Hartlepool United defender explains contract decision after ex-Sunderland and Blackpool man agreed new two-year deal

David Ferguson has revealed it was the Hartlepool United supporters who played a huge role in his decision to put pen to paper on a new two-year deal with the club back in May.

By Joe Ramage
Wednesday, 6th July 2022, 2:30 pm

Ferguson committed his future to Pools on the eve of the final day of the season to remove any potential speculation of the full-back leaving the club for free this summer - similar to Luke Molyneux and Timi Odusina who both chose to run down their contracts before moving on to Doncaster Rovers and Bradford City.

But for Ferguson it was different.

At 28-years-old, Ferguson is arguably in the peak of his career and, although it took some time for him to weigh up his options, the thought of playing his football away from the Suit Direct Stadium seemed alien to the former Sunderland defender.

David Ferguson enjoyed a successful season with Hartlepool United in 2021/22. (Credit: Mark Fletcher | MI News)

But after joining the club from York City in August 2020, Ferguson had to bide his time before he was afforded the real Suit Direct Stadium experience in front of a bumper crowd with stadia up and down the country subjected to the behind-closed-doors experience during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It was not until Pools’ final home game of the National League campaign, a resounding 4-0 win over Weymouth, that Ferguson was actually able to play in front of the home supporters before enjoying the promotion success over Torquay United in front of just over 3,000 Pools fans in Bristol.

But last year certainly struck a chord with the ex-Blackpool captain, as supporters played their part in ensuring Pools remained a League Two club this season - a season in which Ferguson hopes to play a big part in.

“[It was special] when the fans came back in and you see how much it means to them,” Ferguson said in an interview with BBC Tees.

David Ferguson put pen to paper on a new two-year deal with Hartlepool United in May. (Credit: Michael Driver | MI News)

“You look at last season and Palace away, or the Papa Johns semi-final, and you look at some of the league games like the comeback at Harrogate, the Carlisle game at the start of the season - you look at them types of games and even when I’m playing and on the opposite side of the dugout the fans just spur you on and it’s great to have.

“I love when we’re away from home as well though. Look at Mansfield on Boxing Day. For me Gav’s goal wasn’t offside but you just look at the scenes, or you look at certain fans’ YouTube videos and you see the celebrations and it gives you goosebumps.

“The fans have been top notch. I speak to some of the North West Corner and I just feel more connected with the club.

“You hear from lads who played previously who say they haven’t been connected to the club for a long time and it’s nice to have that back, so hopefully we can keep that going for years to come.

David Ferguson believes Hartlepool United should target promotion this season. (Credit: Mike Morese | MI New)

“It takes time,” Ferguson added on the time taken to agree his new deal.

“People might not understand it in football with certain delays and things. But I’ve got to think about what is best for myself and my family. And when I’ve sat down and thought about it, Hartlepool is the best opportunity.

“I just thought I couldn’t see myself away from the club more than anything else. I’ve really enjoyed the last two years. I want another two, three, four years of good memories.”

Part of the delay in Ferguson’s decision over a new contract might have been due to the decision by the club to sack former manager Graeme Lee less than 48-hours before the final game of the season against Colchester United.

But although it was Lee, alongside Lee Rust and head of recruitment Chris Trotter, who initiated discussions with Ferguson over new terms with Pools, the defender admits his journey at the Suit Direct Stadium was not over, irrespective of who the new manager was to be.

“It’s obviously not nice to see manager’s go and people losing their jobs. But for me it was just making sure if I was at Hartlepool I was still playing for the club,” said Ferguson.

“I didn’t want my journey to end there regardless of who was to stay or what manager was coming in and, even now, it’s about making more memories and hopefully we can have more like the play-off final.”

The play-off final success at Ashton Gate is a moment that will live long in the memory of anybody associated with Hartlepool United, but for Ferguson it is seen as a benchmark to try and surpass.

After a fairly solid return to the Football League, including two exceptional cup runs in the EFL Trophy and FA Cup, Ferguson is hungry for more success with Pools and believes under new boss Paul Hartley the club should be targeting promotion to League One.

“You’ve got to set your eyes on promotion,” said Ferguson.

“You cannot go into a season and be happy for mid-table. You don’t have the mindset for that, because if you’ve got that mindset you’ll not achieve anything.

“So for us, if we can bring a few more good players in, and a good few additions, which I’m sure the manager and the chairman will do their thing, who says we cannot get in the play-offs or automatic? You just don’t know.

“It’s a long season and if we can keep the consistency up then we could do it.

“Look at us in the National League. We had three or four months where we were in and out, winning a few and losing, then we went on a good run and ended up winning the play-off final so you just don’t know.

“When I first signed here I didn't expect to get promoted. I don't think that far ahead. I just like to take it one game at a time and month by month, but you just never know.”