There's nothing like celebrating good news in fine company and that's exactly what I was doing last Friday night.

The Hartlepool United Disabled Supporters' Association (HUDSA) held their end-of-season promotion party at the Old Boys' Rugby Club on Easington Road, and the atmosphere was spot on. Pools' Manager Mike Newell came along to thank the supporters and he had quite a reception. Also present was the town's Mayor, Stuart Drummond, as keen a Pools supporter as any, and he added to the high level of humour as the night continued. Credit to Stuart: he's even more visible around the town than he was during his election campaign, and you can't say that for every politician!

HUDSA Chairman Neil Appleyard was telling me that facilities for disabled supporters are getting better at many grounds, but there's still room for improvement in some areas. Sadly, some sports grounds still slot disabled people into a kind of ghetto with poor views and, crazily, detachment from their friends and the rest of the crowd. It's a strange kind of lazy logic which presumes that a supporter with disabilities doesn't want to enjoy the same kind of banter and atmosphere as everyone else.

There are some very good examples of getting it right, including two strong models in our patch. Visitors to Durham's first ever Test Match shortly will discover spaces for wheelchairs in the heart of the crowd, and the new Darlington FC stadium has taken similar care with proper facilities and access.

What's even better about a night like last Friday is that it was the common bonding of very happy Pools supporters which was the key to the occasion, not artificial divisions between parts of society.

The icing on the cake was local band The Passion Killers in great form, and the generosity of the audience during the auction. It was one of the most successful (and funniest) I've ever conducted and raised well over £2,000.

A cracking good night, and we look forward to Second Division football for Pools next season, and Premier League facilities for disabled supporters everywhere.

Published: 21/05/2003