Hartlepool United legend Joe Allon set to return to Victoria Park against Exeter City to pay tribute to lifelong supporter
Hartlepool United could certainly do with a Joe Allon on the pitch right now.
The 54-year-old needs no introduction to most Poolies following his record breaking 35 goal haul during the 1990-91 promotion winning season. Allon netted an impressive 79 goals in 194 games over two spells at Pools between 1988-1991 and 1995-1997.
But this weekend he will be back at Victoria Park for the League Two match against Exeter City – paying tribute to lifelong Pools fan Brian Tucker, who sadly passed away last week at age 73 following a battle with cancer.
Brian had been following Pools religiously for 60 years. Even in his final days when he was no longer able to attend matches in person, he would tune in to listen to match commentary on the radio.
Fans have been encouraged to take part in a 73rd minute applause at Victoria Park this weekend in Brian’s honour.
"[Brian] used to follow me all the way through my Hartlepool career,” Allon told The Mail.
"He sadly passed away so I’m going to be sitting with his family there supporting the team. I know I’m like the Pope in Hartlepool but I just want to spend time with the family at the game in the stands and I’ll head over to the lounge after the game and the Corner Flag.”
Allon himself is an ambassador for Alzheimer's and dementia awareness having lost his mother in 2007 following her battle with dementia. Now he is coming to terms with his father suffering from the same disease.
"It’s tragic to see people dying,” he added. “We’ve had big hitters like Jimmy Greaves pass away recently.
“I’ve got a 91 year old father who has got Alzheimer's and dementia. It’s not been easy at all so I’m looking for a bit of respite at the minute.
“With dementia, it’s not just the people who have it, it’s the carers who are the ones that need looking after too. The carers need to pick the phone up for help.
"It’s been tough, but I’m getting back in the ball game.”
And Allon’s visit to Victoria Park this weekend, although not in ideal circumstances, is one he’s looking forward to.
It’s the former Pools striker’s first match at The Vic since the club dropped out of the Football League back in 2017.
“It was a tragedy when they went down but the people who are there now, I don’t know the owner but the manager is really, really good,” Allon continued.
“I played against Dave [Challinor] when he was younger at Tranmere and he’s doing a great job.
“I thought it was a brilliant appointment. The one thing I’d say is that he just needs more backing regarding bringing players in because I think we’re on the brink, even though we’re doing quite well.
"Everyone knows I’m a massive Newcastle fan but the result I always look out for before any other club is Hartlepool. Even when I’m at Newcastle, John Smart [Whickham based businessman and former Hartlepool chairman] always asks me first ‘how has Hartlepool got on?’
"We’re at St. James’s Park yet we’re talking about Hartlepool before anything, it’s surreal in a way.
“Hartlepool and the good people of Hartlepool will always be a massive part of my life.”