Summer of hard work lies ahead says Hartlepool chairman Ken Hodcroft

Hartlepool manager Ronnie Moore celebrating survival
Hartlepool manager Ronnie Moore celebrating survival

CHAIRMAN Ken Hodcroft says a summer of hard work lies ahead after a “season horribilis” for Hartlepool United ended in the Great Escape.

The 2014-15 campaign has been one of turmoil for Pools on and off the pitch with three managers, a failed takeover and a relegation battle to contend with.

But the dramatic 2-1 win over Exeter City secured the club’s league status for another season.

Writing in his programme notes ahead of the game with Exeter at Victoria Park, the club’s chairman reflected on the campaign which started with Colin Cooper in charge and ended with Ronnie Moore rescuing the club from dropping out the league pyramid.

Hodcroft said: “The season has, at best, been occasionally exciting - but always interesting and, at times, horrendous.

“Decisions made last summer to allow Colin [Cooper] to dismantle the squad and not keep (at least) three key players (against mine and Russ’ advice) was wrong - but, as is demanded by most fans, media and indeed most managers, we tried not to interfere.

“The appointment of Paul Murray and Willie Donachie was, we had hoped, going to result in a “dream team” combining young and old - but after Blyth it was clear it would not work.

“Then the hope that new investors TMH would bring funds into the club disappeared in January and the club remained adrift at the bottom of the league.

“One good decision was made by Russ and I just prior to TMH and that was the recommendation to appoint Ronnie as manager.

“Of course, we let TMH make the announcement as we thought that would set things up for their involvement.

“Once TMH were no longer going to play a part, IOR moved quickly to ensure Ronnie had a written contract and to offer him the necessary support.

“Obviously Ronnie’s use of Sam Collins kept the continuity within the football department that IOR insist upon.

“However, let’s not forget the other backroom staff such as Ian Gallagher and Martyn Brown and others who have remained with HUFC over the years as managers have come and gone but who also ensure continuity and pass on to all players and managers the loyalty and dedication needed at HUFC.

“IOR did not recommit itself to HUFC from January to allow the team to get relegated.”

The club remains up for sale following the failed takeover of TMH 2014, with Hodcroft again appealing for new investment.

He also praised the staff and supporters for their ongoing commitment to the club, despite the tough season on the pitch.

Hodcroft added: “Whether or not IOR remain at HUFC, what drives this club is the dedication of all the staff, for which I and IOR have been grateful for nearly 18 years.

“Despite this “season horribilis” everyone at the club has stuck to their tasks and for that I thank you, In addition, the fans have been fantastic - especially away from home.”

He also confirmed plans for work to be carried out at Victoria Park over the summer months, while Moore rebuilds the team ahead of next season.

Hodcroft added: “There is a lot of work to be done on and off the pitch this close season, not only involving players but also the need for a full pitch and drain renovation, and a new CCTV system to name but a few.

“The total spend in the close season on such facilities and miscellaneous work will be considerable.

“So once again, we ask any local businesses or individuals to offer to sponsor the club in any way that you can.”