JAMES Poole believes it is the “right time” to move on after turning down the offer of a new contract at Hartlepool United, writes RICHARD MENNEAR.
The 24-year-old forward says he is now looking for a new challenge after leaving Victoria Park.
His departure was widely expected given it has been almost two months since the club offered Poole a new contract.
Just last week manager Colin Cooper told SportMail he hadn’t heard from the forward ahead of the player’s returning to pre-season training at Maiden Castle, in Durham.
But is has now been confirmed Poole has left the Sky Bet League Two club after four seasons, which saw him score 16 goals in 113 appearances.
“It just feels like the right time to move and try something new, but I’ll take with me some good memories of Hartlepool United,” said Poole.
“I’ve enjoyed my time here.
“The fans have been brilliant with me and the team through some difficult times and it’s been a pleasure to play in front of them both home and away.
“I’ve made some great friends at the club so I’ll continue to look out for the results and wish them all the best for the future – which I’m sure has a very good chance of being a bright one,” Poole told the club’s website.
Cooper told SportMail last week: “We made James what we felt was a fair offer judged on what he’d done in the years he’s had here and on last season.”
But Poole has now opted to move on to pastures new.
The forward made a permanent move to Victoria Park in the summer of 2011 after a spell on loan the previous campaign, spending three months here during 2010-11 while on the books as a trainee at Manchester City.
Last season he turned out 39 times for Cooper’s side – including 14 sub appearances – scoring just four goals.
During his Pools career he was, at times, frustrated by injury and a lack of consistency but he was also capable of scoring stunning goals.
He had four strikes on the shortlist for the 2011-12 goal of the season award, before winning it outright the following season for his goal against Notts County.
Indeed he will be fondly remembered by supporters following THAT ‘Hartley-Poole’ match – when ex-HUFC defender Peter Hartley and Poole combined to score the goals that helped secure the crucial 2-1 win over Notts County.
Their exploits – a headline writer’s dream – hit the international headlines with football fans as far away as Australia reading about their efforts.
Poole was on a five-man shortlist for Mitre Goal of the Year for 2013, for that technically superb strike against County but sadly missed out to Coventry City’s Franck Moussa.
His departure from Pools follows that of midfielders Simon Walton and Andy Monkhouse, who were both released, and club stalwart Antony Sweeney, who turned down the offer of a new contract to sign for League Two rivals Carlisle United instead.
Zak Boagey and Greg Rutherford were also released at the end of the last campaign, with defenders Matthew Bates and Stuart Parnaby the first summer signings to arrive at Victoria Park so far.