Kelly’s Eye on Hartlepool United: Don’t Col out the boss

DON'T COL HIM OUT: Pools boss Colin Cooper. Picture by FRANK REID
DON'T COL HIM OUT: Pools boss Colin Cooper. Picture by FRANK REID

IT wasn’t quite like starting an interview with the Queen with the words “Liz, so how do you feel ...”

But there was raucous laughter when BBC Tees’s Rob Law got off on slightly the wrong foot with Colin Cooper at the Hartlepool United manager’s pre-match press conference.

Usually the gathered members of the Fourth Estate are Nick Loughlin, from the Northern Echo, some little chubby fella whose picture appears at the top of this page, plus one of the BBC Tees sports desk, either Paul Addison, Mark Drury or James Mountford.

It all had begun so well when Rob introduced himself as “the new James Mountford” following the departure of James to Liverpool and Cooper shook his hand and said he’d listened to him on the radio.

But Rob’s debut started badly.

“Col, that’s four games unbeaten,” said Law.

“Whoah, hang on, you’ve just called me Col,” interrupted the smiling manager which sparked an explosion of laughter.

“He’s Col-ed me out in the first few seconds!

“Do you want to start that again, Rob?”

Coops, sorry Colin, and Rob recovered their composures and a typically-fluent and honest Cooper interview followed.

I’ve committed much worse own goals in my time.

I managed to call Cooper “Craig” when he came to his first news conference at the Vic even though I’ve known him for a quarter of a century.

Or there’s the time I interviewed Jon McCarthy, that’s the former Pools, Boro, York and Birmingham winger, who also played for Northern Ireland, not the poor bloke who was once chained to a radiator in Beirut as a hostage.

Jon mentioned how he’d competed in the World Student Games.

“Oh that’s great,” I said. “Which sport?”

Jon looked at me as though I was some sort of talentless buffoon.

“Football” he said.

Exit one red-faced buffoon.