Wednesday, 23 July 2014


My friend Ed is a Hartlepool fan. he says that when he used to visit Brunton Park as an away supporter in the pre‑Taylor report days when grounds still had security fences, there was an old steward at Brunton Park who used to direct visitors into their pens with a call of "Come by, come by" as if he were herding sheep.

Sadly, I never encountered this old fellow, but once when I went with Ed to watch Pools play at Brunton Park I witnessed an illuminating exchange between two rival fans. As we left the ground a local likely lad shouted: "You hang monkeys," at the Pools supporters. "You shag sheep," came the crisp and witty reply from the bloke in front of me. "Well, you hang monkeys." The Carlisle fan hit back.
"And you shag sheep."
"You hang monkeys."
"Aye well, I'd rather hang a monkey than shag a sheep."
"Aye, well, I'd rather shag a ... Er, fuck off you."
Admittedly, it wasn't exactly Oscar Wilde and James McNeill Whistler, but the recollection has kept me amused during many a dark evening.

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