Hartlepool United axe big names - and there could be further casualties

Tommy Miller in action for Hartlepool United Reserves during their 1-0 victory over Gateshead Reserves. Picture by FRANK REID
Tommy Miller in action for Hartlepool United Reserves during their 1-0 victory over Gateshead Reserves. Picture by FRANK REID
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MARLON Harewood, Jack Compton, Tommy Miller and Stuart Parnaby have all been axed by Hartlepool United as Ronnie Moore’s summer rebuilding plans get underway.

The club finally released its retained list for the 2015-16 campaign last night with youngsters Darren Holden and goalkeeper Jonny Maxted also being released by Pools.

We have to make room to bring in fresh blood. It is never easy, some of them will agree and some won’t.

Ronnie Moore

Moore had promised major changes this summer as he looks to replace highly paid experienced pros with up to nine new signings in a bid to avoid another season of struggle.

And there could still be further casualties with the Sky Bet League Two club still in negotiations with Scott Flinders, Matthew Bates, Jonathan Franks and Neil Austin.

There weren’t any major surprises, with former Aston Villa and Nottingham Forest striker Harewood always expected to leave after an 18-month stint at Pools.

Meanwhile, Jack Compton had already confirmed he was on his way out, while Stuart Parnaby and Tommy Miller have both missed long periods this season through injury.

Moore thanked the released players for their service but said the time had come to move on.

Moore told SportMail: “We have to make room to bring in fresh blood. It is never easy, some of them will agree and some won’t.

“But I have to sit and make a decision about what is best for the club.

“It is never easy to tell someone they are on a free and out of work, that is always tough. But it has to be done.

“We had to try and get the big hitters out so we can use the finance to strengthen for next season.

“It isn’t too bad with the older players, the kids and the YTS are the hardest to tell. That is when you get the tears.

“Sometimes it is a nice feeling and other times not so nice when people have been at a club for a while.”

While six players have been released, their were new contracts for a raft of Pools players who helped the club pull off the Great Escape in the final few weeks of the season.

Pools exercised the options on: Michael Duckworth, Nicky Featherstone, Scott Fenwick, Lewis Hawkins, Dan Jones, Josh Nearney and Michael Woods.

Meanwhile Scott Harrison, Jordan Richards, Ebby Nelson-Addy and Brad Walker were already under contract ahead of the new season starting on August 8.

A statement on the club website thanked the released players for their service and commitment and wished them the best for the future.

Compton, 26, a former Portsmouth and Colchester winger, was keen to return back down south to be closer to his family but his two-year stay in the North East wouldn’t have been extended anyway.

Another Colin Cooper signing, Harewood, joined in January 2014, but despite a big reputation scored just six goals in 55 games for the club.

Miller, 36, who made his 600th career appearance in the 2-1 win over Exeter City, rejoined Pools last summer but missed six months of the campaign after injuring his calf.

He made his long awaited return in the final minutes of the Exeter win but has now been released after two spells at the club.

In his first spell he bagged 35 goals in 135 games to earn himself a big-money move up the leagues, moving to Ipswich in 2001 for a club record fee of £750,000 after helping Pools to the promotion play-offs two years in a row, in 2000 and 2001, thanks to some vital goals from midfield.

Former Middlesbrough and Birmingham defender Parnaby was another Cooper signing but missed almost the entire season with a knee injury, making just five appearances for the club.

Holden came up through the ranks at Pools but barely featured this season, while Maxted, signed by Paul Murray mid-season hasn’t played a first team game for Pools.

Talks with those remaining first team players, including captain Scott Flinders and Austin, will continue.