'We're back where we belong' - ecstatic Hartlepool United fans react after seeing Pools win promotion back to Football League
Hartlepool United fans were jumping for joy watching the team clinch promotion after the most dramatic of matches.
Supporters were put through the ringer in the nail-biting play off final at Ashoton Gate on Sunday afternoon as Pools won 5-4 on penalties to send them back to the Football League after four years in the National League.
More than 3,000 Poolies made lots of noise in Bristol over the weekend with thousands more watching at home and in pubs across the town.
Keith Robinson, 52, from Seaton Carew, who watched the game at Hornsey’s Bar, said: “It’s everything for the town and the supporters.
"The manager is fantastic to turn the team round the way he has. They’re back where they belong.”
The forklift truck driver added: “It was nail biting. You don’t want it to go to penalties and it could have gone either way.
"Thank God it went that way!”
Also watching on the outdoor screen were David Capocci, 60, and Lesley Flounders, 53, also from Seaton.
Home Bargains worker Lesley said: “It’s absolutely fantastic. I think they played really well. They worked so hard and they deserved it.
"Dave Challoner is a fantastic manager. It was a long trip for the team as well to go all the way down there.”
David added: “It was an unbelievable game. I couldn’t believe it when their keeper scored.
"The best team won. As a game it was eleven out of ten. Up front we were far better than them.”
Fans watching on Hornsey’s outdoor and indoor screens went through the full range of emotions as Pools led for much of the game.
They were left crestfallen when Torquay’s goalkeeper scored in the 95th minute to take the game to extra time.
There was more drama to follow as it came down to penalties and sudden death to separate the sides.
Fans leaped for joy and took the roof off when Pools keeper Brad Jones saved Torquay’s penalty by Matt Buse to seal victory and promotion.
Gary Arnell, 53, a sound engineer and DJ from Catcote Road, said afterwards: “My nerves are jangling after being put through that but I definitely wouldn’t have had it any other way.
"I had a good feeling about today and just felt it in my bones. We’re up!”