‘It was just surreal’ – Hartlepool United fans react to being back inside Victoria Park for the first time in 14 months
Hartlepool United turned on the style to beat Weymouth 4-0 as fans returned to Victoria Park for the first time since March 2020.
It was a victorious return for the 1,700 Pools fans back at to Victoria Park for the first time since March 2020, with Hartlepool United beating Weymouth in their final match of the regular 2020-21 National League season.
Goals from Ryan Johnson, Rhys Oates, Mark Shelton and Gavan Holohan saw Pools claim a comfortable victory and means that they will host Bromley in the play-off eliminator round match at Victoria Park on June 6.
Fans have been reacting to not only the victory, but to being back inside the Vic after 14 months away.
Ron Harnish, the chair of Hartlepool United Supporters Trust, described the “surreal” experience of being back inside Victoria Park for the first time since March last year and looked ahead of next weekend’s game.
The 68-year-old commented: “It obviously would have been nice to be up there (in 3rd position) but we will do it the hard way against Bromley.
"I don’t think that they will want to play us, we played some good football today and obviously they will have to come to the Vic.
“It was just surreal, great to see so more familiar faces again in the crowd and the atmosphere was just tremendous.
"Plus, a 4-0 win and a solid performance, what more could you want?”
Pauline McSweenie, secretary of Hartlepool United Supporters’ Association, heaped praised on club for the organising the fixture to ensure that safety of all the fans inside the ground.
She said: “It all seemed to go well, it was very well organised and the team put on a good display for the fans.
“Top marks to Kate Betts, the club’s Supporter Liason Officer (SLO) for ensuring that the day ran smoothly for everyone returning to the ground.
"It was great to be back and seeing people that you haven’t seen for around 13 to 14 months and actually being able to watch the game live rather than an online stream.
"It was strange seeing fans on all four sides of the ground but it was a positive atmosphere and was good to be back.”
The 60-year-old said: “Going to the match is like a family affair, I go with my Dad, who has been watching Pools for about 60 to 70 years, I’ve been coming for around 55 years and my daughter goes as well so it is a true family outing.
"We always go for a drink beforehand and we kept that ritual up today despite it being a 12.30pm kick-off but it is great to be back after such a long time away.
"The club has done really well with the live streams and keeping the fans involved throughout the pandemic and it was great to see a really convincing victory and solid performance from all of the players today.
"It is a bit of shame that we could only have 1,700 fans in there today, I think it would have been a full house if there wasn’t a limited capacity.”