PROUD Hartlepool United fan Pauline McSweenie described the club’s ‘Great Escape’ from relegation as one of the most intense days of her supporting life.
Pauline, HUFCSA secretary, has spent almost 40 years watching the team home and away.
There were plenty of tears on Saturday - tears of joy and relief.Pauline McSweenie, HUFCSA’s secretary
And now, after seeing Ronnie Moore guide the club to safety from what seemed an almost hopeless situation two months ago, she hopes for better - and less stressful - days ahead.
Pauline said: “What a day! I don’t know how the players felt before the game but a lot of fans were nervous.
“Everyone I spoke to afterwards said ‘never again’. We don’t want to go through another season like that.
“The relief when we heard the Cheltenham score at the end was huge. We’d been hanging on for that because one goal could’ve changed everything.
“We’ve had so little to celebrate this season but now everyone can relax. There is such a big difference between getting relegated from League One and League Two - to go out of the Football League would have meant losing our status, which is an immense thing not just for the club but for the whole town.
“Being a member of the Football League gives the club and town a higher profile. People know who you are, we need that.
“You look at the Conference and there are lots of former league clubs in there. That shows how hard a division it is to get out of. Going down didn’t bear thinking about.
“There were plenty of tears on Saturday - tears of joy and of relief!
“It was one of the most intense days I’ve had as a fan. We were celebrating winning a game but it was so much more than that. It feels like we’ve been given a new lease of life and now we can build on that.
“This season has been too close for comfort. You never give up hope until things are mathematically impossible, there’s always a glimmer of hope although it seemed to be getting further away at times.
“But once we got things back in our own hands we knew we had a real chance. We knew we’d have to do it the hard way but we’ve managed to do it.
“There have been a few drinks over the weekend and now everyone can look forward to going to Carlisle for the last game of the season. I wasn’t looking forward to it but now I’ll enjoy it.
“I think Ronnie Moore has done an incredible job. He knows what the fans think about him - they should build a statue!
“We were written off by so many people but the Great Escape was ready for an update and it had one on Saturday!”