Willo Talk

IT’S nice to see Pools off the bottom of the league after a mini revival over the last few weeks - now I just wish we could see some signs of improvement in other league tables that always seems to have the town rooted to the bottom.

It seems as though Hartlepool is always an easy target, and every time there is some sort of League of Shame cobbled together we always seem to be at the wrong end.

Every month we’re up there near the top of the unemployment table, there was some survey done the other week which said we had the most derelict buildings and then last week I saw a survey which said the average life expectancy of a man in Hartlepool was 57 year old.

I’m not sure who does the research on these figures, but I was in the club with the lads on Sunday afternoon for the football and there were plenty of blokes in there playing bingo who I’m pretty sure were over 57.

I’m not from Hartlepool originally, but having spent the last 13 years living here I do take some sense of pride in where I live and when someone has a pop, I’ll always try to fight our corner.

I appreciate there are issues which need to be addressed, there’s no getting away from that.

A pal from out of town once told me the only queue which was bigger than the one outside of our JobCentre was the one for methadone outside the chemists.

I look out of my window in Seaton Carew each morning and see a landfill site, I drive to work dodging potholes and I get frustrated when I have to head out of town to shop because there are so many boarded up places in our town centre.

In the seven years I’ve worked at the Mail, I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve written about ‘ambitious’ plans to breathe new life into Seaton front, or a new use for Jackson’s Landing.

There are plus points though.

Things like the annual Business Awards show a lot of the good things being done in town, the Mail’s Pride Awards show we have a sense of community to rival anywhere else in the country in my opinion, and as anyone who has stood on the Millhouse terracing on a Saturday afternoon will testify, we’ve certainly not lost our sense of humour despite our problems.

So the next time you read about us being bottom of the league in whatever survey has been produced, try to rise above it.

I’m sure we’ll get there in the end.