Give them a little, they’ll give a whole lot more back.
The atmosphere at the Super 6 Stadium has been a hot topic at Hartlepool United this season, but Saturday’s performance from the terraces goes to prove that Poolies are champing at the bit to get behind their lads.
It’s amazing what a bit of pride, passion, ability, skill, tackling, grit, determination, attacking intent, managerial positivity, tactical understanding and a goal or two can do for a crowd.
Who’d have thought it? A crowd is critical of a club and team who have consistently underperformed for the last decade, without mentioning the false dawns and broken promises aplenty.
Poolies aren’t a demanding bunch, no matter what departing, failed strikers may say. They just want a team that tries, that put their bodies on the line, that play to win.
On Saturday Craig Hignett’s men gave them every reason to show their support, and Poolies duly delivered.
Under Hignett it’s clear to see Pools are nowhere near the finished article.
But what it is fair to say is that they look a hell of a lot more refined under Hignett than they have under their previous four managers, not including caretakers.
In fact, they haven’t looked this well equipped since, errr, Hignett was the manager last time around. Again, who’d have thought it?
As chief executive Mark Maguire stated last week - hindsight is a wonderful thing.
But it’s hard not to get the feeling that Pools have wasted far too much time treading water this season.
Richard Money was in charge for 43 days, could Hignett not have been thrown in then?
Would Hignett have thrown away points at Gateshead with an experimental team? No.
Would Hignett have been dumped out of the FA Trophy? Maybe, but it would have been in a better, more entertaining fashion than the Telford surrender under Money.
It’s clear to see now that Pools had the manager they always needed right under their noses. They’ve had him on the books since April last year.
Hignett has the players playing with confidence. He sets them up to win games, not just survive.
At every opposition corner he sends Luke James and Josh Hawkes forward, giving the opposition something to think about.
Even in the dying embers on Saturday, he sent all the Pools big hitters up in search of three points from a set piece. This is a manager not content with a point against the team widely regarded as the best in the division. Has that really been the case with his predecessors? The jury is most definitely out.
Matthew Bates did a solid job at Pools under difficult circumstances but at the end of his tenure the system of three at the back made winning football matches look difficult.
A couple of tactical twists and a new man or two through the doors and all of a sudden Hignett has a very similar system looking full of chances and opportunity.
The future certainly looks brighter now than it did just a few weeks ago, on the field and on the terraces at Pools.