Pools legend back in town

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A FOOTBALL legend will return to Hartlepool this week after launching a book which charts his glittering career.

John McGovern, who started his career playing youth football on Hartlepool’s Central Estate before being snapped up by Pools boss Brian Clough, went on to lift the European Cup twice.

The Montrose-born star made his debut for the club as a 16-year-old in a home game with Bradford City in 1965 while he was still a pupil at Henry Smith’s School.

John, who is now based in the East Midlands and spends his time on the after-dinner speaking circuit as well as covering one of his former clubs, Nottingham Forest for local radio, has penned an autobiography Bo’ness to the Bernabeu and will be in Hartlepool on Thursday to sign copies for fans.

John played 76 games for Pools, scoring seven times, before he left The Vic in 1968 when Clough took him to Derby.

John, 62, said: “Hartlepool plays a big part in my book.

“Obviously I started off my career there and would never have achieved what I did had it not been for the chance I had at the club.

“I was 15 years old before I first pulled on a football shirt and that was for Central Park in the Church League second division.

“Around about the same time Pools had some trial games and Brian Clough and Peter Taylor said to the groundsman to make sure the gates were locked until I had signed for them.

“A year later, I made my debut for the first team. The day before, I was still at school!

“In the book, I talk about the early days growing up on the Central Estate and they are memories that still live with me now.

“I still keep an eye on the Pools results and I get back to the town as often as I can because I still have some good pals up there.

“I’m looking forward to seeing a few familiar faces on Thursday.”

John will be at WH Smith, in Middleton Grange Shopping Centre, on Thursday, between noon-2pm.