MICK Wadsworth admits he would have felt like a “lottery winner” had a crystal ball last summer forecast the season that was about to unfold.
Saturday’s goalless draw at Charlton Athletic brought the curtain down on a gruelling campaign which has seen Pools flirt with both relegation and the play-offs.
In the end, a 16th-placed finish, some 10 points clear of the drop zone, represents a season which far exceeds the pessimism of nine months ago when Pools set out on their League One journey.
The season was just a few weeks old when Chris Turner walked out on the club, leaving first-team coach Wadsworth in temporary care.
The wily Yorkshireman managed to steady the ship in double-quick time and guided his team to safety with some five games still to play – a stark contrast to the final-day heroics of 12 months ago.
And that is why Wadsworth told SportMail he is able to reflect on the year with great satisfaction.
“IOR, the owners, demanded that we stay in this division,” he said.
“That in mind, we would have thought we had won the lottery if someone had told us we would be 10 points and five places clear of relegation come the end of the season.
“The lads said it was a horrible experience last year - all that pressure on one game on the last day at Brentford.
“So the major factor for me was to be better than we were last year and not to have that horrible end to the season that we’ve had for a couple of years, going into the last games not quite sure.
“And we’ve been better this year, for sure.
“We were clear (of relegation) a few weeks ago and we’ve been able to blood four youngsters which has been fantastic.
“So it’s been a nice end to the season because we’ve not been under pressure.”
Full story in Monday’s Mail