Analysis: The light shines bright at Pools, despite a season of troubles
'In every darkness, there's a light. In every struggle, there's a way. In every faith, there's a hope.'
In a season full of negatives, there is definitely at least one shining light for Hartlepool United. In fact, there are thousands.
Someone a whole lot smarter, more eloquent and learned than myself was once attributed with the above quote.
And reflecting back on the season that was - the worst in Pools’ history - it seems very appropriate to reference it.
While Hartlepool have never finished as low in the league pyramid, avoided falling off the cliff into oblivion by skin of their teeth and have offered little to nothing of note on the park to cheer - this has a case to br noted as the most significant campaign in the club’s 110-year existence.
The football has been dire. The plight troubling. The finances - which saw Pools with just £500 in the bank prior to Raj Singh’s takeover - have caused a grey hair or two and cost hard-working men and women a penny or two in the process.
But despite all that, the togetherness is the one thing that shines through from the campaign.
When Pools needed their fans most, Poolies, the town, Middlesbrough, the North East footballing community and a wider audience came together to wrap their arms collectively around Victoria Park and keep this great club alive.
There were times when no one knew if the Vic would be open on a Saturday for Poolies to continue making the pilgrimage, but due to the fans and in spite of all of the actions of those associated with the economical demise of the club - we all know who they are - this club remains. Out of the ashes... Well, almost.
This was why Poolies’ choice of clowns was so appropriate.
In truth it reflects their thoughts on those who have worn the blue and white this season, bar a very small select band. And it also even more poignantly reflects those who have been in control of the club since the departure of Ken Hodcroft and IOR.
Only in the last six months have the true extent of the horrors been revealed.
And without doubt even in the midst of a new dawn it will take yet more months under Boro businessman Singh for every skeleton to removed from every hidden closet at the Vic.
As one banner read: “Gary Coxall, the Cockney Clown.”
He has taken a lot of the flak and deservedly so, be he was just one of the cogs in the perilous Pools wheel.
Saturday wasn’t about the football.
It was about celebrating the past and cherishing a future that so many thought would only exist under a new name.
This was about coming together as fans, getting dressed up, having a drink, having a laugh with like-minded people with football and Hartlepool in their heart.
The score was 2-1 by the way. Liam Donnelly scored a penalty on what is likely to be his last appearance for the club, under a manager who could also be shown the door in the next 48 hours. Rhys Oates added a second before the end and Jeff Hughes halved the deficit, but Pools hung on.
The 738 who were in the stands will be back, though. And that is all that really ever mattered.