Antony Sweeney believes Hartlepool United are destined for ‘bigger and better’ times under Ronnie Moore

Former Hartlepool United player Antony Sweeney in action for Carlisle United. Picture by FRANK REID
Former Hartlepool United player Antony Sweeney in action for Carlisle United. Picture by FRANK REID

Antony Sweeney believes Hartlepool United are destined for “bigger and better” times under the expert guidance of Ronnie Moore.

The former Pools midfielder, who left last summer to join League Two rivals Carlisle United, wants to see his former club kick on after narrowly avoiding the drop into non-league.

I was at the Exeter game where Pools survived and the atmosphere was brilliant

ANTONY SWEENEY

Pools and Keith Curle’s Carlisle were battling against each other at the wrong end of the table for most of the 2014-15 campaign.

But in the end both escaped relegation – to the relief of Sweeney, who made 444 appearances during a 13-year stint at Pools.

Sweeney, who has been transfer listed by Carlisle, believes his former club will be far stronger given their struggles this term and says they have the right man at the helm in Moore.

Although he admits his loyalty towards his first club was torn at times, given how close the Cumbrians were to going down.

Sweeney, who has been transfer listed by Carlisle, told SportMail: “You wanted Hartlepool to win but at the same time, does that put us in danger?

“Ideally, as it happened, we both survived.”

Stockton-born Sweeney was actually at Victoria Park for the final home game of the season - the dramatic and nail-biting 2-1 win over Exeter City, a win which sealed the club’s Football League status.

Sweeney, who was making his way back from injury, was stood on the Mill House terraces and says the atmosphere that day was reminiscent of when Pools were competing towards the top end of League One 10-years ago.

“I was at the Exeter game where Pools survived and the atmosphere was brilliant,” said Sweeney.

“It was back to the days when we were competing at the top end of League One and the fans were right behind us.

“And when the fans are behind Hartlepool - and it seems to be backs against the wall stuff - then everyone comes out fighting and it can be a very difficult place for clubs to come and play.

“Hopefully that will kick Pools on.

“They have a good manger in Ronnie Moore and hopefully Pools will go on to bigger and better things,” added the 31-year-old, who made his return in the 3-3 draw against Pools at Brunton Park.

Sweeney, who made 26 appearances for Carlisle last season, returned to Hartlepool for the recent Cardiff 2005 reunion event at the Borough Hall, on the Headland.

The event, in aid of Hartlepool & District Hospice, saw the squad that reached the 2005 League One Play-Off final reunite.

* SportMail has produced a special souvenir eight-page supplement in today’s Hartlepool Mail to mark the 10-year anniversary since the 4-2 League One Play-Off final defeat to Sheffield Wednesday.

More than 17,000 Pools fans watched the drama unfold inside Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium.

And you can relive the action as key players Micky Barron, Ritchie Humphreys, Sweeney, Michael Nelson and Mark Tinkler recount their memories of the day.