A footballing son of Hartlepool who “did the town proud” during his playing days is set to have his loyalties tested later this month.
Steve Fletcher, who was born and brought up in Hartlepool before going on to start his career with Pools, went on to have a long and successful time with south coast club Bournemouth.
Steve really did the town proud to forge the career he didPhil Dunn
The two clubs have been drawn against each other in the second round of the League Cup, with the tie to be played at Victoria Park in the week beginning August 24.
The south coast team will return to the town where his mum and dad, Pat and Peter still live.
Bournemouth now play in the Premier League, and Fletcher had a terrific career, going on to become their record league appearance maker over two spells, spanning 19 years.
He remains with the Cherries as a scout, and Phil Dunn, Hartlepool United’s Supporters’ Trust spokesperson, said: “With him being Hartlepool born and bred, it will be interesting to see where his loyalties lie.
“He really did the town proud to forge the career he did. To do that, he had to leave the town, and was part of Bournemouth’s meteoric rise to the Premier League.
“I’m sure when the draw was made, he will have been jumping for joy.
“As a young player with Pools, he was raw, but you could certainly see there was something there. He was a big, strong and solid striker.
“He had already scored a few goals, but Pools let him go.
“Unfortunately, he was behind the likes of Joe Allon and Paul Baker.
“He was a bit unfortunate, because if he had come through at most points in Pools’ history, he would have been a first-team regular, but the competition was so fierce up-front then.”
Pauline McSweeney, secretary of the Hartlepool United Supporters’ Association, said: “Steve even has a stand named after him at Bournemouth, which isn’t bad for lad from Hartlepool.
“He went there and stayed there for most of his career.
“If you ever bumped into him, he always had time to speak to you.”