Newcastle kid happy to see career come full circle at Hartlepool

Ryan Donaldson sets off on a run. Picture by FRANK REID
Ryan Donaldson sets off on a run. Picture by FRANK REID

Ryan Donaldson is thrilled his career has gone “full circle” and brought him back to Hartlepool United.

The attacking midfielder got his first taste of professional football with a dozen games on loan for Pools up front when he was a teenage Newcastle United prospect in 2011.

You want to play in the Football League but this is a Football League club in everything but name,

RYAN DONALDSON

Donaldson, now 26, is thrilled to have joined Pools on a permanent basis – but this is no move about sentiment.

The Geordie is here to win games – a lot of games with Pools and get the club back into the Football League.

“I can’t wait to get started,” explained Donaldson, who said the deal was concluded quickly.

“It’s been a bit of a whirlwind, to be honest.

“I have good memories from my time here – I played my first game of professional football here.

“I’m on 200-plus now, so I have come full circle and hopefully I can help the club move in the right direction again.

“I only heard about it last week, but it ticked all the right boxes and it’s something I wanted to be a part of and I can’t wait to get started.”

Donaldson told www.hartlepoolunited.co.uk that there was interest from other areas, including EFL clubs, but added that he had no qualms about stepping down into the fifth tier.

“You want to play in the Football League, but this is a Football League club in everything but name,” he said.

“To be in the league is good, but this was just perfect for me.

“To be back in the North East and playing for this club again is something I couldn’t turn down.”

Donaldson was unable to fulfil his Magpies promise in his first instalment at the Vic.

He never made it either at his boyhood club, but once he crossed the Tyne to Gateshead in the National League, he was a young man transformed.

He was superb for Heed, earning him a move to league rivals Cambridge United.

Donaldson was excellent for the U’s, firing them to promotion, much to his former club’s chagrin – he scored against them in the play-off final at Wembley.

That victory was his second dose of Wembley glory, having earlier scored two of the goals when Cambridge won the FA Trophy, beating Gosport Borough 4-0.

Donaldson spent a further two seasons in the Football League with Cambridge before joining League Two rivals Plymouth last summer.

He made 33 appearances for the Pilgrims, scoring twice, only to fall out of favour for the final two months of the campaign.