WHEN he signed for Middlesbrough, as a then club record £5.75m fee, Nicky Barmby made an instant impact.
Some 19 years later and another member of the Barmby family has made an equally stunning start.
Jack was just months old when his dad scored on his Boro debut in 1995, before creating the first goal at the new Riverside Stadium for team-mate Craig Hignett And his proud dad was watching as he scored a fine goal for Hartlepool United on his professional debut on Saturday.
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The 19-year-old moved on loan from Manchester United last week. He was introduced as a 79th minute substitute with Pools struggling to find a breakthrough against York City.
The last three games between the sides have been goalless and this was heading the same way.
Luke James got the first, taking a cushioned Jack Baldwin header in his stride and cracking low into the bottom corner.
It takes something special at Victoria Park for James to be upstaged, but Barmby managed it.
Taking a ball from Luke Williams on the edge of the penalty area, he cut onto his left foot and curled a beauty into the top corner.
James revealed Barmby’s finish wasn’t a surprise. He tried similar minutes earlier and on Friday in training scored the same sort of goal.
Boss Colin Cooper admitted Barmby’s instant impact both in training and during Saturday’s cameo confirmed what he and Hignett knew about him – and more.
“In two days, me and Craig have said we knew what Jack could do and what he was capable of, but he’s given us all a boost in energy,’’ he reflected, after Pools won for the first time in 2014, ended a run of three successive defeats and scored at home since December 21.
“He has showed more than we thought he had and to come out of development football and have that energy and desire to impress and get out there makes you feel there are some young players out there who want to be footballers.
“It’s nice to see. But you don’t go to Manchester United as a 12-year-old and progress through the ranks unless you have something about you.
“The contribution he made coming on the pitch confirmed what we knew and he’s given us more than what we thought he had.’’ Cooper added: “Credit to him and credit to his father who was a big influence in him coming here.
“As I say thanks to Manchester United for getting him here.
“His family were watching and they came up from Hull, he is representing Manchester United, but it’s his first taste of League football and I think we all remember those days when your family is desperate to see you play for a club in front of a crowd – this was a fairly impressive introduction.
“I think they have all gone home happy.’’ With Luke Williams showing the natural panache that makes him so highly thought of at Middlesbrough after following Barmby to Pools on loan last week and with James and Bradley Walker displaying their talents, Cooper’s ideology of a team of young gifted players was at the fore.
Overall, like Pools, the Minstermen weren’t really a threat, but the difference was that Pools had matchwinners in their ranks.
Luke Williams leaps high to intercept a corner kick
Jon Franks made a lively impact when he replaced Marlon Harewood with 20 minutes to go. The latter didn’t have much to work off and, the one time Pools put a tasty cross into the danger area – Neil Austin swinging it over – Harewood was off the field.
“Marlon is short and he said he was finding his feet as he came off,’’ said Cooper.
“He will add so much more than just on the pitch and he will give us plenty on it.
“He’s not played for a while, but we will work him and I go back to myself – aged 36 I was in the best shape I’d ever been.
“He wants to do well, help us, score goals and help the younger strikers and he will do all that. He played his part and I felt it was time to freshen up with extra energy and Franksy did that.
“The groundwork that had gone in may have helped that.’’ Perhaps Pools were fortunate to be in a position to go ahead – City defender Keith Lowe inexplicably hit the roof of the Rink End stand when presented with a chance six yards out.
And once again, it was a case of score first and win.
With nine wins from nine when they have taken the lead, Pools have the best record in League Two. When the opposition score first, they only have four points from 15 occasions.