown, hedgegrower
Hartlepool 1 County 2
What do you think is going through Dave Challinor’s mind as he prepares for his first return to Hartlepool?
I do not see DC dwelling on any residue from his time at Pools or the manner of his departure at all. He’ll realise that a professional approach will be the order of the day, even against the division’s rock bottom outfit.
I see the that the Monkey Hangers’ rumoured corpse is unaccountably beginning to twitch - a 3-1 FA Cup win against Harrogate Town being the catalyst last time out - but two of their three goals came after Harrogate’s Joe Mattock had been sent off, so providing our discipline fits the occasion (and we have improved in that area recently) we should be OK on Saturday, twitch or no twitch.
I expect DC to handle the occasion perfectly and his team to do likewise.
Jonathan Baker aka Geordie Hatter, The County Away Day Show
Hartlepool 1 County 2
We’re certainly not suggesting people from Hartlepool are Geordies, but as this is our only north-east trip this season, it feels a topical time to ask you this. As one of our regular writers, readers might be interested to know your background, especially with your Geordie Hatter moniker. What’s your story?
First of all can I say I’m pleased we are in agreement that the people way down there in Hartlepool aren’t Geordies! Strictly speaking, being born way up in Alnwick as I was doesn’t make you a Geordie either, so since that’s the location at which I arrived on the earth way back in the last century (let’s say quite shortly after the first moon landings but before the first Slade album) I am actually a Northumbrian, or certainly was until I was five years old, at which point my dad got a job back in his home town of Newcastle, and so we moved to the city’s West End suburb of Fenham - just a 10-minute ride on the number 12 bus from St James’ Park.
My dad (in common with all the Northumbrians on my mam’s side of the family, just in case you may think there’s any red-and-white lingering in the ancestral tree) was and remains a big Newcastle fan, so I was always going to end up being carried over the Barrack Road turnstiles - and the very first match he took me to was a First Division relegation battle versus Leicester City on… get this… Saturday 3 December 1977… making this weekend’s matchday the 45th anniversary of my beginnings as a football fan (ah, so that’s the precise age given away now, I realise!).
Newcastle ran out winners that afternoon, 2-0 under the winter floodlights, and of course, I was hooked - the struggling team’s inevitable relegation to Division Two at the end of the season only serving to reinforce the commitment to the cause and a following for the club which has remained constant, as my adult life proceeded to take me on a mazy dribble through Wolverhampton, San Sebastian, and then to Manchester, where from my house in Levenshulme one Saturday afternoon in 1994 I suddenly realised that a short ride south on the 192 bus would get me to my nearest Football League club.
And, in brief, that circuitous route is how I became a County fan, although even then it wasn’t straightforward, as while that first visit (Wycombe Wanderers, won 4-2) was followed by a couple of longish spells of regularly attending in the early 2000s, it was really only when we moved into the town in 2014 and I started bringing our then 10-year-old son Frankie along, that he - and I - properly fell in love with the club and became the committed fans that we now are (and I know will always be). I’ve been a regular in the Cheadle End ever since, and get to as many away games as I can (the day out at Nuneaton with Frankie, and the other 4000 of us, remains one of my fondest memories - not just footballing, but of anything that will ever happen in my life).
That bright and breezy April afternoon of course heralded our rise from the depths of regional football, towards the Promised Land in which we now reside. I’m sure there’ll be plenty more ups and downs to come, but this Geordie Hatter is firmly strapped in, and looking forward to the ride!
How do you think County will get on at Hartlepool today? Leave your comments below.
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The 12 Days of (County) Christmas!
I’ve shared a couple of nostalgic memories from 1996-97 with you over the last couple of days. Today, we’re only going as far back as Boxing Day 2021. After Christmas 2020 was wiped out through Covid, this was a special afternoon at Edgeley Park, with the vast majority of the 8,896 crowd enjoying a superb 5-1 victory. Enjoy today’s video!
Paddy Madden scored County’s second against Alty, and tonight, you could win this stunning A3 print of our number nine, courtesy of acclaimed Manchester artist and illustrator, Stanley Chow.
That’s one of four prizes we’re giving away tonight. Make sure you subscribe to be in with a chance of winning!
Click here for further details, as well as the full range of items in our Christmas Gift Guide.
Stockport photo of the day
Blue Nile, Hazel Grove
Help the Hatters enjoy their thoroughly-deserved Christmas night out at the popular Indian restaurant on the A6. A photo that oozes plenty of County goodness.
The only Christmas gift guide you need this year
22 sleeps to go! The Scarf My Father Wore have curated a beautiful Christmas gift guide this year, from independent businesses across the UK. Check the guide each day, with new items constantly being added. And don’t forget, we’re giving away every single item in our December prize giveaway, you just have to be a subscriber to win!
Matt Walker ‘eats’ the World Cup
🇬🇭 No 12 - Ghana (The Gold Coast Bar & Restaurant) 🇬🇭
“Massive surprise as university friend Steven Angell joined for a Ghanaian Club beer for the Portugal game. He was seen Googling 'Ghana restaurants near me' but used those Durham skills to track us down in Norwood! Steve left just before the penalty controversy, euphoria, despair and swift escape.”
One of my favourite football books is Matt Walker’s Europe United, in which the author and Fulham fan spends a whole season taking in a game in all 55 UEFA countries. Well he’s back with another fun challenge, to experience Qatar 2022 in restaurants and bars across London which represent all 32 competing nations. Matt has kindly allowed me to use his photos and I’ll bring you one each day, giving you a tasty flavour of the World Cup, in more ways than one.
Today in SK
🕺 Saturday night means it’s party time down at Bask. DJ Gareth Brooks is on from 7pm till 2am. Free entry.