MEET the man behind the mask who is all set for his fair share of monkey business.
Michael Evans, 28, is the man charged with cheering Pools on from pitch-side this season after he was confirmed as the new H’Angus the Monkey.
The signing may well have not been as high profile as Steve Howard, Jonathan Franks or Simon Walton, but passionate Pools fan Michael is delighted to be pulling on his much-loved blue and white stripes this weekend, as well as a monkey’s head, of course.
“I’ve always wanted to make it in football, but I was never ever good enough. This is my chance to shine,” laughed Michael, pitch-side at Victoria Park.
“I just can’t wait to get the league kicked off this weekend.”
Michael, who has been a season ticket holder and regular visitor to the Vic throughout his life, was one of a dozen H’Angus hopefuls who applied when Scott Llewellyn decided to give up the role after seven years.
He impressed when he met club officials and was given a trial match in Pools’ 2-2 pre-season friendly draw with Middlesbrough, where he took the opportunity to join Boro boss Tony Mowbray on the bench and posed for a picture.
And Michael was going ape just a few days later when he discovered he had landed the role for the upcoming season.
He won’t be the first Evans family member to have a role with Pools, as his great-granddad, Nick Evans, used to be a scout for the club and once signed a player for a box of kippers.
Michael can’t wait to get into the thick of the action on the sidelines, starting this weekend with Pools’ campaign opener at home to Swindon Town.
“There’s nothing really to be nervous about,” said Michael, who grew up in Trimdon, but now lives in Chilton and works as a material handler for Nissan.
“I loved the trial game and I can’t wait for this weekend.
“Against Middlesbrough all of the kids were coming up and asking for autographs and photos. They come to see H’Angus and I kind of felt like a role model to them.”
A Hartlepool United spokesman said: “Scott had been doing the job for a while so when he decided to hand over the suit we needed to find people who were interested in dressing up in a monkey costume.
“We had about a dozen serious applications and Michael’s enthusiasm really impressed us.
“He’s really enthusiastic about the role and we think he will do a fantastic job.
“H’Angus is obviously a very popular character so it was essential for us we had the new person in place for the new season.”