Hartlepool United extend partnership with Hartlepool College of Further Education for at least two more years

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Hartlepool United and Hartlepool College of Further Education have confirmed a new agreement that will see their academy-based partnership extended for at least two more years.

Since its establishment in August 2020, the partnership has produced a string of successes both on the pitch and in the classroom.

Last season also saw Louis Stephenson Campbell Darcy, Max Storey and Alfie Steel all make their first team debuts, with three of the quartet now having signed professional contracts.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Both Oscar Fletcher and Archie Small represented England under-18 schoolboys while a number of students have gone on to play semi-professionally parallel to furthering their careers outside of football such as Charlie Rowe, who studied engineering.

From left: Ian McGuckin, Gary Riches, Joe Monks, Ian Clark.From left: Ian McGuckin, Gary Riches, Joe Monks, Ian Clark.
From left: Ian McGuckin, Gary Riches, Joe Monks, Ian Clark.

Equally, there have been some notable examples of student-players who progress into higher education or employment, with Toby Crawford recently gaining a prestigious scholarship to study sport at the renowned Stirling University.

The link with the college currently enables two squads to run, the under-18s representing Hartlepool United in the Youth Alliance against EFL academies and an additional squad playing and training on a full-time basis in the National Colleges League.

Plans are now in place to expand and to develop the programme with further coaching, sports science, medical and analysis support for student-players being added.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

There will also be seven full-time scholars next season as part of the EFL programme who will study at the college.

Ian McGuckin, the club’s academy manager, said:

“This is now about building on some very exciting foundations from recent years as we look to further develop the programme and its offering.

“The past four years have shown what an incredible programme this can be for the club, the town and indeed the region.

“There are real opportunities for talented players to come in, develop and to go on to represent Hartlepool United.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“Additionally, we’re very proud to be able to offer an outstanding set of education and training options so that players also get the very best opportunities and develop off the field.”

Ian Clark, a former Pools player and the college’s head of high performance, said:

“This fantastic partnership solidifies the educational aspect for these young men and provides opportunities.

“We all know the challenges around trying to make it in professional football so, as well as providing the football chances, we can also ensure these students are on the right academic path too.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“Whatever tools they need we will look to give them whether they end up being a professional footballer, playing semi-pro or learning a trade - we will provide them with what they need for that next step."

Joe Monks, Hartlepool United’s head of football operations, said:

“The extension of the partnership is a culmination of several years of work between the club and college and we’re all delighted to announce this new agreement with the intention that it grows and grows.

“One of the key things that the club has been working on behind the scenes over the past four years is development of an academy model that is sustainable and secure regardless of league status.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"This new agreement represents a very significant step forward in that goal.

“These kind of programmes take years to develop and we are now starting to see some fruits of that labour, which was evident in the number of academy players that made debuts last season.

“Joe Grey, who had an excellent season, is also a former academy player.

“The college have been excellent to work with and as our partner they ensure that the players receive outstanding training and education options.”

Gary Riches, the college’s vice principal, said:

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“Our mission says we are here to transform students’ lives and we want to breed that into the local community.“If that is through players in the academy then it makes sense for two of Hartlepool’s anchor institutions to work collaboratively and professionally. We are both aligned on that.

“To have two former Pools players such as Ian Clark and Ian McGuckin working on this together is fantastic too – what great experience they can pass on to the student-players.

“Extending and strengthening the partnership was an easy decision to make and we hope it produces not only talented young footballers but also strong people and professionals from the next generation coming through.

“The club-college programme also benefits the community through exciting projects on and off the pitch and a series of commercial and strategic plans have been put in place.”

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.