HARTLEPOOL United’s fans deserve something to get excited about after sticking with the club through a turbulent year on the field.
So says the man in charge, John Hughes, who believes the team’s performances since the turn of the year have at least renewed a bit of pride after a shocking start to the season.
The fans, in large, have stayed behind Pools despite the club spending the vast majority of the campaign in the drop zone and throughout terribly frustrating spells such as the recent barren eight-game stretch without a goal.
And they were in good voice throughout Saturday evening’s televised clash with Brentford, with many staying beyond the final whistle of Pools’ battling 1-1 draw with the high flying Bees - a gesture noticed and very much appreciated by Hughes.
“The fans are everything, a football club is nothing if you haven’t got supporters,” he said.
“It’s up to us to give them something.
“I want to excite them and bring players to the club that they get excited about.
“Listen, it’s not going to be a Didier Drogba, there has to be an understanding that we have to work within restraints and with a budget but these guys have stuck with us all year.
“All they have asked, even in the bad times, was a little bit of pride and a wee bit of fight and over the last three or four months we’ve certainly gave them that.”
Despite the upturn in results, Pools still find themselves some way short of the points total that would have required to stay in the division, and inevitably Hughes looks back at some of the could-have-been or should-have-been moments which could have kept the club in with a fighting chance of survival.
He added: “In your quieter moments you look back and say if he had done this or never done this or if we had kept that clean sheet there, that’s football.
“Now it’s my job to pick this club up by the scruff of the neck and take it where it belongs and that’s back playing football and I believe in the higher places in League One, but that doesn’t happen overnight and it’s going to take real hard work.”