We were in the World Cup semis - but what was happening back in Hartlepool?

The day the lights went out on the World Cup in Hartlepool.
The day the lights went out on the World Cup in Hartlepool.

For football fans, it’s heaven – at least at the start.

For non-soccer supporters, it’s a nightmare.

Father McGuigan.

Father McGuigan.

But whatever your view, we are in for a summer of wall-to-wall World Cup action this year.

So we thought we would turn the clock back to the summer when all our hopes didn’t go up in smoke – the year when England reached football’s World Cup semi-finals.

It’s 1990 and we decided to reflect on what was happening back in Hartlepool that July.

For some, there was very little action on television because freak storms had knocked televisions off. More than 1,800 homes were affected on one night and it was not just any night.

It was a Saturday with a key World Cup game on the television and the screens went blank just after 9pm. Lightning blew fuses in houses and many remained in the dark for two hours or more.

While it didn’t affect England’s games, it did interrupt coverage of Ireland’s knockout round match against Italy.

Elsewhere, there was another big event on in town.

But it was no contest between the World Cup and a priest who was back in Hartlepool. The priest won hands down.

It was Father Paddy McGuigan who returned to St Patrick’s Church – the very place where he had helped to put the roof on the church and established the parish.

A concelebrated Mass was held and hundreds turned out. So did civic dignitaries from Hartlepool and priest friends from Ireland.

Father McGuigan’s return also coincided with the ordination of former English Martyrs pupil, Father Peter Scott, who said his first Mass surrounded by senior clergymen and before a packed congregation.

There was plenty more going on across town besides.

The annual fair was on at Elwick, complete with jousting and a toss the cannonball event.

The new-look Shades venue was open and it was offering “the longest happy hour” as well as a chance to watch all the football action on any of its six 27-inch televisions.

Thursday night was cabaret night at 42nd Street, or you could enjoy a ’60s night at Bogarts Bar.

Just out of town, Grandma’s Carvery was a big hit at the Hardwicke Hall Manor Hotel in Hesleden.

If it was live music you were after, you were spoilt for choice in Hartlepool.

Sweet Sanity were on at the Hourglass and Super Heroes at the Belle Vue Way Social Club. Peaches and Cream were at Richardsons Westgarth and the Lorraine Crosby Band was performing at Rovers Quoit Club.

There was Neil Carr at Camerons Sports and Social Club, Centreline at Seaton Social Club and Talisman at the Catholic Club.

Or how about a Sunday lunch quiz with Sly Bry at the Greensides, complete with a cash jackpot.

Give us your 1990 England World Cup memories. Where were you when Lineker fired us into the semi-finals?

Email chris.cordner@jpress.co.uk