WRIGHT THINKING: Would Pools players be the best bin men in the world?

Boxer Muhammad Ali
Boxer Muhammad Ali

The Pools manager Ronnie Moore had a similar moment recently when he told some of his failing players that they were likely to be working in Asda next year rather than playing professional football.

On the plus side, it seemed to have an effect, because the next game, against Cheltenham, produced a good performance and the first win for a while.

On the down side, I wondered what Pools fans working in the town’s supermarkets thought.

Mr Moore had another good point, of course, in that being a professional footballer is a job which the majority of men in Hartlepool would dream of doing if they had the talent.

Of course, playing in League Two is nothing like the pampered superstar lifestyle of the Premier League’s rich prima donnas, but it’s not bad – a decent salary, a flexible working day, and a great buzz when it goes right.

Those who succeed are those who are able to combine self-discipline and hard work with their talent – and give up a lot of the fun which goes with being a young lad.

I always remember a Premier League manager friend giving a brilliant dressing down to one of his young charges who had been photographed on the lash in a night club when he should have been tucked up sober in bed before a big game.

“Listen” he said, “Stay out of night clubs for a few years and then you can buy a few if you want!”

The cynics, including me, would point out that, if you can’t cut it with a life as a pro player, your chances of doing well in the harder grind of a daily supermarket job are pretty slim.

In my forarys into the range of Hartlepool supermarkets, I’m generally impressed with the good work ethic and cheery disposition of most workers doing a job which is pretty short on glamour most days.

I happened to be in Asda late on the afternoon of Christmas Eve for that bit of last minute shopping which you carefully plan to avoid – and end up doing every year.

Winding down from a busy day, and with a few customers who’d obviously had a good lunch, the staff I saw were cheery and top notch – even though they were at the end of a long day and, no doubt, itching to get off to their own family Christmas.

Whatever job you do, a positive attitude is everything and I always remember the brilliant interview with world boxing champion Muhammad Ali some years back. The interviewer asked him what he would have done if life had turned out differently; what if he had been emptying bins instead of being a top boxer.

“Do you know?” replied the great man, “I’d have been the best bin guy in the world.”

I’m sure that the town is as one in hoping that Pools have turned the corner and we can smile at the end of the season instead of mourning the loss of Football League status after over a century of membership.

And everyone who pulls on a Pools shirt over the next few months needs to count his blessings and remember the words of Muhammad Ali.