READERS of Satuday’s Hope in Holland would have picked up on the Auf Wiedersehen Pet theme – guy called Hope (be it Craig or Neville) sets sail for Amsterdam penning a postcard for back home, it wrote itself really.
Anyway, as one fan put to me on Twitter - who, from the current Pools squad, bears most resemblance to the 1980s vintage of AufPet stars?
I had 15 hours to pass* on the ferry before docking in Amsterdam, so I sought to satisfy that curiosity, let’s hope no-one takes offence at my musings …
(* Nightclub? Casino? I hear you ask, not me, I prefer to sit in the corner with a laptop and dream up idle endeavours such as the below.)
I’ll start with what I deem the most obvious, that loveable, Geordie rogue known as Oz, played by Jimmy Nail.
I think you’ll agree there’s one outstanding candidate for this legendary role, and that’s Oz’s fellow black-and-whiter Steve Howard (although Steve’s Tynemouth twang is a little more refined than Oz’s Byker bawl).
The real Auf Wiedersehen Boys (left to right): Moxey, Barry, Bomber, Dennis, Oz, Wayne and Neville
Nonetheless, neither of the Geordie duo are afraid to mix it, be it Howard with centre-halves or Oz with German scaffolders.
We did enjoy a glimpse of Oz’s footballing talents during a kickabout outside the Barley Mow, and Howard would have no doubt been proud of that sweet half-volley which found its way into the top corner of the target, albeit the window of Arthur Pringle’s precious pub.
“There’s trouble in the goalmouth!” declared Oz, before despatching his pane-breaker, and I reckon Howard will wreak a fair amount of his own havoc in the penalty area this coming season.
That’s brings us on to the character charged with guarding the target on that rain-soaked afternoon in Derbyshire, the man mountain that is Bomber Busbridge, played by the late Pat Roach.
Now this is another easy one in my opinion - and it is skipper Sam Collins who lands the role.
Bomber, a former wrestler, was your quintessential gentle giant, a fearsome force in the ring but a nice-natured soul away from it, and much the same can be said of Collins.
Dennis Patterson, played by Tim Healy, was the wise old head soon elevated to the role of group leader.
For me, it’s diminutive midfield general Paul Murray who scoops this part.
There’s an air of authority about Murray, much like Dennis, and the other lads seem to respect their veteran team-mate.
I’m going to resort to the simple process of lookalikes for the role of Neville, played by Kevin Wheatley.
And Evan Horwood, with his jet-black hair and baby-faced frontage, happens to be the lucky guy.
Now Ritchie Humphreys isn’t going to thank me for this, but he’s just been cast as Barry Taylor, played by Timothy Spall.
It’s not just the blonde hair and sturdy build, but Barry is sensible kind of guy, much like Humphreys.
In any time of crisis it’s always the club captain who is put forward to speak to us press boys, and Barry, in the later series, became a similar sort of spokesman for his group – I think I just about got away with that.
That leaves two characters – Moxey and Wayne.
First of all, Moxey, played by Christopher Fairbank.
How do you cast someone as a convicted Scouse arsonist, complete with acne, without running the risk of them never speaking to you again?
Quite simple, use the most tenuous link as possible and hide behind the ambiguity.
James Poole had a barely-noticeable spot on the end of his nose last week, but he was still a little reluctant to put himself in front of our photographer Frank Reid - and for that he’s paid the price.
In an 11th-hour bid to repair relations I will say that Poole scored some scorchers last season, thus satisfying the “arsonist” element of his character.
And so to Wayne Winston Norris, played by the late Gary Holden.
Now no cast would be complete without Peter “Poster Boy” Hartley.
So who else is there better to play vain Wayne?
The cockney was the good-looking one of the group, and Hartley will tell you that makes his audition a formality.
So there we have it, the Magnificent Seven.
But let’s not forget Herr Grunwald and Herr Ulrich – enter Neale Cooper and Micky Barron respectively, they even look like the German management duo (Google them and you’ll see what I mean, sort of)!