Hartlepool United legend Ritchie Humphreys has this message for Pools fans as fight goes on to save club
Even in this darkest of dark hours, Hartlepool United club legend Ritchie Humphreys is adamant the gloom will lift from Victoria Park.
And he is urging Poolies to keep the faith, because in football, he says, you just never know what’s around the corner.
Humphreys was part of the most successful period in the club’s 110-year history, and a cornerstone of the side which came within touching distance of promotion to the Championship.
In 2005, Pools were famously just eight minutes shy of the second tier promised land, but a late Sheffield Wednesday equaliser in the play-off final at Cardiff and then a subsequent defeat in extra-time ensured Humphreys & Co were heartbroken.
In these uncertain times Humphreys, who holds the record for the most appearances of any player ever to wear the famous blue and white, thinks Pools can take inspiration from that side of 13 years ago.
“No one would ever have believed we would achieve what we did back then,” he said.
“Fans had supported Pools for years and they had seen dark days in the bottom division. People were having to pinch themselves that we were so close to getting to the Championship, and did ourselves and the town proud.
“I bet they could never have imagined that kind of success.
“It’s similar now. With all the uncertainty off the pitch, things don’t look good for Pools.
“But football is a funny game for throwing up the unexpected.
“You just never know what is around the corner in this game. It’s difficult for fans to see any route to success at this stage, but I have faith the gloom will lift and we will see Pools back where they belong before long.”
Humphreys, with former team-mate Michael Barron, has played his part in the fundraising effort to help save Hartlepool United from falling off a financial cliff.
Both were involved in a talk-in at Victoria Park, which boosted club coffers in their most urgent time of need.
The club need to find around £200,000 in total to stave off the threat of administration after owner and money man John Blackledge pulled the plug on the cash that was keeping Pools afloat.
And Humphreys admits it’s a sad state of affairs that the club he loves dearly, is in such dire straits.
“It is awful,” said Humphreys, who now works full-time as a liaison executive for the PFA.
“I played 70-80% of my football career at this club. It is a place I hold close to my heart.
“The football club is the beating heart of the town. The club means so much to so many people.
“It is unthinkable this club could go under. I suppose it was unthinkable this club would be outside the Football League not too long ago, but that’s the reality of the game. That’s why we love it so much - it’s impossible to predict.
“We have to hope that a year down the line we will look back on this as just a very bad memory. Something has to give, off the field, though. We have to have hope it will.”