That winning feeling for Hartlepool in 2004

England player Nathan Doyle came under pressure from three opponents at the Victoria Park clash.
England player Nathan Doyle came under pressure from three opponents at the Victoria Park clash.

It was the year when England took on their closest rival – and Hartlepoool emerged as the winner.

And in the same year, lots of other people had reason to celebrate.

Freda Stabler.

Freda Stabler.

This was 2004 and 5,000 fans turned up at Hartlepool United’s Victoria Park home to watch England’s under-18 team take on their Scottish counterparts.

England won 1-0 but it was generally agreed that Hartlepool as a whole was the true winner for its hospitality and its great facilities.

Afterwards, England under-18 boss Dick Bate said: “We have been tremendously impressed by the set-up at Hartlepool United and we have been treated absolutely first class.”

Middlesbrough centre half David Wheather scored the only goal in a game which also featured two other players from the region – Ben Alnwick from Sunderland and Paul Huntington from Newcastle.

When I first came to the cafe, it was called Valenti’s. I did odd jobs like washing the dishes. Now I am the manager but I still wash the dishes. I really enjoy it though

Freda Stabler

Were you there and what do you remember of the match?

Who remembers Alvin’s Cafe in the Middleton Grange shopping centre? It made the news that year thanks to Freda Stabler who had been there 33 years.

She started off washing dishes when it first opened in 1971 and worked her way up the ladder. By 2004, she was running the place and said at the time: “When I first came to the cafe, it was called Valenti’s. I did odd jobs like washing the dishes.

“Now I am the manager but I still wash the dishes.”

Who remembers the cafe and what did you love about it? Email chris.cordner@jpress.co.uk with your memories.

New arrivals in the town included the Old West Quay at Hartlepool Marina. Clarks shoe shop in the Middleton Grange shopping centre had a sale on.

Another new arrival was the new Hartlepool Rugby Club clubhouse and Sir John Hall performed the opening ceremony. Secretary Dave Jones said at the time: “We believe we have one of the finest clubs in the North East now and it is one everyone is very proud about.”

Hartlepool student Keighley Wallace, 15, was in the news thanks to her design skills.

The St Hild’s School student came up with an impressive design in a regional competition to design a poster depicting the history of the Rotary movement.

And 17 shop workers at the Forbuoys newsagents in Owton Manor Lane were celebrating after their lucky dip numbers came up in the lottery.

They won about £90,000 each in a win which owed a lot to fate. The syndicate did not normally play the Wednesday game but, because they had missed the previous Saturday’s draw, they decided to put a fiver on.

Were you one of the lucky winners? Do you keep in touch with your fellow staff? We would love to know more.

Get in touch with all of your Hartlepool memories of 2004. What was your favourite shop in the town at the time.

Email chris.cordner@jpress.co.uk