Club out in force to pay respects

Russ Green
Russ Green

HARTLEPOOL United chief executive Russ Green led warm tributes to Ken Johnson on behalf of the club.

Ken played for Pools from 1949-1964, netting a record 106 goals in his prolific playing career.

The club turned out in force to honour Ken at his funeral yesterday with boss Neale Cooper, reserve manager Micky Barron and current players Ritchie Humphreys, Adam Boyd and Antony Sweeney.

Several of the club’s office staff also attended the service to pay their respects.

Russ said: “I’ve known Ken since I came to the football club. On a personal note he was like a dad to me and guided me through a lot of things and showed me the way.

“He had a massive influence on Hartlepool, the town and the club.

“Above all he was a gentleman, and you don’t get too many of them in life today.

“Everybody respected him and I certainly did.

“He will be a massive miss to the club. His contribution on matchday was enormous.

“His record at the club speaks for itself.”

Ken signed for manager Fred Westgarth almost as soon as he stepped off the train on his return from national service, having played for the British Army in the far east.

He remained loyal to his hometown club despite interest from other big clubs including Arsenal.

And Ken returned to the club in the late 1990s where he entertained supporters in the ground’s hospitality boxes on matchdays.