'I can't wait' - Hartlepool United fans eager to return for first match in over a year as team chase promotion

Hartlepool United fans are “chomping at the bit” to get back to Victoria Park after the club confirmed details for the long-awaited return of supporters.

Saturday, 15th May 2021, 4:45 am

Pools chiefs released details on Friday about how they will allow 1,700 home fans in for the home match against Weymouth on Saturday, May 29, on the final day of the National League season.

It will be the first match at Victoria Park that fans have been able to attend since March 7 last year and comes as the team chases promotion back to the Football League.

Ron Harnish, chair of Hartlepool United Supporters Trust, said: “It’s tremendous. I will be there, I can’t wait.

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Hartlepool United fans in Victoria Park's North West Corner. Picture by FRANK REID

"Everybody is chomping at the bit to get back in.”

All fans who bought season tickets for this past year – understood to be some 1,300 – will automatically be allowed in.

The remaining tickets will go on sale with priority to supporters who have bought season tickets for 2021-22, although the club admits there will not be enough for everybody.

Ron, 68, who has been a season ticket holder for “donkeys’ years”, added: "It’s massive. Fans have shown faith by putting their money up front when last season was curtailed and missed out on the full season again.

Season ticket holders Ron Harnish (left) and Mark Carroll.

“I think everybody’s been so frustrated but we’ve got to adhere to the rules. They are there to keep everyone safe.

"Now great, lets get into it and hopefully get through to the play-offs and have another big bumper day.”

Another die-hard Pools fan, Mark Carroll, 42, a season ticket holder for 24 years, said: "It will be a wonderful feeling to step back inside the ground after 14 months and be able to socialise and meet up with fellow fans at the game.

"Hopefully the return of fans can lead to many more returning when the new season begins and back to as close as 'normal' as possible.”

Fans will be assigned a new seat or terrace spot in line with league guidance and safety protocols.

The club said it is due to the higher cost of hosting it, including making a significant contribution to Weymouth’s travel costs after the date was rearranged.

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