Date:Thursday April 9 2009
To celebrate the release of Jeff Stelling's new book, Jellyman Throws A Wobbly, Vital Hartlepool caught up with Hartlepool's most famous supporter to get his views on all things football.
In this multi-part interview we discuss his new book, Soccer Saturday, Countdown, the climax of the Premier League season and, of course, Pools.
Today we get talking about Pools.
Vital Hartlepool: We all know you're a famous Pools supporter, when was your first game?
Jeff Stelling: People ask me this all the time and, well, I know I was 7 and I used to think it was against Workington but I'm pretty sure it was against Stockport now. I remember we won, and we won 3-0 which was a rarity.
It was that rare I don't think we won for 19 games after that, obviously I didn't realise that at the time and thought it'd be 3-0 every week!
So since I was about 7 I was hooked although a lot of the time, if I couldn't get my sister or my dad to take me, I was too young to go on my own and we didn't have much money so I'd be waiting for the gates to open 10 minutes from the end and everyone would go storming in to watch the last few minutes.
VH: You're obviously busy on Saturdays, how many games do you get to these days?
JS: Hardly any at the moment, if I'm lucky I might get to 3 or 4 games a season. It just depends really, I used to be able to get to midweek games but these days I do Champions League for Sky as well which really stuffs me in terms of getting to games.
I haven't seen a game this season which will be a first for me. The first season since I was 7 that I haven't seen a game so I'm running out of time.
Generally speaking I'm at the club more than that. I'll go up and see Russ Green and Chris Turner and maybe go and see the boys train and things like that but seeing the games these days is a different matter.
VH: I bet the play-off games would have come in handy in previous seasons.
JS: Yeah, definitely. I've been to a lot of those. I remember going down to Cheltenham when we lost in the penalty shoot-out after we completely battered them.
Obviously, the Sheffield Wednesday play-off final when we were just minutes away. Although they battered us in the first half. And any I haven't been to I can always watch those ones on the TV.
The Tranmere semi-final when they absolutely hammered us and we managed to hold on. I remember jumping round the living room after the Humphreys' winning goal and the wife and kids were all in bed at the time and all came running down because they thought I was being attacked!
VH: We know you enjoy it whenever Pools score, the recent recital of the Sweeney theme tune when he scored was a classic moment. Will you be singing that one again?
JS: I hope so but I was gutted in that game, having gone 2 up, and I didn't know we'd missed a penalty at the time as well. We'll need the Sweeney theme to appear a few more times because we're in a bit of trouble.
VH: Have you got any songs lined up for the rest of our players?
JS: The funny thing is that the Sweeney thing had never crossed my mind before, as obvious as it is. Nothing is ever planned. I decided to do the Sweeney theme the second he scored, it just came out!
Having come out, it came out again just a few second later! I haven't got any others planned but never say never.
VH: What's your thoughts on our current position in the league?
JS: Well, you know, we just need to get a couple of wins. That's all it's going to take but I don't like the look of our run-in one jot and I certainly wouldn't want it to go down to the last 2 games so we need a couple of wins and we need them soon.
But defensively this season we've been caught short, we've scored plenty of goals but it's disappointing. We've missed James Brown but we've got good players, Porter is as good as anything in the division, and we just need to make sure we stay up.
6th bottom, 7th bottom, I don't care as long as we stay up. There's a lot of teams around us and I just think we've got enough to stay up. I don't want to be contemplating trips to Accrington next season again.
Click here to read part 5 of our exclusive interview.
Click here to win copies of Jeff's new book
Date:Thursday April 9 2009
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