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Jacob Jones: Simply Unbelievable

Started on 16 March 2019 by ScottT / First Post
Latest Reply on 15 May 2019 by Griffo / Last Post
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Chapter One


At the age of 18, I had high hopes of eventually breaking into the Middlesbrough first-team. I joined the club when I was just 12 and I always had that goal stored away in the back of my head. However, I had yet to make that jump and instead was handed out opportunities in non-league with the likes of Blyth Spartans and Gateshead, in order to get the experience I needed to improve.

Before I ventured out on loan from those respective clubs, I was told by the first-team manager at the time, Tony Mowbray, that he would be following my progress closely and was looking forward to seeing me flourish. Words of encouragement from the gaffer gave me that extra level of desire to want to succeed, alongside my own personal desire, and ensure that I would come back a stronger, better player.

So, I did just that. Scoring four times in six appearances for Spartans and seven times in 17 appearances for Gateshead - an impressive tally, so I was told. The coaching staff at the club were thrilled with my progression and Tony was eager to give me a chance in the first-team squad, in the near future.

In the build-up to my final game at Gateshead, Tony had let it be known that he was willing to hand me a chance in the senior setup when my loan spell ended. So, I wanted to cap off my time with the Heed in fashion. However, upon the half an hour mark, I felt a pull in my leg and was subsequently taken off. I later discovered it would be a ruptured ACL and I would be on the sidelines for a minimum of six months.

As you can imagine, it was extremely devastating, but Tony promised that there would be a place waiting for me when I returned. That promise pushed me to want to make a speedy return and after seven months out, I was ready.

My return game would be for the U21 side against Fulham and Tony was in close contact with management. He ordered for me to be given a full ninety minutes, in order to get my match sharpness up, so I could be ready as soon as possible. Whilst it took a toll on my body, I managed to finish the match with a goal to my name and a strong performance to match.

I was named in the team once again for the following game against Southampton. My body felt a lot more mobile and fresh. Whereas I was feeling much more jaded at an early stage in the previous game, I didn't experience it this time. I was back, I thought. As I began to make a run through the defence, I felt that very same pull I did back at Gateshead. I collapsed to the floor and immediately knew what it was. "Fuck!" I screamed. It was like I knew what was coming next.

The ACL rupture from my time at Gateshead had left permanent damage, meaning that it was simply too dangerous for me to continue playing football, as the injury would simply just reoccur. As such, my career was ended at the age of 19. Heartbreaking.

What followed next was a story of pain, suffering and misery. Having my dreams ripped away so cruelly left me in a state of depression. Whilst I was supported by a strong cast, in which included my parents, nothing took away that feeling that was distilled within me. I contemplated the point of carrying on many times, truth be told.

Those feelings lasted for well over a year until I managed to shake off that cloud of judgement and stopped feeling sorry for myself. I had to refocus and find the next path. I couldn't continue to let my early retirement from football dominate my entire life.

I had a lot of contacts from my time at Boro, with Tony being one of them. I had grown close to Tony following my injury and he strongly believed that if it hadn't been for my injury, I could easily have become a key player in his side. His wisdom was key to me finding that path I was looking for. Despite his struggles, he had always felt that management was so rewarding and as such, talked me into it.

So what followed was a year of excitement, but also a lot of stress. Gaining the qualifications in order to get where I wanted to be was an extremely difficult task, but I eventually got there. Thanks to my former manager, I had an opportunity once again. So, the next task was finding a club to take on a manager with no experience, but a lot of know-how, as Tony once put to me.

After numerous unsuccessful applications and job interviews, I finally got some good news. There was one club desperate for my services and that club happened to be a club that meant so much to me...
Desperately hoping that this story has more life in it than Jacob's footballing career... ;) Lovely start and here's hoping to a thoroughly enjoyful new story!
Another Scott story. I'm expecting a....

Hartlepool United: Matty Bates departs


Matty Bates has departed Hartlepool United amid worries about the club's future, as the Pools continue their search for new investment.

The club have been the subject to numerous winding up orders since falling out of the Football League, with the threat of administration looming. Supporters have raised sufficient funding to meet HM Revenue and Customs payments, whilst the town's Borough Council recently confirmed a second loan had been made to the club to cover wages, to be repaid from outstanding transfer fee payments.

Bates was firstly appointed as caretaker to take on the final two games of the League Two season. Hartlepool beat promoted Doncaster Rovers 2-1 on the final day, but Newport County's late winner saw the Pools relegated to the Conference for the first time in the club's history.

He would return to a coaching role at the club, as Craig Harrison was appointed in May. However, the former TNS manager would be sacked in February with the possible threat of back-to-back relegations.

Bates returned, once again as caretaker, losing his first two games. But, three huge wins over Barrow, Bromley and Maidstone United allowed the 31-year-old to capture the Manager of the Month award for March.

After successfully avoiding the drop, Bates was rumoured to become the next permanent manager.

In a club statement, Bates has admitted that whilst he has enjoyed "every minute spent at the football club," he doesn't feel he is the "right person to lead the club forward."

He said: "My time here at Hartlepool has been an incredible experience and I am very thankful to the fans for their constant support. They deserve a lot more than what they're currently getting and I hope the situation is resolved soon. I have loved every minute spent at the football club, but I am not the right person to lead the club forward, especially in such a turbulent time."

Talks continue to go on regarding the club's future, with rumours of a potential interested buyer close to agreeing a deal to buy the club.

Replies


Jack: That's a low blow. ;) I'll be trying my best, I've also made sure I won't be deleting and overwriting my files. :P

Justice: Hahahaha. That's probably the best pun you've ever made, to be fair.
I WONDER WHERE JACOB'S COULD END UP HERE
Hartlepool is a long way north... will be an interesting proposition!

Raj Singh completes Hartlepool United takeover


New owner Raj Singh and Director of Football Craig Hignett

Businessman Raj Singh has completed his takeover at Hartlepool United Football Club, subject to FA and National League approval.

Singh is part of a consortium, in which includes Sky Sports presenter and Pools supporter Jeff Stelling. However, the involvement of Stelling is yet to be known. Although he is believed to be retaining his title of life president.

The pair have funded £1.2M of the deal and are aiming to fund an extra £600,000. The Hartlepool Supporters Trust have also pledged an interest in launching their own offer, with a target of £250,000.

Contracts are believed to have been exchanged on Friday, following on a week from the resignation of caretaker manager Matty Bates, after negotiations with John Blackledge were concluded. It is the club's second change in ownership within nine months, as Sage Investments, led by Blackledge, bought the club from previous owners JPNG in June 2017.

Singh will become the new owner and chairman of the North-East side, with former manager Craig Hignett returning to the club as Director of Football.

The 53-year-old formerly owned Darlington Football Club from 2009 until 2012, until the club were placed in administration. However, he is keen to "rectify his mistakes," he has said.

Speaking to the Northern Echo, Singh said: "Why? I've been asked a lot. The reason is purely I'm a football fan and it went wrong at Darlington, it's something I want to rectify. I have unfinished business if you like, that's my reason."

He also noted he didn't regret his involvement with the Quakers.

"There's no regrets. I regret how it ended, but not getting involved. Taking the club to the FA Trophy final at Wembley was a great plus point. There were a lot of issues at the club, like our tenants Southern Cross going bust with £1.2M of debt."

"I took over at Darlington when it was troubled, but I feel Hartlepool are in a much better position. I'm a lot older and wiser from my time there. I think I'm fully equipped to take on this task and time will tell."


The last twelve months have been an incredibly difficult time for the Pools. An online campaign, which raised £86,000 to pay bills and wages, allowed the club to stay afloat. Whereas the town's council put £76,000 to fund the wage bill, also.

Singh concluded, "The club itself are in stormy waters, but what we have planned and if we can get it right is exciting. This is an adventure and I hope that the supporters' can look past my time at Darlington."

"Give me a fair crack of the whip. I know there are people thinking that there is no other option beside myself, however I hope two or three years down the line, even if those options were available, they would see that picking me was the right choice."


Replies


Jack: Who knows! It's a real mystery...

Griffin: But, let's be honest... the north is by far superior! ;)
Can't say I fully put my trust in a man who has already brought a club to its knees with Darlington but I'm sure if there's any funny business going on then Stelling will put Singh in his place as a supporter of the club
Great start here, looking forward to following this

Chapter Two


Football has become the hub of my life. I had a ball at my feet from a very young age and worked my way into the Middlesbrough academy at the age of eleven. However, it wasn't until I was seven that I was taken to see my very first dose of live football.

Most of my family were Boro supporters, as the majority were raised in the area. But they upped sticks and moved to Hartlepool shortly after I was born. My grandfather was born and raised in the town and so followed the local team with his heart and soul. He was a regular on the terraces and so he was keen to take me to watch them, when I declared an interest in going to watch some football.

Whilst I took the route of supporting Boro, mostly to please my dad, although it soon became a choice of my own, I always had a soft spot for Hartlepool as a result of him. The game we went to was on a warm spring afternoon and Hartlepool played hosts to Stockport County. I was overjoyed by the support from both sides and the spectacle excited me, as did the match itself. Pool ran out comfortable winners with a 3-0 victory.

I held a close relationship with my grandfather and so we went to the games together quite often. The times I didn't, I would go to watch Middlesbrough with my dad. My dad worked in one of the factories located in the area and his work-load was quite heavy, therefore it was difficult for him to get time off to go and watch his beloved team play. However, I enjoyed watching both teams.

My grandfather sadly passed away two years ago, at the age of 65, from a heart attack. Since, I have pushed myself to want to do him proud everyday. So, naturally, when I was approached by the Hartlepool board in regards to the job, I was astonished firstly, but saw it as a sign that it was meant to be. I was meant to take this job on, albeit a huge task, it was written in the stars. And so, I did. I leapt at the opportunity and find myself at the helm going into the 2018/19 season.

The task at hand is huge. Raj Singh has ambitions to lead the club to a more prosperous season, but he has a lot of neigh-sayers to please. By appointing me, it is a huge risk but one that he believes will pay off. As such, there is a lot of pressure on myself to lead this football club back to where the fans want it to be.

For me, it was an extremely difficult time seeing all the struggles that the club were in. I have fond memories of Hartlepool, with my grandfather, and so it was awful to see a cloud of doubt placed over the club's future for so long. The people of the town could easily have lost their pride, with the club going defunct.

It is now my job, alongside the chairman, to ensure that the future of the football club is bright. We need to lead a new era. The fans are at the forefront of my vision to guide the club back to the Football League, in which can be achieved with the right measures.

The small boy who stood alongside his grandfather all those years ago, now has the opportunity to make him proud; by leading his football club to glory, whatever that may be...


Replies


Jack: You would expect that, indeed. Singh has a lot of things to make up for and the Hartlepool supporters have every right to be wary until he can demonstrate he is trustworthy.

Griffo: Thanks Griffo, I hope you continue to enjoy!
Singh takeover needs to help breathe new life into the club!
Jones' grandad would sure be a delighted man to see his grandson take control of his beloved Hartlepool! Make it count!

Jacob Jones: Interview


The gaffer Jacob Jones speaks for the first time since taking the job at Victoria Park, here is what he had to say...

Welcome to Victoria Park, Jacob.

Thank you. It's a pleasure to be here.

There are many supporters that are rather bewildered by your appointment, can you voice your opinions on that?

It's only natural, I guess. I have no previous experience in management and Mr Singh has taken a gamble in appointing me. The faith he has shown in me now has to be repaid. It’s vital that I show the supporters that I am the right person to lead this football club forward.

The club has been through a lot in the past year or so, how do you intend to rebuild?

Well, the first thing I want to do is ensure that we have a squad that is willing to give it all for the badge. I have ties with this football club, thanks to my grandfather who was a season ticket holder here for many, many years. I want players that are willing to fight and make the supporters proud.

It's vital that we get the 'good times back’. We can only achieve that with players who will die for the badge. Anyone who doesn't want to be here and do what I request, I'm happy to show them the door. Nobody is bigger than the club.


Obviously, Craig Hignett has returned to the club in a Director of Football role, how will this work under your management?

Craig has a lot of experience and, as you know, has experience with this football club. That was one of the main reasons why Raj wanted to get him on board. I will be relying on his expertise and he will be aiding me in recruiting the players I desire.

The DoF role is becoming very important in the modern game and to have such a knowledgeable figure above me is fantastic. He, myself and the rest of the relevant staff will always be in close contact.


What can the supporters expect on the pitch?

Well, one of my main priorities is entertainment. I want the fans to come here and leave entertained. At the same time, I need to ensure that there is a balance between entertaining and grinding out the necessary results. So, I like to think I'm quite adaptable. Sometimes, you can't always win pretty and you've got to get stuck in and win the ugly way. But like I stated earlier, I will always be wanting that heart from the players. That's one thing they can definitely expect.

It's no secret that you are close friends with your former manager, Tony Mowbray. Have you spoken to him since you took the job here?

Of course. Tony has been a real support for me, during my career and following my retirement. He was a key reason as to why I took the path into management. He has been in contact with me recently, sending me his best wishes. It’s a real benefit to have a close relationship with a man who has achieved a lot of success in football. He truly is a real gent.

Finally, what are the expectations for the season ahead?

We have to take it one step at a time. We are on the road back to a brighter future and I want nothing more than to achieve success. However, the National League is an exceptionally difficult league to get out of, as many teams have found out over the years. It’s essential that we build our aims over the course of the season, step by step. I feel that’s the best way to approach things.

Thank you for your time, Jacob.

No problem, thank you.

Replies


Griffin: Indeed! Hopefully he is the man to do just that. The town needs this football club.

Jack: He would. Jacob will obviously be keen to deliver, but only time will tell...
I know it was written about earlier, but I'm interested to see how you develop as a manager seeing as you have a DoF. Will certainly be looking at perhaps how much influence he has over certain procedures at the club. Nice little introductory interview though and I definitely agree with the statement that the NL is an incredibly tough league to master, especially if you are inheriting a squad like yourself.
Looking good so far, goodluck with Hartlepool.

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