‘SEARCH for a star’ screamed the back page of the Hartlepool Mail in January 1997.
Mick Tait was on the hunt for a loan ranger to put Hartlepool United back on their Third Division play-off charge following a 3-0 defeat away at Northampton Town.
Pools had gone into 1997 five points behind the play-off positions but they were left nine points adrift of seventh-placed Colchester United after two successive defeats.
The 3-0 defeat to high-flying Northampton was the latest - Pools sunk by a Neil Grayson hat-trick within a staggering four minute spell.
And it left Tait looking for fresh blood with the season at a critical point.
The player-boss told SportMail: “I was on the phone until late last night trying to get something sorted.
“I didn’t get any joy then but I’m trying again today.
“We have struggled along recently with only ten or 11 fit professionals and fortunately we have been able to ride our luck.
“But at Northampton our luck ran out. I needed to change things because we had nothing going forward but there was nothing I could do because we had two midfielders and a defender on the bench.”
Tait was hoping to add a new striker or an attacking midfielder to liven the side up, with a tough February and March programme coming up.
He added: “Even though we have conceded seven goals in the last two games, I’m reasonably pleased with our defence.
“But we have been lacking a bit up front.”
The Pools boss was left particularly angry with the Northampton defeat because his side had started in a confident fashion at Sixfields Stadium. Pools: O’Connor, Ingram, McAuley, Beech, Lee, McGuckin, Allon, Cooper, Howard, Clegg, Sunderland.
Subs: Davies, Tait, Winstanley.
Referee: Graham Pooley.