Dave Challinor has this message for Hartlepool United president Jeff Stelling
Dave Challinor knows how much promotion meant to Hartlepool United president Jeff Stelling – and he was delighted to help the club achieve it.
Pools are back in the Football League and busy preparing for the new League Two campaign, which gets underway on August 7.
With new contracts to be sorted and players to be signed, The Vic will be a hive of activity over the coming weeks now that the celebrations have died down.
The bus parade took part on Friday evening throughout the town, with fans turning out in their thousands to celebrate the promotion achieved the Sunday before.
Club president and Sky Sports presenter Stelling can often be seen promoting the club and the town every weekend on national TV and Challinor was delighted he could celebrate promotion.
Challinor said: “I imagine Sky are quite pleased he wasn’t in the studio!
"There probably would have been a few expletives and things like that shouted from Jeff.
"I’m delighted for him. When the chairman came into the football club, Jeff has been a fan for a long, long time and I’m new to it in terms of coming into the club, he’s been a Hartlepool fan his whole life and he played a massive part in a real central figure that from a club perspective increases the profile of what we do because he’s a household figure who sits on the TV on Sky every Saturday and does a great job commenting on football which is fantastic.
"It’s for the supporters and for people like Jeff who have been Hartlepool supporters their whole lives.
"It means a lot to us but it will mean so much more to them and I’m thankful that I’ve played a part in that.”
The National League play-off final against Torquay United proved to be a promotion final classic as Luke Armstrong gave Pools the lead before Torquay goalkeeper Lucas Covolan headed in a 95th-minute equaliser to take the game to extra-time and penalties.
Pools triumphed 5-4 to send them back into the Football League after four years in non-league.
There is little time to waste now that the retained list has been released and Pools are in contract negotiations with several players including Rhys Oates, Luke Molyneux, Nicky Featherstone, Gary Liddle and club captan Ryan Donaldson.
Pools can’t wait too long though to secure players ahead of the new campaign.
The players will be back in pre-season training in the next two weeks ahead of a short pre-season before the new campaign gets underway.
Challinor added: “As much as we want to give people time to think about what’s there, they’ll want their futures decided as quickly as possible and we’ll need to know where we stand as quickly as possible.
"If that’s not the case and in some instances it won’t be.
"There will be lads we want to keep who might have offers from elsewhere or their expectations will be far above where we are in terms of our budget and where they are in terms of what we should be offering them.
"Hopefully we can keep as many of them together as we can.”