Hartlepool boss Ronnie Moore can finally relax at Carlisle after ‘surreal’ week

Hartlepool United manager Ronnie Moore celebrating with his staff at the end of the game against Exeter City which saw Pools retain their Football League status. Picture by FRANK REID

Hartlepool United manager Ronnie Moore celebrating with his staff at the end of the game against Exeter City which saw Pools retain their Football League status. Picture by FRANK REID

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RONNIE Moore says it still feels “surreal” his Hartlepool United side managed to avoid relegation.

Pools can enjoy a rare stress free trip to Carlisle United tomorrow (KO 3pm) after securing their league status with a game to spare following the Exeter City win.

Beating the drop still feels surreal

Ronnie Moore

It sparked wild and emotional scenes at Victoria Park and Moore was happy to give the players four days off.

He says his squad should look forward to the trip to Brunton Park and “enjoy” the experience along with the 2,000 Bob Marley-clad Pools supporters.

But he still wants a win and has no intention of getting his “deck chair and cigar” out – though it did cross his mind.

“It still feels surreal,” Moore told SportMail.

“There was a strange atmosphere when they got into training yesterday morning because we hadn’t seen them for a few days.

“I’d said before Exeter that if they do their part [and secure safety] then they can tell me when they wanted to come back in.

“After the game someone had put on the board ‘We’re staying up. Fancy dress. 10.15am Saturday.’

“I thought we can’t really go that far, we have to stay a bit professional!

“They got a right blasting in training though as they have had their rest days, which was their reward.

“It was a long Saturday night, an enjoyable one and certainly a long Sunday and I just about recovered Monday.

“I’d promised I wouldn’t have another drink and then at 5.30pm I thought ‘sod it’.

“It has been hectic and I need to give my liver a rest!”

Now the focus is to finish the season with as many points as possible.

Moore added: “You always want to win a game but the team that plays tomorrow won’t be the team that starts in August.

“It is about the players going out and enjoying it, just don’t do anything stupid.

“There is no pressure so just express yourself.

“Mind, I will still be angry at half-time if they aren’t performing.

“There are 2,000 going to watch us, and I know they are having a day out but they still want us to win so it is not a matter of just turning up and getting into the party spirit.

“But it is nice when there is no pressure, it is very rare in football.”

A large section of the Pools support will be in reggae gear to tie in with the annual tradition of going in fancy dress to the final away game.

Rotherham boss Steve Evans joked he would dress in a sombrero, T-shirt and shorts for their game at Leeds United after staying in the Championship.

Not that Moore was too keen to see his friend in his summer outfit.

Moore added: “Our support has been fantastic all season, they always get dressed up for the final away game and supporters can go, get dressed up and enjoy it.

“Steve Evans said he will get dressed up if they were safe, but I wouldn’t like to see him in a pair of shorts and take his shirt off – a total eclipse of Rotherham!

“Only joking Steve!

“I did think of taking a deck chair, cigar and a glass of brandy, but it might be a bit too far that one!”