Hope in Holland

editorial image

NOW I don’t know if any of you saw the minor disagreement I had with a member of the Pools squad this week?

That matters not. The player in question didn’t agree with something I’d written and I respect that, while also standing by my own opinion.

craig Hope's ditch

craig Hope's ditch

Anyway, that’s in the past and we move on.

But, during Wednesday’s game against Almere City, I had the chance to validate my views with a demonstration of my own footballing talents which Mick Wadsworth, for some reason, once ignored at Scarborough.

It was midway through the first half when the ball bounced out of play and over the fence surrounding the pitch.

It was headed – at pace I might add – in my direction.

Nonetheless, I was confident that an expert first touch and swift return into the arms of Evan Horwood could start the move which caught the Dutch off guard.

I was wrong.

I went for the nonchalant, one-footed trap, attempting to lock the ball between shoe and pavement.

There must have been a hole in my foot, for I didn’t even make contact.

I was, however, presented with a shot at redemption when the ball, having cannoned off the wall behind me, landed back at my feet.

Evan was waiting, he had been for a good few seconds.

And so, with a gentle lob, I returned the sphere some two yards short and two yards wide of his outstretched arms.

The Dutch had regrouped and the chance was gone.

Maybe my critics have a point after all …

I AM pleased to announce that I avoided the same idiotic fate which befell me last year, namely plunging into a swamp I’d mistaken for a dried-out riverbed.

The unfortunate incident occurred following Pools’ friendly at the Stadium “de basis” in Heiloo, the venue to which we returned on Thursday night.

And so, for the benefit of all those who have struggled to comprehend my action, I have taken a photograph as evidence of the illusion which led to my downfall.

Make your own mind up – would you make the same mistake as I did?

Thought not …

FINALLY, it’s time to sign off from Hope in Holland for now.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading it as much I’ve enjoyed writing it – seriously, I’ve been here alone and it’s the closest I’ve come to a friend.

My midweek musings even prompted an e-mail from one supporter in Canada, keen to offer some company – albeit electronic – to my good self.

Reflections of the trip?

Well, it’s been wet is the first thing which springs to mind, but it’s nonetheless been an enjoyable, and hopefully worthwhile, stay.

My Dutch now extends to the words “rain”, “forecast” and “umbrella” – and I suppose it’s comforting to learn that it’s not just us North-Easterners suffering a miserable summer.

Anyway, on that cheery note, I’ll bid you farewell.

And if you are planning a European getaway this summer, make sure to check the forecast first.

I didn’t and so I return home with a suitcase full of suntan lotion and unused swimming shorts …