From takeover collapses to transfer triumphs: Hartlepool United's SEVEN defining moments of 2018
2018 will certainly make for an interesting chapter in the history of Hartlepool United.
With three managers, a takeover, a huge turnover in players and countless on field highs and lows, it’s certainly been a tumultuous year at the Super 6 Stadium.
There have been no shortage of talking points but, with the future now looking distinctly more promising than it did 12 months ago, we cast our eye back over the last year and pick out the seven key moments that defined 2018 for Pools:
1. The very real threat of administration
2018 was still in its infancy when Pam Duxbury confirmed that Pools were a matter of days away from administration.
With £200,000 needed in order to pay wages and bills, things looked bleak for the club.
The prospect of administration was a very real one and, had it not been for a great deal of generosity, then who knows where the club may have found themselves.
Pools fans raised a substantial sum to help save the club, while the sale of Conor Simpson to Preston also raised much-needed funds.
2. Chris Musgrave’s takeover falls through
While administration was fended off, the collapse of the businessman’s takeover bid provided a stark reminder of Pools’ financial state.
Having been approached by Hartlepool Council, Musgrave admitted in January that he would have been prepared to plow upwards of £1.5million into the club.
But after finding out the serious nature of the club’s finances - and having received no details of what level of finance would be needed to correct them - Musgrave withdrew his interest.
3. Raj Singh’s attendance at the dramatic draw with Fylde
This March afternoon was arguably vital both on and off the pitch.
At Mill Farm, Pools fought back from 3-1 down to claim a vital point against a play-off chasing side - with fine strikes from Jake Cassidy and Devante Rodney securing a late point.
But that stunning comeback took backstage after Raj Singh was spotted in the crowd.
Fylde was the first step on a road which saw Singh and director of football Craig Hignett not only take control of the club, but also stabilise their finances.
4. The final day triumph at Tranmere
With a takeover completed and the club’s National League status secured, Pools fans could once again look up.
And this final day triumph at Tranmere - who would eventually gain promotion via the play-offs, offered plenty of optimism for a brighter future.
The 2-1 win was arguably one of Hartlepool’s finest moments of the season and will undoubtedly have played a part in landing Matthew Bates the manager’s job.
Such a win heralded in a new era of optimism ahead of what proved to be a busy summer.
5. The signing of Andrew Davies
The signing of the centre back was more than merely just another player addition. This was a statement of intent.
After the previous summer had seen some disastrous captures to say the least, the signing of Davies was a signal of Pools’ future desires.
The likes of Liam Noble and Luke James followed, as Bates’ recruitment continued to catch the eye.
No matter what you may have made of his managerial stint, it’s difficult to criticise Bates’ recruitment drive - which has certainly helped to define the current season.
6. The FA Cup replay against Gillingham
Oh, how different things may have been.
Had the ball not struck Carl Magnay’s hand deep into injury time, we could be discussing a completely different Pools.
It’s merely speculation, of course, but an FA Cup run could well have saved Matthew Bates his job.
As it was, however, the defeat proved to be another nail in his coffin as Pools ultimately decided on a change.
7. The appointment of Richard Money
While the impact of this moment may not be wholly felt in 2018, it will certainly prove to be a key moment.
Money has quickly stamped his authority on the Super 6 Stadium, and the early signs have been positive.
Let’s hope they continue into 2019 and beyond.