Onside: Farewell League One

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Hartlepool United’s six-year stint in League One has come to an end after a turbulent and frustrating season for all concerned.

Not least for the fans, many of whom have simply had enough.

Had enough of watching poor performances from a string of players, many of whom should have been shipped out two seasons ago.

While there has been a rally over the last couple of games, the woeful pre-Christmas form and goalless draws in must win matches against Portsmouth and Colchester United - plus the 3-0 defeat to relegation rivals Oldham - effectively sealed our fate.

It is unfortunate, not least for the club’s hierarchy, that the downturn in fortunes coincided with the £100 and £150 season ticket offers.

The club couldn’t have done anymore to get fans through the turnstiles with such a great ticket offer over the last two seasons.

But the football, and investment in the team, has simply not been good enough. Awful in fact.

Pools did give fans a glimmer of hope when they went on a decent run post-Christmas and managed to at least gain a semi-respectable amount of points.

But to go more than 12 hours recently without scoring in the league scuppered, dashed and obliterated any remaining hope of staying up.

Over the course of the season uninspiring performances, players lacking in energy or drive, and a chronic inability to put the ball in the back of the net has cost us dear.

It really has been bad at times and fans now are hoping for a summer clear-out and a fresh start.

Will the clear out happen?

It rarely pans out that way but the club needs to bring in players with a winning mentality, something sadly lacking over the past two seasons in particular.

The current crop are too used to losing football matches and the problem dates back to last season when we lost nine on the bounce at home.

It was unacceptable then and it is unacceptable now.

Last season we managed to turn it around but this season has been turgid from the season opener, a 5-0 defeat away to Crewe.

John Hughes - if given the chance - has a massive rebuilding job on his hands this summer.

Hopefully the manager will be given room to manoeuvre in the transfer market and of course all Pools fans hope we bounce straight back up.

But the difference to this summer and the 2005-2006 season, when we were last relegated to the basement division, was that we managed to keep together a good squad of players for that level.

We will have to wait and see what happens this time round.

Farewell League One, it has been emotional.

by Richard Mennear