VIDEO: Blue and white army

AROUND 150 fun-loving football fans were looking forward to a blue day as they boarded buses dressed as Smurfs.

The Hartlepool United supporters were heading to London for the club’s final game of the season against Charlton Athletic.

And in a tradition dating back to 1987, they gamely got dressed up for the trip to the capital – this year as Smurfs.

The fans will add to the party atmosphere for the 3pm kick-off as Charlton have already won the league and Pools sit safely in mid-table.

Previous seasons have seen the die hard supporters turn out dressed as Oompa Loompas, Mexicans, morris dancers and the illusive character from Where’s Wally?

John Pearson, 53, organised the trip that will see the group head on coaches to Eaglescliffe railway station to get the Grand Central train to King’s Cross station, before heading across the capital to Charlton’s The Valley ground.

The purchasing manager from Stockton Road, in Hartlepool, said: “We’ve been doing it on and off ever since 1987 when we went to Chorley.

“The last few years it’s really taken off with the younger lads getting involved and their mates coming along.

“We’ve done all sorts from Mexicans to Oompa Loompas, someone’s always got a good idea.

“And it doesn’t even have to be the last the game of the season, any big game is enough. We’ve done FA Cup matches, derbies and any important match. It’s a case of any excuse really.

“It’s all a bit of good craic and helps the day along. It definitely makes it more enjoyable.”

l See pictures from their big day out in Monday’s Mail