'Probably our most famous fan' - Hartlepool United pay tribute to rock star Meat Loaf

Hartlepool United have paid tribute to arguably their most famous supporter following the death of rock star Meat Loaf.

By Damian Spellman, PA
Friday, 21st January 2022, 3:58 pm

The larger-than-life American singer, whose death at the age of 74 was announced by his family on Friday, adopted the League Two club after being asked to appear on Sky Sports's Soccer AM programme in 2003.

There were even rumours that he wanted to buy a house in the area.

A club spokesman said: "Everyone at the club is saddened to hear of the passing of international superstar Meat Loaf.

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Late American rock star and Hartlepool United fan Meat Loaf.

"Meat Loaf's story of how he became a Hartlepool supporter when he appeared on Soccer AM was heart-warming and we are glad to have been the team to which he dedicated his passion for football.

"He was probably our most famous fan and we send all our love and thoughts to his family and friends at this sad time."

Meat Loaf, who was born Marvin Lee Aday but was also known as Michael, later explained his recruitment to the blue and white cause in an interview with talkSport Magazine, revealing he had been attracted by the town’s monkey legend.

He said: "I was going on Soccer AM and they said 'do you have a team that you support, Manchester United, Liverpool?', and I was going, 'that's boring!'.

Iron Maiden guitarist Janick Gers, centre, pictured at a Hartlepool United game.

"It's just like a celebrity to go on and go 'oh, I'm a Liverpool fan, I support whoever', the teams who have always been at the top.

"So I started looking and I went to the second division, no, no, and I got down to the third division and I said, 'There's a cool name, Hartlepool, in the third division'.

"I found out that the city back a long time ago, the claim was that a monkey washed ashore and the whole city thought it was a Frenchman and they hung him, and I said, 'That's perfect'.

"Then what I did was I started researching all the players from Hartlepool, so when I got on Soccer AM, I knew all the players, I knew the last game, I knew who were the big scorers, I knew who the coach was.”

His English publicity machine was initially keen to milk the connection and started leaking tales about how the singer, whose hits included I’d Do Anything For Love and Dead Ringer For Love, was considering buying a house in the area.

Up market estate agents were asked for property portfolios and Pools fans began to dream that he may even contemplate buying the club.

Meat Loaf himself also briefly sported Hartlepool United colours at the start of his December 2003 concert at the Newcastle Arena.

Soon, however, the stories dried up – disappearing like a Bat Out Of Hell even – and Mr Aday never quite joined the faithful on the club’s Town End.

Not that the Poolie army desperately needs a rock star among its brethren.

Iron Maiden guitarist Janick Gers was born in the town and can still be spotted watching the team.

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