WHERE THERE’S HOPE: London Calling ...

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SO this will be my final offering of Where There’s Hope … at least for a little while.

I’m off to London, where the streets are paved with gold apparently, I certainly hope that’s the case.

For all of you who have been kind enough to enquire on Twitter and the like, I’m heading south to chance my luck in the capital.

This is something I’ve thought long and hard about and, in the end, it was a straight choice between London and Cairo.

I did consider the riots, protests, thieves on the street and failing government.

But despite all of this I still opted for London.

Some have also asked which team I’m going to follow when I’m down there.

I’ve never been one to follow the masses so I think I’ll be lending my support to Manchester City.

I will, though, be keeping an eye on all things Pools.

I was asked on BBC Tees during the week whether I would miss working the Poolie beat or was it a relief to be making good my escape?

In all honestly, it is definitely the former.

Selfishly, us journalists want extremes when it comes to covering a football team.

For mediocrity doesn’t really sell.

With Pools these past two-and-a-half years we’ve certainly experienced some extreme situations.

Sadly, they have all been at the wrong end of the spectrum.

At least, though, that has given us plenty to write about.

Despite such on-the-pitch struggle I’d like to think I’ve maintained a good relationship with the majority of players and all of the managers.

I can, by the way, confirm that rumours of Steve Howard pinning me against a wall at the training ground were untrue – it’s a pity, that would have been the best story of my tenure.

My favourite memories include appearing at the Vic for the first time, scoring twice in front of Mick Wadsworth, the man who turned me away from Scarborough many years ago.

Every Thursday morning with Neale Cooper was an absolute pleasure, 25 minutes of tales from his playing days before a five-minute lookahead to that weekend’s game.

Neale credited myself with a part in his return to the club, my phone call while walking his dog in Scotland persuading him to apply for the vacant position.

It didn’t work out, as we all know, but I wouldn’t change a thing given the laughs we had in his company.

Micky Barron was a Pools legend and a genuinely top bloke who got undue stick from fans and I’m sure his time will come down the line.

John Hughes, meanwhile, tried his best to “galvanise” everyone but it soon became apparent he and the club just did not fit – for me, he was the wrong man with the right plan.

Phil Brown was … Hold on a minute, that never happened.

I have to look back and laugh – having broken the story of Brown’s soon-to-be unveiling at least I was the first to kill it!

I was in my editor’s office winning praise for my scoop when Brown rang saying that talks had broken down at the 11th hour – I believe “hero to zero” is the correct footballing analogy to describe my standing in the newsroom that day.

And so to Colin Cooper.

It hasn’t been the best of starts on the pitch but the new manager IS the right man to lead this club forward – he just needs the support of the hierarchy in bringing about the changes he has planned.

Of all the managers I’ve worked with at Pools he is the one who has convinced me most of his methods and ideas.

But for those to prove a success he will probably need to change playing personnel over the course of the next 12 months or so.

As for the fans, never have I come across such a forgiving following – and that deserves reward.

I can count on one hand the number of occasions they have turned on their team.

I would need the hands of mine and most of the Mill House to count the number of occasions they’ve had reason to.

And so I wish the club and its supporters all the very best for the future.

I may be back one day in the not-too-distant future.

In the meantime I hope my successor enjoys the “extremes” I have reported on – only this time let it be delight rather than disaster!

All the best, Craig.